<![CDATA[GEOLOGY WITH JEFF SIMPSON - GEONEWS]]>Thu, 20 Jan 2022 20:33:23 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[With less water on the surface, how long can Arizona rely on what’s underground?]]>Thu, 20 Jan 2022 21:42:50 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/with-less-water-on-the-surface-how-long-can-arizona-rely-on-whats-underground
In Arizona, verdant fields of crops and a growing sprawl of suburban homes mean a sharp demand for water in the middle of the desert. Meeting that demand includes drawing from massive stores of underground water. But some experts say those aquifers are overtaxed and shouldn’t be seen as a long-term solution for a region where the water supply is expected to shrink in the decades to come. “We should recognize now, as we do with the Colorado River, that we have to take action before it’s too late,” said Kathleen Ferris, a senior research fellow with Arizona State University’s Kyl Center for Water Policy. - Cronkite News

<![CDATA[This ‘Plastic Man’ Has a Cape and a Superhero’s Mission: Cleaning Up Senegal]]>Thu, 20 Jan 2022 20:22:32 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/this-plastic-man-has-a-cape-and-a-superheros-mission-cleaning-up-senegal
He can often be seen dancing through the streets dressed in a self-designed and ever-evolving costume made entirely of plastic, mostly bags collected from across the city. Pinned to his chest is a sign that reads NO PLASTIC BAGS. It’s a fight he takes very seriously. His costume is modeled after the “Kankurang” — an imposing traditional figure deeply rooted in Senegalese culture who stalks sacred forests and wears a shroud of woven grasses. The Kankurang is considered a protector against bad spirits, and in charge of teaching communal values. - NYTimes
<![CDATA[How coal holds on in America]]>Tue, 18 Jan 2022 18:47:31 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/how-coal-holds-on-in-america
David Saggau, the chief executive of an energy cooperative, tried to explain the losing economics of running a coal-fired power plant to a North Dakota industry group more than a year ago.
Coal Creek Station had lost $170 million in 2019 as abundant natural gas and proliferating wind projects had cut revenue far below what it cost to run the plant. After four decades sending electricity over the border to Minnesota, Coal Creek would be closing in 2022, Saggau said, and nobody was clamoring to buy it.
“We made folks aware that the plant was for sale for a dollar,” Saggau, of Great River Energy, told the Lignite Energy Council during an October 2020 virtual meeting. “We’re basically giving it away.” - Washington Post

<![CDATA[What if the Whole World Went Vegan?  (2:38)]]>Sun, 16 Jan 2022 22:16:03 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/what-if-the-whole-world-went-vegan-238
​What if the whole world went vegan? What impact would it have in terms of climate change and the environment? - BBC
<![CDATA[Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai News]]>Sun, 16 Jan 2022 19:32:34 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/hunga-tonga-hunga-haapai-news
Links to this developing story...

  • Volcano Discovery 

  • Dr. Judith Hubbard

  • The Conversation

  • TVNZ Video

  • Twitter Images
<![CDATA[Inside Clean Energy: Here Come the Battery Recyclers]]>Fri, 14 Jan 2022 19:07:03 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/inside-clean-energy-here-come-the-battery-recyclers
The battery economy is booming, and with it a recycling industry is bracing itself for a wave of battery waste. Battery Resourcers of Worcester, MA is planning to build a plant in Georgia that will be capable of recycling 30,000 metric tons of lithium-ion batteries/yr. It will be the largest battery recycling plant in North America when it opens later this year. Its reign will be brief because Li-Cycle is building an even larger battery recycling plant near Rochester, NY scheduled to open in 2023. The company said last month that it is modifying its plans in a way that increases the plant’s size, a response to forecasts of high demand for recycling. - Inside Climate News
<![CDATA[Geomorphology & Veg Change at CO River Campsites, Marble and Grand Canyons]]>Thu, 13 Jan 2022 19:16:30 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/geomorphology-veg-change-at-co-river-campsites-marble-and-grand-canyons
Sandbars along the Colorado River are used as campsites by river runners and hikers and are an important recreational resource within Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Regulation of the flow of river water through Glen Canyon Dam has reduced the amount of sediment available to be deposited as sandbars, has reduced the magnitude and frequency of flooding events, and has increased the magnitude of baseflows. This has caused widespread erosion of sandbars and has allowed native and non-native vegetation to expand on open sand. Previous studies show an overall decline in campsite area despite the use of controlled floods to rebuild sandbars. Monitoring of campsites since 1998 has shown changes in campsite area, but the factors that cause gains and losses in campsite area have not been quantified. These factors include changes in sandbar volume and slope under different dam flow regimes that include controlled floods, gul- lying caused by monsoonal rains, vegetation expansion, and reworking of sediment by aeolian processes. - USGS
<![CDATA[The past seven years have been the hottest in recorded history]]>Thu, 13 Jan 2022 19:12:03 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/the-past-seven-years-have-been-the-hottest-in-recorded-history
In the middle of a historically sweltering summer, a NASA researcher stood before Congress and declared the unvarnished, undeniable scientific truth: “The greenhouse effect has been detected,” James Hansen said. “And it is changing our climate now.” The year was 1988. Global temperatures were about 0.6 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial average. It was, at the time, the hottest 12-month period scientists had ever seen. None of us will ever experience a year that cool again. - Washington Post
<![CDATA[What a Gold Mining Mishap Taught Us About Rivers]]>Thu, 13 Jan 2022 18:55:48 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/what-a-gold-mining-mishap-taught-us-about-rivers
In 1900, gold miners working for an English investment corporation set off dynamite to blow a 5-meter gap in a 30-meter ridge. The site, now called The Kink in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, sits on the traditional land of the Hän and Dënéndeh people. Within hours of the explosion, the river abandoned the old channel and rushed down the new one, tearing at the bedrock and more than doubling the size of the gap. Over the next century, the new channel would morph from a waterfall into a series of rapids and would reveal how bedrock canyon incision works. - EOS
<![CDATA[Longest known continuous record of the Paleozoic discovered in Yukon wilderness]]>Thu, 13 Jan 2022 00:38:08 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/longest-known-continuous-record-of-the-paleozoic-discovered-in-yukon-wildernessHundreds of millions of years ago, in the middle of what would eventually become Canada’s Yukon Territory, an ocean swirled with armored trilobites, clam-like brachiopods and soft, squishy creatures akin to slugs and squid. A trove of fossils and rock layers formed on that ancient ocean floor have now been unearthed by an international team of scientists along the banks of the Peel River a few hundred miles south of the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea. The discovery reveals oxygen changes at the seafloor across nearly 120 million years of the early Paleozoic era, a time that fostered the most rapid development and diversification of complex, multi-cellular life in Earth’s history. “It’s unheard of to have that much of Earth’s history in one place,” said Stanford University geological scientist Erik Sperling, lead author of a July 7 study detailing the team’s findings in Science Advances. Most rock formations from the Paleozoic Era have been broken up by tectonic forces or eroded over time. “There’s nowhere else in the world that I know of where you can study that long a record of Earth history, where there’s basically no change in things like water depth or basin type.” - Geology Page]]><![CDATA[Midwest power plants face shutdown after EPA proposes denying requests to keep using unlined coal ash ponds]]>Thu, 13 Jan 2022 00:33:41 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/midwest-power-plants-face-shutdown-after-epa-proposes-denying-requests-to-keep-using-unlined-coal-ash-ponds
The EPA proposed denying requests from 3 Midwest coal-fired power plants to continue dumping coal ash in unlined surface impoundments, a move that could lead to the plants' early retirements. The EPA also tentatively determined that 4 of 57 applications to extend the deadline for meeting its coal ash requirements were incomplete. Once the EPA issues final decisions for the incomplete and denied applications, the owners of the seven plants will have 135 days to stop putting coal ash in the impoundments. The EPA is interpreting and enforcing its coal ash rules for the first time since they were passed in 2015, during the Obama administration, according to Earthjustice. The EPA's action will set a precedent for more than 200 U.S. coal-fired power plants and the nearly 750 ponds and landfills where their ash is stored, the advocacy group said. - Utility Dive
<![CDATA[US government squandered hundreds of millions on ​‘clean coal’ pipe dream]]>Tue, 11 Jan 2022 05:09:19 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/us-government-squandered-hundreds-of-millions-on-clean-coal-pipe-dream
The GAO summarized its findings on the federal government’s efforts to get carbon capture and storage off the ground at coal-fired power plants across the country. The GAO found that these efforts were tainted by major flaws that led to hundreds of millions of dollars of wasted taxpayer money. Under the Obama administration, the Dep. of Energy poured more than a billion dollars into carbon capture and storage (CCS), money allocated by Congress under the 2009 stimulus bill. While the DOE’s investments in capturing carbon from industrial sites achieved some success, its investments in capturing carbon from coal plants most decidedly did not. The GAO reports that the industrial CCS projects were held to higher standards and subjected to more oversight and scrutiny than the coal-plant projects. “Management directed DOE to bypass some cost controls to help struggling coal projects.” Not a single coal-plant CCS project that DOE invested in is still operating today. Only one of the eight projects it funded was ever completed, and that one was shut down last year.  - Canary Media
<![CDATA[Scientists build new atlas of ocean's oxygen-starved waters]]>Mon, 10 Jan 2022 03:41:11 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/scientists-build-new-atlas-of-oceans-oxygen-starved-waters
Life is teeming nearly everywhere in the oceans, except in certain pockets where oxygen naturally plummets and waters become unlivable for most aerobic organisms. These desolate "oxygen-deficient zones," or ODZs make up less than 1 percent of the ocean's total volume, but are a significant source of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Their boundaries can also limit the extent of fisheries and marine ecosystems. Now MIT scientists have generated the most detailed, three-dimensional "atlas" of the largest ODZs in the world. The new atlas provides high-resolution maps of the two major, oxygen-starved bodies of water in the tropical Pacific. These maps reveal the volume, extent, and varying depths of each ODZ, along with fine-scale features, such as ribbons of oxygenated water that intrude into otherwise depleted zones. - phys.org
<![CDATA[The myth and reality of alternatives for rare minerals in EV batteries]]>Fri, 07 Jan 2022 02:43:50 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/the-myth-and-reality-of-alternatives-for-rare-minerals-in-ev-batteries
For years, commentators have been handwringing about the extraction practices, environmental and social harms, and corporate ownership of mining operations that contribute to clean energy technology, with a focus on cobalt, rare earths and other rare ingredients of the clean energy transition. Much like governmental, intergovernmental and private assessments of "critical materials," these critiques pay far too little attention to how scarcity, usually signaled by price, elicits not only mineral exploration and mine development but also a powerful set of other and faster adaptations and alternatives such as efficient use, substitution and recycling. - Green Biz / Amory Lovins-RMI
<![CDATA[New research finds way to scrub CO2 from factory emissions, make products]]>Wed, 05 Jan 2022 22:44:24 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/new-research-finds-way-to-scrub-co2-from-factory-emissions-make-productsCarbon dioxide can be harvested from smokestacks and used to create commercially valuable chemicals thanks to a novel compound developed by a scientific collaboration led by an Oregon State University researcher. Published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, the study shows that the new metal organic framework, loaded with a common industrial chemical, propylene oxide, can catalyze the production of cyclic carbonates while scrubbing CO2 from factory flue gases. - Phys.org

<![CDATA[Residents call for reform after hydrogen sulfide gas leak on Navajo Nation]]>Wed, 05 Jan 2022 21:42:58 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/residents-call-for-reform-after-hydrogen-sulfide-gas-leak-on-navajo-nation
a It was still dark when Parnell Thomas opened his eyes on the morning of Aug. 10, but he immediately knew something had gone very wrong at the oil and gas field near his home on the northern Navajo Nation. The stench of hydrogen sulfide gas was burning his nostrils and shaking off the sleep was harder than it should have been. “I couldn’t breathe,” Thomas said. “I was coughing and kind of dazed.” He stumbled through the house waking up his kids, who were sleeping on the upper floor with the windows open, and friends who were staying over for the night. Thomas recalls seeing a white haze moving through the house, and by the time he got everyone outside to fresher air, several of the children were vomiting. - Salt Lake Tribune

Parnell Thomas checks on some gas lines near his home north of Montezuma Creek, on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
<![CDATA[Coal Powered the Industrial Revolution. It Left Behind an ‘Absolutely Massive’ Environmental Catastrophe]]>Tue, 04 Jan 2022 04:39:03 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/coal-powered-the-industrial-revolution-it-left-behind-an-absolutely-massive-environmental-catastrophe
Along the winding, two lane road that leads to Tracy Neece’s mountain, there’s no hint of the huge scars in the hills beyond the oaks and the pines.  Green forests cover steep slopes on each side of the road, which turns from blacktop to dusty gravel. Modest homes are nestled into the bottomlands along a creek with gardens that grow corn and zucchini under a hot summer sun. The first sign of the devastation above is a glimpse of a treeless mesa, a landform more appropriate in the West. As Neece navigates his Ford F-150 pickup truck past an abandoned security booth, he drives into a barren expanse. The forest is gone, replaced by grasses. The tops and sides of entire mountains have been blasted away by dynamite. - Inside Climate News
<![CDATA[Termite Fumigation in California Is Fueling the Rise of a Rare Greenhouse Gas]]>Tue, 04 Jan 2022 04:19:30 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/termite-fumigation-in-california-is-fueling-the-rise-of-a-rare-greenhouse-gas
New research has suggested that the nationwide rise of the potent greenhouse gas sulfuryl fluoride comes almost entirely from termite fumigations in the greater Los Angeles area. Sulfuryl fluoride is a common treatment for drywood termites, bedbugs, cockroaches, and other pests. The Dow Chemical Company developed the gas, also known by its brand name Vikane, in 1959. Concentrations of sulfuryl fluoride have grown exponentially worldwide: In 1978, it was 0.3 part per trillion. Today it’s more than 2.5 parts per trillion. The latest research has found that one hot spot in the United States - LA - has the highest emissions of sulfuryl fluoride. In the region, sulfuryl fluoride concentrations have topped 400 parts per trillion at times between 2015 and 2017, said graduate student Dylan Gaeta of Johns Hopkins University. The second-highest emissions came from California’s Bay Area. The rest of the country releases barely any emissions. - EOS
<![CDATA[U.S. Looks to Extract Lithium for Batteries from Geothermal Waste]]>Thu, 30 Dec 2021 22:29:10 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/us-looks-to-extract-lithium-for-batteries-from-geothermal-waste
According to a study by the Department of Energy, the Salton Sea in California’s Imperial Valley—one of two large geothermal energy production sites in the state—could produce as much as 600,000 tons of lithium annually. That is more lithium than the United States currently uses. It could bring in $7.2 billion a year, and that could just be the beginning of expected economic benefits. The global demand for lithium is expected to grow as much as tenfold by 2030. - Scientific American

Right -  A geothermal energy plant taps deep underground heat from the southern San Andreas Fault rift zone at the Salton Sea near Calipatria, Calif. 
<![CDATA[Himalayan glaciers are melting at an extraordinary rate, research finds]]>Thu, 30 Dec 2021 22:22:49 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/himalayan-glaciers-are-melting-at-an-extraordinary-rate-research-finds
Ice sheets across the Himalayas have shrunk 10 times faster in the past four decades than during the previous seven centuries. The rapid ice melt threatens agriculture and water supply for millions of people in South Asia, according to research published Monday in the journal Scientific Reports. There is scientific consensus that human-caused climate change has resulted in accelerated ice melt from glaciers and higher ocean temperatures across the world. - CNBC
<![CDATA[Staying below 2° C warming costs less than overshooting and correcting]]>Thu, 30 Dec 2021 22:00:03 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/staying-below-2-c-warming-costs-less-than-overshooting-and-correcting
What will it cost if the climate exceeds the Paris Agreement temperature goals this century—even if we later remove carbon dioxide from the air and manage to bring temperatures back down to meet those targets by 2100? And how does that compare with the costs of staying below those targets? Most plans that are consistent with the Paris Agreement goals assume that temperatures will rise above 1.5° or even 2° C before 2100. They then heavily rely on the success and wide adoption of what are called negative carbon emissions techniques, which involve the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to bring temperatures back down. That’s a gamble for a number of reasons. “Betting on being able to bring temperatures down after a larger overshoot is very risky because of the uncertain technological feasibility and because of the possibility of setting off irreversible processes in the earth system with even a temporary temperature overshoot,” wrote second author Christoph Bertram, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, in an email to Ars Technica. “Furthermore, such an approach would be unfair to future generations, as it basically would shift more of the mitigation burden on them.” - ArsTechnica
Capturing carbon, as this algae-growing plant does, may not be the most economical way to reach our climate targets.
<![CDATA[This Colorado 'solar garden' is literally a farm under solar panels]]>Mon, 15 Nov 2021 19:59:23 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/this-colorado-solar-garden-is-literally-a-farm-under-solar-panels
When Byron Kominek returned home after the Peace Corps and later working as a diplomat in Africa, his family's 24-acre farm near Boulder, Colo., was struggling to turn a profit. "Our farm has mainly been hay producing for fifty years," Kominek said, on a recent chilly morning, the sun illuminating a dusting of snow on the foothills to his West. "This is a big change on one of our three pastures." That big change is certainly an eye opener: 3,200 solar panels mounted on posts eight feet high above what used to be an alfalfa field on this patch of rolling farmland at the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains. Getting to this point, a community solar garden that sells 1.2 megawatts of power back into the local grid, wasn't easy, even in a progressive county like his that wanted to expand renewable energy. When Kominek approached Boulder County regulators about putting up solar panels, they initially told him no, his land was designated as historic farmland. - NPR
<![CDATA[Can California Resurrect Its Lone Nuclear Power Plant Because Of Climate Change?]]>Sun, 14 Nov 2021 00:06:20 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/can-california-resurrect-its-lone-nuclear-power-plant-because-of-climate-change- Forbes]]><![CDATA[​It's Time to Drain Lake Powell]]>Sat, 13 Nov 2021 23:01:04 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/its-time-to-drain-lake-powell
The date is Feb. 9, 1997, and the man responsible for one of the most egregious environmental follies in human history is sitting at a restaurant in Boyce, Virginia, with the leader of the movement seeking to undo his mistake. Of the hundreds of dams Floyd Dominy green lit during his decade running the Bureau of Reclamation, none are as loathed as his crown jewel, the Glen Canyon Dam. In 1963, Dominy erected the 710-foot (216-meter) tall monument to himself out of ego and concrete, deadening the Colorado River just upstream of the Grand Canyon, drowning more than 250 square miles (648 square kilometers) in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, and inventing Lake Powell in the middle of a sun-baked desert. - Gizmodo
<![CDATA[Manchin’s Secret Meeting w/ Coal Barons & Climate Deniers at Luxury Golf Resort]]>Sat, 13 Nov 2021 22:53:29 GMThttp://softpath.org/geonews/manchins-secret-meeting-w-coal-barons-climate-deniers-at-luxury-golf-resort
I often question my own objectivity when it comes to the influence that industries (in particular fossil fuels) exert on our elected officials.  It is good to look for counterfactuals. Then... reality reminds me that such things do exist.  The data presented here are at least concerning. - Documented