Posted on September 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A boreal toad found in the Cucumber Gulch wetlands in Breckenridge, Colorado. bberwyn photo.
New sampling method enables early detection of deadly fungus in the environment, before it infects amphibians
FRISCO — A new way to test for the presence of the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus may help conservation efforts for species like the Rocky Mountain’s boreal toads, still under consideration for the endangered species list.
Instead of testing amphibians directly for the fungus, U.S. Geological Survey researchers said they’ve learned how to test for chytrid fungus in the water the animals live in. The new sampling technique can help assess the risk of exposure, potentially helping plan recovery efforts. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: amphibian decline, biodiversity, chytrid fungus, endangered species, USGS | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The water may not always be as pure as it looks.
USGS takes close look at landfill water pollution
FRISCO — Water quality experts with the U.S. Geological Survey say chemicals from pharmaceuticals and personal-care products are widespread in water that has passed through landfill waste.
The researchers collected samples from water that has passed through landfills, — known as leachates — from 19 sites across the country as part of a national assessment, analyzing the water for 202 chemicals across a wide range of uses, including pharmaceuticals, hygiene products, home-use chemicals, pesticides and plastics. Of those 202 chemicals, 129 were found. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: landfill leachates, landfills, Persistent organic pollutants, USGS, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oklahoma earthquake spike definitively linked with wastewater injection.
More monitoring and mitigation needed, scientists say
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Just a small number of wastewater injection wells associated with fossil fuel exploitation can lead to a dramatic increase in earthquakes, U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded in a new study focusing on the spike in Oklahoma earthquakes since 2009. Wastewater injection can trigger earthquakes up to 20 miles away, the researchers found, far beyond the three-mile radius commonly used as a measure for diagnosing induced earthquakes.
The dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 is likely attributable to subsurface wastewater injection at just a handful of disposal wells. Oklahoma earthquakes constitute nearly half of all central and eastern U.S. seismicity from 2008 to 2013, many occurring in areas of high-rate water disposal, said Cornell University geophysics professor Katie Keranen, who led the study. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, oil shale | Tagged: earthquakes, fracking, induced seismicity, USGS | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oklahoma earthquakes are on the increase.
Spike in tremors linked with injection of wastewater from fracking
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal and state geologists say there’s an increased risk of a strong earthquake in Oklahoma after the overall rate of quakes increased by about 50 percent since late 2013.
After statistically analyzing the increased rate of earthquakes, the scientists said they’re fairly certain it’s not just natural variability — deep injection of waste water from fossil fuel exploitation is seen as a likely cause. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: earthquakes, fracking, injection induced seismicity, Oklahoma, USGS | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The Columbia River Basin, courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.
Some chemicals exceed limits set to protect human health
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Even the Northwest’s mighty Columbia River isn’t immune to persistent chemical pollution federal scientists said last week, publicizing a new study that found fish with traces of pesticides and PCBs at levels that raise health concerns.
The data have been sent to state health officials in Oregon and Washington who will evaluate the new information to determine exactly how much of the resident fish are safe to eat.
The researchers measured contaminants, including pesticides, flame retardant compounds, and ingredients from common household products in the water and osprey eggs at 10 different locations along the Columbia River. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Columbia River, endocrine disrupting chemicals, Environment, USGS, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A USGS study finds new permafrost forming near Alaska’s Twelvemile Lake.
Small local variations in temperatures eyed as factor
FRISCO — Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say they’ve found new patches of permafrost forming in the margins a retreating lake in the interior of Alaska. The findings run counter the conventional wisdom that permafrost will shrink and disappear as the Earth’s climate warms — but don’t jump on the happy train just yet.
The new permafrost patches are small and suggest that the areas of frozen soil are sensitive to small temperature variations and other local factors, the USGS-led study suggests. Especially important is emerging vegetation around the edge of the lake. Thick willows shade the ground to the point that the soil can freeze, the scientists said. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Alaska, climate change, Environment, permafrost, USGS | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Could there be a tsunami in the Caribbean?
Guadeloupe seen as focal point for unreleased tectonic strain
FRISCO — The risk of a large earthquake and subsequent tsunami may be greater than previously thought, U.S. Geological Survey researchers say after studying the plate boundary in the Lesser Antilles region, where 20 of the 26 Caribbean islands are located.
The geologists estimate that enough unreleased strain may have accumulated offshore of Guadeloupe to potentially create a magnitude 8.0-8.4 earthquake. A magnitude 7.5 – 8.5 quake in 1843 killed several thousand people in Guadeloupe, and a similar quake in the future could cause several tens to several hundreds of fatalities, and hundreds of millions to billions of U.S. dollars in damages. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: Caribbean, earthquakes, tsunami, USGS | Leave a comment »