Pumped beyond limits, many U.S. aquifers in decline

Nationwide analysis shows depletion of groundwater widespread and worsening

SUBLETTE, Kansas – Just before 3 a.m., Jay Garetson’s phone buzzed on the bedside table. He picked it up and read the text: “Low Pressure Alert.”

He felt a jolt of stress and his chest tightened. He dreaded what that automated message probably meant: With the water table dropping, another well on his family’s farm was starting to suck air.

The Garetson family has been farming in the plains of southwestern Kansas for four generations, since 1902. Now they face a hard reality. The groundwater they depend on is disappearing. Their fields could wither. Their farm might not survive for the next generation.

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USGS Scientist: Major Quake On Hayward Fault Expected ‘Any Day Now’

Please see the source for the video.

 

(CBS SF) — The fault that produced a 4.0-magnitude earthquake in Fremont early Tuesday morning is expected to produce a major earthquake “any day now” and Bay Area residents should be prepared, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist said.

The quake caused some BART delays early Tuesday while work crews checked the tracks, but appears to have caused no major damage. At least 13 smaller quakes or aftershocks had been reported near the same location as of 6:42 a.m., the largest of which was a 2.7-magnitude at 2:56 a.m. Continue reading

Study finds contaminants in California public-water supplies

Nearly one-fifth of the raw groundwater used for public drinking water systems in California contains excessive levels of potentially toxic contaminants, according to a decade-long U.S. Geological Survey study that provides one of the first comprehensive looks at the health of California’s public water supply and groundwater.

One of the surprises in the study of 11,000 public supply wells statewide is the extent to which high levels of arsenic, uranium and other naturally occurring but worrisome trace elements is present, authors of the study said.

Public-water systems are required to bring many contaminants down to acceptable levels before supplying customers. But the findings highlight potential concerns involving the more than 250,000 private wells where water quality is the responsibility of individual homeowners, state officials said.

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Could LA’s Big One be even bigger than we thought? Now explosive helium is leaking from massive earthquake fault under Los Angeles

  • Indicates Newport-Inglewood fault more important than previously thought
  • Risk in the next 30 years of ‘big one’ increased from about 4.7% to 7.0%
  • However, study says risk of smaller quakes has actually gone down

A huge fault in the Earth’s crust near Los Angeles is leaking helium, researchers have found.

They say the unexpected find sheds new light on the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone in the Los Angeles Basin.

It reveals the fault is far deeper than previously thought, and a quake would be far more devastating.

It follows a report from the U.S. Geological Survey has warned the risk of ‘the big one’ hitting California has increased dramatically. Continue reading

Diablo Canyon plant shouldn’t be operating while safety is in doubt

According to the Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority, Fukushima was reassessed a year prior to the tsunami. It was determined that the plant needed to be retrofitted to withstand a much stronger earthquake. Had the plant been offline or retrofitted, the accident may have been far less severe.It is already known that Diablo Canyon, operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in San Luis Obispo County, may be subjected to 30 percent more ground shaking from nearby faults than Fukushima experienced. The first of several ongoing studies, published last week, states ground shaking at Diablo Canyon can exceed plant design. It is anticipated this will lead to years of more study. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will then consider ordering upgrades. Continue reading

Mega-Quake Threat Looms For California

Residents of California are understandably shaken over new predictions that a “mega-quake” of magnitude 8.0 or greater will rock the Golden State sometime within the next 30 years. According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Geological Survey has raised California’s risk of such a quake from 4.7 percent to 7 percent.

One reason behind the increased chance for a devastating mega-quake is the conclusion by geologists that earthquake faults are interconnected, allowing quakes that start along one fault line to spread, or “jump,” to others. After looking at the layout of faults throughout California, U.S. Geological Survey scientists are now of the opinion that there is a compounded and relatively imminent risk for a catastrophic event in the region.

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California overdue for major earthquake that could cripple water supply system, new study says

Three fault segments running beneath Northern California and its roughly 15 million people are overdue for a major earthquake, including one that lies northeast of San Francisco and near the dams and canals that supply much of the state’s water, according to a geological study published Monday.

The three segments and one other in Northern California are loaded with enough tension to produce quakes of magnitude 6.8 or greater, according to a geological study published Monday, according to a geological study published Monday. Continue reading

Canada to lay claim to North Pole amid Arctic resources rush

(Reuters) – Canada intends to lay claim to the North Pole as part of a bid to assert control over a large part of the resource-rich Arctic, Foreign Minister John Baird said on Monday.

Baird said Canada had filed a preliminary submission to a special United Nations commission collecting competing claims and would be submitting more data later. Continue reading

Iceland Pushes to Become Arctic Hub After Scrapping EU Accession

Iceland wants to turn itself into a hub for business in the Arctic and strike more trade accords on its own after scrapping talks to join the European Union, its foreign minister said.

“The focus of Iceland’s foreign policy is on the Arctic,” Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said in an Oct. 25 interview in Reykjavik. The island will work for deeper cooperation within the Arctic Council and seek to provide a base in the region to help support trade with China, Singapore and South Korea, among others, he said. Continue reading

Israel’s natural gas reserves reshape Middle East dynamics

As the prospects of another war in the Middle East increase, one country is looking to cut its energy ties with the region and manage its own needs, thanks to newly discovered gas riches.

Indeed, the recent discovery that Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves are far larger than previously thought has the potential to revolutionize the country’s economic fortunes. The find could save Israel tens of billions of dollars in energy imports from Egypt and other places, and see it positioned as a new natural gas source for Europe, one of the world’s largest LNG markets.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, recoverable natural gas in the Levant Basin located in Israeli and Cypriot waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, amounts to a massive 18.9 trillion cubic feet. Continue reading

Israeli gas group in talks on pipelines to Turkey, Jordan, Egypt

A group of energy companies that discovered large amounts of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean coast said they were in talks to export the gas to Europe via a pipeline to Turkey.

They are also studying options to export gas to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, Avner Oil & Gas said on Tuesday. Continue reading

Japan’s Secret WWII Weapon: Balloon Bombs

Balloon bombs aimed to be the silent assassins of World War II. Hitching a ride on a jet stream, these weapons from Japan could float soundlessly across the Pacific Ocean to their marks in North America.

Still largely unknown, these armaments were a byproduct of an atmospheric experiment by the Axis power. In the 1940s, the Japanese were mapping out air currents by launching balloons attached with measuring instruments from the western side of Japan and picking them up on the eastern side. Continue reading