Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Archive for April 29th, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull – Shock Waves Caught on Video

Posted by feww on April 29, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull Still Erupting, Lava Flowing, Plume Staying Low

The following link to an Icelandic site, Visir,  shows a brief video footage of shock waves emitted by the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier volcano.

Latest image of eruption at Eyjafjallajökull


This image of steam and ash spewing out of the
Eyjafjallajökull Glacier is dated April 27, 2o1o and is one of the latest image of eruption posted  at the Institute of Earth Sciences, Nordic Volcanic Center. The moderators are still treating materials from the website as subject to copyright.  For more images visit their website.

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Posted in Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull eruption, eyjafjallajokull map, Eyjafjöll, volcano | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Oil Leak Compounds Gulf Disaster – Apr 29

Posted by feww on April 29, 2010

NEW LEAK DISCOVERED – 5,000BPD LEAKING

BP reported a new leak in the offshore well—min combined leak 210,000 gallons per day

The Gulf of Mexico nightmare enters a new phase—the first stage in the collapse of the Gulf states may have begun.

BP Plc, the legal owner of the leaking well, informed the US officials that it has discovered a new leak on the on the offshore well off Louisiana coat, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said.

“BP has just briefed me of a new location of an additional breach in the riser of the deep underwater well,” Landry said.

The new estimate of 5,000bpd,  most probably an under estimate, judging by the initial amount of crude oil the ocean floor well was producing, is 5 times as much as the previous estimate.

[Note: The true estimate for the leak may be as much as 8,000 barrels of crude oil per day, or more, which is how much the well was producing before the rig blew up!]

“We have urged BP to leverage additional assets,” Landry said, adding that President B.O.  had been briefed on the new phase in the growing disaster.

The growing oil slick, now boosted by at least 5 times as much crude oil leaking from the underwater well, threatens marine life, coastal wildlife refuges, coastal fishing and sea food industries, beaches and estuaries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, as well as the livelihood of at least 1 million people in those states DIRECTLY, and up to 20 million other people indirectly.

What People Are  Saying

“Tarballs and emulsified oil streamers could reach the Mississippi Delta region late on Friday, said Charlie Henry, an expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” Reuters reported.

“By Wednesday afternoon, the edge of the spill was 23 miles off the Louisiana coast, near fragile estuaries and swamps teeming with birds and other wildlife. A shift in winds could push the spill inland to the Louisiana coast by this weekend, according to forecasters at AccuWeather.” Reuters said.

“We’re sitting here half praying and half with our fingers, toes and everything else crossed,” Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oysterman Association in Pointe A La Hache, was reported as saying.

“This brings home the issue that drilling despite all the advancements in technology is still a risky business,” said Athan Manuel of the Sierra Club.

Meanwhile, BP has set fire to the massive and growing Gulf Coast oil slick

This is, of course, a nightmarish trade-off between the lesser of the two evils, burning thousands of barrels of crude oil, a smaller disaster, to prevent a much greater disaster of coastal pollution.

Imagine all of those other places out there in the universe somewhere, where they don’t have to make such decisions because their lifestyles are much less energy intensive, unlike this human wonderland, and the inhabitants have a direct say in the decision-making process.


Note: NOAA estimate was prepared before the new leak was reported, and therefore does NOT take into account the additional volume of crude that is leaking into the Gulf.

Stock photo of Newfoundland offshore Burn Experiment (NOBE)


Photo Source: The Minerals Management Service. Click image to enlarge.

Updated Overflight Map2


Source. Creative Commons license. Click image to enlarge.


Windrows of emulsified oil (bright orange) sprayed w/dispersant. Photo taken as part of an aerial observation overflight.  Photo credit NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

Clean-up crews have started “a test burn” in an area some 50km (30 miles ) east of the Mississippi River delta to gauge the viability of the technique, AP reported.

The burn-off “solution” became do-able after the BP failed to stop the massive a 1,000bpd crude leak from two holes in the oil well.

“A 500ft boom was being used to hold several thousand gallons of the thickest oil on the surface, which will then be towed to a more remote area, set on fire, and allowed to burn for about an hour.” AP reported.

Should the test burn prove successful, BP could continue with the blaze, one way or another, weather permitting.

As of now, at least 1,000bpd 5,000bpd (about 210,000 gallons, 800,000 liters per day), most probably 8,000bpd (about 336,000 gallons, or  1.3 million liters per day), of the really nasty, gooey crude oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

The damaged well which was being drilled by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, before it blew up killing 11 rig crew members (their bodies are missing, but they are legally presumed dead) is leaking from two different openings.

Although the cause of the explosion has not yet been determined, what is clear is that each and every control and safety mechanism that BP (and the gang) had or should have put in place to prevent such disasters didn’t work or weren’t there.

“Authorities also said they expected minimal impact on sea turtles and marine mammals in the burn area.” AP reported, forgetting to state whether they had interviewed any of the numerous species who live locally.

NOTE: The Exxon Valdez oil spill, which occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, is thought to be one of the worst human-caused environmental disasters ever. The tanker spilled about 10.8 million gallons (about 41 million litres) of crude oil into the water, covering an arae of about 3,400 sq km (1,300) square miles with its load of Prudhoe Bay crude.

The effects of the spill is still felt today, some 21 years later. there is a marked reduction in the population of various marine animals, including sea otters, pink salmon, ducks and many others.

The leak in the Gulf of Mexico could exceed the Exxon Valdez crude spill in less than 30 days, if not stemmed.

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak – Update Apr 28

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Posted in Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico oil Spill, Gulf of Mexio, Oil Rig Disaster, oil spill size | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Earth’s Water Delivered by Asteroids?

Posted by feww on April 29, 2010

Asteroid the Water Bearer

This is the sort of stuff that myths are made from. But it’s perfectly feasible. In fact it’s more probable than not.

IF true, it renders the water on Earth even more precious, so our thanks to everyone who is looking after our oceans, keeping then in such pristine condition! Fire-Earth

The following is a public information bulletin released by University of Central Florida

Asteroid ice may be ‘living fossil’ with clues to oceans’ origins

An asteroid may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water

Artist’s conception of asteroid 24 Themis and two small fragments of this dynamic family, which resulted from a large impact more than one billion years ago. One of the small fragments is inert (as most asteroids are), and the other has a comet-like tail, produced by the sublimation of water ice from its surface. Credit: Gabriel Pérez/Servicio MultiMedia, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Tenerife, Spain. Click image to enlarge.

The first-ever discovery of ice and organic molecules on an asteroid may hold clues to the origins of Earth’s oceans and life 4 billion years ago.

University of Central Florida researchers detected a thin layer of water ice and organic molecules on the surface of 24 Themis, the largest in a family of asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

Their unexpected findings will be published Thursday, April 29 in Nature, which will feature two complementary articles by the UCF-led team and by another team of planetary scientists.

“What we’ve found suggests that an asteroid like this one may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water,” said UCF Physics Professor Humberto Campins, the study’s lead author.

Some theories suggest asteroids brought water to Earth after the planet formed dry. Scientists say the salts and water that have been found in some meteorites support this view.

Using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii, Campins and his team of researchers measured the intensity of the reflected sunlight as 24 Themis rotated. Differences in intensity at different wavelengths helped researchers determine the makeup of the asteroid’s surface.

Researchers were surprised to find ice and carbon-based compounds evenly distributed on 24 Themis. More specifically, the discovery of ice is unexpected because surface ice should be short lived on asteroids, which are expected to be too warm for ice to survive for long.

The distance between this asteroid and the sun is about three times greater than between Earth and the sun.

Researchers will continue testing various hypotheses to explain the presence of ice. Perhaps most promising is the possibility that 24 Themis might have preserved the ice in its subsoil, just below the surface, as a kind of “living fossil” or remnant of an early solar system that was generally considered to have disappeared long ago.

Contact: Chad Binette
cbinette@mail.ucf.edu
University of Central Florida

‘Scientists Say Ice Lurks In Asteroid’s Cold Heart’


In this artist’s concept, a narrow asteroid belt filled with rocks and dusty debris orbits a star similar to our own sun. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists say they have detected water-ice and carbon-based organic compounds on the surface of an asteroid.

“For a long time the thinking was that you couldn’t find a cup’s worth of water in the entire asteroid belt,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Today we know you not only could quench your thirst, but you just might be able to fill up every pool on Earth – and then some.”

“The study’s findings are particularly surprising because it was believed that Themis, orbiting the sun at “only” 479 million kilometers (297 million miles), was too close to the solar system’s fiery heat source to carry water ice left over from the solar system’s origin 4.6 billion years ago.” JPL said. More …

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Posted in ocean, ocean pollution, planetary water, University of Central Florida, water | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Disasters: Big Thompson Canyon, Colorado

Posted by feww on April 29, 2010

Each and every disaster can be interpreted as a warning sign, but to read the signs you have to understand the language—reader KMH

The Big Thompson Canyon flood killed 145 people (6 were never found), destroyed 418 houses and damaged another 138, destroyed 152 businesses, causing at least $40 million in damages, in 120 long minutes.

It was as if nature had laid a trap

Up to 3,500 people had escaped the summer heat,  traveling to the cooler mountain air in one of Colorado’s most popular holiday destinations, some celebrating the state’s  100-year statehood anniversary. It was July 31, 1976.

“At the height of the Colorado tourist season, several thousand people escaped city heat by traveling to a popular camping area an hour northwest of Denver for hiking, fishing, camping and relaxing in the cooler mountain air. By late afternoon, an estimated 2,500-3,500 people were enjoying themselves in one of Colorado’s most scenic river valleys. They had no way of knowing that unusual atmospheric conditions and the physical make up of the Big Thompson River valley were setting the stage for disaster.”


Northern Colorado’s Big Thompson River flows from the Rocky Mountains (west) to the Great Plains (east) through a steep-walled, boulder-strewn canyon. This image was captured by the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on March 22, 2010.  Image and caption: NASA
- Download large image (4 MB, JPEG). Click image to enlarge.

By early evening “as campers frolicked, a witch’s brew began to develop in the atmosphere”

A combination of moist air rising up the mountain slopes and the summer heat formed thunderstorms which “lifted along the Front Range and began to dump heavy rain on the region about 6 p.m. Winds found at mountain crests of 10,000 feet are usually strong enough to push thunderstorms to the east and out of the area. On July 31, 1976, however, the upper winds were extremely weak and weren’t strong enough to push the storm away from the Big Thompson Valley.”


The Big Thompson River basin is similar geologically to many river basins along the eastern side of the Continental Divide. Sheer rock forms the canyon walls, with little soil and vegetation to absorb runoff from storms. The river starts high in the Rocky Mountains near Estes Park in north-central Colorado and flows eastward through the rugged, steep-walled canyon. In some places, the canyon walls jut almost straight up. From top to bottom, the river drops vertically more than half a mile and exits the canyon into the rolling, forested plains west of Loveland. Dotted with homes, restaurants and other businesses, U.S. Highway 34 stretched the length of the canyon. Image: USGS; Caption: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

The worst natural disaster in Colorado’s history was about to occur

The quasi stationary storm lingered on above the canyon  for more than three hours,  dumping about 30cm (1 foot) of rain into the basin. “Eight inches of rain fell in one hour-long stretch, and turned the normally placid two-foot-deep trickle into a raging torrent of water 19 feet high. Sweeping 10-foot boulders in front of it, the wall of water sped down the canyon slope. Cars, campers, and buildings in its path had no chance of survival.”

The canyon received the average year’s worth of precipitation within the first 4 hours after the rainstorm began. “The gauging station at the mouth of the canyon recorded peak flow of 883 cubic meters per second, four times higher than the previous record flood.”

The Big Thompson Canyon flood killed 145 people (6 were never found), destroyed 418 houses and damaged another 138, destroyed 152 businesses, causing at least $40 million in damages, in 120 long minutes.


Image Source: Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University. Image may be subject to copyright. Click image to enlarge.

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Posted in Big Thompson Canyon, Big Thompson Valley, larimer county | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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