Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for March 13th, 2009

‘Diarrhea water’

Posted by feww on March 13, 2009

In Dimock, Pennsylvania, drilling for natural gas has clouded the drinking water, sickened people and animals and made their wells flammable. —Report

A glass of water taken from a residential well after the start of natural gas drilling in Dimock, Pennsylvania, March 7, 2009. Dimock is one of hundreds of sites in Pennsylvania where energy companies are now racing to tap the massive Marcellus Shale natural gas formation. But some residents say the drilling has clouded their drinking water, sickened people and animals and made their wells flammable. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer. Image may be subject to copyright.

The following is adapted from a report by Reuters

What people say about the Dimock drilling for Marcellus Shale natural gas

Pat Farnelli whose  children had persistent diarrhea and vomiting  said:  “I was getting excruciating stomach cramps after drinking the water … It felt like an appendicitis attack.”

Geologists :  Marcellus Shale natural gas could potentially provide total U.S. natural gas needs for at least a decade, possibly more.

Observers: What the problem then?

Experts: Oh, the gas cannot be extracted easily because it’s encapsulated  deep inside layers of rock; you need a cocktail of highly toxic chemicals mixed with sand and fluids to drill the rocks [see below for “fracking.”]

Dimock residents: The drilling has clouded our drinking water, sickened our kids and animals and made our wells flammable.”

Energy Industry spokesperson:  The groundwater is safeguarded meticulously. The chemicals used are heavily diluted and pose no health threat.

Residents: What chemicals are you using?

Energy companies: Sorry, that information is proprietary, we can’t disclose what chemicals we use because other companies might copy our work.

Residents: How can we test our drinking waters, if we don’t know what to look for?

Cabot Oil & Gas spokesman Kenneth Komoroski [Cabot has drilled about 30 wells since 2006, 20 of them just last year, Reuters reported]: It is impossible for the drilling to contaminate the groundwater,  how could it I ask you!

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell speaking to Reuters: The state is careful in granting drilling permits. “We are very scrupulous about whether it will have an effect on the groundwater.” It’s safe, it’s safe … I say!

Mark Carmon an official with the Department of Environmental Protection: [they say they tested well water in Dimock houses in February] “We have not seen anything that would be of concern.”

A dozen local interviewed by Reuters: We draw water from a well sunk into an aquifer; two gas wells are within a few hundred yards (meters) of our houses.

Damascus Citizens for Sustainability [a Pennsylvania group opposed to drilling] :  Toxic chemicals have leaked into groundwater at hundreds of natural gas drilling sites in Colorado and New Mexico. How could Pennsylvania be an exception?

Ron and Jean Carter: We were alarmed when the water supply to our trailer home suddenly started to taste and smell foul after Cabot had started drilling 180m away. To protect our grandchild living with us, we managed to scrape together $6,500 for a water purification system.

“It was kind of funny that the water was good in July but after they drilled, it wasn’t,” said Ron Carter.

Tim and Debbie Maye, a truck driver and post office worker: We have three teenage children, and have been drinking and cooking with only bottled water since our well water turned brown in November 2008, shortly after Cabot started drilling.

But we can’t afford bottled water for our animals. Our cats have been losing fur  projectile vomiting because of the contaminated water.  One of  our three horses is also  losing its hair. When I go out to give water to them, “I tell my husband, ‘I’m going out to poison the horses.'”

Methane in the Water

Another byproduct of the drilling in Dimock is methane which has been released into the water supply, which the state regulators and Cabot have  acknowledged.

Local homeowners: We can ignite our well water. Recently, a gas buildup blew the large concrete cap off a well.

Norma Fiorentino, 66, a resident: “The well was capped with six to eight inches of concrete. …  The explosion broke it into three big pieces and blew a huge hole in the ground.”

Hydraulic fracturing [“fracking”]

Environmental groups: Energy companies use a method called  Hydraulic fracturing [aka, hydrofracturing, or fracing pronounced “fracking”] to create fractures  from a borehole al the way down to rock formations by  injecting a toxic mix of chemicals together with water and sand deep into the rock to release the natural gas which is trapped there.

Komoroski, the Cabot spokesman: Of course the “fracking” chemicals are dangerous. But they are only dangerous  in concentrated form. Here [in Pennsylvania,] we use them heavily diluted in the injection fluid.  Further, we inject them into depths of 1,700 to 2,700m (5,000 to 8,000 ft)— well below the normal depth aquifers at 70 to 170m (100 to 500 ft)—and we pump them into the ground inside several layers of steel and concrete, preventing any discharge at levels that could contaminate the groundwater.

FEWW Moderators: Why did the water turn brown, people and animals that drank the water got violently ill, cats lost their fur and horses their hair just after you started fracking? And what say you about the exploding well caps? Please respond.

[This space is reserved for Komoroski‘s reply!]

Komoroski: The Marcellus Shale Committee, a statewide group of energy companies will publish a report on the chemicals that are being injected into the ground.

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, a Colorado research group: of the 201 “fracking chemicals” we have found in the groundwater about 188 could potentially harm skin, eyes, and sensory organs;  100 could damage the brain and nervous system, and 59 may cause cancer.

Retired schoolteacher Victoria Switzer and her husband, Jimmy: We spent five years building our dream home [nestled on an idyllic wooded hillside,] now we have to share the rural setting with a gas well just a few hundred meters away. How could we fight the wealthy energy companies? Cabot, for one, posted annual revenues of about $1 billion in 2008.

Victoria Switzer: “They are big and we are small and they count on that.” 

Posted in Cabot Oil & Gas, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, doorstep drilling, Gov. Ed Rendell | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Australia hit by another man-made disaster

Posted by feww on March 13, 2009

Container ship leaked much more oil off Queensland coast than originally reported

Parts of Australia’s northeast coast of Queensland was declared a disaster area Friday after a massive oil spill from a damaged cargo ship, The Pacific Adventurer, contaminated numerous beaches.

Oil escapes: divers discovered further damage in the ship’s hull (Greens/Senator Bob Brown, via Abc News Au).

“Queensland state Premier Anna Bligh declared Moreton Island, Bribie Island and southern parts of the Sunshine Coast as disaster zones after a ship lost more than 30 tons of fuel when its hull was pierced by a container washed overboard.” A report said.

“It may well be the worst environmental disaster Queensland has ever seen,” Bligh told Australian Associated Press. “The ship was capable of carrying 100 tons of oil and the spill was now much larger than initial reports indicated.”

Map of Australia with a blow-up of southeast Queensland and the  Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast has a population of about 290,000 with an additional 50,000 visitors and seasonal workers.

“At least 60 kilometers (37 miles) of beach coastline had been covered by the slick, which came from the Hong Kong-flagged ship Pacific Adventurer after it was damaged on Tuesday in heavy seas generated by tropical cyclone Hamish.” The report said.

“If there is any grounds for prosecution of this ship and its owners, we will not hesitate to take that action. We will also be pursuing them for compensation as this is going to be a very big clean-up cost,” Bligh said.

Blackened sandy beach near Cape Moreton on Moreton Island, Queensland. Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Ship owner Swire Shipping had previously stated that  no more than 42,000 liters of oil escaped from the ship; however, they now say substantially more oil was spilled.

Popular tourist resorts including the coastal towns of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine coast, have been affected by the large spill.

Tire tracks seen near  Queensland. Photo: EPA.
Image may be subject to copyright.

“It’s certainly bigger than the first reports I was getting in terms of the extent of it and the magnitude of what’s impacting our beaches,” Sunshine Coast Council Environment Manager Stephen Skull said.

Environmental Protection Agency, which has closed access to a number of beaches and camping grounds in the area,  said the spill had already affected dozens of  seabirds and turtles.

Disaster zone: Warana beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.  Photo: EPA. Image may be subject to copyright.

Meanwhile, the search is on for 31 containers of ammonium nitrate, used for making explosives and fertilizer, which were lost from the ship near Brisbane, Queensland’s regional capital.

“If the containers, which have 620 tons of ammonium nitrate, leak it could cause major algae blooms which would choke marine life in Moreton Bay,” say marine scientists.

Related Links:

Posted in Bribie Island, disaster zone, environmental disaster, Sunshine Coast, The Pacific Adventurer | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

Rumble III Volcano “blew its top!”

Posted by feww on March 13, 2009

Rumble III:  “Catastrophic Eruption”

According to a UPI report, the underwater volcano Rumble III,  located about 300km northeast of Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, has “blown its top.”

A ‘catastrophic eruption’ may have reduced the height of Rumble III underwater volcano by about 100m, researchers say. Image: GNS Science – Image may be subject to copyright.

Rumble III sits on the southern ridge of the Kermadec Arc of about 100 submarine volcanoes, and rises about 2,300m above the sea floor reaching to within 220m of the sea surface,  has reportedly changed shape since  2007 when it was last mapped.

Researchers  aboard the Thomas G Thompson, a US research vessel,  found a “startling change” in the shape of its summit, which has lost about 100m, with the 800m-wide crater completely missing.

“The whole of that crater seems to be infilled, and the cone’s missing —so probably it blew up and most of the debris slid into the crater,” A researcher  was quoted as saying.

Images taken by an underwater camera “showed the seabed strewn with lava boulders covered by black volcanic ash near the summit of the volcano,” the researcher said.

Rumble III Image

The Rumble III seamount, the largest of the Rumbles seamount group along the South Kermadec Ridge, rises 2300 m from the sea floor to within about 200 m of the sea surface. Collapse of the edifice produced a horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the west and a large debris-avalanche deposit. Fresh-looking andesitic rocks have been dredged from the summit of Rumble III and basaltic lava from its flanks. Rumble III has been the source of several submarine eruptions detected by hydrophone signals. Early surveys placed its depth at 117 m, and later depths of about 200 m, 140 m, and 220 m were determined. Image and caption: GVP.

Volcano Name: Rumble III
Country:  NZ
Region:  South Kermadec Ridge
Volcano Type: Submarine volcano
Last Known Eruption:  Sometime after 2007
Summit Elevation:  -220 m (- 722 feet)
Latitude: 35.745°S (35°44’42″S)
Longitude:   178.478°E (178°28’42″E)

NZ Quake Report

Meanwhile a Magnitude 4.3 quake at a focal depth of 50 km struck about 50km south-west of the capital, Wellington on March 11 2009 at 9:46 UTC, GeoNet reported (Reference Number 3057877/G).

The epicenter of the earthquake was at: Latitude 41.70°S, Longitude 174.48°E

Earthquake map source: GeoNet, New Zealand. Image may be subject to copyright.

Related News Links:

Related Links:

Posted in Earthquakes, Indo-Australian Plate, Intense Volcanic activity, Metis Shoal, Pacific Plate | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »