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

Posts Tagged ‘acid rain’

Legacy of Acid Rain: Rivers Becoming Increasingly Alkaline

Posted by feww on August 28, 2013

River alkalinization threatens water supplies in eastern U-S: Study

Two-thirds of rivers in eastern United States show “significant increasing trends in alkalinity,” according to a new study published by the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Researchers examined 97 rivers from the northeastern state of New Hampshire down to Florida over the past 25 to 60 years and found significantly higher alkaline content.

The rivers provide drinking water to big cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, as well as other major metropolises.

“This is because acid rain, acidic mining waste, and agricultural fertilizers speed the breakdown of limestone, other carbonate rocks, and even concrete and cement,” said the researchers. “The result: alkaline particles are washed off of the landscape and into streams and rivers.”

Higher alkaline content in the water can lead to ammonia toxicity and is dangerous for crop irrigation and fish life. It also encourages algal growth and can complicate wastewater and drinking water treatment, as well as causing faster corrosion of metal pipes, the authors said.

Although the airborne pollutants that cause acid rain have somewhat declined in the United States, the legacy of acid rain remains, researchers said.

“The acid rain problem is decreasing. But meanwhile, there are these lagging effects of river alkalinization showing up across a major region of the U.S.,” said lead author, an associate professor and aquatic ecologist at the University of Maryland. “How many decades will river alkalinization persist? We really don’t know the answer.”

“This is another example of the widespread impact of human [activity] on natural systems [which] is, I think, increasingly worrisome,” said study co-author and ecologist Gene Likens of the University of Connecticut.

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Dinosaurs Asteroid Extinction: ‘Crotch Science’

Posted by feww on March 7, 2010

Submitted by a reader:

Keep Freudian Politics Out of Science!

Dinosaur Extinction Highly Improbable as a Result of a Single Event

Barringer Crater from space. [The crater is also known as ‘Meteor Crater’ and ‘Canyon Diablo Crater.’] Barringer Crater,  is a 1,300-meter (0.8 mile) diameter, 174-meter (570-feet) deep hole in the flat-lying desert sandstones 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) west of Winslow, Arizona. Since the 1890s geologic studies here played a leading role in developing an understanding of impact processes on the Earth, the moon and elsewhere in the solar system. This view was acquired by the Landsat 4 satellite on December 14, 1982. Diablo Canyon arroyo is to the west (left). The ghost town of Diablo Canyon is on the canyon to the north and out of the picture. The bulk of the meteorite is believed to be embedded in the south side of the crater under the rim. Credit: NASA Visible Earth.

The following excerpts are from a news report by Cambridge University,  England:

Asteroid killed off the dinosaurs

“Our work lets us visualise the astonishing events of the few minutes after impact. The front of the asteroid hit the Earth while the far side was still out in the upper atmosphere [sic,] punching a hole though the Earth’s atmosphere.

[Note: Readers would recall that the asteroid is believed to have been about 10km long.]

“As the asteroid vapourised explosively, it created a crater 30 km deep and 100 km across, with sides as high as the Himalayas. However within only two minutes the sides collapsed inwards and the deepest parts of the crater rebounded upwards to leave a wide, shallow hollow.

“These terrifying events led to darkness and a global winter, resulting in the extinction of more than 70% of known species. The tiny shrew-like mammals which were around at that time proved better adapted to survival than the cumbersome dinosaurs, and the removal of these dominant animals paved the way for the radiation of the mammals and eventual emergence of humans on Earth.” — Dr Penny Barton, who led the seismic survey and a co-author of the review

Just about every single paragraph of the review, the ones available on the internet that this author has read, features a glaring improbability.

Animation showing the Chicxulub Crater impact. Credit: University of Arizona, Space Imagery Center. Click image to enlarge and animate.

Science Fiction, or Crotch Science?

The Chicxulub asteroid impact and mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary
Summary or Review

The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary approximately 65.5 million years ago marks one of the three largest mass extinctions in the past 500 million years. The extinction event coincided with a large asteroid impact at Chicxulub, Mexico, and occurred within the time of Deccan flood basalt volcanism in India. Here, we synthesize records of the global stratigraphy across this boundary to assess the proposed causes of the mass extinction. Notably, a single ejecta-rich deposit compositionally linked to the Chicxulub impact is globally distributed at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The temporal match between the ejecta layer and the onset of the extinctions and the agreement of ecological patterns in the fossil record with modeled environmental perturbations (for example, darkness and cooling) lead us to conclude that the Chicxulub impact triggered the mass extinction. AAAS Review

Was the impact of 10-km bolide that formed the Chicxulub crater so catastrophic that it drove 70 percent of the world species to extinction in a short period?

The Chicxulub Paradox:

  1. The adverse environmental impact of the Chicxulub Asteroid, which lasted for a relatively short period [years,] drove dinosaurs, 70 percent of all species to extinction.
  2. Dinosaurs eventually became extinct over a relatively long period [millions of years.]

If the K-T extinction occurred as a direct result of the Chicxulub impact that led to “environmental perturbations (for example, darkness and cooling),” it must have necessarily led to a global ‘famine’ also, necessitating a rapid [and total] occurrence.

The comprehensive mechanisms needed for large-scale species extinction cannot be driven by a single event, albeit of a catastrophic magnitude, whose consequences  could have only lasted for a relatively short period.

A single catastrophic event capable of wiping off large percentage of all species, could only occur if it occurs in totality, for example, by vaporizing the ocean water, consuming the entire range of flora, extracting the air from the atmosphere, or flooding the entire planet. In that case, the remaining 50, 40, or even 30 percent of fauna, whose survival depended on the same shared resources, natural services and environmental factors, could not have survived.


The environmental damage caused by the Chicxulub impact was not total, and could not have had lasting consequences, either. The planet would have recovered from the effects of the impact in a few seasons.

A plethora of evidence suggests that dinosaurs and the other 70 or so percent of the species that allegedly became extinct, did not all die off in a few short seasons.

[You cannot blame the extinction of dinosaurs on an asteroid impact, if the extinction  occurred over a period of couple of million years after the impact!]

Another View of Barringer Crater. Source: USGS

Note: Fire-Earth moderators may comment on the above at a later date.

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Last Edited: April 21 at 02:35UTC

Posted in Chicxulub asteroid, Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, K-T extinction, mass extinction, Scripps Institution of Oceanography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

VolcanoWatch Weekly [7 October 2009]

Posted by feww on October 9, 2009

VOW:  Ambrym

Destructive acid rain caused by eruption

According to press reports, an eruption from Benbow Crater occurred on 10 February [1979.]  Gases from the eruption caused acid rainfall on the SW portion of Ambrym Island, destroying most vegetation within 24 hours, contaminating water supplies, and burning some inhabitants. Jean-Luc Saos, Director of Mineral Resources for the New Hebrides government, reported a high concentration of HCl and sulfur compounds in the volcanic gases. Although heavy ashfalls have occurred in the area in the past, this is the first report of acid rains. More …

View of the Marum cone at Ambrym looking SW, 7 June 2007. Incandescence from the active lava lakes can be seen reflected in the clouds (left). Courtesy of Steven Clegg.

Lava lake inside Mbwelesu crater within Marum cone at Ambrym, 7 June 2007. Courtesy of Steven Clegg.

A hazy layer of vog—volcanic fog—overlies Malekula and a few other islands of the Vanuatu archipelago in this natural-color satellite image. The source of the vog is Ambrym, a volcano in the southeast (lower right) corner of this scene. The haze extends over the Coral Sea several hundred kilometers to the northwest. Ambrym emits sulfur dioxide—the gas responsible for the formation of vog— intermittently. (Kilauea Volcano has recently affected the residents of Hawaii with similar vog emissions.)  The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image on October 6, 2009. [Large earthquake measuring up to 8.2 Mw struck Vanuatu region  on October 7, 2009 at 22:03 UTC. FEWW]
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of this region. Caption by Robert Simmon.

Ash plume from Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu October 4, 2004, 23:00 UTC.  Source: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response System.

View into the Mbwelesu crater on the Marum cone at Ambrym, captured 7 September 2008. Lava can be seen through two gaps in the crusted-over lava lake (enlarged insets). Courtesy of Arnold Binas.

Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations. Caption: GVP

Country: Vanuatu
Subregion Name: Vanuatu
Volcano Number: 0507-04=
Volcano Type: Pyroclastic shield
Volcano Status: Historical
Last Known Eruption: 2009
Summit Elevation: 1334 m 4,377 feet
Latitude: 16.25°S 16°15’0″S
Longitude: 168.12°E 168°7’0″E

SI /USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report
(30 September – 6 October 2009)

New activity/Unrest:

News From GVP:

On 29 September, people living in Chaitén town, 10 km SW of Chaitén’s Domo Nuevo 1 (Phase I) and Domo Nuevo 2 (Phase II) lava-dome complex, noticed that the eruption column was larger. Scientists conducted an overflight and saw a third lava dome (Phase III) in the SW area of the complex, which had filled up a depression left by a collapse on 19 February.

According to news articles from 2 October, increased seismicity at Gaua was detected during the previous two weeks. Villagers living nearby reported ashfall and sulfur odors.

An explosive eruption from Galeras on 30 September prompted INGEOMINAS to raise the Alert Level. An ash plume rose to an approximate altitude of 12.3 km (40,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E, then N. —GVP

Ongoing Activity:

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FEWW Volcanic Activity Forecast

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Posted in California volcanoes, ecuador, FEWW Volcanic Activity Forecast, Hawaii, island of Java, Kīlauea, Langila, Mexico, New Britain, Popocatépetl, Rabaul, Reventador, Sangay, volcanic hazard, volcanism, volcano services, volcanoes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NO More Coal-fired Power Plants Here!

Posted by edro on July 1, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member:

Too Little, Too Late?

Longleaf Energy Resources Leaves Court with a Red-Coal Face

A Georgia state court invalidated a permit to build a 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Early county, citing the developers’ failure to limit emissions of carbon dioxide. A Fulton County Superior Court Judge, Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore [kudos to judge Moore], reversed a right to pollute permit [aka, air permit] issued earlier this year by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to Longleaf Energy Resources.

Southern Company’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Georgia is seen in this aerial photograph in Cartersville in this file photo taken September 4, 2007. One of the biggest coal-fired plants in the country, it generates about 3,300 megawatts of electricity from four coal-fired boilers. (Chris Baltimore/Reuters; caption: abc News. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

The judge citied a 2007 U.S. Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore decision in which carbon dioxide was ruled to be a pollutant under the existing Clean Air Act and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Anthracite Coal. Credit USGS

How much coal would it take to light a 100W light bulb for one year?

A 100-Watt light bulb consumes about 876 kWh of electricity in one year (100 W × 24 h/day × 365 days = 876,000 Wh = 876 kWh).

Energy density

The energy density of coal, expressed in kilowatt-hours per kilogram, is about 6.67 kWh/kg. The typical thermodynamic efficiency of coal power plants is about 30%. That means only 30% of the coal burned up turns into electricity, with the rest is normally wasted as heat. Coal power plants generate approximately 2.0 kWh per kg of burned coal.

876 kWh ÷ 2kWh/kg = 438 kg of coal

However, the above amount does not take into account a further 5–10% transmission and distribution losses caused by resistance and heating in the power lines AND the initial energy used to mine the coal and ship it to the power plant, which could be equivalent to 10-15% of the total coal consumed.

438 kg ÷ 80% = 547.5 kg of coal {Total amount of coal consumed to light a 100W bulb for one full year!}

How Much Carbon Dioxide?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) forms during coal combustion when one atom of carbon (C) combines with two atoms of oxygen (O2). Carbon has an atomic weight of is 12, and oxygen 16, making the atomic weight of carbon dioxide 44. A kg of coal with a carbon content of 78 percent and a heating value of 32 MJ/kg emits about 2.86 of carbon dioxide. (Source: Carbon Dioxide Emission Factors for Coal)

547.5 kg of coal x 2.86 = 1,566 kg of CO2 {The total amount of CO2 produced.}

[Note: other nasty byproducts include sulfur, which reacts with oxygen to produce SO2, which then combines with moisture in the air to produce acid rain, nitrogen oxides, NOx, and mercury, all of which are extremely harmful to air, water, soil, trees, marine animals and humans.]

Meanwhile, back in Crawford ranch …

White House officials, congressional staff revealed, refused to open e-mail from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, that said climate-warming greenhouse emissions threaten public health and welfare!

The EPA has also told members of Congress that the Defense Department is defying orders over cleaning up toxic pollution at three military bases at Fort Meade in Maryland, McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

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Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »