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  • richardmitnick 8:36 pm on September 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mexican mangroves have been capturing carbon for 5000 years", , , Carbon capture and storage, , , , Mangroves thrive in conditions most plants cannot tolerate like salty coastal waters., , , There are other ecosystems on Earth known to have similarly aged or even older carbon., What’s special about these mangrove sites isn’t that they’re the fastest at carbon storage but that they have kept the carbon for so long.   

    From The University of California-Riverside And The University of California-San Diego: “Mexican mangroves have been capturing carbon for 5000 years” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From The University of California-Riverside


    The University of California-San Diego

    9.16.22 [Sorry I am late, Jules.]
    Jules L Bernstein
    Senior Public Information Officer
    (951) 827-4580

    Unusual forests on stilts mitigate climate change. Credit: Ramiro Arcos Aguilar/The University of California-San Diego.

    Researchers have identified a new reason to protect mangrove forests: they’ve been quietly keeping carbon out of Earth’s atmosphere for the past 5,000 years.

    Mangroves in Baja California. (Matthew Costa/UCSD)

    Mangroves thrive in conditions most plants cannot tolerate like salty coastal waters. Some species have air-conducting, vertical roots that act like snorkels when tides are high, giving the appearance of trees floating on stilts.

    A UC Riverside and UC San Diego-led research team set out to understand how marine mangroves off the coast of La Paz, Mexico, absorb and release elements like nitrogen and carbon, processes called biogeochemical cycling.

    As these processes are largely driven by microbes, the team also wanted to learn which bacteria and fungi are thriving there.

    The team expected that carbon would be found in the layer of peat beneath the forest, but they did not expect that carbon to be 5,000 years old. This result, along with a description of the microbes they identified, is now published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series [below].

    “What’s special about these mangrove sites isn’t that they’re the fastest at carbon storage but that they have kept the carbon for so long,” said Emma Aronson, UCR environmental microbiologist and senior co-author of the study. “It is orders of magnitude more carbon storage than most other ecosystems in the region.”

    Peat underlying the mangrove trees is a combination of submerged sediment and partially decayed organic matter. In some areas sampled for this study, the peat layer extended roughly 10 feet below the coastal water line.

    Little oxygen makes it to the deepest peat layer, which is likely why the team did not find any fungi living in it; normally fungi are found in nearly every environment on Earth. However, oxygen is a requirement for most fungi that specialize in breaking down carbon compounds. The team may explore the absence of fungi further in future mangrove peat studies.

    Matthew Costa sampling under the canopy of a mangrove forest in Mexico. (Ramiro Arcos Aguilar/UCSD)

    There are more than 1,100 types of bacteria living beneath the mangroves that consume and excrete a variety of chemical elements. Many of them function in extreme environments with low or no oxygen. However, these bacteria are not efficient at breaking down carbon.

    The deeper you go into the peat soils, the fewer microorganisms you find. Not much can break down the carbon down there, or the peat itself, for that matter,” said Mia Maltz, UCR microbial ecologist and study author. “Because it persists for so long, it’s not easy to make more of it or replicate the communities of microbes within it.”

    There are other ecosystems on Earth known to have similarly aged or even older carbon. Arctic or Antarctic permafrost, where the ice hasn’t yet thawed allowing a release of gases, are examples. Potentially, other mangrove forests as well. The researchers are now scouting mangrove research sites in Hawaii, Florida and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as well.

    Unusual roots of the mangroves. (Matthew Costa/UCSD)

    “These sites are protecting carbon that has been there for millennia. Disturbing them would cause a carbon emission that we wouldn’t be able to repair any time soon,” said Matthew Costa, UC San Diego coastal ecologist and first author on the paper.

    Carbon dioxide increases the greenhouse effect that is causing the planet to heat up. Costa believes that one way to keep this issue from worsening is to leave mangroves undisturbed.

    “If we let these forests keep functioning, they can retain the carbon they’ve sequestered out of our atmosphere, essentially permanently,” Costa said. “These mangroves have an important role in mitigating climate change.”

    Science paper:
    Marine Ecology Progress Series

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of California- San Diego, is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States. The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha). Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, The University of California-San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. The University of California-San Diego is one of America’s “Public Ivy” universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. The University of California-San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 rankings.

    The University of California-San Diego is organized into seven undergraduate residential colleges (Revelle; John Muir; Thurgood Marshall; Earl Warren; Eleanor Roosevelt; Sixth; and Seventh), four academic divisions (Arts and Humanities; Biological Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Social Sciences), and seven graduate and professional schools (Jacobs School of Engineering; Rady School of Management; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; School of Global Policy and Strategy; School of Medicine; Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and the newly established Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science). University of California-San Diego Health, the region’s only academic health system, provides patient care; conducts medical research; and educates future health care professionals at the University of California-San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest; Jacobs Medical Center; Moores Cancer Center; Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center; Shiley Eye Institute; Institute for Genomic Medicine; Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion and various express care and urgent care clinics throughout San Diego.

    The university operates 19 organized research units (ORUs), including the Center for Energy Research; Qualcomm Institute (a branch of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology); San Diego Supercomputer Center; and the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, as well as eight School of Medicine research units, six research centers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and two multi-campus initiatives, including the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. The University of California-San Diego is also closely affiliated with several regional research centers, such as the Salk Institute; the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine; and the Scripps Research Institute. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, UC San Diego spent $1.265 billion on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 7th in the nation.

    The University of California-San Diego is considered one of the country’s “Public Ivies”. As of February 2021, The University of California-San Diego faculty, researchers and alumni have won 27 Nobel Prizes and three Fields Medals, eight National Medals of Science, eight MacArthur Fellowships, and three Pulitzer Prizes. Additionally, of the current faculty, 29 have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 70 to the National Academy of Sciences, 45 to the National Academy of Medicine and 110 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


    When the Regents of the University of California originally authorized the San Diego campus in 1956, it was planned to be a graduate and research institution, providing instruction in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Local citizens supported the idea, voting the same year to transfer to the university 59 acres (24 ha) of mesa land on the coast near the preexisting Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Regents requested an additional gift of 550 acres (220 ha) of undeveloped mesa land northeast of Scripps, as well as 500 acres (200 ha) on the former site of Camp Matthews from the federal government, but Roger Revelle, then director of Scripps Institution and main advocate for establishing the new campus, jeopardized the site selection by exposing the La Jolla community’s exclusive real estate business practices, which were antagonistic to minority racial and religious groups. This outraged local conservatives, as well as Regent Edwin W. Pauley.

    University of California President Clark Kerr satisfied San Diego city donors by changing the proposed name from University of California, La Jolla, to University of California-San Diego. The city voted in agreement to its part in 1958, and the University of California approved construction of the new campus in 1960. Because of the clash with Pauley, Revelle was not made chancellor. Herbert York, first director of DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was designated instead. York planned the main campus according to the “Oxbridge” model, relying on many of Revelle’s ideas.

    According to Kerr, “San Diego always asked for the best,” though this created much friction throughout the University of California system, including with Kerr himself, because University of California-San Diego often seemed to be “asking for too much and too fast.” Kerr attributed University of California-San Diego’s “special personality” to Scripps, which for over five decades had been the most isolated University of California unit in every sense: geographically, financially, and institutionally. It was a great shock to the Scripps community to learn that Scripps was now expected to become the nucleus of a new University of California campus and would now be the object of far more attention from both the university administration in Berkeley and the state government in Sacramento.

    The University of California-San Diego was the first general campus of the University of California to be designed “from the top down” in terms of research emphasis. Local leaders disagreed on whether the new school should be a technical research institute or a more broadly based school that included undergraduates as well. John Jay Hopkins of General Dynamics Corporation pledged one million dollars for the former while the City Council offered free land for the latter. The original authorization for the University of California-San Diego campus given by the University of California Regents in 1956 approved a “graduate program in science and technology” that included undergraduate programs, a compromise that won both the support of General Dynamics and the city voters’ approval.

    Nobel laureate Harold Urey, a physicist from the University of Chicago, and Hans Suess, who had published the first paper on the greenhouse effect with Revelle in the previous year, were early recruits to the faculty in 1958. Maria Goeppert-Mayer, later the second female Nobel laureate in physics, was appointed professor of physics in 1960. The graduate division of the school opened in 1960 with 20 faculty in residence, with instruction offered in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science. Before the main campus completed construction, classes were held in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    By 1963, new facilities on the mesa had been finished for the School of Science and Engineering, and new buildings were under construction for Social Sciences and Humanities. Ten additional faculty in those disciplines were hired, and the whole site was designated the First College, later renamed after Roger Revelle, of the new campus. York resigned as chancellor that year and was replaced by John Semple Galbraith. The undergraduate program accepted its first class of 181 freshman at Revelle College in 1964. Second College was founded in 1964, on the land deeded by the federal government, and named after environmentalist John Muir two years later. The University of California-San Diego School of Medicine also accepted its first students in 1966.

    Political theorist Herbert Marcuse joined the faculty in 1965. A champion of the New Left, he reportedly was the first protester to occupy the administration building in a demonstration organized by his student, political activist Angela Davis. The American Legion offered to buy out the remainder of Marcuse’s contract for $20,000; the Regents censured Chancellor William J. McGill for defending Marcuse on the basis of academic freedom, but further action was averted after local leaders expressed support for Marcuse. Further student unrest was felt at the university, as the United States increased its involvement in the Vietnam War during the mid-1960s, when a student raised a Viet Minh flag over the campus. Protests escalated as the war continued and were only exacerbated after the National Guard fired on student protesters at Kent State University in 1970. Over 200 students occupied Urey Hall, with one student setting himself on fire in protest of the war.

    Early research activity and faculty quality, notably in the sciences, was integral to shaping the focus and culture of the university. Even before The University of California-San Diego had its own campus, faculty recruits had already made significant research breakthroughs, such as the Keeling Curve, a graph that plots rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and was the first significant evidence for global climate change; the Kohn–Sham equations, used to investigate particular atoms and molecules in quantum chemistry; and the Miller–Urey experiment, which gave birth to the field of prebiotic chemistry.

    Engineering, particularly computer science, became an important part of the university’s academics as it matured. University researchers helped develop The University of California-San Diego Pascal, an early machine-independent programming language that later heavily influenced Java; the National Science Foundation Network, a precursor to the Internet; and the Network News Transfer Protocol during the late 1970s to 1980s. In economics, the methods for analyzing economic time series with time-varying volatility (ARCH), and with common trends (cointegration) were developed. The University of California-San Diego maintained its research intense character after its founding, racking up 25 Nobel Laureates affiliated within 50 years of history; a rate of five per decade.

    Under Richard C. Atkinson’s leadership as chancellor from 1980 to 1995, the university strengthened its ties with the city of San Diego by encouraging technology transfer with developing companies, transforming San Diego into a world leader in technology-based industries. He oversaw a rapid expansion of the School of Engineering, later renamed after Qualcomm founder Irwin M. Jacobs, with the construction of the San Diego Supercomputer Center and establishment of the computer science, electrical engineering, and bioengineering departments. Private donations increased from $15 million to nearly $50 million annually, faculty expanded by nearly 50%, and enrollment doubled to about 18,000 students during his administration. By the end of his chancellorship, the quality of The University of California-San Diego graduate programs was ranked 10th in the nation by the National Research Council.

    The university continued to undergo further expansion during the first decade of the new millennium with the establishment and construction of two new professional schools — the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Rady School of Management—and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, a research institute run jointly with University of California Irvine. The University of California-San Diego also reached two financial milestones during this time, becoming the first university in the western region to raise over $1 billion in its eight-year fundraising campaign in 2007 and also obtaining an additional $1 billion through research contracts and grants in a single fiscal year for the first time in 2010. Despite this, due to the California budget crisis, the university loaned $40 million against its own assets in 2009 to offset a significant reduction in state educational appropriations. The salary of Pradeep Khosla, who became chancellor in 2012, has been the subject of controversy amidst continued budget cuts and tuition increases.

    On November 27, 2017, the university announced it would leave its longtime athletic home of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, an NCAA Division II league, to begin a transition to Division I in 2020. At that time, it will join the Big West Conference, already home to four other UC campuses (Davis, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara). The transition period will run through the 2023–24 school year. The university prepares to transition to NCAA Division I competition on July 1, 2020.


    Applied Physics and Mathematics

    The Nature Index lists The University of California-San Diego as 6th in the United States for research output by article count in 2019. In 2017, The University of California-San Diego spent $1.13 billion on research, the 7th highest expenditure among academic institutions in the U.S. The university operates several organized research units, including the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS), the Center for Drug Discovery Innovation, and the Institute for Neural Computation. The University of California-San Diego also maintains close ties to the nearby Scripps Research Institute and Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In 1977, The University of California-San Diego developed and released The University of California-San Diego Pascal programming language. The university was designated as one of the original national Alzheimer’s disease research centers in 1984 by the National Institute on Aging. In 2018, The University of California-San Diego received $10.5 million from the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration to establish the Center for Matters under Extreme Pressure (CMEC).

    The university founded the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in 1985, which provides high performance computing for research in various scientific disciplines. In 2000, The University of California-San Diego partnered with The University of California-Irvine to create the Qualcomm Institute , which integrates research in photonics, nanotechnology, and wireless telecommunication to develop solutions to problems in energy, health, and the environment.

    The University of California-San Diego also operates the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, one of the largest centers of research in earth science in the world, which predates the university itself. Together, SDSC and SIO, along with funding partner universities California Institute of Technology, San Diego State University, and The University of California-Santa Barbara, manage the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network.

    University of California-Riverside Campus

    The University of California-Riverside is a public land-grant research university in Riverside, California. It is one of the 10 campuses of The University of California system. The main campus sits on 1,900 acres (769 ha) in a suburban district of Riverside with a branch campus of 20 acres (8 ha) in Palm Desert. In 1907, the predecessor to The University of California-Riverside was founded as the UC Citrus Experiment Station, Riverside which pioneered research in biological pest control and the use of growth regulators responsible for extending the citrus growing season in California from four to nine months. Some of the world’s most important research collections on citrus diversity and entomology, as well as science fiction and photography, are located at Riverside.

    The University of California-Riverside ‘s undergraduate College of Letters and Science opened in 1954. The Regents of the University of California declared The University of California-Riverside a general campus of the system in 1959, and graduate students were admitted in 1961. To accommodate an enrollment of 21,000 students by 2015, more than $730 million has been invested in new construction projects since 1999. Preliminary accreditation of the The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine was granted in October 2012 and the first class of 50 students was enrolled in August 2013. It is the first new research-based public medical school in 40 years.

    The University of California-Riverside is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity.” The 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings places UC-Riverside tied for 35th among top public universities and ranks 85th nationwide. Over 27 of The University of California-Riverside ‘s academic programs, including the Graduate School of Education and the Bourns College of Engineering, are highly ranked nationally based on peer assessment, student selectivity, financial resources, and other factors. Washington Monthly ranked The University of California-Riverside 2nd in the United States in terms of social mobility, research and community service, while U.S. News ranks The University of California-Riverside as the fifth most ethnically diverse and, by the number of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants (42 percent), the 15th most economically diverse student body in the nation. Over 70% of all The University of California-Riverside students graduate within six years without regard to economic disparity. The University of California-Riverside ‘s extensive outreach and retention programs have contributed to its reputation as a “university of choice” for minority students. In 2005, The University of California-Riverside became the first public university campus in the nation to offer a gender-neutral housing option. The University of California-Riverside’s sports teams are known as the Highlanders and play in the Big West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Their nickname was inspired by the high altitude of the campus, which lies on the foothills of Box Springs Mountain. The University of California-Riverside women’s basketball team won back-to-back Big West championships in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the men’s baseball team won its first conference championship and advanced to the regionals for the second time since the university moved to Division I in 2001.


    At the turn of the 20th century, Southern California was a major producer of citrus, the region’s primary agricultural export. The industry developed from the country’s first navel orange trees, planted in Riverside in 1873. Lobbied by the citrus industry, the University of California Regents established the UC Citrus Experiment Station (CES) on February 14, 1907, on 23 acres (9 ha) of land on the east slope of Mount Rubidoux in Riverside. The station conducted experiments in fertilization, irrigation and crop improvement. In 1917, the station was moved to a larger site, 475 acres (192 ha) near Box Springs Mountain.

    The 1944 passage of the GI Bill during World War II set in motion a rise in college enrollments that necessitated an expansion of the state university system in California. A local group of citrus growers and civic leaders, including many University of California-Berkeley alumni, lobbied aggressively for a University of California -administered liberal arts college next to the CES. State Senator Nelson S. Dilworth authored Senate Bill 512 (1949) which former Assemblyman Philip L. Boyd and Assemblyman John Babbage (both of Riverside) were instrumental in shepherding through the State Legislature. Governor Earl Warren signed the bill in 1949, allocating $2 million for initial campus construction.

    Gordon S. Watkins, dean of the College of Letters and Science at The University of California-Los Angeles, became the first provost of the new college at Riverside. Initially conceived of as a small college devoted to the liberal arts, he ordered the campus built for a maximum of 1,500 students and recruited many young junior faculty to fill teaching positions. He presided at its opening with 65 faculty and 127 students on February 14, 1954, remarking, “Never have so few been taught by so many.”

    The University of California-Riverside’s enrollment exceeded 1,000 students by the time Clark Kerr became president of the University of California system in 1958. Anticipating a “tidal wave” in enrollment growth required by the baby boom generation, Kerr developed the California Master Plan for Higher Education and the Regents designated Riverside a general university campus in 1959. The University of California-Riverside’s first chancellor, Herman Theodore Spieth, oversaw the beginnings of the school’s transition to a full university and its expansion to a capacity of 5,000 students. The University of California-Riverside’s second chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker led the campus through the era of the free speech movement and kept student protests peaceful in Riverside. According to a 1998 interview with Hinderaker, the city of Riverside received negative press coverage for smog after the mayor asked Governor Ronald Reagan to declare the South Coast Air Basin a disaster area in 1971; subsequent student enrollment declined by up to 25% through 1979. Hinderaker’s development of innovative programs in business administration and biomedical sciences created incentive for enough students to enroll at University of California-Riverside to keep the campus open.

    In the 1990s, The University of California-Riverside experienced a new surge of enrollment applications, now known as “Tidal Wave II”. The Regents targeted The University of California-Riverside for an annual growth rate of 6.3%, the fastest in The University of California system, and anticipated 19,900 students at The University of California-Riverside by 2010. By 1995, African American, American Indian, and Latino student enrollments accounted for 30% of The University of California-Riverside student body, the highest proportion of any University of California campus at the time. The 1997 implementation of Proposition 209—which banned the use of affirmative action by state agencies—reduced the ethnic diversity at the more selective UC campuses but further increased it at The University of California-Riverside.

    With The University of California-Riverside scheduled for dramatic population growth, efforts have been made to increase its popular and academic recognition. The students voted for a fee increase to move The University of California-Riverside athletics into NCAA Division I standing in 1998. In the 1990s, proposals were made to establish a law school, a medical school, and a school of public policy at The University of California-Riverside, with The University of California-Riverside School of Medicine and the School of Public Policy becoming reality in 2012. In June 2006, The University of California-Riverside received its largest gift, 15.5 million from two local couples, in trust towards building its medical school. The Regents formally approved The University of California-Riverside’s medical school proposal in 2006. Upon its completion in 2013, it was the first new medical school built in California in 40 years.


    As a campus of The University of California system, The University of California-Riverside is governed by a Board of Regents and administered by a president University of California-Riverside ‘s academic policies are set by its Academic Senate, a legislative body composed of all UC-Riverside faculty members.

    The University of California-Riverside is organized into three academic colleges, two professional schools, and two graduate schools. The University of California-Riverside’s liberal arts college, the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, was founded in 1954, and began accepting graduate students in 1960. The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, founded in 1960, incorporated the CES as part of the first research-oriented institution at The University of California-Riverside; it eventually also incorporated the natural science departments formerly associated with the liberal arts college to form its present structure in 1974. The University of California-Riverside ‘s newest academic unit, the Bourns College of Engineering, was founded in 1989. Comprising the professional schools are the Graduate School of Education, founded in 1968, and The University of California-Riverside School of Business, founded in 1970. These units collectively provide 81 majors and 52 minors, 48 master’s degree programs, and 42 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. The University of California-Riverside is the only UC campus to offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing and public policy and one of three UCs (along with The University of California-Berkeley and The University of California-Irvine) to offer an undergraduate degree in business administration. Through its Division of Biomedical Sciences, founded in 1974, The University of California-Riverside offers the Thomas Haider medical degree program in collaboration with The University of California-Los Angeles. The University of California-Riverside ‘s doctoral program in the emerging field of dance theory, founded in 1992, was the first program of its kind in the United States, and The University of California-Riverside ‘s minor in lesbian, gay and bisexual studies, established in 1996, was the first undergraduate program of its kind in the University of California system. A new BA program in bagpipes was inaugurated in 2007.

    Research and economic impact

    The University of California-Riverside operated under a $727 million budget in fiscal year 2014–15. The state government provided $214 million, student fees accounted for $224 million and $100 million came from contracts and grants. Private support and other sources accounted for the remaining $189 million. Overall, monies spent at The University of California-Riverside have an economic impact of nearly $1 billion in California. The University of California-Riverside research expenditure in FY 2018 totaled $167.8 million. Total research expenditures at The University of California-Riverside are significantly concentrated in agricultural science, accounting for 53% of total research expenditures spent by the university in 2002. Top research centers by expenditure, as measured in 2002, include the Agricultural Experiment Station; the Center for Environmental Research and Technology; the Center for Bibliographical Studies; the Air Pollution Research Center; and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

    Throughout The University of California-Riverside ‘s history, researchers have developed more than 40 new citrus varieties and invented new techniques to help the $960 million-a-year California citrus industry fight pests and diseases. In 1927, entomologists at the CES introduced two wasps from Australia as natural enemies of a major citrus pest, the citrophilus mealybug, saving growers in Orange County $1 million in annual losses. This event was pivotal in establishing biological control as a practical means of reducing pest populations. In 1963, plant physiologist Charles Coggins proved that application of gibberellic acid allows fruit to remain on citrus trees for extended periods. The ultimate result of his work, which continued through the 1980s, was the extension of the citrus-growing season in California from four to nine months. In 1980, The University of California-Riverside released the Oroblanco grapefruit, its first patented citrus variety. Since then, the citrus breeding program has released other varieties such as the Melogold grapefruit, the Gold Nugget mandarin (or tangerine), and others that have yet to be given trademark names.

    To assist entrepreneurs in developing new products, The University of California-Riverside is a primary partner in the Riverside Regional Technology Park, which includes the City of Riverside and the County of Riverside. It also administers six reserves of the University of California Natural Reserve System. UC-Riverside recently announced a partnership with China Agricultural University[中国农业大学](CN) to launch a new center in Beijing, which will study ways to respond to the country’s growing environmental issues. University of California-Riverside can also boast the birthplace of two-name reactions in organic chemistry, the Castro-Stephens coupling and the Midland Alpine Borane Reduction.

  • richardmitnick 9:50 am on September 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Carbon capture and storage, , Most methods for converting CO2 into fuel also produce unwanted [?] by-products such as hydrogen., Researchers have developed an efficient concept to turn carbon dioxide into clean sustainable fuels without any unwanted by-products or waste., Scientists demonstrated a new concept to capture carbon and make something useful from it in an energy-efficient way., The Cambridge-developed proof of concept relies on enzymes isolated from bacteria to power the chemical reactions which convert CO2 into fuel-a process called electrolysis., The team showed how two enzymes can work together-one producing fuel and the other controlling the environment., , Using the enzyme-based system the level of fuel production increased by 18 times compared to the current benchmark solution.   

    From The University of Cambridge (UK): “New nature-inspired concepts for turning CO2 into clean fuels” 

    U Cambridge bloc

    From The University of Cambridge (UK)

    2.28.22 [Brought forward 9.16.22]

    Computer-generated image of enzyme. Credit: Esther Edwardes Moore.


    Analysis of Good’s buffer species MES and MOPS. (A) Chemical structure of MES and MOPS zwitterions. (B) Graph demonstrating the theoretical change in ratio of each buffer species MES (blue) and MOPS (orange) with pH (protonated Good’s buffer shown as a dashed line and anion as a solid line).

    Researchers have developed an efficient concept to turn carbon dioxide into clean sustainable fuels without any unwanted by-products or waste.

    The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, have previously shown that biological catalysts, or enzymes, can produce fuels cleanly using renewable energy sources, but at low efficiency.

    Their latest research has improved fuel production efficiency by 18 times in a laboratory setting, demonstrating that polluting carbon emissions can be turned into green fuels efficiently without any wasted energy. The results are reported in two related papers in Nature Chemistry [below] and PNAS [below].

    Most methods for converting CO2 into fuel also produce unwanted [?] by-products such as hydrogen. Scientists can alter the chemical conditions to minimize hydrogen production, but this also reduces the performance for CO2 conversion: so cleaner fuel can be produced, but at the cost of efficiency.

    The Cambridge-developed proof of concept relies on enzymes isolated from bacteria to power the chemical reactions which convert CO2 into fuel-a process called electrolysis. Enzymes are more efficient than other catalysts, such as gold, but they are highly sensitive to their local chemical environment. If the local environment isn’t exactly right, the enzymes fall apart and the chemical reactions are slow.

    The Cambridge researchers, working with a team from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal, have developed a method to improve the efficiency of electrolysis by fine-tuning the solution conditions to alter the local environment of the enzymes.

    “Enzymes have evolved over millions of years to be extremely efficient and selective, and they’re great for fuel-production because there aren’t any unwanted by-products,” said Dr Esther Edwardes Moore from Cambridge’s Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, first author of the PNAS paper. “However, enzyme sensitivity throws up a different set of challenges. Our method accounts for this sensitivity, so that the local environment is adjusted to match the enzyme’s ideal working conditions.”

    The researchers used computational methods to design a system to improve the electrolysis of CO2. Using the enzyme-based system the level of fuel production increased by 18 times compared to the current benchmark solution.

    To improve the local environment further, the team showed how two enzymes can work together-one producing fuel and the other controlling the environment. They found that by adding another enzyme, it sped up the reactions, both increasing efficiency and reducing unwanted by-products.

    “We ended up with just the fuel we wanted, with no side-products and only marginal energy losses, producing clean fuels at maximum efficiency,” said Dr Sam Cobb, first author of the Nature Chemistry paper. “By taking our inspiration from biology, it will help us develop better synthetic catalyst systems, which is what we’ll need if we’re going to deploy CO2 electrolysis at a large scale.”

    “Electrolysis has a big part to play in reducing carbon emissions,” said Professor Erwin Reisner, who led the research. “Instead of capturing and storing CO2, which is incredibly energy-intensive, we have demonstrated a new concept to capture carbon and make something useful from it in an energy-efficient way.”

    The researchers say that the secret to more efficient CO2 electrolysis lies in the catalysts. There have been big improvements in the development of synthetic catalysts in recent years, but they still fall short of the enzymes used in this work.

    “Once you manage to make better catalysts, many of the problems with CO2 electrolysis just disappear,” said Cobb. “We’re showing the scientific community that once we can produce catalysts of the future, we’ll be able to do away with many of the compromises currently being made, since what we learn from enzymes can be transferred to synthetic catalysts.”

    “Once we designed the concept, the improvement in performance was startling,” said Edwardes Moore. “I was worried we’d spend years trying to understand what was going on at the molecular level, but once we truly appreciated the influence of the local environment, it evolved really quickly.”

    “In future we want to use what we have learned to tackle some challenging problems that the current state-of-the-art catalysts struggle with, such as using CO2 straight from air as these are conditions where the properties of enzymes as ideal catalysts can really shine,” said Cobb.

    Erwin Reisner is a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. Sam Cobb is a Research Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge. Esther Edwardes Moore completed her PhD with Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The research was supported in part by the European Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

    Science papers:
    Nature Chemistry

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Cambridge Campus

    The University of Cambridge (UK) [legally The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge] is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. It grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford (UK) after a dispute with townsfolk. The two ancient universities share many common features and are often jointly referred to as “Oxbridge”.

    Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 semi-autonomous constituent colleges and over 150 academic departments, faculties and other institutions organized into six schools. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. Cambridge does not have a main campus and its colleges and central facilities are scattered throughout the city. Undergraduate teaching at Cambridge is organized around weekly small-group supervisions in the colleges – a feature unique to the Oxbridge system. These are complemented by classes, lectures, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further supervisions provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally.

    Cambridge University Press a department of the university is the oldest university press in the world and currently the second largest university press in the world. Cambridge Assessment also a department of the university is one of the world’s leading examining bodies and provides assessment to over eight million learners globally every year. The university also operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as a botanic garden. Cambridge’s libraries – of which there are 116 – hold a total of around 16 million books, around nine million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library. The university is home to – but independent of – the Cambridge Union – the world’s oldest debating society. The university is closely linked to the development of the high-tech business cluster known as “Silicon Fe”. It is the central member of Cambridge University Health Partners, an academic health science centre based around the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

    By both endowment size and consolidated assets Cambridge is the wealthiest university in the United Kingdom. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2019, the central university – excluding colleges – had a total income of £2.192 billion of which £592.4 million was from research grants and contracts. At the end of the same financial year the central university and colleges together possessed a combined endowment of over £7.1 billion and overall consolidated net assets (excluding “immaterial” historical assets) of over £12.5 billion. It is a member of numerous associations and forms part of the ‘golden triangle’ of English universities.

    Cambridge has educated many notable alumni including eminent mathematicians; scientists; politicians; lawyers; philosophers; writers; actors; monarchs and other heads of state. As of October 2020, 121 Nobel laureates; 11 Fields Medalists; 7 Turing Award winners; and 14 British prime ministers have been affiliated with Cambridge as students; alumni; faculty or research staff. University alumni have won 194 Olympic medals.


    By the late 12th century, the Cambridge area already had a scholarly and ecclesiastical reputation due to monks from the nearby bishopric church of Ely. However, it was an incident at Oxford which is most likely to have led to the establishment of the university: three Oxford scholars were hanged by the town authorities for the death of a woman without consulting the ecclesiastical authorities who would normally take precedence (and pardon the scholars) in such a case; but were at that time in conflict with King John. Fearing more violence from the townsfolk scholars from the University of Oxford started to move away to cities such as Paris; Reading; and Cambridge. Subsequently enough scholars remained in Cambridge to form the nucleus of a new university when it had become safe enough for academia to resume at Oxford. In order to claim precedence, it is common for Cambridge to trace its founding to the 1231 charter from Henry III granting it the right to discipline its own members (ius non-trahi extra) and an exemption from some taxes; Oxford was not granted similar rights until 1248.

    A bull in 1233 from Pope Gregory IX gave graduates from Cambridge the right to teach “everywhere in Christendom”. After Cambridge was described as a studium generale in a letter from Pope Nicholas IV in 1290 and confirmed as such in a bull by Pope John XXII in 1318 it became common for researchers from other European medieval universities to visit Cambridge to study or to give lecture courses.

    Foundation of the colleges

    The colleges at the University of Cambridge were originally an incidental feature of the system. No college is as old as the university itself. The colleges were endowed fellowships of scholars. There were also institutions without endowments called hostels. The hostels were gradually absorbed by the colleges over the centuries; but they have left some traces, such as the name of Garret Hostel Lane.

    Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founded Peterhouse – Cambridge’s first college in 1284. Many colleges were founded during the 14th and 15th centuries but colleges continued to be established until modern times. There was a gap of 204 years between the founding of Sidney Sussex in 1596 and that of Downing in 1800. The most recently established college is Robinson built in the late 1970s. However, Homerton College only achieved full university college status in March 2010 making it the newest full college (it was previously an “Approved Society” affiliated with the university).

    In medieval times many colleges were founded so that their members would pray for the souls of the founders and were often associated with chapels or abbeys. The colleges’ focus changed in 1536 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Henry VIII ordered the university to disband its Faculty of Canon Law and to stop teaching “scholastic philosophy”. In response, colleges changed their curricula away from canon law and towards the classics; the Bible; and mathematics.

    Nearly a century later the university was at the centre of a Protestant schism. Many nobles, intellectuals and even commoners saw the ways of the Church of England as too similar to the Catholic Church and felt that it was used by the Crown to usurp the rightful powers of the counties. East Anglia was the centre of what became the Puritan movement. In Cambridge the movement was particularly strong at Emmanuel; St Catharine’s Hall; Sidney Sussex; and Christ’s College. They produced many “non-conformist” graduates who, greatly influenced by social position or preaching left for New England and especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Great Migration decade of the 1630s. Oliver Cromwell, Parliamentary commander during the English Civil War and head of the English Commonwealth (1649–1660), attended Sidney Sussex.

    Modern period

    After the Cambridge University Act formalized the organizational structure of the university the study of many new subjects was introduced e.g. theology, history and modern languages. Resources necessary for new courses in the arts architecture and archaeology were donated by Viscount Fitzwilliam of Trinity College who also founded the Fitzwilliam Museum. In 1847 Prince Albert was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge after a close contest with the Earl of Powis. Albert used his position as Chancellor to campaign successfully for reformed and more modern university curricula, expanding the subjects taught beyond the traditional mathematics and classics to include modern history and the natural sciences. Between 1896 and 1902 Downing College sold part of its land to build the Downing Site with new scientific laboratories for anatomy, genetics, and Earth sciences. During the same period the New Museums Site was erected including the Cavendish Laboratory which has since moved to the West Cambridge Site and other departments for chemistry and medicine.

    The University of Cambridge began to award PhD degrees in the first third of the 20th century. The first Cambridge PhD in mathematics was awarded in 1924.

    In the First World War 13,878 members of the university served and 2,470 were killed. Teaching and the fees it earned came almost to a stop and severe financial difficulties followed. As a consequence, the university first received systematic state support in 1919 and a Royal Commission appointed in 1920 recommended that the university (but not the colleges) should receive an annual grant. Following the Second World War the university saw a rapid expansion of student numbers and available places; this was partly due to the success and popularity gained by many Cambridge scientists.

  • richardmitnick 1:50 pm on September 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "FECM": The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management now renamed "The Office of Resource Sustainability", , "The US agency in charge of developing fossil fuels has a new job:: cleaning them up", , Carbon capture and storage, , , FECM’s efforts will be turbocharged by a series of recent federal laws including the Inflation Reduction Act which significantly boosts tax subsidies for carbon capture removal and storage., US President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for the nation to eliminate carbon pollution from the electricity sector by 2035 and achieve net-zero emissions across the economy by 2050.   

    From “The MIT Technology Review” : “The US agency in charge of developing fossil fuels has a new job:: cleaning them up” 

    From “The MIT Technology Review”

    James Temple

    The Department of Energy-supported Petro Nova project in Texas was the world’s largest coal plant equipped with carbon dioxide capture equipment. It prevented millions of tons of emissions, but was shuttered in 2020.NRG.

    In his first month in office, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for the nation to eliminate carbon pollution from the electricity sector by 2035 and achieve net-zero emissions across the economy by 2050.

    That move redefined the mandate of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, the research agency whose mission has been to develop more effective ways of producing fossil fuels for almost half a century.

    Now it’s responsible for helping to clean up the industry.

    In July the agency, which has about 600 employees and a roughly $900 million budget, added “and Carbon Management” to its name, signaling a major part of its new mission: to help develop the technology and build an industry that can prevent the release of carbon dioxide from power plants and factories, suck it out of the air, transport it, and permanently store it.

    The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) continues to operate a research division focused on the production of oil, gas, and coal. But it’s now named The Office of Resource Sustainability and its central task is minimizing the impacts from the production of those fossil fuels, says Jennifer Wilcox, a carbon removal researcher, who joined the office at the start of the Biden administration. She now serves as principal deputy assistant secretary of FECM, overseeing both research and development divisions along with Brad Crabtree, the assistant secretary of the office.

    FECM’s efforts will be turbocharged by a series of recent federal laws including the Inflation Reduction Act which significantly boosts tax subsidies for carbon capture removal and storage. The CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law in August, authorizes (but doesn’t actually appropriate) $1 billion for carbon removal research and development at FECM. But most notably, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Biden enacted in late 2021 will direct some $12 billion into carbon capture and removal, including pipelines and storage facilities.

    The FECM will play a key role in determining where much of the money goes.

    Following the passage of the infrastructure law, the Department of Energy announced a $2.5 billion investment to accelerate and validate ways of safely storing carbon dioxide in underground formations, as well as $3.5 billion in funding for pilot and demonstration projects aimed at preventing nearly all carbon emissions from fossil-fuel power plants and industrial facilities, such as those producing cement, pulp and paper, and iron and steel. It has also moved ahead with a $3.5 billion program to develop four regional hubs for direct-air-capture projects, an effort to develop factories that can suck at least 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year.

    Last week, I spoke with Wilcox and Noah Deich, deputy assistant secretary for carbon management within FECM, about the new direction at the Department of Energy, where the billions of dollars will be put to work, and how they’re striving to address concerns about carbon capture and the ongoing harms from fossil fuels.

    Wilcox and Deich face a tricky balancing act.

    Many environmentalists, social justice advocates, and those in the climate community fear that government subsidies, funding and support for carbon capture will extend the life of fossil-fuel plants, slow the shift to carbon-free energy sources, and grant a social license for ongoing extraction of oil and gas. In addition, a number of carbon capture projects that the Department of Energy heavily funded in the past subsequently shut down.

    But the country still relies heavily on gas and coal plants. By funding and supporting pilot and demonstration projects, Wilcox and Deich stress, FECM is striving to reduce the risks and costs of carbon capture tools that could dramatically slash the nation’s emissions and reduce rising climate dangers. The hope is that this, in turn, will get more of the private sector to take on such projects on its own. In addition, they note that the investments FECM makes across the organization will all come with rigorous requirements, including environment justice commitments laid out in an earlier document.

    Wilcox says parts of the criticism are correct: carbon capture and storage at natural-gas plants “is enabling more gas production.”

    “But we don’t have a choice,” she adds. “It needs to be a part of our tool kit, and we need to invest today in order for us to even have the option.”

    That’s because, despite the growth of clean alternatives like solar and wind, there’s a huge existing fleet of natural-gas and coal plants across the nation, many relatively new.

    “The reality is, if we don’t invest in this solution, there’s going to be power plants that will continue to emit,” she says.

    She adds that carbon capture is also crucial for cleaning up many industrial processes, which rely on heat from fossil-fuel-driven furnaces and where carbon dioxide is often a byproduct of production, as in cement and steel. Here too, it’s the only way to retrofit expensive industrial plants and factories already in place.

    Wilcox notes there are 91 cement plants pumping out about 70 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, many with newer generation kilns, and all delivering a product of a specific quality that’s crucial to their customers and the safety of the structures made from it.

    Adding carbon capture equipment to those facilities is critical.

    “This is a solution that provides minimal barriers for adoption for the industry,” she says. “It’s a retrofit to an existing facility that they’ve already invested in.”

    There are emerging alternative ways of producing steel, cement, and other industrial products that may allow these sectors to address emissions directly. Deich says we need to invest in and support those solutions, but he notes it could take decades to develop them, test them, and scale them up.

    “We don’t have the time to wait when we have carbon management solutions that we think can be deployed within the next few years in a technically, economically, and socially responsible way,” he says.

    Adding carbon capture equipment to facilities is just one aspect of the job. Wilcox and her team are also focused on removing carbon already in the atmosphere. There are criticisms of this concept too, including fears that it creates a moral hazard, inviting governments and companies to lean on it at the expense of cutting emissions.

    Wilcox, however, says that carbon removal will be a critical tool for balancing out emissions from sectors of the economy that are really difficult to decarbonize, like aviation, maritime shipping, and agriculture. Numerous studies also find that the world may need to remove billions of tons per year by around midcentury to prevent the planet from heating more than 2 ˚C beyond preindustrial levels, or to pull it back from that threshold.

    FECM is working toward Biden’s climate goals in several other ways as well, including supporting the development of clean forms of hydrogen, tools to monitor methane emissions, and more sustainable ways of extracting the critical minerals that will be essential for the transition to clean energy.

    Social justice concerns

    Burning fossil fuels produces various pollutants beside carbon dioxide that can harm human health. These disproportionately affect the poor communities that often surround power plants and other industrial facilities, raising social justice concerns.

    Wilcox notes that both natural-gas plants and cement plants will actually need to implement additional processes to reduce some pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, as a first step for the carbon capture technology to work effectively. She adds that project applicants will also need to monitor these and other pollutants.

    Deich says that the funding opportunities will also require companies to engage with communities, commit to develop local workforces, and assess climate emissions across their technologies’ life cycles and supply chains. They’ll also be expected to identify and address potential harms from the projects, ensure that benefits are distributed in equitable ways, and be willing to walk away if communities reject projects.

    “We’re going to make sure that these projects only go in places where communities are not pushing against them,” he says.

    By supporting projects that take these issues seriously and demonstrate that the technology can dramatically cut emissions, they hope to shift the conversation on carbon capture and dispel the blanket rejection of it in some circles, he says.

    Another big open question is the extent to which the power sector, oil and gas companies, and heavy industry will want to move ahead with such expensive projects, given the costs, risks, and lack of policy mandates.

    Wilcox responded that they already are, pointing to projects that FECM has already funded over the last two years, which include design studies for retrofitting several cement plants. There are also dozens of planned US carbon capture projects listed in the database maintained by the Global CCS Institute, including natural-gas and ethanol facilities.

    Deich says companies are already feeling growing pressure from customers who want to cut emissions across their supply chains, and that they see where the business and regulatory trend lines are pointing. Those that hope to be in business in 2050 are beginning to take steps now.

    “The people who move first will gain first-mover advantages. They will have the technical and human capital to be able to build these projects, cheaper, faster, more effectively,” he says. “In the long run, it’s a smart bet.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The mission of “The MIT Technology Review” is to equip its audiences with the intelligence to understand a world shaped by technology.

  • richardmitnick 8:11 pm on August 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Diamonds and rust at the Earth's core-mantle boundary", , Carbon capture and storage, Diamond formation at the core-mantle boundary might have been going on for billions of years since the initiation of subduction on the planet., , , Scientists have found that much more carbon exists in the mantle than expected., Steel rusts by water and air on the Earth’s surface. But what about deep inside the Earth’s interior?, , The carbon escaping from the liquid outer core would become diamond when it enters into the mantle., The Earth’s core is the largest carbon storage on Earth – roughly 90% is buried there., The new study shows that carbon leaking from the core into the mantle by this diamond formation process may supply enough carbon to explain the elevated carbon amounts in the mantle., The scientists found that for the conditions of the core-mantle boundary unlike rusting at Earth’s surface carbon comes out of the liquid iron metal alloy and forms diamond., The temperature at the core-mantle boundary is at least twice as hot as lava.   

    From The Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration : “Diamonds and rust at the Earth’s core-mantle boundary” 

    From The Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration


    Andrea Chatwood
    Communications Specialist
    The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    The iron-carbon alloy reacted with water at high pressure and high temperature conditions related to the Earth’s deep mantle in a diamond-anvil cell.

    Steel rusts by water and air on the Earth’s surface. But what about deep inside the Earth’s interior?

    The Earth’s core is the largest carbon storage on Earth – roughly 90% is buried there. Scientists have shown that the oceanic crust that sits on top of tectonic plates and falls into the interior (in a process called subduction) contains hydrous minerals, and can sometimes descend all the way to the core-mantle boundary.

    The temperature at the core-mantle boundary is at least twice as hot as lava, and high enough that water can be released from the hydrous minerals. Therefore, a chemical reaction similar to rusting steel could occur at Earth’s core-mantle boundary.

    Byeongkwan Ko, a recent Arizona State University PhD graduate, and his collaborators have been conducting experiments at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, where they compressed iron-carbon alloy and water together to the pressure and temperature expected for Earth’s core-mantle boundary, melting the iron-carbon alloy.

    The team found that water and metal react and make iron oxides and iron hydroxides, just like rusting at Earth’s surface. However, they found that for the conditions of the core-mantle boundary unlike rusting at Earth’s surface carbon comes out of the liquid iron metal alloy and forms diamond.

    Ko and his team published their findings in a paper in Geophysical Research Letters [below].

    “Temperature at the boundary between the silicate mantle and the metallic core at 3,000 km depth reaches to (about 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit), which is sufficiently high for most minerals to lose H2O captured in their atomic-scale structures,” says Dan Shim, a professor at The Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and a co-author on the paper. “In fact, the temperature is high enough that some minerals should melt at such conditions.”

    Because carbon is an iron-loving element, significant carbon is expected to exist in the core, while the mantle is thought to have relatively low carbon. However, scientists have found that much more carbon exists in the mantle than expected.

    “At the pressures expected for the Earth’s core-mantle boundary, hydrogen alloying with iron metal liquid appears to reduce solubility of other light elements in the core. Therefore, solubility of carbon, which likely exists in the Earth’s core, decreases locally where hydrogen enters into the core from the mantle (through dehydration),” Shim says. “The stable form of carbon at the pressure-temperature conditions of the Earth’s core-mantle boundary is diamond. So the carbon escaping from the liquid outer core would become diamond when it enters into the mantle.”

    “Carbon is an essential element for life and plays an important role in many geological processes. The new discovery of a carbon transfer mechanism from the core to the mantle will shed light on the understanding of the carbon cycle in the Earth’s deep interior,” Ko says. “This is even more exciting given that the diamond formation at the core-mantle boundary might have been going on for billions of years since the initiation of subduction on the planet.”

    Ko’s new study shows that carbon leaking from the core into the mantle by this diamond formation process may supply enough carbon to explain the elevated carbon amounts in the mantle. Ko and his collaborators also predicted that diamond-rich structures can exist at the core-mantle boundary and that seismic studies might detect the structures because seismic waves should travel unusually fast for the structures.

    “The reason that seismic waves should propagate exceptionally fast through diamond-rich structures at the core-mantle boundary is because diamond is extremely incompressible and less dense than other materials at the core-mantle boundary,” Shim says.

    Ko and his team will continue investigating how the reaction can also change the concentration of the other light elements in the core, such as silicon, sulfur and oxygen, and how such changes can impact the mineralogy of the deep mantle.

    Science paper:
    Geophysical Research Letters

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Explore the universe using science and engineering
    The School of Earth and Space Exploration takes a new approach to education and research and the exploration of our universe.

    The Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration campus
    Science and engineering — essential for developing new instruments to explore Earth and space — are the foundation of our programs, which also emphasize the role of technology in advancing scientific knowledge.

    And we believe strongly in the power of cross-disciplinary collaboration. That’s why we bring together scientists from a variety of disciplines within SESE — and collaborate closely with other science and engineering programs at the university — to gain a better understanding of our Earth and the universe beyond.

    We invite you to learn more about our exciting research and groundbreaking projects.

    The Arizona State University Tempe Campus

    The Arizona State University is a public research university in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Founded in 1885 by the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature, ASU is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the U.S.

    One of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents, The Arizona State University is a member of the Universities Research Association and classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity.” The Arizona State University has nearly 150,000 students attending classes, with more than 38,000 students attending online, and 90,000 undergraduates and more nearly 20,000 postgraduates across its five campuses and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona. The Arizona State University offers 350 degree options from its 17 colleges and more than 170 cross-discipline centers and institutes for undergraduates students, as well as more than 400 graduate degree and certificate programs. The Arizona State Sun Devils compete in 26 varsity-level sports in the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference and is home to over 1,100 registered student organizations.

    The Arizona State University ‘s charter, approved by the board of regents in 2014, is based on the New American University model created by The Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow upon his appointment as the institution’s 16th president in 2002. It defines The Arizona State University as “a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom it excludes, but rather by whom it includes and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.” The model is widely credited with boosting The Arizona State University ‘s acceptance rate and increasing class size.

    The university’s faculty of more than 4,700 scholars has included 5 Nobel laureates, 6 Pulitzer Prize winners, 4 MacArthur Fellows, and 19 National Academy of Sciences members. Additionally, among the faculty are 180 Fulbright Program American Scholars, 72 National Endowment for the Humanities fellows, 38 American Council of Learned Societies fellows, 36 members of the Guggenheim Fellowship, 21 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 3 members of National Academy of Inventors, 9 National Academy of Engineering members and 3 National Academy of Medicine members. The National Academies has bestowed “highly prestigious” recognition on 227 Arizona State University faculty members.

    The Arizona State University was established as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe on March 12, 1885, when the 13th Arizona Territorial Legislature passed an act to create a normal school to train teachers for the Arizona Territory. The campus consisted of a single, four-room schoolhouse on a 20-acre plot largely donated by Tempe residents George and Martha Wilson. Classes began with 33 students on February 8, 1886. The curriculum evolved over the years and the name was changed several times; the institution was also known as Tempe Normal School of Arizona (1889–1903), Tempe Normal School (1903–1925), Tempe State Teachers College (1925–1929), Arizona State Teachers College (1929–1945), Arizona State College (1945–1958) and, by a 2–1 margin of the state’s voters, The Arizona State University in 1958.

    In 1923, the school stopped offering high school courses and added a high school diploma to the admissions requirements. In 1925, the school became the Tempe State Teachers College and offered four-year Bachelor of Education degrees as well as two-year teaching certificates. In 1929, the 9th Arizona State Legislature authorized Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees as well, and the school was renamed The Arizona State Teachers College. Under the 30-year tenure of president Arthur John Matthews (1900–1930), the school was given all-college student status. The first dormitories built in the state were constructed under his supervision in 1902. Of the 18 buildings constructed while Matthews was president, six are still in use. Matthews envisioned an “evergreen campus,” with many shrubs brought to the campus, and implemented the planting of 110 Mexican Fan Palms on what is now known as Palm Walk, a century-old landmark of the Tempe campus.

    During the Great Depression, Ralph Waldo Swetman was hired to succeed President Matthews, coming to The Arizona State Teachers College in 1930 from The Humboldt State Teachers College where he had served as president. He served a three-year term, during which he focused on improving teacher-training programs. During his tenure, enrollment at the college doubled, topping the 1,000 mark for the first time. Matthews also conceived of a self-supported summer session at the school at The Arizona State Teachers College, a first for the school.


    In 1933, Grady Gammage, then president of The Arizona State Teachers College at Flagstaff, became president of The Arizona State Teachers College at Tempe, beginning a tenure that would last for nearly 28 years, second only to Swetman’s 30 years at the college’s helm. Like President Arthur John Matthews before him, Gammage oversaw the construction of several buildings on the Tempe campus. He also guided the development of the university’s graduate programs; the first Master of Arts in Education was awarded in 1938, the first Doctor of Education degree in 1954 and 10 non-teaching master’s degrees were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1956. During his presidency, the school’s name was changed to Arizona State College in 1945, and finally to The Arizona State University in 1958. At the time, two other names were considered: Tempe University and State University at Tempe. Among Gammage’s greatest achievements in Tempe was the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed construction of what is Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium/ASU Gammage. One of the university’s hallmark buildings, Arizona State University Gammage was completed in 1964, five years after the president’s (and Wright’s) death.

    Gammage was succeeded by Harold D. Richardson, who had served the school earlier in a variety of roles beginning in 1939, including director of graduate studies, college registrar, dean of instruction, dean of the College of Education and academic vice president. Although filling the role of acting president of the university for just nine months (Dec. 1959 to Sept. 1960), Richardson laid the groundwork for the future recruitment and appointment of well-credentialed research science faculty.

    By the 1960s, under G. Homer Durham, the university’s 11th president, The Arizona State University began to expand its curriculum by establishing several new colleges and, in 1961, the Arizona Board of Regents authorized doctoral degree programs in six fields, including Doctor of Philosophy. By the end of his nine-year tenure, The Arizona State University had more than doubled enrollment, reporting 23,000 in 1969.

    The next three presidents—Harry K. Newburn (1969–71), John W. Schwada (1971–81) and J. Russell Nelson (1981–89), including and Interim President Richard Peck (1989), led the university to increased academic stature, the establishment of The Arizona State University West campus in 1984 and its subsequent construction in 1986, a focus on computer-assisted learning and research, and rising enrollment.


    Under the leadership of Lattie F. Coor, president from 1990 to 2002, The Arizona State University grew through the creation of the Polytechnic campus and extended education sites. Increased commitment to diversity, quality in undergraduate education, research, and economic development occurred over his 12-year tenure. Part of Coor’s legacy to the university was a successful fundraising campaign: through private donations, more than $500 million was invested in areas that would significantly impact the future of The Arizona State University. Among the campaign’s achievements were the naming and endowing of Barrett, The Honors College, and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; the creation of many new endowed faculty positions; and hundreds of new scholarships and fellowships.

    In 2002, Michael M. Crow became the university’s 16th president. At his inauguration, he outlined his vision for transforming The Arizona State University into a “New American University”—one that would be open and inclusive, and set a goal for the university to meet Association of American Universities criteria and to become a member. Crow initiated the idea of transforming The Arizona State University into “One university in many places”—a single institution comprising several campuses, sharing students, faculty, staff and accreditation. Subsequent reorganizations combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced staff and administration as the university expanded its West and Polytechnic campuses. The Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus was also expanded, with several colleges and schools relocating there. The university established learning centers throughout the state, including The Arizona State University Colleges at Lake Havasu City and programs in Thatcher, Yuma, and Tucson. Students at these centers can choose from several Arizona State University degree and certificate programs.

    During Crow’s tenure, and aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, The Arizona State University began a years-long research facility capital building effort that led to the establishment of the Biodesign Institute at The Arizona State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and several large interdisciplinary research buildings. Along with the research facilities, the university faculty was expanded, including the addition of five Nobel Laureates. Since 2002, the university’s research expenditures have tripled and more than 1.5 million square feet of space has been added to the university’s research facilities.

    The economic downturn that began in 2008 took a particularly hard toll on Arizona, resulting in large cuts to The Arizona State University ‘s budget. In response to these cuts, The Arizona State University capped enrollment, closed some four dozen academic programs, combined academic departments, consolidated colleges and schools, and reduced university faculty, staff and administrators; however, with an economic recovery underway in 2011, the university continued its campaign to expand the West and Polytechnic Campuses, and establish a low-cost, teaching-focused extension campus in Lake Havasu City.

    As of 2011, an article in Slate reported that, “the bottom line looks good,” noting that:

    “Since Crow’s arrival, The Arizona State University’s research funding has almost tripled to nearly $350 million. Degree production has increased by 45 percent. And thanks to an ambitious aid program, enrollment of students from Arizona families below poverty is up 647 percent.”

    In 2015, the Thunderbird School of Global Management became the fifth Arizona State University campus, as the Thunderbird School of Global Management at The Arizona State University. Partnerships for education and research with Mayo Clinic established collaborative degree programs in health care and law, and shared administrator positions, laboratories and classes at the Mayo Clinic Arizona campus.

    The Beus Center for Law and Society, the new home of The Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, opened in fall 2016 on the Downtown Phoenix campus, relocating faculty and students from the Tempe campus to the state capital.

    • richardmitnick 11:30 pm on September 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply

      On 9.15.22, 190 people viewed this 8.31.22 post and not one person left a comment. I wonder why that is.


  • richardmitnick 9:56 am on August 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Direct air capture" is important because humanity has already profoundly altered Earth’s atmosphere., "To Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere Imagine the Possibilities", , Carbon capture and storage, Computer simulation methods from NIST help speed up the search for carbon capture materials., , NIST scientists have set out to discover new materials that can draw planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere-a technique called “direct air capture.”, Once CO2 is captured it can be used to manufacture plastics and carbon fibers or combined with hydrogen to produce synthetic fuels., One third of all the CO2 in the air got there as a result of human activity., , Porous crystalline materials show particular promise for capturing CO2.,   

    From The National Institute of Standards and Technology: “To Remove CO2 From the Atmosphere Imagine the Possibilities” 

    From The National Institute of Standards and Technology


    Media Contact

    Rich Press
    (301) 975-0501

    Computer simulation methods from NIST help speed up the search for carbon capture materials.

    A rendering from a computer simulation of a porous crystalline material called Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework-8, or ZIF-8. Credit: NIST.

    A conceptual illustration of a porous crystalline material. The red spheres represent voids where CO2 might collect.
    Credit: NIST.

    A rendering of the ZIF-8 material with voids represented as yellow spheres. Credit: NIST.

    In an effort to reduce the risks from climate change, NIST scientists have set out to discover new materials that can draw planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere-a technique called “direct air capture.”

    Direct air capture materials already exist, but they either cost too much money or consume too much energy to be deployed on a global scale. NIST scientists are using computer simulations to rapidly screen hypothetical materials that have never been synthesized but that might have just the right physical properties to make this technology scalable.

    “The traditional way of screening materials is to synthesize them, then test them in the lab, but that is very slow going,” said NIST chemical engineer Vincent Shen. “Computer simulations speed up the discovery process immensely.”

    Shen and his colleagues are also developing new computational methods that will accelerate the search even more.

    “Our goal is to develop more efficient modeling methods that extract as much information out of a simulation as possible,” Shen said. “By sharing those methods, we hope to speed up the computational discovery process for all researchers who work in this field.”

    “Direct air capture” is important because humanity has already profoundly altered Earth’s atmosphere — one third of all the CO2 in the air got there as a result of human activity. “Carbon capture is a way to reverse some of those emissions and help the economy become carbon neutral more quickly,” said NIST chemist Pamela Chu, who leads the agency’s recently launched carbon capture initiative.

    Once CO2 is captured it can be used to manufacture plastics and carbon fibers or combined with hydrogen to produce synthetic fuels. These uses require energy but can be carbon neutral if powered by renewables. Where renewable energy isn’t available, the CO2 can be injected into deep geological formations with the goal of keeping it trapped underground.

    NIST scientists use computer simulations that calculate a potential capture material’s affinity for CO2 relative to other gases in the atmosphere. That allows them to predict how well the capture material will perform. The simulations also generate images that show how carbon capture works on a molecular scale.

    Porous crystalline materials show particular promise for capturing CO2. These materials are made up of atoms arranged in a repeating three-dimensional pattern that leaves voids between them. In this conceptual illustration, the gray bars represent a crystalline material, and the red spheres are the voids.

    Electrons are distributed unevenly within the crystal structure, creating an electric field that is attractive in some places and repulsive in others. The contours of that field depend on the types of atoms in the crystal and their geometrical arrangement. If all the forces line up just right, CO2 molecules will be drawn into the voids of the crystal by electrostatic attraction.

    Porous crystalline materials can be synthesized with various types of atoms, and the atoms can be configured into many different geometries. The permutations are virtually endless. Computer simulations allow scientists to explore that vast universe of possibilities.

    “We can imagine materials that have never existed and predict how they would perform,” said NIST chemical engineer Daniel Siderius.

    The computer simulations combine the rules of physics with statistical methods to predict which direction CO2 molecules would move when they come into contact with a capture material — whether they would be drawn into the voids, diffuse out into the surrounding air, or just bounce around randomly in a state of equilibrium.

    Most simulation methods predict the behavior of a system at a specified temperature, pressure and density. But modeling methods from NIST allow researchers to extrapolate that data to different conditions.

    “Say you’ve estimated the behavior at one temperature, but you want to know what would happen at a different temperature. Typically, you would have to run a new simulation,” Siderius said. “With our tools, you can extrapolate to different temperatures without having to run a new simulation. That can save a lot of computing time.”

    Currently, the best-performing process for industrial-scale carbon capture works by bubbling air through a chemical solution. But capturing the CO2 is only half the process. It then has to be removed from the solution so it can be stored and so the solution can be used again. This requires heating the solution to a high temperature, which takes a lot of energy.

    The NIST researchers hope to find a material that will extract CO2 from the atmosphere at normal temperatures and pressures but release it in response to relatively small changes in heat or pressure. The ideal process will be low cost, both financially and energy-wise, and not produce toxic end products.

    “We haven’t hit on the ideal materials yet,” Siderius said, speaking of the wider community of scientists who are working on this problem. “But there are a lot of potential materials out there, and new simulation methods can help us find them more quickly.”

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NIST Campus, Gaitherberg, MD.

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology‘s Mission, Vision, Core Competencies, and Core Values


    To promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

    NIST’s vision

    NIST will be the world’s leader in creating critical measurement solutions and promoting equitable standards. Our efforts stimulate innovation, foster industrial competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.

    NIST’s core competencies

    Measurement science
    Rigorous traceability
    Development and use of standards

    NIST’s core values

    NIST is an organization with strong values, reflected both in our history and our current work. NIST leadership and staff will uphold these values to ensure a high performing environment that is safe and respectful of all.

    Perseverance: We take the long view, planning the future with scientific knowledge and imagination to ensure continued impact and relevance for our stakeholders.
    Integrity: We are ethical, honest, independent, and provide an objective perspective.
    Inclusivity: We work collaboratively to harness the diversity of people and ideas, both inside and outside of NIST, to attain the best solutions to multidisciplinary challenges.
    Excellence: We apply rigor and critical thinking to achieve world-class results and continuous improvement in everything we do.


    The Articles of Confederation, ratified by the colonies in 1781, contained the clause, “The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective states—fixing the standards of weights and measures throughout the United States”. Article 1, section 8, of the Constitution of the United States (1789), transferred this power to Congress; “The Congress shall have power…To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures”.

    In January 1790, President George Washington, in his first annual message to Congress stated that, “Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to”, and ordered Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to prepare a plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States, afterwards referred to as the Jefferson report. On October 25, 1791, Washington appealed a third time to Congress, “A uniformity of the weights and measures of the country is among the important objects submitted to you by the Constitution and if it can be derived from a standard at once invariable and universal, must be no less honorable to the public council than conducive to the public convenience”, but it was not until 1838, that a uniform set of standards was worked out. In 1821, John Quincy Adams had declared “Weights and measures may be ranked among the necessities of life to every individual of human society”.

    From 1830 until 1901, the role of overseeing weights and measures was carried out by the Office of Standard Weights and Measures, which was part of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the Department of the Treasury.

    Bureau of Standards

    In 1901 in response to a bill proposed by Congressman James H. Southard (R- Ohio) the National Bureau of Standards was founded with the mandate to provide standard weights and measures and to serve as the national physical laboratory for the United States. (Southard had previously sponsored a bill for metric conversion of the United States.)

    President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Samuel W. Stratton as the first director. The budget for the first year of operation was $40,000. The Bureau took custody of the copies of the kilogram and meter bars that were the standards for US measures, and set up a program to provide metrology services for United States scientific and commercial users. A laboratory site was constructed in Washington DC (US) and instruments were acquired from the national physical laboratories of Europe. In addition to weights and measures the Bureau developed instruments for electrical units and for measurement of light. In 1905 a meeting was called that would be the first National Conference on Weights and Measures.

    Initially conceived as purely a metrology agency the Bureau of Standards was directed by Herbert Hoover to set up divisions to develop commercial standards for materials and products. Some of these standards were for products intended for government use; but product standards also affected private-sector consumption. Quality standards were developed for products including some types of clothing; automobile brake systems and headlamps; antifreeze; and electrical safety. During World War I, the Bureau worked on multiple problems related to war production even operating its own facility to produce optical glass when European supplies were cut off. Between the wars Harry Diamond of the Bureau developed a blind approach radio aircraft landing system. During World War II military research and development was carried out including development of radio propagation forecast methods; the proximity fuze and the standardized airframe used originally for Project Pigeon; and shortly afterwards the autonomously radar-guided Bat anti-ship guided bomb and the Kingfisher family of torpedo-carrying missiles.

    In 1948, financed by the United States Air Force the Bureau began design and construction of SEAC: the Standards Eastern Automatic Computer.

    The computer went into operation in May 1950 using a combination of vacuum tubes and solid-state diode logic. About the same time the Standards Western Automatic Computer, was built at the Los Angeles office of the NBS by Harry Huskey and used for research there. A mobile version- DYSEAC- was built for the Signal Corps in 1954.

    Due to a changing mission, the “National Bureau of Standards” became the “ The National Institute of Standards and Technology” in 1988.

    Following September 11, 2001, NIST conducted the official investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings.


    NIST is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates a facility in Boulder, Colorado, which was dedicated by President Eisenhower in 1954. NIST’s activities are organized into laboratory programs and extramural programs. Effective October 1, 2010, NIST was realigned by reducing the number of NIST laboratory units from ten to six. NIST Laboratories include:

    Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL)
    Engineering Laboratory (EL)
    Information Technology Laboratory (ITL)
    Center for Neutron Research (NCNR)
    Material Measurement Laboratory (MML)
    Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)

    Extramural programs include:

    Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a nationwide network of centers to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers to create and retain jobs, improve efficiencies, and minimize waste through process improvements and to increase market penetration with innovation and growth strategies;
    Technology Innovation Program (TIP), a grant program where NIST and industry partners cost share the early-stage development of innovative but high-risk technologies;
    Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which administers the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest award for performance and business excellence.

    NIST’s Boulder laboratories are best known for NIST‑F1 which houses an atomic clock.

    NIST‑F1 serves as the source of the nation’s official time. From its measurement of the natural resonance frequency of cesium—which defines the second—NIST broadcasts time signals via longwave radio station WWVB near Fort Collins in Colorado, and shortwave radio stations WWV and WWVH, located near Fort Collins and Kekaha in Hawai’i, respectively.

    NIST also operates a neutron science user facility: the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR).

    The NCNR provides scientists access to a variety of neutron scattering instruments which they use in many research fields (materials science; fuel cells; biotechnology etc.).

    The SURF III Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility is a source of synchrotron radiation in continuous operation since 1961.

    SURF III now serves as the US national standard for source-based radiometry throughout the generalized optical spectrum. All NASA-borne extreme-ultraviolet observation instruments have been calibrated at SURF since the 1970s, and SURF is used for measurement and characterization of systems for extreme ultraviolet lithography.

    The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology performs research in nanotechnology, both through internal research efforts and by running a user-accessible cleanroom nanomanufacturing facility.

    This “NanoFab” is equipped with tools for lithographic patterning and imaging (e.g., electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes).


    NIST has seven standing committees:

    Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC)
    Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR)
    National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee (NCST Advisory Committee)
    Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB)
    Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT)
    Board of Overseers for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA Board of Overseers)
    Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Advisory Board (MEPNAB)

    Measurements and standards

    As part of its mission, NIST supplies industry, academia, government, and other users with over 1,300 Standard Reference Materials (SRMs). These artifacts are certified as having specific characteristics or component content, used as calibration standards for measuring equipment and procedures, quality control benchmarks for industrial processes, and experimental control samples.

    Handbook 44

    NIST publishes the Handbook 44 each year after the annual meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM). Each edition is developed through cooperation of the Committee on Specifications and Tolerances of the NCWM and the Weights and Measures Division (WMD) of the NIST. The purpose of the book is a partial fulfillment of the statutory responsibility for “cooperation with the states in securing uniformity of weights and measures laws and methods of inspection”.

    NIST has been publishing various forms of what is now the Handbook 44 since 1918 and began publication under the current name in 1949. The 2010 edition conforms to the concept of the primary use of the SI (metric) measurements recommended by the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.

  • richardmitnick 11:01 pm on August 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Biological carbon pump removes carbon from the atmosphere., Carbon capture and storage, , , Our oceans are teeming with life and death. When life dies it begins a journey that can lead to carbon being locked away in the deep ocean., Our story starts with phytoplankton., Phytoplankton are estimated to capture 10-20 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. This is about three times more than what is captured by global forests., Phytoplankton release oxygen. Lots of oxygen. About half the oxygen produced on the planet., Phytoplankton thrive and form the basis of the ocean food web. They also become part of the sinking dead., Phytoplankton use light to grow and create carbohydrates via photosynthesis and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process., Phytoplankton-a.k.a microalgae are the ocean’s primary producers., The death of ocean life sends millions of tonnes of carbon into the deep ocean every year. Locking it away for thousands of years., The sinking dead and carbon stores in our oceans"   

    From CSIROscope (AU): “The sinking dead and carbon stores in our oceans” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope (AU)


    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    Matt Marrison

    Our oceans are teeming with life and death. When life dies it begins a journey that can lead to carbon being locked away in the deep ocean.

    From microscopic phytoplankton to massive whales, all life in our oceans becomes the sinking dead at some point. It might be eaten by something higher up the food chain first or its time might just have run out.

    When that life dies, it begins a journey that can lead to carbon being locked away in the deep ocean.

    This is an important biological process – called the biological carbon pump – that removes carbon from the atmosphere. Our story starts with phytoplankton.

    Bongo nets deployed from R/V Investigator scoop up a phytoplankton bloom. Image: Max McGuire.

    From light comes life

    Phytoplankton-a.k.a microalgae are the ocean’s primary producers. Like land plants, they use light to grow and create carbohydrates via photosynthesis and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process. At the same time, they release oxygen. Lots of oxygen. About half the oxygen produced on the planet.

    Phytoplankton play a key role in the global carbon cycle. They do this by locking away atmospheric carbon dioxide into their cells. In fact, phytoplankton are estimated to capture 10-20 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year.

    This is about three times more than what is captured by global forests.

    In the light filled waters near the ocean surface, phytoplankton thrive and form the basis of the ocean food web. They also become part of the sinking dead.

    A hunter from the twilight zone, the dragonfish feasts on zooplankton and small fish. Image: Amy Rose Coghlan.

    There’s always a bigger fish

    Phytoplankton become food for zooplankton. Zooplankton are the smallest animals in our oceans. They include invertebrates such as copepods and other tiny crustaceans. They also include soft and squishy animals like squid, jellyfish and salps, the jelly beans of the sea.

    Zooplankton, and other small marine animals, become food for fish, crustaceans and other bigger species. All the way up to the largest animals ever to live on earth – whales.

    Zooplankton are largely understudied, but they play an important role in the movement of carbon into the deep ocean. They do this in two ways. The first is as they move up and down the water column each day to feed on phytoplankton. The second is when they die and drift down into the deep ocean as the sinking dead.

    As the bodies of the sinking dead drift deeper into the ocean, they take with them the carbon locked in their cells. This helps create an unusual underwater weather phenomenon in our oceans.

    Say it ain’t snow

    The carcasses of the sinking dead join with other sinking organic matter, including animal poop, to create ‘marine snow’. Marine snow forms a continuous shower of biological debris in our oceans, drifting from waters near the surface down into the deep ocean.

    This is a key process in the ocean’s biological carbon pump.

    Recent research published by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) examined the contribution of zooplankton, specifically a species of copepod, to the sinking dead. This research was carried out with help from our research vessel (RV) Investigator. Researchers found zooplankton likely make a significant contribution to carbon movement into the deep ocean. Their carcasses fall at a rapid rate and stimulate other life in the ocean along the way.

    However, we still have much to learn. It’s a big ocean and the forecast is for a 100 per cent chance of marine snow for the foreseeable future.

    So how do we study marine snow across a vast and remote ocean?

    A sediment trap, containing a year’s worth of the sinking dead, is recovered on board R/V Investigator. Image: Elizabeth Shadwick.

    It’s a sediment trap!

    One way is by using sediment traps. Sediment traps look like a big yellow funnel attached to a vacuum cleaner filter. The latter is actually a carousel of sample bottles into which the falling marine snow is funneled. Literally.

    The traps are about 1.5 metres tall. They are attached to deep water mooring lines to capture marine snow at various depths in the ocean.

    R/V Investigator is supporting this research through a long-term partnership with the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). IMOS maintain two deep-water moorings in the Southern Ocean called the Southern Ocean Time Series (SOTS).

    One of the SOTS moorings collects atmosphere and ocean data. The other collects marine snow and the sinking dead via a series of sediment traps.

    The sediment traps are located at depths of 1000, 2000 and 3800 metres along the mooring line. On each sediment trap there are 21 cups. Each cup rotates under the giant yellow funnel and stays open for about a fortnight to collect the marine snow.

    R/V Investigator recovers the old moorings and deploys new ones each year. On return, the voyage brings back important data, as well as a year’s worth of marine snow for researchers to sift through.

    Samples of marine snow filled with the sinking dead await processing. Image: Cathryn Wynn-Edwards.

    Decade of the decayed

    Over the past decade, with the help of R/V Investigator and its predecessor, R/V Southern Surveyor, these moorings have continuously gathered data and collected marine snow. This offers an unbroken record of life and changes in the Southern Ocean.

    These data are critical to our understanding of both the interaction of ocean and atmosphere, as well as the changes in them over time. Altogether, the time series has been running since 1997, with continuous data being collected for the past 10 years.

    Whether it be salps, copepods or other zooplankton. Bigger fish or whales. The death of ocean life sends millions of tonnes of carbon into the deep ocean every year. Locking it away for thousands of years.

    While researchers estimate that less than one per cent of captured atmospheric CO2 ends up in marine sediments, this still equals millions of tons of carbon per year. Without the biological carbon pump and the sinking dead, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would be much higher.

    Sinking a solution

    Researchers are still seeking to understood how the sinking dead and strength of the biological carbon pump will be impacted by global climate change.

    The research is ongoing. But one thing is clear. The ocean’s biological carbon pump makes the deep ocean a large store of carbon. Furthermore, the research we’re helping to deliver shows the Southern Ocean is a globally significant region for carbon storage.

    Without a doubt, these observations are essential to increase our understanding about how climate variability is affecting us now. And how it will likely affect us into the future.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Land and Water
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US)

    CSIRO Canberra campus

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster

    Others not shown


    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

  • richardmitnick 3:51 pm on August 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Big lessons about biodiversity loss from a little French river", As more places are dry for longer this could compromise the ability of creatures to move between parts of the river which could ultimately lead to a decrease in biodiversity as well as extinction., Carbon capture and storage, , Drying is something likely to happen to more waterways as global warming intensifies., , If a river’s dry patches increase and expand for longer periods of time these oases in the river where life weathers the drying may disappear., If you have big droughts you will lose all the refuges where species might survive during a drying event., Leaf build-up in a drying event could result in creatures downstream going hungry and the river processing less carbon., River floods are among the most damaging extreme climate events in Europe., There are a number of points during its course at which the Albarine river runs dry., When drought-hit areas eventually get rain it tends to be heavier and harder to absorb leading to floods which is one of the most catastrophic effects of climate change in European cities.   

    From “Horizon” The EU Research and Innovation Magazine : “Big lessons about biodiversity loss from a little French river” 

    From “Horizon” The EU Research and Innovation Magazine

    Sarah Wild

    The Po, one of Italy’s key rivers, is running at historic lows because of an extreme European drought. Credit: © DELBO ANDREA, Shutterstock.

    Even while drought is bringing many of Europe’s rivers to record lows and damaging biodiversity, the threat of catastrophic flooding following a dry spell lurks in the background.

    Some of Europe’s most famous rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Po, have been making headline news thanks to summer droughts. With water levels plummeting to record lows and the rivers drying out, many kinds of economic activities from shipping to farming have been disrupted.

    But one little river in Europe that has avoided the media spotlight may offer valuable lessons about the worsening effects of global warming. It is the Albarine, located in south-eastern France and it is the focus of an EU-backed research project about the effects of drought on river ecosystems.

    Worldwide, rivers are under stress from climate change. The research will help conservationists to understand the ways drought leads to the loss of biodiversity and respond appropriately.

    Rising near the sleepy French town of Brénod near the Jura mountains, the Albarine flows almost 60 kilometres before its crystal-clear waters join the larger Ain River northeast of Lyon. However, there are a number of points during its course at which the Albarine river runs dry. This is something likely to happen to more waterways as global warming intensifies.

    Extreme event

    ‘Drying is an event and drought is an extreme event,’ said Romain Sarremejane, a freshwater ecologist and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) post-doctoral research fellow at the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

    ‘You need to understand drying to understand drought. The issue might be in the future that, if you have big droughts you will lose all the refuges where species might survive during a drying event.’

    Sarremejane is part of the MetaDryNet research project, which is assessing how drying affects organisms in the Albarine and their ability to consume carbon-rich organic matter. At its lush headwaters near Brénod, many leaves fall into the Albarine – and this leaf litter provides food and nutrients along the river’s length.

    Drying everywhere

    Insects and other creatures nibble at them, and ‘little by little they decompose as you go downstream and then it’s very small particles that end up in the sea,’ Sarremejane said. ‘But when there is drying everywhere in the network, you have these leaves that accumulate in the dry riverbed and are not processed.’

    This leaf build-up could result in creatures downstream going hungry and the river processing less carbon.

    Sarremejane and his colleagues set out to investigate what happens in the Albarine’s dry patches. They sampled 20 sites, each about 100 metres long, to see how much organic matter passed through, how quickly it decomposed, how much carbon and methane each site emitted, and the diversity of invertebrates, bacteria and fungi present.

    Half the sites were in areas where the river sometimes runs dry and the rest were in places where the river flows all year long.

    As more places are dry for longer, this could also compromise the ability of creatures to move between parts of the river –– which could ultimately lead to a decrease in biodiversity as well as extinction.

    About 60% of rivers worldwide are intermittent –– which means that they are dry for at least one day a year –– and that share is set to rise, according to Sarremejane. Many such waterways usually flow for six to eight months of the year and then dry during the summer.


    ‘This intermittency is becoming more and more common, and extending in time and space,’ he said.

    The Albarine river in Saint-Rambert-en-Bugey, France. © Chabe01, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

    If a river’s dry patches increase and expand for longer periods of time these oases in the river where life weathers the drying may disappear too. ‘There is a big tipping point at which you might lose a lot of diversity,’ he said.

    His future research will focus on how extreme weather events affect communities of creatures and their diversity in Europe’s rivers, and whether it is possible to quantify these tipping points.

    Heavy rain

    For all the difficulties triggered by droughts, rain itself poses challenges. When drought-hit areas eventually get rain it tends to be heavier and harder to absorb leading to floods which is one of the most catastrophic effects of climate change in European cities.

    Benjamin Renard, principal investigator on the Hydrologic Extremes at the Global Scale (HEGS) project, is trying to understand what more precipitation means for river systems and whether it leads to more flooding.

    River floods are among the most damaging extreme climate events in Europe, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA). If carbon emissions continue to increase, climate change could triple the direct damages from river floods.

    In cities, more rain leads to flooding in the streets, but with rivers it’s not so simple.

    ‘You have river catchments, which act as a strong filter, so many things could happen,’ Renard said. ‘Flooding is not a direct translation of what’s happening in terms of precipitation.’

    He and his collaborators created a statistical framework to assess the probability of rivers in an area flooding. Using data from about 2 000 rain-gauge and hydrometric stations, which measure river flow, their framework can determine the likelihood of a flood in a given region. The data, taken from stations around the world, spans the last hundred years.

    ‘The data sets we use for both precipitation and floods are from every single continent except Antarctica,’ he said.

    The framework links climate variables – such as temperature, atmospheric pressure and wind speed – to the probability of extreme weather events including heavy rainfall or flooding.

    Heavier precipitation

    ‘We confirmed, indeed, that precipitation was getting heavier worldwide, but for floods the signal is much more complicated,’ Renard said. ‘You have some geographic areas where you don’t see much change, some areas where you see increasing floods, and some where you see decreasing floods.’

    Renard plans to use the framework for seasonal forecasting or even for different extreme weather events.

    ‘There is nothing in the framework that is specific to flooding,’ he said. Researchers could configure the framework to other events such as heat waves, droughts and wildfires.

    In any case, deploying it for seasonal forecasting would form part of a useful early-warning system. This would allow people to prepare, for example, for nearby river floods and help prevent the loss of life and destruction of property.

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 8:41 pm on August 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Episodic aseismic creep": tectonic strain released in a quasi-steady motion that reduces the potential for large earthquakes along some segments., "Geological carbon sequestration in mantle rocks prevents large earthquakes in parts of the San Andreas Fault", Carbon capture and storage, , Climate & Weather, , , Smaller and more frequent quakes help to reduce tectonic strain.,   

    From The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: “Geological carbon sequestration in mantle rocks prevents large earthquakes in parts of the San Andreas Fault” 

    From The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    Authors: Frieder Klein1*, David L. Goldsby2, Jian Lin1, Muriel Andreani3


    1 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA

    2 University of Pennsylvania, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    3 Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, UMR 5276, ENS et Université Lyon 1, 69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France

    *corresponding author

    Outcrop of carbonate-altered mantle rock in the San Andreas Fault area. A recent study shows that carbon sequestration in mantle rocks may prevent large earthquakes in parts of the San Andreas Fault. Image credit: Frieder Klein/©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    Smaller and more frequent quakes help to reduce tectonic strain.

    The San Andreas Fault in California is renowned for its large and infrequent earthquakes.

    However, some segments of the San Andreas Fault instead are characterized by frequent quakes of small to moderate magnitude and high rates of continuous or episodic aseismic creep. With tectonic strain released in a quasi-steady motion that reduces the potential for large earthquakes along those segments.

    Now, researchers say ubiquitous evidence for ongoing geological carbon sequestration in mantle rocks in the creeping sections of the SAF is one underlying cause of aseismic creep along a roughly 150 kilometer-long SAF segment between San Juan Bautista and Parkfield, California, and along several other fault segments.

    “Although there is no consensus regarding the underlying cause of aseismic creep, aqueous fluids and mechanically weak minerals appear to play a central role,” researchers say in a new paper, “Carbonation of serpentinite in creeping faults of California,” published in Geophysical Research Letters [below].

    The new study integrates field observations and thermodynamic modeling “to examine possible relationships between the occurrence of serpentinite, silica-carbonate rock, and CO2-rich aqueous fluids in creeping faults of California,” the paper states. “Our models predict that carbonation of serpentinite leads to the formation of talc and magnesite, followed by silica-carbonate rock. While abundant exposures of silica-carbonate rock indicate complete carbonation, serpentinite hosted CO2-rich spring fluids are strongly supersaturated with talc at elevated temperatures. Hence, carbonation of serpentinite is likely ongoing in parts of the San Andres Fault system and operates in conjunction with other modes of talc formation that may further enhance the potential for aseismic creep, thereby limiting the potential for large earthquakes.”

    The paper indicates that because wet talc is a mechanically weak mineral, “its formation through carbonation promotes tectonic movements without large earthquakes.”

    The researchers recognized several possible underlying mechanisms causing aseismic creep in the SAF, and they also noted that because the rates of aseismic creep are significantly higher in some parts of the SAF system, an additional or different mechanism – the carbonation of serpentinite – is needed to account for the full extent of the creep.

    With fluids basically everywhere along the SAF, but with only certain portions of the fault being lubricated, researchers considered that a rock could be responsible for the lubrication. Some earlier studies had suggested that the lubricant could be talc, a soft and slippery component that is commonly used in baby powder. A well-established mechanism for forming talc is by adding silica to mantle rocks. However, the researchers here focused on another talc-forming mechanism: adding CO2 to mantle rocks to form soapstone.

    “The addition of CO2 to mantle rocks – which is the mineral carbonation or carbon sequestration process – had not previously been investigated in the context of earthquake formation or the natural prevention of earthquakes. Using basic geological constraints, our study showed where these carbonate-altered mantle rocks are and where there are springs along the fault line in California that are enriched in CO2. It turned out that when you plot the occurrence and distribution of these rock types and the occurrence of CO2-rich springs in California, they all line up along the San Andreas Fault in creeping sections of the fault where you don’t have major earthquakes,” said Frieder Klein, lead author of the journal article.

    Klein, an associate scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, explained that carbonation is basically the uptake of CO2 by a rock. Klein noted that he had used existing U.S. Geological Survey databases and Google Earth to plot the locations of carbonate-altered rocks and CO2-rich springs.

    “The geological evidence suggests that this mineral carbonation process is taking place and that talc is an intermediary reaction product of that process,” Klein said. Although researchers did not find soapstone on mantle rock outcrops, results from theoretical models “strongly suggest that carbonation is an ongoing process and that soapstone indeed could form in the SAF at depth,” the paper notes.

    These theoretical models “suggest that carbon sequestration with the SAF is taking place today and that the process is actively helping to lubricate the fault and minimize strong earthquakes in the creeping portions of the SAF,” Klein said.

    The paper also notes that this mechanism may also be present in other fault systems. “Because CO2-rich aqueous fluids and ultramafic rocks are particularly common in young orogenic belts and subduction zones, the formation of talc via mineral carbonation may play a critical role in controlling the seismic behavior of major tectonic faults around the world.”

    “Our study allows us to better understand the fundamental processes that are taking place within fault zones where these ingredients are present, and allows us to better understand the seismic behavior of these faults, some of which are in densely populated areas and some of which are in lightly populated or oceanic settings,” Klein said.

    This work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

    Science paper:
    Geophysical Research Letters

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.

    The Institution is organized into six departments, the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

    WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong); the coastal craft Tioga; small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo; the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin; the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea; and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED.
    WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges . WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.

    On October 1, 2020, Peter B. de Menocal became the institution’s eleventh president and director.


    In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences committee concluded that it was time to “consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research.” The committee’s recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to “prosecute oceanography in all its branches” led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch R/V Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution’s logo.

    WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guard rear admiral.

    In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.

    On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

    On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.

    In March 2017 the institution effected an open-access policy to make its research publicly accessible online.

    The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.

    In 2019, iDefense reported that China’s hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.

  • richardmitnick 9:01 am on July 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Big Business of Burying Carbon", , Around Port Arthur pipeline pumping stations jut up from shopping-center parking lots., Around Port Arthur refineries flank both sides of main roads., Black gold, Carbon capture and storage, CO2-the invisible gas, Decarbonization, Major emitters will hoover up their own carbon waste then pay to have it compressed into liquid and injected back down safely and permanently into the same sorts of rocks it came from., Meckel envisions dozens of new wells drilled in the coming decades this time to inject CO2., One of the products of the economy that black gold built is the city of Port Arthur in Texas., Port Arthur is home to the largest petroleum refinery in North America., Sandstone is covered by a less porous layer of rock that can act as a carbon-tight seal., Storing carbon at a scale large enough to materially help the climate is now a must., The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] has affirmed that extensive long-term carbon storage is likely necessary to meet its targets to mitigate the overheating of the planet., The porous rock beneath the Gulf Coast launched the petroleum age. Now entrepreneurs want to turn it into a gigantic sponge for storing CO2., The Port Arthur refinery is now owned by the state oil company of Saudi Arabia., There is enough suitable rock on Earth to lock away centuries’ worth of CO2 emissions past and future., Tip Meckel has devoted most of his career to figuring out how to turn it into a commercial dump for CO2.,   

    From “WIRED“: “The Big Business of Burying Carbon” 

    From “WIRED“

    Jul 28, 2022
    Jeffrey Ball

    Port Arthur’s Motiva Oil Refinery. Photograph: Katie Thompson.

    The porous rock beneath the Gulf Coast launched the petroleum age. Now entrepreneurs want to turn it into a gigantic sponge for storing CO2.

    Sometime after the dinosaurs died, sediment started pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. Hour after hour the rivers brought it in—sand from the infant Rockies, the mucky stuff of ecosystems. Year after year the layers of sand hardened into strata of sandstone, pushed down ever deeper into the terrestrial pressure cooker. Slowly, over ages, the fossil matter inside the rock simmered into fossil fuels.

    And then, one day in early 1901, an oil well in East Texas pierced a layer of rock more than 1,000 feet below Spindletop Hill, and the well let forth a gooey black Jurassic gusher, and the gusher began the bonanza that triggered the land rush that launched the age of petroleum.

    One of the products of the economy that black gold built is the city of Port Arthur, Texas. Perched on the muggy shores of Sabine Lake, just across the border from Louisiana, it’s among the global oil-and-gas industry’s crucial nodes. Port Arthur is home to the largest petroleum refinery in North America, opened the year after the Spindletop gusher and now owned by the state oil company of Saudi Arabia. The area emits more carbon dioxide from large facilities every year than metropolitan Los Angeles but has a population 3 percent the size. Smokestacks are its tallest structures; nothing else comes close. Around town, pipeline pumping stations jut up from shopping-center parking lots, steam from petrochemical plants hisses along highways, and refineries flank both sides of main roads, their duct work forming tunnels over traffic. Janis Joplin, who grew up here, described it in a 1970 ballad called “Ego Rock” as “the worst place that I’ve ever found.”

    Tip Meckel has a more hopeful view of the place, maybe because he spends so much time looking down. A lanky research scientist at the University of Texas’ Bureau of Economic Geology, Meckel has worked for most of the past decade and a half to map a roughly 300-mile-wide arc of the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi, Texas, through Port Arthur to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Though he’s the grandson of a refinery worker and the son of an oil consultant, his interest isn’t in extracting more petroleum from this rock. Instead, he has devoted most of his career to figuring out how to turn it into a commercial dump for CO2.

    The idea is that major emitters will hoover up their own carbon waste, then pay to have it compressed into liquid and injected back down, safely and permanently, into the same sorts of rocks it came from—carbon capture and sequestration on a scale unprecedented around the globe, large enough to put a real dent in climate change. Suddenly, amid surging global concern about the climate crisis, some of the biggest names in the petroleum industry are jumping in.

    On the rainy morning I meet Meckel in Port Arthur, the brown-haired geologist is dressed in a blue Patagonia fishing shirt, black jeans, and running shoes, with sunglasses dangling from a leash around his neck. We pile into his gray Toyota 4Runner and head south, through the petro-sprawl, toward the Gulf. We’re off to see a patch of ocean that Meckel thinks could be key to the drive for decarbonization.

    “You don’t throw trash out of your car, do you?” he says as we cruise down a coastal highway, the city receding into the rearview mirror. “Well, we don’t want to dump our CO2 into the atmosphere either.” Maybe the problem, Meckel says, is that the gas is invisible. “If it was purple, and the skies had turned purple by now, everyone would be like, ‘Shit. We really screwed up.’ Maybe they should just dye the CO2 that’s coming out of the stacks and let people see where it goes.”

    Tip Meckel holds a sandstone sample. Photograph: Katie Thompson.

    By some estimates, there’s enough suitable rock on Earth to lock away centuries’ worth of CO2 emissions, past and future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s preeminent climate-science body, has repeatedly affirmed that extensive long-term carbon storage is likely necessary to meet any of its targets to seriously mitigate the overheating of the planet. Globally, in 2021, a paltry 37 million metric tons were sequestered—roughly what the Port Arthur metropolitan area emits in a year. Meckel and his colleagues have worked hard, with millions of dollars in funding from the petroleum industry, the state of Texas, and the federal government, to prove that the Gulf is the best place in the country, if not on Earth, to get this new industry truly ramped up.

    The work has focused on mapping the region’s underground rock, a process that combines physical evidence, computerized extrapolation, and intuition. Meckel’s university lab in Austin holds a gigantic collection of well logs—long paper strips, rather like the printouts from a heart monitor, that reveal instant-by-instant, centimeter-by-centimeter measurements of myriad features of the underworld, typically from sensors that have been carefully lowered thousands of feet into a borehole. (The folded strips are stored in narrow manila envelopes in row upon row of metal shelves in the basement.) Meckel and his colleagues augmented the logs with 3D seismic data, which they got at a discount; the data company selling it had seen a drop-off in interest in the Gulf from oil-and-gas drillers. Armed with that data, Meckel says, they began to “mow the ground” along the coast, methodically assessing it.

    The Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin, Texas, stores thousands of oil well logs. Photograph: Katie Thompson.

    Meckel interprets a well log. Photograph: Katie Thompson.

    The search drew their attention to a layer of sandstone from the Miocene epoch, ranging in age from 5 million to 23 million years old, which lies partly under waters controlled by the state of Texas and stretches into Louisiana. The layer is porous (lots of holes to hold liquid) and sits close to many big polluters (lower piping or shipping costs for the waste CO2). The sandstone is also covered by a less porous layer of rock that can act as a carbon-tight seal. Meckel and his team built new computer models, then ran simulations of how injected carbon dioxide might flow through the rock. By 2017, they had published an atlas of the Gulf Miocene layer, 74 pages of intricate maps and tiny print.

    The year after that, events in Washington transformed the atlas from an academic treatise to an economic playbook. Amid rising climate concern, Congress fattened a federal tax credit for carbon capture and sequestration that until then hadn’t attracted much commercial interest. The new subsidy, modeled broadly on ones for renewable energy, gave developers a credit topping out at $50 for every ton of waste carbon dioxide they captured and geologically stored. That $50-per-ton prize coincided with a surge in warming-related natural disasters, which catapulted climate change to the top of many corporate agendas. It also launched the US carbon-storage race. Meckel’s atlas, available to anyone, became the racers’ guide to the best route.

    The result today is that, more than a century after opportunists first swarmed the Gulf to profit from its hydrocarbons, a new swarm has descended, this time to profit from mitigating the damage those hydrocarbons have wrought. A quest that just a few years ago was a science project has become a high-stakes contest to lock up good rock. Within about a 75-mile circle around Port Arthur, more than half a dozen industrial-scale projects are in various stages of preparation. Their backers include oil giants such as ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, and TotalEnergies, which have announced the possibility of more than $100 billion in investments; major pipeline operators, which see human-generated CO2 as a huge new market; renewable-energy developers who once lambasted fossil fuels but now want to decarbonize them for profit; and landowners who sense a new way to monetize their dirt. A stampede for capital, land rights, and regulatory approval is underway.

    Meckel pulls his Toyota into Sea Rim State Park, a beach on the Gulf. The parking lot is open, but much of it is flooded. Roseate spoonbills wade through puddles on the asphalt.

    We wander onto the sand. Looking seaward, Meckel points to a line of oil platforms squatting on the horizon. He envisions dozens of new wells drilled in the coming decades, this time to inject CO2. “We’re talking about a whole area the size of Texas that you can develop for storage,” he muses. “Who’s not going to think that’s a good idea?”

    Meckel concedes that carbon storage is a “blunt” and “dumb” approach to curbing climate change. “You’re basically just landfilling,” he says, not decoupling the economy from the production of heat-trapping gases. But with it, he adds, “you buy the time to use the scalpel to do all the cool stuff,” by which he means renewables at a scale big enough to power the planet.

    Just off this coast sits what may be Texas’ most promising site for a CO2 landfill, a spot to which Meckel is directing my gaze. It includes a well-mapped block of underwater acreage that oil-and-gas insiders call High Island 24L. In Meckel’s color-coded atlas, the rock that will likely accept the most injected carbon is rendered in shades of orange and red. The area encompassing this block is crimson. He and his colleagues have studied it intensely and found it to be especially capacious. As the land spreads east, toward Louisiana, the color holds—and the rock does too.

    Steam -containing CO2 – escaping from stacks at an oil refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. Photograph: Katie Thompson.

    Last year, the Texas General Land Office, which leases out state waters for economic activity, held its first auction for carbon-injection rights. On the block was a 360-square-mile patch of Gulf that includes High Island 24L. The winning bid, for a portion of the big patch, came from a joint venture launched by a startup called Carbonvert, which is run by Alex Tiller, an entrepreneur, and Jan Sherman, a veteran of the oil industry. When I meet them one morning in Port Arthur, Tiller is sporting a version of the standard founder uniform—untucked dress shirt, dark jeans, Panerai watch, Tumi briefcase, baseball cap advertising his startup. Sherman is in jeans and an athletic shirt bearing the maroon logo of her alma mater, Texas A&M University. We head outside and pile into the leather-lined cab of a hulking black F350. The license plates read “88GIGEM.” That’s as in 1988, the year Sherman’s husband graduated from college, and “Gig ’em,” the Texas A&M motto. Sherman usually drives her BMW SUV, whose plates read “89GIGEM.” Tiller drives an electric Audi.

    Carbonvert’s story dates to 2018. At the time, Tiller, based in Denver, was running a renewable-energy investment fund for a San Francisco financial firm. His specialty was the trade in so-called tax equity. He would find solar developers whose projects qualified for tax credits but whose tax bills were too small to take advantage of them. Then he would arrange deals in which the developers sold their credits—and pledged revenue from five years of electricity sales—to Tiller’s investors in exchange for an influx of cash. Tiller knew the game well. He had learned the tax-equity ropes helping build a solar company in Hawaii, whose sale in 2014 brought him a small fortune. When Congress passed the $50 carbon incentive, Tiller says, he pounced on it as an “opportunity to ride a wave that I’d seen before.” But he had “zero idea” about burying carbon. So he hit the conference circuit, where he got wind of Texas’ coming auction. He heard of Sherman through a friend and reached out to her—a lot.

    Sherman fairly bleeds oil. During college, she spent summers fixing leaks on wells. She worked her entire career at Shell, most recently as head of the company’s US carbon-storage business. The month before Tiller contacted her, she had retired, having concluded that a new corporate reorganization made it likely many of her team’s projects would slow down. Sherman decided she wanted to either go big with the carbon-storage knowledge she had amassed or go home. At first, she didn’t answer Tiller’s entreaties. “He kind of stalked me,” she says. By February 2021, after a few months of nudging, she signed on.

    Jan Sherman and Alex Tiller in front of an oil rig. Photograph: Katie Thompson.

    Sherman was skeptical that the state would entrust a big project to an unproven startup. “I didn’t think Carbonvert could do it,” she says. “I even said, ‘I don’t think that the world is going to let us do that.’” But Meckel and his colleagues had revealed “a ginormous storage opportunity in the Miocene formation,” she says, so the foundational geologic work was done. Sherman and Tiller struck up a partnership with Talos Energy, a Houston-based firm with offshore experience and its own valuable trove of local seismic data. Then they set about figuring out where, in the area that Texas was expected to offer for lease, they thought they could bury carbon in a way that would please both investors and regulators.

    The Carbonvert-Talos team focused on areas pierced by comparatively few existing wells, because those can be paths for carbon dioxide leaks. And because each new injection well would cost between $20 million and $30 million to drill, the team avoided geologic features such as synclines—areas where the rock layer dips, as if forming a bowl, effectively cleaving the injectable acreage. Carbonvert and Talos submitted their bid in May 2021. The list of bidders, according to the Texas General Land Office, included much bigger players, among them Marathon Petroleum, an oil company; Denbury Resources, a major pipeline operator; and Air Products, a chemical company. Three months later, Carbonvert and Talos won a 63-square-mile lease. This will be the future home of Bayou Bend CCS (short for “carbon capture and sequestration”). Earlier this year, Chevron threw its weight behind the project, announcing that it would invest $50 million for half of Bayou Bend.

    One of the biggest hurdles now for Tiller and Sherman is to sign up enough polluters to make the project economically viable. The business model envisions that polluters will collect the carbon—and the tax credit—and then pay Bayou Bend a transport-and-disposal fee that Tiller says is likely to be $20 to $25 per ton. (That fee could fluctuate.) Scoring clients is a scrappy, dog-eat-dog process. I get a taste of it as Sherman, with Tiller in the back seat, drives me around Port Arthur in the monster truck.

    On paper, grabbing carbon emissions in and around this town should be like shooting fish in a barrel. They’re not only plentiful but also localized: A small handful of super-emitters accounts for a large part of the output, and a free and easily downloadable federal database reports each facility’s emissions. But a refinery, petrochemical plant, or liquefied-natural-gas terminal is a dizzyingly complex collection of industrial processes, each of which produces CO2 in different concentrations, ranging from near purity to nearly nil. The less concentrated the carbon in a waste stream is, the costlier it is to capture. According to the National Petroleum Council, the $50 tax credit is enough to incentivize sopping up less than 5 percent of US emissions (mostly from ethanol and natural gas processing plants, whose CO2 emission streams are highly concentrated). But carbon from, say, a coal-fired power plant or a diesel refinery doesn’t currently pay to clean up.

    Tiller, Sherman, and their partners ultimately hope to inject at least 10 million tons of CO2 a year to make the profit on which they and their investors have penciled out the project. To get the financing to break ground, the bar is lower—they will need to have inked contracts with polluters to inject 4 million tons a year. By then, however, Bayou Bend will have spent tens of millions of dollars preparing and designing the project. “There is a bit of a build-it-and-they-will-come philosophy,” Sherman says.

    The crux of the dilemma is that only about 2 million of the 35 million tons of industrial CO2 emitted annually by large facilities in the Port Arthur area, which includes neighboring Beaumont, is, as Tiller puts it, “low-hanging fruit”—meaning that the tax credit of $50 a ton can cover the cost of capturing, transporting, and burying it.

    Back in the truck, which is stocked with 2-pound tubs of honey-roasted peanuts and cheddar Goldfish for long days of sleuthing, Sherman drives us by the oil refinery that opened just after Spindletop. Today it occupies 2 square miles and emits millions of tons of CO2 every year. “Most of this is all $50 or higher,” she says, her right hand on the steering wheel as her left hand sweeps across a windshield filled with the facility.

    The next morning, Sherman, Tiller, and I take a boat ride from Port Arthur to the area of the Gulf that they have leased. Over the engine roar, Tiller explains to me that he gave our charter captain only the vague location of the lease area. “He’s under NDA”—a nondisclosure agreement—Tiller yells.

    When we reach the prospective carbon-injection area, the captain idles the boat. We’re in about 40 feet of water; the rock into which the Carbonvert group hopes to inject greenhouse gas is more than a mile and a half below that. I check my phone; it still gets service, because we’re only about 5 miles off the coast. To the east, hulking tankers, many of them carrying liquefied natural gas, head out to sea. To the west, every now and then we see a shrimping boat. It’s a beautiful morning on the water. And everything in view is belching carbon.

    Toward the end of the trip we motor up the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, a constructed canal that serves as a long driveway in which ships park and take on product from Port Arthur before ferrying it to the world. We pass a biodiesel plant, one of the biggest in Texas, and the boat captain mentions that he used to work there. Sherman plies him for details about the places in the plant that emit carbon. “Where would it come from?” she asks.

    Even if the Carbonvert consortium signed up every pound of carbon dioxide it needed, it would still face another hurdle: The US EPA has yet to issue its first permit for large-scale commercial carbon injection. Permit reviews are widely expected to take years, and the outcome isn’t assured. The proposed Bayou Bend project will eventually need as many as 10 injection wells, each of which must win an EPA permit. The timing of that, Tiller says, is “an enormous risk.”

    If anyone is at the front of the line of the EPA approval process, it’s a man named Gray Stream, the steward of a roughly 100,000-acre patchwork of southwest Louisiana that Meckel’s atlas suggests is at least as red as High Island 24L. Stream is a scion of the Louisiana dynasty that owns Gray Ranch, and he’s betting that his chunk of Gulf Coast rock gives him pole position in the carbon-storage race. “Mine goes to 11,” he tells me, smiling wryly as he evokes a line from This Is Spinal Tap, the 1984 mockumentary about a British rock band with extra-loud amplifiers. He hopes the EPA, in particular, will like his ranch’s carbon-carrying capacity.

    Stream grew up in Nashville and went to college at Vanderbilt, then did a stint as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill. He hoped to become a Navy SEAL officer, but when that didn’t pan out he dove into managing the family business. His office is in a former bedroom in the family’s business headquarters—a grand, colonnaded redbrick house in the city of Lake Charles built in 1923 by Stream’s great-great-aunt, a noted collector of Fabergé eggs. The office is decorated today with intricately carved walking sticks and antique sabers. It overlooks the backyard, which boasts a Japanese tea garden and, as if out of a Faulkner novel, a two-story, octagonal pigeonnier.

    Stream assumed his filial responsibilities in 2004, at a time when diversifying beyond oil and gas was becoming increasingly important to the family and the region. That was partly because fields deplete over time, and those beneath Gray Ranch had been pumped for a century. But it was also because momentum in the oil-and-gas industry was starting to shift to so-called unconventional plays—the shale that fracking had unlocked—and Gray Ranch was conventional rock. The surge in shale production was spurring an industrial boom in and around Lake Charles. But on Gray Ranch, as on much of the land along the Gulf Coast, production was in a long decline.

    In 2018, when Congress increased the carbon-storage tax credit, Stream started having ideas. He and some colleagues consulted the work of Meckel and others—not only their assessments of the Miocene layer under the Gulf but also an earlier experiment involving a layer of rock called the Frio.

    The Frio sits below the Miocene layer. One of its chief allures is that, beneath Gray Ranch, it’s particularly thick—and therefore, at least theoretically, able to hold a lot of CO2. It’s also far below sources of drinking water and is topped by the Anahuac shale, which appears to be a carbon-tight caprock. After extensive study, Stream and a team of technical experts he hired decided to bet their bid on the Frio. He says he hopes the EPA will see its combined characteristics as a “belt-and-suspender” approach—a level of safety that will give the agency confidence that his company, Gulf Coast Sequestration, deserves to become the country’s first commercial collector of other people’s carbon trash.

    Applicants for EPA carbon-storage permits must persuade the agency that they can contain both the plume of injected carbon dioxide and a secondary plume of saltwater that the CO2 displaces from the rock—what drilling engineers call the pressure pulse. The EPA requires evidence that neither plume will contaminate drinking water while a project is operating and for a default period of 50 years after CO2 injection stops—but the agency can decide to shorten or lengthen that for a particular project.

    Stream employs a well-heeled team, including oil industry veterans and a former top EPA official, to shepherd the permit application, which was submitted in October 2020 and which remains, nearly two years later, under agency review. Inside his company, Stream dubbed the carbon-storage play Project Minerva, after the Roman goddess of wisdom (and sometimes of war).

    Heading up the technical work is a British petroleum geologist named Peter Jackson, who used to work at BP. His team planned for Project Minerva in much the way Meckel’s UT group had mapped the Gulf Coast. Using well-log and 3D seismic data, the scientists modeled the Frio under several tens of thousands of acres on and around Gray Ranch. Then they simulated how the carbon dioxide plume and the pressure pulse would behave, depending on where they drilled wells and how they operated them.

    In their computer models, the resulting plume movements appeared as multicolored blobs against rocky backgrounds of blue. The best blobs were round, a cohesive shape that suggests the plume will be easier to control. In other spots, the CO2 wouldn’t behave: Sometimes it escaped upward; other times it spread out like a pancake or, Jackson recalls, “like a spider.” Either shape, the team fretted, might degrade project safety and set off alarms at the EPA. The simulations led the Stream team to choose two general locations on the ranch where they intend to drill wells.

    Stream agrees to show them to me one morning. He picks me up in Lake Charles in his decked-out black Chevy Tahoe, and we head west, toward Texas, until we’re several miles shy of the state line. We exit the highway at the town of Vinton, Louisiana, and arrive at Gray Ranch. We turn right onto Gray Road. We turn left onto Ged Road. Then, beside cowboy-boot-shaped Ged Lake, we mount a subtle rise known as the Vinton Dome.

    These are iconic names in Stream family lore. As early as the 1880s, a local surveyor named John Geddings Gray—“Ged”—started assembling this acreage to profit from timber and cattle. Four years after the gusher at Spindletop, Ged saw in the Vinton Dome a topographically similar prospect, and he bought it too. He opened the area for drilling, and his hunch paid off.

    Today, the top of Vinton Dome offers a panorama of part of the Stream empire. To the right stand barns bearing the family’s cattle brand and quarter-horse brand. All around, rusty pump jacks rise and fall, pulling up oil and gas. Stream, Ged Gray’s great-great-grandson, likens the ranch to the cuts of beef he grills for his three young children, who think he’s the best steak cooker around. “It’s only because I just buy the prime fillet,” he says. There’s one rule: “Don’t screw it up.”

    We stop at one of the expected well sites. The area around it is resplendent with wire grass, bluestem, and fennel. It’s frequented by three kinds of egret: cattle, great, and snowy. This being Louisiana, it’s also stamped with a line of yellow poles; they mark the underground route of the Williams Transco Pipeline, which whooshes natural gas from offshore platforms in the Gulf to the interstate gas-distribution system. If it seems strange that this ranch, which for a century has served up fossil fuels, may play an influential part in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, it’s also instructive—a measure of how economic signals are changing in a part of the world that has long adapted the way it exploits its natural resources to meet shifting market demand. “People are ultimately going to have to put up” to tackle climate change, Stream says. “They can’t just talk about it.”

    Stream is right: Humanity must choose. As he talks, I’m reminded of Meckel’s reaction when, as we stood on the beach, looking out at the waves over High Island 24L, I asked the geologist about the dangers associated with storing carbon dioxide underground. I brought up a bizarre disaster that struck Cameroon in 1986, when a massive, naturally occurring cloud of carbon dioxide suddenly burped up from the depths of Lake Nyos and fell onto nearby villages, crowding out ambient air and asphyxiating to death an estimated 1,800 people. “Now that we know that shit happens, put a sensor down there,” Meckel told me, pointing to the Gulf. (At the Cameroon lake, a vent was added.) Meckel doesn’t deny there are dangers. But, as he told me in another of our conversations, people “have to decide that the risks of CO2 going into the atmosphere are more fundamental than the risks of CO2 going into the ground.”

    Meckel, of course, was arguing his pocketbook—and that of the fossil fuel industry, which helps fund his work, and of Carbonvert, and of Stream, and of each of the companies now gunning to make a buck from carbon burial. Yet his point stands: Every potential climate fix carries risks.

    Storing carbon at a scale large enough to materially help the climate is now, many scientists say, a must. But it would require facing devilishly difficult dilemmas that extend beyond the technical to the philosophical. What level of confidence should regulators demand before blessing a proposed carbon-storage project as unlikely to leak? Who should be held legally responsible for monitoring the safety of injected carbon, and for how long, and with what penalty for failure? Fights between environmentalists and industry over such questions are growing more intense. And yet, as always in the battle over what to do about the climate, if anything significant is to happen, someone will have to budge, and something is almost certain to go wrong.

    Along the road from Beaumont to Port Arthur is a museum dedicated to the Spindletop gusher. It houses a life-size replica of part of a turn-of-the-century boomtown—a vision of the good life, lubricated by oil. The museum stages free gusher reenactments, using water. A long wooden boardwalk guides visitors to a pink granite obelisk, where an engraving on the base says petroleum “has altered man’s way of life throughout the world.”

    When the prospectors at Spindletop sold their first barrels of crude, they didn’t know the trade-off they were making on behalf of all humanity. They didn’t know that the price of cheap energy and better living through petrochemicals would be environmental degradation at planetary scale. We have been playing with fire, and it has warmed us and burned us. This suggests a broader lesson worth remembering as we advance, however slowly, from the age of hydrocarbons through the age of decarbonization to the age of renewables. Maybe, when we encounter energy’s next big threat to the environment, we can resist the urge to stick our heads in the sand—and so avoid the last-ditch, multitrillion-dollar, existential slog to bury the problem.

    See the full article here.


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    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 12:31 pm on July 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Unlocking the Magmatic Secrets of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus", , Carbon capture and storage, CO2-rich volcanic systems are less well understood than the more common H2O-rich arc volcanoes., Data taken by measuring natural electromagnetic waves traveling through Earth revealed the volcano’s magmatic system brings lava much closer to the surface than subduction arc volcanoes., , , , , One of Antarctica’s only active volcanoes is home to one of the few long-lasting lava lakes on Earth., Past studies into Erebus relied on seismic data to probe its inner workings., Research has revealed the plumbing underneath Mount Erebus that keeps the lake full., The snow-covered Mount Erebus is the southernmost active volcano on Earth and shares Antarctica’s Ross Island with three other volcanoes-all dormant., Unlike arc volcanoes such as the Cascades in western North America Erebus has very little water in its magma. Instead it’s rich in carbon dioxide (CO2)., Unprecedented images of Mount Erebus’s inner workings show the unique trappings of a CO2-rich rift volcano.,   

    From “Eos” : “Unlocking the Magmatic Secrets of Antarctica’s Mount Erebus” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    22 June 2022
    Jenessa Duncombe

    Unprecedented images of Mount Erebus’s inner workings show the unique trappings of a CO2-rich rift volcano.

    Mount Erebus, Antarctica, is the most southerly active volcano on Earth. Credit: Josh Landis/National Science Foundation, Public Domain.

    One of Antarctica’s only active volcanoes is home to one of the few long-lasting lava lakes on Earth. The lake occasionally blasts out lava bombs from the summit crater of Mount Erebus, 3,794 meters high.

    Now, research has revealed the plumbing underneath Mount Erebus that keeps the lake full.

    Data taken by measuring natural electromagnetic waves traveling through Earth revealed the volcano’s magmatic system brings lava much closer to the surface than subduction arc volcanoes.

    Unlike arc volcanoes such as the Cascades in western North America Erebus has very little water in its magma. Instead it’s rich in carbon dioxide (CO2). This dryness allows magma to travel much closer to the surface than water (H2O)-rich volcanoes that stall out at about 5 kilometers below the surface.

    CO2-rich volcanic systems are less well understood than the more common H2O-rich arc volcanoes.

    “If we can also get an idea of where the magmatic system is, you can better understand the monitoring data when these systems enter periods of unrest,” said lead scientist and geophysicist Graham Hill at the Institute of Geophysics at the Czech Academy of Sciences.

    “This is the first great image of one,” said geophysicist Phil Wannamaker at the University of Utah, who participated in the work.

    Erebus has long been familiar to polar explorers—this photo was taken by Robert Falcon Scott on his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Credit: Robert Falcon Scott/Wikimedia, Public Domain.

    Fire and Ice

    The snow-covered Mount Erebus is the southernmost active volcano on Earth and shares Antarctica’s Ross Island with three other volcanoes-all dormant. Mount Erebus overlooks McMurdo Station, and nearby sits the hut built by legendary polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his men before they summited Erebus in 1908. Although its name ultimately harkens to Greek mythology’s personification of darkness, Captain James Ross named the volcano after one of his ships, the HMS Erebus, in 1841.

    Past studies into Erebus relied on seismic data to probe its inner workings. Scientists use seismic waves traveling through Earth to ascertain the material below. But Erebus has very few crustal-scale earthquakes, hamstringing the method to shallow depths.

    So Hill, Wannamaker, and their colleagues took a different approach: magnetotelluric data.

    During summers between 2014 and 2017, the team visited Erebus via helicopter. They visited 129 sites on Erebus and Ross Island, taking exhaustive measurements. “Hats off to Graham for the energy and drive to cover the entire island,” said Wannamaker.

    At each site, they’d recorded the natural electromagnetic waves that travel through Earth from the Sun and distant lightning bolts. “A lightning bolt is an impulsive antenna, if you will, and electromagnetic waves ripple out from that into your survey area,” said Wannamaker. Solar weather also produces waves that propagate through Earth.

    Captured by custom “voltmeters” on the surface and fed into a modeling algorithm, the waves can create a 3D picture of the electrical resistivity of material below, “kind of like a CT scan of the human body,” said Wannamaker.

    Mount Erebus is fed by a column of hotter rock extending vertically from at least 100 kilometers deep (yellow) and melted magma that extends up through the crust (red). Yellow and red represent unusually low resistivity below Erebus (10 and 5 ohm meters, respectively). DGFZ = Discovery Graben fault zone; EFZ = Erebus fault zone. Credit: Hillet al., 2022.

    The picture below Erebus is “very glorious.” Areas with lower electrical resistivity indicate the material is hot and, to some extent, melted. The image shows a hot region that extends to at least 100 kilometers below Erebus. There is also a channel of melt going upward through the crust that feeds the volcano, the new research shows.

    A languid plume rises from Mount Erebus’s lava lake in 1983. Credit: Bill Rose/Michigan Technological University, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

    Using this method gave the researchers a much higher resolution: It gave them a continuous view from a few hundred meters to about 100 kilometers deep. “That’s an advantage over other geophysical methods, such as most seismology,” said Wannamaker. The resolution got fuzzier the deeper they looked, however.

    In the image, a lower-resistivity area, likely magma, shoots toward the surface. This magma feeds the lava lake.

    Clues from the Deep

    “This material has been lurking down there,” said Wannamaker. This image “gives us some picture of the longer-term volatile recycling of the mantle and the crust, in particular to CO2.”

    More commonly studied volcanoes like the Cascades are rich in water. Water is very volatile (it easily bubbles out of the magma like fizz in a soda), and as the pressure drops as it gets nearer to the surface, it can suddenly saturate the magma and cause an explosive event, like the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens.

    Erebus is different. The magma’s birthplace in the upper mantle has little water, and the small amount of water it possesses disappears as the magma rises to the surface. The result is dry magma “reaching all the way to the very near surface, which is what we haven’t seen elsewhere.” The team published the results in Nature Communications last month.

    Another notable feature in the new Erebus image is the magma skewing eastward as it nears the surface. For more than 200 million years, Antarctica was splitting in two at the West Antarctic Rift. The separation stopped 11 million years ago, but local movements on Terror Rift, which underlies Mount Erebus and other volcanoes, continued.

    The magma reaches a choke point at the intersection of faults. There, magma and gas pressure build up in the lower middle crust. Occasionally, the magma and gas break through, carrying magma to the lake.

    “Accessible” Mount Erebus

    “This is a landmark study,” said Rick Aster, a professor at Colorado State University who was not involved in the new work. The latest findings address “one of the most remarkable features of Erebus volcano—that it has been able to sustain a convecting phonologic lava lake in its inner crater for at least many decades.”

    Although the new data are the most detailed yet, the researchers can’t see deeper into the mantle unless they take measurements over a larger footprint. A bigger footprint would require taking more measurements on sea ice and the ice shelf, like they did for about a dozen sites in the present study.

    Surprisingly, Erebus is “one of the more accessible systems in the world, if not the most accessible,” said Hill. Although it’s far away, “you have none of the other restrictions of forest cover and accessibility. You can pretty much go anywhere on Erebus to make your measurement.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Eos” is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

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