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  • richardmitnick 3:30 pm on January 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Radiometric Dating Sheds Light on Tectonic Debate", , , , Geology, Obduction-ophiolites-slices of oceanic crust and mantle atop a continental plate—offer uncommon opportunities to view seafloor geology from the comfort of land., Obduction: the oceanic plate ends up atop the more buoyant continental plate instead of diving below it., Subduction: the denser oceanic plate is pushed below the continental plate., The episode occurred approximately 81–77 million years ago when the Arabian continental plate subducted to the northeast below the Samail Ophiolite., The Samail Ophiolite (Oman–United Arab Emirates) is frequently studied as a model of obduction because of its well-exposed and well-studied geology., This conclusion refutes previously published estimates that continental subduction in Oman started 110 million years ago and may have occurred over two distinct episodes.   

    From Eos : “Radiometric Dating Sheds Light on Tectonic Debate” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    21 January 2022
    Aaron Sidder

    The emplacement of the Samail Ophiolite in Oman has been a source of disagreement among geologists. New state-of-the-art research offers a fresh perspective on its timing and geometry.

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    At the far edges of continents, where the continental shelf transitions into the deep ocean, continental and oceanic plates come face to face. At many of these margins, the denser oceanic plate is pushed below the continental plate in a process called subduction. However, in some cases, known as obduction, the oceanic plate ends up atop the more buoyant continental plate instead of diving below it.

    Obduction zones are unique because they foster the recycling of surface continental material to the deep mantle, which happens infrequently, and they have formed almost exclusively in the past billion years of Earth’s history. The resulting ophiolites—slices of oceanic crust and mantle atop a continental plate—offer uncommon opportunities to view seafloor geology from the comfort of land.

    The Samail Ophiolite (Oman–United Arab Emirates), in the northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is frequently studied as a model of obduction because of its well-exposed and well-studied geology. However, geologists disagree about the timing and geometry of the continental subduction that led to the final emplacement of the ophiolite. Several tectonic models offer hypotheses on the ophiolite’s obduction but differ in their conclusions.

    In a new study, Garber et al. [JGR: Solid Earth] sought to clarify the timing of the obduction episode in Oman. The authors sampled several different rocks from As Sifah, an Omani beach with an outcrop of high-grade continental metamorphic rocks subducted beneath the ophiolite. The studied As Sifah rocks reflect a diverse range of lithologies that all experienced the same metamorphic evolution, the authors say. Samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd) and uranium-lead (U-Pb) radiometric dating on the garnet, zircon, and rutile crystals in the rocks helped determine the age of the subduction event.

    The findings provide new constraints on the timing of the obduction of the ophiolitic rocks in Oman. The results indicate that the episode occurred approximately 81–77 million years ago when the Arabian continental plate subducted to the northeast below the Samail Ophiolite. The subduction of the Arabian plate to mantle depths occurred at rates similar to those of other small continental subduction events, and the tectonic evolution appears to be similar to that of other ophiolite formations.

    This conclusion refutes previously published estimates that continental subduction in Oman started 110 million years ago and may have occurred over two distinct episodes. Overall, the study provides a meaningful contribution to a long-debated geologic question.

    See the full article here .

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    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:55 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Recovering Mantle Memories from River Profiles", , , , Geology, Marine fossils on mountaintops in African and Arabian deserts suggest that until about 30 million years ago those portions of the landscape were at or below sea level., , , The continent of Africa has a distinctive physical geography-an “egg carton” pattern of basins and swells-that researchers attribute to plumes of mantle rocks rising beneath a tectonic plate., The spatial and temporal evolution of this uplift process is still not well defined., The team focused on Africa; Arabia and Madagascar where regional uplift patterns are relatively well constrained during the Cenozoic period., The team used a closed-loop modeling strategy that involved inverting more than 4000 river profiles to recover signals of regional uplift., The team used dynamic forward landscape simulations to evaluate the influence of such factors as precipitation and drainage divide migration., This study suggests that calibrated inverse modeling of river profiles can be successfully used to study landscape evolution., Topography, Using the profiles of the continent’s major rivers to trace the evolution of the landscape in space and time.   

    From Eos: “Recovering Mantle Memories from River Profiles” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    14 January 2022
    Kate Wheeling

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    New research uses profiles of major rivers, like the Nile, pictured here, to trace the history of uplift across the African continent. Credit: Vaido Otsar, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    The continent of Africa has a distinctive physical geography—an “egg carton” pattern of basins and swells—that researchers attribute to plumes of mantle rocks rising beneath a tectonic plate. Marine fossils on mountaintops in African and Arabian deserts suggest that until about 30 million years ago, those portions of the landscape were at or below sea level. But the spatial and temporal evolution of this uplift process is still not well defined. In a new study, O’Malley et al. [Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth] use the profiles of the continent’s major rivers to trace the evolution of the landscape in space and time.

    To test the idea that rivers might serve as “tape recorders” for mantle processes, the team focused on Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar, where regional uplift patterns are relatively well constrained during the Cenozoic period. They applied a closed-loop modeling strategy that involved inverting more than 4,000 river profiles to recover signals of regional uplift and validating those signals with geological observations.

    The team used dynamic forward landscape simulations to evaluate the influence of such factors as precipitation and drainage divide migration, as well as to test the assumptions used in the inverse modeling of river profiles. Although these assumptions are still a matter of debate, this study showed that inverse modeling of river profiles across the study area recovers an uplift history that fits observations, and landscape simulations using these uplift histories predict drainage networks, paleotopography, and deltaic sedimentation histories that match data. This result remains true when precipitation rates vary across space and time. Overall, this study suggests that calibrated inverse modeling of river profiles can be successfully used to study landscape evolution.

    See the full article here .

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    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:07 pm on January 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Research in Colorado mountains takes students’ environmental immersion to new heights", , , Bringing the research alive and painting a more holistic picture of what Earth processes are happening., , Communication of Science and Technology, , , , Environmental Sciences, Environmental Sociology, Geology, Glacial Geology, Glaciers are disappearing.,   

    From Vanderbilt University (US): “Research in Colorado mountains takes students’ environmental immersion to new heights” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    Jan. 20, 2022
    Amy Wolf


    Research trip to Colorado takes students’ environmental immersion experience to new heights.

    Vanderbilt junior Callie Hilgenhurst and a dozen of her classmates took their research to a new immersive level, collecting soil and rock samples 9,000 feet up in the Sawatch Mountain Range of Colorado. Their work in the mountains and then in the lab helped show the movement of glaciers, ultimately giving clues about the impact of climate change.

    “This trip to Colorado was really incredible,” said Hilgenhurst, an Earth and environmental sciences major from Nashville. “Going out and being part of the scientific method—literally taking samples that we get to bring back to the lab—and experiencing the research on such a grand scale was awesome.”

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    Students in the new Glacial Geology class. From left to right: Miquéla Thornton, Genna Chiaro, Sophia Wang, Courtney Howarth, Easton Maxey, Alex Xu, Kevin Chen, behind him is Ellie Miller, and to the right of her is Estelle Shaya, and Bryce Belanger; on the bottom is Rachel Brewer, Callie Hilgenhurst and Kristin Sequeira.

    The immersive trip was part of a new class in the College of Arts and Science called Glacial Geology.

    “It’s designed to help students think about the landforms and landscapes that glaciers create and leave behind,” said Dan Morgan, associate dean in the College of Arts and Science and principal senior lecturer in Earth and environmental sciences. “Then we analyze what drives those advances and retreats in glaciers and put that in the context of global climate change.”

    CLIMATE CHANGE

    Many of the students in the class said making an impact on climate change is crucial. That’s why faculty designed the class with only one prerequisite, allowing students with diverse majors to take the course.

    “Fighting climate change is very big in my heart, and it’s really important that we do everything we can to maintain the 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming as much as we can. I also took the class because I know that glacial geology isn’t always going to be around in the future because glaciers are disappearing,” Hilgenhurst said.

    Fellow student Ellie Miller has dedicated a great amount of energy to Earth sciences as a triple major in Earth and environmental sciences, environmental sociology and communication of science and technology. She jumped at the chance to gather data in the field and learn more about glacial environments.

    “I was so ready to get my hands dirty and actually see where my samples are coming from—and then carry that all back to the lab and be able to run procedures,” said the Olathe, Kansas, resident. “Being able to see the connection between our field site and the data that we’re producing here at Vanderbilt brings the research alive and paints a more holistic picture of what Earth processes are happening.”

    This trip was Miquéla Thornton’s first experience out west. The communication of science and technology and creative writing double major from Richton Park, Illinois, said she loved observing her fellow students and then writing about the experience.

    “In my time at Vanderbilt, I’ve taken both environmental science and psychology classes, which really sparked an interest in science writing because everyone needs to understand what’s going on with climate change and what’s happening with our Earth,” she said.

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    Dan Morgan (far right) teaches as part of his Glacial Geology class during an immersive trip in Colorado.

    IMMERSION TRIPS

    Morgan, who has led Vanderbilt undergraduates on expeditions to places as remote as Antarctica, said bringing students into the field is invaluable in connecting them to the research.

    “This is something that’s fun and makes Vanderbilt a really special place because we’re educating and expanding the living-learning experience all the way to this mountain.”

    See the full article here .

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    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:06 am on January 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the south Pacific erupts violently", , , Geology, ,   

    From temblor: “Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the south Pacific erupts violently” 

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    From temblor

    January 18, 2022
    Marie Edmonds, Ph.D., The University of Cambridge (UK)

    The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Tongatapu, Tonga, erupted on January 15 at 5:14 p.m. local time, triggering tsunami waves that swept across the Pacific. The energy released in the eruption was equivalent to a magnitude-5.8 earthquake at the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The powerful eruption was captured on satellite images, which show a shock wave and a rapidly expanding ash cloud that reached 12 miles (20 kilometers) into the atmosphere.

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    The expanding ash cloud from the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano on January 15. Credit: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US), Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

    News of the immediate impact of the eruption on the Tongan islands has been slow to emerge because internet communications have been entirely cut off by the eruption. It is likely, however, that the islands have experienced many inches of ash fall as well as damage from the tsunami, which inundated coastal areas and reached a height of 2.7 feet (83 centimetres) in Nuku’alofa, according to The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (US).

    2
    The island of Tongatapu and the nearby smaller islands – all part of the Kingdom of Tonga archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean – are pictured in this Sentinel-2A image from May 23, 2016. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA,CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO, via Wikimedia Commons

    ESA Copernicus Sentinel-2.

    Tsunami waves reached 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) along the northeastern coastline of Japan at a port in Kuji, Iwate (Source: Japan Meteorological Agency) and up to 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) in Port San Luis, California (Source: NOAA). In northern Peru, two people drowned when waves inundated a beach in the Lambayeque region.

    Explosion detected on the other side of the world

    The eruption was heard in New Zealand. The shock wave was violent enough to shake houses in Fiji, more than 450 miles (720 kilometers) away from Tonga.

    Pressure surges from the atmospheric perturbation caused by the eruption were felt right across the world. Atmospheric pressure fluctuations have been reported in New Zealand, the U.S., Brazil, Japan and Europe. More than 14 hours after the eruption, The Meteorological Office (UK) picked up several pressure waves, more than 10,000 miles away from the volcano. The agency described the waves as “like dropping a pebble in a still pond and seeing the ripples.”

    The eruption was so powerful it destroyed the subaerial part of the volcano that had been built up in successive eruptions since 2015, according to the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program. Radar images of the island acquired by The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)’s Sentinel-2 satellite show that the island has largely disappeared following the eruption; only the far southwestern and northeastern tips of the island remain.

    3
    Before (left) and after (right) radar images of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai Volcano, Tonga, January 2 and 17, 2022. Credit: Copernicus/ESA/Sentinal Hub.

    Long-term climate impacts unlikely

    The ash produced by the eruption has now dispersed from the caldera, but the finest particles are likely still aloft high in the atmosphere and will remain there for months or even years.

    The eruption also produced around 0.4 teragrams of sulfur dioxide (SO2), according to spectrometer data from ESA’s Sentinel 5P satellite.

    ESA Copernicus Sentinel-5P.

    Past large explosive eruptions have typically been associated with global cooling. SO2 injected into the stratosphere — the second layer of the atmosphere — forms sulfate aerosol when it reacts with water, which absorbs and scatters incoming radiation from the sun, thereby cooling the Earth’s surface.

    The 1991 eruption of Pinatubo Volcano in the Philippines emitted around 18-19 teragrams of SO2, which caused cooling of a few tenths of a degree for a few years. It is unlikely that the SO2 emitted from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption will significantly impact the climate.

    One volcano in a chain

    The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano lies along the Tonga-Kermedec Arc, where two tectonic plates in the southwest Pacific converge. This volcano is one of a chain of largely submarine volcanoes that extend all the way from New Zealand in the southwest to Fiji in the north-northeast. Here, the Pacific plate subducts beneath the Indo-Australian plate. As it sinks, the Pacific Plate heats up, releasing fluids into the overlying rocks, which causes them to melt. The magma rises into the overlying crust and some erupts at the surface. Eruptions from subduction zone volcanoes are notoriously explosive because magmas there are sticky and contain large quantities of dissolved water from the mantle, which is the explosion’s “fuel.”

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    Map of the Kermadec and Tonga subduction trench. Credit: Nwbeeson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

    For submarine volcanic eruptions however, there is an added ingredient that causes them to be extra-violent. During large volcanic eruptions a caldera, or large depression on the surface, can form due to the void left in the ground by the erupted magma. Calderas that form on the seafloor can cause tsunamis and large earthquakes when large rock masses sink during the eruption.

    Seawater can flow into the faults and fractures that form around the edges of the caldera. If water comes into contact with hot magma, it flash boils into steam, which expands rapidly, adding to the explosive power of an eruption. Such eruptions are termed “hydrovolcanic.” They generate powerful base surges — or pyroclastic flows — that expand out from the base of the eruption column, and can travel long distances. A famous example is the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa Volcano in Indonesia. The sound of the explosion was heard 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometers) away. Large tsunami waves and pyroclastic surges that travelled 25 miles (40 kilometers) over the surface of the sea killed more than 36,000 people.

    Geologists studying the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano have uncovered its few-thousand-year-long history of eruptions just like the one that occurred on January 15. The volcano erupted explosively in 2009 and in 2014-2015, producing ‘Surtseyan’ eruptions — a smaller magnitude explosive eruption produced by the interaction of magma and seawater. The precise magnitude of this latest eruption will be known once the height of the eruption column as well as the volume of erupted material is estimated, but it is certainly one of the most significant eruptions of the 21st century thus far.

    5
    NASA’s Terra satellite on December 29, 2014, showing a white plume rising over the undersea volcano Hunga Ha’apai, near Hunga Tonga in the South Pacific. Discolored water suggests an underwater release of gases and rock by the eruption. Credit: NASA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)Terra satellite.

    Answers still to come

    There are many questions to be answered over the coming weeks and months about the mechanisms and impacts of this eruption. Immediate questions concern the fate of the residents of Tonga, who are contending with the enormous challenges of the aftermath of the eruption and tsunami, including missing loved ones, enormous infrastructure damage, thick ash cover, contaminated drinking supplies and a lack of basic medical and communication services.

    There will be detailed studies of the geophysical signals accompanying the eruption and the period leading up to it to better understand how the eruption was triggered and its magnitude. Scientists will be particularly interested in infrasound, satellite-based data and eventually will study the volcanic deposits and landforms produced. In particular, scientists will seek to understand the geological sequence of events that led to the simultaneous explosion and tsunami that had such wide-ranging effects across the Pacific Ocean.

    References

    Guo, S., Bluth, G. J., Rose, W. I., Watson, I. M., & Prata, A. J. (2004). Re‐evaluation of SO2 release of the 15 June 1991 Pinatubo eruption using ultraviolet and infrared satellite sensors. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 5(4).

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Earthquake Alert

    1

    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network project Earthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    3
    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Meet The Quake-Catcher Network

    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.

    Authorities

    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach
    rdegroot@usgs.gov
    626-583-7225

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan

    QuakeAlertUSA

    1

    About Early Warning Labs, LLC

    Early Warning Labs, LLC (EWL) is an Earthquake Early Warning technology developer and integrator located in Santa Monica, CA. EWL is partnered with industry leading GIS provider ESRI, Inc. and is collaborating with the US Government and university partners.

    EWL is investing millions of dollars over the next 36 months to complete the final integration and delivery of Earthquake Early Warning to individual consumers, government entities, and commercial users.

    EWL’s mission is to improve, expand, and lower the costs of the existing earthquake early warning systems.

    EWL is developing a robust cloud server environment to handle low-cost mass distribution of these warnings. In addition, Early Warning Labs is researching and developing automated response standards and systems that allow public and private users to take pre-defined automated actions to protect lives and assets.

    EWL has an existing beta R&D test system installed at one of the largest studios in Southern California. The goal of this system is to stress test EWL’s hardware, software, and alert signals while improving latency and reliability.

    Earthquake Early Warning Introduction

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with state agencies, university partners, and private industry, is developing an earthquake early warning system (EEW) for the West Coast of the United States called ShakeAlert. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program aims to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States. Citizens, first responders, and engineers rely on the USGS for accurate and timely information about where earthquakes occur, the ground shaking intensity in different locations, and the likelihood is of future significant ground shaking.

    The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System recently entered its first phase of operations. The USGS working in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is now allowing for the testing of public alerting via apps, Wireless Emergency Alerts, and by other means throughout California.

    ShakeAlert partners in Oregon and Washington are working with the USGS to test public alerting in those states sometime in 2020.

    ShakeAlert has demonstrated the feasibility of earthquake early warning, from event detection to producing USGS issued ShakeAlerts ® and will continue to undergo testing and will improve over time. In particular, robust and reliable alert delivery pathways for automated actions are currently being developed and implemented by private industry partners for use in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    Earthquake Early Warning Background

    The objective of an earthquake early warning system is to rapidly detect the initiation of an earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking intensity to be expected, and issue a warning before significant ground shaking starts. A network of seismic sensors detects the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, and the location and the magnitude of the earthquake is rapidly determined. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated. The system can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, which brings the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage. Warnings will be distributed to local and state public emergency response officials, critical infrastructure, private businesses, and the public. EEW systems have been successfully implemented in Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and other nations with varying degrees of sophistication and coverage.

    Earthquake early warning can provide enough time to:

    Instruct students and employees to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On
    Initiate mass notification procedures
    Open fire-house doors and notify local first responders
    Slow and stop trains and taxiing planes
    Install measures to prevent/limit additional cars from going on bridges, entering tunnels, and being on freeway overpasses before the shaking starts
    Move people away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments
    Shut down gas lines, water treatment plants, or nuclear reactors
    Automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems

    However, earthquake warning notifications must be transmitted without requiring human review and response action must be automated, as the total warning times are short depending on geographic distance and varying soil densities from the epicenter.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:24 am on January 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent and what to expect next", , , Geology, ,   

    From The Conversation : “Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent and what to expect next” 

    From The Conversation

    January 15, 2022
    Shane Cronin
    Professor of Earth Sciences,
    The University of Auckland (NZ)

    The Kingdom of Tonga doesn’t often attract global attention, but a violent eruption of an underwater volcano on January 15 has spread shock waves, quite literally, around half the world.

    2
    This picture taken on December 21, 2021 shows white gaseous clouds rising from the Hunga Ha’apai eruption seen from the Patangata coastline near Tongan capital Nuku’alofa. Photo: Mary Lyn Fonua.

    The volcano is usually not much to look at. It consists of two small uninhabited islands, Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga, poking about 100m above sea level 65km north of Tonga’s capital Nuku‘alofa. But hiding below the waves is a massive volcano, around 1800m high and 20km wide.

    3
    A massive underwater volcano lies next to the Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga islands. Author provided.

    The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past few decades. During events in 2009 and 2014/15 hot jets of magma and steam exploded through the waves. But these eruptions were small, dwarfed in scale by the January 2022 events.

    Our research into these earlier eruptions suggests this is one of the massive explosions the volcano is capable of producing roughly every thousand years.

    4
    A newly formed volcanic cone between the Tonga islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha‘apai erupts on 15 January 2015, releasing dense, particle-rich jets from the upper regions and surges of water-rich material around the base. The monthlong Hunga eruption created a new island that is now the subject of study and promises to reveal new aspects of the region’s explosive volcanic past. Credit: New Zealand High Commission, Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

    Why are the volcano’s eruptions so highly explosive, given that sea water should cool the magma down?

    If magma rises into sea water slowly, even at temperatures of about 1200℃, a thin film of steam forms between the magma and water. This provides a layer of insulation to allow the outer surface of the magma to cool.

    But this process doesn’t work when magma is blasted out of the ground full of volcanic gas. When magma enters the water rapidly, any steam layers are quickly disrupted, bringing hot magma in direct contact with cold water.

    Volcano researchers call this “fuel-coolant interaction” and it is akin to weapons-grade chemical explosions. Extremely violent blasts tear the magma apart. A chain reaction begins, with new magma fragments exposing fresh hot interior surfaces to water, and the explosions repeat, ultimately jetting out volcanic particles and causing blasts with supersonic speeds.

    Two scales of Hunga eruptions

    The 2014/15 eruption created a volcanic cone, joining the two old Hunga islands to create a combined island about 5km long. We visited in 2016, and discovered these historical eruptions were merely curtain raisers to the main event.

    Mapping the sea floor, we discovered a hidden “caldera” 150m below the waves.

    5
    A map of the seafloor shows the volcanic cones and massive caldera. Author provided.

    The caldera is a crater-like depression around 5km across. Small eruptions (such as in 2009 and 2014/15) occur mainly at the edge of the caldera, but very big ones come from the caldera itself. These big eruptions are so large the top of the erupting magma collapses inward, deepening the caldera.

    Looking at the chemistry of past eruptions, we now think the small eruptions represent the magma system slowly recharging itself to prepare for a big event.

    We found evidence of two huge past eruptions from the Hunga caldera in deposits on the old islands. We matched these chemically to volcanic ash deposits on the largest inhabited island of Tongatapu, 65km away, and then used radiocarbon dates to show that big caldera eruptions occur about ever 1000 years, with the last one at AD1100.

    With this knowledge, the eruption on January 15 seems to be right on schedule for a “big one”.

    What we can expect to happen now

    We’re still in the middle of this major eruptive sequence and many aspects remain unclear, partly because the island is currently obscured by ash clouds.

    The two earlier eruptions on December 20 2021 and January 13 2022 were of moderate size. They produced clouds of up to 17km elevation and added new land to the 2014/15 combined island.

    The latest eruption has stepped up the scale in terms of violence. The ash plume is already about 20km high. Most remarkably, it spread out almost concentrically over a distance of about 130km from the volcano, creating a plume with a 260km diameter, before it was distorted by the wind.

    6
    This demonstrates a huge explosive power – one that cannot be explained by magma-water interaction alone. It shows instead that large amounts of fresh, gas-charged magma have erupted from the caldera.

    The eruption also produced a tsunami throughout Tonga and neighbouring Fiji and Samoa. Shock waves traversed many thousands of kilometres, were seen from space, and recorded in New Zealand some 2000km away. Soon after the eruption started, the sky was blocked out on Tongatapu, with ash beginning to fall.

    All these signs suggest the large Hunga caldera has awoken. Tsunami are generated by coupled atmospheric and ocean shock waves during an explosions, but they are also readily caused by submarine landslides and caldera collapses.

    Our research into these earlier eruptions suggests this is one of the massive explosions the volcano is capable of producing roughly every thousand years.

    Why are the volcano’s eruptions so highly explosive, given that sea water should cool the magma down?

    If magma rises into sea water slowly, even at temperatures of about 1200℃, a thin film of steam forms between the magma and water. This provides a layer of insulation to allow the outer surface of the magma to cool.

    But this process doesn’t work when magma is blasted out of the ground full of volcanic gas. When magma enters the water rapidly, any steam layers are quickly disrupted, bringing hot magma in direct contact with cold water.

    Volcano researchers call this “fuel-coolant interaction” and it is akin to weapons-grade chemical explosions. Extremely violent blasts tear the magma apart. A chain reaction begins, with new magma fragments exposing fresh hot interior surfaces to water, and the explosions repeat, ultimately jetting out volcanic particles and causing blasts with supersonic speeds.

    It remains unclear if this is the climax of the eruption. It represents a major magma pressure release, which may settle the system.

    A warning, however, lies in geological deposits from the volcano’s previous eruptions. These complex sequences show each of the 1000-year major caldera eruption episodes involved many separate explosion events.

    Hence we could be in for several weeks or even years of major volcanic unrest from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano. For the sake of the people of Tonga I hope not.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Conversation launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:56 pm on January 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Strong earthquake increases seismic hazard in Qinghai in China", , , Geology, ,   

    From temblor : “Strong earthquake increases seismic hazard in Qinghai in China” 

    1

    From temblor

    January 13, 2022

    By Zhigang Peng, Ph.D., School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, The Georgia Institute of Technology (US), Jing Liu-Zeng, Ph.D., Tianjin University[天津大學](CN), Yangfan Deng, Ph.D., The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN) Center for Excellence in Deep Earth Science, Guangzhou, China, Shinji Toda, Ph.D., International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University [東北大学](JP).

    A powerful magnitude-6.6 earthquake occurred in the Qinghai province in Western China on January 7, 2022 (Figure 1). The quake struck at 1:45 a.m. local time in a remote region of Menyuan county. It was the largest earthquake in China since the magnitude-7.3 Maduo earthquake in the same province in May 2021. The Menyuan earthquake was widely felt in surrounding regions and caused temporary halts of several high-speed rail lines. But the region is sparsely populated, and only minor injuries and property damage were reported.

    1
    Figure 1. Active faults in the northeastern Tibetan plateau and the focal mechanism of the most recent Menyuan earthquake in Northwestern China. The inset marks the map in a larger map of Tibetan Plateau. HYF: Haiyuan Fault; ATF: Altyn Tagh Fault; KF: Kunlun fault; XHF: Xianshuihe Fault. Credit: Wenqian Yao.

    Tectonic Environment

    The earthquake occurred in the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, which was created by the collision between the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. Near the recent epicenter, tectonic movement is mostly accommodated by a combination of thrust faults and left-lateral strike-slip fault systems such as the Altyn Tagh, the Kunlun and Haiyuan faults (Figure 1). The most recent Menyuan earthquake occurred on the Lenglongling (meaning “Cold Dragon Ridge” in Chinese) Fault, which is the western branch of the Haiyuan fault. This region is seismically active. Moderate-sized earthquakes occurred in 1986 and 2016 within 40 kilometers to the east of the recent epicenter. Both preceding events involved thrust motion, and so were different from this strike-slip event. All three quakes occurred in a “restraining bend” of the Haiyuan fault, meaning that there is compression straddling the fault, leading to a combination of thrusting and strike-slip motion.

    Compared with the 2016 event, the 2022 earthquake started in the same bend or jog, but the rupture appeared to propagate further to the west along the main strike-slip fault, producing roughly 22-kilometer surface ruptures on the ground. Further to the east, two roughly magnitude-8.0 earthquakes occurred in the past century (the 1920 Haiyuan and 1927 Gulang earthquakes), causing significant damage and casualties (Figure 2). The great 1920 Haiyuan earthquake also triggered numerous landslides in the terrain mantled by loess — windblown sand or dust, often derived from glacier deposits. Between these great earthquakes is a 260-kilometer-long segment of the Haiyuan Fault that has not ruptured in the past 1000 years (Liu-Zeng et al., 2007). The section is known as the “Tianzhu” seismic gap (Gaudemer et al. 1995) and could host large damaging earthquakes in the future.

    2
    Figure 2. Tectonic map and earthquake locations/focal mechanisms in the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau. The blue lines mark ruptures associated with previous large earthquakes and the red line mark the Tianzhu seismic gap. Modified after Deng et al. (2020).

    Mainshock Slip Patterns and Intensities

    The mainshock focal mechanism is primarily left-lateral, which is consistent with the tectonic movement of the nearby Lenglongling Fault. Rapid finite fault modeling based on long-period teleseismic waves has shown that the mainshock ruptured in both directions along the fault from its nucleation point, with more slip to the east (Figure 3). In contrast, back-projections of short-period teleseismic P waves suggest that the mainshock ruptured primarily to the northwest (Figure 4). This is perhaps not surprising because these approaches use different techniques and frequency bands, and hence they are mostly sensitive to different types of earthquake rupture. For example, long-period finite fault modeling results likely correspond to smooth ruptures that produce significant fault slip. In comparison, short-period back-projection results likely image seismic ruptures on a relatively rough patch that produce significant high-frequency shaking. This is qualitatively consistent with the near-field strong motion and intensity recordings (Figure 5), showing high peak accelerations primarily around the mainshock epicenter and to the northwest direction.

    3
    Figure 3. A preliminary finite fault modeling result for the 2022 magnitude-6.6 Menyuan mainshock based on teleseismic P waves. The inset marks the fault strike with respect to north. Modified from results by Weiming Wang.

    4
    Figure 4. Mainshock rupture propagation results based on back-projection stack of teleseismic P waves recorded at broadband stations in Europe. Timing (color of circles) and amplitude (size of circles) for the stack with the maximum correlation at each time step in the map view. Red and black stars represent the epicenter of the 2022 Mw 6.6 Qinghai earthquake determined by the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), and United States Geological Survey (USGS), respectively. Gray circles indicate the locations of aftershocks that occurred within one day following the main shock (from Lihua Fang). Red lines represent traces of faults and province boundaries, respectively. Credit: Dun Wang.

    5
    Figure 5. Near-field peak acceleration map for the M6.6 Menyuan mainshock. Modified from a figure provided by Qiang Ma.

    Aftershocks and Surface Ruptures

    As of January 13, 2022, at 8 a.m. Beijing time, more than 5000 aftershocks have been identified (Figure 6). The largest aftershock has a moment magnitude of 5.3. Relocated aftershocks extended about 40 kilometers to both sides of the mainshock epicenter. To the west, the aftershocks illuminate a fault striking nearly east-west, which is consistent with a rupture on the similarly oriented Tuolaishan Fault (TLSF). To the east, aftershocks mostly follow the local strike of the Lenglongling fault (LLLF). There appears to be a few kilometers gap between the aftershocks of the 2022 magnitude-6.6 mainshock and those of the 2016 magnitude-5.9 mainshock. The 2016 event was a thrust event that likely ruptured the Northern Lenglongling Fault (NLLLF) (Liu et al., 2019), rather than the left-lateral Lenglongling Fault that ruptured in the most recent event.

    6
    Figure 6. A comparison of relocated aftershocks following the 2022 M6.6 and 2016 M5.9 mainshocks. The aftershock locations following the 2022 mainshock were provided by Lihua Fang. LLLF: Lenglongling fault; NLLLF: Northern Lenglongling fault; TLSF: Tuolaishan fault. The 2016 aftershock locations were from Liu et al. (2019). Credit: Yangfan Deng.

    Coulomb Stress Transfers and Seismic Hazard

    9
    Figure 9. Coulomb stress changes due to the 2016 Mw5.9 earthquake resolved onto (a) the left-lateral faults parallel to the 2022 rupture plane and (b) onto the 2022 fault plane of the finite fault model of Wang et al. (Figure 3). We implemented a simple uniform slip model of the NW-striking blind thrust for the 2016 earthquake based on the USGS CMT and Wells and Coppersmith (1994) empirical relation. Credit: Shinji Toda.

    Due to their proximity and timing, we explore whether the 2016 magnitude-5.9 event promoted the 2022 magnitude-6.6 earthquake by static stress transfer. As shown in Figure 9, the 2016 magnitude-5.9 earthquake imparted up to 0.4 bar (0.04 MPa) of stress on the fault plane that ruptured during the 2022 earthquake. The calculation was done using the Coulomb 3.3 Software (Toda et al., 2011), with an effective coefficient of friction of 0.4. Similarly, we also compute the Coulomb stress changes on both left-lateral faults and northwest-trending thrust faults due to the combined effects of the 2016 and 2022 events (Figure 10). As expected, both events produced positive stress changes on nearby faults, suggesting an increased likelihood of future damaging earthquakes in these regions. In particular, the 2022 earthquake may have brought the unbroken sections to the west (i.e., the Tuolaishan Fault) and east (i.e., the Lenglongling Fault) of the 2022 surface ruptures several bars closer to failure. Indeed, so far, several roughly magnitude-5.0 aftershocks have occurred, suggesting seismic hazard in these sections is relatively high.

    10
    Figure 10. The maximum Coulomb stress imparted by both 2016 and 2022 events for (a) WNW-striking left-lateral faults, and (b) NW-trending thrust faults at a depth range of 5-15 km. The finite fault model by Wang et al. (Figure 3) is used for the 2022 earthquake stress transfer. Credit: Shinji Toda.

    The recent earthquake struck in an area previously highlighted by the China Earthquake Administration as having a high probability of a magnitude-6.0 or greater earthquake (Xu et al., 2017). This earthquake provides a glimmer of hope for the scientists engaging in long- and short-term earthquake forecasting in China.

    Acknowledgement

    We thank Drs. Lihua Fang at Institute of Geophysics, China Earthquake Administration, Dun Wang at Chinese University of Geosciences, Wuhan, Weiming Wang at Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qiang Ma at Institute Engineering Mechanics, China Earthquake Administration, and Jie Gao at China Earthquake Disaster Prevention Center for providing their preliminary results and field photos that are included in this news report. We also thank Dr. Weqian Yao at Tianjing University for making Figure 1.

    References

    Deng, Y., Peng, Z., & Liu-Zeng, J. (2020), Systematic search for repeating earthquakes along the Haiyuan fault system in Northeastern Tibet, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125(7), e2020JB019583, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JB019583.

    Gaudemer, Y., Tapponnier, P., Meyer, B., Peltzer, G., Shunmin, G., Zhitai, C., et al. (1995). Partitioning of crustal slip between linked, active faults in the eastern Qilian Shan, and evidence for a major seismic gap, the ‘Tianzhu gap’, on the western Haiyuan Fault, Gansu (China). Geophysical Journal International, 120(3), 599–645. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.1995.tb01842.x

    Liu, M., Li, H., Peng, Z., Ouyang, L., Ma, Y., Ma, J., Liang, Z., & Huang, Y. (2019), Spatial-temporal distribution of early aftershocks following the 2016 Ms 6.4 Menyuan, Qinghai, China Earthquake, Tectonophysics, 766, 469-479, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2019.06.022.

    Liu-Zeng, J., Y. Klinger, X. Xu, C. Lasserre, G. Chen, W. Chen, P. Tapponnier, and B. Zhang, 2007. Millennial Recurrence of Large Earthquakes on the Haiyuan Fault near Songshan, Gansu Province, China, Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, 97 (1B): 14-34

    Toda, S. R. S. Stein, V. Sevilgen, and J. Lin (2011) Coulomb 3.3 graphic-rich deformation and stress-change software for earthquake, tectonic, and volcano research and teaching —user guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1060, 63 p., available at https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1060/.

    Wells, D.L. and Coppersmith K.J. (1994), New Empirical Relationships among Magnitude, Rupture Length, Rupture width, Rupture Area, and Surface Displacement. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 84, 974-1002.

    Xu, Xiwei, X. Wu, G. Yu, X. Tan, and K. Li (2017), Seismo-geological signatures for identifying M≥7.0 earthquake risk areas and their preliminary application in mainland China, Seismology and Geology, 39(2), doi:10.3969/j.isn.0253-4967.2017.02.001 (in Chinese).

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Earthquake Alert

    1

    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network project Earthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    3
    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Meet The Quake-Catcher Network

    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.

    Authorities

    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach
    rdegroot@usgs.gov
    626-583-7225

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan

    QuakeAlertUSA

    1

    About Early Warning Labs, LLC

    Early Warning Labs, LLC (EWL) is an Earthquake Early Warning technology developer and integrator located in Santa Monica, CA. EWL is partnered with industry leading GIS provider ESRI, Inc. and is collaborating with the US Government and university partners.

    EWL is investing millions of dollars over the next 36 months to complete the final integration and delivery of Earthquake Early Warning to individual consumers, government entities, and commercial users.

    EWL’s mission is to improve, expand, and lower the costs of the existing earthquake early warning systems.

    EWL is developing a robust cloud server environment to handle low-cost mass distribution of these warnings. In addition, Early Warning Labs is researching and developing automated response standards and systems that allow public and private users to take pre-defined automated actions to protect lives and assets.

    EWL has an existing beta R&D test system installed at one of the largest studios in Southern California. The goal of this system is to stress test EWL’s hardware, software, and alert signals while improving latency and reliability.

    Earthquake Early Warning Introduction

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with state agencies, university partners, and private industry, is developing an earthquake early warning system (EEW) for the West Coast of the United States called ShakeAlert. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program aims to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States. Citizens, first responders, and engineers rely on the USGS for accurate and timely information about where earthquakes occur, the ground shaking intensity in different locations, and the likelihood is of future significant ground shaking.

    The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System recently entered its first phase of operations. The USGS working in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is now allowing for the testing of public alerting via apps, Wireless Emergency Alerts, and by other means throughout California.

    ShakeAlert partners in Oregon and Washington are working with the USGS to test public alerting in those states sometime in 2020.

    ShakeAlert has demonstrated the feasibility of earthquake early warning, from event detection to producing USGS issued ShakeAlerts ® and will continue to undergo testing and will improve over time. In particular, robust and reliable alert delivery pathways for automated actions are currently being developed and implemented by private industry partners for use in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    Earthquake Early Warning Background

    The objective of an earthquake early warning system is to rapidly detect the initiation of an earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking intensity to be expected, and issue a warning before significant ground shaking starts. A network of seismic sensors detects the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, and the location and the magnitude of the earthquake is rapidly determined. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated. The system can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, which brings the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage. Warnings will be distributed to local and state public emergency response officials, critical infrastructure, private businesses, and the public. EEW systems have been successfully implemented in Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and other nations with varying degrees of sophistication and coverage.

    Earthquake early warning can provide enough time to:

    Instruct students and employees to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On
    Initiate mass notification procedures
    Open fire-house doors and notify local first responders
    Slow and stop trains and taxiing planes
    Install measures to prevent/limit additional cars from going on bridges, entering tunnels, and being on freeway overpasses before the shaking starts
    Move people away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments
    Shut down gas lines, water treatment plants, or nuclear reactors
    Automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems

    However, earthquake warning notifications must be transmitted without requiring human review and response action must be automated, as the total warning times are short depending on geographic distance and varying soil densities from the epicenter.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:21 pm on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Uncertain Future of Antarctica’s Melting Ice", , , , , Geology,   

    From Eos: “The Uncertain Future of Antarctica’s Melting Ice” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    10 January 2022
    Florence Colleoni
    Tim Naish
    Robert DeConto
    Laura De Santis
    Pippa L. Whitehouse

    A new multidisciplinary, international research program aims to tackle one of the grand challenges in climate science: resolving the Antarctic Ice Sheet’s contribution to future sea level rise.

    1
    Meltwater pours from a 130-meter-wide waterfall over the edge of the Nansen ice shelf in Antarctica on 12 January 2014. Credit: Won Sang Lee, Korea Polar Research Institute [목록 > > 극지연구소(영문)](KR)

    Among the most visible effects of anthropogenic global warming are rising seas around the world: Since 1880, the global mean sea level (GMSL) has increased by 20 centimeters. There’s no easy way to halt or reverse this change. Earth’s ocean and ice sheets respond slowly to changes in the heat they receive from the atmosphere, and they hold onto heat for decades to centuries. As a result, sea level globally will continue to rise well beyond the 21st century, even if warming of the planet is stabilized below the target set by the Paris climate agreement in 2015 of 2°C above the preindustrial average.

    The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) and the 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects both state that it is very likely that climate change–induced sea level rise will affect much of the world’s coasts in the coming decades. An estimated 800 million people are likely to experience impacts of high-tide flooding by the end of the 21st century, even if the Paris climate agreement target is met.

    In many coastal settings, even a small increase in baseline sea level can substantially increase the frequency and magnitude of flooding during high tides, storm surges, and extreme weather. The United Nations estimates that the potential costs of damage to harbors and ports alone from this flooding could be as high as $111.6 billion by 2050 and $367.2 billion by the end of the century.

    What’s more, if policies aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric warming this century fail, sea level rise will accelerate, dramatically reshaping our shorelines for centuries to come. Higher seas will cause shorelines to recede and coastal flooding to worsen impacts on communities, infrastructure, natural resources, and biodiversity on all the world’s coastlines. It is already unavoidable that many communities will be displaced and, in some cases, forced to migrate as climate refugees.

    Quantifying the pace of GMSL rise as well as the magnitude of the long-term rise (a few centuries onward), to which we are committed, is thus essential for effective adaptation planning and the evaluation of mitigation pathways and policies. Pinning down these quantities requires a focused effort from the scientific community to identify and understand the key rate-determining processes that affect melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS)—the largest and most uncertain potential contributor to future sea level rise.

    Many of these processes generate dynamical instabilities and involve nonlinear and potentially irreversible behaviors. Thus, establishing their relative roles in future ice sheet dynamics will not only improve sea level projections but may identify a threshold level of atmospheric carbon dioxide that once crossed, may cause unstoppable, multigenerational mass loss from the AIS and commitment to global sea level rise.

    In February 2021, Instabilities and Thresholds in Antarctica (INSTANT), an international, interdisciplinary, and interorganizational program of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), was launched with the specific goal of reducing these uncertainties and filling gaps in our knowledge of the AIS.

    Disappearing Ice Shelves

    About a third of the AIS is marine based, resting on bedrock below sea level, and most of the ice sheet margin terminates in the ocean, making it susceptible to dynamical instabilities that can cause rapid ice loss [Pattyn and Morlighem, 2020*].

    *All included citations are included in “References” below.

    In many places around the ice sheet margin, the seaward-flowing ice forms floating ice shelves. Ice shelves in contact with bathymetric highs in the seafloor or confined within embayments provide buttressing that impedes the flow of upstream ice. Disintegration of ice shelves will therefore play a key role in the pace of future ice mass loss. Satellite observations show that most Antarctic ice shelves are currently thinning, primarily because of contact with warm subsurface ocean water [Adusumilli et al., 2020].

    2
    The edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf floats in the Weddell Sea off Antarctica. Disintegration of ice shelves, which provide buttressing that impedes the flow of upstream ice, will play a key role in the pace of future ice mass loss from Antarctica. Credit: Ricarda Winkelmann (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu), CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

    In the future, ice shelves could also become vulnerable to atmospheric warming and to the accumulation of surface meltwater, which can deepen crevasses and lead to sudden breakup through hydrofracturing. If the grounding line (the boundary between grounded and floating ice) is located on bedrock sloping down toward the ice sheet interior, the initial retreat caused by thinning ice shelves could result in a self-sustaining and potentially unstoppable process of retreat known as marine ice sheet instability (MISI).

    Alternatively, disappearing ice shelves may lead to the formation of tall, unstable ice cliffs at the grounding line. Calving from these ice cliffs may then cause rapid ice sheet retreat by a process called marine ice cliff instability (MICI). It is possible that both types of instabilities could cause partial collapse of marine-based sectors of the AIS within a few centuries [DeConto et al., 2021].

    Uncertain Outcomes of Complex Processes

    In addition to the effects of marine ice sheet and ice cliff instabilities, the rates of AIS mass loss and GMSL rise will be affected by complex interactions among ice, ocean, atmosphere, and solid Earth processes. These interactions involve both positive and negative feedbacks that amplify and reduce the rate of GMSL rise, respectively. For example, fresh water released as ice sheets thin and retreat reduces the formation of salty, dense Antarctic bottom water. Reductions in Antarctic bottom water weaken global thermohaline circulation, which is driven by differences in water temperature and salinity, leading to local and interhemispheric atmospheric cooling [Golledge et al., 2019]. These reductions could ultimately reduce the pace of global warming and thus slow sea level rise [Golledge et al., 2019; DeConto et al., 2021].

    However, fresh water released from ice sheets stratifies the surface ocean and subsequently enhances sea ice production, which disrupts the opening of sea ice–free areas called polynyas [e.g., Golledge et al., 2019], thus limiting gas and heat exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean. This sequence of feedbacks may focus warm seawater into cavities near grounding zones below ice shelves, increasing rates of ice loss [Silvano et al., 2018]

    Critical steps to reduce uncertainties in the role of these processes and in projections of Antarctic ice loss involve elucidating the role of ocean dynamics by reconstructing deep- to near-past conditions, by observing present conditions, and by coupling numerical ocean circulation models to ice sheet models. These steps were among the most urgent research priorities to emerge from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), published in 2013, which predicted that the “likely” range of future carbon emission scenarios envisioned at the time would result in 28–98 centimeters of GMSL rise by 2100.

    However, the AR5 estimates were limited by a lack of scientific understanding of key processes affecting dynamic loss of the AIS. Since then, the incorporation of instabilities such as MICI and MISI into numerical ice sheet models has resulted in a low-probability, high-impact future sea level rise scenario included in the recently released IPCC AR6, in which GMSL rise of up to 2 meters by 2100 “could not be ruled out” (Figure 1).

    In general, the latest generation of numerical ice sheet models shows that the acceleration in mass loss observed by satellites over the past 10 years will continue [IMBIE team, 2018], although different models show a wide range of projections for Antarctica’s future contribution to GMSL rise because they treat the physics of potentially important processes in considerably different ways [e.g., Edwards et al., 2021] (Figure 1).

    If global carbon emissions follow the high-emission Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) 5–8.5, meaning atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise above 1,000 parts per million by 2100 (Figure 1), melting Antarctic ice would contribute 14–32 centimeters (13th–87th percentiles) to an overall GMSL rise of 62–101 centimeters (relative to the 1995–2014 baseline) over the same period, according to a statistical assessment of numerical model projections [e.g., Edwards et al., 2021].

    3
    Fig. 1. The evolution of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration (in parts per million, ppm) observed at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii from about 1960 until 2020 (smooth black curve) is shown (top), along with projected CO2 concentrations (rippled gray curves) for various Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) until 2100. Years when key U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of Parties (COPs) were held are shown together with the IPCC Assessment Report publication years. Observed (brown) global mean sea level change (GMSL) from 1950 to 2020 [Frederikse et al., 2020] is shown (bottom) relative to the 1994–2015 baseline, along with projected changes for SSP 1–2.6 (blue) and SSP 5–8.5 (orange) and the 83rd percentile for the low-confidence SSP 5–8.5 (dashed red line) from IPCC AR6. The uncertainties indicated correspond to the 17th and 83rd percentiles for each SSP. Rates of sea level change (in millimeters/year) for SSP 8.5 until 2100 are also shown. The projected ranges (17th to 83rd percentiles) of GMSL change and the Antarctic contribution until 2300 CE (extended scenarios) from IPCC AR6 are plotted (right) for SSP 1–2.6 (blue) and SSP 5–8.5 (orange) pathways and for the 83rd percentile of the low-confidence scenario SSP 5–8.5 (dashed red arrows, accounting for instability processes in Antarctic ice sheet projections).

    Another single model that accounts for both MICI and MISI produced a higher estimate of 20–53 centimeters (13th–87th percentiles) for the likely range of the Antarctic contribution to GMSL rise by 2100 for the SSP 5–8.5 scenario [DeConto et al., 2021]. Moreover, under this model scenario, marine-based sectors of the AIS cross a tipping point of runaway ice loss before 2100, committing the planet to sea level rise of as much as 2 meters by 2100 and 15 meters by 2300 [Golledge et al., 2015; DeConto et al., 2021].

    If, however, the global emissions trajectory follows the lower-emission scenario SSP 1–2.6 (Figure 1), which is consistent with the emission target set by the Paris climate agreement, then the Antarctic contribution will likely be significantly lower: 12–31 centimeters by 2100 [Edwards et al., 2021] and about 100 centimeters by 2300 [DeConto et al., 2021]. Under this scenario, models indicate that most of the Antarctic ice shelves would be preserved even on multicentury timescales, substantially limiting ice loss to the ocean [Golledge et al., 2015; DeConto et al., 2021].

    A GMSL rise of about 25 centimeters by 2060 may be unavoidable. But notwithstanding results from our most sophisticated models to date, our poor understanding of key melt rate–determining processes and our uncertain emission trajectory create deep uncertainty in probabilistic sea level projections beyond the mid-21st century [e.g., Edwards et al., 2021; DeConto et al., 2021], impeding efforts to plan for impending changes along shorelines. This uncertainty suggests, for example, that there is a 5% chance that the Antarctic contribution to GMSL rise could be as much as 145 centimeters by 2100 [Bamber et al., 2019].

    A further complication to understanding Antarctic contributions to sea level rise is that melting ice sheets do not cause globally uniform changes. When melting ice flows into the ocean, it changes Earth’s gravitational field and rotational state, thus redistributing water in the ocean; in addition, the remaining ice exerts less pressure on the land below, causing the land to rise. This viscoelastic response of the solid Earth to ice loss, a process known as glacial isostatic adjustment, means that locations near a melting ice sheet experience less sea level rise than more distant locations, with deviations of up to 30% of the global mean.

    Crucially, these processes also feed back into ice sheet dynamics [Whitehouse et al., 2019]. Unlike most feedbacks affecting ice sheets, which amplify mass loss, glacial isostatic adjustment might help stabilize a retreating ice margin by creating subglacial pinning points on the seafloor. Understanding how glacial isostatic adjustment influences Antarctic ice sheet dynamics and how they affect patterns of regional sea level change are critical areas of inquiry for improving site-specific sea level projections.

    An INSTANT Solution to Tackle Uncertainty

    To advance understanding of processes affecting ice melting and reduce the deep uncertainty in Antarctica’s contribution to past and future sea level change, SCAR, an international coordinating body for Antarctic science, launched the INSTANT program. The initiative is following a multidisciplinary Earth system approach combining studies of geology, geophysics, atmosphere and ocean sciences, and glaciology to investigate long-term to short-term interactions among the ocean, atmosphere, solid Earth, and AIS.

    INSTANT will build upon high-impact research and networking capacity developed within previous SCAR strategic research programs, including Past Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics, Solid Earth Responses and Influence on Cryospheric Evolution, and Antarctic Climate in the 21st Century. These programs began addressing a key priority that arose out of IPCC AR5 and is one of six priorities identified in SCAR’s first Antarctic and Southern Ocean Science Horizon Scan: to better understand how, where, and why ice sheets lose mass. Seven years on from when the Horizon Scan was concluded, great progress has been made on this priority [Florindo et al., 2021]. But because of the long lead times needed to acquire critical field observations that help us better understand physical processes and to incorporate these observations into next-generation numerical models to improve projections, the most important work lies ahead in the coming decade.

    The ambitious goals of INSTANT and its partner organizations (e.g., the World Climate Research Programme) call for large-scale scientific cooperation over the next 8 years focused on three main themes:

    -improving understanding of atmospheric and ocean forcing on ice sheet dynamics.
    -elucidating how solid Earth processes and traits, such as glacial isostatic adjustment and the roughness and depth of the subglacial bedrock, affect ice sheet dynamics and regional to global nonuniform sea level change.
    -integrating new scientific results to improve reconstructions and predictions of the AIS contribution to sea level change and communicating and applying these projections beyond the research community.

    Engaging Scientists and Stakeholders

    INSTANT’s leadership is international and includes researchers from a range of career stages. Overall, the program already has more than 200 members from more than 40 different countries. The program will facilitate knowledge sharing and build synergic efforts to carry on multiple campaigns among these members by fostering multidisciplinary international research collaborations as well as by organizing workshops, publications, and training schools.

    This collective approach will provide opportunities to bridge existing professional networks, increase the use of data banks, and spark new ideas and collaborations among scientists in different communities, such as those collecting observational data and those developing predictive models, to address technical challenges and push scientific frontiers. With its demographic diversity, as well as the diversity of science it will facilitate, INSTANT also provides an ideal framework to train a new generation of Earth scientists capable of informing pressing societal needs to better anticipate and manage future sea level rise.

    Scientific outcomes from INSTANT—especially updated and more accurate projections of the rates, magnitudes, uncertainties, and likely impacts of Antarctica’s contribution to global sea level rise—will be important to a wide range of stakeholder groups. Crucially, as emphasized in its science and implementation plan, INSTANT will bridge this science with efforts to craft policy related to sea level change and to assess the potential effectiveness of, and risks associated with, climate change mitigation pathways and adaptation options. This effort will involve communication to and engagement with Earth system scientists, social scientists, practitioners, decisionmakers, planners, and the public.

    The outcomes of this communication and engagement will help guide adaptation approaches around the world to avoid the worst impacts of sea level rise as shorelines shift and communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems are inundated.

    References:

    Adusumilli, S., et al. (2020), Interannual variations in meltwater input to the Southern Ocean from Antarctic ice shelves, Nat. Geosci., 13, 616–620, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-020-0616-z.

    Bamber, J. L., et al. (2019), Ice sheet contributions to future sea-level rise from structured expert judgment, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 116(23), 11,195–11, 200, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817205116.

    DeConto, R. M., et al. (2021), The Paris climate agreement and future sea-level rise from Antarctica, Nature, 593(7857), 83–89, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03427-0.

    Edwards, T. L., et al. (2021), Projected land ice contributions to twenty-first-century sea level rise, Nature, 593(7857), 74–82, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03302-y.

    Florindo, F., et al. (Eds.) (2021), Antarctic Climate Evolution, 2nd ed., Elsevier, Amsterdam.

    Frederikse, T., et al. (2020), The causes of sea-level rise since 1900, Nature, 584(7821), 393–397, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2591-3.

    Golledge, N. R., et al. (2015), The multi-millennial Antarctic commitment to future sea-level rise, Nature, 526(7573), 421–425, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature15706.

    Golledge, N. R., et al. (2019), Global environmental consequences of twenty-first-century ice-sheet melt, Nature, 566(7742), 65–72, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-0889-9.

    IMBIE team (2018), Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017, Nature, 558(7709), 219–222, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0179-y.

    Pattyn, F., and M. Morlighem (2020), The uncertain future of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, Science, 367(6484), 1,331–1,335, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaz5487.

    Silvano, A., et al. (2018), Freshening by glacial meltwater enhances melting of ice shelves and reduces formation of Antarctic bottom water, Science Adv., 4(4), eaap9467, https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aap9467.

    Whitehouse, P. L., et al. (2019), Solid Earth change and the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, Nature Commun., 10(1), 1–14, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08068-y.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 2:20 pm on January 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Sensing Iceland’s Most Active Volcano with a 'Buried Hair' ", 1932, and 1922)., , Ash clouds can also cause major shutdowns and economic damage in the air traffic industry as happened during the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull located about 140 kilometers southwest of Grímsvöt, Ash clouds pose threats to humans and livestock when direct interaction between magma and meltwater causes Grímsvötn to erupt explosively., Conducting a large-scale field experiment in the middle of 7900-square-kilometer Vatnajökull was challenging., , , Fiber-optic cable was the core component of the experiment., Geology, Grímsvötn has been the island’s most active volcano—and it may be due for another major eruption., Grímsvötn is a complex volcanic system that is governed by both geothermal heat from below and the ice of the overlying glacier., Grímur’s lakes-Grímsvötn in Icelandic-continue to spit fire even as they are buried under hundreds of meters of the ice of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull., In addition to the flood hazard, Jökulhlaups: major outburst floods of a subglacial lake within the caldera of the volcano., Past jökulhlaups from Grímsvötn have destroyed bridges and cut off transit between western and eastern Iceland., Rapid and substantial pressure decreases-such as that seen beginning in late November-have previously caused Grímsvötn to erupt (in 2004, The scientists laid out 12 kilometers of fiber-optic cable in a hook-shaped pattern along much of the caldera rim and atop the subglacial lake (Figure 1)., The scientists trenched the cable 50 centimeters deep into the snow thereby protecting it from atmospheric influences.,   

    From Eos: “Sensing Iceland’s Most Active Volcano with a ‘Buried Hair’ “ 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    4 January 2022
    Sara Klaasen
    Sölvi Thrastarson
    Andreas Fichtner
    Yeşim Çubuk-Sabuncu
    Kristín Jónsdóttir

    Distributed acoustic sensing offered researchers a means to measure ground deformation from atop ice-clad Grímsvötn volcano with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions.

    1
    A snowcat plows its way through snow near the caldera rim of Grímsvötn volcano in Iceland in spring 2021 during the deployment of a fiber-optic cable for distributed acoustic sensing (DAS). Credit: Yeşim Çubuk-Sabuncu.

    2
    Fig. 1. This map of Grímsvötn shows the layout of the fiber-optic cable (black line with numbers indicating distance in kilometers) deployed in the DAS-BúmmBúmm experiment in spring 2021. Locations of the research huts (GFUM) near one end of the cable and a GPS station at the other end are also shown, as are the years and approximate locations of previous fissure eruptions (orange and red). The site of Grímsvötn (red triangle) amid the Vatnajökull ice sheet in Iceland is indicated in the inset. Topographic information in this figure is based on ArcticDEM.

    2
    Grímsvötn volcano. Credit: The Smithsonian Institution (US)

    3
    Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano erupts. Credit: NBC News.

    Icelandic legend tells of an outlaw named Grímur who hid in the highlands of the island after avenging the murder of his father. A widow assisted him, directing him to some remote lakes where he could sustain himself by fishing. However, there was already a giant living near the lakes. Grímur fought and killed the giant, so upsetting the giant’s daughter that she laid a curse on the landscape. From then on, fires would burn in the lakes and the surrounding woods would vanish.

    To this day Grímur’s lakes-Grímsvötn in Icelandic-continue to spit fire even as they are buried under hundreds of meters of the ice of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull. In fact, since the settlement of Iceland, Grímsvötn has been the island’s most active volcano—and it may be due for another major eruption.

    In spring 2021, researchers from The Swiss Federal of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH) and The Icelandic Meteorological Office [Veðurstofa Íslands](IS) set out for Grímsvötn to take a closer look at its activity, using an emerging geophysical technology called distributed acoustic sensing (DAS; Figure 1 [above]). DAS can yield unprecedentedly high resolution data in hazardous and difficult-to-access environments. In addition to measuring previously unobserved seismic activity at the volcano, the experiment also indicated the presence of continuous seismic tremor and a variety of other signals at Grímsvötn not observed before in such detail.

    The Hazards of Grímur’s Lakes

    Grímsvötn is a complex volcanic system that is governed by both geothermal heat from below and the ice of the overlying glacier. The heat melts the underside of the glacier, creating runoff and forming a subglacial lake within the caldera of the volcano. This lake occasionally drains during major outburst floods called jökulhlaups, which inundate the coastal plains south of the ice cap. Past jökulhlaups from Grímsvötn have destroyed bridges and cut off transit between western and eastern Iceland.

    Recently, Grímsvötn again showed such increased activity. Around 20 November, GPS measurements recorded the ice shelf above Grímsvötn starting to subside slowly, marking the beginning of a jökulhlaup as water flowed out of the subglacial lake. The jökulhlaup peaked on 5 December in the Gígjukvísl glacier river, and more than 0.8 cubic kilometer of water in total drained from below the volcano.

    In addition to the flood hazard, ash clouds pose threats to humans and livestock when direct interaction between magma and meltwater causes Grímsvötn to erupt explosively. Recent eruptions occurred in 1998, 2004, and 2011, each of which sent plumes of ash and debris into the atmosphere (the 1998 and 2004 events were also associated jökulhlaups). These plumes can spread heavy layers of ash over the local landscape, cause intense lightning, and reduce air quality and visibility, conditions that can impair aircraft and roads. If winds are unfavorable during an eruption, ash clouds can also cause major shutdowns and economic damage in the air traffic industry as happened during the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull located about 140 kilometers southwest of Grímsvötn.

    Rapid and substantial pressure decreases-such as that seen beginning in late November-have previously caused Grímsvötn to erupt (in 2004, 1932, and 1922). The IMO, which is responsible for providing warnings about impending eruptions, was thus on full alert and raised the aviation alert level from yellow to orange as seismicity started to pick up at Grímsfjall, peaking with a magnitude 3.6 earthquake on 6 December. However, the seismicity quickly subsided that same day, and on 8 December, IMO lowered the code back to yellow.

    Instrumenting the Ice

    Conducting a large-scale field experiment in the middle of 7900-square-kilometer Vatnajökull was challenging. After months of planning, the effort began with our team of nine traveling by trucks from Reykjavík to the glacier’s edge. From there, we continued aboard snowmobiles, superjeeps (trucks specially equipped with large tires for traversing ice), and a snowcat, following a carefully selected route to Grímsvötn to avoid the largest crevasses. Over roughly 80 kilometers of ice, we hauled all the equipment we needed for our 5-day expedition, including three large cable drums, each roughly 50 kilograms and holding 4-kilometer-long segments of fiber-optic cable, until we reached three huts near the highest point of the caldera rim at Grímsfjall. Built in 1957, 1987, and 1994 to conduct scientific research, the huts—geothermally heated by the volcano and collectively housing a small kitchen, bunks, and even a steam sauna—served as our base of operations.

    The fiber-optic cable was the core component of our experiment. DAS makes use of a standard fiber-optic cable together with an instrument called an interrogation unit (IU), which sends laser pulses through the fiber and receives them back. Inhomogeneities in the fiber cause backscattering of the light, which is measured by the IU. Small shifts in the return timing of the backscattered signals can be related to localized deformations of the fiber caused by seismicity or other sources of vibration.

    Thus, long lengths of fiber can be used to create a dense seismic network, collecting measurements in the millihertz to kilohertz range every few meters with lower labor and financial costs compared with those from conventional seismic arrays covering areas of similar sizes. The high spatiotemporal sampling is especially beneficial in remote and harsh environments, such as Grímsvötn, where the installation of conventional arrays either would require substantially more personnel and time or is altogether infeasible. (In populated areas exposed to volcanic hazards, unused “dark” fibers in existing fiber-optic communications networks coupled with edge computing—data analysis that happens in real time at an instrument—may have great potential for noninvasive volcano monitoring and other applications of DAS.)

    To build our detection network at Grímsvötn, we set up the IU in one of the huts, where electricity and Internet are available, and from there, we laid out our 12 kilometers of fiber-optic cable in a hook-shaped pattern along much of the caldera rim and atop the subglacial lake (Figure 1). Using the snowcat equipped with a custom-made plow, we trenched the cable 50 centimeters deep into the snow thereby protecting it from atmospheric influences. Because the cable was delivered on three separate drums, the different segments had to be spliced together, which was a surgical task given that each fiber is about as thin as a human hair. This surgery was complicated by the fact that it had to be performed during the trenching, and thus in the back of a cold, cramped superjeep rather than in the relative comfort of the huts.

    Badminton and a Bad Connection

    Deploying the entire length of cable took 2 days, a process that ran smoothly overall despite the difficult conditions of working atop an active, glacier-capped volcano. During the deployment, we were always in direct contact with the volcano monitoring room at the IMO. At the first signs of volcanic unrest, we would have evacuated immediately.

    On the third day, we conducted hammer tests to locate the DAS channels and to provide first glimpses of seismic wave propagation in the ice. This entailed pounding a sledgehammer on the ice in different places so the fiber-optic cable would record the signals at those locations. In the data, we could then see exactly where along the cable the signals were recorded, allowing us to link the data with their geographic location. From these initial tests, the experimental setup—our “buried hair,” as we jokingly called it—appeared to work as expected. This success gave us reason to celebrate, and the team was excited to have a good time amid the challenging days of fieldwork.

    Among our supplies, we had packed a badminton set—not at all standard equipment because the glacier is notoriously windy—hoping for an opportunity to spice up the expedition in the event of low-wind conditions inside the caldera, which is partly shielded by Grímsfjall mountain. We were extremely lucky to experience such a day. We set up a net amid the snow and enjoyed a sunny break for badminton—albeit wearing snowsuits instead of shorts and T-shirts—surrounded by the hills of the caldera rim. With the help of a large speaker we had brought up the glacier, the celebration turned into a small party, and because both the speaker and the party were referred to as “búmmbúmm” in Icelandic, our experiment was subsequently named DAS-BúmmBúmm.

    After our celebrations, however, we learned the experiment would not be without hiccups. Our original plan included collecting 2 months of continuous measurements, but upon arrival back in Reykjavík, we found that the connection to our instruments was lost. A week later, after waiting for a storm to pass, we returned to Grímsvötn and diagnosed that this lack of communication occurred because of a broken drive in the instrument. The issue prevented it from recording, and we could not repair it atop the glacier—unfortunately, the DAS system was more “brokebroke” than “búmmbúmm.” Once we arranged for a replacement instrument, we went to Grímsvötn a third time and corrected the problem, and in the end we still managed to collect 1 month of measurements.

    Experimental Expectations

    Experiments on volcanoes are a relatively new application of DAS, with only a few examples to date, such as an experiment on Mount Meager in 2019, so the science is still exploratory. Our goal is to develop DAS as a real-time volcano monitoring tool. To achieve this, we need to conduct several DAS experiments in different volcanic settings to develop algorithms that can identify, locate, and characterize volcanic signals on the fly.

    We are still analyzing the data from this first-ever DAS deployment at Grímsvötn. So far, they reveal an unexpected level of seismic activity. Prior to the DAS-BúmmBúmm experiment, there had been one seismic station at Grímsvötn to record seismic signals, whereas we effectively recorded ground motions every 8 meters along the fiber-optic cable. With a single station only, it is hard to distinguish smaller signals from background noise, but in our DAS data, we can see the propagation of even the smallest signals. We recorded previously unknown tremor inside the caldera, for example, as well as frequently occurring small, local events that were detected all along the fiber-optic cable. These events may have been caused by a wide range of phenomena, such as volcanic and geothermal activity, icequakes, snow avalanches, and resonance of the subglacial lake and the overlying ice sheet (Figure 2). Because the cable loops closely past fumarole fields, their activity is likely recorded as well.

    4
    Fig. 2. This sample data plot shows ground deformation along the fiber-optic cable deployed at Grímsvötn over about 50 seconds. A large event arrived near the middle of the cable at about 18:44:50 on this day as it propagated through the glacier. The signal observed around kilometers 10–12 of the fiber, which sat on top of the subglacial lake, oscillated with longer periods than the large event and may have been caused by bending of the ice sheet on top of the lake.

    In our initial analyses, we are locating the detected events, carefully accounting for the rough topography and the presence of the ice and the lake, which affect seismic signals differently from the bedrock below. This work will be followed by a process of iteratively inverting the data to help determine the internal structure of Grímsvötn, including its magma chamber and conduits. We hope that our results and experiences from this experiment—and from future experiments planned for a range of volcanological settings in Santorini, Tenerife, and Indonesia—will shed light on hidden processes at hazardous active volcanoes and bring us closer to enhanced volcano monitoring using versatile fiber-optic cables.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:35 pm on January 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Car batteries are the goal. Lithium is the quickest way to make them", A subsidiary of the Canadian company Lithium Americas Corp. seeks to use nearly 18000 acres of federal land to carve a large open-pit mine and use sulfuric acid to extract the lithium from the mud., Anti-mining passions are white-hot at Thacker Pass in Nevada and the Big Sandy River Valley in western Arizona., , Decarbonizing global transportation requires building a huge quantity of batteries so fleets can convert to electric power., Deeply felt environmental concerns can collide; traditional anti-mining passions have been seen from the Panamint Valley in eastern California to Thacker Pass in Nevada., Despite ample deposits the U.S. remains far behind in global lithium race., , Geology, How to balance the need to slow global warming with the need to protect endangered species; preserve groundwater and support tribal rights while maintaining heritage sites., Lands of significance to Native American groups are spread around the West. Some of these intersect with lithium deposits., LCE in 2020: The world’s current annual production was estimated at 431000 metric tons which yielded 82000 metric tons of lithium., LCE: ithium carbonate equivalent, Lithium deposits dot the Southwest. For the Biden administration increasing domestic lithium production is a priority., Mining has been a core activity of the American West for 200 years or more., Ranchers fear the large amount of water needed for the process could lower groundwater tables., So far most lithium has come from Australia; South America; and China but eyes are turning to deposits in the United States., , The conundrum-to mine or not to mine-has roiled several rural western communities from the outskirts of California’s Death Valley to northern Nevada and western Arizona., The process of extracting the lithium can be more or less damaging to western lands; species and historical sites., The push for a future free from fossil fuels is igniting a new rush to extraction., The transportation sector emits 30 percent of the carbon dioxide warming the planet., The worldwide lithium battery market is expected to grow by a factor of 5 to 10 in the next decade., This will mean more mining to supply the lightweight metal lithium., Where to find domestic lithium? Attention turns to deposits in the Southwest., While battery technology is evolving for the foreseeable future batteries will require the lightweight metal lithium as a key component.   

    From Stanford University (US) : “Car batteries are the goal. Lithium is the quickest way to make them” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University (US)

    November 29, 2021 [Just now in social media.]
    Felicity Barringer

    1
    Around 30 percent of the world supply of lithium is from South American brines.EARTHWORKS/CC BY-NC 2.0.

    Decarbonizing global transportation requires building a huge quantity of batteries so fleets can convert to electric power. This will mean more mining to supply the lightweight metal lithium. So far, most lithium has come from Australia, South America, and China, but eyes are turning to deposits in the United States.

    Mining has been a core activity of the American West for 200 years or more, though recent decades have seen its economy diversify into industries like tourism and services. But the push for a future free from fossil fuels is igniting a new rush to extraction: getting resources out of the ground for the batteries needed to decarbonize transportation.

    Worldwide, the transportation sector emits 30 percent of the carbon dioxide warming the planet. Three quarters of that comes from cars, buses, and trucks on the road. Replacing gasoline-powered vehicles with electric ones will require millions of batteries. While battery technology is evolving, for the foreseeable future batteries will require the lightweight metal lithium as a key component. The International Energy Agency projects lithium demand will grow at least 13-fold by 2040.

    2
    Source: BloombergNEF Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook 2019.

    Those who care for the West’s – and the world’s – environmental future face a tricky choice.

    Where to find domestic lithium? Attention turns to deposits in the Southwest.

    Lithium deposits dot the Southwest. For the Biden administration increasing domestic lithium production is a priority. A recent federal Energy Department report said, “The worldwide lithium battery market is expected to grow by a factor of 5 to 10 in the next decade. The U.S. industrial base must be positioned to respond to this vast increase in market demand” to avoid the risks of depending on foreign suppliers. The image below shows the Energy Department’s goals.

    3

    The conundrum-to mine or not to mine-has roiled several rural western communities from the outskirts of California’s Death Valley to northern Nevada and western Arizona. The arguments vary by location, but belong to a larger debate over how to balance the need to slow global warming with the need to protect endangered species; preserve groundwater and support tribal rights while maintaining heritage sites.

    4
    Source: Geological Survey (US)
    Geoff McGhee/Bill Lane Center for the American West.

    Depending on where the deposit occurs, the process of extracting the lithium can be more-or less-damaging to western lands; species and historical sites. Lands of significance to Native American groups are spread around the West; and some of these intersect with lithium deposits. Lithium debates echo earlier arguments over solar installations in the desert producing carbon-free electricity or over dams that decimate fish runs but provide carbon-free hydropower.

    “These old battles are coming up in a new context,” said Dan Reicher, whose resume includes stints as a former assistant secretary at the federal Energy Department and Google’s director of climate and energy initiatives and is now a senior research scholar at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. “But the climate overlay has changed the whole equation in a very fundamental way. We have the ultimate threat to the planet. It’s making parties on all sides, in many cases, more willing to negotiate.”

    The words of Glenn C. Miller support Reicher’s point. Speaking of a proposed lithium mine at Thacker Pass in Nevada, the environmental chemist and longtime opponent of western mines said, “I think every technical person in the environmental community has no problem recognizing that some of these metals are going to be mined. They are important. Without them, we are looking at less reduction in the impacts of climate change.”

    But John Hadder, a chemist heading the environmental group Great Basin Resource Watch, countered: “If we lower our guard, what are we letting ourselves in for?” Rick Eichstaedt, a lawyer for the Burns Paiute tribe, which is suing to stop the highly controversial Thacker Pass project, said of the lithium mine project, “We want to be sure a precedent isn’t set because there’s a pet green project in the pipeline.”

    Seeking a balance among different environmental imperatives

    Deeply felt environmental concerns can collide; traditional anti-mining passions have been seen from the Panamint Valley in eastern California to Thacker Pass in Nevada, where the federal Bureau of Land Management decides on applications to mine lithium. The opposition in the Panamint Valley has subsided since Battery Minerals, Inc., the company proposing lithium extraction, got permission to drill exploratory wells, and drilled two.

    But anti-mining passions are white-hot at Thacker Pass in Nevada and the Big Sandy River Valley in western Arizona. At these sites, some tribal members oppose lithium mines on the grounds that mining will despoil lands whose history or use are fundamental to their culture. Other tribal members are more focused on the jobs created by such projects.

    3
    The proposed site of the Thacker Pass lithium mine in north-central Humboldt County, Nevada. Bob Tregilus, The Sierra Nevada Ally.

    In Thacker Pass, a subsidiary of the Canadian company Lithium Americas Corp. seeks to use nearly 18,000 acres of federal land to carve a large open-pit mine and build a facility where sulfuric acid is used to extract the lithium from the mined mud. Trucks would bring in sulfur, an agricultural chemical, on narrow rural roads. A processing facility would turn it into sulfuric acid and use it to leach the lithium from the clay-like ore mined nearby.

    Nearby ranchers fear the large amount of water needed for the process could lower groundwater tables. Lawsuits to block the project are pending, though a federal judge refused to halt the work pending her final decision.

    Despite ample deposits the U.S. remains far behind in global lithium race.

    This intersection of countervailing passions, as environmentalists weigh both the climate imperative and the cost of local environmental harm, comes amid official concern that the U.S. remains an also-ran in lithium production. A 2020 Institute for Defense Analyses report noted, “There are domestic reserves of lithium but currently little domestic mine production. With respect to refining, about half the lithium refining capacity is concentrated in China, followed by Chile and Argentina.” The lightweight metal is often found under salars, or arid areas where inland salt lakes may have evaporated.

    How much lithium is there? The complexity in measuring the weight of available lithium mirrors the complications of extracting it from different deposits. Lithium can be contained in clay, minerals, and brine, and either leached out with acid, dissolved, or refined. The industry’s common measurement is a “lithium carbonate equivalent.” The weight of LCE is a little more than five times that of the lithium it contains.

    The Thacker Pass plan envisions a 41-year project of extracting lithium carbonate, starting with 30,000 metric tons annually and growing to 60,000 metric tons annually. Four conservation groups have joined to oppose it.

    Under an ‘accidental lake,’ backers tout lithium leached from brines.

    Under California’s Salton Sea is a different lithium deposit, potentially much larger than the one at Thacker Pass, but one whose extraction could be less harmful to the environment, if the technology being tested works.

    Extracting lithium from brines is not new in the Southwest, it has been practiced for years at the Silver Peak facility in Esmeralda County, Nevada; the owner, a North Carolina-based firm Albermarle, is expanding production. The company creates large evaporation ponds for the brine and uses large amounts of water; the evaporation process can take 18 months.

    5
    A brine evaporation pond used to extract lithium ore in southwestern Nevada’s Esmeralda County, run by the firm Albemarle. Ken Lund via Flickr.

    A different, far less water-intensive process using brine, is being tested in Imperial County in southeastern California. Lithium is locked in hot brine nearly a mile below the Salton Sea – an accidental lake full of agricultural runoff, whose relentless evaporation has left its shores covered in toxic dust. If the method being tested works, it could mean production of 10 times the amount at Thacker Pass with a fraction of the water used at Silver Peak.

    The economic and clean-energy potential of an area backers are calling “Lithium Valley” is a central focus of California energy experts, state government, and local officials in impoverished Imperial County. A 2020 California Energy Commission report said, “The current price of lithium carbonate is about $12,000 per ton, and the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area is capable of producing an estimated 600,000 tons per year of lithium carbonate with a value of $7.2 billion.”

    6
    On the southeastern shore of the Salton Sea, a CalEnergy geothermal power plant owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy is the site of a new push to extract lithium ore from brine under the lake. BHE Renewables.

    The world’s current annual production was estimated at 431000 metric tons of LCE in 2020 which yielded 82000 metric tons of lithium.

    Three companies are in the forefront of the Imperial Valley lithium push: Energy Source Minerals, the Australian firm Controlled Thermal Resources, which has already contracted with General Motors to sell its future lithium production, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which has been extracting brine to operate geothermal energy plants since 1982.

    BHE’s 10 geothermal plants – including 23 production wells and 21 wells used to reinject the brine into the ground – already use the brine containing lithium to generate about 345 megawatts of power annually. Jonathan Weisgall, a vice president for government relations at Berkshire Hathaway Energy, said that his company’s approach to refining lithium from brines will use “at least 90 percent less” water than other methods.

    7
    Maps showing the geothermal brine project area on the southeastern corner of the Salton Sea. The minerals charted are lithium carbonate, zinc, manganese and potassium chloride. California Energy Commission.

    Could there be success in producing energy, lithium, and jobs?

    The state’s optimistic vision is a trifecta for the Salton Sea region – companies producing energy, lithium, and jobs, including the possibility of attracting battery manufacturers to the area. The California Energy Commission in March of last year awarded $10 million in grants for lithium exploration, including a $6 million grant to Berkshire Hathaway Energy to create a pilot operation at 10 percent of the size of the one they aim to build.

    Nowhere to be seen is the indigenous group opposition found at Thacker Pass. Two years ago the local Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian community sent a letter of support for Berkshire Hathaway’s project, saying it would bring “400 high-paying jobs” and be “far more environmentally sound than traditional lithium-recovery methods today, which rely on either environmentally destructive evaporation ponds… or open-pit mining.…”

    But, even with the support by the state and local officials and the small footprint of the project, some opposition simmers. The fear, perhaps linked to the dust storms filling the air with toxic material from the receding Salton Sea, is that the project will harm public health. The process to be used allows direct lithium extraction within the existing geothermal closed loop process. No evidence of danger exists, but opponents want evidence there’s no danger.

    One commenter at a Nov. 17 public forum on Zoom wrote in the chat, “The benefits do not outweigh the risks in public health…. Public health is not negotiable.” Another wrote, “If this is brand new, why experiment on us?” But to date there have been no public protests.

    The potential benefit and potentially small environmental footprint of lithium extraction near the Salton Sea could set it apart from other industrial projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and slow climate change.

    While environmental groups lack consensus, public opposition can stop a project in its tracks

    But public opposition can kill clean-energy projects in the West. A few months ago, the developers planning the country’s largest solar panel project, covering 14 square miles and sitting atop the scenic Mormon Mesa north of Las Vegas, pulled out. Local residents successfully fought the proposed 850-megawatt project, decrying their loss of the mesa view and of hiking and camping land.

    6
    Public comment session during Lithium Valley Commission Zoom meeting in Nov. 2021

    “Whether it’s lithium or any number of other things, [the arguments] often take you to the difference between local groups and national groups,” said Reicher. Frank Maisano, an energy company lobbyist, added, “There’s always going to be a local element that drives environmental communities.” The high profile of environmental justice issues makes the tribal protests at Thacker Pass more consequential.

    Reicher remains hopeful, based on his experience as an integral player in the resolution of major arguments over hydroelectric dams. Hydropower operators and environmental groups reached a major agreement 13 months ago – and will get billions of dollars in support from the new infrastructure bill – allowing for more hydropower and less environmental damage from dams.

    “Overall, things are changing,” Reicher said “The climate imperative is beginning to sink in even for groups that might be fighting a project in their backyard.”

    The change he talks of is still a work in progress in lithium country. The Sierra Club is trying to square the circle and offer clear guidance on assessing new lithium projects. It hasn’t yet succeeded. In a recent letter presenting its lengthy statement on lithium mining, the Club’s conservation policy committee offered no opinion on the Salton Sea geothermal brine projects, saying it didn’t know enough.

    As for projects like the proposed open-pit mine at Thacker Pass, the group punted, saying, “We hand off the dilemma of how to tightly balance” the club’s mining policy and its respect for indigenous rights “against the need for new materials in a just energy transition.”

    The climate imperative hasn’t ended the arguments over lithium extraction in the West.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University (US) to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)(originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.

    Land

    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University(US), the University of Texas System(US), and Yale University(US) had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley(US) and UC San Francisco(US), Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and UC Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.

    Athletics

    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Traditions

    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 1:41 pm on December 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Is Mount Everest really the tallest mountain on Earth at 8848.86-metres, , , Geology, , Mars' Olympus Mons-largest and tallest mountain in the Solar System-26 km (16 mi) local relief above plains., Rheasilvia on the asteroid Vesta-scientists believe could be anywhere between 12 and 15.5 miles (20 and 25 km) in height according to NASA-JPL/Caltech (US)   

    From Live Science : “Is Mount Everest really the tallest mountain on Earth?” 

    From Live Science

    12.26.21
    Joe Phelan

    1
    Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the Himalayas, but are there other mountains on Earth that have greater heights? Image credit: Didier Marti via Getty Images.

    2
    This picture taken on May 31, 2021 shows the Himalayan range as seen from the summit of Mount Everest (8,848.86-metre) in Nepal. Photo : LAKPA SHERPA/AFP via Getty Image via Science Times

    It depends how you measure height.

    It’s no secret that Mount Everest, the jewel in Nepal’s Himalayan crown, is the world’s premier mountain. It’s one of those facts embedded in childhood, like knowing that Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon or that blue whales are the largest animals ever to have lived.

    You may be surprised to hear, then, that other peaks could conceivably be considered Earth’s tallest; it just depends how you measure them.

    So, judging by different parameters — including tallest by altitude, tallest from base to top and tallest based on being the farthest point from Earth’s center — what is the tallest mountain in the world?

    Mount Everest, located deep in the Mahālangūr Himāl subrange of the Himalayas, is undoubtedly the most famous — and alluring — of all our planet’s mountains. Also known as Chomolungma, meaning “Goddess Mother of the World” in Tibetan, Everest was first scaled on May 29, 1953 by Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, and New Zealander Edmund Hillary, and has since been successfully climbed by around 4,000 people. The mountain has also claimed the lives of over 300 since records started being kept in 1922, according to The Guardian.

    Researchers have measured Mount Everest many times over the past few decades, but the latest assessment, announced in November 2021, puts it at 29,031.69 feet (8,848.86 meters) above sea level, which is almost 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers) tall. It’s a pretty impressive height, but it does raise a question: Why do we use “above sea level” when determining the world’s tallest peak?

    “In order to have comparability in measurements, it is necessary to have a consistent baseline,” Martin Price, a professor and founding director of the Centre for Mountain Studies at The University of the Highlands and Islands (SCT), told Live Science.

    “Historically, and even now, elevation is usually given as height above mean sea level,” Price told Live Science in an email. “However, this has to be with reference to a standard mean sea level, which has to be defined. Sea levels are different in different parts of the world, and they’re changing due to climate change.”

    As a result, “elevation is now measured in relation to the mathematically defined geoid of the Earth,” he said. The geoid is, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US), “a model of global mean sea level that is used to measure precise surface elevations.” This average is used to ascertain the height of mountains, a process that sometimes requires an aeroplane to fly “back and forth over a mountain in a series of parallel lines to measure how much gravity pulls down on its peak,” according to GIM International. These measurements, in conjunction with GPS readings, provide incredibly accurate elevation readings.

    So, all mountains are measured from sea level, predominantly for convenience and consistency, but what if measurements were simply taken from base to peak? Would Everest still top the charts?

    The answer is a mountainous “no.” That honor would go to Mauna Kea, an inactive volcano in Hawaii, USA. Although its peak is 13,802 feet (4,205 m) above sea level — which is less than half the height of Everest, according to National Geographic — the majority of Mauna Kea is hidden below sea level. When measured from base to peak, Mauna Kea is 33,497 feet (10,211 m) tall, according to the United States Geological Survey, which puts it heads and shoulders above Mount Everest.

    3
    The observatory on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Image credit: Westend61 via Getty Images.

    Maunakea Observatories Hawai’i (US) altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    Should we, therefore, regard Mauna Kea as the tallest mountain on Earth?

    “It all depends on the perspective you take,” Price said. “If there were no oceans on our planet, there would be no debate! You could draw comparisons to the highest mountains on other bodies in our solar system, which have no oceans.”

    Meanwhile, another contender, Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, boasts a peak that is the farthest point from Earth’s center.

    4
    Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador sits very close to the equator. Image credit: boydhendrikse via Getty Images.

    Chimborazo isn’t the tallest mountain in the Andes — it’s not even in the top 30 — but its proximity to the equator is what makes all the difference. Earth is not a perfect sphere — technically, it’s an oblate spheroid — and it bulges along the equator. This is a result of the force created by Earth’s rotation. As a result, it means there is a difference of 13.29 miles (21.39 km) between the planet’s polar radius (3,949.90 miles/6,356.75 km) and its equatorial radius (3,963.19 miles/6,378.14 km), according to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

    Chimborazo is just 1 degree south of the equator, where Earth’s bulge is most prominent; this geographical quirk means Chimborazo’s summit is 3,967 miles from Earth’s core, making it 6,798 feet (2,072 m) farther away from the planet’s center than the peak of Everest.

    So, which of these three contenders for tallest mountain should take home first prize?

    Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, while Mauna Kea can certainly claim to be the world’s tallest mountain (when sea level isn’t taken into account). It would be difficult to make a case for Chimborazo being the tallest, but “it’s all a matter of perspective,” Price admitted.

    Regardless of the mountain you choose, its height will pale in comparison with Mars’ Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano in the solar system.

    6
    Viking 1 orbiter view of Mars’ Olympus Mons with its summit caldera, escarpment, and aureole.
    Largest and tallest mountain in the Solar System.
    Peak 21.9 km (13.6 mi) above datum
    26 km (16 mi) local relief above plains
    Discoverer Mariner 9

    13
    Mars’ Olympus Mons. https://blogs.agu.org/

    It has a height of around 16 miles (25 km), according to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US), which is almost three times taller than Everest, and a base of 374 miles (601.9 km) in diameter, which is about the same distance separating San Francisco and Los Angeles (383.1 miles/616.5 km).

    There is also an impact crater called Rheasilvia on the asteroid Vesta, which is part of the asteroid belt 100 million miles from Earth.

    10
    Rheasilvia on the asteroid Vesta. Asteroid Has Mountain Three Times as Tall as Everest. New view shows huge peak on Vesta’s south polar region https://www.nationalgeographic.com

    At the center of this crater is a peak that scientists believe could be anywhere between 12 and 15.5 miles (20 and 25 km) in height, meaning it may be the tallest mountain in the solar system, according to NASA-JPL/Caltech (US).

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
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