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It’s a Busy Time for Geologists

 

It’s a Busy Time for Geologists

by Amy Lignor

 

January 2016: The very first month of this year began with headlines about the hard-hitting weather in Australia. Words and phrases such as, “out of control,” “summer catastrophes,” “devastation,” were used.

 

summer catastrophes, weather, Daldykan River, Geologists, Oklahoma earthquake, Norilsk Nickel, Hazardous waste, wastewaterWhile weather events are common, the ferocity of these events has increased and geologists are working overtime. But “natural” events are not all that’s out there; industrial and business ills have been causing disasters to occur. So if you like geology, you’re more than excited to be “on call” at this point in time. We still have almost four months to go before saying so long to 2016, and just in this week alone more bad news has come to light.

 

In Russia, the Daldykan River literally changed to a deep, unnatural red color. The same color it had been for a short time back in June of this year. Geologists are already talking about various issues in the area. From the iron ore in the ground to industrial waste coming from a nearby metallurgical factory run by Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium.

 

The natural resources and environment ministry in Russia stated that unknown chemical pollution is what’s believed to be behind the river’s transformation; the color possibly being caused by a “break in a Norilsk Nickel slurry pipe.”

 

Nickel, however, said the “color of the river today doesn’t differ from its usual condition.” Considering the strange pictures being shown, most people would disagree. Thankfully, the town’s water supply comes from other sources, but only the geologists, geochemists and their work will be able to tell for sure if the situation brings imminent danger to the surrounding people and environment.

 

Hazardous waste and its effects don’t end in Russia, however. Just recently two Southern California companies made huge mistakes when it came to handling hazardous waste and have been ordered to pay more than $130,000 in penalties under a settlement with the EPA. The agency discovered that hazardous waste storage tanks and related equipment was being used with no inspections being done or even monitoring them for leaks, which is in direct violation of air emission standards. And the list goes on….

 

Numerous scientists and geologists have also agreed that landfills are not being used correctly. They are being overrun with chemicals and other hazardous materials dumped there because of poor waste management systems used by companies around the globe.

 

The news closer to home comes with the Oklahoma earthquake that struck on Saturday of last week. Scientists, geologists, and regulators agree that quakes seen in recent years, just like this most recent 5.6-magnitude tremor, comes from the disposal of millions of tons of wastewater – wastewater that’s pumped to the surface, only to then be injected back into the ground during oil and gas production. This “shock” actually tied a record set in Prague, Oklahoma back in 2011, as being the strongest tremor in the state’s history.

 

With state regulators having ordered well operators to stop injections within a 725-square-mile area around the quake’s center, geologists have gone to work in an attempt to do what they can in a field that is not an exact science. Seeing as that Oklahoma is a state that’s dominant in the oil and gas industry, some geologists feel that California may just end up falling to second place when it comes to being the ultimate home to earthquakes.

 

Geology is a difficult science, yet with the constant errors being made by business and industry, it seems that it’s also a science that will employ many for a long time to come.

Source:  Baret News

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