EARTH Magazine: New Tracers Can Identify Fracking Fluids

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine  --  Hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas extraction method known popularly as fracking, has been controversial in large part to the concern about groundwater contamination by the fluids used in the process, especially the so-called flowback fluids that re-emerge at the surface from fracking wells and are usually disposed of by waste water fluid injection into other formations. Now, researchers have developed a geochemical method of identifying fracking fluids in the environment.

EARTH Magazine: Asbestos Found in Nevada and Arizona - Roadblock and Potential Health Hazard?

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine, 01/29/2015  --  In 2011, geologists at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, began discovering asbestos where none should be — in granite rocks with a geologic history not previously known to produce asbestos.

The discoveries, in Clark County in southern Nevada and across the border in northwestern Arizona, suggest that asbestos may be more widespread than previously thought; they also raise questions about the potential health hazards of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA).

EARTH: California - A Profusion of Drought Restrictions with Varying Results

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine, 01/26/2015  --  At times last year, 100 percent of California experienced moderate to exceptional drought conditions; even after massive storms in December, almost 80 percent of the state was still under extreme drought, the second-worst category. The drought has been ongoing for a few years now, and last year, state and local officials created new drought restrictions designed to mitigate the effects. But whether these restrictions will make a dent in California’s water shortage amid the ongoing and historic drought remains to be seen.

From the American Geosciences Institute (AGI): Comparison of STEM and Geoscience Occupation Growth Over the Next Decade

American Geosciences Institute

Approximately 3 percent of STEM jobs are filled by geoscientists, and the average median salary in 2013 of geoscience jobs was comparable to the average median salary of STEM jobs. Over the next decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of 13% in STEM jobs and 14% in geoscience jobs, which is slightly higher than the overall predicted increase of 11% in all U.S. occupations.

From the American Geosciences Institute (AGI): Is Earth Science Education At Risk?

American Geosciences Institute

Many public schools have dropped Earth science from the required curriculum in recent years. Some colleges have closed geoscience departments. Employers have said they need more qualified candidates for geoscience jobs. How well does your public education system ensure that all students are taught important Earth science content?

EARTH: Protecting the Mineral Treasures of Antarctica’s Larsemann Hills

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine, 01/21/15  --  In 2003, scientists visited the Stornes Peninsula in Antarctica’s Larsemann Hills to study the rocks — especially those containing boron and phosphorus minerals. What they found set them on a decade-long path to protect the geology, culminating in 2014 with the naming of the site as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area. Stornes Peninsula became only the fifth location in Antarctica with geologic features deemed sufficiently precious to the geologic community to receive this high level of protection.

EARTH: The '100-year-flood' fallacy: Return periods misleading in communication of flood risk

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine  --  You have probably heard of “100-year floods” and “500-year droughts,” and perhaps you’ve seen signposts near rivers showing when the last big flood was or statements about when the last severe drought occurred. But do you really know what those terms mean, or what your likelihood is of experiencing such a hazard in any given year? Probably not, according to Richard Vogel of Tufts University, because although such terms have long helped policymakers and the public try to make sense of severe weather, they may confuse the issue more than clarify it.

EARTH: A Dry and Ravaged Land: Investigating Water Resources in Afghanistan

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine  --  Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries, with an economy largely based on subsistence agriculture. Working in an arid climate on thin margins of profitability and sustenance, Afghan farmers depend on reliable, year-round sources of surface water and groundwater to irrigate their crops and water their livestock. Seasonal flows of streams and rivers fed by melting snowpack high in Afghanistan's mountains also recharge alluvial aquifers located in populated valleys and provide city dwellers with drinking water. But the arid