Interesting story in Time today about the Dead Sea. Apparently, it is losing 3 vertical feet of water each year, exposing 65 ft of seabed along the shore! The usual culprit? Less than 2% of freshwater from the Jordan River makes it into the Dead Sea compared to the amount just a few decades ago.Filed under Uncategorized | Tags: agriculture, biodiversity, chemicals, climate change, environmental management, geology, groundwater, oceans, sustainability, water, water resources | Comment (0)
Guest blog by Madeline Bryant and Erin Knox
La Palma is the fifth largest island off of the Canary Island Chain located of the Northwest Coast of Africa. La Palma is a volcanic ocean island with an inactive shield volcano that stands seven kilometers high on its north end. In the southern part of the Island lies the active volcano- Cumbre Vieja. The Cumbre Vieja is a rift volcano that lies in a rift zone atop a cluster of volcanic vents. Cumbre Vieja is situated above deep dykes that reveal themselves in the topography as rifts, these dykes lie in a three pointed star shape along fissure zones. The rift along the lateral side of the volcano make its western flank unstable. The volcano is currently active- any major activity creates a threat for many volcanic hazards to those who inhabit the island and those around it. The weakness in the rift formation on its western side and the 15-20° slope makes it unstable in the event of an eruption and a landslide is highly probable. The potential landslide would plummet into the ocean creating a massive ‘mega-tsunami’ wave that could reach the east coast of North America in six hours. The wave is predicted to subside from its initial 600m height into multiple waves of thirty to sixty meters high and inundate the US East coast 16 mi inland.Filed under environment, geological hazards, geology | Tags: geological hazards, geology, oceans | Comment (1)
Guest Blog by Luke Wilson, Jasmine Woods, and Jaqueline Stogner
The recent drought and influx of people in SC has caused the state-owned utility company, Santee Cooper, to propose the construction of two 660-megawatt coal-fired power plants in Florence County in order to keep up with SC’s growing electricity demand. Coal burning plants emit carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas and contributor to global warming, nitrogen oxide, a component in smog, sulfur dioxides, a contributor to acid rain, and mercury, a highly toxic metal when converted to methyl mercury. These proposed plants would annually produce over 8 million tons of CO2 and discharge 300 pounds of mercury into the Great Pee Dee River as a byproduct of burning coal. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has already issued a high mercury level advisory for the consumption of many fatty fish caught in the Great Pee Dee, and adding another coal plant would only exacerbate the problem.Filed under energy, environment, geology, water pollution | Tags: climate change, coal, contamination, drought, energy, environment, environmental management, geology, health, pollution, resources, sustainability, water pollution | Comment (1)
Guest blog by Shannon Maylath and Hanifah Paul
Hawaii is home to some of the world’s most active and largest volcanoes. The volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian islands are a chain of shield volcanoes that have formed over a hot spot in the pacific ocean, starting around 70 million years ago. The islands have progressed from northwest to southeast over time, making Kohala the oldest, Kilauea the youngest, and Mauna Kea, Hualalai, and Mauna Loa in between. Kilauea is labeled one of Earth’s most active volcanoes. Eruptions at Kilauaea primarily occur along the East and Southwest rift zones. Kilauea has been issuing lava continuously since 1983 while written records for volcanic eruption at this site go as far back as 1820.
Mauna Loa is the most massive volcano on Earth with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles. The low silica content of Mauna Loa produces fast moving lava and gentle, non-explosive eruptions. The drifting of the Pacific Plate will eventually carry Mauna Loa away from the hot spot in about 500,000 years, leaving the volcano extinct.
While Haualalai, the third most active volcano in Hawaii, has not issued an eruption since 1801, geologists project an eruption within the next 100 years, labeling it potentially dangerous. Earthquakes recorded in the 1970′s have been linked to the rising magma levels in Haualalai.
The Hawaiian volcanoes affect many aspects of life on the islands. They can be destructive to property, often shutting down roads and occasionally requiring evacuation, or beneficial by bringing in tourism and interest in the state’s unusual environment.Filed under geological hazards, geology | Tags: earth, geology | Comment (0)