Geology 110 Quiz 2 notes
Geology 110 Quiz 2 notes GEOL 110 001
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by kjh2 on Monday October 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOL 110 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Thomas Owens in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Cultural Geology in Geology at University of South Carolina.
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Date Created: 10/10/16
Hydrofracking Review question: ● Coal deposits in the Western US: ○ Became a less attractive source due to changes in the Clean Air Act in 1971 ○ Have high sulfur content ○ Are mined primarily from underground mines Changes in coal production ● In 1949, ¼ of U.S. coal came from surface mines; by 1971, more than ½ was surface mined, and in 2009, 69% came from above-ground mines. ● Western coal production expanded tremendously after 1969 and surpassed Eastern production beginning in 1999. In 2009, an estimated 58% of U.S. coal came from West of the Mississippi Unconventional Natural gas production potential ● Shale and tight oil plays is projected to account for ½ of the U.S’s natural gas production Requires “Hydraulic Fracturing” aka “Fracking” ● Fracking has been around since the 1940’s and is a mature method of secondary oil recovery. ● Its NEW use as a primary method of developing tight gas and shale gas formation has caused some environmental concerns: water pollution, groundwater contamination, and induced earthquakes ● In short: It’s all about the WATER Hydraulic Fracturing ● Fracking involves the injection of more than a million gallons of water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure down and across to horizontally drilled wells as far as 10,000 feet below the surface. The pressurized mixture causes the rock layer, in this case the Marcellus Shale, to crack. These fissures are held open by the sand particles so that natural gas from the shale can flow up the well. ● Roughly 200 tanker trucks deliver water for the fracturing process ● A pumper truck injects a mix of sand and chemicals into the well ● Well turns horizontal ● The shale is fractured by the pressure inside the well ● Natural gas flows out of the well ● Recovered water is stored in open pits, then taken to a treatment plant ● Natural gas is piped to market Life cycle of Fracking Water ● Water acquisition ● Chemical mixing ● Well injection ● Flowback and produced water ● Wastewater treatment and waste disposal Review question: ● Shale and tight gas production currently accounts for almost half of the US natural gas production ○ True Water injections ● Variety of sources ● Proximity to drill site ● Three to four million gallons for typical horizontal shale gas well ● 0.5 to six million gallons for hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale ● Used in relatively short time period ● Mixed with sand and proprietary solutions Vice President Cheney’s gift ● Section 322 of PL 109-58 amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to exempt all fracturing fluids except diesel from EPA regulations ○ Subtitle C - Production ○ Sec. 322 HYDRAULIC FRACTURING. ○ Paragraph (1) of section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water Act is amended as follows: (1) UNDERGROUND INJECTION. - the term ‘underground injection- ■ (A) means the surface emplacement of fluids by well injection; and ■ (B) excludes - ● (i) the underground injection of a natural gas for purpose of storage; and ● (ii) the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities ● August 8th, 2005 Information exchange in the age of the DocuDrama ● Ideally: A passionate argument backed by sound science and reasoning ● Reality: partial, mis-stated, bogus science, innuendo, diversion tactics, and often personal attacks ● Solution: Critical thinking! You are going to have to do your own research. Boring sources and websites Review question ● The US government heavily regulates fracking operations to prevent water pollution ○ False Review question ● The primary environmental risks with fracking operations are: ○ Water pollution ○ Groundwater contamination and depletion ○ Induced earthquakes Produced Water ● Byproduct of the stimulation and drilling process ● Before natural gas can be recovered, water that is pumped into the shale must be allowed to flow out as ‘produced water’ ● Can consist of fracturing fluids, heavy metals, brine waters, dissolved minerals, or organic matter from the shale Wastewater treatment plants ● Cannot handle the quantity of water used ● Unsure of the chemical composition of the proprietary chemicals used in the acid fracturing process ● Do not successfully remove salts and other dissolved solids Additional treatment methods ● Re-inject produced water into the ground at a shallow depth ● Re-inject produced water into the ground at a depth below the Marcellus Shale ● Allow wastewater to evaporate from open pits or tanks ● Dilute produced water and reuse it in future fracturing operations ● New technology Playing with definitions ● “Fracking is just the shale fracturing” ● “Some casings crack and cause water problems, ○ Therefore, all casings everywhere will break and all water supplies will be destroyed! ● Partial science ○ Earthquake risk from fracking is low ○ True, but tell us about how to get rid of all the produced water ● Diversionary tactics ○ Fracking water has never escaped into someone’s well ■ Or: The water explodes ■ It’s biogenic gas ■ One additive is like dishwashing fluid ■ We need new energy ● “An appropriate regulatory framework ○ Monitoring ○ Disposal ○ Clear, long-term responsibilities Why such a fuss now? ● A legitimate issue, major new technology and regional application ● Populated northeast corridor ○ A movement adrift ○ Population density ● A new political environment Impacts Why study impacts? ● Catastrophic events in geologic record ● Relationship to climate change ● “Homeland security” ● Fear factor ● There can be consequences ● Close calls happen all the time Geology expands time ● Geology- the study of earth’s history and processes as recorded in rocks - is a young field, emerging in the last 1700’s and early 1800’s ● Prior to that, both the prevailing consensus of physicists and Biblical literalism in the mid-1600’s constrained the age of the Earth to quite young ● Renaissance thinkers began to consider the natural environment, questing for processes, guiding principle physical laws, time constraints ● Three types of rock were identified ○ Igneous- cooled from lava ○ Sedimentary- sediments from eroded older rocks/shells chemical precipitates deposited in basin deltas, seabeds, ‘lithified’ by pressure and temperature ○ Metamorphic- deformed older igneous or sedimentary rocks ● James Hutton - 1788, 1795 “Theory of thr Earth” ○ Unconformity ■ Older rocks had deposited in a low basin, over a long time, then uplifted and tilting occurred, then massive erosion, then down-drop, deposit of new overlying horizontal rocks, now uplifted ■ This takes a vast amount of time ■ “No vestige of a beginning. No prospect of an end.” ■ Age of earth, must be hundreds of millions of years, even thousands ● Charles Lyell 1797-1875 ○ Wrote “Principles of Geology” 11 editions 1832-1870. Clarified Hutton’s arguments ○ Notion of uniformitarianism ■ 1. Uniformity of LAWS ■ 2. Uniformity of PROCESS ■ 3. Uniformity of RATE ■ 4. Uniformity of CONDITIONS ○ Rejection/suppression of catastrophic or divine explanations - dominates Geology 1830-1980 Time Unfettered ● The earth is now understood to be 4.55 billion years old ● The earth formed as the sun and its planetary system formed, and models of planet formation indicated it grew quickly, in about 30-70 million years ● A lot has happened since that time, including a lot of impacts The declining impact flux ● The cratering rate for earth is calibrated from the moon Impacts in Earth’s history ● Earth grew by impact of planetesimals ● Earth was hit by a small planet at the end of its growth; tilted the orbit and yielded the moon; melted interior ● Earth continued to be bombarded hard for 600 million years; no oceans/atmosphere/life survive ● Material continues to hit earth ● Impacts have caused mass extinctions, but so far, not totally wiped out earth Frequency of impactors ● Pea-sized meteoroids - 10 per hour ● Walnut-seize - 1 per hour ● Grapefruit-size - 1 every 10 hours ● Basketball-size - 1 per week ● Car-size - 1 per month (1 kiloton equivalent) ● 30-m rock (flatten New Jersey) - 1 per 100 years ● 1-km asteroid - 1 per 100,000 years ● 2-kn asteroid - 1 per 500,000 years Death of all dinosaurs- all gone 65 MYA ● In fact, nearly all life perished 65 MYA, and this has happened before ● To extinguish ½ - ¾ of all families, you need to wipe out nearly all life on the planet ● What could do this? The Iridium Anomaly ● How long did it take for the dinosaurs to go extinct? ● Assume sedimentation of space dust as a constant rate. The rare earth element Iridium is a proxy for space dust, since earth Ir is in the core ● Then the IR concentration will serve as a proxy for the time spanned by the K/T extinction layer. More IR, more time ● To their surprise, spikes in IR abundance were between 30 and 10,000 times the background level ● If cosmic sediment was falling at a constant rate he K/T boundary would span several millions of years and would require a global shut-down of clay deposition in the oceans ● Alternative hypothesis: there was an abrupt spike in cosmic sediment deposition at K/T ● A single ~10km diameter meteorite would do the trick Alvarez et al. proposed that a 10 km diameter meteorite hit earth 65 MYA ● Immediate disruption ● Rain of fire ● Dust and dark ● Noxious loading of the atmosphere ● Acid rain Cretaceous-Tertiary Event (K/T boundary) ● Hypothesis: a `10km asteroid hit and caused a “global environmental perturbation”, prompting the extinction of surface and shallow ocean life forms ● Evidence: ○ 1980: Global Iridium anomalies ○ 1984: Shocked quartz ○ 1988: Mega-tsunami deposits around Caribbean ○ 1989: Candidate crater: Yucatan area (180 km diameter) ● Kill mechanisms: Direct blast, mega-wave, dust, acid rain, global fires, atmospheric broiling Evidence of a strong impact ● Shocked quartz forms when quartz crystals undergo a sudden pulse of great pressure, but not heat ● Glass spherules form as target rock melted in impact, blasted into air as spray of droplets, then almost immediately frozen Wolfcreek crater in Australia ● 880 m diameter ● 60 m deep ● Iron meteorite ● 300,000 years old Meteor crater in Arizona ● 1.6 km diameter ● 180 m deep ● Iron meteorite ● 50,000 years old Tunguska ● 850 sq. miles of tree flattened ● No crater ● Air-burst of comet fragment? ● 1908 Siberia Review Question: Uniformitarianism argues that which of the following has changed significantly over earth history ● Physical law ● Physical process ● Rates of physical process ● Environmental conditions of earth ● None of the above Meteorite Vs. Humans ● 1938- small meteor crashed through the roof of a garage in Illinois ● 1954- a 5 kg meteorite fell through the roof of a house in Alabama ● 1992- a small meteorite demolished a car near New York City ● 2003- a 20 kg meteorite crashed through a two story house in uptown New Orleans ● 2014- a meteor in Siberia injures ~1300 Review Question: The asteroid impact about 65 MYA is thought to: ● Be the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs ● Have been centered in the Gulf of Mexico Review Question: Evidence for a “global environmental perturbation” at the K/T boundary about 65 MYA include: ● Global Iridium anomalies ● Shocked quartz occurrences ● Mega-tsunami deposits around the Gulf of Mexico 1950DA impact - a possibility for March 16, 2880 What can be done about bigger impacts? ● Advanced notice: years to decades ● Point of impact unknown ● Technology may not be there ● Should resources be committed? Impacts and Homeland Security The Aum Shinrikyo Mystery ● Japanese Religious/political/terrorist group ● Only terrorist group to successfully launch a chemical/biological attack ● March 20, 1995 - Sarin gas in Tokyo subway. 5000 injured, 12 dead Earthquake, explosion, meteorite? ● May 28, 1993, magnitude 3.6 event occurred at night in western Australia ● Flying object was observed, bright flash and an explosion ● Aum Shinrikyo had a camp in the area, trying to mine uranium ● Analysis was inconclusive ○ Seismograms don’t clearly indicate an explosion. Too few earthquakes in the area for comparison ○ M=3.6 is an explosion yield of 1kt ○ Minimum size 3 meters in diameter ○ Statistics suggest an iron meteorite this size could hit land every 6 years ○ Impact crater was not reported ○ Two small earthquakes within 50 km since 1997 Review Question: Which of the following statements is not true? ● An asteroid must hit the earth in order to do significant damage Review Question: The saying “You need money to make money” is an example of: ● An amplifying/reinforcing feedback
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