Geologic map of a portion of the lower Mississippi River
Regional

Geomorphology and the Mississippi River

This is a very nice little article on the geomorphology of the Mississippi River for the layman. But it was definitely the geologic map that caught my eye. Isn’t it great? Probably nice enough to […]

Regional

Finland’s Nuclear Waste Storage Plans

As the U.S. continues to fight over hurdles for its Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste repository, Finland is on track to become the first country with a permanent storage facility for spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors. Their Onkalo tunnel, on the western coast of Finland will eventually stretch for 5-km (2-miles) and reach a depth of 500-m (1,600-ft) in solid granite bedrock. Once at depth a grid of horizontal tunnels will be constructed. Vertical storage holes will be excavated in these horizontal shafts, and the spent rods, encased in steel cannisters with copper corrosion protection, will be placed on layers of bentonite clay. The clay will cushion the cannisters and protect them against long term geologic movement. The clay also serves as a barrier to water, swelling in its presence to seal off any cracks or conduits for water that could potentially transport nuclear contamination in the distant future if the primary measures of protection are compromised. The tunnels will eventually be backfilled with bentonite and rock. The facility is projected to open in approximately 15 years at a cost of about 3 billion euros. The projected life of the facility is through 2100.  Links after the break. (Illustration by BBC)  

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Regional

New Dams Being Considered to Handle West’s Water Needs

An article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer discusses how the era of building massive dams that ended in the late 1960s with the completion of Glen Canyon Dam may be on its way to a resurgence because of booming populations throughout the west and a desperate need for water. This comes at a time when the USBR and other agencies are in the process of tearing down some dams. Of course the environmental hurdles and opposition to new dam projects will likely kill many of the projects before they get started. But in the absence of any kind of limits on population growth, there may not be many other options. Read on to see where major dam projects are being considered. (Photo by Molas)

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Regional

German town sinking after drilling operations

The historic town of Staufen in southwestern Germany on the western edge of the Black Forest is experiencing some rather unexpected downward movement these days. Several buildings, some of them historic, are experiencing cracking and distress and are still sinking at a rate of approximately 1mm per week. Investigations are underway, but everything seems to point towards drilling operations for geothermal energy which were conducted last fall. [Editor] More after the break…[/Editor]

 

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Regional

California Snow Pack Just 29% of Normal

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the California State Department of Water Resources indicates the Sierra snow pack is at just 29% of normal leading state officials to start pushing water conservation measures. According to […]