A selection of recent news, that includes mentions of the British Geological Survey, reported in online news websites. Click on a heading link to read the full article.
A UK/US-led team has spent the past seven weeks coring into the deep bowl cut out of the Earth's surface 66 million years ago by the asteroid that hastened the end of the dinosaurs. Rocks nearly 1,300m below the Gulf seafloor have been pulled up. The samples are expected to reveal new insights on the scale of the impact and its environmental effects
The operations manager on the project, Dave Smith, said drilling would likely end at midnight on Wednesday. "The core recovery, we're all really chuffed about - the almost 100% core recovery and the quality of the cores we've been getting up. "It's been a remarkable success. We've got deeper than I thought we might do," the British Geological Survey man said.
Ambiental provides flood modelling and risk consultancy to insurers, utilities, property professionals and governments as far afield as Australia. Its Flowroute software, developed with support from the UK’s national innovation agency Innovate UK, can predict the risk to any building anywhere in the UK, whether from river, tidal or flash flooding. Use of the cloud-piercing, day-night satellite data in real time promises to take the technology to new levels of sophistication and usability. Ambiental trialled a drone capability over flooded areas around Cockermouth in Cumbria. With photogrammetric software, it can build a 3D computer-generated model that offers an even more accurate picture for emergency services.
Innovate UK has recently awarded Ambiental £62,500 towards the costs of a feasibility project with the British Geological Survey, looking to add a groundwater mapping and modelling capability to Flowroute.
The Anthropocene is the period in which humans have had an effect on the global environment comparable to the comet that killed off most of the dinosaurs and ended the Cretaceous period. In the current issue of the journal Antiquity, San Diego State University archaeologist Todd Braje considers the pros and cons of recognizing the Anthropocene as a formal, geological epoch. Braje acknowledges that geologists might find the term useful because the effects humans have on the environment — such as global warming, plant and animal extinctions and ocean acidification — are so profound that future geologists will have no trouble recognizing the age of humans. Nevertheless, he cautions against adopting a formal Anthropocene Epoch
In a response to Braje’s essay in the same issue of Antiquity, geologists Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester and Colin Waters of the British Geological Survey write that they support the formal adoption of the Anthropocene Epoch. “If a scientific phenomenon is real and distinct, it is useful to give it a name,” they say. They argue that formalizing the Anthropocene would not “neglect human history,” but instead write it “in layers of sediment and ice, rather than in the pages of a book." "Defining geological periods isn’t meant to include or exclude events within or outside of certain chosen time units." It simply helps us to better grasp “an Earth history that we know to be immensely complex.”
The agreement builds on over twenty years of close collaboration, including work into buried infrastructure, geotechnical engineering, ground improvements, use of underground space and geophysical surveys. The research will have a significant impact on priority areas, as outlined by the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review 2015, such as the research in infrastructures and cities, especially focussing on buried infrastructure in order to make street works more sustainable and developing the energy agenda.
Backed by £20m funding from the Government’s Thermal Energy Research Accelerator (T-ERA), the collective has already made advancements in delivering liquid nitrogen engines aimed for the world’s food and medical transporters and are now looking at ways where this solution can used to replace inefficient air conditioning units. Other research projects will involve examining the use of novel materials and methods for storage, efficient insulation materials and methods and developing advanced materials and manufacturing processes. “Heating and cooling in our buildings, infrastructure and transport accounts for more than half of our total energy consumption and is set to grow dramatically over the next 15 years,” explained Professor Martin Freer from the University of Birmingham. “In order to meet our climate and energy goals, we must sharply reduce the energy we consume for thermal loads and specifically move away from the use of fossil fuels.” He continued: “The key now is to engage UK industry as customers and collaborators to drive innovation in ‘cold energy’ and T-ERA will be fundamental in doing this as part of the ERA collaboration involving Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham, the University of Warwick and British Geological Survey.”
A team of geology students from The University of Leicester have been monitoring the magnitude of minor earthquakes caused by jubilant fans since March, with Vardy's goal against Everton on Saturday recording 0.4 magnitude.
The equipment was installed at the school by students with the help of the British Geological Survey to monitor earthquakes elsewhere, but when the team played, they found they had recorded particular "spikes" and this was later attributed to LCFC's goal scoring.
A stretch of the 30m-high (100ft) cliff in East Cliff, near the memorial for Red Arrows pilot Jon Egging, fell away on Sunday morning. Peter Hobbs from the British Geological Survey said: "The cliff may need to be regraded to a shallower angle." He said cliff defences and drainage could also prevent future falls. Bournemouth Borough Council began a detailed investigation of the affected area on Wednesday, installing 40 specialist monitoring devices along an area of East Overcliff Drive 120m (400ft) either side of Sunday's landslip.
Over the last year Durham University has been working with a number of partners in Nepal and internationally on projects to inform relief efforts, understand ongoing risks, assist recovery and build future resilience. Landslide monitoring and disaster risk reduction A team of researchers at the University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR) and Department of Geography have focused their expertise on Nepal over the last twelve months. Professor Alexander Densmore and Drs Katie Oven and David Milledge are researching how earthquake and landslide science is currently informing disaster risk reduction policy and practice in Nepal. Working with partners at Nepal’s National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) the team will also examine the potential for future engagement between the science-policy-practice communities. This work forms part of the Earthquakes Without Frontiers (EwF) project, of which Durham University is a key partner. The EwF project aims to increase resilience to earthquakes in the countries across the India-Asia collision.
Two methods have been shown to save lives: building earthquake-proof buildings and installing systems that sound an alarm when an earthquake strikes, giving people further away from the epicenter a few seconds warning. In an ill-prepared country like Haiti, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010 killed more than 100,000 people. In Japan, with much better buildings, a magnitude 9.0 quake (which releases about 1,000 times more energy than a 7.0) in 2011 killed some 18,000 people
Only rich countries can afford earthquake-proofing. As for earthquake prediction, it’s “near impossible,” says Richard Luckett of the British Geological Survey. “We have a build-up of stress on a fault line, and we have no idea what the breaking point would be. When the earthquake occurs is essentially a random event.”