Wave of earthquakes shake Yellowstone’s supervolcano

February 22, 2018 by  
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Since the start of February, Yellowstone National Park and its supervolcano have been hit with a wave of at least 20 earthquakes and a number of smaller tremors. Although the largest earthquake only registered a 2.9 on the Richter scale and all have struck about five miles below the Earth’s surface, this so-called earthquake swarm is noteworthy, though likely not reason for alarm. “While it may seem worrisome, the current seismicity is relatively weak and actually represents an opportunity to learn more about Yellowstone,” wrote researchers Michael Poland and Jamie Farrell for the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory . “It is during periods of change when scientists can develop, test, and refine their models of how the Yellowstone volcanic system works.” Though the name may conjure images of aggressive insects , earthquake swarms are actually a fairly common, benign occurrence at Yellowstone. The largest earthquake storm came in 1985, when more than 3,000 earthquakes struck Yellowstone over several months. The area typically experiences 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes each year, most of which are not felt. Swarms are caused by stress changes at fault lines due to either tectonic forces or local pressure increases resulting from changes in water, magma , or subterranean gas. The highly seismic Yellowstone is affected by both swarm-causing factors. Related: Scientists construct new theory of Yellowstone’s supervolcano hotspot While the earthquake swarms and Yellowstone’s supervolcano are both currently harmless, there is always a small chance that, someday, the big one will arrive. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there is a 1 in 730,000 chance that the supervolcano will experience a major eruption; this is roughly equivalent to the probability of an asteroid collision with Earth. As for what might trigger such an event, tiny tremors serve as reminders. Seismologist Jamie Farrell told National Geographic, “The most likely hazard in Yellowstone is from large earthquakes”. Via National Geographic Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Wave of earthquakes shake Yellowstone’s supervolcano

7 simple designs that solve modern problems – and don’t cost a fortune

February 22, 2018 by  
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Clean water . Affordable housing. Renewable energy . These are just a few of the pressing needs that can be met by design . All around the world, people have come up with innovative solutions to life’s problems using affordable, readily available materials and technologies. Read on for a look at seven simple designs that meet these challenges and more. Recycled laptop batteries power houses You might think the Tesla Powerwall has home renewable energy storage under control, but a few creative people have decided to do it themselves, drawing on recycled laptop batteries to make their own home storage devices that cost less than the Tesla option – solving an issue and reducing waste at the same time. They’ve shared their designs online so others can also benefit. Related: 6 urban farms feeding the world Plastic bottle air conditioner uses no electricity Climate control is an issue people worldwide face, but those living in rural areas don’t always have access to the air conditioners we may have. In Bangladesh, inventor Ashis Paul repurposed plastic soda bottles to design the Eco Cooler : a cooling system that requires no power. His company has already installed them in around 25,000 homes. 3D printing homes out of clay and mud Humans will probably always need affordable, sustainable housing . The World’s Advanced Saving Project is working to meet these needs with their BigDelta, a massive printer that 3D prints houses for almost zero cost out of mud and clay. The organization draws inspiration from the mud dauber wasp, which builds its homes from mud. Ceramic Cool Brick cools homes with simply water 3D printing innovators Emerging Objects created a home-cooling solution called the Cool Brick. The ceramic device only needs water to cool down a house in a dry, hot climate – and works based on evaporative cooling systems utilized all the way back around 2,500 BC. Ceramic filters help bring clean water to Cambodia When you can switch on a tap and water gushes out, it’s easy to take clean water for granted. But people around the world lack access to clean drinking water , and UNICEF and the Water and Sanitation Program teamed up to bring it to people in Cambodia . Their ceramic water filters , manufactured and distributed by Cambodians, resulted in a 50 percent fall in diarrheal illness after they were implemented. The ceramic water purifiers cost around $7.50 to $9.50 per system, according to a report from both organizations , and replacement filters cost around $2.50 to $4. Zero-energy air conditioner made of terracotta tubes Evaporative cooling was also put to work in India in an artistic, energy efficient cooling solution designed by Ant Studio for a DEKI Electronics factory. Conical terracotta tubes comprise the installation , and when water is run over them – once or twice a day – evaporation helps lower the temperature. DIY solar generator for the people of Puerto Rico Remember those creatives who design their own Powerwall-like devices? Business owner Jehu Garcia is one, and he also put his technological know-how to work to try and combat Puerto Rico’s electricity crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria . He posted a YouTube video detailing his design for a solar generator costing around $550, including the cost of a solar panel and light bulbs. He teamed up with a contact in Puerto Rico, asking people to build the generators and send them or parts. Images via Pixnio , Jehu Garcia , Grey Bangladesh , World’s Advanced Saving Project , Emerging Objects , UNICEF and Water and Sanitation Program , Ant Studio , and Jehu Garcia on Instagram

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7 simple designs that solve modern problems – and don’t cost a fortune

Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant to supply 30% of Addis Ababa’s household electricity needs

February 22, 2018 by  
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Ethiopia ‘s capital Addis Ababa has had one landfill for around 50 years: the Koshe dump site. Serving over three million people, it’s about as large as 36 football pitches, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). A waste-to-energy plant, a first for Africa , could transform the site, burning around 1,400 tons of trash every day. Waste incineration is a popular energy source in Europe; there are 126 plants in France, 121 in Germany, and 40 in Italy, according to UNEP. But no plants have been constructed in Africa — until now. The Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project is designed to supply Ethiopia’s capital with around 30 percent of household power needs. To meet European standards, UNEP said Reppie “adopts modern back-end flue gas treatment technology to drastically reduce the release of heavy metals and dioxins produced from the burning .” Related: Dubai announces plans for world’s biggest waste-to-energy facility A BBC video posted this month said the waste-to-energy plant will generate three million bricks from waste ash, and 30 million liters of water will be recovered from the garbage. They said the plant will avert the release of 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide . Hundreds of jobs will also be generated, including for people who depended on scavenging at the dump. For cities lacking a large amount of land, UNEP described waste-to-energy incineration as a quadruple win: “it saves precious space, generates electricity, prevents the release of toxic chemicals into groundwater , and reduces the release of methane — a potent greenhouse gas generated in landfills — into the atmosphere.” The government of Ethiopia partnered with renewable energy and waste management company Cambridge Industries , state-owned engineering company China National Electric Engineering , and Danish engineering firm Ramboll to build the plant. UNEP said last November it was set to start operating in January, though it appears they’re not all the way there yet; that said, the BBC video reported the plant is connected to the national power grid . + Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project + United Nations Environment Program Via the BBC Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant to supply 30% of Addis Ababa’s household electricity needs

Scientists hypothesize why earthquakes happen where they shouldn’t

December 22, 2017 by  
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Scientists at the University of Kentucky and the University of Memphis may have learned why earthquakes often occur in places they aren’t usually expected. The slow, steady grind of tectonic plates and the tension released by tectonic activity are typically cited as the primary cause of earthquakes. However, hundreds of “intraplate” earthquakes occur each year in places that are far from regions where plates meet. Such hot spots for intraplate earthquakes include Charlevoix, Quebec , New Madrid, Missouri, and the eastern third of Tennessee. The researchers believe that these intraplate earthquakes may be caused in part by concentrated crustal deformation at the lowest levels of the continental crust. In a study published in the science journal Tectonics , researchers presented their case that these areas of unusual seismic activity may be affected by damage to the underlying crust. “We present a new hypothesis that major seismic zones are restricted to places where the large-scale basement structures have been damaged by concentrated crustal deformation (CCD),” write co-researchers Christine Powell and William Thomas. CCD refers to any damage in geological history to the solid rock , deepest layers of a continental crust. Damage incurred millions of years ago may reemerge in the form of increased seismic activity. Related: Scientists warn of more severe earthquakes in 2018 as Earth’s rotation slows Though CCD likely contributes to all, each region has its own unique geological story to its unusual seismic activity. For example, the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the Midwestern United States is the result of folding of the local crust during the collapse of Rodinia, a supercontinent that fell apart hundreds of millions of years ago. In Eastern Tennessee , the increased seismic activity is caused by a sudden twist within one of the area’s deep faults. “Although the mechanisms producing the CCD vary, the regionally restricted CCD serves to focus seismicity in these three zones,” write Powell and Thomas. The researchers conclude that while CCD likely impacts these intraplate-earthquake-prone areas, it is not the only contributing factor. There is more to the story. Via ScienceAlert Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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Scientists hypothesize why earthquakes happen where they shouldn’t

Massive hidden fault could cause a cataclysmic earthquake, scientists warn

July 12, 2016 by  
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Predicting the date and time of an earthquake is impossible, but seismologists can use trends in tectonic activity to suggest where a big tremor might occur. A recent study revealed a massive, hidden fault line running under miles of river sediment . Scientists suggest the fault, which runs beneath Bangladesh, parts of east India and Myanmar, could cause a magnitude 8.2 to 9.0 earthquake. A quake of that strength would be devastating in such a densely populated region. http://vimeo.com/26131107 The recently discovered fault has created a lot of work for researchers, who are eager to learn more about it. However, since the fault has been hidden for so long, seismologists aren’t able to say as much about it as other faults around the world that have been under close watch for decades. Without knowledge of the fault’s trends over time, little can be done to protect the very people who might suffer if a major earthquake occurs along the fault line. Related: NASA says ionized air molecules may help predict earthquakes “We don’t know if it’s tomorrow or if it’s not going to be for another 500 years,” said study co-author Michael Steckler, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University in New York City. Steckler and his colleagues discovered the fault while working to map plate-motion data throughout Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. The team, working with researchers at Bangladesh’s Dhaka University , used ultrasensitive GPS devices throughout Bangladesh between 2003 and 2014 to collect the data, which revealed the existence of this previously unknown fault. Researchers estimate that some 140 million people live within a 60-mile radius of the fault and, because of unsustainable building practices (like pumping sand out of the ground to build up areas for skyscrapers ), a major earthquake in the region would leave countless casualties and massive infrastructure damage. The results of the study were published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience . Via CBS Images via Wikipedia and  LDEO

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Massive hidden fault could cause a cataclysmic earthquake, scientists warn

NASA researcher says ionized air molecules may help predict earthquakes in advance

April 4, 2016 by  
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Scientists have devised methods for predicting many natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Earthquakes, on the other hand, have eluded all attempts at advance warning. A new theory about ionized air molecules could finally change that and make it possible to predict major earthquakes hours before they begin. If the theory is proven, earthquake warnings could save thousands of lives each year. Read the rest of NASA researcher says ionized air molecules may help predict earthquakes in advance

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Recently converted Austrian tavern features terraced rooftop seating

April 4, 2016 by  
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