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water

Clearing roadways: A little salt goes a long way

Although winter in the Northern Hemisphere does not technically begin for another month, snowfalls and icy conditions are already making driving hazardous. When winter weather strikes, most states spread salt to clear roadways. However, more and more studies are showing that salt has lasting environmental repercussions, which may force a winter roadway maintenance overhaul. But if not salt, then what?

17 Nov 2009

Saving Energy and Water Through Superior Sanitation

Have you ever thought about using your urine to fertilize your tomatoes and cucumbers? Full of nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, urine can work wonders in your garden. How about composting your feces — packed with rich organic matter just waiting to be decomposed — to help your rose bushes and oak trees grow? If you don’t use feces for composting, then it could be a source of natural gas and hydrogen for use as an alternative energy supply. Or perhaps you would be more comfortable with the thought of reusing the water you wash your clothes in to flush your toilets?

03 Mar 2009

Biophysical economics: The Mississippi Delta as a lens for global issues

With a global economic slowdown and growing environmental concerns, it is worthwhile to take a look at the future and think about how we can better manage development relative to society, natural ecosystems, climate and energy. These global issues can be viewed through the lens of the Mississippi Delta.

24 Nov 2009

Rewriting rivers: What it means for river restoration

In 1702, Francis Chadsey and his family bought 200 hectares of meadow and upland on the banks of the Brandywine Creek in southeastern Pennsylvania. Within a year, he built a mill for grinding wheat, oats and barley. Like other landowners in the region, Chadsey also built a small dam on the creek. He most likely used local stone to erect the 2.5- to 3.5-meter-high structure, behind which a small pond sprang up. From the pond, a conduit carried water that spilled over a wheel to produce power to run the mill.

13 Mar 2009

Mississippi Delta drowning

The Mississippi River Delta is arguably the most geologically (and politically) dynamic delta in the United States. Subsidence, sedimentation, sea-level change and human manipulation constantly alter the landscape at the end of North America’s longest river. But now, researchers say, the beloved delta may be irrevocably shrinking.

24 Nov 2009

Lack of water threatens "Garden of Eden"

Since the downfall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqis and scientists from around the world have been working hard to restore Iraq’s once-lush marshes. But after several years of measurable improvement, drought and competition over limited water supplies threaten to reverse this progress. Those working on the marshes are confident that the marshes can come back — but whether the people who rely on these wetlands for their livelihood will be as resilient remains to be seen.

15 Apr 2009

Thirsty Cities: Water management in a changing environment

On a clear day in November 2007, the governor of Georgia held an unusual public vigil. Before the doors of his state capitol, Gov. Sonny Perdue bowed his head, took his wife’s hand and prayed for rain.

Some called it a stunt. Others admired the gesture. Above all, one thing was clear: Northern Georgia was facing its worst drought in 100 years, and there was no easy fix. It would take unprecedented statewide efforts to save Georgia from ruin.

31 Dec 2009

Mining for iron oxides in coal mine sludge

The billions of tons of coal that miners extracted from Pennsylvania’s ground over the past two centuries have long gone up in smoke, but their legacy lives on in the state’s rivers and waterways. Nasty discharge — often with sky-high metal concentrations — from thousands of abandoned coal mines has been polluting Pennsylvania’s streams and groundwater.

30 Apr 2009

Sea sprawl: Into the blue frontier of ocean development

Picture it: Dozens of kilometers off the coast of Texas, a giant polygon-shaped cage constructed of steel ribs and mesh netting floats 30 or so meters beneath the waves. The cage, moored to the seafloor, is filled with tens of thousands of teeming, silvery fish. Several kilometers away, offshore wind turbines sprout from the sea surface in a curving line, their spindly white arms churning the atmosphere.

01 Mar 2010

Geoscientists Without Borders: Geologists Lend a Hand

Craig Beasley’s one-year term as president of the Society for Exploration Geophysicists had a challenging start. After about two months in office, a magnitude-9-plus earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004, triggering a powerful tsunami that killed more than 225,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

SEG members wanted to help, but did not know how to contribute their expertise. “I could encourage members to donate money and time, but how does that distinguish a contribution from SEG from what people would normally do?” Beasley says.

08 May 2009

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