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Software Tool designed to reduce risk of triggering man-made Earthquakes

The software, known as Fault Slip Potential (FSP), will be available for free starting March 2

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2010 Earthquake in Chile, Wikimedia

Feb 28, 2017: Two researchers at Stanford University have developed a software tool designed to reduce the risk of triggering man-made earthquakes where oil and gas production activities may trigger slip in nearby faults.

The software, known as Fault Slip Potential (FSP), will be available for free starting March 2, Xinhua news agency reported.

Acknowledging that “faults are everywhere in the Earth’s crust, so you can’t avoid them,” said Mark Zoback, professor of geophysics at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, who worked with his graduate student Rall Walsh on the project.

“Fortunately, the majority of them are not active and pose no hazard to the public. The trick is to identify which faults are likely to be problematic, and that’s what our tool does,” Zoback added.

Oil and gas operations can generate significant quantities of “produced water,” or brackish water that needs to be disposed of through deep injection to protect drinking water.

Energy companies also dispose of water that flows back after hydraulic fracturing in the same way.

This process can increase pore pressure, namely the pressure of groundwater trapped within the tiny spaces inside rocks in the subsurface, which in turn increases the pressure on nearby faults, causing them to slip and release seismic energy in the form of earthquakes.

The FSP tool uses three key pieces of information to help determine the probability of a fault being pushed to slip: the first is how much wastewater injection will increase pore pressure at a site; the second is knowledge of the stresses acting in the earth; the third is knowledge of pre-existing faults in the area.

Zoback and Walsh have started testing their FSP tool in Oklahoma, of mid-western US, which has experienced a sharp rise in the number of earthquakes since 2009, due largely to wastewater injection operations.

Their analysis suggests that some wastewater injection wells in Oklahoma were unwittingly placed near stressed faults already primed to slip.

The researchers believe regulators could use the tool to identify areas where proposed injection activities could prove problematic so that enhanced monitoring efforts can be implemented.

“Our tool provides a quantitative probabilistic approach for identifying at-risk faults so that they can be avoided,” Walsh was quoted as saying in a news release on Monday. (IANS)

 

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Plastic Found in 83% Drinking Water on Five Continents, Nobody is Safe

While the health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, it is not something you would want to consume

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Plastic
A shelf full of various kinds of bottled water is pictured at a supermarket in Beijing. (VOA)
  • Tiny particles of degraded plastic called microplastics found in drinking water
  • Consumption of microplastics by fishes are known to stunt growth, inhibit hatching of eggs and increase mortality rates
  • The tiny pieces of plastic have been found in both, public taps and bottled water

London, September 7, 2017 : Tiny pieces of plastic have been found in drinking water on five continents – from Trump Tower in New York to a public tap on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda – posing a potential risk to people’s health, researchers said on Wednesday.

Plastic degrades over time into tiny particles known as microplastics, which were found in 83 percent of samples from Germany to Cuba to Lebanon analyzed by U.S.-based digital news organization Orb Media.

“If you ask people whether they want to be eating or drinking plastic, they just say, ‘No, that’s a dumb question,’ ” said Sherri Mason, one of study’s authors and a chemistry professor at the State University of New York.

“It’s probably not something that we want to be ingesting, but we are, whether through our drinking water, through beer, juice. It’s in our food, sea salt, mussels. Nobody is safe,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Microplastics of up to 5 millimeters are also in bottled water, she said.

The health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, but studies on fish have shown they inhibit hatching of fertilized eggs, stunt growth and make them more susceptible to predators, increasing mortality rates.

Microplastics absorb toxic chemicals from the marine environment, which are released into the bodies of fish and mammals who consume them, Orb Media’s chief executive, Molly Bingham, said in a statement.

While many studies have shown the prevalence of microplastics in the world’s oceans, where more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating, it is the first time research has been conducted into drinking water. (VOA)

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Tons of Dead Fish in Pakistan Prompt Authorities to conduct Drinking Water Tests

Samples of water and dead fish sent for forensic testing after a complaint

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Dead fish in Rawal lake
Dead fish float on the surface of Rawal lake on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, July 15, 2017. VOA
  • Tons of dead fish found in Islamabad’s Rawal lake 
  • Samples of water and dead fish sent for forensic testing
  • No alert issued by the police and the fisheries department yet 

Authorities in Pakistan’s capital are investigating the water in the city’s main reservoir after tons of dead fish were found in a lake on the city’s outskirts.

Police officer Imran Haider says Saturday samples of water and dead fish from Rawal Lake have been collected and sent for forensic testing after a complaint received from the capital’s fisheries department.

ALSO READ: Seawater can turn into drinking water for millions around the world without access to Clean Water

According to Haider, Mohammad Sadiq Buzdar of the fisheries department said there has been an increasing number of dead fish in the lake since monsoon rains began three days earlier.

Police and the fisheries department have not yet issued any alert regarding the situation.

Rawal Dam is one of two that enable water reservoir lakes for the capital. (VOA)

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Stanford Study Ranks India among the Laziest People in the World

A recent study by a group of researchers at Stanford have revealed that Indians are among the laziest people in the world

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Laziest People
Indians average just 4,297 steps a day. Wikimedia
  • A Stanford study has ranked India 39 in the world for the laziest people 
  • China, and particularly Hong Kong, has the most active people
  • The research also found out that Indian women walk even less than men

July 17, 2017: Researchers at Stanford University carried out a study on 46 countries to find out the levels of laziness. In its finding, Indians ranked 39 and thus among the laziest people.

Indian people average only about 4,297 steps a day. It was also observed that women in India walk much less than men. While men registered an average of 4,606 steps daily, women averaged 3,684 steps.

The world average is 4,961 steps. The Americans stood at an average of 4,77,4 steps daily.

ALSO READ: Cosmetic Industry is Booming: Thanks to Young Indians!

The most active people, according to the research, are the Chinese and mainly the ones in Hong Kong. Other notably active people are from Ukraine and Japan. The people in these countries walk more than 6,000 steps daily, mentioned ANI report.

With a daily average of just 3,513 steps, the Indonesians ranked as the laziest people in the world. Other laziest countries include Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. These countries have an average of fewer than 3,900 steps.

The researchers at Stanford University installed step-counters in smartphones and used that information for the research. 700,000 people from 46 different countries were part of the research, which has been published in the journal called Nature.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394