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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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Thousand Of Rohingya Refugees Get Clean Drinking Water, Thanks To Green Technology

The UNHCR along with its partner agencies are hoping to install nine more solar-powered water networks across the refugee camp in the coming year.

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Rohingya, Drinking water, amnesty
Formin Akter applies makeup before heading to Chittagong to attend school at the Asian University for Women in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 24, 2018. VOA

Thousands of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, now have safe drinking water thanks to a combination of green technology and sunlight.

Cox’s Bazar has plenty of refugees. More than 900,000. Most have arrived in Bangladesh since August 2017, when violence and persecution by the Myanmar military triggered a mass exodus of Rohingya refugees.

The refugees are living in squalid conditions across 36 different locations in Cox’s Bazar. Water is scarce in most locations. But sunshine is plentiful. Over the past six months, the U.N. refugee agency and partners have been putting into operation solar-powered safe water systems.

Rohingya, Violence. drinking water
Rohingya refugees carry a hume pipe in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The UNHCR reports the first five systems are now running at full capacity. It says the new safe water systems run entirely on electricity generated through solar panels. UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, says this new network is providing safe water to more than 40,000 refugees.

Rohingya, Violence. drinking water
A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

“Using the solar energy has allowed the humanitarian community to reduce the energy costs and emissions,” said Mahecic. “So, there is a clear environmental impact of this. Chlorination is also a life-saver in refugee sites of this scale. The recent tests revealed that most contamination of drinking water occurs during collection, transport and storage at the household level.”

Mahecic notes chlorinated water is safe for drinking and also eliminates the risk of the spread of disease.

Also Read: Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

The UNHCR along with its partner agencies are hoping to install nine more solar-powered water networks across the refugee camp in the coming year. The project, which is funded by the agency, will cost $10 million. It will benefit an additional 55,000 Rohingya refugees.

The UNHCR says its ultimate aim is to provide 20 liters of safe water to every single refugee on a daily basis. It says this will be done by piping in the solar powered water to collective taps strategically installed throughout the Kutupalog-Balukhali refugee site. (VOA)