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A series of new studies by U.S. seismological experts are drawing a closer link between drilling for oil and gas and the disturbing rise in the number of earthquakes in areas not usually prone to seismic activity. It is by no means breaking news that certain aspects of oil and gas drilling can lead to small earthquakes.
But the problem is taking on a new urgency as the U.S. has rapidly expanded oil and gas production in recent years. The main culprit is the increased use of a controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The process involves pumping high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals into rock formations deep underground.
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Fracturing the rock releases oil and gas trapped inside. It also creates a massive amount of wastewater. The problem is what to do with that water, says Roger Musson of the British Geological Survey. "If you inject wastewater into the ground to dispose of it, which is what is being done, then that is what really does trigger earthquakes in the affected area," Musson told VOA by telephone.
It does this by loosening faults, or divisions in the rocks that make up Earth's crust. "Below the water table, there is water in the rocks. And if you change the pressure in that water, then it has the effect of lubricating the faults," he says. Scientists decades ago reached a consensus that such activities cause earthquakes, says Musson. But the problem is becoming more critical, especially in the U.S., which has seen a fracking boom in the last several years.
Concern over man-made earthquakes
Several recent reports by seismological authorities are also expressing alarm about the increase in man-made earthquakes. A study released Thursday by the U.S. Geological Survey examined 17 areas within eight states in the central and eastern parts of the U.S. that are newly designated as being vulnerable to earthquakes. Traditionally, quakes have occurred most frequently on the U.S. west coast. All of the newly earthquake-prone areas are located "near deep fluid injection wells or other industrial activities capable of inducing earthquakes," according to the USGS report.
The most dramatic rise has occurred in the central state of Oklahoma. Before 2008, Oklahoma saw just one or two quakes per year of greater than 3.0-magnitude. It now sees one or two such quakes per day. In its own report released earlier this week, the state of Oklahoma acknowledged for the first time that it is "very likely" the recent rise in earthquakes was caused by the disposal of oil and gas drilling wastewater.
Most of the allegedly manmade earthquakes have been relatively small and have done little damage. But experts warn there is no guarantee the seismic activity will not increase the chance for much larger temblors. "This is being debated very urgently by seismologists," says Musson. Currently, scientists believe that wastewater injection can produce earthquakes in the magnitude 4 or 5 range. "But what the upper limit is is really very difficult to judge," he says.
Fracking has also been criticized by environmental rights activists because they say it pollutes groundwater and leaks harmful fumes into the atmosphere. Supporters of fracking say the innovative drilling process has helped expand the U.S. economy and has reduced American dependence on foreign oil. They say the reports linking earthquakes to drilling activity are exaggerated. (VOA/JC)
The new variant of the coronavirus Omicron is a variant of "concern" not "despair," Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said, adding that the country's health system is prepared for an eventual new Covid-19 wave.
"It is not a variant of despair because we have health authorities committed to providing quality care to our population," the Minister said.
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A Brazilian citizen coming from South Africa was quarantined in the south American country after testing positive for Covid-19, since it was not known which variant had infected him, Xinhua news agency reported.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24.
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The new variant has a number of previously unseen mutations, mainly in the spike protein the virus uses to invade human cells.
Over the weekend, Queiroga asked Brazilians to remain calm, saying that measures against the new variant are the same, and the main weapon against Covid-19 is vaccination.
Brazil had accumulated 22,080,906 Covid-19 cases and 614,278 deaths from the virus as of Sunday.
Keywords : new variant, covid, Omicron, Brazil, Health Minister, coronavirus, mutation, health system, country, vaccination.
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Amit Rai Jain, a Baghpat-based businessman, has found 16 coins made of silver and copper which have a bull and a horseman engraved on them.
He found the coins from a mound, known locally as the 'Katha mound' in Khekhra, close to the Delhi-Saharanpur highway, on Sunday.
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Jain told reporters that some of the coins are from the late 12th century AD, which is the era of Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan.
"I keep frequenting the area, which is rich in archaeological finds. This time, it revealed something considered fascinating in Indian numismatics. The coins which I found belong to a series of Rajput rulers who remained dominant in the region comprising Rajasthan, Haryana, and the western Gangetic plains from the eighth century to 12th century AD," he said.
Jain, is a member of the Culture and History Association, an organisation comprising historians from western Uttar Pradesh.
K.K. Sharma, head of the department of history, Multanimal Modi College, Modinagar, confirmed the antiquity of the coins.
Picture of some ancient coinsUnsplash
"This is an interesting find as the area remained with the Rajput kings for a couple of centuries. Horse and bull inscriptions on coins were quite common in those days. Horses used to be the primary vehicle of soldiers during battles and their depiction on coins is not a surprise. In fact, close to two dozen rulers between the seventh and 17th centuries used horses in some form or the other on their coins," he said.
Baghpat is well-known for the discovery of interesting historical artifacts, the most sensational being three chariots unearthed during the Archaeological Survey of India excavation held in Sinauli in June 2018, which marked the 'first-ever' physical evidence of Bronze Age chariots in India.
In 2006, Sinauli had revealed Harappan-era burial grounds where several discoveries were made such as that of painted grey ware pottery, skeletons, bronze swords, and copper vessels.
Keywords : ancient, coins, silver, copper, archaeological, kings, discovery, historical, artifacts, Uttar Pradesh, India, Rajput.
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With an aim to examine the wide-ranging narratives and the very definitions of the art of sculpture, Palette Art Gallery's forthcoming exhibition, 18 Dimensions - is a show dedicated to sculptures underlining the important works by 18 contemporary artists, who have made a significant impact on the Indian and Global art landscape.
Bringing a seductive edge to the visual arts, an element of pleasure to one's life and working environment, the exhibit is an effort to showcase a broad scope of contemporary sculpture from the abstract and the minimal to the popular, making socio-political commentary that is deeply contemplative and thought-provoking.
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The show reflects on a large number of materials and methods from casting to the modes of assemblage as well as minimalism, conceptualism making visible the process of making in most of the works.
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Featuring over 18 artists, the intention is to present a range and variety of sculptural expressions and encourage viewer participation and physical engagement with artworks once again, as the city opens up to mobility from the studios of Arunkumar HG, Ashiesh Shah, Gigi Scaria, G. R. Iranna, L. N. Tallur, Narayan Biswas, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Manjunath Kamath, Pooja Iranna, Himmat Shah, Jagannath Panda, Rajesh Ram, Riyas Komu, Sangam Vankhade, Sumedh R, Subodh Gupta, Sudarshan Shetty, Valay Shende, Vibha Galhotra and Vipul Kumar, the exhibition studies their involvement with the influences probing the limits and possibilities inherent in a sculpture's inescapable three-dimensional physicality.
One of the highlights of the show includes a selection of the rare hemp works by artist Mrinalini Mukherjee. Known for her distinctly contemporary style and use of dyed and woven hemp fibre, she worked with an unconventional material in the world of sculpting. Her four-decade-long career was an exemplar of a practice dedicated to formulating a language that was a mix of abstraction and figuration.
Keywords : art gallery, sculpture, exhibition, Palette Art Gallery, Bikaner House, New Delhi, contemporary, abstract, materials, conceptualism.
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