Aluto volcano, Ethiopia's main source of geothermal energy is in the center of attention, for a group of scientists from U.K. and Ethiopia, who using advanced monitoring techniques, are exploring the development of the Rift Valley. The research findings have been recently published in the open access journal Geosphere.
Scientists at Florida State University are researching the fate of carbon released from during the thawing of long frozen permafrost soils in the arctic. According to their Geophysical Research Letter published this week, microorganisms are rapidly consuming the ancient carbon released from the permafrost, metabolizing it into carbon dioxide, and releasing it back into the environment. A dangerous cycle is underway whereby the regions of the Earth where permafrost is found continue to warm due to climate change and release more carbon which makes its way to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide via microorganisms and further contributes to climate change.
Accurate measurement of water flow has been for years difficult to perform, not to mention prediction of the water's path which is easily altered by the smallest soil details. Very fine details diverging the groundwater's flow from the straight sequential line is a phenomenon also referred to as "preferential flow" and may deadly affect crops that depend on moisture, as well as chemical spills requiring containment. The new study deals with some important obstacles in the monitoring of the "preferential flow".
Rain-induced landslides have hit a death toll of nearly 20,000 since 2007. For an overview of the landslides' locations NASA has updated the open source Global Landslide Catalog. The video released by NASA reveals very useful information on the statistics of landslides.
As water scarcity becomes an ever larger problem, Felipe de Barros, assistant professor at the University of Southern California, is working to find new methods of predicting pollution in groundwater. He aims in providing reliable predictions of how chemical pollutants in subsurface water has staggering implications for human health and sustainability. His research aims to create a model of subsurface flow and determine how chemicals move in subterranean conditions.
Engineers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom have been using the seemingly unconventional method of tracking glowing tampons in a water body to identify areas of pollution from wastewater. Often, tampons soak up the optical brighteners, chemicals added to detergents and other cleaners to enhance whites and bright colors - the same stuff that makes your white t-shirt glow in the black light of a bowling alley. The tampons then glow under ultraviolet light. Because the natural, untreated cotton in tampons readily absorbs the chemicals, they have the potential to be a convenient and inexpensive indicator of pollution in rivers and streams.
As a flooding event is still in progress, real-time information on its extent and the population affected is difficult to obtain, putting rescue crews and associated agencies in a difficult position in terms of planning and decision making. A joint study carried out by two Dutch organizations - Deltares and Floodtags - aims in developing twitter-based real-time flood maps. The project is considered a proof of concept and was presented at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union taking place in Vienna these days.