June 13, 2014 · 8:40 am
A study published yesterday in the journal Science suggests oceans of water are locked in rock about 400 miles below Earth’s surface. It’s not liquid, ice or vapor, but rather hydrogen and oxygen embedded in the molecular structure of mineral rock. Researchers think it may help explain some things about how the planet formed, and how oceans gathered on the planet’s surface, which is great. But for many observers the first question is, how do we get at it? And the answer is a flat no, we don’t get anywhere near this stuff, much less turn it into a usable form, because it’s far too deep in the mantle. It’s 400 miles down, and the deepest humans have ever drilled is less than 10 miles.
Dehydration melting at the top of the lower mantle – Science
Water discovered deep beneath Earth’s surface – USA Today
New evidence of oceans of water deep in the Earth – Phys.Org
Oceans of water locked 400 miles inside Earth – Discovery News
Study Describes Vast Reserves of Water Under Ocean Floors
Filed under Groundwater, Oceans, Research, Science, Water Resources
Tagged as Brandon Schmandt, Discovery News, Kenneth G. Dueker, Phys.Org, Steven D. Jacobsen, the journal Science, Thorsten W. Becker, USA Today, Zhenxian Liu
February 6, 2014 · 4:01 pm
Fracking sites in Colorado. Image: Susan Heller/Getty Images
A new report by the nonprofit group Ceres, which advises on green investment, indicates that 55% of hydraulic fracturing in the United States since 2011 has taken place in drought-stricken areas, such as California, Colorado and Texas.
And 47% of the wells are in regions with high or extremely high water stress. “High” water stress means that between 40% and 80% of a region’s surface and groundwater are already allocated for other uses (residential, agricultural, industrial); “extremely high” water stress means that more than 80% is spoken for.
The report’s findings are significant because fracking uses a lot of water. Each well can require up to 10 million gallons of water in the drilling process, which pumps chemicals and water into shale deposits thousands of feet underground to break up the rock and release natural gas or oil. According to the report, 97 billion gallons of water went into the ground at 39,300 sites between January 2011 and May 2013.
The oil and gas industry points out that its use of water is comparatively small. In many states, fracking draws well under 1% of all water used, according to sources. The industry also says it will increase the amount of recycled water used (from none or next to none in most places to … some, presumably). Finally, there is some evidence from a University of Texas study that fracking reduces water use overall because it decreases reliance on water-intensive coal production, as it pushes utilities to use more natural gas power.
“Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers” – Ceres
Report: Fracking raising water supply worries – USA Today
California drought sets up fracking face-off – San Francisco Chronicle
Fracking depleting water supplies in America’s driest areas – The Guardian
Fracking for natural gas may help us save water – Time
U.S. Shale Map: Could Be a Lot of Fracking Drilling in the Lower 48
Serious Water Conservation Requires Layered Approach and Emotional Commitment
Filed under Drought, Fracking, Groundwater, Industry, North America, Research
Tagged as California, Ceres, coal, Colorado, Monika Freyman, natural gas, oil, San Francisco Chronicle, Texas, The Guardian, Time, United States, University of Texas, USA Today, water stress