Seismic Vessels Regularly Aid in Ghost Gear Cleanup
A lesser known advocate of ghost gear cleanup is the geophysical industry. Seismic vessels tow miles of sensitive listening equipment to pick up faint acoustic signals returned by geological strata miles below the surface. Ghost nets and other marine debris are a serious problem for seismic vessel operators. But as people who live a good part of their lives on the ocean, seismic operators do more than remove the debris and move on. They remove the gear from the water, often many tons of it, and carry it to port for recycling and proper disposal.  If it is possible to safely do so they are often able to rescue turtles, fish or marine mammals from certain death in the entangling debris. Recently the IAGC began its Marine Debris & Ghost Net Initiative to catalogue exactly how much of this debris our members remove each year from the oceans. Our members are in a unique position to perform this environmental service and have been doing this work for years. While each vessel may only be clearing a small portion of the vast ocean, and saving a relatively small number of marine animals from this ghost gear, they provide a massive, invaluable service to our marine environment.

All of us who work on the sea and spend a good part of our lives on the oceans care deeply about the marine environment and quite often go out of our way to reduce the damage done by other human activities. Our livelihoods depend on the worlds’ oceans and our industry takes particular care to ensure the longevity and health of the marine environment. In addition to installing turtle guards and carrying out mitigation measures to safeguard marine mammals, the seismic industry is working daily to combat the debris and fishing gear discard that is becoming a growing concern in our environment.

Read more about the IAGC's Marine Debris and Ghost Net Initiative.

Dan Lasko, a broad-shouldered former Marine wearing green-trimmed blue swim goggles, emerged from the locker room at Nassau County Aquatic Center, ready to hit the pool with a brand new leg. It was the first time in years that he would be able to stride from the pool deck into the water without having to remove his reliable prosthesis, the one with an Asics sneaker attached, then hopping one-legged on the slippery deck to get in. Read the full article by the NY Times.

Measures Save Young Salmon after Failure of Oroville Dam Spillway

A million fingerling salmon, rescued from almost certain death after the Oroville Dam spillway fell apart last month, began their remarkable journey to the ocean Monday by being launched unceremoniously out of tanker trucks into the Feather River.

The lucky fish are among 2 million spring-run chinook moved from the state-run Feather River Fish Hatchery last month after a gaping hole opened in the main spillway at Oroville Dam and erosion on the emergency spillway sent plumes of suffocating silt into their rearing pens.

Read complete article. 

What is in a Barrel of Oil? 

Article by Chevron

To some, a barrel of crude may look like a gooey liquid who’s only redeeming virtue is to be eventually refined into gasoline.

Researchers broke down a typical barrel of domestic crude oil into what may be produced. By the way, the average domestic crude oil has a gravity of 32 degrees and weighs 7.21 pounds per gallon.

Here’s what just one barrel of crude oil can produce:

Enough liquefied gases (such as propane) to fill 12 small (14.1 ounce) cylinders for home, camping or workshop use.
Enough gasoline to drive a medium-sized car (17 miles per gallon) over 280 miles.
Asphalt to make about one gallon of tar for patching roofs or streets.
Lubricants to make about a quart of motor oil.
Enough distillate fuel to drive a large truck (five miles per gallon) for almost 40 miles. If jet fuel fraction is included, that same truck can run nearly 50 miles.
Nearly 70 kilowatt hours of electricity at a power plant generated by residual fuel.
About four pounds of charcoal briquettes.
Wax for 170 birthday candles or 27 wax crayons.

There are enough petrochemicals left in that same barrel to provide the base for one of the following:

39 polyester shirts
750 pocket combs
540 toothbrushes
65 plastic dustpans
23 hula hoops
65 plastic drinking cups
195 one-cup measuring cups
11 plastic telephone housings
135 four-inch rubber balls

The lighter materials in a barrel are used mainly for paint thinners and dry-cleaning solvents and they can make nearly a quart of one of these products. The miscellaneous fraction of what is left still contains enough by-products to be used in medicinal oils, still gas, road oil and plant condensates – a real industrial horn of plenty.

Emotional Moment Colorblind Boy Sees Colors for First Time

Cool, Clear Water

​Wastewater treatment facilities work to process wastewater and turn it into cool, clear water. It takes a lot of energy and technological innovation to run these treatment plants. According to Energy Tomorrow, "electricity generation is increasingly being fueled by clean-burning natural gas." For more information, read Vote for Clean Water - Vote4Energy.

Rescued Dog Helps Spread the Word about Plastics

Oil Rigs Giving Back
​It may be hard to believe by looking at the massive, rugged surface of an oil rig offshore, but these and other man-made structures are actually creating unique, flourishing biological hotspots in the ocean. These formations are increasing biological diversity by providing hard substrate for marine life to grow on in environments that are otherwise sites of low biodiversity due to the shifting sand and mud bottom which cannot support corals, kelp, mussels and similar habitats where many marine species find food and shelter. Rockfish particularly, one of the the West Coast's most economically important groups of fish, are flourishing in these habitats. Adult rockfish seek the ocean bottom and deep waters to shelter and hunt, but the California seabed offers little of the hard, complex substrate these rockfish require. Juvenile and larval rockfish settle high in the structures, a place where they would likely perish if not for the protection from the oil rig's pillars.

Read about Rigs to Reefs and more!

As if all of this hasn't been enough...

Attalid Dynasty Burial Site Discovered in Western Turkey?The burial site of the Attalid Dynasty, the Hellenistic dynasty which ruled the ancient Greek city of Pergamon after the fall of Alexander the Great, may have been discovered in western Turkey.

According to Haaretz, archaeologist Felix Pirson says the burial site – once thought lost to antiquity – is part of a massive mound that was first investigated nearly two centuries ago. The hilltop, adjacent to Bergama – ancient Pergamon – is known as Yigma Tepe, and Professor Pirson says he’s eager to prove his theory using advanced technologies in a number of new excavation projects.

Prof. Pirson remarked that the burial site was almost certainly created as a monument to someone of great importance, regardless of who was interred within. However, he says that there’s a case to be made for the Attalids due to the gargantuan size of the burial mound, as well as indications leading researchers to date the mound to the second century BCE. Pirson added that the tomb’s alignment and its architecture, especially with its location on the stairway side of the Great Altar and the western side of the Temple of Athena, were other strong indications that the mound may be the final resting place of an important Attalid.

Pergamon became a seat of power for the Attalids, well-renowned as a breathtaking capital city for the Hellenistic kings that governed large regions of Asia Minor during the second century BCE. The city had enough longevity to last into the Byzantine era, based on archaeological finds on the northern slopes of the hilltop city that included ceramics, coins and spearheads from that time.

Oil & Gas-Fueled Tanker Trucks Save Millions of Salmon

For more information visit Energy in Depth

SeaWorld Penguin Receives Customized Wetsuit

A penguin in the Empire of the Penguin exhibit in a Florida SeaWorld was experiencing feather loss on one side of her body and on her back, which led to difficulty in controlling her body temperature. So, they created a neoprene wetsuit for the little penguin, which allowed her to not only stay warm but to also interact with the other penguins as usual, swimming and eating. 

Read more about the penguin here.

Also find out more about neoprene and how it was derived from oil and gas products by chemists at DuPont Corporation here!

Oil Byproducts  Create Cool, Green, Economical Houses in Kenya
A new construction technology using expanded polystyrene, a by-product of oil refining, is gaining momentum in the quickly expanding housing sector in Kenya. A new development in Kajiado County, southeast of Nairobi, has recently built approximately 50 homes from these polystyrene panels, which trap tiny air bubbles into the foam.

Because air is a poor conductor of temperature, this material actually allows the homes to have a very consistent internal temperature even in extreme hot and cold weather, offering better insulation than homes made from timber or concrete.

In addition to being extremely advantageous for temperature control, the polystyrene houses are ecologically friendly. They use very little water, which is essential in water-scarce areas like Nairobi. They are also extremely lightweight, which means less wood is needed to support the building helping reduce deforestation.

To build these homes, polystyrene panels are pressed between two pieces of steel mesh wire and sprayed with cement for support. This process allows home cost to be reduced by approximately half of what a similar brick home would cost. They can also be built in a fraction of the time (14 days for a three-bedroom house) which could help reduce housing deficits. The government constructed a manufacturing plant for producing these panels in Mlolongo. They hope to reduce the costs of the polystyrene panels even further to make properties more affordable, allowing even the most poor to acquire at least basic shelter.

Read more about this innovative idea in the
Reuter’s article, Cool, cheap and green: Polystyrene homes catch on in Kenya  or on the IAGC GeoWire Blog.

Seismic Used to Study Earthquake Fault Lines and Help Save Lives

Scientists in Oakland, California are using seismic surveys to study the Hayward Fault to research the potentially large threat of future earthquakes in the East Bay area.  The US Geological Survey (USGS) and Cal State East Bay are working together to lay 10 miles of seismic lines containing over 500 small seismographs in a project which will allow geologists to study the area, which is quite prone to earthquakes, and better predict how the East Bay area will react to future tremors.

The Hayward Fault, which extends for 74 miles through a densely populated East Bay and connects with the Calaveras Fault near San Jose, one of the most dangerous faults in Northern California, was last active in 1868. That quake, now estimated at a 7.1 magnitude, leads scientists to believe that the fault is overdue for another major quake, reports the SFGate. They anticipate the Hayward Fault will be twice as likely to rupture over the next 30 years than the San Andreas, prompting this seismic study to help explore the fault zone.

Last week, Geologists began drilling narrow, 30-foot deep holes in which a series of small explosives will be placed. Over the next few weeks, these charges will detonate late at night when no other vibrations from passing vehicles or other cultural noise are present to shake the ground and skew readings from the seismographs. These detonations will not be felt by residents, but will create a series of small, controlled tremors. The seismic waves will be collected by the seismographs and the data processed to create a three dimensional map of the rock layers and formations which lie beneath the surface along the faults.

This imagery will then allow scientists to better predict how the region will respond to future earthquakes, helping local communities better prepare for potential earthquakes in the East Bay area. “Understanding that fault structure – and how the energy will move along that fault – is important,” The Mercury News quotes Rufus Catchings, USGS geophysicist, saying. “We can improve our “Shake Maps,’ which helps first responders. It helps homeowners, who may want to retrofit their houses.”

Luther Strayer, Cal State East Bay professor of geology, explains, “We’re trying to keep people alive. We’re trying to assess the hazard so we understand what’s going on underground – and then inform people what to do about it.”

Follow the Oakland Geology blog on the East Bay Seismic investigation for updates on the study. Similar research has been done in the south Santa Clara valley, on the Peninsula and in Napa. 

From IAGC's GeoWire blog.

Cochlear Implants are made possible by oil & gas

To be safely implanted into patients, a silicone encasement, made with oil and natural gas by-products, is used to cover sensitive electronics in these amazing hearing devices. The use of silicone keeps moisture out of the system and its smooth pliable surface makes it comfortable and safe for the patient to wear. Read more at​

Cayson Irlbeck, 10, was born colorblind and is now seeing certain colors for the first time. A special pair of glasses is opening up a colorful new world for the Iowa boy with a vision impairment. The decade Cayson Irlbeck has been alive, the 4th grader's world view has been almost black and white. He was born unable to tell the difference between blues and purples and reds and greens. Earlier this month his view changed, thanks to Oil and Gas. Full Article

Oil Industry Supports Texas Parks & Wildlife’s Keeping it Wild Project

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is partnering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) and Coastal Conservation Association Texas to create the state’s largest, most ambitious artificial reef in the state-controlled waters off the Gulf of Mexico. With over $1 million in donations, 500 specially designed concrete pyramids will be sunk in the Gulf about six miles off the coast, creating a safe haven for marine life. The 381-acre reef will be positioned off the shore of the Port O’Conner jetties and Matagorda Island and the structure, called the “Keeping it Wild Reef”, will be twice the size of any artificial reefs currently in place. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2016 with placement occurring in 2017.

This project is being funded through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundations “Keeping it Wild” program and the state’s nearshore reefing Artificial Reef Program, along with funds from Shell Oil Company through the Coastal Conservation Associations national habitat program. The program will create and enhance vitally important marine fisheries habitats along the Texas coast, benefiting recreational anglers and sport divers as well as the diverse marine populations. The specially designed pyramids are embedded with limestone to allow marine life, like worms and invertebrates, a place to burrow. The opening at the top is large enough to allow any sea turtles that may pass through the pyramids to escape.

The oil industry has been participating in the TPWD’s Rigs-to-Reefs program for many years, leaving environmentally friendly portions of decommissioned oil rigs for use as artificial reefs. More importantly, the oil companies also donate a portion of the money saved by not removing the rigs in their entirety. This money has been essential for pursuing the state and federal permits required to build the artificial reef and placement of other reef materials for the program. Two additional decommissioned rigs currently stand in the 381-acre area permitted for the new reef, making them prime candidates for the Rigs-to-Reef program and further enhancing the “Keeping it Wild Reef” site.

Read more about Rigs-to-Reefs and Keeping it Wild, as well as the joint Keeping it Wild Reef project

Marine Given Gift of Swimming With a Brand New Swim Leg

Seismic Technologies Detect Potential Earthquakes, Save Lives

Geologists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) have developed a new way to predict future earthquakes by detecting faults deep below the Earth’s surface using seismic technologies, pairing vibrations sent into the ground with geophones to collect crucial data. This unique method to image underground faults was described in a documentary called The River Ratu Expedition, which depicts how these scientists have studied the faults in Nepal which caused the catastrophic earthquake in 2015 claiming the lives of more than 8,000 victims near Kathmandu. The researchers hope to discover which portions of this fault might break and when these breaks might occur in order to help forewarn those who live in the densely populated area, minimizing the loss of life during future earthquakes.

In the documentary film, they show how scientific teams from the EOS use a variety of techniques and technologies to collect data on what lies beneath the ground in the areas of the faults.  Large trucks with vibrating devices, called VibroSeis, send sound waves into the ground, which then reflect off rock layers and underground formations. Data from these vibrations are collected by geophones, and are then processed to create a map of what lies beneath the earth’s surface.  By viewing the faults at a depth of 5-15 km below the surface through these seismic survey map, the data collected by these researchers is crucial in helping detect future earthquakes and potential save lives.   These seismic survey maps allow researchers to access critical data and view the faults at a depth of 5-15 km helping to detect future earthquakes and potentially save lives.

From IAGC's GeoWire blog.

At its height, the city had a reputation for not just masterful art and architecture but also for rulers that were well-known for cultural politics, and this is reflected in the aesthetics of Pergamon, according to Pirson. The capital city was well known for its opulence and its vast collection of sanctuaries, temples and royal palaces. However, the final resting place of Attalid kings has never been pinpointed – though the burial mounds at the bottom of the hilly terrain that Pergamon was perched upon have always been in the running. Located directly to the south, Yigma Tepe is unavoidable, reaching 31 meters in height and 158 meters in diameter. Initial investigations in 1878 by Alexander Conze, an early archaeologist, revealed that there was no discernible entrance to the mound, but the exterior was ringed by a wall constructed of blocks of andesite, a fine-grained volcanic rock. Even after a concerted effort to dig into the center of the mound – an effort that was ultimately abandoned – no inner chamber was discovered.

Pirson doesn’t have plans to undertake such a massive – and invasive – excavation just yet. Instead, this coming season will see the use of geophysical surveys and seismic prospecting in order to glean any information about any inner structures present within the massive monument. The archaeologist is also hoping to learn more about how the mound itself was constructed.

From IAGC's GeoWire blog.

This story began four years ago. A three-month-old pit bull mix was discovered in upstate New York on train tracks, abused, all legs injured, with one paw nailed to a wooden railroad tie.

His rescuers were surprised the puppy survived. Severe injuries forced veterinarians to amputate one of his paws. The chances of him being able to walk or run again were slim.

In media reports he became known as the Railroad Puppy, and his story touched many, including Richard Nash, who adopted the puppy and named him Hudson.

Read complete article. 

There are Thousands of Other Great Things the Industry Has Done!

Seismic Used to Help Discover Attalid Dynasty Burial Site in Turkey