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martes, 21 de octubre de 2014

nsf.gov - National Science Foundation - New tracers can identify frac fluids in the environment.

Hola amigos: A VUELO DE UN QUINDE EL BLOG., hemos recibido la información de la Fundación Nacional de Ciencia de Los Estados Unidos, que nos dice:...".Los científicos han desarrollado nuevos trazadores geoquímicos que pueden identificar los fluidos de flujo de retorno de fracturación hidráulica que se han derramado o liberado en el medio ambiente.....
Los trazadores han sido probados en el campo en un lugar del derrame en West Virginia y aguas abajo de una planta de tratamiento de aguas residuales salmuera petróleo y gas en Pennsylvania....
"Al caracterizar las huellas isotópicas y geoquímicas de boro enriquecido y de litio en agua el flujo de retorno de la fracturación hidráulica, ahora podemos realizar un seguimiento de la presencia de fluidos 'frack" en el medio ambiente y distinguirlas de las aguas residuales procedentes de otras fuentes, incluidos los pozos de petróleo y gas convencionales , " dijo el geoquímico de la Universidad de Duke Avner Vengosh, quien co-dirigió la investigación......................

Scientists develop new geochemical tracers, tested at sites in West Virginia and Pennsylvania

Acid mine drainage flowing through a stream in western Pennsylvania forest.
Acid mine drainage flows through a stream in western Pennsylvania.
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October 20, 2014
Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment.
The tracers have been field-tested at a spill site in West Virginia and downstream from an oil and gas brine wastewater treatment plant in Pennsylvania.
"By characterizing the isotopic and geochemical fingerprints of enriched boron and lithium in flowback water from hydraulic fracturing, we can now track the presence of 'frack' fluids in the environment and distinguish them from wastewater coming from other sources, including conventional oil and gas wells," said Duke University geochemist Avner Vengosh, who co-led the research.
"This gives us new forensic tools to detect if frack fluids are escaping into our water supply and what risks, if any, they might pose."
Using the tracers, scientists can determine where frack fluid contamination has--or hasn't--been released to the environment and, ultimately, help identify ways to improve how shale gas wastewater is treated and disposed of.
The researchers published their findings today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Their study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is the first to report on the development of the boron and lithium tracers.
"With increasing exploitation of unconventional oil and gas reservoirs through the use of hydraulic fracturing, it's important that we are able to assess the extent of hydraulic fracturing fluids entering the environment," said Alex Isern, section head in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research.
"This work is critical as it demonstrates that geochemical fingerprinting provides a powerful tool to differentiate potential sources of contamination and therefore guide efforts to mitigate environmental impacts."
Adds Nathaniel Warner of Dartmouth College, lead author of the paper, "This new technology can be combined with other methods to identify specific instances of accidental releases to surface waters in areas of unconventional drilling.
"It could benefit industry as well as federal and state agencies charged with monitoring water quality and protecting the environment."
Hydraulic fracturing fluids--or frack fluids--typically contain mixes of water, proprietary chemicals and sand. Mixtures can vary from site to site.
Drillers inject large volumes of the fluids down gas wells at high pressure to crack open shale formations deep underground and allow natural gas trapped within the shale to flow out and be extracted.
After the shale has been fractured, the frac fluids flow back up the well to the surface along with the gas and highly saline brines from the shale formation.
Some people fear that toxic frack fluid chemicals in this flowback could contaminate nearby water supplies if they're accidentally spilled or insufficiently treated before being disposed of.
"The flowback fluid that returns to the surface becomes a waste that needs to be managed," Vengosh explained.
"Deep-well injection is the preferable disposal method, but injecting large volumes of wastewater into deep wells can cause earthquakes in sensitive areas and is not geologically available in some states.
"In Pennsylvania, much of the flowback is now recycled and reused, but a significant amount of it is still discharged into local streams or rivers."
It's possible to identify the presence of frack fluid in spilled or discharged flowback by tracing synthetic organic compounds that are added to the fluid before it's injected down a well, Vengosh said, but the proprietary nature of these chemicals, combined with their instability in the environment, limits the usefulness of such tracers.
By contrast, the new boron and lithium tracers remain stable in the environment.
"The difference is that we are using tracers based on elements that occur naturally in shale formations," Vengosh said.
When drillers inject frack fluids into a shale formation, they not only release hydrocarbon, but also boron and lithium that are attached to clay minerals in the formation.
As the fluids react and mix at depth, they become enriched in boron and lithium.
As they're brought back to the surface, they have distinctive fingerprints that are different from other types of wastewater, including wastewater from a conventional gas or oil well, and from naturally occurring background water.
"This type of forensic research allows us to clearly identify possible sources of wastewater contamination," Vengosh said.
Thomas Darrah of The Ohio State University, Robert Jackson of Duke and Stanford Universities and Romain Millot and Wolfram Kloppmann of the French Geological Survey also co-authored the paper, which was partly funded by the Park Foundation.
Media Contacts Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, cdybas@nsf.gov
Tim Lucas, Duke University, (919) 613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
Useful NSF Web Sites:
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image showing an unconventional shale gas drilling site in West Virginia.
An image showing an unconventional shale gas drilling site in West Virginia.
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Photo of unconventional shale gas well site northeastern Pennsylvania.
An unconventional shale gas well in northeastern Pennsylvania.
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An unconventional shale gas well in West Virginia.
An unconventional shale gas well in West Virginia.
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Wastewater tanks at a spill site in West Virginia.
Wastewater tanks at a spill site in West Virginia.
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A disposal site in western Pennsylvania. showing a stream, a forest and two people
A disposal site in western Pennsylvania.
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The National Science Foundation (NSF)
Guillermo Gonzalo Sánchez Achutegui
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lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

NASA : Extreme Ultraviolet Image of a Significant Solar Flare

Hola amigos: A VUELO DE UN QUINDE EL BLOG., hemos recibido de la Agencia Espacial NASA una espectacular vista captada por :  NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory y nos dice:  "El sol emite una llamarada solar significativa el 19 de octubre de 2014, alcanzando un máximo a las 1:01 am EDT. Observatorio de Dinámica Solar de la NASA, que siempre está observando el sol, captó esta imagen del evento en la longitud de onda ultravioleta extrema de 131 Angstroms - una longitud de onda que se puede ver el intenso calor de un brote y que es típicamente coloreada en verde azulado.......

Extreme Ultraviolet Image of a Significant Solar Flare
The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 19, 2014, peaking at 1:01 a.m. EDT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured this image of the event in extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 131 Angstroms – a wavelength that can see the intense heat of a flare and that is typically colorized in teal.
This flare is classified as an X1.1-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 flare is twice as intense as an X1, and an X3 is three times as intense.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
Image Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory
Guillermo Gonzalo Sánchez Achutegui
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domingo, 19 de octubre de 2014

NASA : NASA’s Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass .- Hubble de la NASA descubre la galaxia extremadamente distante a través de su mágnificos lentes cósmicos

Hola amigos: A VUELO DE UN QUINDE EL BLOG., la Agencia Espacial NASA nos informa sobre el:  NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST), ha descubierto una galaxia extremadamente distante llamado : The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744.. la información dice..."Mirando a través de una lupa cósmica gigante, el Telescopio Espacial Hubble de la NASA ha detectado una pequeña, débil galaxia - una de las galaxias más lejanas jamás visto. El objeto diminuto se estima en más de 13 millones de años luz de distancia......
Esta galaxia ofrece un vistazo de nuevo a los primeros años de formación del universo y puede ser sólo la punta del iceberg.
"Esta galaxia es un ejemplo de lo que se sospecha que es abundante, la población subyacente de extremadamente pequeñas, objetos débiles que existían unos 500 millones de años después del Big Bang, el comienzo del universo", explicó el líder del estudio Adi Zitrin del Instituto de California de Tecnología en Pasadena, California. "El descubrimiento está diciendo a nosotros galaxias tan débiles como existe éste, y que debe continuar en busca de ellos y los objetos aún más débiles, para que podamos entender cómo las galaxias y el universo han evolucionado con el tiempo."..............
The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger and brighter than they would normally.
The mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is so massive that its powerful gravity bends the light from galaxies far behind it, making these otherwise unseen background objects appear larger and brighter than they would normally.
Image Credit: 
NASA, J. Lotz, (STScI)
Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a tiny, faint galaxy -- one of the farthest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away.
“This galaxy is an example of what is suspected to be an abundant, underlying population of extremely small, faint objects that existed about 500 million years after the big bang, the beginning of the universe,” explained study leader Adi Zitrin of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. “The discovery is telling us galaxies as faint as this one exist, and we should continue looking for them and even fainter objects, so that we can understand how galaxies and the universe have evolved over time.”
The galaxy was detected by the Frontier Fields program, an ambitious three-year effort that teams Hubble with NASA’s other great observatories -- the Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory -- to probe the early universe by studying large galaxy clusters. These clusters are so massive their gravity deflects light passing through them, magnifying, brightening, and distorting background objects in a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. These powerful lenses allow astronomers to find many dim, distant structures that otherwise might be too faint to see.
The discovery was made using the lensing power of the mammoth galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora’s Cluster, which produced three magnified images of the same, faint galaxy. Each magnified image makes the galaxy appear 10 times larger and brighter than it would look without the zooming qualities of the cluster.
The galaxy measures merely 850 light-years across -- 500 times smaller than our Milky Way galaxy-- and is estimated to have a mass of only 40 million suns. The Milky Way, in comparison, has a stellar mass of a few hundred billion suns. And the galaxy forms about one star every three years, whereas the Milky Way galaxy forms roughly one star per year. However, given its small size and low mass, Zitrin said the tiny galaxy actually is rapidly evolving and efficiently forming stars.
The astronomers believe galaxies such as this one are probably small clumps of matter that started to form stars and shine, but do not yet have a defined structure. It is possible Hubble is only detecting one bright clump magnified due to the lensing. This would explain why the object is smaller than typical field galaxies of that time.
Zitrin’s team spotted the galaxy’s gravitationally multiplied images using near-infrared and visible-light photos of the galaxy cluster taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. But they needed to measure how far away it was from Earth.
Usually, astronomers can determine an object’s distance based on how far its light has been stretched as the universe slowly expands. Astronomers can precisely measure this effect through spectroscopy, which characterizes an object’s light. But the gravitationally-lensed galaxy and other objects found at this early time period are too far away and too dim for spectroscopy, so astronomers use an object’s color to estimate its distance. The universe’s expansion reddens an object’s color in predictable ways, which scientists can measure.
Zitrin’s team performed the color-analysis technique and took advantage of the multiple images produced by the gravitational lens to independently confirm the group’s distance estimate. The astronomers measured the angular separation between the three magnified images of the galaxy in the Hubble photos. The greater the angular separation due to lensing, the farther away the object is from Earth.
To test this concept, the astronomers compared the three magnified images with the locations of several other closer, multiply-imaged background objects captured in Hubble images of Pandora’s cluster. The angular distance between the magnified images of the closer galaxies was smaller.
“These measurements imply that, given the large angular separation between the three images of our background galaxy, the object must lie very far away,” Zitrin explained. “It also matches the distance estimate we calculated, based on the color-analysis technique. So we are about 95 percent confident this object is at a remote distance, at redshift 10, a measure of the stretching of space since the big bang. The lensing takes away any doubt that this might be a heavily reddened, nearby object masquerading as a far more distant object.”
Astronomers have long debated whether such early galaxies could have provided enough radiation to warm the hydrogen that cooled soon after the big bang. This process, called reionization, is thought to have occurred 200 million to 1 billion years after the birth of the universe. Reionization made the universe transparent to light, allowing astronomers to look far back into time without running into a “fog” of cold hydrogen.
The team’s results appeared in the September online edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.
For images and more information about Hubble, visit:
Guillermo Gonzalo Sánchez Achutegui
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