News Article | February 21, 2017
A previously undiscovered species of an extinct primordial giant worm with terrifying snapping jaws has been identified by an international team of scientists. Researchers from the University of Bristol, Lund University in Sweden and the Royal Ontario Museum studied an ancient fossil, which has been stored at the museum since the mid-1990s, and discovered the remains of a giant extinct bristle worm (the marine relatives of earthworms and leeches). The findings are published today in Scientific Reports. The new species is unique among fossil worms and possessed the largest jaws ever recorded in this type of creature, reaching over one centimetre in length and easily visible to the naked eye. Typically, such fossil jaws are only a few millimetres in size and need to be studied using microscopes. Despite being only knows from the jaws, comparison with living species suggests that this animal achieved a body length in excess of a metre. This is comparable to that of 'giant eunicid' species, colloquially referred to as 'Bobbit worms' which are fearsome and opportunistic ambush predators, using their powerful jaws to capture prey such as fish and cephalopods (squids and octopuses) and dragging them into their burrows. Lead author Mats Eriksson from Lund University said: "Gigantism in animals is an alluring and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance. "It is, however, a poorly understood phenomenon among marine worms and has never before been demonstrated in a fossil species. "The new species demonstrates a unique case of polychaete gigantism in the Palaeozoic, some 400 million years ago." Co-author Luke Parry from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, added: "It also shows that gigantism in jaw-bearing polychaetes was restricted to one particular evolutionary clade within the Eunicida and has evolved many times in different species." The specimens were collected over the course of a few hours in a single day in June 1994, when Derek K Armstrong of Ontario Geological Survey was dropped by helicopter to investigate the rocks and fossils at a remote and temporary exposure in Ontario. Sample materials, from what proved to belong to the Devonian Kwataboahegan Formation, were brought back to the Royal Ontario Museum, where they have been stored until they caught the eyes of the authors'. avid Rudkin from the museum said: "This is an excellent example of the importance of looking in remote and unexplored areas for finding new exciting things, but also the importance of scrutinizing museum collections for overlooked gems." The species has been named Websteroprion armstrongi. This honours Armstrong, who collected the material, and bass player extraordinaire, Alex Webster of Death Metal band Cannibal Corpse, since he can be regarded as a 'giant' when it comes to handling his instrument. Luke Parry added: "This is fitting also since, beside our appetite for evolution and paleontology, all three authors have a profound interest in music and are keen hobby musicians."
Shelly D.R.,Geological Survey |
Hardebeck J.L.,Geological Survey
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2010
We precisely locate 88 tremor families along the central San Andreas Fault using a 3D velocity model and numerous P and S wave arrival times estimated from seismogram stacks of up to 400 events per tremor family. Maximum tremor amplitudes vary along the fault by at least a factor of 7, with by far the strongest sources along a 25 km section of the fault southeast of Parkfield. We also identify many weaker tremor families, which have largely escaped prior detection. Together, these sources extend 150 km along the fault, beneath creeping, transitional, and locked sections of the upper crustal fault. Depths are mostly between 18 and 28 km, in the lower crust. Epicenters are concentrated within 3 km of the surface trace, implying a nearly vertical fault. A prominent gap in detectible activity is located directly beneath the region of maximum slip in the 2004 magnitude 6.0 Parkfield earthquake. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
News Article | February 22, 2017
VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - Brixton Metals Corporation (TSX VENTURE: BBB) (the "Company" or "Brixton") is pleased to announce project updates for its gold-silver properties located in both Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. The Company has filed with the Mineral Title Division of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resource the 2016 Assessment report on the Thorn project located in Northwest British Columbia. The report can be found at the following link: http://brixtonmetals.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Thorn-2016-Assessment-Report-FINAL.pdf The 2016 exploration expenditures at the Thorn project totalled $1,668,622. The Company is planning to drill test the newly defined large scale Chivas gold target at the Thorn Project. The Chivas target was established during the 2016 exploration program by soil geochemistry and IP geophysics and has never been drilled. The Company is planning an exploration program for 2017, subject to funding, which includes geological mapping, soil geochemical, metallurgical tests and 20,000 metres of drilling with a start date of May 1, 2017. For more information on the Chivas gold target please see the following link: http://brixtonmetals.com/properties/thorn-project/chivas-zone/ The Company also advises that it has acquired mineral lands in the prospective Atlin gold camp. The Atlin camp is about 130km from the Company's Thorn project. The claims cover approximately 55,474 hectares (555 SQKM) over favorable geology. The Company staked 33 claims that cover 53,815 hectares (538 SQKM) and also acquired 100% interest in four mineral claims that cover 445 hectares (4.45 SQKM) and signed an option agreement to acquire 100% interest in nine mineral claims that cover 1,214 hectares (12 SQKM). The Atlin gold camp represents one of the largest producers of placer gold in British Columbia with a reported placer gold production of over 600,000 ounces gold between 1898 and 1946 from creeks in the area. The Atlin gold camp (Spruce Creek) holds the provincial record for the largest nugget, weighing 2.6 kilograms (85 ounces - BCGS Paper 2017-1, p.179-193). Historically, the primary exploration targets for lode gold have been quartz-carbonate-mariposite-altered ("listwanite") ultramafic and mafic bedrocks. British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS) has recently released a paper (BCGS Paper 2017-1, p.179-193) in which the Government geologists recognize that at least some of the placer gold may be related to the Surprise Lake batholith. While over 600,000 ounces of gold was reportedly recovered from placer mining very limited exploration has been conducted in locating the hard rock source of the Atlin gold. Brixton's extensive land position covers both Surprise Lake batholith and favorable sedimentary rocks of the Cache Creek terrane. The Company's plan is to conduct regional exploration work to generate drill targets within this early stage district scale gold play. A link to the full BCGS report can be found at the following address: http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/Geoscience/PublicationsCatalogue/Fieldwork/Documents/2016/10_Mihalynuk_%20et_al.pdf Under the terms of the option agreement for the 1,214 hectares, Brixton shall make the following cash payment and issue Brixton Shares according to the schedule below: - $5,000 and issue 20,000 Brixton shares on signing the Agreement - $20,000 and 30,000 Brixton Shares on or before the second Anniversary Date - $25,000 and 40,000 Brixton Shares on or before the third Anniversary Date The Optionor retains 2% net smelter royalty (NSR) in the claims. Brixton has the right to purchase 1% NSR for $500,000 any time prior to Commercial Production. The balance of claims 54,260 hectares do not have any NSR. The Company through its Langis project, participated in the 2016 Ontario Prospectors Association assistance program (Junior Exploration Assistance Program) which provides rebates of up to 33.3% (maximum of $100,000 per project) of the eligible exploration expenditures. The Company submitted the final report and list of expenditures that were required in order to receive the rebate. The report is under review and, if approved, the Company will be eligible to receive $100,000 in rebate. The Company is proposing to conduct 30,000 metres exploration drilling at the Langis project in 2017, subject to funding. Chairman and CEO of Brixton, Gary R. Thompson stated, "Persistence and perseverance is paying off for the Company as we have shown with continued exploration we now have a new and very large gold target at the Thorn project which is drill ready." Thompson further stated, "We are looking forward to drilling results on both our Ontario and BC projects during 2017." The Company has no undisclosed material change to report, in response to recent trading activity. The Company also announces that it has delivered notice of termination to Temex Resources Corp. ("Temex") in connection with its previously announced purchase agreement for the Gowganda mine (the "Transaction") (see news release dated December 19, 2016 for additional information). The notice of termination was delivered as the outside date for closing the Transaction had lapsed without Temex receiving the consent of the Government of Ontario for the transfer. However, the Company continues its discussions with Temex to determine if an amicable agreement may be reached. Mr. Sorin Posescu, P.Geo., VP Exploration, is a Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101 standards and has reviewed and approved this news release. Brixton is a Canadian exploration and development company focused on the advancement of its gold and silver projects toward feasibility. Brixton wholly owns 2 past producers of high-grade silver within the Silver-Cobalt Camp of Ontario. The Langis mine produced 10.4Moz of silver at 25 oz/t Ag and 358,340 pounds of cobalt, the Hudson Bay mine produced 6.4Moz of silver at 123 oz/t. The projects are located 500 km north of Toronto, Canada. The high-grade silver mineralization occurs as moderate-steeply-dipping veins within any of the three main rock types; Archean volcanics, Coleman Member sediments and Nipissing diabase. The 996 SQ/KM, wholly owned Thorn Project is located in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, approximately 105 km ENE from Juneau, AK. The Thorn project hosts a district scale gold-silver (30km trend) associated with Triassic to Cretaceous volcano-plutonic complex. Many styles of mineralization have been identified related to porphyry and epithermal environments. Targets include high-grade gold-silver underground targets and large-scale open pit gold type targets. Brixton Metals Corporation shares trade on the TSX-V under the ticker symbol BBB. For more information about Brixton please visit our website at www.brixtonmetals.com. On Behalf of the Board of Directors Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Information set forth in this news release may involve forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements that relate to future, not past, events. In this context, forward-looking statements often address expected future business and financial performance, and often contain words such as "anticipate", "believe", "plan", "estimate", "expect", and "intend", statements that an action or event "may", "might", "could", "should", or "will" be taken or occur, including statements that address potential quantity and/or grade of minerals, potential size and expansion of a mineralized zone, proposed timing of exploration and development plans, or other similar expressions. All statements, other than statements of historical fact included herein including, without limitation, statements regarding the completion of the acquisition, the anticipated closing of the acquisition, TSXV approval, and the exploration potential of the property based on resources estimates and forward looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or other future events, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following risks: the need for additional financing; operational risks associated with mineral exploration; fluctuations in commodity prices; title matters; and the additional risks identified in the annual information form of the Company or other reports and filings with the TSXV and applicable Canadian securities regulators. Forward-looking statements are made based on management's beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as required by applicable securities laws. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements.
News Article | February 27, 2017
Everett Osborne, 11, Sam Wedzik, 11, and Michael McGuigan, 11, all of North East, stop for ice cream on their way home from school at La Casa De Pizza in North East, Pa., on Friday, as the region saw record-breaking high temperatures. —Forget what Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow showed – spring is making its way to large swathes of the country between two and three weeks ahead of schedule, according to a study from a federal agency. Unseasonably warm temperatures have hit coastal California, southern Nevada, southeastern Colorado, and several Midwestern states as well as parts of the Northeast, according to new maps produced by the USA National Phenology Network, which is led by the United States Geological Survey agency. While shedding some layers and enjoying nice weather in February has come as a treat for many, the unexpected weather changes could pose economic and environmental challenges. “While these earlier springs might not seem like a big deal – and who among us doesn’t appreciate a balmy day or a break in dreary winter weather – it poses significant challenges for planning and managing important issues that affect our economy and our society,” Jake Weltzin, a USGS ecologist and the executive director of the USA-NPN, said in a statement. Those include an influx in harmful insects, such as ticks and mosquitos, as well as increased pollen that can create complications for those with allergies. And while an earlier start to growing season could prove a boon for the agriculture industry, a return to seasonal winter temperatures could bring snow or frost, killing crops that started growing too soon. Further economic impact can come from changes to recreational activities, such as hunting and fishing season and other outdoor activities, according to the USGS statement. February, which is typically the third-coldest month of the year, saw unusually high temperatures during its first three weeks, shattering more warm-weather records across the country than cold ones. "For every cold daily-temperature record we've broken in February, we've broken 62 warm daily-temperature records," Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the National Centers for Environmental Information in Ashville, N.C., told Live Science. "That ratio is very high. In a normal situation, we would expect those to be a 1-to-1 ratio." With limited data, climate scientists haven’t determined exactly why this February saw warmer temperatures than usual in nearly every part of the US. But they do believe the Arctic polar vortex, which sometimes brings a punch of cold air to the US, instead had greater impact on Russia and northern Europe, which saw “fairly cold” winters, according to Mr. Crouch. It’s unclear if the average February temperature will set a record, as researchers continue to gather daily data throughout the month. But an unprecedented spring-like February would follow three years of record year-round average temperatures, with 2016 marking the hottest year since researchers started collecting the data in 1880, and continue a trend that has raised concerns among scientists. Scientists have known for more than a decade that climate change has been setting spring into motion earlier than before, according to the USGS. “A single warm year is something of a curiosity,” Deke Arndt, the chief of global climate monitoring a the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The New York Times last month. “It’s really the trend, and the fact that we’re punching at the ceiling every year now, that is the real indicator that we’re undergoing big changes.”
News Article | March 2, 2017
"There is huge potential for geothermal energy in the U.S., and especially in California," said Patrick Dobson, who leads Berkeley Lab's Geothermal Systems program in the Energy Geosciences Division. "The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that conventional and unconventional geothermal resources in the western U.S. are equivalent to half of the current installed generation capacity of the U.S.; however, commercial development of these resources would require significant technological advances to lower the cost of geothermal deployment." The first project will test deployment of a dense array of seismic sensors to improve the ability to image where and how fluids are moving underground. The second project will develop and apply modeling tools to enable geothermal plants to safely run in flexible (or variable) production mode, allowing for better integration with other renewable energy sources. The California Energy Commission's Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program has awarded Berkeley Lab a total of $2.7 million for the two projects. California is looking to geothermal energy to help in reaching its goal of getting half of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030. Geothermal plants are possible only in locations with particular geological characteristics, either near active volcanic centers or in places with a very high temperature gradient, such as parts of the western United States. Thanks to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," California has a vast amount of geothermal electricity generation capacity. While geothermal technology has been around for some time, one of the main barriers to wider adoption is the high up-front investment. "A large geothermal operator might drill three wells a year at a cost of approximately $7 million dollars per well. If one of the wells could provide twice the steam production, a savings of $7 million dollars could be realized. That's where we come in," said Lawrence Hutchings, a Berkeley Lab microearthquake imaging specialist who has worked in geothermal fields around the world. In a project led by Berkeley Lab scientist Kurt Nihei, a dense network of portable seismic recorders (about 100 recorders over a 5 square kilometer area) will be installed to demonstrate the ability to perform high-resolution tomographic imaging. "The goal is to image where steam and fluids are going using geophysics," Nihei said. "We will improve the spatial resolution of the imaging using a dense array and demonstrate that this can be done cost-effectively in an operating geothermal field." The demonstration will take place at The Geysers, the world's largest geothermal field, located north of San Francisco in Sonoma and Lake Counties. Wells there—some deeper than two miles—bring steam to the surface. The steam is converted to electricity while water is injected into the underground rock to replenish the steam. Berkeley Lab scientists currently run a network of 32 seismic recorders at The Geysers to monitor microearthquakes. With the dense network of 100 inexpensive seismic recorders, they will be able to improve the resolution of seismic imaging sufficient to track fluid movement as it moves through the network of fractures that intersect the injection wells. "Similar to what is done in medical ultrasound tomography with sound waves, we will record seismic waves—both compressional waves and shear waves—from which we can extract information about rock properties, fluid properties, and changes in the subsurface stresses," Nihei said. "We think these images will allow us to get a clearer picture of where fluids are going and how stresses in the rock are changing in time and space between the injection wells and production wells." Having a better understanding of fluid flow in fractured geothermal reservoirs would be a big benefit for well placement as well as cost-effective operation. "If they can increase the likelihood getting a productive well every time they drill, it would be huge," said Hutchings. "More than 10 percent of California's total renewable energy capacity comes from geothermal, so the potential impact of this technology is exciting." In the second project, led by Berkeley Lab scientist Jonny Rutqvist, the goal is to enable the conversion of geothermal production from baseload or steady production to flexible or variable mode. Flexible-mode geothermal production could then be used as a supplement to intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, which are not available around the clock, thus significantly reducing the costs of storing that energy. The technical challenges are considerable since grid demands may require rapid changes, such as reducing production by half within tens of minutes and then restoring full production after a few hours. Such changes could lead to mechanical fatigue, damage to well components, corrosion, and mineral deposition in the wells. "A better understanding of the impacts of flexible-mode production on the reservoir-wellbore system is needed to assure safe and sustainable production," said Rutqvist. Berkeley Lab will adapt a suite of their modeling tools for wellbore and geothermal reservoir integrity, including T2WELL, which models fluid flow and heat transfer in wells; and TOUGHREACT, which simulates scaling and corrosion. These tools will be integrated with geomechanical tools into an improved thermal-hydrological-mechanical-chemical (THMC) model to address the specific problems. "This will provide the necessary tools for investigating all the challenges related to flexible-mode production and predict short- and long-term impacts," Rutqvist said. "The advantages to California are many, including greater grid reliability, increased safety, and lower greenhouse gas emissions." Explore further: Cracking under pressure is no problem for high strength self-healing cement
News Article | February 23, 2017
Even Punxsutawaney Phil can't be blamed for being baffled this year and hightailing it back to his burrow. He predicted six more weeks of winter on Feb 2, but by then spring was already springing well ahead of historical norms in much of the USA. While we've known for a over a decade now that climate change is variably advancing the onset of spring across the United States, a new set of maps from the USGS-led USA National Phenology Network now demonstrates just how ahead of schedule spring is in your precise neck of the woods. The scientifically reviewed maps and the data behind them show that you may want to keep your shorts and flip-flops handy because spring is already knocking at your door, in some places three weeks ahead of schedule. Here's a quick national overview: spring is now making an appearance in coastal California, southern Nevada, southeastern Colorado, central Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. And it's rolling up across West Virginia and Virginia, soon to hit Philly and Indianapolis, but it's already sprung - days ago -- across the southern Great Plains and SE Atlantic Coast, and it was 22 days early in Washington, DC! Why care if glorious days of spring are arriving earlier than normal? "While these earlier springs might not seem like a big deal -- and who among us doesn't appreciate a balmy day or a break in dreary winter weather -- it poses significant challenges for planning and managing important issues that affect our economy and our society," said Dr. Jake Weltzin, a USGS ecologist and the executive director of the USA-NPN. For example, changes in the timing of spring can affect human health, bringing early-season disease-carriers such as ticks and mosquitos, and an earlier, longer and more vigorous pollen season. And while a longer growing season can result in increased yields for some crops, it is risky because of the higher likelihood of plant damage caused by late frosts or summer drought. Even something as seemingly simple and beautiful as flowers blooming earlier can disrupt the critically important link between wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. Such changes may prove beneficial to some plants and animals, including some harmful invasive ones, but may be detrimental to others. Changes in seasons can affect economically and culturally important outdoor recreation activities, including affecting the timing of hunting and fishing seasons. Weltzin noted that the approaches used for this study, in particular the plant leafing model though it was applied to a much longer climate dataset, were the foundation for a recent study that showed that spring is arriving earlier than ever in three out of four US National Parks across the nation, and that that fully half of all national Parks are experiencing extreme early onsets of spring relative to the last century. These findings are consistent with the fact that the instrumental record shows that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded for the globe, and that it was the third record-breaking year in a row. Researchers have noted that 16 of the 17 hottest years recorded occurred since 2000. These new maps show that 2017, at least so far, is shaping up to be another warm one, but also that different regions exhibit variable responses over time. To build the maps, the researchers with the USA-NPN used climate change indicators called the Spring Indices -- models based on nationwide field observations collected about when enough heat has accumulated to initiate leafing and blooming in lilacs and honeysuckles, two common and temperature-sensitive flowering plants. They also gathered recent nationwide heat and temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including daily data used for the National Weather Service, and historical daily data from a database maintained by Oregon State University, all adjusted each day to a 2-mile resolution. When the researchers applied the plant models to the recent weather data, they were able to create national-scale daily maps of leaf emergence for these plant species. Then, by comparing the daily maps from this year to historical maps created the same way, they created maps that showed just how different this year is relative to the long-term average (1981-2010). It is these data that reveal just how unusually early spring is arriving across most of the USA this year. Phenology is nature's calendar -- when trees leaf and bloom, when birds build their nests or salmon swim upstream, or when crops mature or leaves turn color in the fall. Phenology refers to the science focused on understanding key seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year, and how these seasonal events vary with weather and climate. Want to know more about observed changes in plant and animal phenology in your region over the last century? Explore the USA-NPN's series of regional information sheets: Alaska and the Arctic; Great Plains; Hawai'i and the Pacific Islands; Midwest; Northeast; Pacific Northwest; Southeast; and Southwest. Data used to develop these maps, and to demonstrate changes in our National Parks, were collected by volunteer who recorded and shared phenological observations across the nation. Would you like to get involved? We need your help to collect observational data to assess how accurate our models are, and to develop similar models for other plant species - and animals too! In three simple steps, you can become a citizen scientist and help collect critical life-cycle observations for indicator plant and animal species: 1. Join Nature's Notebook by visiting http://www. , 2. Choose the location and species you'll observe, and 3. Start observing and know that your observations inform scientific discovery and decision-making. More about the USA-NPN The USA National Phenology Network is a partnership among governmental and nongovernmental science and resource management agencies and organizations, the academic community and the public. It is led by, and receives major funding from the US Geological Survey.
News Article | February 15, 2017
VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - February 13, 2017) - Zadar Ventures Ltd. (TSX VENTURE: ZAD) (FRANKFURT: ZAV) (OTCQB: ZADDF) (the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has entered into negotiations with a private Alberta Company to evaluate the purchase of a portfolio of Canadian PetroBrine Projects. PetroBrines are considered to be saline formational waters associated with petroleum production which could potentially be utilized as feedstock for mineral extraction, including Li (lithium). The Company intends to explore this new opportunity in an ever growing Lithium market. Canadian Oil and Gas well operators have long reported Lithium values ranging from 80 mg/l to 140 mg/l as referenced by the geoScout Oil & Gas Industry database as reported by well operators and monitored by the Government of Alberta. There are other Provincial Geological Survey reports throughout Canada that reference brines, within these same lithium concentration ranges, in areas associated with oil production. Company President Paul D. Gray, P.Geo. Commented "We are excited to get involved in a relatively new area of Lithium exploration. The demand for low cost Lithium production is going to be the key in the ever growing energy storage space, and Zadar intends to stay out front of this rapidly developing space." The Company intends to complete its Due Diligence and enter into a definitive agreement within the next 45 days. Zadar also announces it has set 500,000 incentive stock options at a price of $0.10 cents for a period of two years. Zadar Ventures Ltd. is a Resource Company focused on the acquisition and exploration of economically viable green energy resources in jurisdictions favorable to mining and industry. For more information we invite you to visit the company's website at www.zadarventures.com This news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Paul D. Gray, P.Geo., who is the Company's qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Service Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This press release may contain certain forward-looking information. All statements included herein, other than statements of historical fact, forward-looking information and such information involves various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. A description of assumptions used to develop such forward-looking information and a description of risk factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking information can be found in the company's disclosure documents on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. The company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
News Article | March 2, 2017
A one-year seismic hazard model for 2017 from the US Geological Survey, forecasts lower damaging ground shaking levels in the central and eastern US compared to the previous forecast, in areas where there have been numerous earthquakes induced by wastewater disposal from industrial activities. Despite the recent drop in earthquake rates, Oklahoma and southern Kansas still face a significant risk of induced earthquake damage in 2017.
News Article | February 22, 2017
If you've spent much time around North America's Great Lakes, then you're probably familiar with the sea lamprey. The eel-like fish first made its way into the lakes from the Atlantic Ocean in the early 20th century, via shipping canals. Since then, it's become a destructive invasive species, depleting stocks of native fish by parasitically feeding on their blood. Thanks to recent research, however, there may be new hope for controlling lamprey populations – and it involves turning one of their natural defence mechanisms against them. Currently, the main approach to lamprey control involves adding a chemical "lampricide" to the tributary streams that serve as lamprey nurseries. The chemical is designed to kill larval lampreys, while not harming most other aquatic organisms. According to a team at Montreal's Concordia University, though, administering lampricide is a costly and labor-intensive process, plus there are concerns that it could harm the ecosystem. Low concrete dams have also been built across the mouths of the tributaries, which the poorly-jumping adult lampreys have difficulty getting past when swimming upstream to breed. Again, though, building dams isn't a simple or cheap process. Additionally, although the dams are typically equipped with sneak-around "fish ladders" at the sides, it's possible that native species of fish will likewise be thwarted by the structures. That brings us to the Concordia scientists' latest research. They've collected a compound that lampreys emit into the water when frightened or injured, which alerts other lampreys to stay away because danger is nearby. It had previously been suggested that this substance could be used to keep lampreys away from their own spawning grounds, thus stopping them from reproducing. In a recent test of that theory, a team led by Prof. Grant Brown tagged hundreds of lampreys with transponder tags, then released them near the mouth of a large stream – not far up that stream, a nursery tributary flowed into the main stream. Initially, 60 percent of the lampreys swam up the main stream, while 25 percent proceeded to swim up the tributary. The scientists then added the "alarm cue" extract to the water in the tributary, allowing it to flow down into the main stream. Once they had done so, only 40 percent of the tagged lampreys entered the main stream, and only 3 percent swam up the tributary. It is now hoped that the system could be combined with the use of pheromones that lampreys use to attract mates. In this way, the fish would be both scared away from their spawning grounds and drawn to another location, where they could then be trapped. The research, which also involved scientists from Ontario's Algoma University and the United States Geological Survey, was recently described in a paper published in the journal Fisheries Management and Ecology.
News Article | February 21, 2017
For years, scientists and policy-makers have been trying to devise strategies to curb this population, which first arrived from Europe through shipping channels in the early 20th century. Now, in a collaborative project with Istvan Imre of Algoma University and Nicholas Johnson of the United States Geological Survey, Concordia biology professor Grant Brown has developed a promising—and natural—solution. Their findings, which focus on the species' own alarm cues, were recently published in Fisheries Management and Ecology. "Lamprey cause estimates of millions of dollars of damage in lost commercial and recreational fisheries," says Brown, whose work in the Faculty of Arts and Science focuses on aquatic behavioural and chemical ecology. "And since they've been introduced into the Great Lakes, they've also caused huge ecological problems." An effective solution is all the more pressing, given the limitations of current approaches. A chemical lampricide, intended to kill the predator at its larval stage without harming other fish, is very labour- and cost-intensive and poses potential harm to the watershed. A slightly more eco-friendly solution is a low-barrier concrete dam that takes advantage of the lamprey's inability to jump upstream. But this also prevents some salmon and trout from getting through, and deters minnows and other swimmers. The researchers have found a substance that could be a successful deterrent. Unfortunately for the sea lamprey, it actually comes from inside the invader itself. Like many fish, upon injury, the lamprey release a compound into the water with a smell that warns others in their species that danger is near. After identifying and confirming these cues under lab conditions, Brown and his colleagues investigated whether they were an effective deterrent in the real-world setting. In an intensive project, they tagged hundreds of sea lamprey with passive transponder tags and then found a testing ground. "By applying these naturally occurring alarm cues to the tributary stream just above the mouth of the main stream, we wanted to determine if we could prevent migrating sea lamprey from going up into that stream. In other words, could we make a chemical barrier to stop the lamprey?" In control tests, over 60 per cent of tagged lamprey swam up the main stream and around 25 per cent went up the tributary stream. But when they employed the alarm cue barrier, fewer lamprey swam upstream (less than 40 per cent) and 2 lamprey (3 per cent of tagged fish) entered the tributary. The group repeated the study with some variations and found the same dramatic difference. Brown notes that the findings are even more exciting when coupled with research by scientists at Michigan State University, who are working on pheromone cues to attract the species. "So we can set up traps in streams, and by using these mating pheromones to attract adults combined with the alarm cues to prevent them from going up tributary streams, we can push them away from areas we don't want them, and pull them into areas where we do." Additional future directions that Brown would like to take with the study include experiments with a synthetic compound, with the goal being to manufacture it on a larger scale. He also wants to look at different stages in the lamprey's cycle, and even test out the successful approach on other invasive species such as the round goby and Asian carp. More information: R. T. Di Rocco et al. Sea lamprey avoid areas scented with conspecific tissue extract in Michigan streams, Fisheries Management and Ecology (2016). DOI: 10.1111/fme.12198