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News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.mining-journal.com

Lithium hopeful Ardiden (AU:ADV) was one of five companies to gain 42.9% over seven days to top this week’s list of Australian and Hong Kong-listed market risers. Ardiden was up thanks to news earlier this week of thick, high-grade lithium hits at its Seymour Lake project in Ontario. Asian shares scaled two-year highs today while the dollar and US bond yields slipped after the US Federal Reserve signalled a cautious approach to future rate hikes and the reduction of its $4.5 trillion of bond holdings, Reuters reported. Chinese shares bounced back after a fall yesterday on Moody’s downgrade of the country’s credit rating. Among the other four up 42.9%, explorer GB Energy rose on news it would start drilling at its Mt Denison copper-gold-uranium project in South Australia. News mid-month that Japan’s Takahama nuclear power plant was due to restart in June was a likely boost to the sector, with uranium hopeful Bannerman Resources (AU:BMN) up 35.1% for the week despite no news since its quarterly report a month ago, when it said it was well-positioned “within an environment of improving uranium sector sentiment”. And Greenland Minerals and Energy (GGG) was up 30% for the week following a visit to its proposed Kvanefjeld uranium and rare earths project by International Atomic Energy Agency and government officials this month. Finally, explorer Impact Minerals (AU:IPT), which has announced priority drill targets at its gold-silver-zinc-lead-copper Commonwealth project in New South Wales, gained 33.3% for the week.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

The Virginia General Assembly wraps up its 2017 session on Saturday, February 25. As usual, the results are a mixed bag for energy. On the plus side is the promise of a new solar purchase option for customers. On the downside, utility opposition to energy efficiency and distributed generation meant a lot of worthwhile initiatives never made it out of subcommittee. Putting it into perspective, it could have been worse. For clean energy advocates in Virginia, that’s what we call a success! Governor Terry McAuliffe has already acted on some of the bills that passed and will have until March 27 to act on the remaining bills. Under Virginia law, the governor can sign, veto, or amend the bills for legislators’ consideration. Negotiations between utilities, the solar industry trade association MDV-SEIA, and the group Powered by Facts produced three pieces of legislation that appear likely to become law (and all of which I’ve discussed previously). The most significant of these “Rubin Group” bills (named for facilitator Mark Rubin) is SB 1393 (Wagner), the so-called “community solar” bill, which is designed to launch a utility-controlled and administered solar option for customers. The utilities will contract for the output of solar facilities to be built in Virginia and will sell the electricity to subscribers under programs to be approved by the State Corporation Commission. Critical details such as the price of the offering will be determined during a proceeding before the State Corporation Commission. This was the only one of the Rubin Group bills that had participation from members of the environmental community (Southern Environmental Law Center and Virginia League of Conservation Voters), and it received widespread (though not unanimous) support from advocates. Broader legislation that would have enabled true community solar programs did not move forward. SB 1208 (Wexton) and HB 2112 (Keam and Villanueva), modeled on programs in other states, had the backing of the Distributed Solar Collaborative, a stakeholder group composed of everyone but utilities. In the Senate, Wexton’s bill was “rolled into” Wagner’s bill, but only her name, not the provisions of her bill, carried over. SB 1395 (Wagner), a second Rubin Group bill, increases from 100 MW to 150 MW the size of solar or wind projects eligible to use the state’s Permit by Rule process, which is overseen by the Department of Environmental Quality. The legislation also allows utilities to use the PBR process for their projects instead of seeking a permit from the SCC, if the projects are not being built to serve their regulated ratepayers. The third Rubin Group bill establishes a buy-all, sell-all program for agricultural generators of renewable energy. Although supported by MDV-SEIA as part of the package deal, passage of SB 1394 (Wagner) and HB 2303 (Minchew) should be considered a loss for solar. The program replaces existing agricultural net metering rules for members of rural cooperatives and could lead these coops to reach their 1% net metering cap prematurely, blocking other customers from being able to use net metering. And while negotiators say the program should be economically beneficial to participants, it appears to offer generators no options they don’t already have under existing federal PURPA law. The governor has until March 27 to act on these bills. Under HB 2390 (Kilgore), the existing pilot program that allows some third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Dominion Power territory will be extended to Appalachian Power territory, but only for the private colleges and universities who could afford to hire a lobbyist to negotiate the special favor, and only up to a 7 MW program cap. APCo is expected to use passage of the bill to assert that PPAs for all other customers are now illegal. The governor has not indicated whether he will sign the bill. SB 1226 (Edwards, D-Roanoke) allows solar developers to keep confidential certain proprietary information that would otherwise be subject to disclosure under the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It resolves a problem that has held up a solar project on the Berglund Center, a public building in Roanoke. HB 1760 (Kilgore) and SB 1418 (Chafin) allow Dominion Power to seek rate recovery for a scheme to use abandoned coal mines for pumped storage facilities. If you think this sounds weird and possibly dangerous, you are not alone. Usually the idea is to keep water out of coal mines to avoid the leaching of toxic chemicals into groundwater. Apparently no one has ever used coal mines for pumped storage before, and neither the company that would construct the project, nor the sites under consideration, nor the technology to be used, have been revealed. SB 1258 (Ebbin) adds storage to the mandate of the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority. Dominion’s nuclear costs, and the politics of the “rate freeze” HB 2291 (Kilgore) allows Dominion to charge ratepayers for the costs of upgrading its nuclear facilities. Because the charges will appear as a rider on top of base rates, consumers would not be protected by the “rate freeze” Dominion pushed through in 2015’s SB 1349. That 2015 legislation, of course, was supposedly designed to shield customers from the impact of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a ruse that has been since laid bare. Instead, it will allow Dominion to keep an estimated billion dollars of customers’ money it would otherwise have had to refund or forego. This year, with the CPP on death row under Trump, Senator Chap Petersen introduced SB 1095, which would repeal the rate freeze. His bill was promptly killed in committee, but continues to gain support everywhere outside the General Assembly. Governor McAuliffe belatedly announced his support for Petersen’s bill, but did not use his authority to resurrect it. Petersen is encouraging the Governor to offer an amendment to Kilgore’s HB 2291 that would repeal the rate freeze, an option allowed by Virginia’s legislative procedure since both provisions affect the same provision of the Code. Dominion, of course, says the CPP isn’t actually dead and buried just yet, and Republicans seem to fear its resurrection. HB 1974 (O’Quinn) requires the Department of Environmental Quality to submit any Clean Power Plan implementation plan to the General Assembly for approval, so they can stab it with their steely knives. The governor is expected to veto the bill. State’s failures on energy efficiency will now be tracked SB 990 (Dance) requires the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to track and report on the state’s progress towards meeting its energy efficiency goals. Or in Virginia’s case, its lack of progress. HB 1712 (Minchew) expands the provisions of state law that allow public entities to use energy performance-based contracting. That’s it for energy efficiency legislation this year. Several good bills were offered but killed off in the House Energy Subcommittee, notably HB 1703 (Sullivan), which would have required electric utilities to meet efficiency goals, and HB 1636 (Sullivan again), which would have changed how the SCC evaluates energy efficiency programs. Delegate Sullivan, by the way, introduced a companion bill to SB 990, but his was killed in that same House subcommittee, all on the same day. SB1398 (Surovell) will require Dominion Power to monitor pollution and study options for the closure of its coal ash impoundments, including removal of the ash to secure, lined landfills. Unfortunately amendments in the House will allow Dominion to proceed with capping the waste in unlined pits while it completes the study. As one editorial put it, “Why not do it right the first time?” The editorial—along with a lot of people who have to live near the coal ahs dumps—would like to see the governor offer amendments to the bill, but we’ve heard nothing from the governor’s office on that yet. Republicans keep trying to throw taxpayer money down a rathole; Governor vetoes Governor McAuliffe has already vetoed HB 2198 (Kilgore), which would reinstate the coal employment and production incentive tax credit and extend the allowance of the coalfield employment enhancement tax credit. SB 1470 (Chafin) is identical to HB 2198 and so likely faces a veto as well.


News Article | April 20, 2016
Site: www.nature.com

The houses of Narsaq gleam in a cheerful riot of blues, reds and yellows. The crayon-coloured town spills across a hill that separates barren mountains from a fjord filled with icebergs. But up close, grimmer details come into focus; the paint on many homes is peeling, and few signs of life stir in the narrow streets. Established as a trading post in 1830, Narsaq long served as a hub of Greenland's fishing industry — the backbone of its economy. But in the past few decades, modernization has moved much of the fishing offshore, and many jobs in Narsaq have disappeared. The town's 1,500 residents have been struggling to find a way forward. The same could be said of Greenland at large. Part of the kingdom of Denmark since 1814, Greenland has transformed over the past century from a society based on subsistence hunting and fishing to one built around an industrial economy and a Nordic-style welfare system. But that rapid development has stalled, leaving communities such as Narsaq to grapple with economic stagnation and high rates of unemployment. At the same time, Greenland has sought to overcome its economic and political dependence on Denmark. “I don't know any people — any country — who don't want self-determination, who don't want independence in the world,” says Hjalmar Dahl, president of the Greenlandic branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Some 80% of Greenland's population is Inuit. Over the past 35 years, Greenland has gained increasing control over its internal affairs — it was granted self rule in 2009 — but it continues to receive Danish subsidies that account for roughly one-third of its gross domestic product (GDP). To gain true independence, it will have to generate almost US$1 billion in additional revenues — all from a population of just 56,000 people on an island with only 150 kilometres of roads and an ice sheet about 3 times the size of Texas. But Greenlandic leaders see promise in places like Narsaq. Geological studies of the rugged peaks outside town have identified valuable deposits of rare-earth metals, uranium and zinc; a major mine is approaching the final stages of obtaining a permit. These are just some of many such deposits that have attracted the attention of international mining companies, and which proponents say could usher in a new era of prosperity. Researchers and some residents have challenged the idea that Greenland can mine its way to independence. A bitter debate has erupted over the social and environmental impacts that mining will have on one of the last pristine parts of the planet. Now, leaders are looking for opportunities — and investors — to expand other industries such as tourism and agriculture, as well as ways to optimize Greenland's vast fishing sector. The government must juggle these goals while contending with climate change, which threatens traditional ways of life and potentially bolsters new ones. Whatever route Greenland chooses to follow, researchers say that it needs to start paving the way now. Even if the island forgoes full political independence, Danish subsidies will remain fixed at 2009 levels, adjusted for inflation, and the funds will not help to cover the rising costs of Greenland's ageing population or to sustain small towns like Narsaq. “It is a very urgent problem because Greenland already runs at a deficit,” says Minik Rosing, a geologist at the University of Copenhagen who is well known in Greenland for his work on the island's future. Unless something changes, he says, “everything points toward the situation getting worse rather than better”. Narsaq's name means 'plain' in Kalaallisut, the official language of Greenland, probably because the town occupies the flattest piece of land in sight. Mountains rise on all sides, their summits dulled by millions of years of glacial erosion. The inland ice sheet lurks just over the horizon, leaving only a thin ribbon of ice-free terrain. But what little exposed land there is happens to be rich in minerals (see 'Mineral futures'). The crust here is ancient — up to 3.8 billion years old, in places — and has seen many cycles of volcanism and rifting. These brought metal-rich fluids close to the surface, where they formed deposits. The island also has substantial offshore oil and gas resources that could come into play if fuel prices rise or exploration costs drop. Interest in the minerals has grown over the past decade, thanks to a confluence of forces. Greenland gained the right to manage and profit from its mineral deposits in 2009, just as the global appetite for many metals started rising. Politicians quickly pointed to mining as the best, and perhaps only, way to offset Danish subsidies and make statehood possible. At the moment, many have their eye on the Kvanefjeld deposit near Narsaq, a contender to host Greenland's first major mine. The resource there is “potentially huge”, says Kathryn Goodenough, a geologist with the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh. She works with EURARE, an initiative to develop Europe's rare-earth potential that brings together researchers and mining companies such as Greenland Minerals and Energy (GME), the Australian company behind the Kvanefjeld project. GME has been exploring here since 2007 and has studied core samples from hundreds of holes drilled into the nearby mountains over the years. “It's like Swiss cheese up there,” says Ib Laursen, a company representative based in Narsaq. GME has estimated that the rocks above the town hold approximately 11 million tonnes of rare-earth oxides and that Kvanefjeld is one of the largest rare-earth deposits outside China. Another company is seeking to develop the Kringlerne deposit across the fjord, which it calls a world-class reserve of rare earths and other metals. Until mining starts, it is not clear whether these deposits will prove as extraordinary as the companies contend, says Rosing. But the geologist, who grew up on a reindeer farm outside the Greenlandic capital, Nuuk, is optimistic about the future of the island's mining industry. “Greenland is exceptional, it is large,” he says. “I think with enough effort, there will be definitely something happening.” Like many Narsaq residents, Mariane Paviasen desperately hopes that the mining boom doesn't start at Kvanefjeld. She works for Air Greenland, greeting the handful of helicopter flights that touch down on Narsaq's blustery landing pad. Her house, at the top of a narrow road on the far side of the town, is bright and inviting on a sunny day in September. Some oppose the mine because it would bring an influx of foreign workers, but Paviasen is most worried about the uranium in the deposit, which GME plans to extract and sell along with the rare-earth elements. It's what first brought Narsaq to the attention of scientists, including Niels Bohr, who visited in 1957 as part of Denmark's investigations into atomic energy. The country later banned all nuclear activity, including uranium mining, and Paviasen wishes that Greenland had upheld the tradition. “I think it is very dangerous stuff — the most dangerous stuff in the world,” she says. That's why, in late 2014, she helped to found a citizens' group called Urani Naamik, or No to Uranium. GME's current plans call for an open-pit mine on top of the plateau, about 10 kilometres from town. Paviasen's group has highlighted the potential risks from uranium to human and environmental health, through water pollution and dust exposure. “My husband and my sons and my father — they like to go out and catch some food,” Paviasen says. But she wouldn't eat it if mining began. Others, including environmental organizations in Denmark, have cited the dangers of the radioactive thorium in the deposits, which currently has little commercial value, and of fluorine-containing minerals that can acidify water. Such concerns have fuelled a heated dispute over how to balance the economic benefits of exploiting Greenland's natural resources with the environmental risks. GME insists that Kvanefjeld can be mined safely. The company says that it is considering ways to contain the thorium, and that it will lock up fluorine by converting it into a marketable mineral. “That's a part of the demand from the government — to use best practices,” Laursen says. Studies have found1 that modern techniques for managing tailings can minimize the contamination risk, at least in the short term. The technical details of GME's plans, however, won't be revealed until the Environmental Impact Assessment report comes out later this year. Economic forces may be the biggest barrier to Greenland's mineral plans: the prices of rare earths and other metals have slumped after reaching all-time highs in 2011. “The simple reality is, it doesn't look good,” says Tim Boersma, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, who co-authored a 2014 report2 on Greenland's mining potential. Greenland would need about 24 major mines operating simultaneously to replace the Danish subsidy, according to a 2014 joint report3 by the University of Copenhagen and the University of Greenland in Nuuk that assessed how the island's mineral resources might shape its future. Given what is known about the deposits, that would be a tall order even in good economic times, says Rosing, who chaired the committee that wrote the report. “The dream that mining could be a quick fix for the economy — that's not going to happen,” he says. As the results of the report have sunk in, talk of political independence has dwindled. Many Greenlanders realize that the process will take time, and Rosing says that some young people have started to question the benefits of completely severing ties with Denmark. In their view, he says, “a nation of 56,000 people is maybe not the best way of ensuring that individuals in Greenland can shape their own future”. Disappointments in the mining sector have spurred discussion about diversifying the strategy for economic self-sufficiency. Rosing suggests that Greenland should devise other ways to profit from what makes it unique. He is exploring the possibility of marketing rock flour — the fine powder created by glacial erosion — as a source of nutrients and neutralizing agents for tropical soils. And he says that Greenland should court industries that would benefit from its cold climate, such as computer-server farms, which use enormous amounts of energy for cooling. Greenland has begun harnessing its torrents of glacial melt water to produce renewable energy. The island has 5 hydropower plants, and government estimates suggest that it has enough untapped potential to produce 800,000 gigawatt hours of energy per year — more than the total used by the United Kingdom and France combined. The aluminium producer Alcoa, based in New York City, has considered building a smelter to capitalize on the cheap energy and, in 2010, Greenland's national energy company launched a pilot project using hydropower to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel. For the moment, however, those options are largely prospects for the future. Today, about 40% of Greenland's workers are employed by the public sector and 90% of its export economy revolves around fishing, particularly for northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) and Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides). Although catches remain good, west Greenland's shrimp stocks have declined over the past decade, perhaps influenced by climate change. According to Helle Siegstad, director of fish and shellfish at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk, the culprit could be Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), a predator that could benefit from warming near Greenland and has started to reappear after being overfished. Another factor behind the shrimp's decline might be that climate change has caused a mismatch between their hatching time and the blooms of phytoplankton that they eat4. But higher water temperatures have also lured new species north, such as Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic herring and even some bluefin tuna5, says Brian MacKenzie, a marine ecologist at the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby. In recent years, temperatures off the coast of east Greenland have become warm enough for tuna, MacKenzie says. “It's basically a whole new habitat.” Siegstad says that the fishing fleet has been quick to pounce on these opportunities, and she is optimistic that changes in marine ecosystems will ultimately benefit Greenland's fishing industry. But even so, she worries about the island's overwhelming dependence on this variable, uncontrollable resource. “We are so sensitive,” she says. “I hope we will have something else.” Thirty minutes by boat from Narsaq, Kalista Poulsen and Agathe Devisme share 10 hectares of land with 300 head of sheep. Compared with the surrounding tundra, their grassy farm is lush. Purple wildflowers and Angelica archangelica — a popular medicinal herb — line their carefully manicured fields. The couple is part of Greenland's budding agricultural industry — one of several small sectors of the economy that the island's leaders are trying to expand. Agriculture currently accounts for less than 1% of Greenland's GDP, but that figure could grow thanks to climate change, which has boosted temperatures in the south by almost 2 °C over the past few decades. Modelling work6 by Jens Christensen and others at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen suggests that if the world warms according to some of the most dramatic projections, the length of the growing season in southern Greenland will more than double. But the climate is likely to become more variable, too. Already, a string of dry summers has forced farmers to import extra supplies of hay from abroad, supplementing the feed that they grow to get the animals through the long, brutal winter. This has left them wondering whether climate change will help or hurt them, says Devisme. “For the moment, it's more, kind of, disturbing.” To supplement their farming income, Devisme also runs a small bed and breakfast, where visitors come to relax or to fish for Arctic char in the stream behind the fields. Many Greenlanders see the island's nascent tourism industry as a welcome alternative to exploitative activities such as the mining at Kvanefjeld, which Devisme says poses a threat to her businesses. In 2013, the government counted roughly 35,000 visitors, who contributed around 3% of GDP. Greenland hopes to ramp up adventure tourism, such as hiking and kayaking, and boost cruise-ship traffic — a pattern that has succeeded in Iceland. The consulting firm Ramboll, based in Orestad, Denmark, has projected that the tourism industry could more than double by 2025, although this would require strong investment in infrastructure such as hotels and airports, as well as increased marketing and international cooperation. But, if Greenland is to benefit from these industries, its people must have the skills to work in them. Developing the island's human capital may be the key to Greenland's success, according to a 2013 report7 by the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. Today, although many Greenlanders possess a wealth of informal knowledge, only 35% of students go beyond compulsory school, which they finish at age 15 or 16. The government aims to boost the number continuing with their training, and the plan starts with strengthening elementary education. The residents of Narsaq are doing their part. Here, late on a Sunday afternoon, workers bustle around a fenced-off construction site in the centre of town. A crane swings overhead, hoisting wooden beams onto a tower of scaffolding, where crews are renovating the red-panelled school. It will soon boast a wall of windows, giving Narsaq's children a grand view of the mineral-rich mountains, the ice-choked fjord and their own small town — as it lurches forward into Greenland's uncertain future.


Shah A.K.,U.S. Geological Survey | Horton J.W.,U.S. Geological Survey | Burton W.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Spears D.B.,Minerals and Energy | And 2 more authors.
Special Paper of the Geological Society of America | Year: 2014

Characterizing geologic features associated with major earthquakes provides insights into mechanisms contributing to fault slip and assists evaluation of seismic hazard. We use high-resolution airborne geophysical data combined with ground sample measurements to image subsurface geologic features associated with the 2011 moment magnitude (Mw) 5.8 central Virginia (USA) intraplate earthquake and its aftershocks. Geologic mapping and magnetic data analyses suggest that the earthquake occurred near a complex juncture of geologic contacts. These contacts also intersect a >60-km-long linear gravity gradient. Distal aftershocks occurred in tight, ~1-km-wide clusters near other obliquely oriented contacts that intersect gravity gradients, in contrast to more linearly distributed seismicity observed at other seismic zones. These data and corresponding models suggest that local density contrasts (manifested as gravity gradients) modifi ed the nearby stress regime in a manner favoring failure. However, along those gradients seismic activity is localized near structural complexities, suggesting a significant contribution from variations in associated rock characteristics such as rheological weakness and/or rock permeability, which may be enhanced in those areas. Regional magnetic data show a broader bend in geologic structures within the Central Virginia seismic zone, suggesting that seismic activity may also be enhanced in other nearby areas with locally increased rheological weaknesses and/or rock permeability. In contrast, away from the Mw 5.8 epicenter, geophysical lineaments are nearly continuous for tens of kilometers, especially toward the northeast. Continuity of associated geologic structures probably contributed to efficient propagation of seismic energy in that direction, consistent with moderate to high levels of damage from Louisa County to Washington, D.C., and neighboring communities. © 2014 The Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.


Burton W.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Harrison R.W.,U.S. Geological Survey | Spears D.B.,Minerals and Energy | Evans N.H.,Minerals and Energy | Mahan S.,U.S. Geological Survey
Special Paper of the Geological Society of America | Year: 2014

The epicenters of the main shock and associated aftershocks of the 2011 moment magnitude, Mw 5.8 Mineral, Virginia (USA), earthquake, and the updip projection of the possible fault plane that triggered the quakes, are contained in the areas of 2 adjoining 7.5' quadrangles in the central Virginia Piedmont. These quadrangles have therefore been the focus of concentrated geologic study in the form of bedrock and surfi cial mapping and near-surface trenching in order to identify potential seismogenic structures. Bedrock mapping has outlined a series of northeast-southwest-trending lithologic belts that include the Ordovician Chopawamsic and Quantico Formations, the narrow neck of the Late Ordovician Ellisville pluton, and mélange zone III of the Mine Run Complex. The region was affected by at least two ductile deformational events, one in the early Paleozoic that was broadly synchronous with the intrusion of the pluton, and one later in the Paleozoic. The earlier deformation produced the Quantico synclinorium and other regional folds, and the later deformation produced faults with associated high-strain zones. Two of these faults have been trenched at their intersection along the east-dipping eastern contact of the Ellisville neck, near where the causative fault for the earthquake projects to the surface. The trenches have exposed abundant evidence of post-Paleozoic fracturing and faulting, including brecciated quartz-tourmaline veins, slickensided thrust and strike-slip faults, and clay-fi lled fractures. Fluvial and colluvial gravels that overlie these brittle structures have yielded optically stimulated luminescence ages ranging from ca. 27 to 10 ka. These structures are likely representative of surface features associated with Quaternary earthquakes in the Central Virginia seismic zone. © 2014 The Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.


Heller M.J.,Minerals and Energy | Carter A.M.,Minerals and Energy
Special Paper of the Geological Society of America | Year: 2014

The Mineral, Virginia (USA), earthquake of 23 August 2011 was an unusually strong seismic event in the eastern United States. It caused widespread structural damage to residential property near the epicenter. An analysis of residential property damage reports, in conjunction with visits to some damaged residences, reveals a 40 km2 area of concentrated damage centered 11 km south of the town of Louisa. This area is west of the earthquake's epicenter and may be in the immediate hanging wall of a northeast-striking, moderately southeast dipping causative fault suggested by seismic data. The degree of damage in this area is consistent with a maximum Modifi ed Mercalli Intensity (MMI) of VIII. A surrounding area of ~550 km2 reported damage that is consistent with an MMI intensity of VII. A statistical analysis of dwelling characteristics confi rms that home age and condition were factors that infl uenced the frequency and severity of reported property damage. The median damage to homes constructed between 1900 and 1973, relative to assessed value, was approximately twice that of homes constructed after 1973 in Louisa County, and three times greater within areas of MMI intensity VI, VII, and VIII. © 2014 The Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.


Pratt T.L.,U.S. Geological Survey | Horton J.W.,U.S. Geological Survey | Spears D.B.,Minerals and Energy | Gilmer A.K.,Minerals and Energy | And 2 more authors.
Special Paper of the Geological Society of America | Year: 2014

The Mineral, Virginia (USA), earthquake of 23 August 2011 occurred at 6-8 km depth within the allochthonous terranes of the Appalachian Piedmont Province, rupturing an ~N36°E striking reverse fault dipping ~50° southeast. This study used the Interstate Highway 64 seismic reflection profi le acquired ~6 km southwest of the hypocenter to examine the structural setting of the earthquake. The profi le shows that the 2011 earthquake and its aftershocks are almost entirely within the early Paleozoic Chopawamsic volcanic arc terrane, which is bounded by listric thrust faults dipping30°-40° southeast that sole out into an ~2-km-thick, strongly refl ective zone at 7-12 km depth. Refl ectors above and below the southward projection of the 2011 earthquake focal plane do not show evidence for large displacement, and the updip projection of the fault plane does not match either the location or trend of a previously mapped fault or lithologic boundary. The 2011 earthquake thus does not appear to be a simple reactivation of a known Paleozoic thrust fault or a major Mesozoic rift basin-boundary fault. The fault that ruptured appears to be a new fault, a fault with only minor displacement, or to not extend the ~3 km from the aftershock zone to the seismic profile. Although the Paleozoic structures appear to infl uence the general distribution of seismicity in the area, Central Virginia seismic zone earthquakes have yet to be tied directly to specifi c fault systems mapped at the surface or imaged on seismic profiles. © 2014 The Geological Society of America. All rights reserved.


Roth B.,Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research | Hernon K.,Minerals and Energy | Lassetter W.,Minerals and Energy | Ripepi N.,Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research
Society of Petroleum Engineers - Carbon Management Technology Conference 2012 | Year: 2012

The geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO 2) is increasingly being recognized as a suitable means of sequestering this greenhouse gas. The Piedmont and Coastal Plain physiographic provinces of the eastern United States contain a large number of greenhouse gas emissions sources, such as power plants and other industrial facilities, but little work has been carried out to examine the potential of local geologic carbon storage. In order to address this issue, a preliminary investigation into the carbon sequestration potential within the Virginia Piedmont and Coastal Plain has been conducted. This paper builds on previous work directed by the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) and the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) in conjunction with the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), examining potential sinks for geologic storage of carbon dioxide generated by power plants in the Southeastern region of the U.S. Detailed geologic characterization has been carried out, which investigated formations with 1) suitable porosity, permeability, and favorable injectivity, 2) favorable storage capacity characteristics, 3) suitable mineralogical properties, and 4) overlying geologic seals to prevent the vertical movement of the injected CO 2. These characteristics were evaluated based on publicly available subsurface geologic information, published maps and cross-sections, available core, and wireline log data. The suitability characteristics for the potential carbon sinks are based on the specific criteria established in the previous Coastal Characterization Studies for the Carolinas and Georgia. Based on the regional investigation, it was determined that the presence of Mesozoic-age sedimentary basins, namely the Taylorsville and Richmond Basins, and, offshore, the Potomac aquifer, provided the most suitable potential reservoirs for large-scale storage of CO 2. In addition to the geologic characterization, a cost analysis was conducted for source- to-sink matching. This was completed in order to determine a lowest cost scenario for transport of CO 2 from the producing power plant to the most suitable sequestration site. This multi-disciplinary research has been carried out by the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME). Copyright 2012, Carbon Management Technology Conference.

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