Geology 300: Physical Geology

Geology 301: Physical Geology Lab

Geology 305: Earth Science

Geology 306: Earth Science Lab


Instructor: Arthur Reed


June 2018 Earth Sciences topics/events making news…

 ...with emphasis on California news


Remember the principles of the scientific method when evaluating news stories!


·               (link to 2017 news articles)

·               (link to 2016 news articles)

·               (link to 2015 news articles)

·               (link to 2014 news articles)

·               (link to 2013 news articles)

·               (link to 2012 news articles)

·               (link to 2011 news articles)

·               (link to 2010 news articles)

·               (link to 2009 & older news articles)






California Today: Making Earthquake Safety More Intelligible

This week, as they do every four years, hundreds of earthquake experts huddled in Los Angeles in dimly lit rooms where complicated mathematical formulas representing such things as seismic energy and building strength were projected onto large screens.

New York Times, 6-29-18


Earthquake Hits Lake County

A 3.4 preliminary magnitude quake hit Lake County Thursday afternoon. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, which reported the quake at around 4:50 p.m., the epicenter was just one mile south of Caldwell Pines.

KTXL (Sacramento television), 6-28-18


LA funds earthquake-warning mobile app

Plans for an earthquake early warning system mobile app for Angelenos were approved Friday by the Los Angeles City Council, which cleared funding for the project.

Los Angeles City News Service, 6-29-18


Gold-mining practice in California still on hold after suction dredge bill grinds to halt

Even though the Gold Rush is long gone, the fight over valuable mineral rages on in California. For over a decade, gold miners have been battling with the state government and conservationists in the Sierra Nevada Mountains concerned that modern-day mining practices damage the environment and should be scrutinized and regulated.

Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6-29-18




Oil Field operation on hold, as council seeks more study

The future of the Inglewood Oil Field operation in Culver City may be up in the air after the city council voted to put a plan regarding new drilling on hold until certain studies are conducted.

Culver City News, 6-28-18




A landmark climate change ruling could go up in smoke after Justice Kennedy retires

After 30 years on the Supreme Court bench, Justice Anthony Kennedy will leave the nation's highest courthouse at the end of July.

With Kennedy's departure comes much uneasiness. One cause for concern is over the paramount climate decision Massachusetts v. EPA, in which Kennedy proved to be the deciding swing vote, as he often was. The worry is that with him gone, the ruling will be left imperiled. 

Mashable, 6-30-18


Why the West Antarctic Sheet Matters to the Bay Area

As the climate warms, changes in sea level won’t occur equally around the world—some areas will see a greater increase than others. In the Bay Area, the future of sea level rise is closely tied to the melting of the vulnerable West Antarctic ice sheet.

Bay Nature, 6-27-18




San Rafael Rock Quarry begins reclamation project

After years of delays — in part because of the discovery of a rare frog — the San Rafael Rock Quarry is expected to start a project to restore about 7 acres of lands at its operation in the coming weeks.

Marin Independent Journal, 6-29-18




Drought back on the map for Northern California

Drought has crept back into Northern California. Despite a flurry of late storms in spring, precipitation for the winter season was below normal and the region is facing moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions once again, according to the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor. What’s more, temperatures were above normal throughout winter.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-29-18




California Leaders Urge the State to Stop Fossil Fuel Production

California elected officials on Tuesday sent a letter urging Governor Jerry Brown to phase out fossil fuel production in the state.

Pacific Standard, 6-27-18


U.S. states sue EPA, Pruitt for rolling back climate change rule

A group of U.S. states led by New York sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, accusing Administrator Scott Pruitt of trying to illegally roll back limits on the use of climate change pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons.

Reuters, 6-27-18




This Tiny California Beach Town Is Suing Big Oil. It Sees This as a Fight for Survival

Among Serge Dedina's first stops on a brisk morning tour of this small seaside city is a wall that separates a row of frayed apartments from wetlands known as the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge. Artists are dabbing finishing touches on a mural of sea birds against a flamingo-pink wall.

KQED (San Francisco TV-radio), 6-27-18


Community Voices: Good for Arvin

It’s great to see representatives of this hard-working city taking steps to bring Arvin into the 21st Century. To that end, council members have been striving to update the city’s decades-old oil and gas ordinance, which is to be commended. Arvin residents deserve the kind of certainty and protection a modern ordinance that adheres to the tenets of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) will bring.

Bakersfield Californian, 6-28-18




Coughing up carbon

Sickly conifers in the Sierra Nevada are spewing carbon—contributing to climate change rather than curbing it

Chico News & Review, 6-28-18




Old dynamite found at Tuolumne County mining claim

Six sticks of dynamite found Tuesday afternoon at an old mining claim in Tuolumne County were detonated by bomb personnel from the Sheriff's Office in neighboring Calaveras County.

Modesto Bee, 6-27-18




Study yields a new scale of earthquake understanding

Nanoscale knowledge of the relationships between water, friction and mineral chemistry could lead to a better understanding of earthquake dynamics, researchers said in a new study. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used microscopic friction measurements to confirm that, under the right conditions, some rocks can dissolve and may cause faults to slip., 6-27-18


A Seismic Change in Predicting How Earthquakes Will Shake Tall Buildings

In their quest to make tall buildings safe during earthquakes, engineers have for decades relied on calculations that represent the tremors and convulsions that a building can endure. Some of the world’s top earthquake experts now say the projections significantly underestimate the severity of shaking that buildings in several West Coast cities are likely to undergo during earthquakes.

New York Times, 6-27-18




L.A. needs to be more proactive on checking oil sites, city controller says

Los Angeles has had a “lax and reactive” approach to checking to see if oil and gas drilling sites are operating in line with city conditions, City Controller Ron Galperin said in a new report Wednesday that calls on the city to step up its oversight.

Los Angeles Times, 6-27-18





Struggling bumblebees can thrive in an unlikely place: The city

Imagine you’re a bumblebee queen in England. It’s February and you’ve just woken up from your winter hibernation. You’re hungry, pregnant, and ready to find the most promising spot to start a new colony.

Los Angeles Times, 6-26-18



Canada dreams of oil exports to Asia, but California beckons

The nationalization of a crude oil export pipeline in western Canada has buoyed long-standing hopes for crude exports to markets beyond the United States - but the most likely destination for much of that oil is California.

Reuters, 6-26-18




Scientists Fear 'Slow Earthquakes' Will Lead To The Next Big California Quake

The next big California earthquake has concerned scientists and California residents for decades. Now, recent research points to the regular occurrence of "slow earthquakes" as increasing the risk of a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake.

Forbes, 6-26-18




Napa's final election results make it official - Measure C lost

Final election results released by the county on Monday drove the last nail into the Measure C coffin. The watershed and oak woodland protection ballot initiative ended up with 18,174 “no” votes and 17,533 “yes” votes, a 641-vote difference. It lost, 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent.

Napa Valley Register, 6-25-18


Q&A with Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Tawny Tesconi

Tawny Tesconi, the executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, recently took the job that once was held by her older brother, former Press Democrat farm reporter Tim Tesconi, who retired as the farm bureau’s top staff member in 2015.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6-25-18




NOAA won't drop climate and conservation from its mission, agency says

The United States' top weather, climate and ocean science agency – NOAA – will not drop "climate" from its mission statement nor will it de-emphasize research into climate change and resource conservation, the agency said Monday.

USA Today, 6-25-18


New EPA Region Chief Questions Climate Science But Favors CO2 Cuts

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 supports reducing carbon emissions, even if he thinks the consensus is still out on climate change (it's not).

KQED (San Francisco TV-radio), 6-25-18


Southern California's coastal communities could lose 130 feet of cliffs this century as sea levels rise

It’s not just beaches and sand that are disappearing as the ocean pushes inland. Sea level rise is also eating away at California’s coastal cliffs.

The question is by how much, as Californians have heavily developed and continue to build along the edge of the Pacific.

Los Angeles Times, 6-27-18




Napa's grand jury criticizes ag preservation tax break program

Napa County is granting millions of dollars in tax breaks to preserve wine country farmland that already appears safe from being paved over, according to the 2017-18 grand jury.

Napa County Register, 6-24-18




Methane-producing microbial communities found in fracking wells

Deep in the rocky earth, in the liquid-filled cracks created by fracking, lives a community of highly interactive microbes—one that could at once have serious implications for energy companies, human health and scientists investigating the potential for life on Mars.

Ohio State University, 6-25-18


Fracking Well Microbes Could Boost Energy Production, Help Find Life On Mars

A study exploring multiple fracking wells located across the U.S. revealed the presence of several methane-producing microbial communities — bacteria and viruses that survive despite living in high-pressure environments.

International Business Times, 6-25-18


Fracking water data company loses lawsuit over its trade secrets

A federal judge in Philadelphia has dismissed a lawsuit by Oklahoma oilfield services company H20 Resources accusing Texas-based Carrizo Oil & Gas of stealing technology used to track the vast amounts of water needed for fracking operations.

Reuters, 6-25-18


U.S. court dismisses climate change lawsuits against top oil companies

(Reuters) - A California federal court dismissed climate change lawsuits against five oil companies by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, saying the complaints required foreign and domestic policy decisions that were outside the purview of courts, Chevron Corp said on Monday.

Reuters, 6-25-18


Large Methane Leaks Threaten Perception Of 'Clean' Natural Gas

A new study published in the journal Science finds that methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas operations are 60 percent higher than previous estimates from the federal government.

Associated Press, 6-23-18


Capacity crowd attends ERG oil project workshop in Santa Maria to voice support, concerns

At least 120 people turned out Monday night for a workshop in Santa Maria to gather public comments on the draft environmental impact report for ERG Energy Co.’s proposal to add more than 200 new thermally enhanced oil and gas production wells in Cat Canyon.

Santa Maria Times, 6-25-18




Santa Barbara, Calif., Adopts New Flood Map

On June 19, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt updated maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that show new flood hazard zones for the Montecito, Calif., area following the devastating Jan. 9 mudslides. Permanent flood insurance rate maps will not be completed for four to five years, but the FEMA maps will serve as interim maps as the county rebuilds.

Storm Water Solutions, 6-25-18


Geologists detail likely site of San Andreas Fault's next major quake

Back in 1905, the Colorado River, swollen with heavy rainfall and snowmelt, surged into a dry lake bed along California's San Andreas Fault and formed the Salton Sea. The flood waters submerged most of the small town of Salton, along with nearby tribal lands. The inundation also covered a key, seismically active stretch of the San Andreas Fault's southern tip in silt, hiding evidence of its potential volatility.

Utah State University, 6-25-18




Grass Valley sets community meeting about brownfields funding

Grass Valley and Nevada City are teaming up with Nevada County under a nearly $600,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant, awarded to the City of Grass Valley in 2017 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Grass Valley Union, 6-25-18




US Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil

A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention ruled Monday that Congress and the president were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming, throwing out lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the Earth's changing environment.

Associated Press, 6-25-18


Judge Dismisses Suit Against Oil Companies Over Climate Change Costs

A federal judge on Monday threw out a closely watched lawsuit brought by two California cities against fossil fuel companies over the costs of dealing with climate change. The decision is a stinging defeat for the plaintiffs, San Francisco and Oakland, and raises warning flags for other local governments around the United States that have filed similar suits, including New York City.

New York Times, 6-25-18




Utilities commission calls for increasing volume at Aliso Canyon

With an eye on greater demands on the energy grid coming as summer officially begins, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) this week has recommended increasing the natural gas storage volume at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, the site of the largest methane leak from a natural gas storage facility in U.S. history.

San Diego Union Tribune, 6-20-18


Aliso Canyon Gas Blowout: Why It's Still In The News Three Years Later

Southern California Gas Co. is facing problems getting enough natural gas into the L.A. region. Those problems are increasing the risk of power outages this summer.

LAist, 6-20-18


Public comment sought on Cat Canyon oil drilling plan at workshop Monday

Two workshops — including one in Santa Maria — are planned to gather public comment on the draft environmental impact report for more than 200 new thermally enhanced oil and gas production wells proposed in Cat Canyon.

Santa Maria Times, 6-21-18




5 small earthquakes strike Contra Costa County

Five earthquakes shook Eastern Contra Costa County early Friday morning.

KGO (San Francisco television), 6-22-18




California’s forests are choking

Roadside trailers and cottages sweep by as two windy lanes plunge into the Plumas National Forest. It’s early summer in Yuba County, and the sky is an endless blue.

Sacramento News & Review, 6-21-18


Editorial: Effect of rising seas has a time line and cost

California’s fabled beaches are shrinking, with waves and tides eventually expected to slosh over thousands of coastal homes and businesses. That’s the entirely plausible prediction from scientists studying climate change and rising ocean levels linked to hotter temperatures.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-21-18




FEMA recovery map for Montecito and Carpinteria Valley gets a green light

The new Federal Emergency Management Agency recovery map for Montecito and the Carpinteria Valley, which dramatically expands the flood plain in both communities, was adopted by the County Board of Supervisors this week, paving the way for survivors of the Jan. 9 debris flow to begin rebuilding their homes.

KEYT-Santa Barbara News, 6-21-18


Site of the next major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault?

Many researchers hypothesize that the southern tip of the 1300-km-long San Andreas fault zone (SAFZ) could be the nucleation site of the next major earthquake on the fault, yet geoscientists cannot evaluate this hazard until the location and geometry of the fault zone is documented., 6-19-18




Shale exec: US will be the world's biggest oil producer by the fall

That's the assessment of Pioneer Natural Resources Chairman Scott Sheffield, who told CNNMoney that he expects US production to surpass 11 million barrels a day within the next three to four months.

CNN, 6-20-18


SLO County supervisors spar over oil well ban ballot measure

An initiative that would ban new oil wells in unincorporated parts of San Luis Obispo County will appear on this November’s ballot, following a contentious decision by the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday., 6-20-18


Deep-Water Drilling Is Back

On a hot, sunny May afternoon, flying fish leap out of the Gulf of Mexico’s brilliant blue waters near the steel legs of a Chevron Corp. oil platform, pursued by deep-water predators. “Is that a shark chasing them?” asks barge supervisor Jamie Gobert, peering over a rail. “Think it’s yellowfin tuna or maybe dolphinfish,” says Emile Boudreaux, his colleague.

Bloomberg, 6-21-18


The Biggest U.S. Oil Patch Is Near Its Limit

The biggest U.S. shale region will have to shut wells within four months because there aren’t enough pipelines to get the oil to customers, the head of one of the industry’s largest producers said.

Bloomberg, 6-20-18


Shale's $2 Billion Natural Gas Leak Shows Bigger Climate Hit

The shale boom that flooded the U.S. with cheap natural gas, displacing coal and nuclear power generation, isn’t as green as you think.

Bloomberg, 6-21-08




Water Use Across the United States Declines to Levels Not Seen Since 1970

Water use across the country reached its lowest recorded level in 45 years. According to a new USGS report, 322 billion gallons of water per day (Bgal/d) were withdrawn for use in the United States during 2015.

USGS, 6-19-18




Earthquake Near Coronado Shakes San Diego County

A magnitude 3.5 earthquake shook the San Diego County area early Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake was recorded at 1:11 a.m. about 22 miles west-southwest of Coronado.

Coronado Patch, 6-20-18


Site of the next major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault?

Many researchers hypothesize that the southern tip of the 1300-km-long San Andreas fault zone (SAFZ) could be the nucleation site of the next major earthquake on the fault, yet geoscientists cannot evaluate this hazard until the location and geometry of the fault zone is documented.

Geological Society of America, 6-19-18


Imagine the Future San Francisco Bay Shoreline

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy washed into the eastern United States. The storm killed 191 people, razed much of the Jersey Shore, flooded part of Lower Manhattan, and damaged or destroyed 600,000 homes.

Bay Nature, 6-18-18




California to Expand Aliso Storage Gas Withdrawal, Dig into Pipe Outages

Regulators in California on Monday moved to avoid natural gas supply problems this summer in two separate actions that include expanding volumes available for withdrawal at the heavily scrutinized Aliso Canyon underground storage facility.

NGI Shale Gas Daily, 6-20-17


Ban on new oil wells, fracking will go to SLO County voters — and a battle is looming

San Luis Obispo County voters will decide in November whether to ban new oil wells and fracking here, the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday — and full-fledged campaigning is already underway.

San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6-19-18


State unveils oil regulations inspired by Arvin gas leak

State oil regulators on Monday rolled out new health and safety rules inspired by a 2014 Arvin gas leak that forced about three dozen people from their homes for more then eight months., 6-18-18




Strong quake near Osaka, Japan, kills 4, knocks over walls

Residents in western Japan were cleaning up debris Monday evening after a powerful earthquake hit the area around Osaka, the country’s second-largest city, killing four people and injuring hundreds while knocking over walls and setting off fires.

Associated Press, 6-18-18




State unveils oil regulations inspired by Arvin gas leak

State oil regulators on Monday rolled out new health and safety rules inspired by a 2014 Arvin gas leak that forced about three dozen people from their homes for more then eight months.

Bakersfield Californian, 6-18-18


California looks to boost natgas stored in SoCalGas Aliso Canyon

California utility regulators recommended increasing the amount of natural gas that Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) can inject into its Aliso Canyon storage facility in Los Angeles to help avoid possible shortages this summer and winter, according to a filing late Thursday.

Reuters, 6-19-18




Environmentalists Sue To Block Possible Elk Grove Expansion

Environmental groups are suing to try and prevent Elk Grove from expanding its boundaries. Earlier this year the city got permission to expand its sphere of influence southwest by around 1,100 acres. It sets up the city for annexing and building on the land west of Highway 99 and south of Kammerer Road.

Capital Public Radio, 6-18-18


Napa Land Trust protects more Lake Berryessa land from development

The Land Trust of Napa County and the state of California have preserved another 722 acres along east Lake Berryessa, bringing the total amount of protected land there by this partnership in two years to more than 6,700 acres.

Napa Valley Register, 6-17-17


From dendrometers to drones, devices drive ag-tech boom

Agriculture across the country is going high-tech, as the ag and food sectors invested $10.1 billion in digital technologies in 2017, according to a University of California study. That's up from $3.2 billion in 2016, reports the UC's Giannini Foundation for Agricultural Economics.

Western Farm Press, 6-16-18




EPA fines NorCal gravel miner for dumping on endangered salmon

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn't exactly been known for its teeth as of late, but don't tell that to a Humboldt County gravel miner who just got bit by the feds for dumping pollution on endangered salmon.

SGate, 6-15-18


Napa Land Trust protects more Lake Berryessa land from development

The Land Trust of Napa County and the state of California have preserved another 722 acres along east Lake Berryessa, bringing the total amount of protected land there by this partnership in two years to more than 6,700 acres.

Napa Valley Register, 6-18-18




Many coastal properties may be flooded out by 2045, climate report warns

That oceanfront property in Stinson Beach you’ve dreamed about may not be so perfect after all.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-17-18

30 years after warning of global warming: They were right

We were warned. On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived. The testimony of the top NASA scientist, said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, was “the opening salvo of the age of climate change.”

Associated Press, 6-18-18


Report: Marin rated most vulnerable to coastal flooding

Amid accelerating sea level rise from climate change, Marin County has the highest number of households in California vulnerable to coastal flooding, according to a report released Monday.

Marin Independent Journal, 6-18-18



Senators insist on judicial review of water tunnels project

California's two Democratic senators have committed themselves to opposing a controversial House provision that would block judicial review of the state's WaterFix tunnel project, reprising a familiar Capitol Hill plot.

Environment & Energy Publishing, 6-15-18


The well is running dry, and we urgently need to act now to protect our future

When my family first came to the San Joaquin Valley shortly after World War II and started to farm in Hanford, the water table was so high that as a boy I remember digging post holes into which water would sometimes leak . Now wells have to go hundreds of feet to reach water and some wells are over a 1,000 feet deep. Wells are going dry all over the Valley.

Fresno Bee commentary, 6-16-18




Which SF High-Rises Could Collapse in an Earthquake

This ridiculous image from the 2015 San Andreas movie poster may have an ounce of truth to it, according to a recent study from the U.S. Geological Survey. The Transamerica Pyramid is among 39 San Francisco high-rise buildings that could collapse in an earthquake the magnitude of the 1906 quake, according to a new report the New York Times.

S.F. Weekly, 6-15-18


Submarine cables could be repurposed as earthquake detectors

Earth is observed as never before. Satellites track typhoons, monitor volcanic-ash plumes and catalogue the changing ways in which human beings use the land.

The Economist, 6-16-18


California Geological Survey Releases California’s Non-Fuel Mineral Production 2016 Report - Gold Production Decreased from 2015

The California Geological Survey provides an annual summary of the state’s mineral production exclusive of oil, gas, geothermal, and coal. In 2016, California ranked fourth among the states in non-fuel mineral production, accounting for approximately 4.5 % of the United States total.

Sierra Sun-Times, 6-17-18


Highway 1 near Big Sur to reopen 14 months after huge landslide

The tents, sleeping bags and tarps have remained mostly untouched in the general store Rick Aldinger manages in Big Sur. He can’t recall the last time he saw travelers staying longer than a couple hours to explore the thick stretch of Redwoods or traipse through Pfeiffer Beach, burrowing their feet into the purple sand.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-15-18


3.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Imperial County

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.6 shook Imperial County late Sunday morning.

KGTV (San Diego), 6-17-18




National rig count falls by 3 to 1,059; Texas loses 4

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by three this week to 1,059. At this time a year ago there were 933 active rigs.

Associated Press, 6-15-18




Napa County measure to protect land from grape planting headed for defeat

A measure that pitted the wine industry against preservationists by attempting to restrict vineyard development in Napa County appeared headed for defeat on Thursday.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-14-18

Who Owns California 2018: Big Oil and the Western States Petroleum Association Exposed

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is not a household name in California, but it should be. It’s the trade association for the oil industry and the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in the state. if  you want to know the industries, organizations and people that control California, WSPA and Big Oil are right at the top of the list.

Red, Green, and Blue, 6-16-18




Tuolumne County supervisors to consider refinancing bond for Jamestown mine cleanup

Tuolumne County supervisors may refinance a $6 million bond issued in 2006 to pay for cleaning up a former mine west of Jamestown that has become a money pit for taxpayer dollars despite once producing some 21 tons of gold.

Sonora Union-Democrat, 6-15-18


EPA fines NorCal gravel miner for dumping on endangered salmon

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn't exactly been known for its teeth as of late, but don't tell that to a Humboldt County gravel miner who just got bit by the feds for dumping pollution on endangered salmon.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-15-18


Concrete is the stuff civilization is made of. But for all its blessings, there are huge environmental costs

You may not realize it, but as you read this you are probably surrounded by the most important artificial material ever invented. Is there a floor beneath you, walls around, a roof overhead? Chances are excellent they are made at least partly out of this astonishingly underappreciated material: concrete.

Los Angeles Times, 6-17-18




Many coastal properties may be flooded out by 2045, climate report warns

That oceanfront property in Stinson Beach you’ve dreamed about may not be so perfect after all. A report published Monday finds that nearly 4,400 homes in Marin County might not make it beyond a 30-year mortgage because of encroaching seawater.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-17-18




Senate committee sends HR 1491 on Chumash Camp 4 trust on to Senate floor

A House resolution affirming a federal agency’s decision to take a parcel of land into trust for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians was unanimously approved Wednesday by a Senate committee and will now move to the full Senate for a decision.

Santa Maria Times, 6-13-18


At Risk in a Big Quake: 39 of San Francisco’s Top High Rises

Earthquakes are part of the California bargain, a risk that residents accept in exchange for the state’s natural beauty, sunshine and plentiful jobs. This unspoken seismic trade-off came into sharp focus last month when, for the first time, a government earthquake study included a list of potentially vulnerable high-rise buildings in San Francisco.

New York Times, 6-14-18


Public Survey Exposes Montecito Debris Flow Communication Failures

Early results of an ongoing public survey to measure the effectiveness of warning messages issued ahead of and during the deadly 1/9 Debris Flow reveal significant failures by Santa Barbara County officials to properly alert Montecito residents to the dangers they faced.

Santa Barbara Independent, 6-14-18




The Boulder-born laser methane comb

When it comes to the oil and gas industry, business practices and environmental sustainability are often at odds with each other.

Boulder (Colo.) Weekly, 6-14-18


Why It Matters If Fracking Companies Are Overestimating Their ‘Proved’ Oil and Gas Reserves

Back in 2011, The New York Times first raised concerns about the reliability of America's proved shale gas reserves. Proved reserves are the estimates of supplies of oil and gas that drillers tell investors they will be able to tap. The Times suggested that a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule change allowed drillers to potentially overbook their “proved” reserves of natural gas from shale formations, which horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) were rapidly opening up.

Desmog, 6-14-18




Antarctica Is Melting Three Times as Fast as a Decade Ago

Between 60 and 90 percent of the world’s fresh water is frozen in the ice sheets of Antarctica, a continent roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined. If all that ice melted, it would be enough to raise the world’s sea levels by roughly 200 feet.

New York Times, 6-13-18




Dormant But Risky – New State Law Aims To Prevent Problems From Idle Oil And Gas Wells

California is the third largest oil producer in the country. As we speak, almost 81,000 wells across the state are churning out oil and gas or being used to inject wastewater back into the ground. For every three of those wells, however, there’s another one well that’s not doing any of those things—and yet they, too, can deteriorate and contaminate the air and water over time.

Valley Public Radio, 6-12-18


Arvin commission approves regulation changes for oil and gas operators

Stricter regulations on oil and gas operations in Arvin got a little closer to becoming a reality on Tuesday. The Arvin Planning Commission approved an ordinance that makes amendments to the city’s oil and gas codes that would prevent new operations near residential areas and sensitive areas including schools and hospitals.

Bakersfield Californian, 6-12-18


Environmental, community groups appeal oil and gas ruling

As anticipated years ago, a coalition of environmental and community groups this week appealed a court decision upholding Kern's 2015 move to streamline oil and gas permitting in the county. The group asserts April's Kern County Superior Court ruling wrongly allowed the county zoning ordinance to stand despite finding problems in the underlying environmental review.

Bakersfield Californian, 6-12-18




California has billions in extra money. Why don't taxpayers get a refund?

California state government has so much money this year that it’s opening two new savings accounts so it can keep socking away even more cash for the rainy day that Gov. Jerry Brown says is just over the horizon.

Sacramento Bee, 6-13-18


A California Refuge From Mud and Fire

When Rhea Hayes decided to sell her house in the wealthy, Southern California coastal community of Hope Ranch, she had a hunch it would go fast. She and her husband had been thinking of downsizing and heard the market was inundated with people who’d lost their homes in the recent fire and mudslides in nearby Montecito.

Wall Street Journal, 6-13-18




Earthquake safety: Touring a few of San Diego’s most iconic buildings

It doesn’t take much to draw Pat Abbott out of semi-retirement. The San Diego geologist has a flair for explaining complicated seismic topics and an overwhelming interest in earthquake safety.

San Diego inewsource, 6-11-18


Kilauea eruption will fuel volcano research for years to come

It didn’t take long for Kilauea to start spitting out clues to the ongoing mystery of what lies beneath Hawaii’s youngest and most active volcano.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 6-10-18


In volcano's wake, a Guatemalan town became a cemetery

There was no time to eat. Sunday family lunches were interrupted, the food left on the table. Children abandoned toys, and clothes still hung on lines in backyards. Animals died petrified.

Reuters, 6-11-18




Another fracking boom to beget another fracking bust; or will it?

Employers and community leaders in Midland, Texas are in a scramble to keep essential services operating as restaurant workers and school bus drivers are leaving their jobs for much more lucrative work in the oil patch.

The Hill, 6-11-18



Sinkholes, poison gas and dynamite: Inside abandoned mines

A century-old gold mine is a curious place, and that's a problem for those whose job it is to find bats and blasting caps as worrisome as the public finds them to be wondrous.

Associated Press, 6-9-18




Cows mooove out as one of Chino’s last dairies closes

One of the last dairies in Chino is gone. J & D Star Dairy has shut down, and its nearly 800 cows were sold off in one swoop

Los Angeles Newspaper Group, 6-9-18




Our Ocean Backyard: Harnessing offshore wind

There is a lot of renewable energy offshore, although to date most of the successful efforts to harness it commercially have been focused on wind turbines. And 99.9 percent of those turbines are offshore of 11 European countries.

Santa Cruz Sentinel column, 6-9-18


Increased deaths and illnesses from inhaling airborne dust: An understudied impact of climate change

The Dust Bowl in the 1930s was one of the worst environmental disasters of the 20th century. Intense dust storms relentlessly pounded the southern Great Plains of the United States, wreaking severe ecological damage, forcing 2.5 million people to leave the region and claiming unnumbered lives, mainly from “dust pneumonia.”

The Conversation, 6-11-18




Earthquake: Preliminary magnitude 3.4 temblor strikes Riverside County

The USGS recorded a preliminary-magnitude 3.4 earthquake in Riverside County, near Beaumont, Friday.
The temblor struck around 1:50 p.m. It was centered 6 miles west of Mt. San Gorgonio, according to officials.

KABC (Los Angeles television), 6-8-18


Magnitude 3.7 earthquake strikes near Redwood Valley, CA

The United States Geological Survey reports a preliminary magnitude 3.7 earthquake struck near Redwood Valley, CA on Friday. The quake hit at 9:23 AM local time at a depth of 5 kilometers.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-7-18


'Do not rely on us.' Emergency responders say when 'Big One' hits, people need to be prepared to care for themselves

Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family when the “Big One” hits. That was the recurring message Saturday when Desert Hot Springs Emergency Preparedness Committee held its first Earthquake & Emergency Preparedness Seminar.

Palm Springs Desert Sun, 6-9-18




Bay Area Project Tackles Sea-Level Rise and Water Quality

This small rectangle of wetland near the San Francisco Bay in San Lorenzo doesn’t look particularly visionary. Above ground, it’s an appealing – if unusually orderly – array of meadows, cattails and willows. But there’s far more here than meets the eye.

Water Deeply, 6-8-18


A regional challenge — designing to live with rising seas

The cities, towns, infrastructure, job and event centers, and natural wonders that make our region unique, that drive our economy and draw tourists from all over the world, were all built around our defining natural asset: the San Francisco Bay.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-7-18




In California, natural gas availability still an issue 3 years after major leak

In 2015, one of 115 natural gas storage wells at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Southern California started leaking methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The leak took months to seal, becoming the second largest methane leak in US history but likely the most environmentally damaging methane leak in US history due to the fact that none of the methane combusted before being released to the atmosphere.

Ars Technica, 6-10-18


National rig count rises by 2 to 1,062; Texas gains 3

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by two this week to 1,062. At this time a year ago there were 927 active rigs.

Associated Press, 6-8-18




Environmentalists sue to block city’s southern expansion

A coalition of environmental groups on June 1 filed a lawsuit to challenge the city of Elk Grove’s expansion beyond its southern border. The Sacramento County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) this February approved a request by a group of developers to expand the city’s Sphere Of Influence (SOI) over 1,156 acres south of Kammerer Road.

Elk Grove Citizen, 6-8-18


Climate-smart ag in Yolo County

In the past several years, California has passed a dizzying array of climate laws and launched dozens of grants program to meet the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

Davis Enterprise, 6-10-18




Why Southern California is calling for a do-over on its vote to bankroll the Delta tunnels

A historic vote on the Delta tunnels project is getting a do-over.

Southern California's powerful water agency — the Metropolitan Water District — said Thursday its board will vote again in July on whether to pay for the lion's share of the project, known officially as California WaterFix.

Sacramento Bee, 6-7-18




Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years

The frequency of coastal flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years, with communities near shorelines warned that the next two years are set to be punctuated by particularly severe inundations, as ocean levels continue to rise amid serious global climate change concerns.

The Guardian, 6-6-18




Ag-preservation initiative to go on Oceanside ballot

A citizens initiative that would require a public vote on any zoning changes for Oceanside’s agricultural, parkland or open space has landed on the November ballot.

San Diego Union Tribune, 6-7-18





Study finds possible deep faults, possible earthquake source

Scientists may have found previously unmapped faults in Oklahoma that could be contributing to a sharp increase in induced earthquakes in the state, according to a report on a study that used magnetic imaging to explore the rock formations below the earth's surface.

Associated Press, 6-5-18


Guatemala Volcano Toll Reaches 99, As Officials Point Fingers Over Evacuation

Guatemala's opposition is accusing the head of the country's emergency response agency of failing to heed warnings ahead of the eruption of a volcano that has left nearly 100 dead and almost 200 others missing.

NPR, 6-7-18




Californians appear poised to reject measure controlling how climate change funds are spent

Four statewide ballot propositions were passing in California on Tuesday, while an effort to control spending of funds collected through the state’s climate change program appeared headed toward a defeat.

Los Angeles Times, 6-5-18


Researchers Find Evolutionary 'Tipping Point' Linked to Climate Change

Researchers studying the impact of extreme climate conditions on biodiversity found a “tipping point” at which species, under pressure from dwindling food supplies due to climate change, must either evolve to take advantage of different food supplies or face extinction.

University of Arkansas, 6-6-18


Judge Orders EPA to Produce Science behind Pruitt’s Warming Claims

EPA must produce the opposing body of science Administrator Scott Pruitt has relied upon to claim that humans are not the primary drivers of global warming, a federal judge has ruled.

Environment & Energy News, 6-5-18




Oil Well Permits Appealed to Board of Supervisors

Alameda County’s approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for further operation of two Patterson Pass Road rural Livermore oil fields has been appealed by two environmental groups. Hollin Kreitzmann, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), filed the challenge with the county on June 1. Livermore Eco-watchdogs joined the appeal. No date has been set for the Board of Supervisors to hear the appeal.

Livermore Independent, 6-7-18




L.A. County inches toward a final decision on Tejon Ranch development

The development of a long-discussed planned community in northern Los Angeles County faced renewed debate Wednesday at a public hearing of the Regional Planning Commission.

Los Angeles Times, 6-6-18


Napa County voters deadlocked on vineyard development restrictions

A Napa County ballot measure that would limit vineyard development in woodlands and along waterways was leading by the slimmest of margins late Tuesday.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6-5-18


Environmentalists sue to stop expansion near Highway 99

A long-standing battle between Elk Grove growth advocates and environmentalists has spilled into court. The Environmental Council of Sacramento and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit with others in Sacramento Superior Court last week challenging a county decision to allow the city of Elk Grove to expand onto 1,156 acres of farmland west of Highway 99 and south of Kammerer Road.

Sacramento Bee, 6-5-18




What volcanic eruptions can teach us

On May 18, 1980, long-dormant Mount St. Helens erupted in southwest Washington, killing 57 people, flattening over 200 structures and 230 square miles of forest, and leaving a mile-wide crater.

High Country News, 6-5-18


Another Danger from Overpumping Groundwater: Arsenic

Sinking land caused by intensive groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley is releasing trapped arsenic — a known carcinogen — into aquifers that supply irrigation and drinking water for a million people, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications

KQED (San Francisco television and radio)


Overpumping of Central Valley groundwater has side effect: too much arsenic

The many wells that nourish the farms of the Central Valley are not only pumping so much water from the ground that the land is sinking, they’re creating a dangerous vacuum where arsenic can slip in, new research shows.

San Francisco Chronicle, 6-5-18




Study finds possible deep faults, possible earthquake source

Scientists may have found previously unmapped faults in Oklahoma that could be contributing to a sharp increase in induced earthquakes in the state, according to a report on a study that used magnetic imaging to explore the rock formations below the earth's surface.

Associated Press, 6-5-18




Environmentalists sue to stop expansion near Highway 99

A long-standing battle between Elk Grove growth advocates and environmentalists has spilled into court. The Environmental Council of Sacramento and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit with others in Sacramento Superior Court last week challenging a county decision to allow the city of Elk Grove to expand onto 1,156 acres of farmland west of Highway 99 and south of Kammerer Road.

Sacramento Bee, 6-5-18





Oil producer renews legal challenge to Kern's 'split-estate' farmland rules

A renewed legal challenge is targeting Kern County's 2015 regulatory attempt to resolve certain property disputes between local oil producers and farmers. Oilman Ken Hunter has requested a new trial for his claim that a county zoning ordinance gives surface property owners an unconstitutional advantage over those with underlying mineral rights.

Bakersfield Californian, 6-5-18




Magnitude 3.6 earthquake near Ensenada felt in San Diego County

A magnitude 3.6 earthquake occurred near Ensenada, Mexico at 1:16 a.m. on Tuesday, generating shaking that was felt in San Diego County, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake was initially reported as 3.9.

San Diego Union Tribune, 6-5-18


Guatemalans struggle to recover the dead buried by volcano eruption

Maria Leticia has been grappling with the fear that her relatives didn't escape from the hot gases, rock and ash that killed dozens as the deadly mixture raced down Guatemala's Fuego volcano.

CNN, 6-5-18




Almonds growers show no signs of cracking

Mike Mason's not the kind of guy you'd expect to have second thoughts about going all-in on almonds. The company he built in Wasco 24 years ago, Supreme Almonds of California, receives and packs nuts from 200 local and Northern California growers, then ships them to buyers in about 70 different countries, including the United States.

Bakersfield Californian, 6-3-18




Scientists Debate Whether Superstorms Have Link to Global Warming

The Atlantic hurricane season was devastating for the United States in 2017. Damage from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria cost the United States $267 billion.

NBC, 6-2-18


Flooding And Rising Seas Threaten America's Oldest Farmland

Bob Fitzgerald lives on the edge of a flat field that's just a few feet above sea level. It's the same spot on Maryland's Eastern Shore where his ancestors settled before the U.S. became a country.

NPR, 6-2-18





The Big One could leave 250,000-400,000 quake refugees in California. Where will they go?

When a catastrophic earthquake hits California, buildings will topple and potentially hundreds could be killed. But what gets less attention is the wrenching aftermath of such a huge temblor, which could leave whole neighborhoods torched by fires uninhabitable and hundreds of thousands of people without a home.

Los Angeles Times, 6-3-18



Post-Disaster Surveys Expose Failures of Warning Messaging, Evacuation Decisions

Results so far from a survey of Montecito residents show that many of them did not understand the dynamics of a debris flow, or the gravity of their own risk, before the deadly Jan. 9 flash flooding and debris flows, according to a team of scientists studying the disaster.

Santa Barbara Noozhawk, 6-2-18


Caltech scientists working to predict mudslides

Caltech scientists hope that data from the deadly Montecito mudslides can help them learn how to predict such disasters in the future, potentially saving lives with an early warning system.

KABC (Los Angeles television), 6-1-18


Claremont rocks, part one

They’re everywhere. Dig into the ground and you will uncover many. They are found in landscapes.  They frame monument signs. They are found as the facing on pilasters and porches. They make up the foundations for older homes, and the veneer on new ones.

Claremont Courier, 6-1-18


Rare Footage of 1906 Earthquake Devastation to Go Public

After spending decades forgotten somewhere in a film canister, a film of previously-unknown footage showing aftermath of San Francisco’s devastating 1906 earthquake and fire will finally go on public view.

KNTV (San Jose television), 6-3-18


Guatemala volcanic eruption sends lava into homes, kills at least 38

Dozens were killed after a fiery volcanic eruption in south-central Guatemala sent lava flowing into rural communities, blanketing homes and roads with ash that dogged rescue efforts.

Associated Press, 6-4-18




California must invest in cleaning up polluted communities

Gasping for air in an asthma attack. Heart problems, cancer, stroke. These are the consequences of fossil fuels for millions of people in California’s most polluted communities, where 92 percent of residents are people of color.

Sacramento Bee, 6-3-18


National rig count rises by 1 to 1,060; Oklahoma gains 2

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by one this week to 1,060. At this time a year ago there were 916 active rigs.

Associated Press, 6-1-18


Americas Path To Energy Independence: The Shale Revolution

In the history of American Energy Independence, September 29, 2016 was a significant day. OPEC was two years into a strategy to bankrupt the U.S. shale industry, by allowing prices to drop to unprofitable levels.

Forbes, 6-4-18




Planning takes another look at city’s east side

Santa Clarita Signal, 6-1-18




Despite sea change at White House, Pentagon steps up climate change preparations

In San Diego, the Navy has launched an effort to monitor and prepare for a sea level rise along the California coast. At the Marine Corps’ iconic Parris Island training facility in South Carolina, military leaders say they will consider building a sea wall to ward off rising tides.

Washington Time, 6-3-18





(news updated as time permits…)




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