Permafrost thaw results in $20 million in water management expenses for Alaska zinc mine

“A company operating one of the world’s largest zinc mines in Northwest Alaska said thawing permafrost linked to global warming forced an expenditure of nearly $20 million on water storage and discharge management.

Teck Resources Ltd. says permafrost thaw in the watershed surrounding the massive Red Dog Mine is releasing higher natural levels of dissolved minerals and other particles into streams, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Tuesday.”

– via Anchorage Daily News. Read the full article here.

Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’

” Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he’s got an answer: “536.” Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, “It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year,” says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.

A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says. ”

Writing by Ann Gibbons; Read the full article on Science Mag here.

No Magma Near the Surface by Grindavík

“Earthquakes can be expected to continue in the area, and the strongest of them near Grindavík. “The most likely explanation for this activity is a magma intrusion at a depth of 3-5km (1.9-3.1mi) just west of Þorbjörn. Most often such activity concludes without an eruption,” the statement closes.

According to geophysicist Páll Einarsson, if an eruption were to occur, experts would most likely be able to warn authorities hours in advance.”

Update from Iceland Review article by

 

Grábrók Volcanic Crater

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Grábrók is a volcanic crater in the fjord of Borgarfjörður in West Iceland, formed approximately 3,400 years ago. It’s an easy little climb you can do in a small time-frame, and gives a pretty amazing view.