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New plate discovered under Southern CaliforniaA tectonic plate that disappeared millions of years ago has turned up in Central California and Mexico. New research from Brown University found that part of the Baja region of Mexico and part of central California near the Sierra Nevada mountains sit upon slabs of this long-lost plate. It’s a big breakthrough in how we think about California’s 100-million-year-old geology. Sean Gulick, a geophysicist from the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics, gives Take Two a little lesson in plate tectonics to understand the discovery.

Take Two, Southern California Public Radio, March 20, 2013.
Featuring: Sean Gulick

Researchers at the Advanced Energy Consortium inspect nanoparticles in solutionCan magnetic nanoparticles injected deep underground with hydraulic fracturing liquids reveal detailed dimensions of shale rock fractures and track movements of gas molecules? Can other particles — that change form when they encounter oil — be “interrogated” for clues about the amounts of oil in dense shale formations? These are among the goals of the Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC), headquartered at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas, Austin.

EnergyWire, March 15, 2013
Featuring: Mohsen Ahmadian, Scott Tinker

The front page of The Wall Street Journal and scores of media outlets across the country reported that U.S. natural-gas production will accelerate over the next three decades, providing the strongest evidence yet that the energy boom remaking America will last for a generation. The conclusion is based on new research from a team led by Scott Tinker and Svetlana Ikonnikova of the Bureau of Economic Geology, which is conducting the most comprehensive survey to-date of the major unconventional shale gas basins in North America. The first results forecast gradually declining but steady production from the Barnett Shale, based on the first-ever survey of actual well data from the formation.
Wall Street Journal, NPR, Reuters, CNBCBloomberg BusinessweekRigZoneAustin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle (Fuel Fix Blog)Ft. Worth Star TelegramStateImpact (NPR/KUT), Feb. 28-Mar. 5, 2013
Featuring: Scott Tinker

Evidence of a miniscule force that could exist between two particle spins over long distances could be lurking in magnetized iron under the Earth’s surface. That is the conclusion of a new study by physicists Larry Hunter and colleagues at Amherst College in Massachusetts, together with Jung-Fu “Afu” Lin of the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School. The team has used our planet’s vast stores of polarized spin to place exacting limits on the existence of interactions mediated by hypothetical particles, which include the existentially evocative “unparticle.”

LiveScience, Boston Globe (blog), Physics World, TG Daily, Feb. 21-22, 2013
Featuring: Jung-Fu “Afu” Lin

Will Venezuela continue to subsidize Cuban oil supplies post-Chavez? “The impact of Cuba losing that arrangement would be disastrous,” said Jorge Pinon, an oil expert at the University of Texas’ Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy.

CNN, Jan.. 22, 2013

Featuring: Jorge Pinon

John Goff

Congress has now agreed to give some $60 billion to states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. A lot will go to Long Island, one of the hardest hit areas. Besides damages to homes and businesses, its system of protective barrier islands and beaches were partially washed away. Scientists are trying to find out where that sand and sediment went, and whether it can be used to rebuild Long Island’s defenses.

NPR, January 29, 2013
Featuring: John Goff, Jamie Austin, Cassandra Browne

An updated study from the Jackson School’s Bureau of Economic Geology has found that the amount of water used in the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing has risen sharply in recent years as oil and natural gas production has surged. But the 97-page study, lead authored by J.P. Nicot of the Bureau, also found that the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing would level off sometime in the decade starting in 2020, as water recycling technologies matured and the industry’s rapid growth rate cooled.

Texas Tribune, Jan. 15, 2013

Gregg RobertsonGeologist Gregg Robertson, head of independent petroleum company First Rock Inc., was named the 2012 Caller-Times Newsmaker of the Year for his role in the development of the Eagle Ford Shale.
Corpus Christi Caller Times, December 29, 2012

Joel Johnson of the Jackson School has crafted metal rocks to mimic a natural stone’s shape and density, and then inserted custom-made electronics to measure and record the faux rock’s movements in real streams and rivers. The mission: to better understand how waterways move tons of rock and other sediment downstream. Improving sediment transport models means getting down to small details, including better measurements of dozens of variables ranging from large-scale channel slopes and water velocities to minute interactions between a single grain of sand and the water flowing around it.

Science, December 14, 2012
Featuring: Joel Johnson, Lindsay Olinde

Austin American-Statesman, November 11, 2012
Featuring: The Bureau of Economic Geology

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