DNR weekend reading: CO2 injection pilot project near Richland, whales, volcanoes and other science news

DNR's Pacific Cascade Region office in Castle Rock, Washington
DNR’s Pacific Cascade Region office in Castle Rock, Washington, after the 2013 season’s first snowfall (but before we shoveled the steps!) Photo: DNR

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Scientific American: Richland Pilot Project is Burying CO2 in Basalt
Since July 17, 2013, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, have been pumping carbon dioxide into the Columbia River Basalt formation near the town of Wallula. The pilot project aims to determine if basalt formations can hold — and permanently mineralize — vast quantities of the gas.

Oregon State University: New study identifies five distinct humpback populations in North Pacific
The first comprehensive genetic study of humpback whale populations in the North Pacific Ocean has identified five distinct populations – at the same time a proposal to designate North Pacific humpbacks as a single “distinct population segment” is being considered under the Endangered Species Act.

McGill University: Deep-Sea Study Reveals Cause of 2011 Tsunami: Unusually Thin, Slippery Geological Fault Found
The tsunami that struck Japan’s Tohoku region in 2011 was touched off by a submarine earthquake far more massive than anything geologists had expected in that zone. Now, a team of scientists has shed light on what caused the dramatic displacement of the seafloor.

BBC: Yellowstone ‘supervolcano’ even more colossal than thought 
A study shows that the magma chamber of the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park is far larger — 2.5 times bigger — than was previously thought. The cavern stretches for more than 55 miles and contains 200-600 cubic km of molten rock.

Scientific AmericanCleaner Than Coal? Wood Power Makes a Comeback A power plant in northwestern Ontario Province will be the largest commercial power generation plant in North America to convert from coal to biomass; it’s part of Ontario’s plan to be the first jurisdiction in North America to shut down its entire coal fleet.

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