Mercury pollution from Volcanoes

September 6, 2010 at 12:37 am • Posted in ALL POSTS, Mercury, Science740 Comments

Several months ago, I read that the Centralia coal-fired steam plant was estimated to be putting out 1 to 3 pounds of elemental mercury per day. This might have seemed to be a serious problem to me if I wasn’t aware of the fact that volcanoes and other naturally occuring sources put tens of thousands of pounds of elemental mercury into the environment each day. Mount St. Helens put out more than 2000 pounds of mercury per day when it was at its active stage. Kilauea volcano in Hawaii puts out 1500 pounds per day and has been doing so for years. (This would be equivalent to the amount recovered be recycling 861 million fluorescent light bulbs per day.).
Volcanoes worldwide discharge every element known to man in massive quantities. The wind and water spread these elements and chemicals to every place on this earth. Toxic or not,these materials are a naturally occurring part of the environment. When I called the Washington State Dept. of Ecology, to suggest to them they should start monitoring the rainwater for mercury, I was informed that sampling for mercury had recently begun near Neah Bay. I was given the web address of the site. Though the site did not have rainfall totals or wind directions on the site, the data clearly indicates that there were periodic episodes of mercury deposition at the site (Note: There are no man caused sources for mercury in that region of the state).
It intrigues me that everyone seems so focused on mercury pollution when the amount of uranium and thorium (Both are radioactive) are 8 to 24 times more abundant in the earth’s crust than mercury. There are at least 20 known occurances of uranium in Washington alone.
Kilauea also emits 10,000 TONS of CO2 per day, 4000 TONS of SO2 per day (ultimately yielding 6000 TONS af pure surfuric acid per day) 4000 gallons of water per MINUTE, and dozens of other toxic metals and hazardous minerals in varying quantities EACH DAY. These are the emissions of only ONE volcano. One must remember that there are also many undersea vents to consider.  Readers should google the term “vog”.  That will be a real eye opener.

Climate change

August 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm • Posted in ALL POSTS, Climate Change, Government, Science781 Comments

Approximately sixty years ago, scientists were convinced that the earth was on the verge of another Ice Age. Although I was unable to document it, several people (mostly older than me) told me that some scientists asked President Harry Truman to detonate 50 atomic bombs at the North Pole to reverse this perceved threat.
Thirty years ago some scientists started to warn that man-caused emissions into the atmosphere were causing irreversible excelerated global warming. They warned that the polar icecaps are melting. They said that if this continued, oceans would rise 200 feet flooding thousands of square miles of land.
Two years ago on April 13th, it was reported that the Washington State ferry system could not operate ferries because of the record low tides. (Where did all that water go?)
Scientists were right though! The ice caps on Mars ARE receding. They are on earth too. Data from satellites in space indicate that other planets in our solar system have also shown a slight warming trend. Even Pluto (though no longer a planet) had shown a slight upward trend in temperature.
Our planet has been both colder and warmer in the past. Palm leaf fossils in Washington State can be found in the road cuts along Chuckanut Drive between Bellingham and Anacortes. Around 1930, a complete rhinoceros skeleton was found in a small cavern between basalt rock layers in Eastern Washington above Blue Lake about 25 miles northeast of the town of Moses Lake. Details about this discovery are available at the museum overlooking Dry Falls.
Most Americans have heard about the large quantity of dinosaur bones in Central Montana. Similar remains may are also found in North Korea at about the same latitude. I have never heard these locations described of having a tropical climate. Winter temperatures at three of these locations often drop to 30 degrees (fahrenheit) BELOW zero.
About two years ago, a mastadon tusk was escavated from a construction site northeast of San diego. Do they host skiing and other winter sports there? I think not.
FACTS: For the year 2005, the fossil fuel energy consumed by our whole nation was not quite equivalent to the solar energy which fell on Cowlitz County in Washington State during the same time period.
Carbon Dioxide is 51% heavier than air and therefore settles to the earth’s surface.
Hydrogen, helium, ammonia, water vapor, neon,and methane rise because they are lighter than air. (Did you ever hear of someone filling a weather ballon with carbon dioxide?) If the hydrogen in our atmosphere was at the surface, lighting a match would cause the whole atmosphere to explode. Fortunately oxygen (37% lighter than carbon dioxide) is sufficently heavy that it is not found in the layer with the hydrogen or our first rocket sent into space would have been a REAL blast. Gasses DO separate according to weight.
It is also important to note that our day-to-day weather can fluctuate wildly, but the CO2 levels have remained nearly constant for much longer periods of time.
Remember the carbon cycle. If CO2 levels in the air drop too low, near life on earth WILL cease to exist.

Cap and Starve

July 31, 2010 at 7:00 pm • Posted in ALL POSTS, Cap & Trade, Government, Taxes157 Comments

It seems that the cap and trade proponents are in their happy fairy-tale world.  It has never occurred to them that reducing the atmospheric carbon dioxide level will be anything but beneficial.  The fact is that it could screw up the carbon cycle for an undeterminable amount of time causing perhaps the greatest famine in all of history. 

All one ever hears from these people is that we must stop burning fossil fuels to get our energy.  Their REAL AGENDA is to stop drilling and mining for fossil fuels.  Cap and Trade is also supported by those who stand to make money from alternate energy sources, grants, or speeches.  I have not heard ONE of these people offer the only logical solution to increased carbon dioxide levels.  That solution:  PLANT MORE PLANTS.  Plants provide, directly and indirectly, ALL of our food, some of our shelter, clothing, medicine, heat energy, furniture, and a multitude of other products that we take for granted on a daily basis.  EVERY living organism on this planet requires presence of carbon dioxide for its survival.  If geologists are correct, the origin of all fossil fuels is carbon dioxide.

Consider the alternatives.  Increased use of electricity causes increased ozone pollution plus a multitude of other hazards.  Hydrogen fuel is primarily produced from electricity.  It is the most dangerous compressed gas in existence.  Its molecular size permits it to permeate the walls of its container causing that container to become brittle and prone to rupture.  If allowed to expand too rapidly, unlike other compressed gases (except helium), it heats up and can cause its tank to rupture.

   We must be careful.  Many times, our solutions are worse than the original problems.