Archive | August 2019

Job Announcements from BLM

A message from BLM: We are pleased to announce new, exciting positions available at BLM – BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT.   It is our hope that qualified, career oriented individuals at your organization or other professionals known to you will actively consider this position and apply accordingly.  Efforts on your part to disseminate this information are greatly appreciated.

Job Description:  Civil Engineer;
Announcement Number:  NM-DEU-2019-0097;
Location(s) of position:  Roswell, NM, US;
Salary:  (USD) $42,053 – (USD) $80,912;
Applications will be accepted until:  08/27/2019.
For additional information on this job posting, please visit the vacancy details page at Monster Worldwide Inc. 

Job Description:  Financial Specialist;
Announcement Number:  CA-DEU-2019-0045;
Location(s) of position:  Sacramento, CA, US;
Salary:  (USD) $55,851 – (USD) $72,602;
Applications will be accepted until:  09/03/2019.
For additional information on this job posting, please visit the vacancy details page at Monster Worldwide Inc.

AGI Webinar—August 21 Exploring a Career in the Minerals Industry

A message from Leila M. Gonzales, Ph.D., Technical Specialist, American Geosciences Institute:

We are sending this email as a courtesy to the geoscience community. The Geological Society of America (GSA) will be hosting a free webinar entitled “Exploring a Career in the Minerals Industry” on Wednesday, 21 August 2019, at 11:00 a.m. MDT.

To register for this free event, please visit the Geological Society of America.

This webinar will feature two presenters from Newmont Goldcorp who will provide perspectives of a senior project manager and a student near graduation on what a geologist does in this important sector and what it takes to work within this industry.

Presenters: Terry Briggs, General Manager, Newmont Goldcorp Elaine Lord, Intern, Newmont Goldcorp

Mineral resources are essential for the world, from precious metals such as gold and their relationship to the global economy, base metals and rare earth minerals and their use in electronics through to industrial minerals used in creation of steel and other construction materials used in our everyday lives. In the last century these non-renewable resources have become both more readily mined and technically challenging to reach. This webinar will feature the perspectives of a senior project manager and a student near graduation on what a geologist does in this important sector, and what it takes to work within this industry.

Geologists in the hard rock sector are engaged in the discovery of metals and minerals as well as their interpretation and potential extraction. The mine development cycle creates opportunities for geoscientists in exploration, modelling, environmental, geotechnical and production teams. Geoscientists in this field can work either for contracting and consulting firms or directly for corporations ranging in size from junior explorers to multi-national mining firms. Opportunities can include working in remote locations in the field and or undertaking interpretation from regional centers, this often involves being part of a cross-functional team. As with any industry, demand fluctuates with the market but skilled workers are always needed and a good mining company invests in developing safe, long-term projects. Exploration and Mining geologists work to fulfill the world’s mineral needs with integrity, expertise, and safety while facilitating community involvement, job creation, and transparency.

Sponsors: Geological Society of America, American Geosciences Institute, American Geophysical Union, and the Society of Economic Geologists

Nevada’s First Recorded Earthquake Death? This Could Be It, Caused by Ridgecrest Temblors

By Rong-Gong Lin II, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
August. 6, 2019 6 AM

Excerpts are copied below. You can read the complete story here: Nevada’s First Recorded Earthquake Death? This Could Be It, Caused by Ridgecrest Temblors

“For all the power of the Ridgecrest earthquakes — the strongest with an epicenter in Southern California in nearly two decades — the only death related to the temblors may have actually occurred outside the state.

The death in Nevada is illustrative of the significant earthquake risk the Silver State, though not as bad as California, still endures. The Reno area, for instance, has a seismic risk that approaches that of the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Nevada state geologists…

There has never been a documented death from an earthquake in Nevada, according to Craig dePolo, earthquake geologist at the state Bureau of Mines and Geology, who has exhaustively researched records of the 23 earthquakes with epicenters in Nevada of magnitude 6 or greater. “If indeed Mr. Ray’s death was caused by an earthquake, it would be the first time it’s been recorded,” he said…

Nevada has been largely quiet of destructive earthquakes since the 1960s, except for the magnitude 6 Wells earthquake of 2008, which caused an abandoned two-story building to collapse and two more buildings to partially collapse, and damaged about 30 others. Officials reported $19 million in damage.

But from the 1850s to the 1950s, there were 22 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater in Nevada.

“Up until about the 1960s, Nevada was very active,” dePolo said. “It used to be known as an earthquake state, just like California. But we’ve lost a lot of the folklore because there’s been fewer earthquakes. Awareness is moderate to low.”

Nevada is farther away from the main plate boundary dividing the Pacific and North American plates, but the state still gathers seismic strain over the decades that must be released in earthquakes eventually. “The handle is turning, and the box is there — it’s just a matter of time before the jack-in-the-box pops out.”

The Reno area has an earthquake risk approaching that of San Francisco, dePolo said; Las Vegas’ risk is less, but still exists. Faults in the basin Reno sits in is capable of generating earthquakes as big as magnitude 6.8; a larger fault in the Carson Valley just south of Reno could generate a quake as large as magnitude 7.4.

Just east of Las Vegas is Frenchman Mountain, and on the east side of the mountain lies an earthquake fault capable of producing an earthquake of possibly magnitude 6.7, dePolo said.”

Indy Environment: Earthquakes, Yucca Mountain and Why Everyone is Talking about Walker Lane

By Daniel Rothberg, July 25th, 2019 – 2:00amIndy Environment:  Water & Land
Read the full article here: Earthquakes, Yucca Mountain, and Why Everyone is Talking about the Walker Lane

The Indy Environment newsletter breaks down reporting on water, public land and development. Sign-up here to receive it in your inbox. For suggestions or tips, email daniel@thenvindy.com.

Nevada is turning into California. The latest: Earthquakes.

“Without scaring people, we should be quite concerned that we could have a fairly sizable earthquake,” said Jim Faulds, the director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Two recent Southern California earthquakes shook furniture as far as Las Vegas and have raised questions about the risk of tremors in Nevada. Geologically speaking, the Great Basin is a maze of fault lines, and much of it is still unexplored. Although most associate California with deadly quakes, Nevada is the third most seismically active state (after California and Alaska).

As state geologist, Faulds has spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and was recently featured in a WIRED story that looked at a fault system that extends through Western Nevada.

It is known as Walker Lane.

Walker Lane, Faulds said, accounts for about 20 percent plate motion between the Pacific and North American plates — and it could one day become the main boundary between the plates. But compared to the well-known San Andreas Fault, Walker Lane is disorganized, with smaller faults that make it difficult to assess earthquake risk. What if more than one fault ruptures at once? According to Faulds, there are more questions like that and more research needs to be done.

And there is a Yucca Mountain angle.

The proposed nuclear waste repository sits on the eastern part of the fault system. Last week, Faulds and the director of the Nevada Seismological Lab, wrote to Gov. Steve Sisolak urging more surveying of the area with new technology like LiDAR and new geophysical tools.

“The Walker Lane needs more thorough analysis and Yucca Mountain does as well,” he said.

In general, Faulds said the greatest earthquake risk is in Western Nevada along this fault, but the geological survey is working on a risk assessment for Southern Nevada as well. There have also been tremors across the Great Basin, including the 2008 Wells quake. I’ll be writing more about earthquakes, the science behind them, and the unknowns. I’ll also look at what it means for Western Nevada.”

Earth’s Heat Gives States Another Option for Clean Energy Goals

  • Nevada exploring geothermal’s potential for electricity, heating
  • Cost, risk impede development

By Brenna Goth, July 15, 2019 06:01AM ET, Bloomberg Law.
Read the full story here: Earth’s Heat Gives States Another Option for Clean Energy Goals.

“Tapping heat beneath the Earth’s surface for electricity and other uses is gaining ground among policy makers, especially out West, as states seek to expand their options for meeting more aggressive renewable energy goals.

Geothermal energy’s promise lies in its ability to constantly produce power with limited environmental impacts, unlike resources such as wind or solar that are weather-dependent and have other challenges.

It also has the potential “to power the global electric grid many times over” with a nearly unlimited supply, Susan G. Hamm, director of the Energy Department’s geothermal technologies office, says in the introduction to its analysis on the subject.

While geothermal energy represents a small fraction of the power used in the U.S., production could increase by more than 26 times over roughly three decades with the right technology and policy changes, the analysis said. But the risk and cost of developing new projects could hamper the industry’s growth.

One major state player, Nevada, wants to tackle those issues as its utilities move toward getting half their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

A new initiative in the state, which is second only to California in U.S. geothermal electricity generation, directs lawmakers to audit geothermal potential and propose changes that could boost the resource.

Environmental considerations for geothermal projects vary by technology and include water use, greenhouse gas emissions higher than for wind or solar, and seismic hazards. Utilities, though, face few choices for energy sources that both meet their climate change goals and can stabilize the grid, said Paul Thomsen, vice president of business development for the Americas at renewable energy company Ormat Technologies.

“This renewable resource really is a problem solver,” said Thomsen, who also chairs the Geothermal Resources Council policy committee.

Nevada Resort Shows Potential

Nevada is taking a broad approach to analyzing its geothermal potential and impediments. Policy proposals will go to the Legislature for approval.

Lawmakers and researchers will weigh how to map geothermal resources, and the necessary technology and financial support to use them. They will consider applications like using geothermal directly to heat public buildings, and figure out how to integrate the power source with the solar, mining, and lithium industries.

Increasing geothermal use is a matter of national security for state Sen. Pat Spearman (D), who sponsored the initiative. Breaking reliance on foreign oil became a priority following her military career, she said.

“I need the experts working on this with me,” Spearman said.

Some state leaders see potential in a Reno resort’s use of geothermal for heating, which can use underground water at lower temperatures than are needed to produce electricity. The 1,621-room Peppermill Resort Spa Casino produces all of its own heat from its onsite geothermal plant.

Geothermal use at the property dates back to the 1970s. A 4,400-foot-deep production well drilled more than a decade ago replaced boilers and now saves the property $2.2 million per year on its natural gas bills, according to Peppermill representatives. Its carbon dioxide emissions also decreased by 12,000 metric tons per year.

“We were on a known aquifer. So we knew the water was down there and we were able to utilize it,” said John Kassai, the resort’s central plant and geothermal engineering manager.

Risk Reduction, Faster Permitting on Table

Market demand for geothermal is increasing with higher state renewable energy requirements, particularly in places awash with solar, said Thomsen, from the Geothermal Resources Council. The Department of Energy is among agencies looking at how to make development cheaper and faster.

Exploring and developing resources deep underground poses unique challenges. Permitting and land access issues can also increase cost and project length.

The geothermal industry doesn’t have the research and development budget to address those issues, Thomsen said. Legislation proposed in Congress seeks to help, as does federally-funded research.

A project out of Nevada aims to reduce the risk of geothermal exploration to make the energy more economical, said James Faulds, director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology at the University of Nevada, Reno, that is leading the Energy Department-funded research.

Most geothermal resources are “blind”—they don’t have hot springs or other signs at the surface, said Faulds, who is also a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The research looks at multiple characteristics of known geothermal systems, including fault locations, to find patterns that can indicate potential new resources. The goal is to make it quicker and cheaper to find and drill undiscovered systems; Industry would be responsible for actually developing the resource. Recent exploratory drilling at two areas the research identified found new geothermal systems. That result is an “enormous success” and shows promise for reducing risk, according to a statement from the Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Brenna Goth in Phoenix at bgoth@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com;
Susan Bruninga at sbruninga@bloombergenvironment.com;
Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergenvironment.com