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June 28, 2009



Fully admiting at the outset that I am too drunk to be posting on a geothermal energy post, allow me to post">http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2009-06/icelands-power-down-below">post this on geothermal problems in Iceland.

"Last October, Iceland's economy tanked. Its bailout? A two-mile geothermal well drilled into a volcano that could generate an endless supply of clean energy. Or, as Icelanders will calmly explain, it could all blow up in their faces."


you beat me to it Daddy.


wasn't there a scifi movie where they drilled down deep and monsters came out of the center of the earth? You know those Viking myths came from somewhere....I'm just sayin....

Strawman Cometh

"inconsequential carbon emissions"
All carbon emissions are inconsequential, although some are pretty fruity, but that's from associated sulfur compounds, not the CO2. CO is another story. Except that one time in Africa where a volcano belched a CO2 cloud that settled over a village and killed everyone in their sleep. Not from toxicity but by displacing the O2

Strawman Cometh

I used to be hot for methane hydrate extraction, but the potential for undersea landslides and resulting tsunamis dampened my enthusiasm. The DOE and the Japanese are still researching it.


daddy, is this geothermal stuff as good for you as it is for me?

Give me NUCLEAR!! Now!!


wasn't there a scifi movie where they drilled down deep and monsters came out of the center of the earth?

Like Gore said, We just don't know!


Another kinds hot rocks(per Lucianne)

Iranian police clash with up to 3,000 protesters
Young people scream at and attack police after they beat an elderly woman

Strawman Cometh

"you beat me to it Daddy"
Getting drunk?

Captain Hate

Iceland is incredibly clean in terms of energy production but tapping into an active volcano is like trying to ride four bucking broncos simultaneously. They're not lacking in hubris to think they can pull this off but I hope that not too many people get killed in this endeavor. It sounds to me like they'd just produce their own mini-volcano at the site.

Strawman Cometh

Yes, it's nuclear for me, too. A mix of pebble bed, breeder (to eat the waste of the others) and thorium. And I see now that someone appears to be getting serious (I hope), any one know anything about these guys ?
Scrap the stimulus carp and build nukes.

Frau Sofort-Atomkraft

From 1356 to 2006 is a long time for the Basler population to wait to feel the earth move. Thank goodness for the generosity of American Maggie Tapert who took her Orgasmobil ("mit einem Riesenvibrator") to the deserving Baslerinnen on June 12 of this year. As Dave Barry says, I am not making this up.


wasn't there a scifi movie where they drilled down deep and monsters came out of the center of the earth?



Worse. Ayatollah Khatami is demanding the protesters be executed.



BB Key

New "Duke Rape case" the national media is not interested in because it is loaded with PC minefields.

See Raleigh N&O for plain vanilla version and see AT for the facts that the media are hiding,

My quetion for Obama, Is this guy coming to your GBLT pary tommorrow at the WH?

Rick Ballard

For those who are a little unsure as to the precise location of The Geysers, Here is a map. Just follow that reddish brown line up from Berkeley, through Petaluma to Cloverdale. That cluster of little squares to the right of Cloverdale is The Geysers. A quick glance at the table at the bottom of the map shows that it's a very active place.

NJ Jan

The terrible events in Iran and the purported closing of Guantanamo seem to be having a rather disillusioning effect on some of the younger Obama supporters. My younger daughter's friends (mid to late twenties) are Obama supporters and until now thought he could do no wrong. They are concerned about the release of Gitmo prisoners and horrified about Iran, resulting in them starting to question the wisdom of having voted for Obama. They are not quite there yet, but are getting closer. They are actually listening to critiques of Obama's policies. There may be hope for the younger generation yet.


I've also been encouraged by young people's reaction to Iran as seen on Twitter. Yes, it's Twitter, yes, they're way too triumphal about the "power of the medium," but the solidarity with the Iran protesters does cross both generational and traditional party lines in a way we haven't seen recently. My fear is that most of these kids will be convinced by the media that Obama is handling everything just right.

NJ Jan

Apparently on Stepanapoulis this morning, Axelrod blithely stated that it is still full speed ahead on negotiations with Iran. Hopefully, this tone deafness (is that a word?) on the part of the Obama admin will resonate with people who are starting to question Obama.



New Jack Cashill piece on Ayers and "Dreams from my Father" @ American Thinker. With the help of two new contributors, he appears to have tied up the circumstantial evidence with a bow:

Breakthrough on the Authorship of Obama's 'Dreams'


Wow Porchlight - what a great job Cashill has done on something he could really get destroyed for.


Yes Jane, he's like the new Stanley Kurtz in a way. He makes it pretty clear he's looking to write a book-length exposition. That should be interesting.

JM Hanes

I'll add my Wow! to Jane's. The fact that Cashill is the author of multiple books, not a lonely blogger, could make a big difference. I should think there's a publisher out there whose ears would prick up at, "Who Wrote Dreams of My Father?" -- especially now that some of the gloss may be starting to wear off the One. He'll be ruthlessly tarred as a truther, of course, so I'm wondering if there are other certifiable scandals of this sort in which this one might be couched.

Cashill could set up that context with simple subtitle conveying his work as a literary excercise in language, which it, in fact, it is, vs. an all out partisan polemic. The subtext of that, of course, would be a sort of "Who me? Going after Obama?"

I took a seminar in "literary linguistics" back in college, which included examining word frequencies, parts of speech etc. at the micro level and tying them to style generated content as a whole - so the kind of work Cashill has been doing has a credible, if not widely known, academic history which could be useful.



You beat me to the map. The Swiss project was shut down after _one_ 3.4. Should we close down the w(h)ine country? After all, they had a 3.0 last week.

Speaking solely from memory, that looks like a relatively slow week for quakes in the Bay Area.

Rick Ballard


If this "hold my beer, I wunna try somethin" business plan goes through and an insurance company dumb enough to write a liability policy can be found, just think of the number of geophysicists who will have an opportunity to educate defense attorneys when the Hayward fault cuts loose.



The geotech guys & gals I know will not give you the price of a cup of Peet's, let alone a beer, as odds that the Hayward will not cut loose if they _stop_right_now_.

I agree with you, people will blame them. But the Hayward has better than even odds of an 8-point or better in the next twenty years if nothing is done. Greasing the skids by releasing additional tension is a good thing.

100 3.0 quakes are far less damaging than one 5.0, even though one 5.0 is a hundred times as strong as a 3.0.

100 6.0's will teach people to fasten bookshelves to walls and add restraints to shelves holding bottles. One 8.0 will drop buildings and bridges.

On the liability side, I suspect mining activities are at least somewhat protected under CA law*. I could dig out statutes and caselaw**, but I can guarantee that someone with a higher billing rate has looked at this. Besides, this is why God invented limited liability corporations.***

On a personal note, I was married up that way. While scouting sites and activities for the fly-in crowd, we came across the local copyright-violating Old Faithful. When you visit, be forewarned that "fainting goats" who live in an active earthquake zone are really quite jaded. While I believe that they might fall over if you hit them over the head with a fence post, it is a matter of faith that they would do so because they were frightened.***

*Not legal advice until I get paid.


And upgrade my malpractice limits.

**Little-known fact: Lexis is free**** for California law.

***I will, however, stand by my theological advice.

****'Personal' use only.


100 6.0's will teach people to fasten bookshelves to walls and add restraints to shelves holding bottles. One 8.0 will drop buildings and bridges.

That's absolutely right, though I would lower the threshold a bit. Quakes in the middle 5s will do the same. Below 5 they just are not interesting.

An 8 would be devastating.

BTW, I don't know how the Hayward fault got pulled into a discussion of the Geysers project. The closest major fault there is the Rogers Creek.


Scrap the stimulus carp and build nukes.

Can you imagine the effects if we'd spent 800 billion building nukes?

Rick Ballard

Dr J,

I believe there may have been a shift of opinion concerning the relationship of the Rogers Creek and Hayward faults. It's interesting to see the Calaveras fault mentioned as potentially linked as well.

Rick Ballard


I just realized that I didn't answer your question. I used to live about a mile from the Hayward fault. The only times I noticed tremors strong enough to be reported, the center would be up around Healdsburg. I actually started looking at the site which I linked above after one of those little shakers. Rogers Creek/Hayward have always been associated to me. I never noticed Calaveras shakers at all. It was probably the orientation of the highrise which magnified shakes from one direction rather than another.



I too have lived close to those faults. In grad school I was essentially on top of the Hayward fault (it ran about a 100 yards from the lab). In Santa Rosa initially I was about 100 yards from the Rogers Creek.

The Hayward quakes that I felt were more from the Santa Cruz area, IIRC (and I might not). There were very few from the North Bay that I recall, but we may have been there are different times.



It appears that my geotech buds have been trying to scare me. Per the USGS (.pdf), there is only a 99% chance of a 6.7 in all of CA over the next thirty years.

For the Bay Area as a whole, it is 63% within the next thirty years and 62% by 2022. Seems that there is either an arbitrage opportunity here or the scientists like the "thirty years from now" approach. After all, if no one remembers earlier forecasts, it will take more than a generation to prove them wrong.

For the Hayward alone, they only give a one in three chance. But unless I am really missing the boat, the drillers' theory that many smaller quakes are better than and lessen the likelihood of one large one has not been disproven.


Just FYI,

We had a 7.9 Earthquake in Alaska in November 2002. The interesting thing about that was that it led some scientists to conclude that our Denali faultline was probably ultimately a continuation of the San Andreas. Link

From the story:

The quake provided information hinting that two remote, poorly studied Alaskan fault systems may align with the San Andreas fault. The Nov. 3 event moved not only the Denali fault but also an ice-hidden portion of the nearby Totschunda fault. Geologists say that the recent temblor might have originated as a thrusting movement along the western Denali, then moved eastward as a slipping motion before turning southeasterly into the Totschunda.

The newly confirmed Denali-Totschunda connection has excited geologists because the visible parts of the Totschunda are in line with the larger Fairweather-Queen Charlotte fault system. This system is the northern continuation of the San Andreas fault.

Sean P

There is also talk of building a thermal energy plant in the Salton Sea area. Nobody's pretending that there are no fault lines around that area, but on the other hand very, very few people live there. Around 5,000 people live near the 35 mile by 15 mile shoreline, and the sea is in pretty bad shape ecologically (pollution, algae blooms, dead fish, declining water levels due to increased water reclaimation by the farms around the sea), so even the diehards might be forced to move out for unrelated reasons in the next few years.


--The only times I noticed tremors strong enough to be reported, the center would be up around Healdsburg.--

Geology is odd. We live in the foothills east of Sacramento and I cannot recall ever even feeling a bay area quake. However even a minor one on the eastern Sierra fault such as around Mammoth Mountain feels like we're sitting on top of the epicenter even though Mammoth is farther away.

--Fully admiting at the outset that I am too drunk to be posting--
--you beat me to it Daddy--

Did this exchange remind anybody else of the old song "Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar"?
Different kind of bar, presumably.

Rooftop Turbines

Why not Put in Roof Turbines with Solar I read about a building where they are putting in those rooftop wind turbines from WindEnergy7. The systems pair a small wind turbine with a pair of solar panels and you mount them on the roof. They harness dozens or up to hundreds of them into a single power system. I was reading about an architectural firm that was designing several such systems for WindEnergy7. Here's a link. Roof Turbine Systems The same systems are sold in homeowner kits as well, you can power your house with it too. These are a neat invention these guys have.
Fred K

Ralph L

If they drill too deep, will they create a volcano? That's a big boo boo.


The systems pair a small wind turbine with a pair of solar panels and you mount them on the roof.

So, you get the problems of solar and wind, all in one easy location, together!!!!!

At least on the roof of a building, you'd have a place to work from. I wonder how much loading and bunch of windmills would put on a tall structure?

debt settlement

wont a volcano be made if dug too deep and in the right spot


If you read the article about Iceland, they already have a volcano -- they are drilling it into the caldera.


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