An Intro To Shales & Fracking (2016)

Utica Shale, New York State (Photo by Michael C. Rygel, from Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joints_1.jpg)

Utica Shale, New York State (Photo by Michael C. Rygel, from Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joints_1.jpg)

The lecture slides for my York Lifelong Learning class on Shales & Fracking can be downloaded here: 2016_intro_shalesfracking_sml

Most of the references I discussed can be found on the website for the 2015 version of this site, here.

The new British Geological Survey appraisal of the shale gas/shale oil potential of the Wessex Basin (Oct 2016) can be found here.

The new ReFINE study (Dec 2016) on how much methane is escaping through natural fault zones in the UK can be read here.

Last but not least, a new study I have been involved with, trying to understand how climate change in the Jurassic led to the formation of organic-rich shales, can be read here. A less technical article on the study can be found here.

 

An Introduction to Shales and Fracking

KimmBay_cliffs2_SML

Upper Jurassic clay- and carbonate-rich black shales, Kimmeridge, Dorset.

The slides from my York Lifelong Learning presentation on Dec. 12th can be downloaded here as a PowerPoint file: 2015_Intro_ShalesFracking_SML.

Useful links

UK & Europe

ReFINE: Researching Fracking. ReFINE is the leading international fracking research consortium, led jointly by Newcastle University and Durham University. The website includes all the group’s scientific papers, research briefs, and newsletters.

Shale Gas – British Geological Survey website with lots of information about their fracking research activities. The BGS is also building up baseline data on UK groundwater methane.

From national to fracktional: will fracking come to Britain’s national parks? A policy briefing I wrote for the Durham Energy Institute.

Whatever Happened to the Great European Fracking Boom? An article I wrote for The Conversation.

North America

US Environmental Protection Agency report on fracking and its potential impacts on drinking water resources. Scientific papers published by the EPA for this report can be viewed here.

US Energy Information Administration (EIA) – World Shale Resource Assessments.

FracFocus – US fracking chemical disclosure registry.

US Geological Survey oil shale research.

Mud & Shales

Indiana University Shale Research Lab, led by Dr Jurgen Schieber, who conducts a lot of very interesting research into how shales form.

More Gaps Than Shale, a paper by João Trabucho-Alexandre on how mudstones form, and how complete mudstone successions are. With perhaps the best abstract in a geological paper: “Ths wht th fn-grnd mrine sdmtry rcrd rlly lks like.”

The 2015 global census of sea floor sediments, by Adriana Dutkiewicz and colleagues, shows just how fine-grained the oceans are. You can explore the globe in their amazing, interactive 3-D model!

The Scale of the Universe – if you’ve ever wondered just how small a clay particle (or pretty much anything else, for that matter) Scale of the Universe is an amazing website to explore.

Professor Herring’s Natural Hystery

He’s not a real professor, he’s not a real herring, but Professor Herring’s #NaturalHystery is really happening this summer, and will be a really different tour of York!

Professor_Herring

Say hello to Professor Herring!

From volcanoes and cholera to unicorns and Patagonians, the (mostly) scientific tales of the city will be revealed in this unique Festival of Ideas event, kindly supported by the Holbeck Trust innovation fund.

Professor Herring will introduce participants to many strange and interesting characters as we meander around the city centre. Are their tales all true though?

What lies beneath these streets?

Find out on Sunday June 14th…!

 

(P.S. Unlike most guided tours of York, this event is free, and if we see any ghosts all participants will get their money back.)

York: A Rocky History

Whilst you’re waiting with anticipation for the audio recording to go live on YouTube, here is a link to the PowerPoint slides for the Lifelong Learning public lecture I gave on Thursday 19th of February:

York_Rocky_History_SML

Upcoming Events:

Sat. 14th March 2015, 9.30am-4.30 pm – A Geological History of Britain, University of York.

Sun. 14th June 2015, 2pm and 3.30 pm – Professor Herring’s Natural Hystery of York. Festival of Ideas, York Museum Gardens.

Fri. 18th-Sun. 20th Sept. 2015 – Yorkshire Fossil Festival, Rotunda Museum, Scarborough.

A Very Short History of the Earth

Time Spiral (from Wikimedia Commons)

ChronoZoom – an interactive time scale showing the age of life, the universe and everything (if your computer has the right browser!).

Stratigraphy

ICS – The International Commission on Stratigraphy (the latest geological timescale can be found here).

William Smith and biostratigraphy (part of a University of California Berkeley series on the history of evolutionary thought).

John Phillips – the Time Lord of York (my article for York Mix).

Absolute dating

A quick introduction to radiometric dating (University of California Berkeley).

How to calculate the age of meteorites (or anything else for that matter).

Rock Around The Clock (Daily Telegraph article on the 4.4 billion year-old zircon crystal from Australia). The scientific paper can be found here.

Fossils & Extinction

From soup to cells (Berkeley introduction to the origins of life on Earth).

Solving Darwin’s Dilemma – Precambrian rocks really do contain abundant fossils (report of 2009 study by scientists at Oxford University).

First Life – David Attenborough tackles the origins of life, including the Precambrian fossils found near his childhood home in Leicester.

Mass extinctions (NHM guide to the “Big Five”). If you fancy a “Big Five” walking tour of London, you can follow my not entirely serious guide.

Prehistoric fossil collectors (article from the Geological Society).

How will humans go extinct? (article on BBC News, 24 April 2013).

Hidden Horizons website (Scarborough-based company run by Will Watts, offering Geology & Natural History Education and Events. Look out for information on the upcoming Yorkshire Fossil Festival).

 

Bodies of Evidence

Using fossils to examine the origins of animals

I am organizing the Palaeontological Association-sponsored session at the 2013 British Science Festival in Newcastle.

It is called Bodies of Evidence, will run at the Great North Museum on Sunday September 9th, and it is going to be dead great. Literally, as the event will be packed to the rafters with amazing fossils of long-gone creatures.

How do we figure out the origins of animals? What do fossils tell us about the way in which animals evolved different features, such as shells and teeth? And how can we reconstruct what ancient, extinct animals really looked like? Come along to Bodies Of Evidence and we’ll show you!

To whet your appetite, here’s a little taster of the bodies that will be on offer…

Starting with the Cambrian explosion, my palaeontological colleagues from Durham University will take you to Greenland, and the amazing Sirius Passet fossils:

(It's a halkieriid)

What in flippin’ crikey is that?

Professor Mark Purnell and his team from the University of Leicester will offer up some Rotten fish and fossils. If you’re feeling brave, they’ll even let you take a sniff and find out what their experiments smell like!

Progressive stages of decay in the lancelet.

Dr Martin Ruecklin (Leiden University/University of Bristol) will show off his amazing Jaws! Using Synchrotron x-rays he will delve into the origins of our lovely smiles…

Dunkleosteus terelli, an ancient fish much scarier than Jaws.

And as a special bonus, the brilliant model-maker Esben Horn of 10 Tons, Copenhagen, will be bringing along some Heavy Metal and Punk Fossils!

Palaeontology: the new rock and roll!

So come along and inspect our #BodiesOfEvidence on September 8th. You won’t see the fossil world the same way afterwards!