Monthly Archives: June 2016

Measures of Temperature in the Bowels of the Earth


Te Puia

We don’t need to look far to see evidence that the interior of the earth is hot; geysers and geothermal power stations tap similar sources of heat and erupting volcanoes represent the end point for magmas journeying from the earth’s mantle.  The same heat sources are responsible for many geological processes. Convection in the mantle is the primary driving force for plate tectonics. Piles of sedimentary strata, commonly 1000s of metres thick are transformed to rock as the fluids within heat up, promoting rock-forming chemical reactions.  Internal heat also transforms organic matter; peat becomes coal and organic-rich shales produce hydrocarbons Continue reading


Geological Trappings; Carbon Capture and Storage

sky image

CCS – what is it?

Carbon dioxide is a significant by-product of oil and natural gas production at the well-head, hydrocarbon and coal combustion (especially in power generation) and several manufacturing industries (e.g. cement).  Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) involves technology that captures CO2 produced by these industrial processes and stores it underground.  In doing so, CCS technology attempts to prevent the CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.  From the point of view of potential climate change it seems like a sensible thing to do.  However, CCS does have its detractors who argue primarily that either it doesn’t matter how much CO2 enters the atmosphere, or that the costs far outweigh the benefits.  Indeed, the cost of CCS programs is high.  Regardless, the science of CCS is fascinating. Continue reading


Class 5; Geology For Kayakers. In The Shadow Of The Volcano

Pucon, Chile



Pucon is a tourist destination, nestled between rugged hills and Largo (Lake) Villarrica in central Patagonia, Chile.  One of its attractions is rivers with a bit of everything for kayakers and rafters, from Class V to Class II rapids and waterfalls, through bush and steep gorges.  Idyllic?  Normally yes, except that the most active volcano in Chile is right on your doorstep – in fact at times it’s in your living room.  Continue reading