Vast Freshwater Reserves Found Beneath the Oceans

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by 96Gatorcise, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. 96Gatorcise
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    96Gatorcise Well-Known Member

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    http://www.zeitnews.org/natural-sciences/earth-science/vast-freshwater-reserves-found-beneath-oceans

    very cool and interesting
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  2. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting story. But it really benefits coastal cities the most, if they happen to be near an aquifer. It probably does little to help agriculture inland, since no one is going to spend the money on oil or run pipelines to get it to places like Nebraska. I wish the story came with a map to see where the aquifers are, but perhaps they are still find out where they are located.
  3. Gatorrick22
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    Gatorrick22 Well-Known Member

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    Yes... this is good news, if it's believable. But drilling for water under the ocean is like going to the moon for gold. Not very cost effective. Reverse osmosis is still cheaper and easier, me thinks.
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  4. gatorev12
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    gatorev12 Well-Known Member

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    It'll mean less water goes to coastal cities (where a majority of the world's population still lives, even to this day) and thus frees up more water for agricultural use.

    This could be a game-changer for humanity--a very important discovery.
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  5. mdgator05
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    mdgator05 Premium Member

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    This is a huge deal. Hopefully, they can find some of this further north in Africa, as it seems like that is where water based conflicts in the future (and even a few today) are going to start.
  6. ufdocco
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    ufdocco Active Member

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    Actually Nebraska sits on top of one of the largest aquifers in North America, and was the last state in the country that used no surface water for metropolitan use.
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  7. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    And that's the problem. The Oglalla Aquifer is scheduled to effectively run dry in about 2020, unless new information has come out recently. That is only six years away, plus a few months. Nebraska will have little choice but to abandon the agriculture to prairie grass. No more Cornhuskers. It took thousands of years to fill the aquifer with snowmelt from the east side of the Rockies, and about 70 years to drain it. We may see a mass migration of Nebraska residents to other states looking for water, not unlike the Okies in the 1930's. It could coincide with a mass migration of residents out of the SW U.S., since rainfall has been very low for a decade or so, and is expected to continue to be low for a few hundred years. The SW U.S. (Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, etc.) was populated during the 1900's, when rainfall for the century in the region was at the highest for any century in the last thousand years. It has returned to "normal" levels of rain, which will not support the population that is living on it. Lake Meade (Hoover Dam) has lost over half its water, for example.
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  8. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, like oil, it is a temporary patch on the problem. At some point, you hit "peak water", and then it starts going away. It could disappear faster if drilling operations accidentally introduce salt water to an aquifer. The article even says that, to refill one of these aquifers, the water levels in the oceans would have to recede dramatically.
  9. MichiGator2002
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    First thing you always know when you hear a scientific interest story like this, though, is that if anyone in the private sector of this country tries to capitalize on it, the environmentalists will be out in force (but not if the Chinese or Brazilians or French or Russians do it. Probably not even if the US set up a state enterprise).
  10. MichaelJoeWilliamson
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    MichaelJoeWilliamson Well-Known Member

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    Where does the water go, when it "starts goings away? "Unless water dissipates out in space, it can always be recaptured after use. Always. There might be a time where we have to do just that. Hell, it is both dangerous and expensive, but water can be man made. All it takes is oxygen and hydrogen and a heat source.

    Most people conflate easily accessible water sources with available water sources. Two thirds of the world's surface is covered by water. Desalination is expensive. But if we had to do that, we could. Just ask the Arab Nations that have used that process for drinking water for decades.
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  11. tegator80
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    tegator80 Well-Known Member

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    Water is about the least dire thing we need to worry about. Now cheap water that is delivered where it is wanted (plain states farming or deserts) well that is something else.
  12. Gatorrick22
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    Gatorrick22 Well-Known Member

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    Yes... so we better start running pipelines of desalinated water to the breadbasket states.
  13. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    Desalination is very expensive. I drive past a desalination plant in Saudi Arabia on the way from the airport to our chemical plant there. It is huge. You need two things for desalination: money and energy, both in large quantities. That's why the Saudis have it. The cost for a large desalination plant is probably on the order of a medium-sized nuclear plant. Metallurgy is a serious issue--you can't handle salt water with carbon steel. And the energy required is also significant--you might have to build a small nuclear power plant just to support the desalination plant. It requires a long-term commitment.

    Not all middle eastern countries have desalination, because many of them cannot afford it (certainly not on the scale that would support cities or large-scale agriculture).
  14. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    Two issues: Obama and the democrats don't like pipelines, and water pipelines are notorious for corrosion problems and build up of inorganics (typically carbonates) and biological problems. Then there is the cost issue.
  15. DieAGator
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    DieAGator Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic, we can run a pipe to the corn belt so they can waste 10 gallons fresh for every gallon corn ethanol produced.
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  16. tegator80
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    tegator80 Well-Known Member

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    10 gals of water produces 1 gal of ethanol? I'm all in for that! White Lightning instead of water!
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  17. DieAGator
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    DieAGator Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, no joke. Lots and lots of valuable fresh water being wasted to produce that crap.
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  18. chemgator
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    chemgator Well-Known Member

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    Maybe we burn a couple hundred pounds of coal to produce the energy to desalinate the water, burn a little more coal to pump it to Nebraska to make corn, and then burn some more coal to distill the corn mash, so we can get a gallon of ethanol. Makes sense.


    AND it creates jobs!
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  19. JerseyGator01
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    Oh oh, the earth is wetter than previously thought. We need to stop "Global Wetting." Here's Al!
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  20. G8trGr8t
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    G8trGr8t Premium Member

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    exactly. ethanol is a big reason that the aquifer is being overpumped. meanwhile we have a glut of oil in the middle of the country

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