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Mineral Resource of the Month: Bismuth

Bismuth is a brittle, silvery-white metal with a low melting point and a high density approaching that of lead. Alloys of the metal with lead and tin are known to have been used since the Middle Ages. The metal was referred to as wismuth, and at the end of the 16th century, Georgus Agricola, an early mineralogist, Latinized the Germanic name to bisemutum. 

 
13 Jul 2013

Energy Notes: February 2012-2013

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 Jun 2013

Down to Earth With: James White

]James White contends that he has one claim to fame: He grew up just 50 kilometers from Dolly Parton in eastern Tennessee. His father worked as a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, an enclave of science west of Knoxville. Now a chemist himself, White actually has more claims to fame than he is willing to admit. He has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications; he is the director of the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR); and he has been named an Institute for Scientific Information highly cited scientist — an honor bestowed on less than 0.5 percent of all publishing researchers.

17 Jun 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Nickel

People have mined nickel-rich ores for more than 2,300 years. The ores were first used to produce an alloy that ancient Chinese artisans called “pai-t’ung.” This alloy, known today as “white copper,” is typically composed of 70 percent copper, 20 percent nickel and 10 percent zinc. Cupronickel alloys were used in coins as early as 235 B.C. and still are today. However, it was not until 1751 that Axel Fredrik Cronstedt identified nickel as a unique chemical element. 

 
13 Jun 2013

Energy Notes: January 2012-2013

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 May 2013

Down to Earth With: James Balog

Photographer James Balog is known for his groundbreaking environmental photography that examines intersections of humans and nature. His work has appeared in publications ranging from National Geographic and Smithsonian to Audubon and The New Yorker. He has also authored eight books, including the recently released “Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers,” and he has been honored with dozens of awards, including the Heinz Award and PhotoMedia’s Person of the Year.

17 May 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Barite

The mineral barite (barium sulfate), also known as barytes, is most commonly found in hydrothermal veins and as veins in limestone. It is very dense (it has a high specific gravity) and is relatively soft. Those properties make it an excellent weighting agent in drilling muds for petroleum wells. In fact, worldwide, oil and gas drilling account for 85 to 90 percent of barite consumption. In the U.S., about 95 percent of barite is used by petroleum well-drilling markets; the remaining 5 percent in such industrial end uses as barium chemicals (which, for example, a person might drink prior to a medical procedure), filler in paint and plastics, powder coatings, friction products such as brake pads for cars and trucks, and heavy aggregate for radiation shielding. 

 
13 May 2013

Benchmarks: May 12, 2008: Earthquake devastates western China

Just before 2:30 p.m. local time on May 12, 2008, a magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Sichuan province in Western China. One eyewitness recalls seeing a mountain “blowing up” and boulders two-stories tall crashing into gorges. Another recalls thinking there had been a natural gas explosion, while a third described a hill split in half. It was the country’s largest earthquake in more than 50 years, and it left 18,000 people missing and presumed dead, nearly 375,000 injured and more than 69,000 confirmed fatalities. 
 
12 May 2013

Energy Notes: December 2011-2012

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 Apr 2013

Down to Earth With: The Lava Cap Winery

During a long career at the U.S. Geological Survey  (USGS) and the University of California at Berkeley, paleontologist David Jones, who died in 2007, made fundamental contributions to understanding the geologic history of western North America, particularly the evolution of California’s puzzling Coast Ranges.

14 Apr 2013

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