Appalachian coal and petroleum resources are still available in sufficient quantities to contribute significantly to fulfilling the nation’s energy needs, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Appalachian basin, which includes the Appalachian coalfields and the Marcellus Shale, covers parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
“The study we conducted is a modern, in-depth collection of reports, cross sections and maps that describe the geology of the Appalachian basin and its fossil fuel resources,” said USGS scientist Leslie Ruppert, the study’s lead editor.
Petroleum resources, including oil and natural gas, remain significant in the Appalachian basin. Although both conventional oil and gas continue to be produced in the Appalachian basin, most new wells in the region are drilled in shale reservoirs, such as the famous Marcellus and Utica Shale, to produce natural gas.
The Appalachian basin contains significant coalbed methane and high-quality, thick, bituminous coal resources although the resource is deeper and thinner than the coal that has already been mined.
Although this volume is not a quantitative assessment of all notable geologic and fossil fuel localities in the Appalachian basin, the selected study areas and topics presented in the chapters pertain to large segments of the basin and a wide range of stratigraphic intervals. This updated geologic framework is especially important given the significance of shale gas in the basin.
This volume discusses the locations of coal and petroleum accumulations, the stratigraphic and structural framework, and the geochemical characteristics of the coal beds and petroleum in the basin, as well as the results of recent USGS assessments of coal, oil and gas resources in the basin.
Many of the maps and accompanying data supporting the reports in this volume are available from chapter I.1 as downloadable geographic information system (GIS) data files about the characteristics of selected coal beds and oil and gas fields, locations of oil and gas wells, coal production, coal chemistry, total petroleum system (TPS) boundaries and bedrock geology. Log ASCII Standard (LAS) files for geophysical (gamma ray) wireline well logs are included in other chapters.
USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas and coal resources of onshore lands and offshore state waters. This study of the Appalachian basin will underpin energy resource assessments and may be found online. To find out more about USGS energy assessments and other energy research, please visit the USGS Energy Resources Program website, sign up for our Newsletter, and follow us on Twitter.
The U.S. Geological Survey National Geospatial Program is pleased to announce the first round of awards resulting from the USGS Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), initially issued on July 18, 2014. (Solicitation Number: G14PS00574).
The BAA is a publicly accessible process to develop partnerships for the collection of lidar and derived elevation data for 3DEP. The primary goal of 3DEP is to systematically collect nationwide lidar coverage (ifsar in Alaska) over an 8-year period to provide more than $690 million annually in new benefits to government entities, the private sector and citizens.
3DEP presents a unique opportunity for collaboration between all levels of government to leverage the services and expertise of private sector mapping firms that acquire the data, and to create jobs now and in the future. The USGS, along with other federal, state, local and private agencies, is establishing the collection program to respond to the growing needs for high-quality, three-dimensional mapping data of the United States.
“We are very excited about the high level interest in the BAA as demonstrated by the number and dollar value of the proposals we received,” said Kevin Gallagher, USGS Associate Director for Core Science Systems.
Current and accurate 3D elevation data are essential to help communities cope with natural hazards and disasters such as floods and landslides, support infrastructure, ensure agricultural success, strengthen environmental decision-making and bolster national security. Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing detection system that works on the principle of radar, but uses light from a laser. Similarly, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ifsar) is used to collect data over Alaska.
Federal funds to support this opportunity were provided by the USGS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The USGS is acting in a management role to facilitate planning and acquisition for the broader community, through the use of government contracts and partnership agreements.
The Fiscal Year 2015 Awards offered partnership funding to 29 proposals in 25 States and Territories. The FY15 body of work is expected to result in the influx of more than 95,000 square miles of public domain lidar point cloud data and derived elevation products into the 3DEP program.
More information about 3DEP including updates on current and future 3DEP partnership opportunities is available online.Map depicts the proposed body of work for 3DEP in Fiscal Year 2015. The BAA awards will add more than 95,000 square miles of 3DEP quality lidar data to the national database. (high resolution image 98 MB)
Media and the public are invited to attend a free meeting and field trips about South Dakota water issues on April 15 and 16 in Rapid City.
The 13th annual Western South Dakota Hydrology Meeting is an opportunity for local reporters, scientists, students and community members to meet and exchange ideas, discuss issues and explore new science related to critical water resources in South Dakota. A poster session and evening social will follow oral presentations on Wednesday, April 15.
Conference attendees may choose to participate in one of four free, optional field trips on Thursday, April 16. Please register for the conference by April 8 to participate in one of the following field trips:
- Post-flood geomorphic conditions in Keough Draw and Ward Draw
- Barrick Gold Corp and Sanford Lab wastewater treatment plants
- Rapid City stormwater management practices
- Belle Fourche Irrigation District operation and water conservation
Who: The conference keynote speakers are:
- Neik Veraart, Vice President for Louis Berger’s Environmental Planning and Resilience practice
- Robert Hirsch, U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist and former USGS Chief Hydrologist and Associate Director for Water
- Robert Harmon, President and CEO of EnergyRM
Poster session and evening social: Wednesday, April 15, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Optional field trips: Thursday April 16, at various times
Where: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
444 N. Mount Rushmore Rd., Rapid City (MAP)
Details: The conference is free for media, the public and students, with an optional $20 lunch. Professional registration fee is $100. For professionals who wish to obtain credit for professional development, credits are available for technical sessions attended.
Register: All attendees are asked to register before April 8 by visiting the conference website or by contacting Janet Carter at 605-394-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The annual conference typically draws more than 350 attendees. The preliminary 2015 program is available on the conference website.
The conference is organized by the USGS, South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, South Dakota Engineering Society, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and West Dakota Water Development District.
For additional information about USGS water-resources studies in South Dakota, please visit the USGS South Dakota Water Science Center website.
Fish exposed to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) or 17a-ethinylestradiol (EE2) in a laboratory have been found to pass adverse reproductive effects onto their offspring up to three generations later, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Missouri.
Aquatic environments are the ultimate reservoirs for many contaminants, including chemicals that mimic the functions of natural hormones. Fish and other aquatic organisms often have the greatest exposures to such chemicals during critical periods in development or even entire life cycles.
Scientists exposed fish to either BPA or EE2 for one week during embryonic development, while subsequent generations were never exposed. Future generations showed a reduced rate of fertilization and increased embryo mortality. The full study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is available online.
“This study shows that even though endocrine disruptors may not affect the life of the exposed fish, it may negatively affect future generations,” said USGS visiting scientist and University of Missouri Assistant Research Professor, Ramji Bhandari. “This is the first step in understanding how endocrine disruptors affect future generations, and more studies are needed to determine what happens in the natural environment.”
There were no apparent reproductive abnormalities in the first two generations of fish, except for two instances of male to female sex reversal in adults of the EE2 exposed generation. Findings show a 30 percent decrease in the fertilization rate of fish two generations after exposure, and a 20 percent reduction after three generations. If those trends continued, the potential for declines in overall population numbers might be expected in future generations. These adverse outcomes, if shown in natural populations, could have negative impacts on fish inhabiting contaminated aquatic environments.
This study examined concentrations of EE2 and BPA that are not expected to be found in most environmental situations. However, concerns remain about the possibility of passing on adverse reproductive effects to future generations at lower levels. At this time, the ability to evaluate mixtures of estrogenic chemicals working jointly is limited.
The scientists studied BPA and EE2 because they are chemicals of environmental concern and represent different classes of endocrine disrupters. BPA is a chemical used primarily to manufacture polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, but is also an additive in other consumer products. Due to extensive use of these products in daily human life, the accumulation of BPA-containing waste in the environment has been a serious concern and a potential threat to public and wildlife health. EE2 is used in oral contraceptives designed for women, and about 16 – 68 percent of each dose is excreted from the body. As a result, EE2 has been found in aquatic environments downstream of wastewater treatment plants.
For more information on endocrine disruptors visit the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center web page.
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) funds in the amount of $921,790 to the village of Valley View, Ohio, and $224,670 to Medina County, Ohio, for the mitigation of flood prone residential structures. The Medina County funding will be used to acquire and demolish one structure in the floodplain of the Rocky River.Language English
EATONTOWN, N.J. – Gloucester County residents and property owners will be able ask questions and obtain information on their property’s flood hazard risk at an Open House scheduled to take place in Paulsboro on Thursday, March 26 at the Paulsboro Fire House, 1502 Swedesboro Ave. from 4 to 8 p.m.Language English
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – – Nearly 80 percent of radio-tracked marsh rabbits that died in Everglades National Park in a recent study were eaten by Burmese pythons, according to a new publication by University of Florida and U.S. Geological Survey researchers.
A year later, there was no sign of a rabbit population in the study area. The study demonstrates that Burmese pythons are now the dominant predator of marsh rabbits, and likely other mid-sized animals in the park, potentially upsetting the balance of a valuable ecosystem.
The study provides the first empirical evidence that the Burmese python caused reductions in marsh rabbit populations in the park, supporting previous studies that suggested pythons were a significant factor in declines of many other mid-sized mammals since becoming established there a few decades ago.
The estimated tens of thousands of Burmese pythons now populating the greater Everglades present a low risk to people in the park, according to previous research by USGS and NPS.
Scientists know that invasive pythons prey on native Everglades mammals, but they didn’t have experimental evidence that pythons could cause population declines or local extinction of mammals, said Robert McCleery, a UF assistant professor in wildlife ecology and conservation who led the study.
While a 2012 study showed that as pythons were proliferating, mammals were declining, it did not directly link the two phenomena. “This study does just that,” said Bob Reed, a USGS research herpetologist and study co-author.
“Mammals play an important role in the Everglades ecosystem, and so recovery of mammal populations is closely tied with recovering the overall health and functionality of this ecosystem,” McCleery said.
In most Florida wetlands, it’s easy to detect marsh rabbit populations by searching for their scat, but the researchers could not find evidence of rabbits in the parts of Everglades National Park they studied during intensive surveys prior to conducting their experiment.
In 2012, a group of scientists that included researchers from Davidson College, USGS and UF compared data on mammal populations from the 1990s – before pythons became widespread in Everglades National Park ─ to results of population surveys conducted between 2003 and 2011. The 2012 study found that significant mammalian population declines coincided in space and time with the proliferation of invasive pythons in the Everglades.
“Previous studies implicated pythons in mammal declines in the Everglades, but those studies were largely correlative,” said Reed. “This new study moves us from correlation to causation in terms of the impact of invasive pythons on native mammals.”
To conduct the most recent study, researchers found areas outside of the park that supported large and healthy populations of marsh rabbits. They moved 31 marsh rabbits into select areas in the park in two experimental populations. They also put 15 rabbits in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and captured, collared and released another 49 in Fakahatchee Strand State Park, where they knew there would be few, if any, pythons ─ and used those as control sites. All of the rabbits were equipped with radio-collars so that they could be regularly located.
The researchers radio-tracked the rabbits and found that 77 percent of those that died in the Everglades were eaten by Burmese pythons, and that there was no sign of a rabbit population in the areas where they released them in the park one year later. On the other hand, rabbits remained common at the control site after the experiment. Many animals eat marsh rabbits, but outside the park, they’re most often the victims of bobcats and coyotes.
Furthermore, the warmer and wetter the weather, the more rabbits were consumed by pythons in the park. The researchers suggested this may be because higher water levels allow the pythons to easily swim long distances while searching for food and because they feed more frequently when it’s hot.
Scientists chose to study the pythons’ impacts on marsh rabbit populations because the high reproductive rates of rabbits mean that their populations are typically resilient to predators, McCleery said. The conclusion that pythons are capable of eliminating marsh rabbit populations in Everglades National Park led the authors to suggest that the observed declines in other mid-sized mammal species in the park could also be due to predation by pythons.
The study was published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Academy B. McCleery’s co-authors include UF graduate student Adia Sovie, as well as Robert Reed, Kristen Hart and Margaret Hunter, all research wildlife biologists with the USGS.
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CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released $1,050,990 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the village of Glenwood, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of nine residential structures in the Thorn Creek floodplain.
EATONTOWN, NJ – Camden County residents and property owners will be able ask questions and obtain information on their property’s flood hazard risk at an Open House scheduled to take place in Pennsauken Township on Wednesday, March 25 at the Camden County Boathouse , 7050 North Park Drive from 4 to 8 p.m.Language English
DENTON, Texas – The state of Texas has received more than $1.1 million for repairs to roads and other facilities in the aftermath of the 2013 Halloween flooding.
Overflow from Onion Creek damaged Falwell Lane in Austin, washing away parts of the asphalt road, shoulders and slope embankments and other infrastructure at seven different locations.
DENTON, Texas – The state of Louisiana recently received more than $5.5 million for repairs and reimbursements following Hurricane Isaac in 2012 and the flooding of 2013.
Hurricane Isaac caused widespread damage across South Louisiana. The funding made possible by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance program covers repairs to a number of facilities, as well as reimbursement for emergency operations in multiple parishes including:
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released $2,781,435 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to DuPage County, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of 13 residential structures in the Winfield Creek, Salt Creek and East Branch DuPage River floodplains.