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critical issues

Interactive map of groundwater levels and subsidence in the Houston-Galveston area

The U.S. Geological Survey provides an interactive map that allows users to view changes in groundwater levels and associated land subsidence from 1977 to 2016 in the Houston-Galveston area.

The map uses annual data from over 700 wells in 11 counties, and shows changes in water levels in three major aquifers in the region: the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper aquifers.

Critical Issues Monthly Roundup: June 2017

Earth
Welcome to July! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program:
  • There’s still time to register for our upcoming webinar, “Planning for Coastal Storm & Erosion Hazards”, which will take place on Thursday July 6th, 1:30pm EDT/10:30am PDT. This 90-minute webinar will focus on efforts to anticipate, mitigate, and respond to coastal storms, erosion, and associated hazards at the federal, state, and local level. Three case studies from around the U.S. will be featured as examples of how coastal hazard planning can evolve over time, with a focus on how geoscience informs planning at all stages. Click here to register.
  • We will also be hosting a webinar on Wednesday August 2nd at 3:00 pm EDT, entitled “Building the Modern World: Geoscience that Underlies our Economic Prosperity.” This webinar, based on a June 12th Congressional briefing, will focus on the fundamental geoscientific underpinnings of our nation’s infrastructure, from building materials and construction projects to hazard mitigation and coastal planning. You can register for this webinar here.
Click "Read More" to see more news.

Building the Modern World: Geoscience that Underlies our Economic Prosperity

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Geoscience information is integral to the strength and growth of communities and provides the resources for economic growth. All building materials, energy resources, construction projects, and hazard mitigation efforts are fundamentally based on geoscientific data and the geoscience workforce.

Our speakers are:

Key topics to be addressed include:

  • The industrial materials and minerals used to construct buildings/infrastructure
  • The importance of readily available construction materials and the resulting demand for mines and quarries throughout the U.S.
  • How geoscience is used to determine whether or not sites are suitable for infrastructure development
  • How geoscience is used to help guide design and construction to enhance the quality of life, economic strength, and physical security of coastal areas

Webinar Co-sponsors:
American Association of Petroleum Geologists; American Geophysical Union; Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Geological Society of America; National Ground Water Association; National Science Foundation; Soil Science Society of America

    Resources to Learn More

    Search the Critical Issues Research Database for reports and factsheets about geoscience and the economy..

    Building the Modern World: Infrastructure is made of ROCKS

    Critical Issues Webinar: Planning for Coastal Storm and Erosion Hazards

    Coastal hazards webinar flyer. Image Credit: C. Hegermiller, USGS
    Register now for this upcoming Critical Issues Webinar! July 6, 2017 at 1:30pm EDT. 90 minutes.
     
    This special 1.5 hour-long AGI Critical Issues webinar will focus on efforts to anticipate, mitigate, and respond to coastal storms, erosion, and associated hazards at the federal, state, and local level. Speakers from California, Texas, and Georgia will discuss the impacts of coastal storms and erosion, tools used for coastal hazard mitigation planning in their regions, and examples of community engagement and coordination. Learn more at http://bit.ly/coastal-hazards-webinar.
     

    Interactive map of sea level rise impacts in Delaware

    The Delaware Sea Level Rise Inundation map shows how various extents of future sea level rise (0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 meters) would affect flooding in coastal Delaware. For each scenario, users can see the areas that would be flooded during an average higher tide (Mean Higher High Water). The map does not include the effects of erosion, subsidence, or future construction.

    Users can search by location to see the effects on individual areas.

    Click here to access the interactive map.

    How do pyrite and pyrrhotite damage building foundations?

    Pyrite and pyrrhotite are minerals known as iron sulfides. When iron sulfides are exposed to water and oxygen, a series of chemical reactions breaks down the iron sulfides and forms new minerals called sulfates. These sulfates take up more space than the original iron sulfides. As they grow, the new sulfate minerals push against the surrounding rock, causing it to swell and crack. This causes damage in two main ways:

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