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Africa Current Events

An Onshore Fuel Shortage in Nigeria?
April 17, 2014 | National Geographic

The Niger Delta is one of the best-producing oil patches on our planet but the people of Nigeria are often scrounging for gasoline.

Qatar LNG Profits in Jeopardy?
April 8, 2014 | Bloomberg

Although Qatar is currently the largest exporter of liquified natural gas in the world, its natural gas profits could be slashed as Australia, the United States, east African nations, Indonesia and several other countries enter or step into the LNG export business.

If Qatar’s profits are threatened, what is going to happen to United States companies who plan to export natural gas and have a transportation disadvantage?

Related: What is LNG?

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Why Zebras Have Stripes
April 3, 2014 | UC Davis News

“Why zebras have black and white stripes is a question that has intrigued scientists and spectators for centuries. [...] The scientists found that biting flies, including horseflies and tsetse flies, are the evolutionary driver for zebra stripes.” Quoted from the UC Davis press release.

Land Below Sea Level
March 16, 2014 |

Did you know that there are seven distinct depressions on Earth that are over 100 meters below sea level, and twenty-three that are over 10 meters below sea level and ten more that are at least two meters below sea level? We have a google map that points to ten of these depressions and a list of the remaining locations.

South Africa Energy Report
March 9, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

“South Africa has a large energy-intensive coal mining industry. The country has limited proved reserves of oil and natural gas and uses its large coal deposits to meet most of its energy needs. [...] South Africa also has a sophisticated synthetic fuels industry, producing gasoline and diesel fuels from coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids plants.

Angola Oil and Gas Report
February 11, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

“Angola is the second-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, behind Nigeria. Angola has been the second-largest supplier of crude oil to China since 2005, behind Saudi Arabia. The United States, the European Union, and India are also major destinations for Angolan oil. U.S. imports of Angolan crude oil continue to decline because of increased U.S. production of similar quality crude grades. In mid-2013, Angola began exporting liquefied natural gas.”

Image © iStockphoto and Matejh Photography.
The Strangest Volcanic Landscape
February 11, 2014 |

One of the world’s strangest volcanic landscapes is located 269 feet below sea level in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia. It is the Dallol crater, where a phreatic eruption through salt created a maar with a colorful and caustic salt deposits.

Related: What is a Maar?

Congo Oil and Gas Report
February 9, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

“Congo (Brazzaville) is among the top five oil producers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Oil production comes almost entirely from offshore oil fields. Congo exports almost all of its oil production, and the largest recipients are China and the European Union.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration country analysis brief.

Popular for January 2013
February 2, 2014 |

The Polar Vortex

Hot Rock Under the Atlas Mountains

Big Rare Earth Find in North Korea?

Horizontal Well Density in the Utica Shale of Ohio

Big Blue Diamond Found in South Africa

Ice Quake in Wisconsin?

Wow! The Best Snowflake Photos

Why Was It So Cold Last Week?

Conflict Minerals
January 26, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article about “conflict minerals”. These are minerals that are mined or stolen for the purpose of supporting military operations, particularly in eastern Congo.

Big Blue Diamond Found in South Africa
January 23, 2014 | Reuters

A blue diamond about the size of an acorn and weighing 29.6 carats has been discovered in South Africa by Petra Diamonds.

Hot Rock Under the Atlas Mountains
January 14, 2014 | University of Southern California

“The Atlas Mountains defy the standard model for mountain structure in which high topography must have deep roots for support, according to a new study from Earth scientists at USC.” Quoted from the University of Southern California press release.

USGS Image
The Largest Elephant Shrew
December 26, 2013 | National Geographic

Elephant shrew? Yes, there is such an animal and National Geographic has an article about tracking them in the jungles of Tanzania.

Shell Backs Out of Gas to Liquids Plant
December 15, 2013 | Bloomberg

Royal Dutch Shell was planning to spend $20 billion on a natural gas-to-liquids plant on the Gulf coast but cancelled the project. They are not new to this business as they own the largest gas-to-liquids plant in the world in Qatar and another one of the largest in Malaysia. They are also building the world’s largest floating LNG plant for a field off the coast of Australia.

If you watch the news about natural gas you have seen a huge rush to permit LNG plants that will export natural gas out of the United States, other companies getting into the LNG and gas-to-liquids businesses, multiple natural gas developments off the coastlines of every continent but Antarctica, countries all over the world realizing that they have a huge amount of natural gas in shale, enormous amounts of gas being flared instead of captured and all of that is before we count gas in the polar regions and methane hydrates.

Hominid Fossils From the Rising Star Cave?
December 8, 2013 | Caving News

Cavers discovered a what appeared to be a human mandible and other bones while exploring a remove and tight portion of the Rising Star Cave in South Africa. Three weeks later a team of archaeologists had recovered over 1000 fossils with no end in sight.

Major Oil and Gas Discovery Offshore Angola
December 5, 2013 | Reuters

Cobalt International Energy reports a discovery off the coast of Angola that could hold 700 million to 1.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The Demand for Emeralds is Rising
December 3, 2013 | CNN

“The price for high-quality emeralds has increased by a factor of 10 since 2009, and the price of Colombian emeralds is set to increase by at least 25% this year alone.” Quoted from the CNN article.

First Known Zircon from Mars
November 21, 2013 | The Australian

“An analysis of one of the 70-odd Martian meteorites discovered so far, a chunk of rock found several years ago by Bedouins in the Sahara Desert, has revealed the first known fragments of zircon from the red planet.” Quoted from The Australian press release.

Related: Meteorite Articles

The Worlds Largest Emerald Mine
November 14, 2013 | Gemfields Plc on YouTube

This video shows a few activities at Gemfields’s Kagem Emerald Mine in Zambia.

Libya Oil and Gas Report
November 6, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“Libya is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the holder of Africa’s largest proved oil reserves, and an important contributor to the global supply of light, sweet crude oil.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration country report.

Most Viewed News in October
November 1, 2013 |

Egypt Fears a Dam on the Nile in Ethiopia

235 Carat Diamond Found in Siberia

Status of Recent Geoscience Graduates

Nice Yellow Diamond Found in Arkansas

What Caused the Sudden Explosion of Animal Life 520MYA?

Walking Away from One of the World’s Largest Gold Discoveries?

Shell Walks Away from Oil Shale

Granitizers vs Magmatists

Natural Gas Flaring from Space
October 30, 2013 |

We have posted views of Earth from NASA’s Suomi satellite that show night illumination and natural gas flaring for oil industry sites in the Bakken Formation, Eagle Ford Shale, Alaska North Slope, United States Gulf, Mexican Gulf, Venezuela Orinoco Field, Brazil offshore basins, North Sea, North Africa onshore, west Africa offshore, and Persian Gulf.

First Evidence for a Comet Striking Earth
October 8, 2013 | University of Witwatersrand

“The first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere and exploding, raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path, has been discovered by a team of South African scientists and international collaborators.” Quoted from the University of Witwatersrand press release.

Egypt Fears a Dam on the Nile in Ethiopia
October 1, 2013 | National Geographic

Ethiopia is building a hydroelectric dam on the Nile River. Downstream Egypt is concerned about a loss of water through evaporation, infiltration, irrigation and other diversions that could damage their economy and cause a loss of generating capacity at their Aswan hydroelectric project.

Icelandic Expertise for Ethiopian Geothermal
September 30, 2013 |

Iceland is a country with demonstrated expertise in developing geothermal energy of all types. Now an Icelandic company has agreed to a geothermal project that might bring up to 1,000 megawatts of capacity to Ethiopia.

Pipeline Sabotage in Nigeria
September 25, 2013 | Industry Week

Thieves damaged a crude oil pipeline in Nigera that will force Shell to stop exporting 150,000 barrels per day until a repair is completed. Oil companies operating in Nigeria are plagued with vandalism and theft.

Climate Change and the Spread of Malaria
September 25, 2013 | MIT News

“As public-health officials continue to fight malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers are trying to predict how climate change will impact the disease, which infected an estimated 219 million people in 2010 and is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide among children under age 5.” Quoted from the MIT press release.

Sapphire Mining in Madagascar
September 23, 2013 | Gemological Institute of America

The Gemological Institute of America has an article about mining sapphires from the Ilakaka-Sakaraha deposit – the world’s largest sapphire producer.

Related: Corundum – The Mineral of Sapphire and Ruby

Aquifers in Northern Kenya
September 11, 2013 | UNESCO

“Two aquifers – the Lotikipi Basin Aquifer and the Lodwar Basin Aquifer – were identified using advanced satellite exploration technology. Their existence was then confirmed by drilling conducted recently by UNESCO, but there is need for further studies to adequately quantify the reserves and to assess the quality of the water.” Quoted from the UNESCO press release.

Natural Gas from Mozambique to Asian Customers
September 11, 2013 | Reuters

During the past few years Anadarko has discovered an enormous amount of natural gas off the coast of Mozambique. Now they are planning a large LNG project and marketing the gas to Asian buyers.

Related: What is LNG?

Protests Shut Down Libyan Oil Fields
September 10, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“During July and August 2013, protests at major oil loading ports in the central-eastern region of Libya forced the complete or partial shut-in of oil fields linked to the ports. As a result of protests at ports and at some oil fields, crude oil production fell to 1.0 million bbl/d in July and 600,000 bbl/d in August. [...] At the end of August, an armed group blocked pipelines that connect the El Sharara and El Feel fields to the Zawiya and Mellitah export terminals, respectively, forcing the shutdown of those fields.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration special report.

BP Drills Deepest Nile Delta Well
September 10, 2013 |

“BP Egypt announced a significant gas discovery in the East Nile Delta. The deepwater exploration well, named Salamat, is the deepest well ever drilled in the Nile Delta. [...] The well was drilled using the sixth generation semi-submersible rig “Maersk Discoverer” in water depth of 649 metres and reaching a total depth of around 7,000 metres.” Quoted from the BP press release.

Related: Satellite View of Oil Fields at Night

Sudan and South Sudan Oil and Gas Report
September 5, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011. Most of the oil is now produced in South Sudan, but the country is landlocked and remains dependent on Sudan because it must use Sudan’s export pipelines and processing facilities. In early 2012, South Sudan voluntarily shut in all of its oil production because of a dispute with Sudan over oil transit fees.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration country analysis brief.

Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas
August 29, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“Offshore natural gas discoveries in the Levant Basin have the potential to significantly alter energy supply dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean region and could spur natural gas exports in the near future.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration press release.

Tapping the African Rift for Geothermal
August 18, 2013 | Business Daily Africa

Kenya and Tanzania have some of the world’s best locations for developing geothermal energy. They are working to develop investors, expertise and technology sharing.

Related: East Africa’s Great Rift Valley

Egypt Oil and Gas Report
August 1, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“While serving as a major transit point for oil and LNG from the Persian Gulf to Europe, Egypt is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa and the second largest dry natural gas producer on the continent.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration country analysis brief.

Top Diamond Producers
July 18, 2013 |

Botswana, Russia and Canada retained their positions as the top three gem quality diamond producers for 2012 according to production estimates from the United States Geological Survey.

Related: Diamond Mines in Canada

Understanding Past Climate and Ecosystems
July 14, 2013 |

“How do we know what the ancient earth was like before people were around to witness and record conditions? One of the main ways geoscientists unravel past climates and ecosystems is by conducting detailed studies of deposits that contain the preserved remains of ancient plants and animals.” Quoted from the article by Alexandra Guth, Michigan Technological University.

A New Diamond Production Leader?
June 27, 2013 | Botswana Diamond Manufacturers Association

Russia is currently the world’s second largest producer of gem-quality diamonds, after Botswana. Alrosa, Russia’s largest diamond producer, has plans to surpass the production of DeBeers, the world’s leading diamond-producing company, by 2018. Their success may help Russia become the world’s leading diamond producing nation.

“A seven-hour flight from Moscow to the small town of Mirny, followed by another two-hour helicopter ride brought me to one of the most remote regions on earth, where many of the world’s diamonds are mined, Alrosa’s Nyurba mine in the Republic of Yakutia.” Quoted from the Botswana Diamond Manufacturers Association press release.

Shale Oil and Shale Gas in 41 Countries
June 12, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration has published: “Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States“.

Dietary Change for Humans 3.5 MYA
June 9, 2013 | National Science Foundation

“New studies show that human ancestors expanded their menu 3.5 million years ago, adding tropical grasses and sedges to an ape-like diet. The change set the stage for consuming more modern fare: grains, grasses, and meat and dairy from grazing animals.” Quoted from the NSF press release.

Oil Production Problems in Nigeria
June 6, 2013 | Platts

Oil theft and pipeline sabotage is causing huge problems for Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria.

East Africa as a Major Energy Exporter
June 5, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

In the past several years a number of very large oil and natural gas discoveries off the coast of East Africa have positioned several countries to become major exporters of energy.

Reasons for Upright Walking?
May 28, 2013 | University of York

“The researchers say our upright gait may have its origins in the rugged landscape of East and South Africa which was shaped during the Pliocene epoch by volcanoes and shifting tectonic plates.” Quoted from the University of York press release.

Algeria Oil and Natural Gas Report
May 27, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

“Algeria is the largest natural gas producer and second largest oil producer in Africa. [...] Algeria’s national oil and gas company, Sonatrach, dominates the country’s hydrocarbon sector, owning roughly 80 percent of all hydrocarbon production. By law, Sonatrach is given majority ownership of oil and gas projects in Algeria.” Quoted from the Energy Information Administration report.

Namibian Dust Over the Atlantic
May 15, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

Strong winds carry plumes of dust from parts of Namibia where dry soil and a lack of vegetation allow the wind to pick up dust from the gravel-covered plains.

Shell Bets Big on Natural Gas
May 6, 2013 | New York Times

Royal Dutch Shell has made major investments in developing conventional and unconventional natural gas resources in several parts of the world, building LNG terminals to prepare it for distant markets, develop the first floating LNG facility and develop new methods to convert natural gas into liquid fuels.

The Most Immediate Ancestor of Humans
April 16, 2013 | National Geographic

Some researchers believe that Australopithecus sediba should occupy the position of the most immediate ancestor of humans.

Ecosystems of Africa Map
April 14, 2013 | United States Geological Survey

The Association of American Geographers, the United States Geological Survey, NatureServe and The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development are major contributors to a collection of standardized terrestrial ecosystem maps for the African continent.

Alrosa Diamond Prospects in Africa
April 11, 2013 | Russia and India Report

Russian state-controlled diamond producer, Alrosa, hopes to explore for new primary diamond deposits in Angola, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

We are constantly looking for interesting items related to geology and general science. When we find something interesting we share it here. Bookmark this page and visit often. You can also receive our news for free by RSS feed or email. We publish updates three or four days per week.

Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners Insurance usually does not cover damage caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes and other geohazards.
frac sandFrac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing to enhance the flow of oil and gas from tight rock units.
Diamond formationDiamonds from Coal? Diamonds form under a variety of conditions that rarely involve coal as a source of carbon.
fluorescent mineralsFluorescent Minerals glow with spectacular colors when illuminated in the dark with an ultraviolet lamp.
Uses of heliumHelium is a byproduct of the natural gas industry. Its most important use is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
Canada diamond minesCanada Diamond Mines: Canada is the third largest producer of gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Utica shaleUtica Shale: New wells in eastern Ohio prove that the Utica Shale will be a major source of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Green River fossilsSpectacular Fossils of the Green River Formation. Some of the world's best-preserved fossil fish from an intermountain lake.
OpalOpals: Gem quality opal is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash with every color of the spectrum.
NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.

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