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Australia Current Events

What is Peanut Wood?
April 16, 2014 |

This material is a petrified wood from Australia but it has nothing to do with peanuts. Most people are amazed when they learn how it forms.

Snake Eats a Crocodile?
March 11, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has a short article with photos that shows that a python can kill and eat a crocodile. The snake will digest the bones and only excrete the teeth and some of the scales.

The Oldest Mineral Grain
March 2, 2014 | BBC

A zircon crystal found in a sandstone of the Jack Hills region of Western Australia has been determined to be approximately 4.4 billion years old.

Budget Shortfall at Geoscience Australia
February 25, 2014 |

Geoscience Austraila is forced to make significant staff cuts after anticipated revenue declines and budget shortfalls are calculated.

Heat Waves in the Southern Hemisphere
January 9, 2014 | NASA

NASA’s Earth Observatory has published maps showing how Australia and Argentina/Chile have suffered from heat waves during 2013.

Australia and the United States Are Producing Rare Earths Again
December 17, 2013 |

After China restricts their exports of rare earth elements, the United States and Australia are back in production.

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.

Image by Royal Dutch Shell
The Largest Floating Vessel and First Ocean-Based LNG Plant
December 4, 2013 | Financial Post

The Financial Post has an article (and a shocking image) that describe Shell’s Prelude project – the world’s largest floating vessel and the first ocean-based LNG plant. It will be stationed off the coast of western Australia.

Related: What is LNG?

$500 Million to Explore the Bight Basin
October 27, 2013 | The Australian

Chevron plans to spend about $500 million on exploration in the Bight Basin off the cost of South Australia. This is an area about the size of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Shell Prelude Project
October 24, 2013 | The Telegraph

The Telegraph has an article with photos that explains how Royal Dutch Shell is building the Prelude, the world’s first floating liquefied natural gas facility. It will be stationed on the western coast of Australia preparing LNG that will be sold in Asian markets. It will weigh six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier.

Gold Prospecting by Picking Eucalyptus Leaves?
October 23, 2013 | Nature

An article in Nature suggests that Eucalyptus trees might translocate gold from the ground and into their leaves, making them potentially useful in gold prospecting.

High Tech Security for LNG Terminals
August 2, 2013 | Quartz

An article on Quartz describes some of the high tech security measures being installed on a few LNG facilities as a defense against pirates and terrorists. As an example, Shell’s floating LNG facility off the west coast of Australia that will be the largest maritime structure ever built.

The Largest Virus
July 22, 2013 |

An organism found in the waters off the coast of Chile and another found in a pond in Australia are thought to be the largest viruses ever discovered.

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

Australia Energy Report
June 26, 2013 | Energy Information Administration

Australia, rich in hydrocarbons and uranium, was the world’s second largest coal exporter in 2011 and the third largest liquefied natural gas exporter in 2012.

306 Carat Black Opal
June 11, 2013 |

A 306 carat black Australian opal of amazing quality is going to be sold by a Santa Fe jewelry designer. Experts believe that it will bring at least $3 million.

Ancient African Coins and the History of Australia
May 20, 2013 |

Five copper coins about 1000 years old found on a beach by an Australian soldier during WWII may be strong evidence that ships from distant lands reached Australia hundreds of years earlier than what is written in history books.

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.

Tropical Storm Tim
March 19, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

Tropical Storm Tim formed over the Coral Sea on March 13, 2013, and remained off the coast of northeastern Australia for the next four days. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of Tim on March 17. Although lacking a distinct eye, Tim still had the spiral shape characteristic of strong storms.” Quoted from NASA’s Earth Observatory image release.

Onshore Natural Gas in Australia
March 14, 2013 | Businessweek

The Cooper Basin in Australia’s outback has attracted major investments from several energy companies. Gas produced there would be sent by pipeline to an LNG facility on the coast for export.

Cooling the ASKAP Supercomputer with Groundwater
March 4, 2013 | Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Magazine

The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder is a new radio telescope that will produce so much data that a supercomputer capable of one quadrillion floating point operations per second will be needed to support it. The project leaders have decided to cool the supercomputer with a closed-circuit geothermal cooling system that will operate on ground water.

Chevron: Cooper Basin Shale Gas
February 28, 2013 | The Australian

Chevron will acquire rights to 810,000 acres of potential shale gas property along pipelines out of Australia’s Cooper Basin and connecting to natural gas export facilities on Australia’s eastern coast.

Another Chevron Gas Find Off Western Australia
February 14, 2013 |

Chevron has made another major natural gas discovery off the west coast of Australia. This one is outside of the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG areas and could be the start of another LNG project.

Low Cost Wind Electricity
February 8, 2013 | Bloomberg

A new report reveals that generating electricity from wind in Australia costs much less than generating by natural gas or coal. This means that Australia might have even more coal and natural gas for export.

Major Shale Oil Find in Australia?
January 30, 2013 | AFP @

Shales of the Stuart Range and Boorthanna Formations of Australia may contain trillions of dollars worth of oil. Studies need to be done to determine if the oil can be produced economically.

New Zealand: Mount Dixon Landslide
January 24, 2013 | The Landslide Blog

This video shows a large landslide with impressive runout on Mount Dixon in the Mount Cook National Park of New Zealand. For detailed comments, maps and photos visit The Landslide Blog.

$282,000 Gold Nugget Found in Australia
January 21, 2013 | Herald Sun

A guy with a metal detector found a 5.5 kilogram gold nugget near the city of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. The nugget has an estimated value of about $282,000 based upon its gold content but a collector might be willing to pay more because it is such a unique specimen.

LNG Exports: Big Oil vs Manufacturers vs Foreign LNG
January 20, 2013 | FuelFix

Many energy companies would like to export natural gas as LNG from the United States to countries where market prices are much higher. However, United States manufacturers object because they fear that LNG exports will raise domestic prices.

Not mentioned in the FuelFix article are: 1) many new conventional gas discoveries in Africa, Australia, South America and Indonesia that could compete with LNG exports from the United States; 2) the enormous untapped shale gas potential in other parts of the world; and, 3) natural gas throughout the world that is currently being flared. Will LNG export terminals for United States gas make economic sense five years from now?

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.

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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.
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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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