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Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:54 PM

Confressions of an Earthquake Detective -- this regards the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska

Last edited Sun Feb 10, 2013, 06:06 PM - Edit history (1)


2012 was a busy year for scientists working on issues related to Pebble Mine. I’m one of those scientists. I received my PhD studying tsunamis and learned a bit about earthquakes along the way. Given that PLP hopes to build giant dams that need to stand forever, earthquakes are a fairly important question. Between completing my own geologic fieldwork and critiquing the work of PLP and the EPA, there’s been plenty to keep me busy – so much so that I neglected to post anything on our blog about it all year, despite a number of interesting developments.

Backstory: Is Pebble Mine really safe from earthquakes?

If developed, Pebble Mine would tap the largest gold deposit on the planet, and the copper in that deposit would likely be worth even more than all that gold. Its footprint would sit on the headwaters of some of the world’s greatest salmon rivers. It would leave behind towering tailings dams that would pose catastrophic risk for millennia, long after the boom of the mine has been forgotten.

The mine company’s perspective is simple and hasn’t changed since at least 2006: The threat of earthquakes is low because there are no active faults nearby.

This optimistic view of seismic hazard is based on ignorance. Existing scientific studies tell us almost nothing about faults in the area.


This is not just a local issue. If you like wild Alaskan salmon and care about the arctic environment, this is a very serious matter. Imagine the largest gold/copper mine on the face of the earth at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, one of the last remaining pristine wild salmon spawning grounds on the planet, with millions of tons of toxic waste being held back by an earthen dam taller than Hoover.

For more: http://www.savebristolbay.org/

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Reply Confressions of an Earthquake Detective -- this regards the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska (Original post)
Blue_In_AK Feb 2013 OP
Agony Feb 2013 #1
Blue_In_AK Feb 2013 #2

Response to Blue_In_AK (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 07:47 PM

1. "This is not just a local issue" indeed, our clean water is under attack across the landscape

I first became aware of this while agitating against the attack on our environment by fracking in the Marcellus shale sacrifice zone.

I contacted my federal "representatives" then and thanks for the reminder I will redouble those efforts.



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Response to Agony (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:13 PM

2. Thank you.

There are so many issues requiring our attention that it's hard to keep up. Alaska is in imminent danger on many fronts, but this one tops my list, followed very closely by offshore drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. That didn't work out so well for Shell this year, but I'm sure they'll be back.

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