A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Brine Wells May Swallow Towns
Brine wells are used by oil companies to coax more oil out of a particular field. Fresh water is pumped into salt layers; the water dissolves the salt and the resulting brine water is brought back to the surface for use in oil fields.
But what about the open space created underground? Communities in Texas, Kansas, Michigan and Canadian provinces have found out the hard way that open space underground typically leads to settling land and even large cracks in the earth.
This problem has come to a head in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Officials have set up a monitoring system that takes readings from tilt meters and pressure sensors every two seconds and averages them to determine whether there are changes drastic enough to trigger alarms. The alarms are expected to give authorities several hours to evacuate people in advance of a cave-in that could span anywhere from 200 to 500 feet, Griswold said.
I&W Trucking, the oil field service company that owns the site where the cavern is located, contends the state is overreacting because of the previous collapses on state land and criticized the Oil Conservation Division for not doing more tests to establish the size of the brine cavern before forcing it to plug the well.
The potential sink hole wouldn't just swallow parts of the town. Potential crop damage could total $100 million.
No one knows when the cavern might collapse. But the mayor and other city officials are worried about getting the money they need to tackle the problem in time to stop the worst from happening. State officials said parts of the ground above the well are already heaving while other parts are sinking.
"The clock is ticking," said Jim Goodbar, a senior cave and karst specialist with the Bureau of Land Management.
BLDGBLOG points out that there is an interesting sf predecessor for this idea. In his whimsical 1926 story Quadraturin, Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanowsky creates the idea of a remarkable substance that can actually create larger rooms just by smearing it on the walls. This would be considered an invaluable aid to better living by Soviet citizens in the 1920's, who were restricted to eighty-six square foot apartments:
So then: we have discovered - this is a secret now - an agent for biggerizing rooms. Well, won't you try it?"
The stranger's hand popped out of the briefcase and proffered Sutulin a narrow dark tube, not unlike a tube of paint, with a tightly screwed cap and a leaden seal.
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of the Quadraturin essence in 1 cup of water. Wet a piece of cotton wool or simply a clean rag with the solution; apply this to those of the room's internal walls designated for proliferspansion. This mixture leaves no stains, will not damage wallpaper, and even contributes - incidentally - to the extermination of bedbugs.
(Read more about Quadraturin)
Naturally, poor Sutulin spills the entire contents of the tube on the floor of his apartment, which grows larger and larger.
This ready-made story can be found at the always-interesting BLDGBLOG.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/18/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Omniphobic Liquid-like Surfaces And de Camp's Telelubricator (1940)
'So the surface, to the depth of a few molecules, is put in the condition of a supercooled liquid as long as the beam is focused on it.' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.
MXenes - Atomic-Thin Metal Sheets Now Easier To Make
'...a rolled-up sheet of a thin, dark metal strange to them.' - John Edwards, 1934.
Do We Still Need Orbiting Factories?
'... his contract with Space Industries required him to work summers in their orbital factory complex.' - Jerry Pournelle, 1976.
MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
'Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases...' - Abraham Merritt, 1920.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Wearable Energy Harvester
'... he had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action from the motion of breathing.'
Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites
'...a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.'
Anna Indiana AI Singer-Songwriter
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents'
Video Manicuring ala Schismatrix
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time'
'Feel the AGI' OpenAI Leader Now OpenWorship
'And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?'
NASA Tests Prototype Europa Lander
Why have legs if they don't walk around?
Tailsitter Drone Aircraft For SAR
'...it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair.'
Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
'It's an old model,' Rawlins said. 'I'm not sure what to do.'
Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...'
Yamaha Motoroid 2 No Handlebars Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He rode the bike with an intense lack of physical grace...'
San Francisco Autobus
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street...'
Should Your Car Decide If You Can Drive?
'Okay. Maybe the car was right...'
Lucid Dreams On Demand From Prophetic and Card79
'the peeper did not operate by virtue of its machinery alone, but by the reaction of the brain and the body of its user...'
Honda UNI-ONE Hands-Free Wheelchair Follows 100 Year-Old Design
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
EBS-260 Handjet Free Hand Dot Matrix Printer
'McKie held a chalf-memory stick over the dusted surface.'
Sensitive, Soft Robot Skin
'...tinted material that had all the feel and appearance of human flesh and epidermis.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories