Rocks! No, Seriously!


This struck me as funny, but only because my recent internet wanderings.  I don’t recall the where, how come, or why, but for some reason I found myself reading an old Onion article.

Geologists: ‘We May Be Slowly Running Out Of Rocks’

It’s a hoot!  The other day I get this in my inbox …..

From forestry to geoengineering, silicate weathering counts

Watch out for rocks. From harvesting trees to growing crops – or even geoengineering the Earth’s climate – many of our activities have an intimate relationship with the weathering of the Earth’s crust. Now research shows how important it is to obtain good estimates of local rock-weathering rates if we are to avoid upsetting these finely balanced natural cycles.

The article was based on a recent paper about rock weathering.  No, really!  I had written a few derisive comments about the paper and the article.  Sure, there is fun to be made here, but, upon reflection, it didn’t seem fair.  It’s too easy and these people are actually serious about their work.  Plus, they get points for not proclaiming that the end is nigh! 

Further, they do caution people about a practice which is done in the name of environmentalism.  And, it’s instructive about unintended consequences.  For normal critical thinkers, this is a no-brainer, but, for the people infected with GMDS, (green mental degeneration syndrome) this may have to be repeated several times.

So who needs to think about silicate weathering rates? One industry where soil quality has serious implications is forestry. Traditionally foresters have harvested the trunks of trees but left the brash – twigs, needles and leaves – behind. However, in recent years the demand for renewable energy led some foresters to start harvesting the brash too, to fuel the latest biomass power stations.

Now it seems that using every last needle, leaf and twig for bioenergy may not be as good for the environment as it first appears. “Compared to the trunk, the leaves and needles are the most nutrient rich part of the tree,” explained Futter. Removing the brash means that those nutrients do not get recycled back into the soil. In regions where soils are poor and silicate weathering generally slow (as is often the case for forestry locations), the soil quality will decline rapidly.

This practice, of course, is as stupid as pouring food down our fuel tanks.  The natural processes which occur takes from the ground and then puts it back…… sooner or later.  This is one of the reasons why we should use oil and oil products for fuel.  You see, the oil is just sitting there under the ground (usually).  It isn’t doing anything.  Nothing grows because of it, and there’s no process in which we’re aware that it’s involved in.  It just sits there, waiting for a purpose and function. 

Now, for centuries, we’ve known the combustion properties of ethanol.  There’s a reason why we opted not to use it for fuel.  And, this is one of them.  In the long term, it doesn’t matter.  What was dust will return to dust.  In the short term, soil degradation has an immediate adverse effect.  This is something we learned about in Kansas circa 1934.  That we seem to need a paper warning us of this practice is typical, and not very reassuring.  Why are warmists have to cause such inane practices?

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1 Response to Rocks! No, Seriously!

  1. DirkH says:

    When a geologist says “slowly”, you know you don’t have to rush anything.

    In fact, when a geologist says “quickly”, you don’t have to rush anything either.

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