Thursday, December 8, 2011

Water Updates Across the Planet (and beyond!)

There are lots of things going on right now in the world of water, so I'm going to address a few subjects here.

Much of Vermont got some snow last night - only an inch or two here, more in the mountains and points east.  It's already snowed twice, but both times it quickly melted due to warm temperatures associated with the unusually warm fall.  It's supposed to be much colder now, though not unusually cold, which means the snow should stick around a bit longer.  We have some other chances of light snow in the forecast, but nothing major.  Some small icicles have formed, and I already colored a few of them (see here for colored icicle photos from last year).

My friend Nadine's facebook 'stream' included this interesting article from the Pruned blog about the plan to create a huge clean swimmable area on one branch of Berlin's Spree River.  I am both intrigued and a bit dismayed by this - intrigued by the giant reed filtration system and the idea of getting people back in an urban river, but dismayed to see so much concrete (steps instead of a sand beach?  really?) and apparently few riparian trees.  I'm not sure what is in the space now so maybe there is no net increase of concrete but I'm not sure I am a fan of modifying a river this heavily.  It reminds me a bit of the San Antonio Riverwalk which is very pretty and pleasant but a bit sterile as well...

In any event if the choice is between the giant swimming pool and even larger constructed wetland and a polluted river, I'd take the former, of course.

Finally, the still-active Opportunity rover has found a vein of calcite on Mars!  The only known method for calcite vein formation is liquid water moving through rocks, and this is almost certainly proof of liquid water being present and moving through rocks on Mars in the past.  Calcite veins are common on Earth, where liquid water is of course quite abundant.

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