Thursday, March 15, 2007

Scientists hammer out global geological database

The world's geologists are gathering together all their maps with the plan to create the first comprehensive resource on rocks.

The geological get-together, called the OneGeology Project and led by the British Geological Survey (BGS), calls on scientists from 55 nations to produce a searchable rock database for the entire planet and present it through one web portal. This data will be especially helpful for companies and governments looking to exploit the resources beneath our feet, like mineral and water reserves, as well as energy resources. From the BBC:
Professor John Ludden, executive director of BGS, cited the example of carbon capture and storage, which is being proposed as a possible solution to global warming.

This would see carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main greenhouse gases, captured at power stations and buried deep underground.

"Geological surveys across the world are involved in trying to work out how you put CO2 underground and keep it there, and these sorts of databases are going to be required."

The final product will be presented like a "virtual globe," much the same way Google Earth is presented now. Most of the data will be free to browse.

A scale of 1:1,000,000 is the project's target, but some nations may reject this as too commercially sensitive to release. In that case, scientists are hoping for a 1:5,000,000 scale.

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