“On the Cover of the Rolling Stone” #ExxonKnew: Earth Is Radioactive

Guest “implied face palm” by David Middleton

Hat tip to MMontgomery via Charles the Moderator.

From the “No Schist Sherlock Files”…

Rolling Stone

This Rolling Stone article reads like the Josh “Gasland” Fox version of the #ExxonKnew fraud with funding from the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s very long, long-winded, loaded with anecdotal information and lots of teeth gnashing & wailing from environmentalists.

America’s Radioactive Secret
Oil-and-gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year. An investigation shows how it could be making workers sick and contaminating communities across America


Justin Nobel is writing a book about oil-and-gas radioactivity for Simon & Schuster. This story was supported by the journalism nonprofit Economic Hardship Reporting Project

In 2014, a muscular, middle-aged Ohio man named Peter took a job trucking waste for the oil-and-gas industry. The hours were long…


At most wells, far more brine is produced than oil or gas, as much as 10 times more.


The Earth’s crust is in fact peppered with radioactive elements that concentrate deep underground in oil-and-gas-bearing layers. This radioactivity is often pulled to the surface when oil and gas is extracted — carried largely in the brine.


Through a grassroots network of Ohio activists, Peter was able to transfer 11 samples of brine to the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University, which had them tested in a lab at the University of Pittsburgh. The results were striking.


Peter’s samples are just a drop in the bucket. Oil fields across the country — from the Bakken in North Dakota to the Permian in Texas — have been found to produce brine that is highly radioactive. 


With fracking — which involves sending pressurized fluid deep underground to break up layers of shale — there is dirt and shattered rock, called drill cuttings, that can also be radioactive. But brine can be radioactive whether it comes from a fracked or conventional well; the levels vary depending on the geological formation, not drilling method. Colorado and Wyoming seem to have lower radioactive signatures, while the Marcellus shale, underlying Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York, has tested the highest. Radium in its brine can average around 9,300 picocuries per liter, but has been recorded as high as 28,500. “If I had a beaker of that on my desk and accidentally dropped it on the floor, they would shut the place down,” says Yuri Gorby, a microbiologist who spent 15 years studying radioactivity with the Department of Energy. “And if I dumped it down the sink, I could go to jail.”


The advent of the fracking boom in the early 2000s expanded the danger…


In an investigation involving hundreds of interviews with scientists, environmentalists, regulators, and workers, Rolling Stone found a sweeping arc of contamination…


The extent of any health impacts are unknown, mostly because there hasn’t been enough testing. 


Radioactivity was first discovered in crude oil, from a well in Ontario, as early as 1904, and radioactivity in brine was reported as early as the 1930s. By the 1960s, U.S. government geologists had found uranium in oil-bearing layers in Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas. In the early 1970s, Exxon learned radioactivity was building up in pumps and compressors at most of its gas plants. “Almost all materials of interest and use to the petroleum industry contain measurable quantities of radionuclides,” states a never-publicly released 1982 report by the American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s principal trade group, passed to Rolling Stone by a former state regulator.


“They’ve known about this since the development of the gamma-ray log back in the 1930s,” says Stuart Smith, referencing a method of measuring gamma radiation. 


Rolling Stone
  1. The fact that Earth is radioactive has never been a secret.
  2. The radioactivity wasn’t discovered in crude oil. Rocks are radioactive. Shale is more radioactive than sandstone. The gamma ray log was developed to detect the difference between sandstone and shale.
  3. The safe disposals of wastewater, drilling mud, drill cuttings and other waste products are regulated by state and/or federal regulatory agencies. This is not something new, secret or mysterious.
  4. Operators who flout the regulations are punished.

Earth is radioactive

Nuclear Fission Confirmed as Source of More than Half of Earth’s Heat
By David Biello on July 18, 2011

Nuclear fission powers the movement of Earth’s continents and crust, a consortium of physicists and other scientists is now reporting, confirming long-standing thinking on this topic. Using neutrino detectors in Japan and Italy—the Kamioka Liquid-Scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) and the Borexino Detector—the scientists arrived at their conclusion by measuring the flow of the antithesis of these neutral particles as they emanate from our planet. Their results are detailed July 17 in Nature Geoscience. (Scientific American is part of the Nature Publishing Group.)


How much heat? Roughly 20 terawatts of heat—or nearly twice as much energy as used by all of humanity at present—judging by the number of such antineutrino particles emanating from the planet, dubbed geoneutrinos by the scientists. Combined with the 4 terawatts from decaying potassium, it’s enough energy to move mountains, or at least cause the collisions that create them.


The new measurements suggest radioactive decay provides more than half of Earth’s total heat, estimated at roughly 44 terawatts based on temperatures found at the bottom of deep boreholes into the planet’s crust. The rest is leftover from Earth’s formation or other causes yet unknown, according to the scientists involved. Some of that heat may have been trapped in Earth’s molten iron core since the planet’s formation, while the nuclear decay happens primarily in the crust and mantle. But with fission still pumping out so much heat, Earth is unlikely to cool—and thereby halt the collisions of continents—for hundreds of millions of years thanks to the long half-lives of some of these elements. And that means there’s a lot of geothermal energy—or natural nuclear energy—to be harvested.

Scientific American

Rocks are radioactive, particularly shale

National Nuclear Security Administration

Natural radioactivity is one of the methods we employ in determining the lithology of rocks in the subsurface.

Gamma ray logs

The radioactivity of rocks has been used for many years to help derive lithologies. Natural occurring radioactive materials (NORM) include the elements uranium, thorium, potassium, radium, and radon, along with the minerals that contain them. There is usually no fundamental connection between different rock types and measured gamma ray intensity, but there exists a strong general correlation between the radioactive isotope content and mineralogy. Logging tools have been developed to read the gamma rays emitted by these elements and interpret lithology from the information collected.

Conceptually, the simplest tools are the passive gamma ray devices. There is no source to deal with and generally only one detector. They range from simple gross gamma ray counters used for shale and bed-boundary delineation to spectral devices used in clay typing and geochemical logging. Despite their apparent simplicity, borehole and environmental effects, such as naturally radioactive potassium in drilling mud, can easily confound them.

Relating radioactivity to rock types

In Fig. 1, the distributions of radiation levels observed by Russell[1] are plotted for numerous rock types. Evaporites (NaCl salt, anhydrites) and coals typically have low levels. In other rocks, the general trend toward higher radioactivity with increased shale content is apparent. At the high radioactivity extreme are organic-rich shales and potash (KCl). These plotted values can include beta as well as gamma radioactivity (collected with a Geiger counter). Modern techniques concentrate on gamma ray detection.



This is not a new concept, nor any sort of secret science. This graph from the PetroWiki also appears in the classic textbook, The Geology of Petroleum (originally published 1954) by A.I. Levorsen…

Figure 1. “Distribution of relative radioactivity level for various rock types (from Bigelow[2] after Russell[1]).” The x-axis is 10-12 gm of radium-equivalent per gm of rock.

Units of Radioactivity

The number of decays per second, or activity, from a sample of radioactive nuclei is measured in becquerel (Bq), after Henri Becquerel. One decay per second equals one becquerel.

An older unit is the curie, named after Pierre and Marie Curie. One curie is approximately the activity of 1 gram of radium and equals (exactly) 3.7 x 1010 becquerel. The activity depends only on the number of decays per second, not on the type of decay, the energy of the decay products, or the biological effects of the radiation (see Chapter 15).

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 1 curie ~ 1 gm of radium.
  • 1 picocurie (piC) = one one trillionth of a curie or 10-12 curies.
  • Natural background radiation is about 1 piC.
  • 1 banana equivalent dose (BED) ~ 3,520 piC/kg of banana (3.5 piC/gm).
  • Most rocks and soil contain 0.5 to 5 piC/gm of rock/soil.

Shale is far more radioactive than most other sedimentary rocks because it has a very high clay mineral content.

History of gamma ray tools

The gamma ray tool was the first nuclear log to come into service, around 1930 (see Fig. 3). Gamma ray logs are used primarily to distinguish clean, potentially productive intervals from probable unproductive shale intervals. The measurement is used to locate shale beds and quantify shale volume. Clay minerals are formed from the decomposition of igneous rock. Because clay minerals have large cation exchange capacities, they permanently retain a portion of the radioactive minerals present in trace amounts in their parent igneous micas and feldspars. Thus, shales are usually more radioactive than sedimentary rocks. The movement of water through formations can complicate this simple model.

Figure 2. “A timeline of nuclear logging highlights the introduction and evolution of commercial nuclear-logging measurements.” PetroWiki

Gamma ray logging tool

Before getting into how to use the log readings, let us consider the workings of the tool. Unlike all other nuclear tools (and, in fact, all other logging measurements), it is completely passive. It emits no radiation. Instead, it simply detects incoming gamma rays from the formation and (unfortunately) the borehole. Gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation, generally in the energy range 0.1 to 100 MeV. As light, this would correspond to very short wavelengths indeed. The difference between gamma rays and X-rays is largely semantic because they overlap in energy.



The primary functions of gamma ray tools are to differentiate sand from shale and estimate the volume of shale relative to clean sand.

Figure 3. Example of a gamma ray log. PetroWiki

The most basic logging assembly measures gamma ray and electric resistivity (GR/Res). GR distinguishes sand from shale and resistivity distinguishes brine from oil & gas. The most common log suite includes a Neutron-Density log (a “triple combo”.) The Neutron-Density tool distinguishes oil from gas and measures rock porosity.

Figure 4. GR/Res, SP (spontaneous potential) and Neutron-Density. (Schlumberger)

So… “America’s Radioactive Secret” is not a “secret”… Nor is it unique to America.


  • NORM: Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials
  • TENORM: Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials

In what may come as a surprise to Rolling Stone, the industry has been well-aware of NORM and TENORM for decades and, with few exceptions, has been managing it responsibly.

NORM in Shale Gas and Oil Operations
Jane Whaley and Anna Kaniewska

As unconventional gas and oil operations expand in Europe, understanding the nature of naturally occurring radioactive material is necessary for managing environmental effects, as Anna Kaniewska at Golder Associates explains. This article appeared in Vol. 12, No. 3 – 2015

What is NORM?

Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) describes radioactive elements that are found in low concentrations in the earth’s crust. Shale rocks typically contain many different kinds of radioactive isotopes, such as uranium, lead, or potassium. NORM also exists in air, water, soil and rock. Even food like bananas, Brazil nuts and carrots can contain them.

In certain types of geology, such as organic-rich shales, higher levels of NORM occur, with elements like uranium often bonding to organic material and elements like potassium and thorium bonding to clays. From our work in Europe, we know that NORM-rich geology is typical in many European shale plays.


Why is NORM relevant for shale operations?
Generally, NORM found in shale operations is below the common safety limits of radioactive exposure. The waste produced in shale gas operations will usually contain low levels of NORM and operators can protect nature and people against unwanted exposure by following regulatory guidelines and best practices established by international organisations such as the IEA and OGP.

Flowback water from hydraulic fracturing can contain significantly high levels of NORM, so shale gas developers have to ensure that NORM is managed appropriately, especially within their water management plan. Our experience shows that water management in a shale gas project can best be understood as a lifecycle or supply chain, with different kinds of risks at different stages; the weakest link represents the greatest risk. A comprehensive water management plan including thorough wastewater monitoring will be able to account for these risks, and will help operators identify feasible and cost-effective solutions.

What preventive measures can operators take?
NORM is not unique to shale gas extraction – its management has been used in mining operations for decades.


How should operators manage NORM risks?
Once an operation is underway, the risks from NORM should already be very small due to strong preventive measures put in place at earlier stages.


How should shale operators handle waste and wastewater with NORM?
In shale gas operations, flowback water can be recycled for ongoing use in hydraulic fracturing operations, but it will eventually have to be disposed of following treatment. Additionally, leftover waste from the water treatment procedures and condensate from oil and gas separators must also be transported away on a regular basis. An adequate water management plan, including transport and disposal of wastewater, is one of the essential environmental protection measures that operators should take. Even without high levels of NORM presence, it is crucial to get this right.

What other advice can you give shale developers?
If operators follow best practice, the environmental risks involved are manageable. While NORM is an issue, it is one that the industry is very familiar with. By properly managing flowback water, condensates and other wastes, companies can mitigate the risks to their staff and the environment.


The EPA is also aware of NORM and TENORM

Radiation Protection

TENORM: Oil and Gas Production Wastes

In recent years, oil and gas producers have employed new methods that combine horizontal drilling with enhanced stimulation. These new methods, known as “frackingfrackingHydraulic fracturing, also referred to as “fracking,” is the process of drilling into host formations (shales and tight sandstones) and injecting fluids and sand under pressures great enough to fracture the rock formations to allow the extraction of oil and gas.,” have changed the profile of oil and gas wastes – both in terms of radioactivityradioactivityThe emission of ionizing radiation released by a source in a given time period. The units used to measure radioactivity are becquerel (Bq) and curie (Ci). and volumes produced. The geologic formations that contain oil and gas deposits also contain naturally-occurring radionuclides, which are referred to as Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM):

*Uranium and its decay products.

*Thorium and decay products.

*Radium and decay products.



Much of the petroleum and natural gas developed in the U.S. was created in the earth’s crust at the site of ancient seas by the decay of sea life. As a result, these shale, petroleum and gas deposits often occur in aquifers containing brine (salt water). Radionuclides, along with other minerals that are dissolved in the brine, separate and settle out, forming various wastes at the surface:

*Mineral scales inside pipes.


*Contaminated equipment or components.

*Produced waters.

Because the extraction process concentrates the naturally occurring radionuclides and exposes them to the surface environment and human contact, these wastes are classified as Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM).

View TENORM resources and publications.


Disposal and Reuse: Past & Current Practices

Exposure Risks


How much radioactivity is in the wastes?

Radium levels in the soil and rocks vary greatly, as do their concentrations in scales and sludges. Radiation levels may vary from background soil levels more than 4 becquerels per gram (Bq/g), or several hundred picocuries per gram (pCi/g). The variation depends on several factors:

*Concentration and identity of the radionuclides.

*Chemistry of the geologic formation.

*Characteristics of the production process.

*Waste Types and Amounts

For conventional drilling, one industry study published in 2000 (with data from the 1990s)showed that the petroleum industry generated around 150,000 cubic meters (260,000 metric tons) of waste per year, including produced water, scales, sludges and contaminated equipment. The amount produced at any one oil play varies and depends on several factors:

*Geological location.

*Formation conditions.

*Type of production operation.

*Age of the production well.

The volume of wastes from unconventional drilling can be much higher, since the length of the wells through the host formation can be over a mile long.

A 19882 publication estimates that 30 percent of domestic oil and gas wells produced some TENORM. In surveys of production wells in 13 states, the percent reporting high concentrations of radionuclides in the wells ranged from 90 percent in Mississippi to none or only a few in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming. However, 20 to 100 percent of the facilities in every state reported some TENORM in heater/treaters. EPA is investigating the number of unconventional wells that are impacted by TENORM.

Produced Waters

Produced waters are waters pumped from wells and separated from the oil and gas produced. The radioactivity levels in produced waters from unconventional drilling can be significant and the volumes are large. The ratio of produced water to oil in conventional well was approximately 10 barrels of produced water per barrel of oil. According to the American Petroleum Institute (API)EXIT more than 18 billion barrels of waste fluids from oil and gas production are generated annually in the United States.

Produced waters contain levels of radium and its decay products that are concentrated, but the concentrations vary from site to site. In general, produced waters are re-injected into deep wells or are treated for reuse.



Rolling Stone isn’t reporting anything new

Natural Gas Drilling Produces Radioactive Wastewater
Wastewater from natural gas drilling in New York State is radioactive, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink

By Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica on November 9, 2009

As New York gears up for a massive expansion of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, state officials have made a potentially troubling discovery about the wastewater created by the process: It’s radioactive. And they have yet to say how they’ll deal with it.

The information comes from New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, which analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling and found that they contain levels of radium 226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink.


In comments to ProPublica, the DEC emphasized that the environmental review proposes testing all wastewater for radioactivity before it is allowed to leave the well site, and said that the volumes of brine water, which contain most of the radioactivity detected, would be far less than the volumes of fluid from hydraulic fracturing that are removed from the well.


Scientific American

Notes to ProPublica:

  1. The “massive expansion of gas drilling” in New York never happened.
  2. Produced water from oil & gas wells is not safe to drink. It will kill you. That’s why we don’t drink it. We dispose of it properly.
  3. In 2009, when this was written, the oil & gas industry had been safely handling produced water for many decades. So, there wasn’t any reason for them to “to say how they’ll deal with it.”
  4. Whoever “said that the volumes of brine water, which contain most of the radioactivity detected, would be far less than the volumes of fluid from hydraulic fracturing that are removed from the well,” is fracking clueless about oil & gas production.

ProPublica did hit on something relevant.

The natural radioactivity of the Marcellus Shale has caused concern since the mid-1980s, when high levels of radon gas were found in the basements of homes in Marcellus, a town in upstate New York, where the shale reaches the surface. The question has long been, if the Marcellus can cause radioactive gas to seep into people’s basements, how much radioactivity might be infused into the water left over from drilling? Add to that the question of how much human exposure can be expected from the radiation detected at some Marcellus drilling sites.

Scientific American

Rocks are radioactive, particularly shale and organic-rich marine shale is more radioactive than most other shales.

Rocks are radioactive, particularly shale, part deux

The Marcellus formation

The Marcellus formation is a part of the ancient sedimentary system known as the Appalachian basin. The organic-rich black shale of the Marcellus formation was deposited in a foreland basin roughly paralleling the structural front of the present-day Appalachian Mountains during the Middle Devonian time about 390 million years ago (Harper, 1999). The Marcellus Shale is described as carbonaceous silty black shale that encloses scattered pyrite, carbonate concretions, and scarce fossils. Several beds of calcareous shale and black limestone and one or more zones of concretions that vary in composition, abundance, and character have also been recognized (Ettensohn and Baron, 1981; Harper, 1999; Roen and Walker, 1996). The Marcellus lithology varies significantly across the Appalachian basin. This lithological heterogeneity is controlled by depositional and diagenetic processes.

Typically, the Marcellus shale is laminated (fissile) and lacks bioturbation. According to previous studies the chief minerals are 9% – 35% mixed-layer clays (more abundant in upper member); 10% – 60% quartz, 0% – 10% feldspar, 5% – 13% pyrite (more common toward the base of the formation), 3% – 48% calcite, 0% – 10% dolomite (carbonate minerals much more abundant in the lower Marcellus member), and 0% – 6% gypsum (Avary and Lewis, 2008; Boyce and Carr, 2009; Roen, 1984; Wrightstone, 2008; Zielinski and McIver, 1982).


Since the Marcellus mineralogy is less than 50% clay, it’s not a pure shale formation. It is a “carbonaceous silty black shale,” with a very high total organic carbon (TOC) content. Like most of the other “shale” plays, the Marcellus was the source rock for many conventional clastic reservoirs in its basin.

Analytical results from multiple well core samples indicate that Total Organic Carbon (TOC) content in the Marcellus formation ranges from less than 1% to 20% (Zielinski and Mciver, 1982; Nyahay et al., 2007; Reed and Dunbar, 2008). Known good source rocks typically contain 2.0% TOC or higher. As such, the Marcellus Shale has some of the highest TOC content of continuous plays in the United States.

One of the best proxy measurements of TOC content in the Marcellus formation is its gamma-ray count. A strong correlation exists between the organic content of Appalachian shales and gamma-ray log intensity (Schmoker, 1981). As such, TOC content (5%) can be detected with gamma-ray counts of 200 API2 units or greater. Gamma-ray counts in the Lower member of the Marcellus formation often exceed 400 API units, which generally indicates higher TOC contents in the basal part of Marcellus.

In some areas, particularly in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, measurements in excess of 300 to 400 API units are not uncommon and reflect the generally higher TOC contents in the southwestern Marcellus play area when compared with the northeastern parts of the play. Within the Marcellus Shale play, TOC content can be directly related to porosity development resulting from the conversion of kerogen to hydrocarbons (Zagorski, et al., 2012)


I work the Gulf of Mexico, mostly Miocene to Pleistocene conventional clastic plays. The shale formations are generally terrigenous (rocks sourced from land and deposited in the oceans) and have very low TOC content. The typical shale baseline (see Fig. 3 & 4) is about 90 API units. Since our oil & gas production mostly comes from sand, instead of shale, disposal of produced water isn’t a huge problem. It’s usually treated and discharged into the ocean (BOEM, BOEM). In the rare instances when operators improperly discharge waste products into the oceans, the fines can be huge.

As can be seen below, produced water from Marcellus shale wells is more radioactive than that of conventional Appalachian Basin reservoirs; however almost all of the samples exceed the industrial effluent discharge limit of 60 pCi/L and must either be treated before discharge, injected into wastewater disposal wells or otherwise safely disposed of.

Figure 5. Total radium activity for Marcellus shale (left 3) and Appalachian sandstone/carbonate reservoirs (right 3). (Rowan et al., 2011)

The Marcellus not only has a high TOC content, the brine has an extremely high salinity (expressed as total dissolved solids, TDS), as do other Appalachian Basin formations…

A regional comparison of produced water salinities indicates that Appalachian Basin salinities are high relative to other oil- and gas-producing basins in the United States (Breit, 2002). The compilation yielded a median TDS of about 250,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for the Appalachian Basin (USA), which was exceeded only by the median salinity for the Michigan Basin (about 300,000 mg/L).

Rowan et al., 2011

In comparison, the salinity of produced water from Cenozoic Gulf of Mexico formations generally ranges from 50,000 to 150,000 mg/L (Boesch & Rabalais, 1989) and seawater averages about 35,000 mg/L.

Salinity (TDS) and total radium activity are highly correlated.

Figure 6. Log-log plot of TDS vs. total radium activity. (Rowan et al., 2011)

While Marcellus shale produced water is roughly three times as radioactive as non-Marcellus produced water, almost all of it exceeds the industrial effluent discharge limit and must be properly disposed of.

Does exposure to TENORM lead to an increased cancer risk for oil & gas workers? Probably. Earth is radioactive. However, the increased risk is likely indistinguishable from background noise (Purdue et al., 2014, Stenehjem et al., 2014).

Disposal of Oil & Gas Wastewater

In what may come as a shock to the investigative journalists at the Rolling Stone, the EPA and state agencies regulate the disposal of oil & gas wastewater pursuant to the Clean Water Act.

The EPA currently regulates discharges of oil and gas wastewater under the oil and gas extraction effluent limitations guidelines and pretreatment standards (ELGs) found at 40 CFR part 435.


The EPA takes into account the views of all stakeholders, from the oil & gas industry, to concerned academics, to state and local regulatory agencies. The goal is to ensure that public safety is addressed in the manner that provides the maximum flexibility to the industry. As stated several times in this post, not all wastewater is the same. There are currently multiple methods of reasonably safe disposal.

Figure 7. Methods of produced water disposal. (US EPA)

The disposal of other NORM and TENORM waste products (drill cuttings, scale and other solid materials) are regulated by state agencies. Are the regulations perfect? No. Do violations occur? Yes. However, when the regulatory agencies are properly functioning, they are continuously trying to improve the protection of the public, while providing as much flexibility as possible to the industry. When actual problems are identified, like induced seismicity related to injection wells, they modify the regulations and the industry is usually proactively involved – because it is in our best interest to drill and produce oil & gas wells in the safest practical manner.

This, no doubt, irritates Rolling Stone investigative journalists, professors of environmental “science” and other misfits. And, despite the best efforts of the misfits…

JANUARY 13, 2020
U.S. oil and natural gas proved reserves and production set new records in 2018

U.S. oil and natural gas proved reserves had another record-breaking year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-End 2018 report, released in December 2019. U.S. proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate rose to 47.1 billion barrels in 2018, a 12% increase compared with the previous record set at year-end 2017 of 42 billion barrels. U.S. proved reserves of natural gas rose to 504.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), a 9% increase compared with the record level set in 2017 of 464.4 Tcf. The growth in oil and natural gas proved reserves was driven by an increase in 2018 oil and natural gas prices.


U.S. crude oil and lease condensate production increased 17% in 2018 compared with 2017. In 2018, U.S operators produced an average of 10.96 million barrels per day (b/d), 1.6 million b/d more than in 2017. U.S. marketed natural gas production increased 12% in 2018 compared with 2017. Operators produced 89.9 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of marketed natural gas per day in 2018, 10 Bcf/d more than in 2017.

Texas saw the largest net increase in oil and natural gas proved reserves of all states in 2018, totaling 2.3 billion barrels of crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves and 22.9 Tcf of natural gas proved reserves. The largest share of the increase was produced in the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring shale plays in the Permian Basin.

The next-largest net gains in natural gas proved reserves in 2018 were in Pennsylvania and New Mexico. Pennsylvania’s natural gas proved reserves increased by 14.2 Tcf and New Mexico’s increased by 4.2 Tcf in 2018. Development in these states was led by the Marcellus shale play in the Appalachian Basin and the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring shale plays in eastern New Mexico.


Figure 8. No! This is irrelevant to both the abiotic oil fantasy and the common misunderstanding of peak oil.

Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Texas led the pack in adding natural gas reserves.

Figure 9. Changes in natural gas proved reserves by state & OCS region. (US EIA)

While Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico OCS led the way in additions of proved oil reserves.

Figure 10. The Gulf of Mexico OCS is a bit misleading. The Eastern Gulf is off limits and the Western Gulf, apart from a few deepwater areas is a ghost town. The vast majority of the reserve additions were from the deepwater and ultra-deepwater of the Central Gulf of Mexico OCS.


Who’s up for some Doctor Hook & the Medicine Show?


Boesch, D. F. and N. N. Rabalais, eds. 1989. Produced Waters in Sensitive Coastal Habitats: An Analysis of Impacts, Central Coastal Gulf of Mexico. OCS Report/MMS 89-0031, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Regional Office, New Orleans, Louisiana, 157 pp.

Levorsen, A. I., & Berry, F. A. F. (1967). Geology of petroleum. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.

Purdue, Mark & Hutchings, Sally & Rushton, Lesley & Silverman, Debra. (2014). The proportion of cancer attributable to occupational exposures. Annals of Epidemiology. 25. 10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.11.009.

Rowan, E.L., Engle, M.A., Kirby, C.S., and Kraemer, T.F., 2011, Radium content of oil- and gas-field produced waters in the northern Appalachian Basin (USA)—Summary and discussion of data: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5135, 31 p.
(Available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2011/5135/)

Stenehjem, J. S., K. Kjærheim, K. S. Rabanal, T. K. Grimsrud, Cancer incidence among 41 000 offshore oil industry workers, Occupational Medicine, Volume 64, Issue 7, October 2014, Pages 539–545, https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqu111

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Joel O’Bryan
January 28, 2020 6:23 am

In a nutshell, this is the genesis of how the Left intended/intends to destroy domestic oil and gas production using the Obama Maladmin WOTUS rules. Both drilling/fracking and production produce copious amounts of waste water loaded with “stuff.”

Separate note for David,
Did you see this piece of of junk science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in America?
“Knowledge in the Anthropocene”

It just amazes me how Science Mag has resorted to a tabloid magazine trash level of reporting to push the climate hustle. It makes me wonder who Science Mag editors think their audience of readers is. Is their target the scientist community who know the anthropocene designation was solidly rejected by real scientists, or the ignorati that believes Lying Michael Mann is a scientist?

Reply to  David Middleton
January 28, 2020 6:41 am

And I’m looking forward to that upcoming post, David.

Thanks for this one, BTW. As always, it was entertaining and educational.


Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
January 29, 2020 6:04 am

I always stand in awe of David Middleton’s presentations.
David what is your view on Hormesis?
Radiation hormesis is the hypothesis that low doses of ionizing radiation (within the region of and just above natural background levels) are beneficial, stimulating the activation of repair mechanisms that protect against disease, that are not activated in absence of ionizing radiation (similar to vaccinations). Wikipedia.

Curious George
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 28, 2020 7:35 am

Want to save the planet? Stop breathing. Breathing generates CO2.

Jon Jewett
Reply to  Curious George
January 28, 2020 9:04 am

We have been told that 400 ppm CO2 was near the tipping point to oblivion. Exhaled breath is 40,000 ppm CO2, or 100 times the tipping point. If you REALLY, REALLY cared, you would stop breathing.

Even worse! During the pre_Cambrian, the atmosphere was upwards of 10,000 PPM CO2. Well beyond the tipping point. And what happened? The Earth got hotter and hotter until it burst into flame. It became a lifeless, crispy cinder circling the sun for eternity. It’s so sad. Al Goracle said so.

John Endicott
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 28, 2020 8:48 am

In a nutshell, this is the genesis of how the Left intended/intends to destroy domestic oil and gas production using the Obama Maladmin WOTUS rules

Fortunately President Trump’s administration just recently repealed the WOTUS rules.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  John Endicott
January 28, 2020 10:13 am

Someone else will put them back, might even be a Republican.

John Endicott
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 28, 2020 12:05 pm

Possibly, but that will be a fight for another day, for now, enjoy the win when you get one.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 28, 2020 10:41 am

At this point, you shouldn’t be surprised at anything. The 20% of people that still find the MSM credible have been gaslighted but I can’t tell if journalists find that full blown lies are justified because “any means possible” or if they are just stupid.

Jeff in Calgary
January 28, 2020 6:25 am

“On the Cover of the Rolling Stone” I sat beside the singer from Dr. Hook on a flight. Interesting guy.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
January 28, 2020 8:05 am

Rolling Stone, like Vanity Fair, began life as an “entertainment industry” publication. Celebrity gossip, music releases, fashion, the transgressions and outrages of the week that that pass for “culture” nowadays. At some point these mags decided they would do “journalism” on fashionable leftist topics to appear more “serious.” Therefore, every astroturfer out there now has them in speed-dial.

When you pick up Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, New York, Mother Jones, or the Guardian you already know what you’re going to get. Far-left commentary to stoke the readership’s existing biases and validate their um, “unique” perspectives, kind of like The Advocate did a couple of decades ago. Rabble-rousers, all.

Why would one expect to find objectivity, let alone scientific veracity, from such a dubious source?

Reply to  Goldrider
January 28, 2020 9:17 am

Rolling stone is a magazine for adolescents written by adolescents (regardless of their biological age).
I wouldn’t line a parrot cage with it lest the parrot were to become annoyingly “woke”.

Reply to  Goldrider
January 28, 2020 2:59 pm

I used to read it…in the 70’s.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Goldrider
January 28, 2020 6:48 pm

P. J. O’Roruke wrote a lot for Rolling Stone. Maybe he was the token sane person on the staff, but still they put up with and paid him for many years.

Joel O’Bryan
January 28, 2020 6:28 am

Typo check: Your Fig 1, is it x-axis? not y-axis. I’m reading this on my iPhone not a desktop so just making sure something didn’t get rotated but x axis I think.

January 28, 2020 6:28 am

Granitic rocks often have high background levels of radiation and many people live in areas underlain by granitic rocks. Parts of the Sate of New York for instance.
But it gets worse.
Quite a few people introduce a source of radiation into their houses when they install granite counter tops.

Should these areas and these houses be evacuated ?

Stewart Pid
Reply to  GregK
January 28, 2020 6:52 am

Several of my neighbours installed granite counter tops and now they all glow in the dark …. it has really put a damper on the wife swapping since they can’t sneak around in the dark.

Reply to  Stewart Pid
January 28, 2020 8:08 am

That one brought a grin.. 🙂

Reply to  GregK
January 28, 2020 11:39 am

Fun fact, because it is built of granite, the USA Capitol Building has some of the highest radiation levels in all of the United States, about 85 millirem per year.

Reply to  Taphonomic
January 28, 2020 6:37 pm

I didn’t know that.

Those poor guys that work there should be protected and rewarded somehow. Maybe give them their own ultra special health protection plan, at no expense of course. They should also be generously compensated just for being there, in that dangerous climate … they needn’t even accomplish anything beneficial while there are there.

John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia
January 28, 2020 6:38 am

I’m oil field trash and proud as I can be ……..
Let’s have a Toby Keith song for us deplorables

Bill P.
January 28, 2020 6:52 am

‘It’s very long, long-winded, loaded with anecdotal information and lots of teeth gnashing & wailing from environmentalists.’

Sounds like the House Democrats’ prosecution of Trump impeachment.

Ron Long
January 28, 2020 6:56 am

Nice posting, David. Long and filled with science. I like your line “This is not a new concept, nor any sort of secret science.” I also appreciate you including “banana units” for radioactivity measurements. For the record, there are three naturally radioactive elements, uranium, thorium, and potassium. Radon and radium are daughter products. When I was President of a Uranium Exploration Company (Calypso) we discovered an insitu leach uranium deposit NE of Casper, Wyoming, by looking at natural gamma logs from old oil wells. The discovery data was a five-times strike-over on the gamma logs. If you know of any other gamma logs with five times strike-over let me know. By the way, of all the environmental threats radioactivity is the easiest to deal with as even a cheap radiation detector shows activity, and no matter how evil and bad-intentioned the company is, you cannot hide it.

Bryan A
January 28, 2020 7:05 am

9300 picocuries per liter
3520 picocuries per kg of bananas
how many kg of bananas can fit in a liter

That’s it, no more bananas in the house…I knew they were EVIL

Reply to  Bryan A
January 28, 2020 9:18 am

Bananas also emit ethylene (C2H4), which is the gaseous substance that makes them ripen and turn soft and black. Unless you’re a devotee of banana bread, you may want to delay the ripening process by punching a few holes in each end of the banana. (I use a two-prong corncob holder.) No more dark, mushy bananas in less than a week. No more guilt for not having made banana bread out of them.

Footnote: David L. Weide once showed me another method of preventing unwanted ripening: You simply immerse the banana in liquid nitrogen. Getting the banana out of the liquid nitrogen is the hard part.

Ron Long
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
January 28, 2020 10:32 am

While playing golf this morning I collected a whole bag of acorns, and later I will boil the chopped up acorns (boil them twice to get rid of the tannic acid), and mix with a ripe banana to make banana-acorn muffins. Ethylene? I´ll be gas-powered tomorrow when I play golf!

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
January 28, 2020 3:22 pm

Great tip, thanks. Too bad today’s bananas no longer taste like bananas. My mom used to put bananas in a paper bag inside a drawer. When they were completely black, she’d squeeze the pulp oit and make the best banana bread ever. No such bread made or purchased today tastes like that stuff.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Bryan A
January 28, 2020 10:09 am

8.4 bananas weigh approximately 1 Kg
1 Liter can hold approximately 8 bananas (unpeeled but mashed tightly).

Therefore 1 Kg of average bananas contains 3,380 picocuries (mostly radioactive potassium)

o I do not recommend eating a kilogram of bananas per day – it would represent a real (but low) risk.
o I also do not recommend drinking 1 Liter of fracking waste per day…it would represent a very high risk (but not from the radiation).
o I am unsure about eating bananas grown in fracking waste water; Or washing bananas in waste water; Or wasting bananas in fracking…etc.

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert of Texas
January 28, 2020 12:26 pm

Stop Fracking with my Bananas

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Bryan A
January 28, 2020 10:35 am

So keeping bananas on your granite countertop is a no no? What’s the worse that can happen?

Reply to  Paul Penrose
January 28, 2020 6:40 pm

Hiroshima ?
Though you would probably need a lot of fracking bananas

January 28, 2020 7:05 am

More Russian financed attempts to shut down our energy production so they can sell more?
Russian Money Suspected Behind Fracking Protests, New York Times, NOV. 30, 2014

Is Putin funding anti-fracking groups? Republicans think so — and so did Hillary Clinton

These provocative images show Russian trolls sought to inflame debate over climate change, fracking and Dakota pipeline

Intelligence: Putin Is Funding the Anti-Fracking Campaign

Time to Shine a Light on Putin’s American Propaganda Arm

Putin Is Funding Green Groups to Discredit Natural Gas Fracking
http://www.newsweek.com/putin-funding-green-groups-discredit-natural-gas-fracking-635052, Newsweek, 7/11/17

”The Sierra Club used the Chesapeake Energy money, donated mainly by the company’s chief executive from 2007 to 2010, for its Beyond Coal campaign to block new coal-fired power plants and shutter old ones..” New York Times, FEB. 13, 2012

Russia’s Quiet War Against European Fracking, Foreign Policy, June 20, 2014

Gasland, Russia and Hysteria Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing, Ambassador Keith C. Smith (ret.) ,February 2014

Russia in secret plot against fracking, Nato chief says, Telegraph, 19 Jun 2014

Foreign Firm Funding U.S. Green Groups Tied to State-Owned Russian Oil Company Rosneft, owned by the Russian state, is the world’s largest oil company / AP Washington Free Beacon, January 27, 2015 5:00 am

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Allegations US Environmentalists May Have Secretly Taken Russian Cash

Russia in secret plot against fracking, Nato chief says–“Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia was mounting a sophisticated “disinformation campaign” aimed at undermining attempts to exploit alternative energy sources such as shale gas”,Telegrapph, 19 jun 2014 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/fracking/10911942/Russia-in-secret-plot-against-fracking-Nato-chief-says.html

Saudi Billionaire Prince: Fracking Competitively Threatens ‘Any Oil Producing Country in the World’ CNS News, January 6, 2014 – 5:35 PM

Leaked emails show Hillary Clinton blaming Russians for funding ‘phony’ anti-fracking groups

Russia’s Financial Support for Anti-Fracking Groups Is No Coincidence

Lawmakers Cite Evidence Russia ‘Colludes’ With US Green Groups to Block Fracking

Key Republicans call for probe to see if Russia funded anti-fracking groups, Washington Times, Sunday, July 9, 2017

Green Groups Go Red, Team With Putin To Fight Fracking

Matt Damon’s Anti-Fracking Movie Financed by Oil-Rich Arab Nation
“Promised Land was also produced “in association with” Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, according to the preview’s list of credits. A spokesperson with DDA Public Relations, which runs PR for Participant Media, the company that developed the film fund backing Promised Land, confirmed that AD Media is a financier. The company is wholly owned by the government of the UAE.”

The credits on Gasland say it partly financed by one of the Middle East oil producers.

Stronger Law on Foreign Agents Eyed Amid Russia’s Links to Green Groups

Lamar Smith Claims Russians Are Backing Environmental Groups Attacking Fracking

Treasury Dept Asked To Investigate Reports That Russia Funneled Millions To US Environmental Groups

Smith and Weber quote sources saying the Russian government has been colluding with environmental groups to circulate “disinformation” and “propaganda” aimed at undermining hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called fracking, the process makes it possible to access natural gas deposits.

The Russian Collusion Story the Media Ignores – Russian funding of U.S. environmental groups shows how collusion is done.

U.S. Energy Markets: The Real Russian Meddling the Media Ignores – Still counting on the American left’s useful idiots.

Hillary and Lamar: A Meeting of Minds on Russian Collusion – America’s anti-fracking enviros had a strange benefactor.

The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”. The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.

Reply to  JimK
January 28, 2020 9:18 am

The Soviets funded most of the anti-war movement prior to the dissolution of their empire.
These efforts were channeled through the KGB. The head of the KGB during that time now runs Russia.

January 28, 2020 7:05 am

Thank you for another great post. It reminds me of a meeting where there was great hand-wringing about the methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. I said that they should not discount naturally occurring methane and was met with disparaging looks. I explained that I lived near Marcellus, NY and have heard that the locals know where you can go in a gorge and light a fire to cook an egg using you know “natural” gas coming out of the ground.

michael hart
January 28, 2020 7:16 am

We’ve been here before. Greenpeace told lies aplenty about radioactivity when they effectively sabotaged the disposal of the Brent Spar platform in 1995.

It was an opportunity for government, regulators, and corporations (Shell UK) to take a stand against the habitual lies told by environmental activists, but they just lubed-up and bent over like a green reed in the breeze.

Neil Jordan
January 28, 2020 7:29 am

David – thanks for the memories. Here is a link to 1999 USGS paper on oilfield NORM and TENORM, with link to a PDF download of U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 0142-99.
From experience, NORM gets around and it is harder to find some place that is not naturally radioactive than the opposite. Here is more radioactive fat on the fire – the local big box store displaying pallets of bags of low-sodium water softener salt. A closer look revealed potassium chloride, so I knew that there was a heap of natural potassium-40 there, a cloud of 1.46 MeV gamma rays.

HD Hoese
January 28, 2020 7:33 am

Depending on your age the “scientific/environmental” world started somewhere between circa 1990 to 2000. Produced water, sometimes called pore or bleedwater has been the subject of study since it existed. It is still researched, and can contain all sorts of materials (salinity one early problem) depending on its source. I went to a seminar over four decades ago on the subject, more of a concern where flushing is low and water is constrained, and was surprised to see how fast it was diluted even in a Louisiana bayou.

Don’t tell them that there are non-anthropogenic, pre-Anthropocene hydrocarbons in mud. Great article.

Reply to  HD Hoese
January 28, 2020 11:03 am

The Rolling Stones publisher is beneath contempt and beyond being a clown. The earlier post about why such an idiotic story would be on an entertainment magazine seems right. It give em what they want to sell a few copies to the comfortably ignorant.

Kevin Kilty
January 28, 2020 7:35 am

The world has become intensely complex and requires a great deal of expertise. Unfortunately human beings still have several cognitive impairments left over from our stone age evolution — projection, and Dunning-Kruger syndrome. Dunning-Kruger syndrome involves people who know little to nothing at all think they are experts — journalists often leading the way.

These two cognitive biases are the source of many of our political problems. Clever, dishonest politicians use these biases to aid their electoral chances.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
January 28, 2020 10:17 am

Don’t forget the Streisand Effect. She was around during the Stone Age, right? Oh, wait, Stoned Age…

Neil Jordan
January 28, 2020 7:59 am

Merrill Eisenbud’s Environmental Radioactivity text is the definitive reference:
It’s a bit pricey. I got mine cheaper, back when there were fewer elements in the Periodic Table.

Tom Bakewell
January 28, 2020 8:00 am

Another “Just the facts, ma’am” work of love and craftsmanship sir. You are a credit to your clan.

January 28, 2020 8:14 am

Another “if the last scaremonger story doesn’t upset you maybe this one will”. Must be hard to cover all the the bases of scaremongering when there’s so many out there waiting to be discovered.

January 28, 2020 8:26 am

“five-times strike-over on the gamma logs” means what please ?

January 28, 2020 8:42 am
John Endicott
Reply to  Gator
January 28, 2020 9:17 am

Indeed, more people die each year from inhaling DHMO than do so from inhaling CO2. Not only is it a more powerful GHG contributor than CO2 (and thus more “responsible” for CAGW) but it’s also the major component of acid rain. Ban DHMO now!

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Gator
January 28, 2020 9:36 am

Not new, but always good 😀

John Endicott
January 28, 2020 8:50 am

In other news: Water is Wet

Just in From CNN: it’s a travesty that water is wet and it’s all Trump’s fault.

January 28, 2020 9:09 am

Never underestimate the venality and ignorance of journalists.

Shanghai Dan
January 28, 2020 9:19 am

The density of bananas is about 1000 grams per liter, so that’s about 3500 pC/l for bananas. This “deadly waste” is about 2.7 times more radioactive than bananas.

I hope those who are concerned steer clear of the produce department of their grocery store.

January 28, 2020 9:20 am

Middleton, since you agree all this stuff is radioactive, would there be any harm in having oil field workers/brine haulers to wear dosimeters?

Beta Blocker
Reply to  David Middleton
January 28, 2020 12:30 pm

I’ve worked in nuclear facilities where the added dose from NORM and TENORM radiation sources had the theoretical potential to raise an employee’s annual dose exposure above the administrative limits set for nuclear workers.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see some states add personal radiation monitoring as a requirement for oil field workers.

Doing so would then bring in the question of the use of state-specified ALARA requirements in dictating how far an oil field service organization must go in limiting a worker’s occupational exposure to dose levels below those which current OSHA standards now allow.

IMHO, the imposition of strict ALARA standards by state regulators is one avenue of attack the anti-frackers will use with increasing frequency to harass the oil drilling service industry.

January 28, 2020 9:35 am

Ahh…”Radiation”…if we can’t demonize fossil fuels enough by invoking “carbon” and CO2, we’ll throw in “radiation”. That’ll scare ’em!

Sheesh. Apparently there’s no evil too ominous but that the fossil fuels industry must also be a part of it. Pretty sure fossil fuels are racist too.

I will note that life seems to be reasonably well adapted to living with ionizing radiation. At least, moderate doses of it. Given that we find it everywhere…even in our dirt, we should hopefully, at some point, stop using it as merely a scare tactic to frighten people.


January 28, 2020 9:38 am

Well, if the ecohippies and Rolling stoners don’t like fracked products. they simply should not use them. That solves their problem, doesn’t it? After all, no one is forcing them to buy clothing and wear it, or pay for food that they could raise themselves at a modest cost – if they just knew how….

This whole thing gets sillier and sillier. Maybe the ecohippies would like to shut off their own heat for the winter?

Krishna Gans
January 28, 2020 9:47 am

OT, but to remember:
Fourteen Is the New Fifteen!
The lie about the 14°C global mean temperature.

January 28, 2020 9:50 am

Radium in its brine can average around 9,300 picocuries per liter, but has been recorded as high as 28,500. “If I had a beaker of that on my desk and accidentally dropped it on the floor, they would shut the place down,” says Yuri Gorby, a microbiologist who spent 15 years studying radioactivity with the Department of Energy. “And if I dumped it down the sink, I could go to jail.”


The typical human body contains roughly 0.1 μCi (14 mg) of naturally occurring potassium-40. link

So, a liter of brine with 9300 picocuries. That’s 9.3 nanocuries.
0.1 uCi in a human body. That’s 100 nanocuries.

I call BS on Gorby. He’s way more radioactive, by an order of magnitude, than the liter of brine sitting on his desk.

January 28, 2020 9:56 am

Being dead is the only safe state. Nature just wants to take you out. Nature is not kind. You should be very afraid of nature……

Insanity has reached new levels. Love the post, though. Lots of good information.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Sheri
January 28, 2020 10:13 am

I got news for you! Being dead is not a safe state…everything starts eating you!

Maybe dead frozen under a mile or so of permanent ice on a high mountain near the center of Antarctica.

As for insanity…it’s always been there, it’s just easier to spread it now.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
January 29, 2020 8:47 am

The peat-bogs in the UK do a good job of preservation.

Thomas Mark Schaefer
January 28, 2020 10:10 am

For those who may be exposed to a little too much radiation for comfort (flyers, CATSCAN patients, oil and gas workers, etc.) the majority of tissue damage from ionizing radiation is from the chemical soup formed in the contrails of high-energy particles, not the particles themselves. You can reduce this damage by taking some powerful anti-oxidants. I take C, curcumin, quercetin, ashwagandha, and a few others.

January 28, 2020 10:11 am

Very informative David. Thank you.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Lloyd W. Robertson
January 28, 2020 10:20 am


Reply to  Mandobob
January 28, 2020 11:56 am

Well, they’re just going to have to find another planet to live on, aren’t they?

J Mac
January 28, 2020 10:25 am

An interesting and informative ‘read’, David! Thanks!

January 28, 2020 11:37 am

And then there are bananas. Even organic ones.

January 28, 2020 11:53 am

O.T … BIG quake 7.7 just hit Jamaica.

January 28, 2020 11:56 am

Earth actually emits what is claimed to be done by greenhouse gases.

This is the biggest scandal in science.



I’m surprised that I figured this out and others more qualified didn’t. What’s going on?

January 28, 2020 12:59 pm

David has anyone ever died from Radon in their home?

Reply to  Derg
January 28, 2020 2:24 pm

Radon is the natural cause of most lung cancer that cigarettes do not get the blame for, P.L.
Us other cancers.
Why our life span is only 80 years

Reply to  Derg
January 28, 2020 2:46 pm

Yes, while installing a radon abatement system.

January 28, 2020 2:22 pm

No mention of underground nuclear testing in mainland USA?
Needs an addendum I think.
Saw a film on it once so figures are rubbery.
Maybe 1500 underground tests in USA alone.
One test was specifically designed to break up substrate to help release oil?
But the water/ oil was to radioactive to use.

Not criticising the argument, the earth is radioactive and the concerns listed are laughable.
But is there a small addendum Americans could be genuinely worried about?


January 28, 2020 2:45 pm

I guess I would rather die of radio activity down the road than freeze to death this winter.

Michael S. Kelly
January 28, 2020 2:51 pm

It’s been known for decades that the stack gases from coal-fired power plants are radioactive enough to have them shut down if they were nuclear power plants (mostly radium). That’s more a comment on how tight nuke plant restrictions are than how “lax” they are on coal plants.

We live in northern Virginia, and this area of the country has huge uranium deposits. So much so that homes are required to have radon ventilation systems – radon being a gaseous decay daughter in the radium decay chain.

There is enough readily recoverable uranium in Virginia to power the entire planet for centuries. None of it can be touched for that purpose due to the activities of “activists”.

WTF? I mean, really, WTF?

Don Bennett
January 28, 2020 3:01 pm

Where I worked, before a recycling bin loaded with used piping or other material that be in contact with produced fluids could be sent off site, all of the material had to be “NORM” tested. This was nothing new or novel; just standard procedure.

January 28, 2020 3:31 pm

Don’t they already have an open ad shut case against fossil fuels in the form of climate change and ocean acidification? Why do they need this stuff? One wonders.

Steve Taylor
January 28, 2020 3:40 pm

So where does the rest of the crustal heat release come from, if only half of it is due to radioactive decay effects ? Tidal forces ?

Reply to  Steve Taylor
January 28, 2020 6:43 pm

“So where does the rest of the crustal heat release come from, if only half of it is due to radioactive decay effects ? Tidal forces ?”


Steve Taylor
Reply to  GregK
January 28, 2020 6:47 pm

He. Thanks GregK. It would be interesting to put some numbers in there, but I will have to research the “Love” number !

January 28, 2020 5:23 pm

I wonder when he will discover that Drs have been injecting radioactive “stuff” into patients?

January 28, 2020 8:20 pm

David’s details and science spot on and quite extensive.

However, the source article gaslighting…

“Using neutrino detectors in Japan and Italy—the Kamioka Liquid-Scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) and the Borexino Detector—the scientists arrived at their conclusion by measuring the flow of the antithesis of these neutral particles as they emanate from our planet.”

Antithesis of particles is commonly known as ‘antimatter‘.
What these yahoos are claiming is that their scientists are tracking the flow of neutral particles, a difficult task itself. Neutrino detectors tend to be built deep underground.

“The DUNE Far Detector
The DUNE collaboration will use state-of-the-art Liquid Argon Time-Projection Chamber (LArTPC) technology for the massive — but extremely sensitive — neutrino detector planned at the Sanford Lab site, called the DUNE Far Detector. This detector will be constructed and operated almost a mile (1.5 km) underground. Cosmic ray muons, which constantly bombard Earth’s surface, would generate tracks in the detector if it were at the surface, complicating the data analysis. The large amount of rock above the Far Detector will absorb virtually all the incident cosmic rays before they reach the DUNE Far Detector.”

And these yahoos claim their scientists are tracking the antimatter neutral particles…

Maybe somebody should clue these yahoos that calcium based fossils, clam & mussel shells, bones, etc. concentrate radioactive minerals. The replacement minerals and compounds, e.g. opal retain the radioactive elements and can be quite radioactive.
That should help set their hair on fire.

J Mac
January 28, 2020 9:18 pm

Welcome To The New Age……
Radioactive Imagine Dragons

January 29, 2020 12:57 am

“Earth is radioactive”
Great! Now the Greenies true to their principles will have to leave!

James F. Evans
January 29, 2020 5:43 am

Well, the radioactivity is there and always has been.

And, as stated in this analysis, has been extensively observed & measured.

And, by and large, properly handled & disposed of.

Fracking seems to involve moving a lot of waste water, by tanker truck, possibly more than previously.

Industry should & will continue to observe & measure it.

And continue to analyze & engineer for processes which add to efficiency, productivity, and safety.

For those in the industry and those in communities effected by the industry.

Drill, baby drill….. we keep running into oil… when will it stop? Nobody knows

January 29, 2020 1:06 pm

Well 40 years ago we had a “background” of 1 mSV per year.

Now they say it is 6mSV, and 66% of men get cancer.

It’s best to keep all that stuff in the ground, but I realize it is not practical and certainly not all at once, or “by 2030”

James F. Evans
January 29, 2020 6:36 pm

There was substantial discussion of brine & black shale with interpretation of those substances.

Here is an alternative interpretation:

Hydrothermal Hydrocarbons, Stanley B. Keith and Monte M. Swan, AAPG, Journal for E&P Geoscientists

” …We suggest a third possibility–the generation of methane and heavier hydrocarbons through reactions that occur during cooling, fractionation, and deposition of dolomitic carbonates, metal-rich black shales, and other minerals from hydrothermal metagenic fluids. ”

Hydrothermal Hydrocarbons

Peridotites, Serpentinization, and Hydrocarbons, Stanley B. Keith and Monte M. Swan, AAPG, Journal for E&P Geoscientists

“Serpentinization of peridotites by oceanic or metamorphic sourced brines under strongly reduced conditions and temperatures of 200-500 C produces hydrocarbon-rich, chloride and/or bicarbonate metal-bearing brines.”

Peridotites, Serpentinization, and Hydrocarbons

A schematic by the above geologist:


Radioactivity from deep earth minerals such as uranium or strontium (strontium has been observed in some Louisiana salt domes.) only add to the evidence that oil & gas are natural products of geophysical and chemical reactions.

February 8, 2020 7:51 pm

I personally blame R. Daneel Olivaw for the radioactive earth.

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