Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Gulf Oil spill is a Lot of Gas

In the latest edition of the Discovery podcast from the BBC World Service Jon Stewart travels to where scientists on board the research vessel Cape Hatteras are studying the underwater plume of oil and gas leaking from the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

It discusses how around 40 per cent of the plume from the Deepwater Horizon blowout is actually methane gas and how study of this natural gas will help scientists to estimate the true extent of the oil leak and its potential impact.

Methane is also thought to be the main culprit in the blowout that started the leak, and ice crystals formed by the gas sabotaged efforts to put a containment dome over the leak a few weeks ago.

Of greater import however is how the methane poses a longer-term threat to the ecosystem of the Gulf than the oil as the oxidation of methane by microorganisms in the water can lead to oxygen-depleted dead zones where fish and plant life cannot survive.
Other links

Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland on the move

The Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland (PHSI) has announced it is to move to new premises at 26 College Green, Belfast, which is adjacent to Union Theological College and Queens University. The Society, which has been based in Church House the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland since its inception in 1907, hopes the move will be completed by the autumn and that disruption to the services of the Library will be kept to a minimum. If you were thinking of paying a visit to the Library it may be best to call ahead. You can reach contact the Librarian at (028) 9032 2284 or

The move will involve a substantial expense on the limited funds of the Society however, and an appeal has been set up help offset the cost and help with the refurbishment of the new rooms. Many of the Society's members have already responded to the appeal but any donations from members of the Churches connected with the Society or interested members of the public would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be sent direct to the Treasurer, Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, Church House, Belfast BT1 6DW.

The Society was formed in 1907 by members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland and the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland with the aim of promoting the knowledge of, and education in, the history of the churches of the Presbyterian order in Ireland, and to collect and preserve historical materials and records of those churches.

While the Society's main concern is with historical material relating to these Churches, the collections are of wider ecclesiastical, social and political interest and are consulted by a wide variety of students.

The Society collects items of Presbyterian interest and their library contains a large number of books, pamphlets and artefacts relating to Presbyterianism including some original manuscript material, diaries, letters, speeches and sermons. Among newspapers and journals, one of the Society's main holdings is The Witness, which ran 1874 to 1941. This valuable source of information is also available on microfilm.

The Society recent appointed Miss Valerie Adams, formerly of the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, to the post of Librarian.