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In Brief March 2011

Dearman appeal

Geoscientist 20.02 March 2011

Prof. DearmanNewcastle University graduates and staff who were taught by, or worked with, Prof. Bill Dearman are being asked to contribute to a bursary fund in his memory - by the closing date of 30 April 2011. Bill Dearman (Newcastle 1956 – 86) took the UK’s first Chair in Engineering Geology in 1972, and died in January 2009. He inspired hundreds of students, including Bill Rankin, who initiated the appeal for the bursary fund.

The fund will support a postgraduate student in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (disciplines Dearman combined in his own career) at Newcastle University. Anyone interested in contributing is asked to contact Anne Burton, Development Manager. T: +44 (0)191 222 8804 E: David Manning

Tar sand metal link

Oil production from Athabasca Tar Sands (Alberta, Canada) are releasing toxic metals into rivers imperilling aquatic life, researchers say. According to reports in Nature and PNAS, 13 elements classified as ‘priority pollutants’ have been recognised, including mercury, arsenic and lead, in a nearby river and its watershed. Seven metals were present in high enough concentrations to threaten aquatic life.

This is a serious environmental problem in Alberta where an estimated 172 million barrels are held in the tar sands, and production is scheduled to increase from 1.3 million barrels per day to 3 million by 2018. Joe McCall