Seeking safer saline basins
For more than 25 years, saline disposal basins have been used to store large volumes of pumped saline groundwater and drainage effluent from irrigation. A joint project by CSIRO and the Australian Geological Survey Organisation developed criteria for siting disposal basins, and refined a computer model to stimulate hydrological processes in areas containing salt disposal basins. Further research is underway to locate potential small-scale, on-farm disposal basins.
Could the oceans sink our warming blues?
Scientists have begun mapping regions of the Southern Ocean where carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and stored in the ocean's depths. They aim to determine how much carbon dioxide is absorbed and how the level might vary if the Earth's climate changes.
Railyard asbestos study yields deep solution
Until the mid 1980s, Islington Railyard, Adelaide, SA, served as a dump site for rail workshop wastes, including blue asbestos. A study undertaken to assess the contamination and devise a cost-effective clean-up strategy will aid the development of national guidelines for asbestos remediation.
Fishing for clues
It may be world famous, but the black marlin is poorly understood. Researchers are studying the fish to learn more about its distribution and behaviour. In doing so, they may help resolve a dispute about the effect on tuna longline fishing on marlin.
Water points - where pastoralism and biodiversity meet
One third of the mammal species that used to inhabit Australia's arid and semi-arid rangelands are now extinct and many more plant and animal species are in trouble. Domestic livestock have been linked with this decline, but evidence to support and characterise this link has been sketchy. In 1993, ecologists set out to clarify the impact of domestic and other grazing animals on rangelands biodiversity. The study found that bores and troughs are a potential threat to biological diversity of native plants, animals and birds in arid and semi-arid regions.
Into the black
The first space radio telescope was launched on 12 February 1997. The Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Space Observatory Programme (VSOP) will be used to study active galaxies, black holes and masers.
Griffith gets growing
A new land-based effluent treatment system is being tested at Griffith, NSW. The system named FILTER, short for Filtration and Irrigated Cropping for Land Treatment and Effluent Reuse, employs natural soil processes to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from treated sewage effluent.