At Basel Fair_ Movers and Shaker by fjwuxn


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                                          ID NAME: Nxxx,2006-06-15,E,007,Bs-BW,E1

                                                                                                        THE NEW YORK TIMES, THURSDAY, JUNE 15, 2006                                                                                                      N                      E7

At Basel Fair, Movers and Shakers, High Prices and Blue-Chip Artists
       Continued From First Arts Page

tects Herzog & de Meuron.
   People-watching is every bit as much the
allure here as the art. Spotted either pe-
rusing the booths or at some of the countless
parties were Michael Ovitz, the Hollywood
agent; Peter Brant, the newsprint mag-
nate; the real estate developer Aby Rosen;
Henry R. Kravis, the financier; and the ac-
tors Michael York and Faye Dunaway.
   Many artists were on hand too, among
them the photographer Andreas Gursky, the
Japanese artist and curator Takashi Mura-
kami and the Pop artist James Rosenquist.
At “Unlimited,’’ a section where large art
installations are on view, Acquavella Galler-
ies is showing Mr. Rosenquist’s giant 24-
by-133-foot painting “Celebrating the 50th
Anniversary of the Signing of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights by Eleanor
   Depicting a trio of hands reaching into a
vortex of swirling colors, it had originally
been intended for the ceiling of the Palais de
Chaillot in Paris as a way of commemorat-                                                                                                                                                                                          ple queuing for it,’’ said Tim Blum, one of
ing the 50th anniversary of the adoption of                                                                                                                                                                                        the gallery’s owners, adding that he was
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights                                                                                                                                                                                          frustrated to disappoint those who were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   turned away.
in 1998. The dealer William Acquavella said
that it was now for sale and that an Ameri-                                                                                                                                                                                           Modern masters like Picasso and de Koo-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ning were selling briskly too. A colorful unti-
can museum had expressed interest. He de-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   tled de Kooning from the 1970’s sold within
clined to elaborate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   hours of the preview opening at PaceWil-
   Pop Art, figurative painting, installation                                                                                                                                                                                      denstein. Arne Glimcher, the gallery’s
pieces and contemporary Chinese art — all                                                                                                                                 Photographs by Christian Flierl for The New York Times
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   chairman, would not divulge the price or the
a major focus in contemporary-art collect-                 A 1998 work by James Rosenquist originally intended for the Palais de Chaillot in Paris; right, the entrance to Art Basel.                                              buyer, but few secrets are kept at Art Basel.
ing today — were much in evidence. So were                                                                                                                                                                                         Several dealers said the price was $15.5 mil-
top works by hot artists like Richard Prince,              make decisions. Like auctions, the now-or-             logne, Germany.                                      Some works are headed for museums and                       lion and the buyer was thought to be David
Cindy Sherman, Tony Oursler, Mr. Muraka-                   never experience gets their adrenaline                   Gordon VeneKlasen, Mr. Werner’s busi-           foundations. Mr. Segalot handled the pur-                      Martinez, the financier.
mi, John Currin, Ed Ruscha and Dinos and                   pumping. Already spoken for in Mr. Jop-                ness partner, said that Byars’s work was          chase of “3 Heads Fountain (3 Andrews),’’ a                       Late Picassos have been all the rage at
Jake Chapman.                                              ling’s booth is “All Good Things Must Come             not normally snapped up that fast. “But at        2005 installation by Bruce Nauman, for the                     auction. The London dealer Thomas Gibson
   Many felt the offerings were more pre-                  to an End,’’ one of the London-based Chap-             an art fair everyone gets excited,’’ he said.     French luxury-goods magnate François Pi-                       said the 1969 painting “Man With Pipe,’’ of-
dictable than in past years, making the fair               man brothers’ “Hell-scapes,’’ as the pair              “It becomes a discovery.’’ He declined to         nault. Mr. Pinault plans to show the work,                     fered for $10 million and $15 million, was “on
a venue for acquiring blue-chip artists rath-              call their fantastical environments decorat-           identify the buyer.                               sold by Donald Young, a Chicago dealer, at                     reserve’’ for a buyer he did not name.
er than discovering new talent. “There are                 ed with lead toy figures.                                A striking abstract $1 million painting by      the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the new home                        Few buyers seemed surprised by the high
less surprises,” said Zach Feuer, the Chel-                   Works that would normally sit unnoticed             Sigmar Polke that the artist began in 1983        of his contemporary art collection.                            prices, but many marveled at the diversity
sea dealer. “The oversaturation of art fairs               for months in a gallery may sell at Art Ba-            and added to in 1992, also went immediately          Blum & Poe, the Los Angeles dealers, sold                   of today’s players. “Art Basel has always
means there’s one every three weeks. But of                sel. An installation of sculptures from 1959-          at Michael Werner. Mr. VeneKlasen would           “727-727,’’ a triptych completed by Mr.                        been international,’’ said Samuel Keller, the
all of them, this is the best.’’                           60 by James Lee Byars, a pioneer of the                not name the buyer, but some collectors at        Murakami just two weeks ago, for a re-                         fair’s director. “But this year there we’ve
   Jay Jopling, who runs the London gallery                Fluxus movement, sold within 10 minutes of             the fair said they had been told that it went     ported $1.5 million to an unidentified buyer.                  had several delegations from China, col-
White Cube, said such fairs were a way of fo-              the opening preview at Michael Werner,                 to a trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim         It features Dob, a cartoonlike character                       lectors from Russia and Dubai. And for the
cusing collectors’ attention so they would                 whose galleries are in New York and Co-                Museum in New York.                               with sharp teeth. “I had five, six, seven peo-                 first time we’ve also seen Indian buyers.’’

                                                                                                                  A Teenage TV Star Takes On a New Role: Warrior
                                                                                                                                                                    awakened and you get it back. Hopefully it                     Venoms’’ and “The Leg Fighters,’’ said
                                                                                                                        Continued From First Arts Page              will also deliver another side of this mes-                    “Wendy Wu’’ had appealed to her not only as
                                                                                                                                                                    sage: the importance of cultural heritage,                     a martial arts movie for her own genera-
                                                                                                                  in an early script, incidentally, was Paris,      and that it takes effort from all genera-                      tion, but also because it featured an Asian-
                                                                                                                  an apparent allusion to another hotel heir-       tions.’’                                                       American woman in a strong lead role.
                                                                                                                  ess). Unlike London, Wendy is the daughter           Ms. Song’s parents were both born in                           “Growing up,’’ she said, “I never saw
                                                                                                                  of two obviously loving, involved parents, as                                                                    Asian-Americans on TV at all.’’
                                                                                                                                                                    Asia. Her father is Hmong and was raised in
                                                                                                                  is Ms. Song, whose father teaches second                                                                            Ms. Song’s path to children’s television
                                                                                                                                                                    a tribe that traversed the mountains of
                                                                                                                  grade and whose mother is a homemaker,                                                                           stardom began on a stroll through a Sacra-
                                                                                                                  and whose family (including two brothers)         Thailand and Laos. Her mother was born
                                                                                                                                                                    Thai but adopted into a Hmong family. They                     mento mall when she was 3. Her family was
                                                                                                                  relocated from Sacramento to Los Angeles                                                                         approached by the owner of a modeling
                                                                                                                  when she was 6 to support her nascent act-        met, Ms. Song said, as adults in Sacramento.
                                                                                                                                                                       Ms. Song said she realized, while making                    school. Already aware at that young age
                                                                                                                  ing career.                                                                                                      what a commercial was — she said she was
                                                                                                                     “I think sometimes it’s hard for London,’’     the movie, that she knew little about the no-
                                                                                                                                                                    madic Hmong people, and as a result began                      fascinated by images of Cindy Crawford
                                                                                                                  Ms. Song said. “She doesn’t really have par-                                                                     pitching Pepsi in a Lamborghini — the
                                                                                                                  ents. No one can say no to her. No one can        peppering her parents with questions about
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   young Ms. Song persuaded her parents to
                                                                                                                  tell her something is wrong. Imagine if you                                                                      scrape together $500 from relatives to enroll
                                                                                                                  never saw your dad?’’                                                                                            her. A commercial for Little Caesars Pizza
                                                                                                                     Ms. Song and her latest character also                                                                        when she was 5, she said, led to a number of
                                                                                                                  share an expertise in the martial arts, an-       Celebrating her Asian                                          other commercials, many of them for Mat-
                                                                                                                  other distinction from London, whose idea of                                                                     tel products like Barbie.
                                                                                                                  a workout in one episode was to go to the         heritage and employing                                            “I did a lot of food chains,’’ she said. “Me, I
                                                                                                                  gym to raise and lower heavy shopping
                                                                                                                  bags. While Wendy becomes skilled in kung         some martial arts moves.                                       love to eat. I was the only girl where, when
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   they would say, ‘Do you want to spit it out?’
                                                                                                                  fu, Ms. Song earned a black belt in tae kwan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I’d say, ‘No, I’ll eat it.’ ’’
                                                                                                                  do at 14, having practiced, at times, an hour
                                                                                                                  or more a day, six days a week.                                                                                     Through home schooling, Ms. Song earned
                                                                                                                     “I love to spar and to fight,’’ she said,      their food and ceremonial dress. “Here I am                    a high school diploma at 16, and she has
                                                                               Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
                                                                                                                  though learning kung fu, which can be as flu-     telling kids, ‘Don’t lose your heritage,’ ” she                since taken college courses online. Eventu-
Kate Burton and Tony Goldwyn in “The Water’s Edge” at Second Stage.                                                                                                 said, “and I’m losing mine.”                                   ally, she said, she hopes to become a full-
                                                                                                                  id as tae kwan do is jarring, required some
                                                                                                                  adjustments. “They’re as different as ballet        Ms. Song said that when Disney first ap-                     time student of business and psychology.
                                                                                                                                                                    proached her several years ago about “Wen-                     But for now, she said, she intends to ride the
THEATER REVIEW                                                                                                    and hip-hop,’’ she said. “I had to learn how to
                                                                                                                                                                    dy Wu,’’ it was pitched as a situation com-                    wave of her acting career as far as it takes
                                                                                                                  work more with my hands. On top of that, we
                                                                                                                  had to learn how to stunt-fight.’’                edy in which she would play a Chinese prin-                    her, including what she presumes will be at

Dad’s Back. Cue Greek Chorus.                                                                                        In a bit of corporate synergy that only
                                                                                                                  Disney could imagine, Ms. Song trained for
                                                                                                                                                                    cess who sought to reawaken the warrior
                                                                                                                                                                    within an unsuspecting boy. But soon the
                                                                                                                                                                    project evolved into a star vehicle for Ms.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   least another season on “The Suite Life.’’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After watching Ms. Song survive the rig-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ors of her “Wendy Wu’’ training — which in-
                                                                                                                  “Wendy Wu’’ under Koichi Sakamoto, exec-
                                                           Rebeck hasn’t prepared you. Look back and              utive producer of the channel’s “Power            Song, who, before “The Suite Life,’’ was in-                   cluded being suspended for hours in a stunt
       Continued From First Arts Page                      you’ll realize that she has signaled every de-                                                           troduced to Disney Channel audiences                           harness tethered to wires, even after dam-
                                                                                                                  Rangers’’ series, which marries martial
                                                           tail of what happens in the final scenes. But          arts to science fiction. To accommodate Mr.       through roles on the series “Phil of the Fu-                   aging ligaments in one of her ankles — Mr.
union in the company of a pneumatic, much                  what fascinated as subtext feels crude and             Sakamoto, who also directed the action se-        ture’’ and in the movies “Get a Clue’’ (with                   Sakamoto said he would happily hire her not
younger girlfriend, Lucy (Katharine Pow-                   clumsy when it’s dragged so blatantly to the           quences of “Wendy,’’ the movie was filmed         Lindsay Lohan) and “Stuck in the Suburbs.’’                    just as an actress but as a stunt double.
ell). As Erica, who obviously knows her lit-               surface. Ms. Rebeck’s hitherto fleet-footed            in New Zealand, as is “Power Rangers.’’             Ms. Song, whose father used to show her                         “Brenda would make an excellent Power
erary references, says, “This clearly is not               dialogue turns lumbering and clunky, sug-                 But “Wendy Wu’’ wouldn’t be a Disney           classic kung fu movies like “Five Deadly                       Ranger,’’ he said.
going to turn into ‘A Winter’s Tale,’ with ev-             gesting O’Neill at his most earnestly Freud-           production if it didn’t also have an un-
eryone hugging and being so glad.”                         ian. Worse, the play’s second act negates              derlying message for young people, and
   For the first half of “The Water’s Edge,”               what was good about its earlier scenes be-             there too Ms. Song says she can relate. Wen-
directed with an unswervingly straight face                cause it feels as if everything has been har-          dy is a second-generation Chinese-Ameri-
by Will Frears, it looks as if Ms. Rebeck                  nessed in the service of a single conceptual           can, and in the movie she and her family are
might pull off her mix of classical darkness               gimmick.                                               seen struggling with the tension between
and latter-day levity. The venturesome au-                    Ms. Burton, a Tony nominee this year for            embracing and renouncing their cultural
thor (with Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros)                   “The Constant Wife,” bears the principal               heritage.
of “Omnium Gatherum,” about a dinner                       burden of the play’s ponderousness. Accom-                For example Wendy’s father ends one din-
party in hell in the wake of 9/11, and “The                plished pro that she is, she does it beautiful-        ner by angrily pushing away a moon cake, a
Scene,” which was the toast of this year’s                 ly, making surprisingly light work of a                pastry associated with the Chinese mid-
Humana Festival of new plays, Ms. Rebeck                   wooden Clytemnestraish monologue in the                autumn festival that, in this instance, trig-
has a gift for lively dialogue teasingly lay-              final scene. Once again she proves herself             gers memories much as Proust’s madeleine
ered in ambivalence.                                       one of our most flexible and resourceful ac-           might. So that this scene, and others, would
   If the dramatic setup of “The Water’s                   tresses.                                               have some authenticity, it was reviewed
Edge” feels contrived, the emotional re-                      It is the less well-known performers,               closely before filming by Yunxiang Yan, a
sponses it elicits from its characters are                 though, who make “The Water’s Edge” es-                professor of anthropology at the University
often engagingly authentic. The relation-                  sential viewing for those on the watch for             of California, Los Angeles, and co-director
ships among Helen and her children are es-                 fresh talent. Ms. Gummer brings a crack-               of the university’s center for Chinese stud-
pecially well drawn, with entire, complex                  ling electricity to Erica’s anger that recalls         ies.
histories summoned in quick bursts of                      the young Meryl Streep (who happens to be                 “I always feel a movie can do a lot in
words. And in Act I and the beginning of Act               Ms. Gummer’s mother), at her hostile best,             terms of influence,’’ Professor Yan said in a
II, Ms. Rebeck stealthily weaves ominous                   in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.” Mr. Lysy’s               telephone interview. “In the movie you get
shadows through the bright, sharp banter of                touchingly eloquent awkwardness resharp-                                                                                                                                                                            Disney
                                                                                                                  the impression that cultural heritage is
battling family members. (The same mixed                   ens the edges of the archetypal young man                                                                Brenda Song and Shin Koyamada in the movie “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.”
                                                                                                                  something in your genes. It just needs to be
sensibility is evident in Alexander Dodge’s                frozen in eternal adolescence. And Ms. Pow-
claustrophobic, sylvan set, featuring a loom-              ell is charmingly ill at ease as an equally fa-
ing house with white columns that suggests                 miliar character, the girl who always winds
a scaled-down version of the mansion in Eu-
gene O’Neill’s “Mourning Becomes Elec-
                                                           up with Mr. Wrong.
                                                              Mr. Wrong himself is the least interesting
                                                           figure here. Though Mr. Goldwyn, a first-
                                                                                                                  Armory’s Opera Debut Delayed by Lincoln Center
   When the play takes a screeching U-turn                 rate actor, does what he can with the fat-                                                               tively expensive to install in time for the                       Ms. Robertson declined to comment on
into grotesqueness, you can’t say that Ms.                 uous Richard, he doesn’t keep the character                  Continued From First Arts Page              performances.”                                                 that point. “Our part of the deal was to pro-
                                                           from seeming like a human bull’s-eye in                                                                     Ms. McMahon said those amenities in-                        vide raw space in its current form and an
                                                           search of a bullet. (Just so you know, he              cost estimates were, or what caused them to       cluded a box office and emergency exits to                     air-conditioned Drill Hall,” she said.
The Water’s Edge                                           takes all his clothes off in a scene guaran-           be considered too high. In announcing the
                                                                                                                  performances in January, Lincoln Center
                                                                                                                                                                    serve an expected seating capacity of 1,800                       Ms. McMahon said the production would
By Theresa Rebeck; directed by Will Frears; sets by        teed to send many middle-aged men                                                                        people. But it was unclear who was paying                      go forward unchanged at Fisher Hall. An ex-
Alexander Dodge; costumes by Junghyun Georgia              straight to the gym in competitive envy.)              officials said it would create a “unique per-     for what.                                                      tension to the stage will allow the installa-
Lee; lighting by Frances Aronson; sound by Vincent            What with “The Water’s Edge” arriving               formance space” inside the armory to “real-
                                                                                                                                                                       “The whole project was a joint production                   tion of the large screen, she added.
Olivieri; original music by Michael Friedman; produc-      on the dude-stomping heels of Neil LaBute’s            ize the full impact of this remarkable pre-
tion stage manager, Roy Harris; stage manager, Shan-                                                              sentation.”                                       with the armory,” Ms. McMahon said, de-                           In the Los Angeles production Mr. Viola’s
                                                           “Some Girl(s),” this is turning out to be
na Spinello. Presented by the Second Stage Theater,
                                                                                                                     Ms. McMahon said the armory was cho-           clining to give a breakdown.                                   images displayed on the screen included
Carole Rothman, artistic director; Ellen Richard, in-      “Kick a Man When He’s Up Month.” Like
                                                                                                                  sen precisely because of its height, ideal for       But Ms. Robertson said the armory was                       surf breaking to the rhythms of the music,
terim executive director; Christopher Burney, associ-      Mr. LaBute’s play, which opened last week
ate artistic director; C. Barrack Evans, general man-      at the Lucille Lortel Theater, “The Water’s            the 32-by-18-foot screen used in the produc-      paying only to install air conditioning, which                 lovers swimming under water, bleak forests
ager; Jeff Wild, production manager. At the Second         Edge” presents a success-drunk womanizer               tion. But Lincoln Center said in a statement      it had planned to do anyway. “We just fast-                    and freighters sailing at night. The New
Stage Theater, 307 West 43rd Street, Clinton, (212) 246-   who is just asking for a punch in the mouth            on Wednesday, “It became apparent that ex-        tracked it so it could get done in time for                    York Philharmonic’s spokesman, Eric Latz-
4422. Through July 9. Running time: 2 hours.                                                                                                                        ‘Tristan,’ ” she said.                                         ky, interviewed by telephone from Parma,
                                                           or, more accurately, somewhere lower. Al-              isting air-conditioning, restroom and other
WITH: Kate Burton (Helen), Tony Goldwyn (Rich-                                                                    patron amenities would be inadequate for             Ms. McMahon said “transition” in leader-                    Italy, where the orchestra is on tour, said
                                                           pha males of New York with easily wounded
ard), Mamie Gummer (Erica), Austin Lysy (Nate)
and Katharine Powell (Lucy).                               feelings might want to avoid Off Broadway              the expected number of ticket holders, and        ship at the armory delayed budgeting and                       the glitch would not affect the orchestra’s
                                                           for a while.                                           anticipated alterations would be prohibi-         production.                                                    plans to move some concerts to the armory.

A18               N                                                                                 THE NEW YORK TIMES NATIONAL WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2009

                       CHRISTIAN FLIERI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES                                                                                                    CHRISTIAN FLIERI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES                                JIM WILSON FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

    An earthquake halted Markus O. Häring’s                              Seismologists say the drilling of bedrock caused the Basel earthquake in 2006. Residents in                                             James T. Turner of AltaRock said its sys-
    geothermal project in Basel, Switzerland.                            Northern California fear that a similar project by AltaRock Energy may cause larger quakes.                                             tems were safer than those used in Basel.

                                       In Bedrock, Clean Energy and Earthquake Fears
                                                   ture, the technique created earthquakes                          barked at them to go get the story, said                                                                   tend geothermal energy.”
              From Page A1                         because it requires injecting water at                           Philipp Loser, 28, a reporter there.             ONLINE: CAPTURING ENERGY                                     AltaRock, in its seismic activity re-
and that it can operate safely.                    great pressure down drilled holes to                               Aysel Mermer, 25, a waitress at the               An interactive graphic shows how a                     port, included the Basel earthquake in a
    But in a report on seismic impact that         fracture the deep bedrock. The opening                           Restaurant Schiff near the Rhine River,             project financed by the Energy                         list of temblors near geothermal
AltaRock was required to file, the com-            of each fracture is, literally, a tiny earth-                    said she thought a bomb had gone off.                                                                      projects, but the company denied that it
                                                                                                                                                                     Department intends to capture
pany failed to mention that the Basel              quake in which subterranean stresses                               Eveline Meyer, 44, a receptionist at a                                                                   had left out crucial details of the quake
                                                   rip apart a weak vein, crack or fault in                                                                          geothermal energy from hot bedrock.                       in seeking approval for the project in
program was shut down because of the                                                                                maritime exhibition, was on the phone
                                                   the rock. The high-pressure water can                            with a friend and thought that her wash-                                   California. So far, the company has re-
earthquake it caused. AltaRock claimed
it was uncertain that the project had              be thought of loosely as a lubricant that                        ing machine had, all by itself, started                                                                    ceived its permit from the federal Bu-
caused the quake, even though Swiss                makes it easier for those forces to slide                        clattering with an unbalanced load. “I                                                                     reau of Land Management to drill its
government seismologists and officials             the earth along the weak points, creat-                          was saying to my friend, ‘Am I now                                                                         first hole on land leased to the Northern
on the Basel project agreed that it did.           ing a web or network of fractures.                               completely nuts?’“ Ms. Meyer recalled.           overlap of research and commercial in-                    California Power Agency, but still
Nor did AltaRock mention the thou-                    Mr. Häring planned to use that net-                           Then, she said, the line went dead.              terests was common in science and en-                     awaits a second permit to fracture rock.
sands of smaller earthquakes induced               work as the ultimate teapot, circulating                           Mr. Häring was rushed to police                gineering but added that it might be                         “We did discuss Basel, in particular,
by the Basel project that continued for            water through the fractures and hoping                           headquarters in a squad car so he could          perceived as a conflict of interest. “It’s                the 3.4 event, with the B.L.M. early in
                                                   it emerged as steam. But what sur-                               explain what had happened. By the time           very, very satisfying to see something                    the project,” Mr. Turner said in an
months after it shut down.
                                                   prised him that afternoon was the inten-                         word slipped out that the project had set        go from theory to application to actually                 e-mail response to questions after the
    The California project is the first of
                                                   sity of the quakes because advocates of                          off the earthquake, Mr. Loser said, out-         making money and being accepted by                        visit.
dozens that could be operating in the
                                                   the method believe they can pull off a                           rage was sweeping the city. The earth-           society,” Professor Rogers said. “It’s                       But Richard Estabrook, a petroleum
United States in the next several years,
                                                   delicate balancing act, tearing the rock                         quakes, including three more above               what every scientist dreams of.”                          engineer in the Ukiah, Calif., field office
driven by a push to cut emissions of
                                                   without creating larger earthquakes.                             magnitude 3, rattled on for about a year            Ms. Petty said that her first “serious                 of the land agency who has a lead role in
heat-trapping gases and the Obama ad-
                                                      Alarmed, Mr. Häring and other com-                            — more than 3,500 in all, according to           discussions” with Ms. Vassallo about                      granting the necessary federal permits,
ministration’s support for renewable
                                                   pany officials decided to release all                            the company’s sensors.                           forming a company did not come until                      gave a different account when asked if
                                                   pressure in the well to try to halt the                            Although no serious injuries were re-          the report was officially released in late                he knew that the Basel project had shut
    Geothermal’s potential as a clean en-
                                                   fracturing. But as they stood a few miles                        ported, Geothermal Explorers’ insur-             January 2007. That June, Ms. Petty                        down because of earthquakes or that it
ergy source has raised huge hopes, and
                                                   from the drill site, giving the orders by                        ance company ultimately paid more                founded AltaRock with $4 million from                     had induced more than 3,500 quakes.
its advocates believe it could put a sig-
                                                   speakerphone to workers atop the hole,                           than $8 million in mostly minor damage           Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures,                         “I’ll be honest,” he said. “I didn’t
nificant dent in American dependence
                                                   a much bigger jolt shook the room.                               claims to the owners of thousands of             an investment firm based in California.                   know that.”
on fossil fuels — potentially supplying
                                                      “I think that was us,” said one                               houses in Switzerland and in neigh-                 The Basel earthquake hit more than a                      Mr. Estabrook said he was still lean-
roughly 15 percent of the nation’s elec-
                                                   stunned official.                                                boring Germany and France.                       month before the Energy Department’s                      ing toward giving approval if the com-
tricity by 2030, according to one esti-
                                                      Analysis of seismic data proved him                                                                            report came out, but no reference to it                   pany agreed to controls that could stop
mate by Google. The earth’s heat is al-
                                                   correct. The quake measured 3.4 —                                                                                 was included in the report’s spare and                    the work if it set off earthquakes above
ways there waiting to be tapped, unlike
                                                   modest in some parts of the world. But
                                                                                                                    Optimism and Opportunity                         reassuring references to earthquake
wind and solar power, which are in-                                                                                                                                                                                            a certain intensity. But, he said, speak-
                                                   triggered quakes tend to be shallower                               In the United States, where the Basel         risks. Ms. Petty said the document had                    ing of the Basel project’s shutdown, “I
termittent and thus more fickle. Ac-
                                                   than natural ones, and residents gener-                          earthquakes received little news cover-          already been at the printer by the fall,                  wish that had been disclosed.”
cording to a 2007 geothermal report fi-
                                                   ally describe them as a single, explosive                        age, the fortunes of geothermal energy           “so there was no way we could have in-
nanced by the Energy Department, ad-
                                                   bang or jolt — often out of proportion to                        were already on a dizzying rise. The op-         cluded the Basel event in the report.”
vanced geothermal power could in the-                                                                                                                                                                                          Bracing for Tremors
                                                   the magnitude — rather than a rumble.                            timistic conclusions of the Energy De-              Officials at AltaRock, with offices in
ory produce as much as 60,000 times the
                                                      Triggered quakes are also frequently                          partment’s geothermal report began               Sausalito, Calif., and Seattle, insist that                  There was a time when Anderson
nation’s annual energy usage. President
                                                   accompanied by an “air shock,” a loud                            driving interest from investors, as word         the company has learned the lessons of                    Springs, about two miles from the
Obama, in a news conference Tuesday,
                                                   tearing or roaring noise.                                        trickled out before its official release.        Basel and that its own studies indicate                   project site, had few earthquakes — no
cited geothermal power as part of the
                                                      The noise “made me feel it was some                              In fall 2006, after some of the findings      the project can be carried out safely.                    more than anywhere else in the hills of
“clean energy transformation” that a
                                                   sort of supersonic aircraft going over-                          were presented at a trade meeting, Trae          James T. Turner, AltaRock’s senior vice                   Northern California. Over cookies and
climate bill now before Congress could
                                                   head,” said Heinrich Schwendener, who,                           Vassallo, a partner at the firm Kleiner          president for operations, said the com-                   tea in the cabin his family has owned
bring about.
                                                   as president of Geopower Basel, the                              Perkins, phoned Ms. Petty, the geother-          pany had applied for roughly 20 patents                   since 1958, Tom Grant and his sister
    Dan W. Reicher, an assistant energy
                                                   consortium that includes Geothermal                              mal researcher who was one of 18 au-             on ways to improve the method.                            Cynthia Lora reminisced with their
secretary in the Clinton administration
                                                   Explorers and the utility companies,                             thors on the report, according to e-mail            Mr. Turner also asserted in a visit to                 spouses over visiting the town, once fa-
who is now director of climate change
                                                   was standing next to the borehole.                               messages from both women. That call              the project site last month that Alta-                    mous for its mineral baths, in the 1940s
and energy at Google’s investment and                                                                                                                                                                                          and ’50s. “I never felt an earthquake up
                                                      “It took me maybe half a minute to re-                        eventually led Ms. Petty to found Al-            Rock’s monitoring and fail-safe systems
philanthropic arm, said geothermal en-                                                                                                                                                                                         here,” Mr. Grant said .
                                                   alize, hey, this is not a supersonic plane,                      taRock and bring in, by Ms. Petty’s tally,       were superior to those used in Basel.
ergy had “the potential to deliver vast
                                                   this is my well,” Mr. Schwendener said.                          another six of the authors as consult-              “We think it’s going to be pretty                         Then came a frenzy of drilling for un-
amounts of power almost anywhere in
                                                      By that time, much of the city was in                         ants to the company or in other roles.           neat,” Mr. Turner said as he stood next                   derground steam just to the west at The
the world, 24/7.”
                                                   an uproar. In the newsroom of the city’s                            J. David Rogers, a professor and geo-         to a rig where the company plans to drill                 Geysers, a roughly 30-square-mile
    Power companies have long produced                                                                                                                                                                                         patch of wooded hills threaded with
                                                   main paper, Basler Zeitung, reporters                            logical engineer at the Missouri Uni-            a hole almost two and a half miles deep.
limited amounts of geothermal energy                                                                                                                                                                                           huge, curving tubes and squat power
                                                   dived under tables and desks, some re-                           versity of Science and Technology who            “And when it’s successful, we’ll have a
by tapping shallow steam beds, often                                                                                                                                                                                           plants. The Geysers is the nation’s larg-
                                                   fusing to move until a veteran editor                            was not involved in the report, said such        good-news story that says we can ex-
beneath geysers or vents called fuma-                                                                                                                                                                                          est producer of traditional geothermal
roles. Even those projects can induce                                                                                                                                                                                          energy. Government seismologists con-
earthquakes, although most are small.                                                                                                                         The Danger of Digging Deeper                                     firm that earthquakes were far less fre-
But for geothermal energy to be used                                                                                                                          A new project financed by the Energy                             quent in the past and that the geother-
                                                     Diagram is
more widely, engineers need to find a                schematic                                                                                                                                                                 mal project produces as many as 1,000
                                                                                  Cool water is pumped                                                        Department aims to capture geothermal
way to draw on the heat at deeper levels                                                                                                                                                                                       small earthquakes a year as the ground
percolating in the earth’s core.                                                        into cracks and                                                       energy from hot bedrock. But the rock
                                                                                                                                                  k                                                                            expands and contracts like an enor-
    Some geothermal advocates believe
                                                                                   heated by the rocks.                                        roc            must be broken up to extract the heat,
                                                                                                                                           cke                and that process creates earthquakes.                            mous sponge with the extraction of
the method used in Basel, and to be                                                                                                     wa
                                                                                  Hot water is extracted                              ay                                                                                       steam and the injection of water to re-
tried in California, could be that break-                                              to run turbines in                          Gr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               place it.
through. But because large earthquakes                                                      power plants.                                                                                                                         These days, Anderson Springs is a
tend to originate at great depths, break-                                                                                                                     Current Process                                                  mixed community of working class and
ing rock that far down carries more se-                                                                                                                       For decades, energy companies have                               retired residents, affluent professionals
rious risk, seismologists say. Seismol-                                                                                                                       been drilling into a sandstone like rock                         and a smattering of artists. Everyone
ogists have long known that human ac-                                                                                            Graywacke is
                                                                                                                                                              called graywacke that is heated by hot                           has a story about earthquakes. There
tivities can trigger quakes, but they say                                                                                        riddled with
                                                                                                                                 small natural                bedrock underneath.                                              are cats that suddenly leap in terror,
the science is not developed enough to                                                                                                                                                                                         guests who have to be warned about
say for certain what will or will not set                                                                                        cracks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               tremors, thousands of dollars of repairs
off a major temblor.                                                                            Area of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               to walls and cabinets that just do not
    Even so, there is no shortage of                                                            detail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               want to stay together.
money for testing the idea. Mr. Reicher                                                                                                                       The Next Step                                                       Residents have been fighting for
has overseen a $6.25 million investment                                                                                                                       The new project will drill miles deeper,                         years with California power companies
by Google in AltaRock, and with more                                                                                                                          into the felsite rock that intrudes into the                     over the earthquakes, occasionally win-
than $200 million in new federal money                                                                                                                        graywacke, causing the rock to shift and                         ning modest financial compensation.
for geothermal, the Energy Department                                                                                                                         break — and generate earthquakes.                                But the obscure nature of earthquakes
has already approved financing for re-                                                                                                                                                                                         always gives the companies an out, says
lated projects in Idaho by the University                                                                                                                           The start-up company running the                           Douglas Bartlett, who works in market-
of Utah; in Nevada by Ormat Technolo-                                                                Felsite rock
                                                                                                                                                                    project, AltaRock Energy, says that                        ing at Bay Area Rapid Transit in San
gies; and in California by Calpine, just a                                                           High-pressure water will                                                                                                  Francisco, and with his wife, Susan,
                                                                                                     create a network of                                            the small tremors are negligible and
few miles from AltaRock’s project.                   2.5 m                                                                                                                                                                     owns a bungalow in town.
                                                     deep iles                                       fractures through the                                          that large quakes can be avoided by
    Steven E. Koonin, the under secre-                                                                                                                                                                                            “If they were creating tornadoes,
tary for science at the Energy Depart-                                                               granite-like rock, making                                      controlling the fractures and staying
                                                                                                     space for water to reach                                                                                                  they would be shut down immediately,”
ment, said the earthquake issue was                                                                                                                                 away from known faults.
                                                                                                     the rock’s heat.                                                                                                          Mr. Bartlett said. “But because it’s un-
new to him, but added, “We’re commit-                                                                                                                                                                                          der the ground, where you can’t see it,
ted to doing things in a factual and rig-                                                                                                                                                                                      and somewhat conjectural, they keep
orous way, and if there is a problem, we                                                                                                                                                                                       doing it.”
will attend to it.”                                                                                                                                                                                                               Now, the residents are bracing for
    The tone is more urgent in Europe.                                                                                                                              in felsite                                                 more. As David Oppenheimer, a seis-
“This was my main question to the ex-                                                                                                                                                                                          mologist at the United States Geological
perts: Can you exclude that there is a                                                                                                                                                                                         Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., explains it,
major earthquake triggered by this                                       On Shaky Ground                                                                                                                                       The Geysers is heated by magma well-
man-made activity?” said Rudolf                      Area of             The project site is near an                    The energy companies all                   Larger tremors follow the same pattern,                     ing up from deep in the earth. Above the
Braun, chairman of the project team                                      area laced with faults, and is                 concede that they set off                  suggesting that they are also triggered,                    magma is a layer of granite-like rock
that the City of Basel created to study                                  shaken daily by earthquakes.                   smaller earthquakes.                       although one company denies it.                             called felsite, which transmits heat to a
                                                    San Francisco
the risks of resuming the project.                                                                                                                                                                                             thick layer of sandstone-like material
    “I was quite surprised that all of them                                                     Potentially                                                                                                                    called graywacke, riddled with frac-
said: ‘No, we can’t. We can’t exclude                                                           active faults                                     Developed                                                                    tures and filled with steam.
it,’“ said Mr. Braun, whose study is due                                                                                                          areas                                                                           The steam is what originally drew the
this year.                                                       Active                                                                                                                                                        power companies here. But the Alta-
    “It would be just unfortunate if, in the                     faults                                                                                                                                                        Rock project will, for the first time, drill
United States, you rush ahead and don’t                                                         Springs                                                                                                                        deep into the felsite. Mr. Turner said

take into account what happened here,”                                                                                                                                                                                         that AltaRock, which will drill on federal

                                                                                              Project                                            Project                                                 Project

he said.                                                                                      site                                               site                                                    site                  land leased by the Northern California

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Power Agency, had calculated that the

Basel’s Big Shock                                                                      Santa Rosa                                                                                                                              number of earthquakes felt by residents
                                                                                                       Napa                                                                                                                    in Anderson Springs and local commu-
   By the time people were getting off                                                                                                                                                                                         nities would not noticeably increase.
work amid rain squalls in Basel on Dec.                                                                              Earthquakes                                       Earthquakes                                                But many residents are skeptical.
                                                           20 miles
8, 2006, Mr. Häring’s problems had al-                                                                               magnitude                                         larger than 3.0                                            “It’s terrifying,” said Susan Bartlett,
ready begun. His incision into the                                                                                   1.0 to 3.0                                        2002-9                                                  who works as a new patient coordinator
ground was setting off small earth-                                                                 San Francisco    2002-9                                                                                                    at the Pacific Fertility Center in San
quakes that people were starting to feel                                                                                                                                                                                       Francisco. “What’s happening to all
around the city.                                                                                                                                                                                                               these rocks that they’re busting into a
                                                   Sources: Northern California Earthquake Data Center; California Geological Survey; AltaRock                 ERIN AIGNER, HANNAH FAIRFIELD, XAQUÍN G.V./THE NEW YORK TIMES
   Mr. Häring knew that by its very na-                                                                                                                                                                                        million pieces?”

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