Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Deep water discovered towards Earth’s core

“This water is much deeper than ever found before, at a third of the way to the edge of Earth’s core”

“If it wasn’t down there, we would all be submerged,” says Steve Jacobsen at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern geophysicist Steve Jacobsen and his team made the discovery. “This implies a bigger reservoir of water on the planet than previously thought.” Scientists have found deep pockets of magma located about 400 miles beneath North America, a likely signature of the presence of water at these depths. It looks like water from the Earth’s surface can be driven to such great depths by plate tectonics, eventually causing partial melting of the rocks found deep in the mantle.

“Geological processes on the Earth’s surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight,” said Jacobsen. “I think we are finally seeing evidence for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this missing deep water for decades.”

Read additionally “How we know what lies at Eath’s core” at BBC.

What scientists just discovered in Greenland

A new study finds that climate change may affect the Greenland ice sheet more seriously than scientists could imagine.

The new study , published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, focuses on a part of the ice sheet known as “firn” – a porous layer of built-up snow that slowly freezes into ice over time. It’s considered an important part of the ice sheet because of its ability to trap and store excess water before it’s able to run off the surface of the glacier, an essential service that helps mitigate the sea-level rise that would otherwise be caused by the runoff water.

“As this layer is porous and the pores are connected, theoretically all the pore space in this firn layer can be used to store meltwater percolating into the firn whenever melt occurs at the surface,” said the new paper’s lead author, Horst Machguth of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland , in an email to The Washington Post. Over time, the percolating meltwater trickles down through the firn and refreezes.

Washington Post

Philippines’ volcano started up

It is reporting that yesterday the most active Philippines’ volcano Mayon, 2,640-metre (8,070-foot) Mayon, located about 330 kilometres (200 miles) southwest of Manila, had been awoke and lava cascaded from the hill. The volcano’s world-renowned perfect cone appeared to have been deformed, swollen with lava that had risen from the Earth’s core.

Soldiers went from house to house asking residents to evacuate, after authorities on Monday raised the third highest alert in a five-step scale, meaning a full-scale eruption is possible “within weeks”. At least 8,000 of the target 50,000 people had been moved to temporary shelters, with the operation expected to run for three days, regional civil defence director Bernardo Alejandro told AFP.

The home we’ve ever known

We succeeded taking that picture (Voyager 1, in 1990 (NASA)from deep space), and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

From Dr. Sagan’s book Pale Blue Dot

God Particle

You have probably head about Higgs boson. Scientists working at the world’s largest atom smasher say they have enough evidence of the long-sought-after Higgs boson. What is wxactly Higgs boson and how does it work?

There is a gist of the standard model, developed in the early 1970s: The Higgs boson appeared 13.7 billion years ago in the chaos of the Big Bang and turned the flying debris into galaxies, stars and planets. Our entire universe is made of 12 different matter particles and four forces. Among those 12 particles, you’ll encounter six quarks and six leptons. Quarks make up protons and neutrons, while members of the lepton family include the electron and the electron neutrino, its neutrally charged counterpart. Scientists think that leptons and quarks are indivisible; that you can’t break them apart into smaller particles. Along with all those particles, the standard model also acknowledges four forces: gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak. Here is the picture found online trying to get illustrated explanation of the subject.

As theories go, the standard model has been very effective, aside from its failure to fit in gravity. Armed with it, physicists have predicted the existence of certain particles years before they were verified empirically. Unfortunately, the model still has another missing piece – the Higgs boson.

“We think the Higgs boson is a manifestation of the fact that the universe is filled with a force that we haven’t been able to detect yet that gives other particles mass,” Lykken told NPR. “It exists for a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second, or something like that, and then falls apart into other particles.”

Thus, scientists are in a bit of a quagmire, according to the AP. While they appear to have enough evidence to report the existence of the “God particle,” they still hedge on whether to report “a discovery.” It’s a fine line, indeed, but one that scientists will likely continue to debate.

Nuclear reactor means

“…A nuclear reactor means bring fissile material to a point at which it is hot enough to boil water (in a light-water reactor) and not enough to melt and go supercritical (China syndrome or a Chernobyl incident). You simply cannot let it get away from you because if it does, you can’t stop it.

The Japanese are still talking about days or weeks to clean this up. That’s not true. They cannot clean it up. And no one will live in that area again for dozens or maybe hundreds of years.”

This is taken from the article ‘When The Fukushima Meltdown Hits Groundwater’ by Dr. Tom Burnett. You can read it on http://rense.com/general93/whent.htm

The Elegant Universe

In Einstein’s day, the strong and weak forces had not yet been discovered, but he found the existence of even two distinct forces—gravity and electromagnetism—deeply troubling. Einstein did not accept that nature is founded on such an extravagant design. This launched his 30-year voyage in search of the so-called unified field theory that he hoped would show that these two forces are really manifestations of one grand underlying principle. This quixotic quest isolated Einstein from the mainstream of physics, which, understandably, was far more excited about delving into the newly emerging framework of quantum mechanics. He wrote to a friend in the early 1940s, “I have become a lonely old chap who is mainly known because he doesn’t wear socks and who is exhibited as a curiosity on special occasions.”

Einstein was simply ahead of his time. More than half a century later, his dream of a unified theory has become the Holy Grail of modern physics. And a sizeable part of the physics and mathematics community is becoming increasingly convinced that string theory may provide the answer. From one principle—that everything at its most microscopic level consists of combinations of vibrating strands—string theory provides a single explanatory framework capable of encompassing all forces and all matter.

String theory proclaims, for instance, that the observed particle properties—that is, the different masses and other properties of both the fundamental particles and the force particles associated with the four forces of nature (the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism, and gravity)—are a reflection of the various ways in which a string can vibrate. Just as the strings on a violin or on a piano have resonant frequencies at which they prefer to vibrate—patterns that our ears sense as various musical notes and their higher harmonics—the same holds true for the loops of string theory. But rather than producing musical notes, each of the preferred mass and force charges are determined by the string’s oscillatory pattern. The electron is a string vibrating one way, the up-quark is a string vibrating another way, and so on.

Far from being a collection of chaotic experimental facts, particle properties in string theory are the manifestation of one and the same physical feature: the resonant patterns of vibration—the music, so to speak—of fundamental loops of string. The same idea applies to the forces of nature as well. Force particles are also associated with particular patterns of string vibration and hence everything, all matter and all forces, is unified under the same rubric of microscopic string oscillations—the “notes” that strings can play.

read more – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/everything.html

The cause of the dinosaurs extinction

It’s reported that the new study, conducted by scientists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan and published in the journal Science, found that a 15-kilometre (9 miles) wide asteroid slamming into Earth at Chicxulub in what is now Mexico was the culprit.

“We now have great confidence that an asteroid was the cause of the KT extinction. This triggered large-scale fires, earthquakes measuring more than 10 on the Richter scale, and continental landslides, which created tsunamis,” said Joanna Morgan of Imperial College London, a co-author of the review.

One day we will run out of oil

Independent has published an interview with Dr Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the respected International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris where he said that the public and many governments appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the oil on which modern civilisation depends is running out far faster than previously predicted and that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years – at least a decade earlier than most governments had estimated.

“One day we will run out of oil, it is not today or tomorrow, but one day we will run out of oil and we have to leave oil before oil leaves us, and we have to prepare ourselves for that day,” Dr Birol said. “The earlier we start, the better, because all of our economic and social system is based on oil, so to change from that will take a lot of time and a lot of money and we should take this issue very seriously,” he said.

“The market power of the very few oil-producing countries, mainly in the Middle East, will increase very quickly. They already have about 40 per cent share of the oil market and this will increase much more strongly in the future,” he said.

Earthquakes 2009

Statistic shows that earthquakes have become more often, more massive and more unpredicted during last years.

An earthquake struck off the coast of Honduras on Thursday, May 28, 2009, 125 km (75 miles) NNE of La Ceiba, Honduras, Magnitude 7.3

At least 7 people killed, 40 injured and more than 130 buildings damaged or destroyed in northern Honduras. The central span of a major bridge at El Progreso was destroyed. At least 5 buildings destroyed and 25 damaged in Belize. Felt in much of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Also felt in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Virgin Islands and in parts of Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. Seiches were reported in swimming pools at La Ceiba and Roatan and ground cracks and possible liquefaction was observed at Monkey River, Belize.
The shallow, magnitude 4.7 seismic event that occurred on 25 May 2009 at 00:54:43 UTC is linked to the claim of a nuclear test by North Korean officials. While the USGS cannot positively identify the seismic event as a nuclear test, it was shallow and located in the vicinity of the 9 October 2006 North Korean nuclear test (magnitude 4.3). Moreover, comparisons of the seismograms of the 9 October 2006 and 25 May 2009 events at individual seismic stations shows similar features, suggesting that the two events are in close spatial proximity and are the same type of source, although the more recent event is larger.
A magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck about 3 miles east of Los Angeles International airport at 8:39 p.m. (PDT) local time, at a depth of 8.5 miles. Given that the location is in a densely populated part of the Los Angeles basin, it was widely felt. Initial estimates from the USGS ShakeMap indicate that although strong shaking will have been felt by many people, damage is expected to be light.
An earthquake occurred 95 km (60 miles) NE of ROME, Italy on April 6, 2009. The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available.
At least 287 people killed, 1,000 injured, 40,000 homeless and 10,000 buildings damaged or destroyed in the L’Aquila area. Felt throughout central Italy.
The April 6th 2009 earthquake in Central Italy occurred as a result of normal faulting on a NW-SE oriented structure in the central Apennines, a mountain belt that runs from the Gulf of Taranto in the south to the southern edge of the Po basin in northern Italy.
You can check out amount of recent, this year earthquakes on the site of scientists of the changing world http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/eqarchives/significant/sig_2009.php
Look at last massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that have been taking place just last week moved the south of New Zealand closer to Australia, scientists said Wednesday. Ken Gledhill, scientist of GNS Science said the shift illustrated the huge force of the tremor, the biggest in the world so far this year.

“Basically, New Zealand just got a little bit bigger is another way to think about it,” he told AFP. Actually the South Island moved about 30 centimetres closer to Australia, the east coast of the island moved only one centimetre westwards, he said. “For a very large earthquake, although it was very widely felt, there were very few areas that were severely shaken,” Gledhill said

The latest quake was the biggest since February 2, 1931 when a 7.8 quake killed at least 256 people in the North Island city of Napier, APN reports.

The biggest quake recorded here measured 8.2 and caused major damage in 1855 in the fledgling European settlement that later became the capital Wellington.

The latest quake was unusual in striking right on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific plates and will be important in researching earthquake hazards, Gledhill said.