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Posted on Friday, March 23 - 2007

A sliver of four-billion-year-old sea floor has offered a glimpse into the inner workings of an adolescent Earth. The baked and twisted rocks, now part of Greenland, show the earliest evidence of plate tectonics, colossal movements of the planet's outer shell. Until now, researchers were unable to say when the process, which explains how oceans and continents form, began. The unique find, described in the journal Science, shows the movements started soon after the planet formed. "Since the plate tectonic paradigm is the framework in which we interpret all modern-daygeology, it is important to know how far back in time it operated," said Professor Minik Rosing of the University of Copenhagen and one of the authors of the paper.

Sea floor is not normally preserved for more than 200 million years. Professor John Valley, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison described the work as "significant" and "exciting". "If these observations are substantiated it will be a significant line of new evidence indicating that plate tectonics was active and familiar as early as 3.8 million years ago," he said. "That really is an important conclusion." Plate tectonics is a geological theoryused to explain the observed large-scale motions of the Earth's surface. The relatively thin outer shell of the planet is composed of two layers: the lithosphere and the asthenosphere. Ancient pillow lavas are preserved in exquisite detail The lithosphere - made up of the outer crust and the top-most layer of the underlying mantle - is broken up into huge plates; seven major plates and several smaller ones.To view the rest of this article, please visit the source


Views : 10306

Posted on Wednesday, August 28 - 2013

Rain clouds can be produced on demand.
Image Credit: CC 2.0 JDP90

Scientists are experimenting with laser pulses that can create clouds and influence the weather. The sophisticated weather modification technique has been continuing to gain momentum andwill be discussed in detail at a meeting of the UN World Meteorological Organization in Geneva next month.The technique uses lasers to send intense pulses of light in to the sky, inducing the formation of ice and the condensation of water which in turn results in cloud formation.

The ability to do this on demand would provide a way to trigger heavy rainfall or lightning at a more convenient time before a major event or away from an area vulnerable to flooding or damage.Weathermanipulation is not a new idea - from ritualistic rain dances to experimental cloud seeding, mankind has always held a fascination with controlling the heavens. While previous efforts have yielded some degree of success, the new laser pulse method could prove to be the first reliable mechanism that can change the weather on demand without the use of chemicals.

Source: LWC

Views : 4703

Posted on Wednesday, July 31 - 2013

Plants could indrectly lead to health problems and even death during periods of extreme hot weather.The surprising claim is based on the role that plants play in absorbing ozone from the air, a key factor in mitigating pollution. Researchers discovered that while plants normally absorb ozone through small holes in their leaves, during a heat wave they tend to close these holes, reducing the amount of pollution that the process removes fromthe air.

Indirectly, this can lead to respiratory problems in humans and can even be fatal to those with pre-existing conditions.A study of a particularly hot UK summer in 2006 suggested that up to 460 extra people died because of the loss of ozone absorption by plants during the heat wave. People with existing cardiovascular or respiratory ailments are most at risk during these times. "A study published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics foundthat during heat waves, plants tend to absorb less pollution from the air."  

View: Full article |  Source: National Geographic  

Views : 395

Posted on Friday, July 26 - 2013

The release of large quantities of methane gas could have dire environmental and economic consequences.An important consideration in relation to climate change, the impact of methane gas being released from Arctic permafrost due to rising temperatures has mostly slipped under the radar. Researchers believe that not only will this result in a rise in sea levels but the economic cost of increased flooding,agricultural damage and the impact on human health could cost upwards of $60 trillion."That"s an economic time bomb that at this stage has not been recognized on the world stage," said research author Prof Gail Whiteman.

"We think it"s incredibly important for world leaders to really discuss what are the implications of this methane release and what could we indeed do about it to hopefully prevent the whole burst from happening." "Scientists say thatthe release of large amounts of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have huge economic impacts for the world."  

View: Full article |  Source: BBC News  

Views : 469

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