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Tue, 25 Jul 2017
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Secret History


Strange formation on Colorado Rockies sheds light on Earth's past

© Siddoway and Gehrels, Lithosphere
Central Colorado’s Tava sandstone (light-colored band of rock at center, with geology student for scale) probably formed between 680 million and 800 million years ago, a new study suggests.
In the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, smack in the middle of a cliff that overlooks U.S. Highway 24, resides a very unusual geological formation. This reddish gray, sharp-edged, and erosion-resistant swath of sandstone stands in stark contrast to the crumbling, heavily weathered granites that lie on either side. Now, scientists say they have narrowed down when this anomaly and others like it in this region formed - a discovery that may give researchers new clues about the breakup of an ancient supercontinent hundreds of millions of years ago.

Many outcrops of the "Tava sandstone" - derived from a Native American name for Pikes Peak, a local landmark - are found along the Ute Pass fault, which runs along the Front Range near Colorado Springs. First noted by geologists more than 130 years ago, these deposits have long been recognized as strange, says Christine Siddoway, a geologist at Colorado College, Colorado Springs. Many sandstone formations show layers of some type, signs they were laid down over time in distinct episodes by wind or flowing water. But the individual grains in the Tava sandstone, which typically are bits of quartz measuring from 125 to 250 micrometers across, are well mixed, and they're peppered with larger bits of quartz up to 3 millimeters in diameter. Once free-flowing but now firmly cemented together with an iron-bearing mineral called hematite, the sand grains were apparently injected into cracks in ancient granite - some of them as much as 6 meters wide - under high pressure. The now-solid Tava deposits apparently flowed from vast reservoirs of once-waterlogged sand, some of them containing more than 1 million cubic meters of material.

"This is a very unusual [sandstone]," says Arlo Weil, a structural geologist at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, who wasn't involved in the new study. "It must have been formed by a very rapid, chaotic process."


Nazca lines of Kazakhstan: More than 50 geoglyphs discovered

© DigitalGlobe, courtesy Google Earth
More than 50 geoglyphs, including one shaped like a swastika, have been discovered in northern Kazakhstan.
More than 50 geoglyphs with various shapes and sizes, including a massive swastika, have been discovered across northern Kazakhstan in Central Asia, say archaeologists.

These sprawling structures, mostly earthen mounds, create the type of landscape art most famously seen in the Nazca region of Peru.

Discovered using Google Earth, the geoglyphs are designed in a variety of geometric shapes, including squares, rings, crosses and swastikas (the swastika is a design that was used in ancient times). Ranging from 90 to 400 meters (295 to 1,312 feet) in diameter, some of them are longer than a modern-day aircraft carrier. Researchers say that the geoglyphs are difficult to see on the ground, but can easily be seen from the sky. [See Photos of the Amazing Geoglyphs in Kazakhstan]

Over the past year, an archaeological expedition from Kazakhstan's Kostanay University, working in collaboration with Vilnius University in Lithuania, has been examining the geoglyphs. The team, which is conducting archaeological excavations, ground-penetrating radar surveys, aerial photography and dating, recently presented its initial results at the European Association of Archaeologists' annual meeting in Istanbul.


Alexander-era Amphipolis tomb gives needed hope to Greeks

Two sphinxes guard the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis
The discovery of an enormous tomb in northern Greece, dating to the time of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, has enthused Greeks, distracting them from a dire economic crisis.

Who, they are asking, is buried within.

In early August, a team of Greek archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri unearthed what officials say is the largest burial site ever to be discovered in the country. The mound is in ancient Amphipolis, a major city of the Macedonian kingdom, 100km (62 miles) east of Thessaloniki, Greece's second city.

The structure dates back to the late 4th Century BC and is 500m (1,600ft) wide, dwarfing the burial site of Alexander's father, Philip II, in Vergina, west of Thessaloniki.

Treasure Chest

Archaeologists reveal astounding Bronze Age microscopic gold work from around Stonehenge

© University of Birmingham and David Bukach
Detail of the decoration of the dagger handle showing the zig-zag pattern made by the tiny studs.
Archaeologists have revealed the process utilized by highly-skilled craftsmen to create the magnificent gold artifacts that were found around Stonehenge. According to Discovery News, the gold work involved such tiny components that optical experts believe they could only have been made by children or adults with extreme short-sightedness, and would have caused lasting damage to their eyesight.

In 1808, William Cunnington, one of Britain's earliest professional archaeologists, discovered what has become known as the crown jewels of the 'King of Stonehenge'. They were found within a large Bronze Age burial mound just ½ mile from Stonehenge, known today as Bush Barrow. Within the 4,000-year-old barrow, Cunnington found ornate jewellery, a gold lozenge that fastened his cloak, and an intricately decorated dagger.

Comment: Why is it that archaeologists of the mainstream ilk always projects ancients as brutes with primitive to no technology, as in 'they must have been myopic'. Most ancient technology has been lost to cataclysms and archives of 'forbidden history', but still optical technology made from crystals isn't that far of a stretch.

See also: New digital map reveals hidden archaeology of Stonehenge


Mystery of strange pattern in ground near Coventry, England

© Google Map
A Google Map image of the mysterious pattern in Temple Balsall.
Mystery surrounds a strange pattern carved into the ground near Coventry.

The spiral shape was spotted on satellite maps by a historian researching the fabled Knights Templar, who founded the tiny hamlet of Temple Balsall, near Balsall Common, 1,000 years ago.

Intriguingly the pattern, which is about 30m in length, is just half a mile from the site of an intricate crop circle which appeared in 2011.


Hidden cave system of Rouffignac is millions of years old

© Getty Images/Lonely Planet Source: Getty Images
Rock art in Rouffignac Cave.
The train cart rattles along the track. Leaving the bright sunshine behind, you plunge deep into the dank, subterranean world.

The guide points out scratch marks on the wall - made by bears, who fortunately don't live in the caves anymore. Venturing deeper, you pass some engravings and drawings of a rhino, horses and a procession of mammoths. They are impressive. Not simply childish drawings of animals, but skilled works of art.

Two kilometres in, the train grinds to a halt. You get out and start to walk, hoping the movement will warm up your limbs. You stumble into a hidden gallery, darkness engulfing the group. The guide explains in hushed tones why these caves are so magnificent.

At last, you're allowed to switch on your head-torch. Gazing upwards, you now understand what the guide was on about. Animals of all shapes and sizes adorn the ceiling. Some intricately painted, others simple line drawings. No wonder this is known as the "Great Ceiling".

Welcome to Rouffignac Cave.

© www.leperigordnoir.fr
Painting of a mammoth c. 13,000 years old
Around two to three million years ago, this vast network of caves in Dordogne, France was created when water penetrated along fractures in the bedrock, dissolving the soft limestone. The cave system reaches 10 kilometres underground, through a mind-boggling maze of tunnels and shafts.

Over 250 prehistoric artworks litter the walls of this cave system, which is accessible only aboard the electric train that zips visitors 13,000 years back in time.


New light shed on the mysterious 'unknown eruption'

© Xinhua/Muhammad Imadudin

New light has been shed on one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in the last 500 years - the so-called 'Unknown eruption' - thanks to an unusual collaboration between a historian and a team of earth scientists at the University of Bristol, UK.

This eruption occurred just before the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption which is famous for its impact on climate worldwide, with 1816 given memorable names such as 'Eighteen-Hundred-and-Froze-to-Death', the 'Year of the Beggar' and the 'Year Without a Summer' because of unseasonal frosts, crop failure and famine across Europe and North America. The extraordinary conditions are considered to have inspired literary works such as Byron's 'Darkness' and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

However, the global deterioration of the 1810s into the coldest decade in the last 500 years started six years earlier, with another large eruption. In contrast to Tambora, this so-called 'Unknown' eruption seemingly occurred unnoticed, with both its location and date a mystery. In fact the 'Unknown' eruption was only recognised in the 1990s, from tell-tale markers in Greenland and Antarctic ice that record the rare events when volcanic aerosols are so violently erupted that they reach the Earth's stratosphere.

Working in collaboration with colleagues from the School of Earth Sciences and PhD student Alvaro Guevara-Murua, Dr Caroline Williams, from the Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, began searching historical archives for references to the event.

Dr Williams said: "I spent months combing through the vast Spanish colonial archive, but it was a fruitless search - clearly the volcano wasn't in Latin America. I then turned to the writings of Colombian scientist Francisco José de Caldas, who served as Director of the Astronomical Observatory of Bogotá between 1805 and 1810. Finding his precise description of the effects of an eruption was a 'Eureka' moment."

In February 1809 Caldas wrote about a "mystery" that included a constant, stratospheric "transparent cloud that obstructs the sun's brilliance" over Bogotá, starting on the 11 December 1808 and seen across Colombia. He gave detailed observations, for example that the "natural fiery colour [of the sun] has changed to that of silver, so much so that many have mistaken it for the moon"; and that the weather was unusually cold, the fields covered with ice and the crops damaged by frost.

Comment: As Pierre Lescaudron shows in his book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection, our history reveals a "strong correlation between periods of authoritarian oppression with catastrophic and cosmically-induced natural disasters".

As the saying goes, "those who do not learn the lessons from history, are doomed to repeat them."

Well, look around you.....!


Skeleton couple still holding hands after 700 years

© University of Leicester Archaeological Services
These lovebirds have held hands for the past 700 years.
The skeletal remains of two lovebirds were uncovered, after being locked in a romantic embrace for the past 700 years.

Archaeologists found the happy couple holding hands in an earthen grave during an excavation of a "lost" chapel in Leicestershire, England, researchers reported Thursday (Sept. 18).

"We have seen similar skeletons before from Leicester where a couple has been buried together in a single grave," Vicki Score, University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) project manager, said in a statement.

Double graves are not that unusual. But it's surprising that the two bodies were buried at the so-called "lost" chapel of St Morrell, only recently discovered by a local historian and a team of researchers, instead of at the local church.

"The main question we find ourselves asking is why were they buried up there? There is a perfectly good church in Hallaton," Score said. "This leads us to wonder if the chapel could have served as some sort of special place of burial at the time."


Russian hermit in Siberian forest only surviving family member of an Orthodox denomination of 'Old Believers'

© RT
Russian babushka Agafia
Russian babushka Agafia, whose family fled civilization nearly a century ago, was born in the wilderness of the deep Siberian taiga. RT visited Agafia, who is the only living person of a family of the 'Old Believers' denomination of the Orthodox church.

In the mid-17th century, the leader of Russia's Orthodox church, Patriarch Nikon, introduced radical reforms in Russia. Many couldn't accept the changes and became known as 'Old Believers.'

To avoid religious persecution first from the Orthodox Church and then from the Soviets, many families fled to some of the most remote corners of the country.

In 1978, one such family was discovered by a group of geologists in the remote Russian Republic of Khakassia, Siberia. The Lykovs, a family with four children, hadn't seen other human beings for decades.


Don't like that Israel has the bomb? Blame Nixon

In the summer of 1969, Richard Nixon's administration was absorbed in a highly secret debate: how to address the diplomatic, strategic, and political problems posed by Israel's emergent nuclear weapons program. Leading those discussions were senior Defense Department officials who believed that a nuclear-armed Israel was not in U.S. interests -- it would dangerously complicate the situation in an already dangerous region, they argued.

According to recently declassified government documents -- published on Sept. 12 by the National Security Archive, in collaboration with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies -- Deputy Defense Secretary David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, warned his boss, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, that if Washington did not use its leverage to check Israel's nuclear advances, it would "involve us in a conspiracy with Israel which would leave matters dangerous to our security in their hands."

The overall apprehension was palpable for National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, who consequently signed off in 1969 on National Security Memorandum (NSSM) 40, a request for a set of interagency studies -- including policy recommendations -- of the problems posed by the Israeli nuclear program. NSSM 40 and the studies it produced are now public for the first time, making it possible to better understand the environment in which President Nixon made his own secret decisions, which turned out to be at great variance with Packard's arguments.

Packard's memo, among others, exposes the contours of a policy debate that has been hidden for years. By now, Israel's nuclear weapons are the world's worst-kept secret, universally accepted as well-established fact, and yet Washington still respects Israel's nuclear opacity stance, keeping up the charade that the U.S. government does not comment on Israel's nuclear status. Recent unofficial estimates published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (but which are based on U.S. intelligence leaks) suggest that Israel may possess 80 warheads and also an unspecified amount of weapons-grade fissile material in reserve. (Although the National Security Archive first submitted its declassification request to the Defense Department in 2006, the Interagency Security Classification Appeals panel only released the documents in March 2014.)