Welcome to Sott.net
Sun, 03 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Diamonds tell tale of comet that killed off the cavemen

Fireballs set half the planet ablaze, wiping out the mammoth and America's Stone Age hunters

Scientists will outline dramatic evidence this week that suggests a comet exploded over the Earth nearly 13,000 years ago, creating a hail of fireballs that set fire to most of the northern hemisphere.


Russia: Power plant causes mass sturgeon, carp deaths in Urals lake

Large numbers of sturgeon and carp weighing several metric tons died after a power station spilled boiling water into Iset Lake in Russia's Urals, the head of the affected fish farm said on Friday.

"The fish were boiled in the lake due to the release of hot water from the Mid-Urals Power Plant," Vyacheslav Karimov said.

Better Earth

Strong undersea earthquake rattles eastern Indonesia

Jakarta - A powerful undersea earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale shook parts of eastern Indonesia Thursday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The quake struck at about 5.41 am local time with its epicentre about 51 km northeast of Sumbawa Island, according to an official report from the Jakarta meteorology and geophysics agency.


Dome collapses at Montserrat volcano; ash blasts into stratosphere

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Volcano monitors say the Caribbean's Montserrat volcano has blasted a column of ash some 12 kilometres high into the sky.

©Greg Scott

The director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory says last night's collapse of a dome at the crater sent bursts of volcanic material sweeping down into the island's abandoned former capital of Plymouth and the sea.


Major avalanche reworks Mount Adams

©H.C. Tupper
photo of the southwest side of Mount Adams, with source of the recent avalanche identified. The avalanche sped downhill along the dark track visible below Avalanche Glacier in the lower center of the mountain.

A two-mile-long avalanche of ice and rocks large enough to rattle seismometers has reworked the southwest face of Mount Adams.

The volcano is usually very quiet, with few of the tremors that occur occasionally at other Cascade volcanoes such as Mount Hood. So the seismic signal from Mount Adams on Aug. 1 stood out to Cynthia Gardner of the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, who first noticed it.

"It is a very large signal at a volcano that has a very quiet background," she told The Oregonian on Wednesday.

Cloud Lightning

Alaska: Eruption fears prompt evacuation from Kasatochi Island

Two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees requested to be evacuated from Kasatochi Island in the Aleutian Chain after seismic activity in the area, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The island, about 50 miles east of Adak, was reportedly experiencing tremors and volcanic uncertainty, which prompted the Alaska Volcano Observatory to issue an advisory in the area.

Bizarro Earth

US: Over 80 Magnitude 3+ Earthquakes in Alaska

Over 80 Magnitude 3 or greater earthquakes have been catalogued by the United States Geological Survey in the last 24 hours for Alaska.


Ancient fish provides clues for future body armor

A suit of armor first worn by an African fish almost 100 million years ago to withstand ancient carnivores is today providing clues to engineers designing body armor for soldiers of the future.

The armor of the fish, Polypterus senegalus, is so effective because it is a composite of several materials lined up in a certain way, the engineers state in a their analysis detailed in the July 27 issue of the journal Nature Materials.

"Such fundamental knowledge holds great potential for the development of improved biologically inspired structural materials," said lead MIT researcher Christine Ortiz, "for example soldier, first-responder and military vehicle armor applications."

Bizarro Earth

Drivers Of Tropical Deforestation Are Changing, Say Scientists

A shift from poverty-driven to industry-driven deforestation threatens the world's tropical forests but offers new opportunities for conservation, according to an article coauthored by William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Gold mine in the Amazon rainforest
©Rhett A. Butler
Gold mine in the Amazon rainforest.

Rhett Butler of Mongabay.com, a tropical-forest Web site, and Laurance argue that the sharp increase in deforestation by big corporations provides environmental lobby groups with clear, identifiable targets that can be pressured to be more responsive to environmental concerns.

"Rather than being dominated by rural farmers, tropical deforestation is increasingly driven by major industries - especially large-scale farming, mining, and logging," said Laurance. "Although this trend is pretty scary, it's also much easier to target a handful of global corporations than many millions of poor farmers."

The United Nations estimates that some 13 million hectares (33 million acres) of tropical forest are destroyed each year; but these numbers mask a transition from mostly subsistence-driven to mostly corporate-driven forest destruction, say Butler and Laurance.


Acidification Of Sea Hampers Reproduction Of Marine Species

By absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and from the human use of fossil fuels, the world's seas function as a giant buffer for the Earth's life support system. The chemical balance of the sea has long been regarded as immovable.

The Australian sea urchin
©Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)
The Australian sea urchin.

Today, researchers know that the pH of the sea's surface water has gone down by 0.1, or 25 percent, just since the beginning of industrialisation just over a century ago. Jon Havenhand and Michael Thorndyke, researchers at the University of Gothenburg, along with colleagues in Australia, have studied how this acidification process affects marine animal life.

As part of the study, which is one of the world's first on this subject, they have allowed sea urchins of the species Heliocidaris erythrogramma to fertilise themselves in water where the pH has been lowered from its normal 8.1 to a pH value of 7.7. This means an environment three times as acidic, and corresponds to the change expected by the year 2100. The results are alarming.