December 29, 2011
Images of life in one of the most inhospitable planet were captured for the first time by a group of scientists.
In the depths of the Indian Ocean is the so called Indian southwest ridge, an underwater mountain range on the border of plate tectonics.
It is on that site that the team of British researchers had been studying sources or hydrothermal vents, fissures on the ocean floor near areas of volcanic activity.
In these hostile conditions, where water can reach temperatures of hundreds of degrees, the scientists used a remote-controlled robot to record the presence of an astonishing variety of deep-sea creatures, such as are called deep-sea organisms.
In the film can be seen from yeti crabs to snails scaly sea cucumbers.
Experts believe that many of the species collected are new to science.
The existence of hydrothermal vents was discovered in 1977. While these cracks expelled water high temperatures and are rich in a variety of minerals, some living things have adapted to these ecosystems.
Scientists at the University of Southampton, England, were particularly interested in hydrothermal vents in the southwest Indian ridge because the chain is connected to other studied in the past as the Atlantic Ridge Mountains, which divides the Atlantic Ocean from north to south .
The researchers used an underwater robot called Kiel 6000, manufactured by the Institute of Marine Sciences Leibniz, in Germany, IFM GEOMAR.
In warmer habitats around the vents found snails, shrimp, clams, sea cucumbers and crabs.
"I expected that these organisms were similar to those of hydrothermal vents in the Atlantic or elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. We found some similarities, but we were surprised that there were very different animals," Professor Jon Copley, one of the researchers commented:
"One of them is a yeti crab type, different from others described in the Pacific.
It has very long hairy arms. "
"We also saw sea cucumbers in the Pacific registered before but not in the Cordillera Central mountain-Atlantic Ridge or the Indian Ocean. There are animals related to many other parts of the planet and this is exciting."
Scientists were amazed at the variety of organizations registered in this expedition, funded by the Research Council UK Natural Environment, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Scientists hope the study will help understand the movement of organisms from one vent to another. The cracks are temporary and without the ability to move from one to the other animals are extinct.
"So these cracks are very valuable for studying how species disperse and evolve in the deep ocean, because they operate as small islands," said Copley.
The researchers expressed concern about the future of these spaces submarines.
China obtained a license from the International Seabed Seafloor, International Seabed Authority to explore the possible commercial exploitation of hydrothermal vents, rich in minerals.
"The area we are studying hydrothermal vents is the length of several football fields and it may be the only habitat of some species"
"It would be premature to begin to exploit these areas and disturbed when we have not yet come to understand the richness of life that house."
December 28, 2011
British scientists have discovered what they believe could be new species in a volcanic vent in the Indian Ocean.
A research team from the University of Southampton, UK, used a remote control robot to take pictures at a depth of nearly two miles.
It is estimated that some of the detected marine creatures, including types of crabs and snails, have not been seen before.
Experts are now studying the evolution of these species.
December 27, 2011
The glacier in Nepal Ngozumpa winds away from the sixth highest mountain in the world, Cho Oyo.
It is far from being the most beautiful glacier viewing. On the contrary. Is flattened into a layer of rocky debris falling from the cliffs that surround it, giving it an appearance very gray and dirty.
However, much interest is generated Ngozumpa scientist at this time.
The Nepalese Himalayas have been warming at a rate much higher than the global average temperature in recent decades.
Glaciers in most of the region are showing signs of shrinking, reducing its thickness and back, and this is causing a lot of ice melted.
In Ngozumpa of this water collects in puddles on the surface and runs off a series of streams and caves to the lowest point of the glacier.
There, 25 km from the mountain, a huge lake growing behind a mound of fallen rock fragments.
This lake called Spillway, potentially could have 6km long, 1km wide and 100 feet deep.
What is feared is that this large body of water finish opening a breach in the dam of debris and speed ride down the valley, sweeping away the villages on their way to the Sherpa. The threat is not immediate, but it is a situation that warrants monitoring scientists say.
One of the researchers working in Ngozumpa is Ulyana Horodyskyj the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES, for its acronym in English) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
Horodyskyj is placing remote cameras to monitor surface water or ponds that are supraglaciales over Ngozumpa. Some gaps are small, some large as the size of several football fields.
Horoduskj and was able to establish the dynamic changes that can fill these waters to dry up and fill up quickly.
Volumes can become enormous. On one occasion, cameras spied a lake supraglaciar which lost more than 100,000 cubic meters of water in just two days.
Within five days the lake had recovered more than half of its volume, fueled by the higher waters of the glacier.
"Let's say if I came a week before and one after the lake was dry I would not notice that something had happened because the lake level appeared to be the same,"
"But my photographs I say that something happened. The equivalent of 40 Olympic swimming pools slid down the glacier."
CIRES researcher wants to understand the role these lakes "supraglaciales" in Ngozumpa erosion.
The debris-covered glaciers do not melt the same way that glaciers clean. Overlying rocks, depending on its depth, ice insulated solar radiation. However, if they are removed - as in these lakes swing - the pace of melting will increase.
"The increase in the melting begins in the walls are exposed ice on the lakes," he explains.
"The pace of melting below the debris layer is 2 cm per day, but in these walls is 4 cm per day. As the lake dries exposes the walls that can then be separated"
Horodyskyj means that many of the lakes on the surface of Ngozump are directly connected and while one is empty, maybe another lower elevation lake is being filled. However, the routes followed by the plumbing system are not always obvious.
Within the channels
This is being investigated by Doug Benn of the University Center in Savalbard (UNIS) in Norway.
Benn has been climbing through the vast network of channels divided by the water that flows into Ngozumpa. Some of these "ice pipes" give way to spectacular caves.
"Is that glaciers in this region are melting as a result of global warming, but what is not known which are also being eroded from within as well," he says.
"These glaciers are turning into Swiss cheese, so everything is happening faster than it seems when looking at the surface only."
Dr Benn visits the ducts after the season when the ice melts, when the water stopped flowing. It would be very dangerous to enter the channels in midsummer.
It seems that the channels control the location of some ponds and lakes formed on the surface. It is as if the ducts were the templates.
"There are cracks. As the glacier melts, the roofs of the tunnels in and the ice fall is exposed," said Dr. Benn. "The remains of rocks on its surface melting usually decrease, but the existence of these cracks within Ngozumpa cause it to open and melt faster."
One of his students, Sarah Thompson, is focusing his study on the lowest point of the glacier. This is the place where the water goes down the Ngozumpa joins in the growing Lake Spillway.
It is limited by the moraine, a huge pile of granite fragments dropped by the glacier for millennia.
At this point the glacier remains stationary, not moving. Again the ice walls that line the Lake Spillway becoming separate water and increasing its level.
"We have a fairly short time period - the last 10 years - but it's an exponential growth area," said Thompson, referring to the size of Spillway. "And when we look at other similar lakes in the region, Spillway is about the same kind of path to development. "
"The expansion is far beyond what one would expect the rate of melting ice, glacial ablation and even the separation of icebergs."
"We need to understand the process early so that we can predict quite some time what will likely happen and, if necessary, enter and mitigate its effects before it becomes a danger of importance."
"In my work I try to identify where there may be weaknesses in the moraine dam and have identified a few areas where the future will need to take action."
Spillway is not expected to overflow the short term. It may take two decades or more before it fills up a space for 6km. However, the difficulty of working in the region and to bring heavy equipment to the area means that it is essential to have a long-term strategy for managing the evolution of the lake.
Publicado por Persiventana Solutions en 1:45:00 AM
December 21, 2011
The protagonist is iron oxide, also known as FeO, which was subjected to conditions similar to those that exist where the inner layers of the Earth come together and showed different behavior than expected.
What was surprising was that the metal structure has not changed, according to the investigators reported in Physical Review Letters, and the discovery may shed new light on the understanding, incomplete, you have the heart of our planet.
Although changes in the properties of many metals are a common phenomenon when subjected to extraordinary pressures or temperatures, these are often accompanied by a change of structure.
The changes may be reflected in how the atoms are patterns of certain crystals to computer, or even in the arrangement of subatomic particles around the nucleus.
A team at the Carnegie Institution for Science submitted the material to a pressure equivalent to 1.4 million times atmospheric pressure at sea level and temperatures of 2,200 degrees Celsius.
They found that performs the trick of changing their electrically conductive properties of no consequence in structure and can be conductive or insulating depending solely on temperature and pressure.
"At high temperatures, the atoms in the iron oxide crystals are ordered with the same structure as table salt," said Ronald Cohen, co-author of the study. "Like table salt, iron oxide is a good insulator at room temperature, does not conduct electricity," said the author.
"Our study shows that iron oxide is metallized without any change in structure but it takes a combination of temperature and pressure. In addition, we see that the way electrons behave to make metal is different from other materials that have this property, "said Cohen.
The Earth's mantle, the outer solid to the core, consists of a mixture of magnesium and iron oxide. The fact that the oxide behaves as a metal means that electronically connects the core and mantle, affecting the way in which the magnetic field reaches the surface of the earth and beyond.
Fascination with the center of the Earth
Despite fascinated generations of scientists and scholars, the center of the earth, some 3,000 kilometers below sea level, is still beyond the reach of man, so that experiments should be conducted in controlled environments to imagine what conditions are like thousands of miles below.
One of the reasons for the scientific importance of the Earth's core is the magnetic field which causes vital to life on the surface.
It serves as a navigation tool, and help the bees, turtles and dozens of species of birds and butterflies to find their destiny in their long migrations.
It also serves as a barrier against the dangers of space radiation and protects us from solar wind.
But a trip to the basement can not be ground for beginners due to the drastic increase in temperature and pressure as you approach.
Even with holes remotely controlled, deep penetration has been achieved so far have been about 12 miles, only 0.2% of the road that separates us from the center of our planet.