Archive

Archive for April 3, 2011

Tsunami alert after Indonesia quake

April 3, 2011 Comments off

bigpondnews

A tsunami warning has been issued after a 6.7 magnitude quake struck off the Indonesian island of Java.

 

Indonesian seismologists issued a tsunami warning early Monday after an earthquake which they said had a magnitude of 7.1 struck in the Indian Ocean south of the island of Java.

Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said that the quake was 10km deep with its epicentre 293km southwest of Cilacap in central Java.

The quake had the potential to cause a tsunami, it said, asking recipients of its public alert SMS to warn other people of the danger.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said that there was no risk of a widespread destructive wave, but there was a ‘very small possibility of a local tsunami’.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was 6.7, and it was located 277km south of Tasikmalaya in West Java and 241km east-north-east of Christmas Island.

There is no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

Advertisements

Magma Proves Undersea Volcanoes Do Explode

April 3, 2011 Comments off

ouramazingplanet

Deep-sea volcanoes can explode instead of just oozing, scientists now confirm.

The new proof — higher-than-expected levels of carbon dioxide in the magma from a volcano off the coast of Oregon —suggests the volcanoes may play a greater role in global climate than thought.

Of all the volcanic activity on Earth, 75 to 80 percent of it takes place at deep-sea ridges in the middle of the oceans. Most of these volcanoes apparently spew out huge volumes of lava instead of erupting explosively, as many volcanoes on land do.

It is a high level of gas trapped in a volcano’s magma that normally fuels explosive volcanic bursts. This level has long been thought to be low at mid-ocean ridges; moreover, potential undersea explosions would be suppressed by the crushing pressure from the surrounding water.

However, based on volcanic ash found at certain sites, geologists have speculated over the last decade that explosive eruptions do take place in deep-sea volcanoes. Now researchers say they have proof.

Juan de Fuca ridge schematic, mapThe Juan de Fuca ridge lies between the separating Pacific and Juan de Fuca tectonic plates. Credit: USGS 

A team of scientists used ion beams to analyze the composition of materials recovered from ash deposits on Axial Volcano, on the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the coast of Oregon. Trapped within crystals from the deposits were droplets of magma containing very high levels of carbon dioxide. These droplets revealed that the magma was indeed rich in gas, at concentrations high enough to generate bubbles in the molten rock for explosive underwater eruptions.

“Direct evidence for high carbon dioxide concentrations in a mid-ocean-ridge volcano was unexpected and surprising,” researcher Christoph Helo, a volcanologist at McGill University in Montreal, told OurAmazingPlanet.

These findings suggest the amount of the global-warming gas carbon dioxide that is released from the deeper mantle into the Earth’s atmosphere at mid-ocean ridges falls within the higher end of past estimates, nearly 10 times more than the lowest end. That could have key implications for climate change.

Still, Helo said, volcanic carbon dioxide, unlike man-made emissions, “is not a variable that has undergone drastic changes within the past century.”

The scientists detailed their findings online March 13 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Genetically modified cows produce ‘human’ milk

April 3, 2011 Comments off

telegraph

Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce human milk in a bid to make cows' milk more nutritious.

Researchers say they are able to create cows that produce milk containing a human protein called lysozyme Photo: PA

The scientists have successfully introduced human genes into 300 dairy cows to produce milk with the same properties as human breast milk.

Human milk contains high quantities of key nutrients that can help to boost the immune system of babies and reduce the risk of infections.

The scientists behind the research believe milk from herds of genetically modified cows could provide an alternative to human breast milk and formula milk for babies, which is often criticised as being an inferior substitute.

They hope genetically modified dairy products from herds of similar cows could be sold in supermarkets. The research has the backing of a major biotechnology company.

The work is likely to inflame opposition to GM foods. Critics of the technology and animal welfare groups reacted angrily to the research, questioning the safety of milk from genetically modified animals and its effect on the cattle’s health.

But Professor Ning Li, the scientist who led the research and director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at the China Agricultural University insisted that the GM milk would be as safe to drink as milk from ordinary dairy cows.

He said: “The milk tastes stronger than normal milk.

“We aim to commercialize some research in this area in coming three years. For the “human-like milk”, 10 years or maybe more time Read more…