Monday, January 8, 2018

A Popular Tool to Trace Earth’s Oxygen History Can Give False Positives

false positives

Updated Tool – Tracing Oxygen

A latest investigation for researchers tracking the ancient history of oxygen in the atmosphere of the Earth could dampen their discovery thrills. According to the study an updated tool utilised in tracing oxygen on examining ancient rock strata could produce false positive and the wilful consequences could conceal the exciting results.

Ligands the commonly known molecules could bias the results of well-known chemical traced called chromium (Cr) isotope system. This is utilised in testing sedimentary rock layers for clues in relation to atmospheric oxygen levels during epoch while the rocks are being formed. Demonstration have been conducted in the lab by the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology that several ligands could have developed a signal akin to the molecular oxygen.

According to one of the lead authors of the research, Chris Reinhard, there are some geographical locations together with ancient situations wherein measurable signals could have been created which could have no connection with how much oxygen was everywhere. However, the new research could impact how some recent discoveries are evaluated with false positives, but that does not mean the tool is not useful.

Chromium Isotope System – Great Indicator of Atmospheric Oxygen Levels

Yuanzhi Tang, co-leading the study commented that they are not attempting to revolutionize the way the tool is viewed as false positives. It is about comprehending its possible limitation in discerning the use of it in particular cases.

The team’s results had been published in a study on November 17, 2017, in the journal Nature Communications, by Tang and Reinhard, assistant professors of biogeochemistry in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Financial support had been provided by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the NASA Exobiology program together with the Agouron Institute.

Tang had commented that on a global level, the chromium isotope system is yet a great indicator of atmospheric oxygen levels through the ages and the issue exposed in the lab tends to be more local with isolated samples, particularly during eras when there was not much atmospheric oxygen.

Ligands, deprived of a dominant oxygen presence tend to make a great reactive substitute as demonstrated by the researchers in reaction with chromium. Just like oxygen, ligands are inclined to strongly attract electron pairs, which is what symbolizes them as chemical group.

Earth – Massive Chemical Laboratory

Similar to reactions with oxygen, reactions with ligands permits metals such as chromium to move around with ease in the world. Researchers, in this instance, had been concerned in organic ligands, which tend to contain carbon.

They had been more suitable to counterpart the mobility effect of oxygen on chromium which made it end up as the signals in sedimentary rock that the scientists presently looked for as a sign of ancient atmospheric oxygen.

The chromium isotope system tends to work thus followed by how organic ligands tend to make for false positives – The Earth, a massive chemical laboratory performing reactions in conditions tend to differ from arctic cold to volcanic heat, thus from crushing ocean depths to no-pressure upper atmospheres. Waves and winds tend to sweep about the materials like turbulent conveyor belts, dropping some in sediments which later on turn to stone.

Earth Lacking O2

Chemical reaction that had been discovered in the research, including manganese oxide handing off oxygen to chromium could be somewhat like adding pontoons to chromium compounds. Earth’s atmosphere, for billions of years had been almost lacking of O2 though after oxygen had begun growing particularly in the last 800 million years, became the overbearing oxidizer.

 Characteristics of chromium deposits in ancient layers of rock had become a great indicator of how much O2 was in the atmosphere. Presently researchers tend to test deep rock layer samples for the link between two chromium isotopes, 53Cr, by far the most common Cr isotope while 53Cr to acquire a read on oxygen existence across geological eras.

According to Reinhard, `you powder the rock up, dissolve it with acid and then measure the ratio of 53Cr to 52Cr in the material by utilising mass spectrometry. It is the ratio which matters and will be controlled by a range of complex processes though generally speaking, elevated 53Cr in ocean sediment rock tends to indicate oxygen in the atmosphere’.

Cr Isotopes - Staple

Cr isotopes are said to be stable and do not go through radioactive decay and hence the system does not function the way radiocarbon dating does that depend on the decay of carbon 14. Tang’s team had portrayed in the lab with a small assortment of organic ligands that reaction of chromium with ligands had led to 53Cr/52Cr signals which had nearly represented those stemming from oxygen-chromium reactions.

Tang had mentioned that ligands tend to have the potential of mobilizing chromium also. Ligands in fact could be a significant factor in controlling chromium isotope signals in certain rock records. Organic ligands had probably been around much before the atmosphere of the Earth had been filled up with O2. Presently hundreds of millions of years thereafter, the reactions took place, and it is basically impossible to find out if oxygen or ligands had been at work.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Puzzling patches in Earth’s interior billions of years in the making, Stanford researchers find


Scientific Anomaly – Insights to Deep Processes of Earth

According to Stanford researchers, chemical reaction with ancient seawater and iron in mantle over eons of the Earth illuminates the formation of mysterious blobs in the interior of the planet which tends to damp down passing seismic waves.

Scientists have been confused for decades, with these thin patches of dense rock which have been placed around 1,800 miles below the surface of the Earth, just above the core-mantle boundary which seems to isolate the molten metal heart of the planet from its rocky shell. They tend to be prominent from their surroundings since the seismic waves created by earthquakes tend to slow down by a tenth to a third of their usual speed when they sweep across.

These dampening zones, apart from being a scientific anomaly, could also offer insights in the other deep processes of the Earth according to research leader, Wendy Mao, an associate professor of geological sciences at School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences of Stanford.

The information regarding the regions considered as ultra-low velocity zones or ULVZs takes place at the core-mantle boundary tends to be interesting since it recommends that the core and mantle of the Earth tends to interrelate to a much greater extent than had been earlier valued.

ULVZs – Origins of Molten Plumes 

According to Mao there is evidence that ULVZs are the origins of molten plumes which tend to feed volcanoes towards the surface and hence ULVZs could indicate a considerable amount of cycling between the core, mantle and surface of the Earth than speculated. The composite as well as the origins of the zones tend to remain a unknown owing to their extreme depths.

 However in the latest researcher published online in the journal Nature, which is an international team of researchers headed by Mao, have provided a new theory explaining how they tend to be formed. The device which has been proposed by them is established on their latest discovery of a novel kind of oxygen-rich iron compound which is inclined to form spontaneously in great heat and pressure, conditions which are present in the lowermost mantle region of the Earth.

Mao’s team while experimenting in the lab at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, had compressed slivers of iron foil suspended in pure water to around 90 gigapascals or about 900,000 times the pressure at sea level laser heating them to 3,000-4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Super-Oxygenated Iron 

The consequence of this is a super-oxygenated type of iron which is packed with around a third more oxygen molecule than the most oxygen rich oxides which tend to occur beneath the surface conditions. The team also portrayed that their compound shares several of the seismic waves dampening properties shown by the low velocity zones.

Jin Liu, study first author, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Mao stated that the low sound speeds calculated for compound tend to match precisely to what was observed seismically in ULVZs. Moreover, the oxygen-rich iron created by the team in the lab had the tendency to form easily at the core-mantle boundary.

Mao commented that this reaction needed only iron and water and as long as one has these components and the accurate temperature together with pressure conditions, this compound tend to form.

These eerie space ‘sounds’ recorded by NASA are creepy enough to make your skin crawl

NASA – Release of Set of Eerie Recordings of Sound from Space

Sky-high to the pits of our universe, magnanimous spacecraft tend to journey the universe, snapping images of astronomic wonders and some of the spacecraft tend to have instruments, with the potential of capturing radio emissions. When the scientists have the possibility of changing these to sound waves the consequences seem to be strange to hear.

NASA has released a set of eerie recordings of sound from space wherein the set of auto files can be accessed through SoundCloud. From the space agency a statement read thus `Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spaceships have devices capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists alter these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.

Space scientists at NASA at times tend to take signals from beyond the mortal realm of human senses inclusive of radio waves, plasma waves as well as magnetic fields converting them into audio tracks. This smart hack is known as data sonification which helps the researchers `hear’ what tends to go on with their far-flung spacecraft around planets, comets, moons together with the other locations. The consequences often tend to be ear-splitting though at times the audio seems to be scary.

Accumulation of Out-Space Sounds 


The space agency at NASA had mentioned in a release that they have put together an accumulation of 22 outer-space sounds elusive `sounds’ of howling planets and whistling helium which is sure to make your skin crawl. The following are some of the spookiest tract and what they tend to represent:
Juno Crossing Jupiter’s Bow Shock

The First Juno Crossing Jupiter’s Bow Shock is said to be the sound of the spacecraft of NASA moving across the gas giant’s magnetic field where the whistling sound tends to turn abruptly into a deeper boom as the Juno passes from an atmosphere controlled by solar wind to the magnetosphere of Jupiter. Juno of NASA searched around Jupiter every few weeks at a speed of around 130,000 mph working through all types of invisible fields in the progression.

It is said that one of the toughest undetected signals encountered by the robot was Jupiter’s bow shock, the point wherein the magnetic field of the planet pushes back against the howling wind of incoming particles from the sun giving rise to something similar to a sonic boom. The said audio is considered to be about two hours’ substance of electric field signal compressed into few seconds which seems unnerving.

Stardust Passing Comet Tempel 1

It is a recording of a comet flyby in 2011. The Stardust spacecraft of NASA had been bombarded with dust particles from the comet and the is what can be heard in the recording. The spacecraft had been hit by about 5,000 bits of rock, ice and dust, over a period of 11 minutes.

It is said to be one of the few true audio-like recordings from space wherein the sound is the result of the Stardust spacecraft passing through the dust of comet Tempel 1, ringing the body of the robot with debris.

Cassini Saturn Radio Emissions # 1 

The nuclear-powered Cassini spacecraft of NASA had spent 13 years traveling around Saturn and its system of possibly habitable moons. The Radio Emission of Saturn had been recorded with the Cassini spacecraft when it had recently plunged in the atmosphere of the planet bringing about the long mission to an end.

Saturn is said to be a source of intense radio emission which are related to the auroras of the planet near its poles. The said audio track which tends to be scary is actually radio waves that are emanated by the giant planet through an incidence similar to the once which tends to cause auroras on Earth.

NASA’s Polar Satellite – Plasmaspheric Hiss 

The Earth is said to be encircled in plasma, hot, ionized constituent parts created by sunlight crashing in the atmosphere. The Polar mission of NASA that was launched in 1996 had recorded this breath-like hiss of the plasma when it had orbited the planet.

Out beyond the plasmasphere, where the plasma tend to be shaky and comparatively warm, whistler mode waves seem to produce mostly rising chirps similar to a flock of noisy birds and this kind of wave is known as chorus. The same is created when electrons tend to be pushed towards the night area of the Earth which in some instances could be the result of magnetic reconnections.

It could be a dynamic explosion of jumbled magnetic field lines towards the dark area of the Earth. They tend to interact with particles in the plasma, imparting their energy, creating a exclusive rising tone when these low energy electrons hit the plasma.

Jupiter’s Largest Moon Ganymede – Beware 

NASA has not mentioned which spacecraft had recorded these weird radio emissions from the largest moon Ganymede of Jupiter though there was a possibility of the Galileo spacecraft that had orbited the system for around eight years. Irrespective of what the case may be, changing the data into audio tends to make it sound like screams trying to break through from an unearthly plane.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mystery of the 230 Foot Long Killer Whale Geoglyph Found

Credit: Johny Isla

Lost Geoglyph – Representation of a Killer Whale

A long lost geoglyph has been discovered by archaeologist that has been carved in the remote Palpa region of southern Peru in the Peruvian hillside. Palpa is situated near the province of Nazca – home to the extensive region of ‘Nazca Lines’, drawn by the Nazca people between 100 BC and AD 800.

This amazing representation of a killer whale extents more than 200 feet and is presumed to date back over 2,000 years, thus making it one of the oldest than those of the famous Nazca Lines which is in close proximity. According to experts the people who had once inhabited the region considered the orca as a powerful marine deity and the said geoglyph could be among the ancient in the region.

They state that the killer whale was probably created by removal of layer of stones along the landscape outlining its figure. Though the method has been similar to the one utilised by the Nazca culture, the researchers state that there are variations between the two, signifying that the Palpa orca tends to be much older. The eyes of the orca together with the other areas of the design are said to be made by piling the stones.

Location & Size - Not Defined

According to the researchers, this had been a trademark of the Paracas culture that had inhabited the region from 800 BC to 200 BC. The Paracas culture as per the Bradshaw Foundation was an Andean society well-known to have extensive information of irrigation and water management.

The people of this ancient period, beside the remarkable geoglyphs, also made incredible textiles. The orca geoglyph had been located by a team of German archaeologists in the 1960s though for decades thereafter, was considered lost as per the Bradshaw Foundation.

As per the records, few traces of it prevailed though it was eventually located once again due to efforts led by Johny Isla, head of the Ica branch of the Ministry of Culture in Ica Province of Peru. The orca engraving measuring 230-foot long had been identified in the Palpa region of southern Peru.

As per the reports of Live Science, at first, the team made an effort to locate it by scouring Google Earth but its location as well as size had not been well defined. Johny Isla has mentioned in an email to Live Science, that the location and size of the orca geoglyph have not been well-described in the catalog.

Disappearing Due to Erosion

According to Live Science, the team had come back to this area in order to re-establish and clean the geoglyph. Ultimately in January 2015, the archaeologist decided to venture on foot and located it after several months of searching.

The immense orca drawing before restoration was disappearing due to erosion over a period of time. Being craved on a slope it become prone to damage than those figures which are in flat areas like those of the Nazca Pampa according to Isla.

The experts have now warned that the freshly revived site is said to be in danger of `land traffickers’ who have hazarded their claims and have threaten to build on the land.