Monday, 22 January 2018

Beaches in Monterey County, California, closed by sewage spill.

Eight beaches in Monterey County, California, were forced to close this weekend following a spill of sewage from the Monterey One Water wastewater treatment facility in Marina, according to the Monterey County Environmental Health Department. The leak was discovered at about 4.30 am local time on Saturday 20 January 2018, and closed down, though it thought that about 22 275 000 litres of sewage are thought to have leaked through a storm drain into the sea by the time the spill was detected, resulting in the closure of Carmel Beach at Ocean Avenue, Monterey Municipal Beach, Lover’s Point, the Beach at Monterey State Beach, San Carlos Beach, the beach at Sunset Drive at Asilomar, the beach at Spanish Bay and Stillwater Cove.

 A closed off beach in Monterey Bay, California, following a sewage spill on 20 January 2017. NBC Bay Area.

As well as the obvious dangers to health presented by sewage, which is likely to contain a variety of Bacteria and other micro-organisms harmful to Human health, sewage provides a source of nutrients which can lead to eutrophication and the rapid growth of blooms of Algae, Bacteria or other micro-organisms, which absorb oxygen from the water leading Fish and other aquatic organisms to asphyxiate.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/landslides-kill-at-least-five-in-santa.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/magnitude-40-earthquake-in-san-diego.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/thousands-evacuated-overnight-as.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/californian-student-recovering-after.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/wildfires-kill-at-least-40-in-california.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/sewage-spill-closes-beaches-in-orange.html
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Collapse at gold mine in Uzbekistan kills at least one.

At least one person has died and around 20 more are thought to be trapped below ground following a collapse at an abandoned gold mine in the Paxtachi District of Samarkand Province in Uzbekistan on Tuesday 16 January 2018. The incident was not reported to the authorities until Friday 19 January, as the miners were working illegally in the disused mine, and initial rescue attempts were carried out by local communities without involving any official body.

The approximate location of the 16 January 2018 Samarakand mine collapse. Google Maps.

Uzbekistan has significant deposits of a range of precious and base metals, and is the world's twelth largest producer of gold. However the country also has a very high unemployment rate, and disused mines can provide a potential source of income in areas where mining has ceased. Such unregulated mining seldom featuring any form of heath and safety procedures, and accidents are frequent.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/magnitude-50-earthquake-in-jizzax.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/landslide-kills-24-in-osh-region-of.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/magnitude-72-earthquake-kills-two-in.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/magnitude-48-earthquake-in-southwest.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/earthquake-in-southeast-kazakhstan.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/earthquake-on-kyrgyzstanuzbekistan.html
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Thirteen dead after landslide pushes bus into ravine in southern Colombia.

Thirteen people are known to have died after a bus was pushed into a ravine in Nariño Province, Colombia, on Sunday 21 January 2018. The bus was travelling between the cities of Tumaco and Pasto, close to the border with Ecuador. The known casualties are reported to include two women, a newborn baby and another child, though rescue workers are still investigating the possibility that there may have been more casualties, either on the bus or in another as yet undiscovered vehicle. The incident occurred amid torrential rain in the area. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. In this instance about 50 000 cubic meters of soil are estimated to have slipped down the hillslope.

Rescue workers searching a hillside in Nariño Province, Colombia, following a landslide on 21 January 2018. Ivan Antonio Jurado/Reuters.

The Tumaco area has a wet tropical climate with a distinct rainy season that lasts from January to mid-July. The wettest month is June, which typically receives around 350 mm of rain, though January is also wet with around 375 mm of rain falling in the month.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/magnitude-51-earthquake-in-santander.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/landslide-kills-at-least-four-in-cauca.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/magnitude-51-earthquake-in-barinas.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/magnitude-51-earthquake-in-barinas.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/thirteen-dead-following-explosion-at.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/landlside-kills-over-150-in-putumayo.html
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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Cretalamna bryanti: A new species of Mackeral Shark from the Late Cretaceous of Alabama.

Mackerel Sharks of the genus Cretalamna are known from Early Cretaceous to Early Eocene deposits around the world, and are thought to have been ancestral to modern species such as the Great White and Mako, as well as distinctive prehistoric species such as the giant Carcharocles megalodon. Like other fossil Sharks these species are usually only represented by their teeth, which are mineralised and grown and shed throughout their lives, rather than their skeletons, which are made of soft cartilage. Consequently differentiating these Sharks to species level is difficult, and many Late Cretaceous specimens have been assigned to a catch all species, Cretalamna appendiculata.

In a paper published in the journal PeerJ on 8 January 2018, Jun Ebersole of the McWane Science Center and Dana Ehret of the Alabama Museum of Natural History at the University of Alabama and the New Jersey State Museum, describe a new species of Cretalamna from the Late Cretaceous Tombigbee Sand of Alabama.

The new species is named Cretalamna bryanti, in honour of the Bryant family for their support of the University of Alabama, the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and the McWane Science Center. Teeth assigned to Cretalamna have been collected from the Tombigbee Sand for many years, but assigned to Cretalamna appendiculata. Ebersole and Ehret carried out a morphometric analysis, a method that relies on comparing the ratios of different measurements to one-another rather than simply assigning the samples to groups based upon their obvious shape, in order to determine that these specimens did not belong to any previously described species.

Cretalamna bryanti, anterior teeth. (A)-( E) Upper right anterior tooth in (A) oral, (B) basal, (C) mesial, (D) lingual, and (E) labial views. (F)-( J) Upper right anterior tooth in (F) lingual, (G) labial, (H) mesial, (I) oral, and (J) basal views. (K )-(O) Upper left anterior tooth, large morphology, in (K) oral, (L) basal, (M) mesial, (N) lingual, and (O) labial views. (P)-( T) Lower right anterior tooth in (P) lingual, (Q) labial, (R) mesial, (S) oral, and (T) basal views. Scale bars equal 1.0 cm. Ebersol & Ehret (2018).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/shark-remains-from-early-cretaceous-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/american-tourist-killed-by-shark-in.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/californian-student-recovering-after.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/megachasma-alisonae-megamouth-shark.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/mollisquama-sp-pocket-shark-from-gulf.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/evidence-of-shark-predation-on-whale.html
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Small eruptions on Mount Chaparrastique, El Salvador.

The Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales has reported a pair of small eruptions on Mount Chaparrastique, or San Miguel, a 2130 m stratovolcano (cone shaped volcano made up of layers of ash and lava) in east-central El Salvador. The first event occurred slightly after 4.50 pm local time on Sunday 14 January 2018, the second a day later at about 4.15 pm local time on Monday 15 January. Both produced small plumes that rose less than 300 m above the summit of the volcano. 

The approximate location of Mount Chaparrastique. Google Maps.

El Salvador, and neighbouring Central American states, lies on the Caribbean Plate. To the south of Central America the Coccos Plate, which underlies an area of the east Pacific, is being subducted beneath the Caribbean Plate along the Middle American Trench. As the plate is subducted it is partially melted by the friction and the heat of the planet's interior, giving rise to liquid magma which rises through the Caribbean Plate to fuel the volcanoes of Central America.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/hundreds-of-green-sea-turtles-found.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/magnitude-70-earthquake-off-coast-of-el.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/activity-on-mount-chaparrastique-el.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/hurricane-patricia-most-severe-storm.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/one-dead-after-central-american.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/volcanic-activity-on-chaparrastique.html
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Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake beneath the southern Gulf of California.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km beneath the Gulf of California, roughly 77 km off the coast of Baja California Sur State, Mexico, slightly after 8.15 am local time (slightly after 4.15 pm GMT) on Friday 19 January 2018. Although this was a large, shallow quake, and therefore potentially dangerous, it occurred some distance offshore, and while there are reports of it being felt over a wide area of Baja California Sur and Sinaloa states, there are no reports of any damage or injuries arising from this event.

The approximate location of the 19 January 2018 Gulf of California Earthquake. USGS.

The boundary between the Pacific and North American Plates runs beneath the Gulf of California, with Beja California lying on the Pacific Plate and the Mexican mainland on the North American. The Pacific Plate is moving northwest with regard to the North American Plate, while the North American Plate is moving southeast relative to the Pacific Plate. This creates a transform plate margin along the centre of the Gulf of California, as the two plates slide past one-another, a margin that continues northward under California as the San Andreas Fault. The plates do not move past one-another smoothly, but continuously stick together then break apart as the pressure builds up, leading to regular Earthquakes beneath the Gulf of California and in the surrounding area.

 Map showing the relative movement of the Pacific and North American Plates, and the fault system beneath the Gulf of California. Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
 
See also...
 
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/magnitude-57-earthquake-beneath-gulf-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/magnitude-42-earthquake-in-northern.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/magnitude-46-earthquake-in-baja.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/magnitude-65-earthquake-beneath-gulf-of.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/magnitude-28-earthquake-in-baja_30.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/magnitude-41-earthquake-in-northeast_16.html
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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Caihong juji: A new species of Paravian Dinosaur from the Middle-Late Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Hebei Province, China.

The Paravians are a group of Maniraptoran Theropod Dinosaurs which includes the Birds, plus their closest relatives the Dromaeosaurs, Troodontids, Anchionithids, and Scansorioptererygids. Most of species of these Dinosaurs are known from the Late Jurssic and Cretaceous (later in the case of Birds) and can be confidently assigned to one of the derived groups that make up the Paraves, however the Middle-Late Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Hebei Province in China has produced a number of early Paravian Dinosaurs that appear to date from around the time that these groups diverged and which cannot always be confidently assigned to one group, including some specimens which may be the earliest known Birds (the Tiaojishan Formation is thought to be slightly older than the Solnhofen Limestone which produced the generally accepted first known fossil Bird, Archaeopteryx lithographica.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications on 15 January 2017, Dongyu Hu of the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning and Key Laboratory for Evolution of Past Life in Northeast Asia at Shenyang Normal University, Julia Clarke of the Department of Geological Sciences and Integrated Bioscience at the University of Texas at Austin, Chad Eliason, also of the Department of Geological Sciences and Integrated Bioscience at the University of Texas at Austin, and of the Integrative Research Center at the Field Museum of Natural History, Rui Qiu, also of the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning and Key Laboratory for Evolution of Past Life in Northeast Asia at Shenyang Normal University, Quanguo Li of the State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology at the China University of Geosciences, Matthew Shawkey of the Evolution and Optics of Nanostructures Group at the University of Ghent, Cuilin Zhao, again of the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning and Key Laboratory for Evolution of Past Life in Northeast Asia at Shenyang Normal University, Liliana D’Alba, also of the Evolution and Optics of Nanostructures Group at the University of Ghent, Jinkai Jiang once again of the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning and Key Laboratory for Evolution of Past Life in Northeast Asia at Shenyang Normal University, and Xing Xu of the Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describe a new speciecs of Paravian Dinosaur from the Middle-Late Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Hebei Province, China.

The new species is named Caihong juji, where 'Caihong' means 'rainbow' in reference to the insights into the colour of Paravians that the high preservation of this specimens provides, and 'juji' means 'big crest' in reference to the large crests the specimen has on its lacriminal bones (the hind part of its snout). The species is described from a single almost complete specimen preserved on a slab and counter-slab from a layer interpreted as being 171 million years old. Besides the crests the species is distinguished by a robust dentary (jawbone) short ilium (part of the hip).

Caihong juji. Photographs of the slab (a) and counter slab (b) and line drawing (c) of the specimen based on both slabs. Photograph (d) and line drawing (e) of a composite of the rostrum of the skull and mandible exposed on the counter slab and the post-rostrum cranium exposed on the slab. Arrows indicate lacrimal crests. Question mark indicates uncertain identification. Scale bars: 10 cm a–c, 1 cm d and e. aof antorbital fenestra, cav caudal vertebra, cev cervical vertebra, dr dorsal rib, dv dorsal vertebra, ect ectopterygoid, emf external mandibular fenestra, en external naris, f feather, fu furcula, ga gastralia, hy hyoid, il ilium, is ischium, la left angular, lar left articular, lc left coracoid, lcr lacrimal crest, ld left dentary, lf left, frontal, lfe left femur, lh left humerus, lj left jugal, ll left lacrimal, lma left maxilla, lm left manus, ln left nasal, lp left pes, lpa left palatine, lpo left postorbital, lq left quadrate, lqj left quadratojugal, lr left radius, ls left scapula, lsp left splenial, lsa left surangular, lsq left squamosal, lt left tibiotarsus, lu left ulna, ma mandible, mf maxillary fenestra, o orbit, p parietal, pm premaxilla, pt pterygoid, pu pubis, rar right articular, rc right coracoid, rd right dentary, rfe right femur, rh right humerus, rm right manus, rp right pes, rpra right prearticular, rq right quadrate, rr right radius, rs right scapula, rt right tibiotarsus, ru right ulna, scl sclerotic bones, sk skull, sy synsacrum. Hu et al. (2018).

A phlylogenetic analysis suggests that the new species is a member of the Deinonychosaurs (Dromaeosaurids and Troodontids) rather than directly ancestral to the Birds though it does provide insight into a close relative of the first Birds. The specimen has a well preserved feather covering, including what appear to be densely packed melanosomes (colour cells). These would normally be indicative of a dark colour (in the absence of other colour cells, as appears to be the case, black), however those of Caihong juji resemble closely those of iridescent Birds, such as Hummingbirds, which appear to shimmer different colours when seen an angle, suggesting that this Jurassic species may have been similarly iridescent.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/ostromia-crassipes-second-species-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/an-enantiornithine-bird-hatchling.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/tingmiatornis-arctica-ornithurine-bird.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/a-hesperornithiform-bird-from-late.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/preserved-plumage-in-immature.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/tongtianlong-limosus-new-species-of.html
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