Enn Original News

Lake Ellsworth
October 11, 2011 05:09 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Next week a British engineering team heads off to Antarctica for the first stage of an ambitious scientific mission to collect water and sediment samples from a lake buried beneath three kilometers of solid ice. This extraordinary research project, at the frontier of exploration, will yield new knowledge about the evolution of life on Earth and other planets, and will provide vital clues about the Earth’s past climate. This is one of the most remote and hostile environments on Earth with —25°C temperatures. Their task is to prepare the way for the deep-field research mission that will take place one year later. In October 2012 a team of 10 scientists and engineers, which includes academics from the University of Bristol, will use state of the art hot-water drilling technology to make a three kilometer bore hole through the ice. They will then lower a titanium probe to measure and sample the water followed by a corer to extract sediment from the lake. Lake Ellsworth is likely to be the first of Antarctica’s 387 known subglacial lakes to be measured and sampled directly through the design and manufacture of space-industry standard clean technology.

October 11, 2011 07:33 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Imaginary, mythological, or real? Giant Octopus! Kraken are legendary sea monsters of giant proportions said to have dwelt off the coasts of Norway and Iceland. Long before whales, the oceans of Earth were roamed by a very different kind of air-breathing leviathan. Snaggle-toothed ichthyosaurs larger than school buses swam at the top of the Triassic Period ocean food chain, or so it seemed before Mount Holyoke College paleontologist Mark McMenamin took a look at some of their remains in Nevada. Now he thinks there was an even larger and more cunning sea monster that preyed on ichthyosaurs: a kraken of huge mythological. McMenamin will be presenting the results of his work on Monday, 10 October at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Minneapolis.

Battle over huge coal deposit highlights risks in Indonesia
October 10, 2011 07:02 AM - Michael Taylor JAKARTA

Indonesia contains some of the world's richest mineral deposits, located tantalizingly close to the markets of China and India, but a court battle over a $1.8 billion coal mine highlights the risks foreign miners face in the country. London-listed Churchill Mining Plc has been in dispute with Indonesia's Nusantara Group for three years over the right to develop the world's seventh-largest undeveloped coal asset. The case has reached Indonesia's highest court and could take years more to settle. The 350-sq-km (135-sq-mile) mine site in East Kutai, a coastal district in East Kalimantan province, is said to contain 2.8 billion tonnes of coal reserves. "It's a big medium to low-grade thermal coal deposit," Churchill Executive Chairman David Quinlivan told Reuters in a telephone interview. "That requires a substantial amount of infrastructure to be able to bring it into production. "But once in production, it will be very much a long-term project -- 50 years or more."

Crab Blast
October 7, 2011 10:20 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Imagine a sun shining more bright than our sun does. 10 times brighter and warmer? A thousand times? How about 50 billion times? An international team of scientists has detected the highest energy gamma rays ever observed from a pulsar, a highly magnetized and rapidly spinning neutron star. The VERITAS experiment measured gamma rays coming from the Crab Pulsar at such large energies that they cannot be explained by current scientific models of how pulsars behave, the researchers said. The results, published on Oct. 6 in the journal Science, outline the first observation of photons from a pulsar system with energies greater than 100 billion electron volts — more than 50 billion times higher than visible light from the sun.

Air Tax
October 7, 2011 08:01 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Those who fly or are planning to fly to Europe nowadays will find that there is a heavy tax to pay loosely called environmental fees. European rules forcing all airlines to pay for carbon emissions are within the law, an adviser to Europe's highest court said on Thursday (October 6), in the latest stage of a bitter battle between the European Union and the aviation industry. From January next year, all airlines will have to buy permits under the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) to help cover the carbon cost of all flights that land or take off in Europe.

Growing CO2 Emissions from China due to Construction
October 6, 2011 04:05 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Carbon Dioxide emissions are not just from industry but may be caused by construction especially when there is a lot of new construction. Constructing buildings, power-plants and roads has driven a substantial increase in China's CO2 emission growth, according to a new study involving the University of East Anglia. Fast growing capital investments in infrastructure projects led to the expansion of the construction industry and its energy and CO2 intensive supply chain, such as steel and cement production. As a result of this transformation of China’s economy, more and more CO2 was released per unit of gross domestic product — a reversion of a long-term trend. Recently China became the world’s largest consumer of energy and emitter of CO2, overtaking the US. Previously the country’s greenhouse gas emissions growth was driven by rising consumption and exports. Today this growth is offset by emission savings from efficiency increases, but these savings are being hindered by the building of infrastructure — which is important as it dictates tomorrow’s emissions, the international team of researchers concludes.

Enforcement and Compliance Mapping
October 6, 2011 01:37 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the release of a new mapping feature in EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. As part of EPA’s ongoing effort to improve transparency, the EPA and State Enforcement Actions Map will allow the public to access federal and state enforcement information in an interactive format and to compare enforcement action information by state. The map will be refreshed monthly to include up to date information about the enforcement actions taken to address violations of air, water, and waste laws. This map will be a better visual aid for those people wishing to see what is happening in a given physical area.

Ice on Mercury
October 6, 2011 12:08 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Mercury is as close to the sun as any planet in our solar system can go. It has to be hot there. One would expect boiling lava for example. So can water ice be present? The answer is surprisingly yes. Twenty years ago, radar observations from Earth revealed small, highly reflective areas close to Mercury's poles, suggesting the presence of ice (along with vast expanses of ancient lava). Now, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, which has orbited Mercury since March 2011, has confirmed that these radar-bright patches neatly coincide with deep crater floors near the poles that never receive any sunlight at all.

How many different dust particles are you breathing?
October 6, 2011 09:37 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

In any given room, even the most sterile scientific cleanrooms, there are dust particles in the air and coating every surface. If allowed to go uncleaned, the dust will accumulate to eventually cover every surface. But what exactly is the dust in the air and on our tables and shelves? A chemistry research team at the Ohio State University, using a new kind of sensor, has isolated and measured the composition of unique dust particles in their laboratory.

Lake Agassiz Demise
October 5, 2011 04:13 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Lake Agassiz was an immense glacial lake located in the center of North America (Manitoba mostly). Fed by glacial runoff at the end of the last glacial period, its area was larger than all of the modern Great Lakes combined, and it held more water than contained by all lakes in the world today. At its largest, Glacial Lake Agassiz, as it is known, covered most of the Canadian province of Manitoba, plus a good part of western Ontario. A southern arm straddled the Minnesota-North Dakota border. University of Cincinnati Professor of Geology Thomas Lowell will present a paper about the lake to the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Minneapolis. Lowell’s paper is one of 14 to be presented Oct. 10 in a session titled: Glacial Lake Agassiz—Its History and Influence on North America and on Global Systems: In Honor of James T. Teller. Although Lake Agassiz is gone, questions about its origin and disappearance remain. Answers to those questions may provide clues to our future climate. One question involves Lake Agassiz’ role in a thousand-year cold snap known as the Younger Dryas.

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