Friday 14 March 2014

Mineral hints at bright blue rocks deep in the Earth

Minerals preserved in a diamond from a 100 million year old Kimberlite found in Brazil have revealed hints of the bright blue rocks that exist deep within the Earth.It also provides the first direct evidence that there may be as much water trapped in those rocks as there is in all the oceans.

The diamond contains minerals that formed as deep as 600km down and that have significant amounts of water trapped within them.

Diamonds, brought to the Earth's surface in violent eruptions of deep volcanic rocks called Kimberlites,
provide a tantalising window into the deep Earth.

The diamond contained a mineral, Ringwoodite, that is only thought to form between 410km and 660km beneath the Earth's surface, showing just how deep some diamonds originate. While Ringwoodite has previously been found in meteorites, this is the first time a terrestrial Ringwoodite has been seen. But more extraordinarily, researchers found that the mineral contains about 1% water.

While this sounds like very little, because ringwoodite makes up almost all of this immense portion of the
deep Earth, it adds up to a huge amount of deep water - up to several times the amount in the Earth's Oceans.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Elephants recognise Human voices

Elephants are able to differentiate between ethnicities and genders, and can tell an adult from a child - all
from the sound of a human voice.This is according to a study in which researchers played voice recordings to wild African elephants.

According to Prof McComb who led the study, "If you give a Masai man a lift in your car, you can see the
elephants behave in a different way around you. "They're much more wary of the car and you see a lot of smelling and listening."

Prof McComb wanted to find out if the animals used their very acute sense of hearing to identify a potential threat from humans.The scientists recorded Masai and then Kamba (agriculturalists) men, women and children saying, in their own language, "look, look over there, a group of elephants is coming".

When the team played recordings of these different voices through a camouflaged loudspeaker, they found that elephant family groups reacted more fearfully in response to the voice of a Masai man, than to a Kamba man's voice - retreating and bunching together defensively.And the adult male Masai voices triggered far more of these defensive reactions than the voices of women or boys.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Satellites are being used to track baby Loggerhead Turtles

Satellites are tracking tagged baby loggerhead turtles to find out where they go in their early years.
The babies are tracked from leaving the US coastal waters as they head off into the Atlantic Ocean. It appears they spend a long time in the Sargasso Sea, possibly living in amongst floating mats of Sargassum seaweed.

The tags fall off after about 220 days

Other data suggests that they travel in a circle born along by the North Atlanic Sea currents and get as far as the Azores and Cape Verde before heading back to the Gulf of Mexico