Using new AI technology – a manifold learning algorithm – a seismologist and another scientist discovered large structures of dense material lying at the boundary between Earth’s core and the lower mantle. These dense patches were located below the Pacific ocean, under Hawaii and the Marquesas Islands. They could be stretching 1,000 kilometers long in a zone 3,000 kilometers below the surface.
These are very deep and ancient structures that date back to a time before the earth had a moon. They may not be relevant to questions of human history.
The theory of lithopanspermia proposes the natural exchange of organisms between solar system bodies through meteorites. This has become recently an active field of researches. This paper, based on latest findings from over 62,000 meteorites found on earth (The Meteoritical Society, 2020) describes the complete process of biological organisms transport back-and-forth between the Earth and Mars.
Million of people are giving a try to a vegan diet during the month of January 2020. Researchers at the University of Oxford are running a pilot experiment to assess the value of veganism for the environmental impacts aspect. Veganism is considered better for the planet than other diets. A 2018 Science study has quantified the today’s food supply chain impact at the global scale – feeding 7.6 billion people : meat and dairy contribute about 60 percent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emission, and provide only 18 percent of our calories. The alternative of veganism starts to gain some momentum, and some coaching is available on the Vegan Society Web Site.
A group of scientists is currently discussing the possibilities to define and legalize rights for Nature, in order to counteract the destruction of the natural world. The “Rights-of-Nature” movement is seeking to promote the rights of non-human life. Some countries, like Ecuador and Bolivia, have already started this process. The aim is to render illegitimate the most destructive activities.
Environmental heavy destruction may not be new. In May 1891, Madame Blavatsky wrote in her magazine, Lucifer Vol. VIII, N° 45 : “Owing to the triumphant march and the invasion of civilization, Nature, as well as man and ethics, is sacrificed, and is fast becoming artificial. Climate are changing, and the face of the whole world will soon be altered. Under the murderous hand of the pioneers of civilization, the destruction of whole primeval forests is leading to the drying up of rivers. . . The pure air of the country is polluted with smoke, the smells of greasy railway-engines, and the sickening odors of gin, whiskey and beer.”
A major cosmic impact that occurred toward the end of the Pleistocene epoch (12,800 years ago), causing rapid climatic changes, megafaunal extinctions, sudden human population decrease and cultural shifts and widespread wildfires (biomass burning) got additional findings from a Chilean site. According to the on-going study called the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, traces of the multiple impacts have been found in the Americas, Europe, and up to Greenland where a major crater has been recently spotted.
New discovery has found the first direct and unambiguous observational evidence that the magnetopause (boundary layer between the magnetosphere and the surrounding plasma) vibrates in a standing wave pattern, like a drum, when hit by a strong impulse.
Meat production doesn’t just affect the ecosystem by production of gases, and study now question the system of production’s direct effect on global freshwater use, change in land use, and ocean acidification. A recent paper in Science claims that even the lowest-impact meat causes “much more” environmental impact than the least sustainable forms of plant and vegetable production.
A real-time exemple of climat change impact on our planet which requires our attention (and actions)
Last United Nations Climate Change Committee (COP24) met in Poland in December 2018, and optimism seems predominant :
“Governments have adopted a robust set of guidelines for implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.”
“The majority are confident that they will meet their 2020 quantified economy-wide reduction targets. For many of them, their 2020 emission levels are now expected to be lower than projected two years ago because of their climate actions.”
The evolution of technologies has enabled new discoveries in Astronomy and Earth Sciences, like Gravity Waves detection, Exoplanets discoveries, Asteroids and Comets interaction with Earth. This is leading to a change in the paradigm on which Space and Earth histories are built
Modern Science identifies Top Candidates for Life’s Crucible : land, sea, space, with one place which has all requirements for life to emerge : an hydrothermal crater lake in India. But even this has only a “just maybe” qualifier.
Less well known is the discovery that fragments of a disintegrating ~100km-diameter comet collided with the Earth some 12,800 years ago in what is known as the Younger Dryas period (named after a signature Arctic flower). The collision triggered a rapid return to glacial conditions which lasted about 1,400 years, interrupting the gradual warming of the planet after the Last Glacial Maximum around 20,000 years ago. In a recent two-part publication, Wolbach (and 31 co-authors) presented a detailed analysis of evidence of this most unusual climatic episode gathered over the last decade (Wolbach et al. 2018, Jour. Geology, v 126: 165-184; 185-205). Data was gathered from ice-cores in Greenland, Russia and Antarctica as well as from lake, marine and terrestrial sediments. Contemporaneous layers of charcoal and dust in these geographically dispersed cores confirm this cosmic impact event. These specific layers are enriched in platinum and other impact-related elements. They also contain glassy spherules and nano-diamonds, and are anomalously high in ammonia, nitrate, and other compounds that represent a major period of extensive biomass burning. Sea levels rose a few meters due to major melting of the North American Ice Cap and this surge of fresh water disturbed the oceanic circulation that began a period of cooling.
Evidence points to numerous fragments of a disintegrating comet detonating above and/or colliding with ice-sheets, oceans, and land on at least four continents centered on North America. The radiant and thermal energy from multiple explosions triggered extensive multiple wildfires that are estimated to have burned about 10% of the planet’s biomass, considerably more than that accompanying the meteorite impact that caused the demise of the dinosaurs. The burning created long-lived atmospheric soot, blocking most sunlight and creating an impact winter and acid rain. The reduced vegetation caused a major crisis in the ecosystem that may have contributed to many megafaunal extinctions including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths and American horses, along with many birds and smaller mammals. Human population declined for about a thousand years and the demise of the Clovis hunters ensued. This synchronicity of multiple events makes the Younger Dryas interval one of the most unusual climatic/ecological episodes during the last two million years. It also raises the importance of supporting the Near Earth Asteroid Survey in defense of future serious impacts on our planet.”