Earth’s solid inner core may be home to a “hidden new world”, scientists have claimed. Within the scientific community, there is consensus about Earth’s inner core being a solid compressed ball of iron alloy, which is surrounded by the Earth’s outer core. A new study may change that understanding of the Earth’s insides.
Published on September 20, the new research suggests that Earth’s inner core may not be as solid as previously thought, and that it has certain semisoft characteristics where liquid metal is stored.
Earth’s core isn’t easy to study
The major problem with studying the Earth’s core is that it still remains inaccessible. In fact, for humans to ever get raw access to the Earth’s core, the planet must undergo some sort of disaster than rips it open.
With so much heat and pressure at the centre of Earth, it’s not ideal for humans to travel into or to even send remote probes.
Most of what we know about the Earth’s centre is based on readings taken from the crust (the surface). Vibrations from seismic waves caused by earthquakes or movement of tectonic plates are scientists’ only window into the Earth’s centre.
Why Earth’s inner core may be semisolid
The new liquid characters of Earth’s inner core were discovered by Rhett Butler from the Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. While trying to understand how seismic waves travel through different layers of Earth, Butler found that instead of going in a straight direction (as a solid metal ball would facilitate), the waves kept getting deflected in certain areas.
Based on this, Butler ascertained that the Earth’s core isn’t as solid as previously assumed and that it has certain areas where liquids may be found. By comparing their readings, scientists involved in the study found that the Earth’s core has certain pockets of “mushy” liquid and semi-solid iron near the surface.
In conversation with Live Science, a seismologist from the University of Bristol, Jessica Irving said that this means we’re now “finding a whole new hidden world.” Irving did not contribute to the study.
What are your thoughts on this startling new claim about Earth’s inner core? Share with us in the comments below.
Antipodal seismic reflections upon shear wave velocity structures within Earth’s inner core. (2021, December 1). ScienceDirect.
Thompson, J. (2021, October 27). “New hidden world” discovered in Earth’s inner core. Livescience.Com.
Geminid Meteor Shower returns in December – country1053.ca
The best meteor shower of the year are the Geminids and they’ll return this month. They start December 3 and will peak on the evenings of December 13 and 14 at around 2 a.m. ET. What makes this meteor shower interesting is that most come from comets traveling trough the solar system, while this one stems from an asteroid. Hoping for a clear sky both nights and you could see blue and even green colors as the space rocks burn up while passing through Earth‘s atmosphere. More info on the Geminids from NASA. There was already a preview of what you can see on November 3 in Manitoba.
@geminidmeteors strikes over the sky of Victoria, Manitoba, CAN ❣☄#meteror #geminid #december #nightsky #nightphotography #meteorshower #night #canada#geminidmeteorshower #nationalpark pic.twitter.com/NiqTYX5oLo
— Geminid Meteor Shower (@geminidmeteors) November 3, 2021
This 130 million-year-old ichthyosaur was a 'hypercarnivore' with knife-like teeth – Livescience.com
You wouldn’t want to meet an ichthyosaur while taking a dip in the early Cretaceous seas. That goes double for Kyhytysuka sachicarum: This newly identified 130 million-year-old marine reptile, now known from fossils in central Colombia, had larger, more knife-like teeth than other ichthyosaur species, a new study finds — and that is saying something, as ichthyosaurs are famous for their long, toothy snouts.
These big teeth would have enabled K. sachicarum to attack large prey, such as fish and even other marine reptiles.
“Whereas other ichthyosaurs had small, equally sized teeth for feeding on small prey, this new species modified its tooth sizes and spacing to build an arsenal of teeth for dispatching large prey,” paleontologist Hans Larsson of McGill University’s Redpath Museum in Montreal, Canada, said in a statement.
One toothy family
Ichthyosaurs were a large group of marine predators that first evolved during the Triassic period around 250 million years ago from land-dwelling reptiles that returned to the sea. The last species went extinct about 90 million years ago during the late Cretaceous. With long snouts and large eyes, they looked a bit like swordfish. Most species had jaws lined with small, cone-shaped teeth that were good for snagging small prey.
The newly identified species was likely at least twice as long as an adult human, based on the size of the fossils that have been found (most of a skull and a few pieces of spine and ribs). Probable ichthyosaur fossils were first unearthed in Colombia in the 1960s, but researchers couldn’t agree on the species or precisely how ichthyosaurs from the region were related to others from the same time period.
For the new study, Larsson and his colleagues focused on a skull kept in the collections of Colombia’s Museo Geológico Nacional José Royo y Gómez, and also considered another partial skull and bones from the spine and ribcage kept at Colombia’s Centro de Investigaciones Paleontológicas. Larsson and his colleagues announced the discovery and name of the marine reptile Nov. 22 in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.
“We compared this animal to other Jurassic and Cretaceous ichthyosaurs and were able to define a new type of ichthyosaurs,” Erin Maxwell of the State Natural History Museum of Stuttgart, Germany, said in the statement. “This shakes up the evolutionary tree of ichthyosaurs and lets us test new ideas of how they evolved.”
The researchers named the new ichthyosaur species Kyhytysuka, meaning “the one that cuts with something sharp” in the language of the Indigenous Muisca culture of Colombia.. There are other species of ichthyosaur with big teeth for catching large prey, the researchers wrote in the study, but those species are from the early Jurassic, at least 44 million years earlier than K. sachicarum.
The new species lived at a time when the supercontinent Pangea was breaking up into two landmasses — one southerly and one northerly — and when Earth was warming and sea levels were rising. At the end of the Jurassic, the seas underwent an extinction upheaval, and deep-feeding ichthyosaur species, marine crocodiles and short-necked plesiosaurs died out. These animals were replaced by sea turtles, long-necked plesiosaurs, marine reptiles called mososaurs that looked like a mix between a shark and a crocodile, and this huge new ichthyosaur, said study co author Dirley Cortés of McGill’s Redpath Museum.
“We are discovering many new species in the rocks this new ichthyosaur comes from,” Cortés said in the statement. “We are testing the idea that this region and time in Colombia was an ancient biodiversity hotspot and are using the fossils to better understand the evolution of marine ecosystems during this transitional time.”
Originally published on Live Science
Kyhytysuka: A pure carnivorous `fish lizard` from 130 million years ago discovered – WION
The 130-million-year-old hypercarnivore Kyhytysuka, often known as the “Fish Lizard,” has been unearthed.
A remarkable 130-million-year-old swordfish-shaped marine reptile fossil reveals the emergence of hypercarnivory in these last-surviving ichthyosaurs.
A group of multinational researchers from Canada, Colombia, and Germany have unearthed a new prehistoric marine reptile.
The specimen is a brilliantly preserved meter-long skull from one of the few remaining ichthyosaurs — prehistoric beasts that look alarmingly like live swordfish.
According to researchers, this new species reveals the entire picture of ichthyosaur evolution.
This species, according to experts, originates from a crucial transitional era in the Early Cretaceous.
The Earth had emerged from a comparatively cold phase, sea levels were increasing, and Pangea, the supercontinent, had been split into northern and southern territory.
There were additional worldwide extinction events near the end of the Jurassic, which altered marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
(With inputs from agencies)
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