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Geologists might have found a long-lost tectonic plate – Tech Explorist



Jonny Wu and Spencer Fuston
Jonny Wu (left), assistant professor of geology in the UH Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Spencer Fuston, a third-year geology doctoral student, applied a technique developed by the UH Center for Tectonics and Tomography called slab unfolding to reconstruct what tectonic plates in the Pacific Ocean looked like during the early Cenozoic Era.

The existence of a tectonic plate called Resurrection has long been controversial among geophysicists. Some believe that it never existed, while others say that it is subducted into the Earth’s mantle somewhere in the Pacific Margin between 40 and 60 million years ago.

A new study by the University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics shed light on this- suggesting that the Resurrection plate existed. Scientists believe they have found the remains of the missing plate, Resurrection in northern Canada-crushed, reshaped, and buried through subduction processes.

For this study, scientists used a technique developed by the UH Center for Tectonics and Tomography called slab unfolding to reconstruct what tectonic plates in the Pacific Ocean looked like during the early Cenozoic Era.

D block diagram across North America showing a mantle tomography image
A 3D block diagram across North America showing a mantle tomography image reveals the Slab Unfolding method used to flatten the Farallon tectonic plate. By doing this, Fuston and Wu were able to locate the lost Resurrection plate.

The rigid outermost shell of Earth, or lithosphere, is broken into tectonic plates, and geologists have always known there were two plates in the Pacific Ocean around then called Kula and Farallon. Be that as it may, there has been discussion about a potential third plate, Resurrection, which has shaped a unique volcanic belt along with Alaska and Washington State.

According to scientists, this study could help geologists predict volcanic hazards and mineral and hydrocarbon deposits.

 plate tectonic reconstruction
This image shows plate tectonic reconstruction of western North America 60 million years ago showing subduction of three key tectonic plates, Kula, Farallon and Resurrection.

Spencer Fuston, a third-year geology doctoral student, said, “We believe we have direct evidence that the Resurrection plate existed. We are also trying to solve a debate and advocate for which side our data support.”

Using 3-D mapping technology, scientists applied the slab unfolding technique to the mantle tomography images to pull out the subducted plates before unfolding and stretching them to their original shapes.

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Jonny Wu, assistant professor of geology in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said, “When ‘raised’ back to the Earth’s surface and reconstructed, the boundaries of this ancient Resurrection tectonic plate match well with the ancient volcanic belts in Washington State and Alaska, providing a much sought after link between the ancient Pacific Ocean and the North American geologic record.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Spencer Fuston et al., Raising the Resurrection plate from an unfolded-slab plate tectonic reconstruction of northwestern North America since early Cenozoic time, GSA Bulletin (2020). DOI: 10.1130/B35677.1

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PH to witness penumbral lunar eclipse Nov. 30 – Manila Bulletin



PH to witness penumbral lunar eclipse Nov. 30

Get ready to witness the last eclipse that will be visible in the Philippines in 2020.


A penumbral eclipse of the moon will occur on Nov. 30 and will be observed in northwestern Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and most of Asia, including the Philippines, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

It said the eclipse begins when the moon enters penumbra at 3:32 p.m. and ends at 7:53 p.m. (Philippine Standard Time). The full Moon will enter its maximum penumbral eclipse around 5:30 p.m.

A penumbra refers to a partially shaded outer region of a shadow that an object casts, PAGASA explained. 

A penumbral eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the faint penumbral portion of the Earth’s shadow, which causes the moon to appear slightly darker than usual.

“The lunar surface is not completely shadowed by the Earth’s umbra (darkest part of a shadow). Instead, observers can see only the slightest dimming near the lunar limb closest to the umbra,” PAGASA said.

“The eclipse may be undetectable unless at least half of the Moon enters the penumbra,” it added.

International astronomers said that about 82 percent of the Moon’s face will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase of this eclipse.

The lunar eclipse is safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes. 

Earlier this year, the Philippines witnessed a penumbral lunar eclipse on June 6 and an annular solar eclipse on June 21. 



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Watch the largest Earth-observing satellite ever launch into space – Inverse



On Saturday, the journey of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite began.

The largest Earth-observing satellite took off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 12:17 p.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

In just a few months, the satellite will begin collecting data on rising sea levels here on Earth, offering scientists a bird’s eye view of one of the hardest to measure affects of climate change.

After it launched into orbit, the satellite separated from the rocket and spread its solar arrays in a truly stunning display.

See the video of the launch here:

Once in the air, Sentinel-6 sent a signal to ground control confirming the spacecraft is in good health and ready to start a series of check-ups and last-minute calibrations. After these are completed, the spacecraft will begin its true mission.

Sentinel-6 is a joint venture by NASA and the European Space Agency, European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A disturbing trend — The mission’s main objective is to collect data on global sea levels and chart climate change’s effects on the Earth’s oceans. The mission will run for a period of five and a half years.

As global temperatures rise, melting glaciers and ice sheets have combined with the thermal expansion of seawater to increase sea levels at an alarming rate. Since 1880, global mean sea level has risen about 8–9 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The Earth is changing, and this satellite will help deepen our understanding of how,” Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, said in a statement.

“The changing Earth processes are affecting sea level globally, but the impact on local communities varies widely. International collaboration is critical to both understanding these changes and informing coastal communities around the world.”

Sentinel-6 builds on the legacy of ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission. First launched in 2014, it remains the most ambitious Earth observation program to date.

Space agencies have played a crucial role in documenting the effects of changing global temperatures on our planet for years. Sentinel-6 brings an unprecedented level of precision to this effort.

Sentinel-6 will transform our understanding of Earth’s oceans.NASA/JPL-CalTech

A new era — The Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission includes two identical satellites, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich and Sentinel-6B, which will launch five years apart and supply scientists with data until at least the year 2030.

Unlike previous Earth-observation missions, the Sentinel-6 observatory will collect measurements at a much higher resolution and be able to trace smaller sea-level variations near coastlines.

The way it does this is through a radar altimeter instrument, which calculates the distance between the satellite and Earth by measuring the time it takes for a transmitted radar pulse to reflect Earth’s surface. The returned echo pulse from the sea surface generates a waveform that reveals the height of the sea’s surface and the waves, as well as the surface wind speed from the roughness of the ocean, in real time.

All of these measures support ocean forecasting — crucial to sustainable ocean-resource management, coastal management, and environmental protection, as well as the fishing industry.

“The data from this satellite, which is so critical for climate monitoring and weather forecasting, will be of unprecedented accuracy,” Alain Ratier, director-general for the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, said in a statement.

“These data, which can only be obtained by measurements from space, will bring a wide range of benefits to people around the globe, from safer ocean travel to more precise prediction of hurricane paths, from greater understanding of sea level rise to more accurate seasonal weather forecasts, and so much more.”

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Jupiter and Saturn Will Form a Rare 'Double Planet' in the Sky Before Christmas – Yahoo Finance




3 Monster Growth Stocks That Still Have Room to Run

Investors are in the market to make a profit, and that means finding the stocks with proven growth potential. Yes, it’s a cliché to remind everyone that past performance does not guarantee future results, but when a stock consistently shows strong share appreciation, over an extended period, it’s a positive sign for investors.With more than ten months behind us, the stocks that are now showing a combination of strong gains and a high near- to mid-term potential are going to attract investor interest.Bearing this in mind, we set out to find stocks flagged as exciting growth plays by Wall Street. Using TipRanks’ database, we locked in on three analyst-backed names that have already notched impressive gains and boast strong growth narratives for the long-term. Bandwidth, Inc. (BAND)We start in the communications software sector, where Bandwidth is a leading provider of VoIP systems, using its application programming interfaces (API) to offer customers both text and voice capabilities. The company’s products include applications for voice calling, text messaging, local phone numbers via internet, and 911 emergency phone system access. Bandwidth has developed and built its own network for voice over internet, helping to guarantee connectivity.Like many online tech companies, BAND has benefitted from the 2020’s shift to remote work. The move into the virtual office space has put a premium on internet communications, and BAND shares have reflected that – the stock is up an impressive 135% year-to-date. The company’s Q3 earnings were also strong – and at 14 cents per share were far above the 12 cent net EPS loss expected. Revenues for the third quarter came in at $84.8 million, for a 40% year-over-year increase.In addition to positive revenues and earnings, Bandwidth has also shown sound liquidity. The company had over $300 million in cash and cash equivalents available at the end of September, while liabilities totaled only $57.8 million.Finally, earlier this month, Bandwidth completed its acquisition of the European cloud communications company Voxbone. The deal was valued at 446 million Euros, or more than $520 million in US currency. The transaction included 354.6 million Euros in cash, and the remainder in stock.Bandwidth’s growth and healthy future prospects caught the attention of 5-star analyst Michael Walkley. Writing from Canaccord, this top analyst said, “With Covid-19 impacting the way we work, learn, and interact for the foreseeable future, we believe Bandwidth is a long-term beneficiary from anticipated strong growth trends due to increased customer usage of their platform. We believe revenue growth should remain strong given our expectations for some permanent long-term changes with an increased remote work environment driving both increasing usage from existing customers and layering in the potential for stronger new customer growth.”To this end, Walkley puts a Buy rating on BAND shares, and his $225 price target suggests room for nearly 50% upside in the next 12 months. (To watch Walkley’s track record, click here)Overall, BAND gets a Moderate Buy rating form the analyst consensus, based on 5 reviews, including 4 Buys and 1 Sell. The shares are priced at $150.50, and the average price target of $192.20 implies a one-year upside of ~28%. (See BAND stock analysis on TipRanks)Wayfair, Inc. (W)From cloud communications we move on to e-commerce, where Wayfair is a leader in the home goods and furniture sector. E-commerce has seen heavy gains during the COVID pandemic, as customers moved larger portions of their shopping online. The stock shows that, having grown 180% year-to-date.Earnings have also reflected strong sales during the pandemic period. EPS turned positive in Q2, coming in at $2.54 against a 55-cent forecast. In Q3, the earnings per share was $1.80, beating the estimate by 300%. Revenues are high, too, with the $3.8 billion in Q3 representing a 66% year-over-year gain. And like Bandwidth above, Wayfair has a sound balance sheet, with $2.6 billion in cash and liquid assets reported at the end of the third quarter.These fiscal gains stand on the shoulders of solid sales performance. Wayfair reported 11.3 million orders from repeat customers in Q3, making up almost 72% of the quarter’s total orders. Active customers in the company’s Direct Retail business segment increased 50% yoy, and reached 28.8 million.Peter Keith, 5-star analyst with Piper Sandler, writes of Wayfair, “Looking forward, KPI’s repeat customers (% of orders) and revenue per average customer (LTM) both hit all-time highs and suggest Wayfair will grow revenues nicely off a larger base of customers… We maintain our bullish thesis as above-trend sales growth is likely to persist at least into early 2021, and margins are expanding far above expectations – with longer-term drivers coming into focus.”It should come as no surprise, then, that Keith stays with the bulls. In addition to an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, he left a $370 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 47%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Keith’s track record, click here)Overall, Wayfair has 20 reviews on record, including 10 Buys, 7 Hold, and 3 Sell, making the analyst consensus view a Moderate Buy. W stock is selling for $251.70 and has an average price target of $312.63, making the upside potential 24% for the coming months. (See Wayfair’s stock analysis on TipRanks)Schrodinger (SDGR)Last but not least is Schrodinger, a software company that develops applications for the life sciences and materials sciences industries. In short, the company builds the software platforms that allows customers to evaluate experimental compounds. Schrodinger describes its software as a physics-based platform, integrating solutions for collaboration, data analytics, and predictive modeling in chemistry. The platform is used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry, but also in aerospace, energy, and semiconductors.Schrodinger went public in February of this year, just as the corona crisis was ramping up, and quickly saw strong share gains. At the IPO, the stock sold for $26 per share, well above the initial pricing of $17. The company sold well over 11.8 million shares, making the opening one of the year’s most successful. Since then, SDGR shares have more than doubled, gaining nearly 140% in their first nine months of public trading.Revenues have remained consistent during the year, with the first three quarters of 2020 showing the top line between $23 and $26 million. The Q3 number, at $25 million, is right in the middle of that range. The Q3 top line beat the forecast by 10%Covering this stock for BMO, 5-star analyst Do Kim writes, “We believe the 42% y/y growth in software revenues reflects the accelerating adoption of computational drug discovery, in addition to a growing customer base. We expect software growth to continue into 2021, as we believe the pandemic trend of remote work is sticky, with increasing platform validation from collaborations.”In line with this upbeat outlook, Kim rates SDGR shares an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $94 price target. This figure indicates confidence in a 37% one-year upside potential. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)All in all, Schrodinger’s Strong Buy consensus rating is based on 3 Buys and 1 Hold. The stock has an average price target of $83, giving it a 21% upside from the current trading price of $68.52. (See SDGR stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for growth stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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