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Friday, 2-Nov-2007 01:07 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Mystery: Mystery Skeletal Remains in Iceberg

The skeletal remains of a mystery animal spotted hanging halfway out of an iceberg that floated past the coast of Newfoundland last week has researchers scratching their heads, CanWest News Service reports.

Photos of the remains were taken by iceberg watcher Donna Norris on May 27 and sent via e-mail to Fisheries and Oceans research scientist Gary Stenson the following day. The iceberg has since drifted away or melted, and without a DNA sample to work from, Stenson and his colleagues can only guess as to the origin of the eight-foot-long skeleton and how it became lodged in the ice.

Stenson e-mailed the photos to fellow marine mammal colleagues, some as far away as Norway and Greenland. They narrowed it down to the seal family.

Known as pinnipeds, that family consists of three groups: walrus; sea lions and fur seals; and hair seals, such as harp, grey or bearded seals. "If it's a pinniped, it's big one," said Stenson. "The suggestions have been that perhaps it's a large bearded seal or a walrus, which is also very large."



Thursday, 1-Nov-2007 01:50 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Unidentified Animal: Zebra or Giraffe?

What is the common and scientific name of this animal - people say it looks like it is part giraffe and part zebra?



Monday, 22-Oct-2007 12:20 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Snapshot: The Monastery (al-Deir), Petra, Jordan

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Petra is an archaeological site in southwestern Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah, the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock.

The long-hidden site was revealed to the Western world by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. It was famously described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a Newdigate prize-winning sonnet by John William Burgon. Burgon had not actually visited Petra, which remained accessible only to Europeans accompanied by local guides with armed escorts until after World War I.

The site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 when it was described as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage.



Friday, 19-Oct-2007 01:14 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Mystery: Bosnia's Pyramid

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The Bosnian Pyramid, Visocica Hill, is the first European pyramid to be discovered and is located in the heart of Bosnia, in the town of Visoko. The pyramid has all the elements: four perfectly shaped slopes pointing toward the cardinal points, a flat top and an entrance complex. There are also the ruins of a Medieval walled town, once the base of a Bosnian king Tvrtko of Kotromanic (1338-1391). Because of its similarities to the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico, it has been named the “Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun” (’Bosanska Piramida Sunca’).

The pyramid walls are built from the megalita breče stone. Blocks of different sizes are typically used to build pyramids. These stone blocks have been excavated some 150 m away from the apex of the pyramid. Further excavations are underway in the surrounding areas to map the blocks and underground tunnels.

Bosnia's mystery pyramid is to be investigated and inspected by a team of experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).



Thursday, 18-Oct-2007 02:18 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Revisited: Tsunami

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Tsunami (a Japanese word meaning harbor wave) are gravity waves generated by large disturbances of the sea floor caused by volcanic eruptions, landslides or earthquakes. Shallow earthquakes along dip slip faults are more likely to be sources of tsunami than those along strike slip faults. In deep water tsunami travel at approximately 0.2 km/sec as compared to 5-10 km/sec for P waves and S waves. Thus, approaching tsunami can be detected by sea floor pressure gauges which measure the height of the water column above the gauge.

There is often no advance warning of an approaching tsunami. However, since earthquakes are often a cause of tsunami, an earthquake felt near a body of water may be considered an indication that a tsunami will shortly follow.

When the first part of a tsunami to reach land is a trough rather than a crest of the wave, the water along the shoreline may recede dramatically, exposing areas that are normally always submerged. This can serve as an advance warning of the approaching crest of the tsunami, although the warning arrives only a very short time before the crest, which typically arrives seconds to minutes later. In the 2004 tsunami that occurred in the Indian Ocean the sea receding was not reported on the African coast or any other western coasts it hit, when the tsunami approached from the east.

Tsunamis occur most frequently in the Pacific Ocean, but are a global phenomenon; they are possible wherever large bodies of water are found, including inland lakes, where they can be caused by landslides. Very small tsunamis, non-destructive and undetectable without specialized equipment, occur frequently as a result of minor earthquakes and other events.

For more pictures, please click here.



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