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Science News

Nature Blows, Rattles and Rolls. The Typhoon and Earth Quake Connection…

Nature is a harsh mistress. The more we study the natural world the more we come to understand how the various natural system are inter-connected. Recently scientists from Florida International University have established a connection between large Typhoons and earthquakes. While earthquakes are a complex event with many causes this is one more piece of the puzzle that will help us understand the world we live in.

The most destructive earthquakes are the result of the Earth’s crust being made of a number of separate plates – tectonic plates – that just won’t stand still. As the plates are made of rock and earth they are rough causing friction as they grind together. This friction causes the plates to lock at the edges while the rest of the plate behind continue to move forward, building up pressure where the plates meet – convergent plate boundaries -. When this pressure is released earthquakes are the result. The amount of energy that is released during an earthquake is astronomical. The total energy released by Japans recent earthquake – total energy or seismic moment – equates to 600 million times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. All of that energy had built in the crust and was released in just a few minutes of shaking.

Continue reading Nature Blows, Rattles and Rolls. The Typhoon and Earth Quake Connection…

World’s Largest Terrestrial Radio Telescope, ALMA Opens It’s Eyes…

The human senses are a marvel of natural design but they are limited by their physical qualities. Perfectly adapted to life on the surface of the planet Earth, not so great if you want to listen to faint stars on the other side of the universe.

Luckily enough one of humanities greatest survival techniques is making use of other sensory systems. Whether it be listening for the bark of a guard dog to pointing the largest telescope in the world at just the right bit of the sky humanity has always made use of tools to extend our senses.

The latest addition to our extra sensory abilities is the Worlds Largest Millimeter / Sub-Millimeter Radio Telescope in Chile, The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub millimeter Array – ALMA – sits upon the high planes of the Chajnantor plateau in northern Chile. At an altitude of 5000 meters.in the middle of an isolated plateau the ALMA telescope has one of the clearest sky to look through. The array itself consists of 66 individual radio telescopes networked together, with their combined power being pointed at a single point they are able to produce the highest resolution images possible of the furthest reaches of our universe. Helping us look at the coldest darkest parts of the Universe with new clarity. ALMA joins other great names such as Hubble and SDO in our list of most valuable scientific instruments, or was that most popular scientific instruments.

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