Archive for February, 2015

Stunning Wisconsin Ice Caves May Open to Visitors This Weekend

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on February 27, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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  • Stunning Wisconsin Ice Caves May Open to Visitors This Weekend

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More Mysterious Craters Found in Siberia

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 27, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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More Mysterious Craters Found in Siberia

A Siberian hole that opened up mysteriously and was reported in July 2014.
Credit: Screengrab Newslook Video 

Last summer, the discovery of several new giant craters in Siberia drew worldwide interest, launching wild speculation that meteorites, or even aliens, caused the gaping crevasses. And now, scientists have found even more of them.

In July 2014, reindeer herdersdiscovered a 260-feet-wide (80 meters) crater in northern Russia’s Yamal Peninsula. Later that month, two more craters were discovered in the Tazovsky district and Taymyr Peninsula (also spelled Taimyr), respectively.

Now, satellite images have revealed at least four more craters, and at least one is surrounded by as many as 20 mini craters, The Siberian Times reported. [See Photos of Siberia’s Mysterious Craters]

“We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area,” Vasily Bogoyavlensky, a scientist at the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, told The Siberian Times. “Five are directly on the Yamal Peninsula, one in Yamal autonomous district, and one is on the north of the Krasnoyarsk region, near the Taimyr Peninsula.”

Now, two of the craters have turned into lakes, satellite images reveal. A crater called B2, located 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) south of Bovanenkovo, a major gas field in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district, is now a large lake ringed by more than 20 smaller water-filled craters.

But Bogoyavlensky thinks there may be many more. He called for further investigation of the craters, out of safety concerns for the region. “We must research this phenomenon urgently, to prevent possible disasters,” he said.

Siberian crater

Credit: Vasily Bogoyavlensky/The Siberian Times

Trapped gases

Although the origin of these craters remains somewhat mysterious, many scientists think they were created by explosions of high-pressure gas released from melting permafrost, or frozen soil, due to the warming of the climate.

“In my opinion, it definitely relates to warming and permafrost,” said Vladimir Romanovsky,a geophysicist who studies permafrost at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Romanovskythinks he knows how this occurs: Pressurized gas — mostly methane, but possibly carbon dioxide as well — exists beneath the permafrost. Since warming temperatures thaw the permafrost from the bottom up, an underground cavity forms, Romanovsky said. As the gas gets close to the surface, it deforms the ground above, creating a small hill. Finally, the pressurized gas erupts through the surface, forming a crater, he said.

In November 2014, scientists went on an expedition to study the Yamal crater, snapping some stunning photos. Vladimir Pushkarev, director of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, actually climbed down into the crater on a rope to observe it from the inside.

“You can see from the photographs a very different structure,” where most of the hole is caved in, but only the upper 16 to 23 feet (5 to 7 m) looks like a crater, Romanovsky told Live Science. “Only the upper several meters [of ground] was thrown away, but most of the hole was actually there before the eruption.”

Dangerous explosions

The erupting methane may have even caught fire. Residents near the crater in the town of Antipayuta reported seeing a bright flash in the distance, according to The Siberian Times.

“Probably the gas ignited,” Bogoyavlensky told The Siberian Times. Investigating the craters will be dangerous, because scientists don’t know when the gas emissions will occur, he added.

How the methane would have caught fire is somewhat of a mystery, Romanovsky said. “It seems like it happened during wintertime, so there should be no thunderstorms, no lightning,” he said. He thinks the methane probably erupted without igniting, just due to high pressure.

These craters should only form when the temperature is warm enough to melt the permafrost. “If the warming continues, we will see more and more of this phenomenon,” Romanovsky said. It could happen anywhere there are enough sources of natural gas, including parts of Alaska and northwestern Canada, he added.

Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter. Follow us @livescience,Facebook &Google+. Original article on Live Science.

 

Suicide Rise in Middle-Age Adults Linked to Recession

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on February 27, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Suicide Rise in Middle-Age Adults Linked to Recession

 

Woman’s Rare Case of ‘Seasonal OCD’ Cured

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on February 27, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Woman’s Rare Case of ‘Seasonal OCD’ Cured

Credit: Dubova/Shutterstock.com

 

A rare case of “seasonal” obsessive-compulsive disorder in a woman in highlights the complexity of this mental health condition, researchers say. The woman’s OCD symptoms appeared every year when winter began, and then ended as the seasons shifted toward summer.

After living with the condition for a decade, the woman was treated at a clinic and recovered, the case report said.

Psychiatrists “do believe that there is a tie between times of the year and the exacerbation of illness,” said Dr. Howard L. Forman, an attending psychiatrist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the woman’s case.

Patients with other mental health conditions, such as depression, may also get worse in the winter and feel better again in the summer, Forman said.

The 41-year-old woman came to an outpatient clinic during the month of October. She said she was having distressing thoughts about dirt and contamination, and that her thoughts were causing her to engage in repetitive cleaning rituals, and to repeat the same words for long periods of time. She said her symptoms had appeared every October for the past 10 years, always disappearing completely by April or May.

But “gradually, over the years, she noted that the severity of her illness increased,” and it was disrupting her life and her relationships, the researchers who treated the woman wrote in the case report. [5 Controversial Mental Health Treatments]

The doctors initially prescribed the woman a drug called fluoxetine, which affects levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain and is used to treat people with OCD and depression. But after a month of that treatment, her condition was not much improved.

The woman then began attending therapy sessions, during which she was gradually exposed to the cues that typically triggered her OCD symptoms, and learned to overcome them. The researchers also prescribed the woman a light treatment, that exposed her to bright light for two hours daily. They thought the seasonal variation in her condition might have something to do with receiving an inadequate amount of light, according to the case report.

The woman’s condition improved after 14 days of the new therapy regimen. The doctors recommended she continue to take the fluoxetine, and the woman’s OCD symptoms did not come back the next winter, according to the report.

Previous research had shown that some OCD patients might indeed experience seasonal variations in symptoms, according to the report.

“I felt like this case is very much clearly a case of seasonality of obsessive compulsive disorder, and I think we should not necessarily be so surprised that this could happen,” Forman said.

It is not exactly clear why some patients with mental health disorders get worse as seasons change, he said. There are seasonal variations inhow much serotonin is produced in the body, with less produced during darker and colder months compared with months that are sunnier and warmer. But there is no convincing evidence that this variation in serotonin production causes the changes in people’s symptoms.

In patients with depression, for instance, it is also possible that less socializing with family and friends during wintertime plays a role in worsening symptoms, Forman said.

The case report was published online Feb. 18 in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal.

Follow Agata Blaszczak-Boxe on Twitter. Follow Live Science@livescience,Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.

 

Deadly Gut Bacteria Cause Half a Million Infections Yearly

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on February 27, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Deadly Gut Bacteria Cause Half a Million Infections Yearly

Amazing Mars Photos by NASA’s Curiosity Rover (Latest Images)

Posted in THE UNIVERSE & SPACE SCIENCE with tags on February 27, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Amazing Mars Photos by NASA’s Curiosity Rover (Latest Images)

 

Monster Black Hole Is the Largest and Brightest Ever Found

Posted in THE UNIVERSE & SPACE SCIENCE with tags on February 27, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Monster Black Hole Is the Largest and Brightest Ever Found