An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years.
Stumps and logs have been popping out from under southern Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier — a 36.8-square-mile (95.3 square kilometers) river of ice flowing into a lake near Juneau — for nearly the past 50 years. However, just within the past year or so, researchers based at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau have noticed considerably more trees popping up, many in their original upright position and some still bearing roots and even a bit of bark, the Juneau Empire first reported last week.
"There are a lot of them, and being in a growth position is exciting because we can see the outermost part of the tree and count back to see how old the tree was," Cathy Connor, a geology professor at the University of Alaska Southeast who was involved in the investigation, told LiveScience’s OurAmazingPlanet. "Mostly, people find chunks of wood helter-skelter, but to see these intact upright is kind of cool."
The team has tentatively identified the trees as either spruce or hemlock, based on the diameter of the trunks and because these are the types of trees growing in the region today, Connor said, but the researchers still need to further assess the samples to verify the tree type.
A protective tomb of gravel likely encased the trees more than 1,000 years ago, when the glacier was advancing, Connor said, basing the date on radiocarbon ages of the newly revealed wood. As glaciers advance, Connor explained, they often emit summer meltwater streams that spew aprons of gravel beyond the glacier’s edge.
Slimy brown algae not only survived a wild ride into the stratosphere via a volcanic ash cloud, they landed on distant islands looking flawless, a new study finds.
"There’s a crazy contrast between these delicate, glass-shelled organisms and one of the most powerful eruptions in Earth’s history," said lead study author Alexa Van Eaton, a postdoctoral scholar at both the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington and Arizona State University.
The diatoms were launched by the Taupo super-eruption on New Zealand’s North Island 25,000 years ago. More than 600 million cubic meters (20 billion cubic feet) of diatoms from a lake flew into the air, Van Eaton reported Sept. 6 in the journal Geology. Lumped together, the microscopic cells speckled throughout Taupo’s ash layers would make a pile as big as Hawaii’s famed Diamond Head volcanic cone.
Dark Sky Island
The gorgeous Isle of Sark, the smallest self-governing island in Europe, is located in the English channel 130 miles off the southern English coast. In January 2011 it became the world’s first “Dark Sky island” by controlling light pollution. The island’s single electricity source is an oil-fired power station, and there are no cars, streetlights or even paved roads: you can only get around by bike, horse, carriage or tractor-drawn bus. Due to the lack of light pollution, the Milky Way stretches gloriously overhead—from horizon to horizon across the pristine black sky.
10 Wild Facts About Chameleons
- 1 — Changes in light, temperature or emotion can prompt Chameleons to change color - they do not change color to camouflage themselves.
- 2 — Their tongues moves faster than human eyes can follow, hitting their prey in about 30 thousandths of a second. They have ballistic tongues that are 1.5 - 2 times the length of their body.
- 3 — The word ‘chameleon’ is a combination of two Greek words, “Chamai”, meaning ‘on the ground’ and “Leon” meaning ‘lion’.
- 4 — Chameleons do not have any ears.
- 5 — Almost half of the world’s species live on the island of Madagascar with 59 different species there. There are approximately 160 species of chameleon worldwide.
- 6 — Chameleon eyes have a 360-degree arc of vision and can see two directions at once. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously, which lets their eyes move independently of each other.
- 7 — Their feet resemble tongs with five toes that are fused into one group of two and another group of three.
- 8 — A prehensile tail is adapted for grasping especially by wrapping around an object.
- 9 — Males are typically much more ornamented. Many have head or facial ornamentation such as horn-like projections while others have large crests on top of their heads.
- 10 — Chameleons vary greatly in size and structure. Their lengths can vary from 15 millimeters (0.6 in) in the male Brookesia micra (one of the world’s smallest reptiles) to 68.5 centimeters (30 in) in the male Furcifer oustaleti.
The 10 Enzymes of Glycolysis
We’re the ten best friends that anyone could have, and we’ll never ever ever ever ever leave each other (
unless something bad like denaturation happens).
Glucose, C6H12O6, can be considered as “fuel” for cells, serving as an energy (ATP) source, as seen in the equation down below. The energy from glucose can be obtained either by burning it (e.g. burning icing sugar), or through controlled oxidation reactions (glycolysis, the Krebs/TCA/citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation).
C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy
The (beautifully coloured) images shown above are the majestic 10 enzymes used in glycolysis, a metabolic pathway that breaks down 1 molecule of glucose into 2 molecules of pyruvate, yielding a net production of 2 molecules of ATP (as well as 2NADH, 2H+, and 2H2O). The above photos are from the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB).
From left to right, and in the order they are seen in the 10 steps of glycolysis, the enzymes are:
- Phosphohexose isomerase
- Triose phosphate isomerase
- Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase
- Phosphoglycerate kinase
- Phosphoglycerate mutase
- Pyruvate kinase
Head on over to the RCSB PDB to read more about the structure and function of each enzyme!
Source Used: RCSB PDB. Glycolytic Enzymes. http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/101/motm.do?momID=50 (accessed June 13, 2013)
Exotic particles called neutrinos have been caught in the act of shape-shifting, switching from one flavor to another, in a discovery that could help solve the mystery of antimatter.
Neutrinos come in three flavors — electron, muon and tau — and have been known to change, or oscillate, between certain flavors. Now, for the first time, scientists can definitively say they’ve discovered muon neutrinos changing into electron neutrinos.
The discovery was made at the T2K neutrino experiment in Japan, where scientists sent a beam of muon neutrinos from the J-PARC laboratory in Tokai Village on the eastern coast of Japan, streaming 183 miles (295 km) away to the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector in the mountains of Japan’s northwest.
The researchers detected an average of 22.5 electron neutrinos in the beam that reached the Super-Kamiokande detector, suggesting a certain portion of the the muon neutrinos had oscillated into electron neutrinos; if no oscillation had occurred, the researchers should have detected just 6.4 electron neutrinos.
High cliffs surrounding Echus Chasma on Mars
What created this great cliff on Mars? Did giant waterfalls once plummet through its grooves? With a four-kilometer drop, this high cliff surrounding Echus Chasma, near an impressive impact crater, was carved by either water or lava. A leading hypothesis is that Echus Chasma, at 100-kilometers long and 10-kilometers wide, was once one of the largest water sources on Mars. If true, water once held in Echus Chasma likely ran over the Martian surface to carve the impressive Kasei Valles, which extends over 3,000 kilometers to the north. Even if initially carved by water, lava appears to have later flowed in the valley, leaving an extraordinarily smooth floor. Echus Chasma lies north of tremendous Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the Solar System. The above image was taken by the robotic Mars Express spacecraft currently orbiting Mars.
Image credit: G. Neukum (FU Berlin) et al., Mars Express, DLR, ESA