One of the more controversial environmental issues, which emerged in the final years of the Soviet era, was the plan to dam and reverse the flow of north-flowing rivers in order to irrigate the dry southern steppes. This scheme was roundly criticised by scientists and environmentalists at the time because of fears for the impact on the Arctic Ocean and global climate. It now appears that nature performed this experiment some 90,000 years ago.
This months issue of the Journal of Quaternary Science reports evidence based on years of fieldwork in Siberia by Professor Jan Mangerud, of the University of Bergen, Norway, which indicates that early in the last Ice Age, natural ice dams formed and drastically altered the drainage patterns of the region.
At the start of the ice age an ice sheet formed over the shallow Barents and Kara seas forming a natural dam. As the ice advanced onto the Siberian mainland, it blocked the flow of the northerly flowing rivers, including the Yenissei, Ob, Pechora and Dvina, which supply most of the Arctic Ocean with its freshwater. Huge ice-dammed lakes were formed which covered massive areas of Siberia. One of these on the western Siberian Plain was more than twice as large as any lake on Earth today. The overflows from these lakes were towards the south, into the Aral, Caspian and Black seas which were also connected by large rivers. The drainage of the Eurasian continent was thus reversed.
Joanna Gibson | alphagalileo
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
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