Sunday, 23 July 2017

Three miners confirmed dead and one still missing after Earthquake-induced collapse at South African gold mine.

Three workers have been confirmed dead and one is still missing following an Earthquake-induced collapse at the Tau Lekoa Gold Mine at Orkney in North West Province on Saturday 22 July 2017. The incident was triggered by a Magnitude 0.8 Earthquake, while the men were 1350 m below the ground. Rescue workers are continuing to search for the missing man.

The location of the Tau Lekoa Gold Mine. Google Maps.

Earthquakes are rare in South Africa. Because of this rarity it is hard to make precise judgements about the cause of quakes in South Africa, due to a paucity of data. Northwestern South Africa is close the southern end of the Great Rift Valley exits the continent and passes out under the Indian Ocean. The Great Rift Valley is slowly splitting the African Plate in two allow a line from the Red Sea through Ethiopia, and which includes the great lakes and volcanoes of east-central Africa. This has the potential to open into a new ocean over the next few tens of millions of years, splitting Africa into two new, smaller, continents; Nubia to the west and Somalia to the east.

Movement on the African Rift Valley, with associated volcanoes. Rob Gamesby/Cool Geography.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/magnitude-65-earthquake-in-central.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/three-still-missing-following-collapse.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/486-miners-rescued-safely-after-fire-at.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/magnitude-38-earthquake-in-gauteng.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/at-least-one-fatality-following.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/magnitude-49-earthquake-in-northern.html
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Sinkhole swallows car in El Paso, Texas.

A female driver had to be rescued after her car was swallowed by a sinkhole in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday 22 July 2017. The woman was manoeuvring in the vehicle when the road began to collapse beneath it. She exited the car and was pulled out of the hole by passers by with only minor injuries, with the subsidence continuing and dragging the vehicle some way further into the ground.

Sinkhole in El Paso, Texas, on 22 July 2017. KFOX 14.

Sinkholes are generally caused by water eroding soft limestone or unconsolidated deposits from beneath, causing a hole that works its way upwards and eventually opening spectacularly at the surface. Where there are unconsolidated deposits at the surface they can infill from the sides, apparently swallowing objects at the surface, including people, without trace.

 The approximate location of the 22 July 2017 El Paso sinkhole. Google Maps.

On this occasion the sinkhole was caused by the collapse of an overloaded storm drain beneath the road, releasing water that washed away soft sediments under the road. The incident happened amid heavy rains that caused several flash flooding incidents in the area. 

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/chemical-spill-leaves-corpus-christi.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/fatality-confirmed-after-sinkhole.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/houston-ship-cannal-closed-down-by-fuel.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/flash-floods-kill-six-in-pallastine.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/eight-confirmed-death-following-houston.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/evacuations-following-explosion-at.html
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Student killed by landslide at Himcchahari in Cox's Bazar District of Bangladesh.

A second year student at Dhaka University was killed and two others injured after a landslide close to a waterfall at Himchhari in the Cox's Bazar District of Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Saturday 22 July 2017. Sabbir Alam Ridwan was hit by a collapsing hillside at about 4.30 pm local time, and reportedly died instantly of head injuries. The two other students were treated for injuries in a local hospital. The incident happened after two days of heavy rain associated with the Asian summer monsoon. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.

Sabbir Alam Ridwan of Dhaka University, killed by a landslide at Himchhari in Cox's Bazar on 22 July 2017. The Daily Star.

Monsoons are tropical sea breezes triggered by heating of the land during the warmer part of the year (summer). Both the land and sea are warmed by the Sun, but the land has a lower ability to absorb heat, radiating it back so that the air above landmasses becomes significantly warmer than that over the sea, causing the air above the land to rise and drawing in water from over the sea; since this has also been warmed it carries a high evaporated water content, and brings with it heavy rainfall. In the tropical dry season the situation is reversed, as the air over the land cools more rapidly with the seasons, leading to warmer air over the sea, and thus breezes moving from the shore to the sea (where air is rising more rapidly) and a drying of the climate. This situation is particularly intense in South Asia, due to the presence of the Himalayas. High mountain ranges tend to force winds hitting them upwards, which amplifies the South Asian Summer Monsoon, with higher winds leading to more upward air movement, thus drawing in further air from the sea. 

Diagrammatic representation of wind and rainfall patterns in a tropical monsoon climate. Geosciences/University of Arizona.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/seven-confirmed-deaths-and-aeounf-150.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/worker-killed-at-illegal-stone-quarry.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/death-toll-thought-to-have-exceeded-120.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/flooding-and-landslides-kill-at-least.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/one-killed-by-landslide-in-chittagong.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/two-women-killed-by-landslide-in.html
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Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake between Kos and the Bodrum Peninsula kills two.

The United States Geological Survey reported a Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km between the Greek island of Kos and the Bodrum Peninsula, Turkey, slightly after 1.30 am local time on Friday 21 July 2017 (slightly after 10.30 pm on Thursday 20 July, GMT). Two people have been reported dead on Kos following the event, both of whom have been identified as tourists, one being from Sweden and the other from Turkey, though they have not yet been named. About 430 people have been injured on Kos and Bodrum, with both having suffered extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure,and many tourists trapped in the area. A small tsunami was reported on Kos, and people have reported feeling the event as far away as Crete.

Damaged buildings on Kos following the 21 July 2017 Earthquake. Louisa Gouliamaki/Getty Images.

The island of Kos lies on the boundary between the Anatolian Plate, to the north, the Aegean Sea Plate (underlying the Peloponnese, Attica, The Cyclades Islands, Crete, the Dodecanese Islands and Turkey to the southeast of the Taurus Mountains) to the west and the African Plate to the south. Northern Greece and the north coast of Turkey lie on the Eurasian Plate. Both countries are highly prone to earthquakes because of this.

 The approximate location of the 21 July 2017 Kos Earthquake. USGS.

To the east the Arabian Plate  is being pushed north and west by the movement of the African Plate, further to the south. This leads to a zone of tectonic activity within the province, as the Arabian and Anatolian plates are pushed together, along the East Anatolian Fault, and past one-another, along the Dead Sea Transform.

 Damaged buildings on Kos following the 21 July 2017 Earthquake. Sky News.

This movement also leads to a zone of faulting along the northern part of Turkey, the North Anatolian Fault Zone, as the Anatolian Plate is pushed past the Eurasian Plate, which underlies the Black Sea and Crimean Peninsula  (transform faulting). This is not a simple process, as the two plates constantly stick together, then break apart as the pressure builds up, leading to Earthquakes, which can be some distance from the actual fault zone.

 Damage to boats at Bodrum following the 21 July 2017 Earthquake. Anadolu Agency.

The Aegean Sea Plate is moving southwest with regard to the Eurasian and Anatolian Plates, and being subducted beneath the African Plate to the south. Its margin with the Eurasian Plate is a divergent and a transform margin at different points. This is not a smooth process, with rocks tending to stick together, then being forced to move as the pressure builds up, typically in stops and starts that lead to Earthquakes.

 Simplified map of the plate movements of the eastern Mediterranean. Univeriteit Utrecht.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here. 

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/magnitude-50-earthquake-in-izmir.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/magnitude-52-earthquake-off-northwest.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/magnitude-50-off-southeast-coast-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/magnitude-69-earthquake-beneath-north.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/hundreds-dead-following-explosion-at.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/turkish-miner-killed-by-underground-fire.html
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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Beauveria araneola: An araneogenous Fungus from Guizhou Province, China.

Pathogenic Fungi can infect a wide variety of organisms, including Plants, Animals and other Fungi. In Animals species that infect Vertebrates are well studied, but less attention has been paid to Invertebrate-infecting species, and most studies on such species have concentrated on Insects, particularly economically significant ones. Spiders have softer, more permeable integuments than Insects, and are potentially more vulnerable to Fungal infections, but far fewer species of Spider-infecting Fungi have been described than Insect-infecting species. The Spider-infecting, or araneogenous, species that have been described are generally Ascomycote Fungi closely related to Insect-infecting, or entomogenous, species, though, as with Insect-infecting Fungi, each species typically has a single host species.

In a paper published in the journal Phytotaxa on 28 March 2017, Wan-Hao Chen, of the Institute of Entomology and Institute of Fungus Resources at Guizhou University and the Provincial Special Key Laboratory for Development and Utilization of Insect Resources, Yan-Feng Han and Zong-Qi Liang, also of the Institute of Fungus Resources at Guizhou University, and Dao-Chao Jin, also of the Institute of Entomology at Guizhou University and the Provincial Special Key Laboratory for Development and Utilization of Insect Resources, describe a new species of araneogenous Fungus from Guizhou Province, China.

The new species is placed in the genus Beauveria, which also contains several Insect-infecting species, though other members of the genus are soil-living Fungi which break down dead plant and animal material, and is given the specific name araneola, referring to its host-Spider. The species is described from a single infected Spider collected from a vegetable field at the Experimental Farm of Guizhou University, and determined to be a new species by genetic analysis. 

Spider infected with Beauveria araneola. Chen et al. (2017).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/lecanicillium-araneogenum-new-species.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/cheiracanthium-vankhedei-new-species-of.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/aptostichus-sabinae-new-species-of.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/eriovixia-gryffindori-new-species-of.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/leaf-mimicking-spiders-from-china-and.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/mimetus-lamelliformis-mimetus-wangi-two.html
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Flooding kills at least seventy three in Assam.

At least thirteen people have died after a flash flood swept through villages and farmland in Lakhimpur District, Assam, on Sunday 9 July 2017, with a further sixty people having died elsewhere in the state. The flooding destroyed 183 homes in 50 villages, and damaged over 7500 more in a further 462 villages. In addition the flooding, which largely subsided after about two days, has covered about 220 square kilometres of agricultural land with a thick layer of sand, destroying crops and potentially harming agriculture in the region for years to come.

Flooding in Lakhimpur District, Assam, on 10 July 2017. Aajtak India Today.

The flooding was caused by a release of water from the Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh, undertaken to prevent stress to the dam due to high water levels following heavy rains associated with the Indian summer monsoon. This caused flooding upriver of the dam, which could potentially have led to the dam overloading, with catastrophic consequences for a wide area. The release was intended to prevent such a catastrophe, but caused the river to burst its banks about 40 km downriver of the hydroelectric project, resulting in the flooding in Assam.

Monsoons are tropical sea breezes triggered by heating of the land during the warmer part of the year (summer). Both the land and sea are warmed by the Sun, but the land has a lower ability to absorb heat, radiating it back so that the air above landmasses becomes significantly warmer than that over the sea, causing the air above the land to rise and drawing in water from over the sea; since this has also been warmed it carries a high evaporated water content, and brings with it heavy rainfall. In the tropical dry season the situation is reversed, as the air over the land cools more rapidly with the seasons, leading to warmer air over the sea, and thus breezes moving from the shore to the sea (where air is rising more rapidly) and a drying of the climate. This situation is particularly intense in South Asia, due to the presence of the Himalayas. High mountain ranges tend to force winds hitting them upwards, which amplifies the South Asian Summer Monsoon, with higher winds leading to more upward air movement, thus drawing in further air from the sea. 

Diagrammatic representation of wind and rainfall patterns in a tropical monsoon climate. Geosciences/University of Arizona.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/woman-killed-by-landslide-in-guwahati.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/at-least-seven-dead-following-heavy.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/seven-members-of-one-family-killed-by.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/elderly-man-killed-by-rockfall-in.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/earthquake-rattles-assam-northeast.html
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Landslide kills at leat three at Guinea gold mine.

At least three people have died, ad several more may be missing, following a landslide at a gold mine at Bouré Boukaria in the Kankan Region in the east of Guinea, West Africa, on Thursday 20 July 2017. The bodies of two women and a man were recovered after the incident, with three other people being treated for serious injuries. The incident happened following a week of heavy rains associated with the West African rainy season. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.
 
 The approximate location of the 20 July 2017 Bouré Boukaria landslide. Google Maps.

The incident is understood to have happened within an area granted to a multinational mining company by the Guinean government, though the victims were reportedly local artisanal miners that had entered the site illegally rather than employees of the company. Guinea is one of Africa's poorest nations, and like may other countries has granted concessions to mining companies in areas where small-scale artisanal mining has traditionally helped to supplement the incomes of subsistence farmers. However little of the money from such projects tends to reach local communities, which often leads to ill feeling and attempts to continue mining clandestinely, often at night or under other unfavourable conditions, which can put the miners at greater risk.

West Africa has a distinct two season climatic cycle, with a cool dry season during the northern winter when prevalent winds blow from the Sahara to the northeast, and a warm rainy season during the northern summer when prevalent winds blow from the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. These warm winds from the Atlantic are laden with moisture, which can be lost rapidly when the air encounters cooler conditions, such as when it is pushed up to higher altitudes by the mountains of the Futa Jallon in Guinea.

Rainfall and prevalent winds during the West African dry and rainy seasons. Encyclopedia Britanica.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-origin-of-bosumtwi-impactor.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/25-miners-believed-to-be-dead-after.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/four-killed-by-landslide-in-katsina.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/at-least-fifteen-dead-following.html
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