Friday, March 01, 2013

Just the Facts?: Has Lemuria Been Found? -- Giant Sinkhole Swallows Florida Man -- Jeremy Wade Hunts For Nessie


Has Lemuria been found?

A a group of international scientists have found evidence that an ancient, lost continent may be buried beneath the Indian Ocean floor.

Nature reports that the study, published Feb. 24 in the journal Nature Geoscience, reports that fragments of an ancient micro-continent dubbed "Mauritia" now lie underwater between Madagascar and India.

As evidence of this lost continent, the researchers point to ancient sand grains that contain minerals pre-dating the volcanic eruption that they argue brought them to the surface, according to the BBC. These zircon minerals could be anywhere between 1,970 and 600 million years old.

"We found zircons that we extracted from the beach sands, and these are something you typically find in a continental crust," co-author Professor Trond Torsvik, from the University of Oslo, Norway, told the BBC. "They are very old in age."

Fragments of Mauritia may be found about 10 kilometers beneath the volcanic island of Mauritius, according to BBC, and would have existed between Precambrian Era and the time of the dinosaurs.

Mauritia may have been destroyed by plate tectonics between 50 million and 100 million years ago, according to ScienceNOW. The researchers, referred to by ScienceNOW as "geological detectives," used a variety of techniques in their study, such as gravity mapping, rock analysis and plate movement reconstruction.

From the journal of Nature Geoscience:

On the basis of reinterpretation of marine geophysical data, we propose that Mauritia was separated from Madagascar and fragmented into a ribbon-like configuration by a series of mid-ocean ridge jumps during the opening of the Mascarene ocean basin between 83.5 and 61 million years ago. We suggest that the plume-related magmatic deposits have since covered Mauritia and potentially other continental fragments.

Scientists told Nature that while there were "remote chances" the ancient zircons could have traveled to the islands on the wind, that possibility is very unlikely, bolstering the paper's claim.

Speaking with ScienceNOW, geochemist Andreas Stracke at the University of M√ľnster in Germany said that, while there has been some speculation about buried ancient continental fragments in this region, “this could be a smoking gun.”

The Agence France-Presse notes that the floor of the Indian Ocean may, in fact, contain many different pieces of ancient continents that were destroyed or fragmented when the supercontinent Pangea broke apart about 200 million years ago.

Torsvik told the BBC that further research is needed to prove his paper's claims. For example, he said, seismic data could be used to image the structure, which would give researchers "ultimate proof." - THP

The Lost Land of Lemuria

The Story of Atlantis and the Lost Lemuria


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'River Monsters' Jeremy Wade searches for Loch Ness Monster

PRESS RELEASE

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The Loch Ness Monster: The Evidence

River Monsters : Piranha , Alligator Gar , European Maneater , Amazon Assassins , Amazon Flesh Eaters , Freshwater Shark , Killer Catfish : The Discovery Channel : 2 Disc Box Set : 346 Minutes

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Florida man swallowed up by giant sinkhole

A huge sinkhole about 30 feet across opened up under a man's bedroom and swallowed him, taking all of the furniture too.

Jeff Bush, 37, was feared dead after the floor gave way Thursday night. As he screamed for help, his brother Jeremy Bush jumped into the hole to try to help, but couldn't see him and had to be rescued himself. With the earth still crumbling, a sheriff's deputy reached out his hand and pulled Jeremy Bush, 36, to safety.

"The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn't care. I wanted to save my brother," Jeremy Bush said through tears Friday as he stood in a neighbor's yard. "But I just couldn't do nothing."

The only thing sticking out of the hole was a small corner of a bed's box spring. Cables from a television led down into the hole, but the TV set, along with a dresser, was nowhere to be seen.

Officials lowered equipment into the sinkhole but didn't see any sign of life.

Jeremy Bush said it took him only seconds to get to his brother's room about 11 p.m. Thursday. He had just knocked on his brother's bedroom door, telling him they weren't working Friday. The brothers were employed by the Transportation Department and picked up trash along interstates and roads.

"I went in my bedroom, heard a loud crash, ran in that direction," he said. "I was getting ready to run into the room and I almost fell into the hole. I jumped into the hole and started digging for me. I started screaming for him."

Engineers worked to determine the size of the sinkhole. At the surface, officials estimated it was about 30 feet across. Below the surface, officials believed it was 100 feet wide.

The state is especially prone to sinkholes because underneath the ground is limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, sometimes forming a hole in the earth.

From the outside of the small, sky blue house, nothing appeared wrong. There wear no cracks and the only sign something was amiss was the yellow caution tape circling the house.

There were six people at the home when it collapsed, including Jeremy Bush's wife and his 2-year-old daughter.

"It was something you would see in a movie. You wouldn't, in your wildest dreams, you wouldn't think anything like that could happen, especially here," he said.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy Douglas Duvall rescued Jeremy Bush.

"I reached down and was able to actually able to get him by his hand and pull him out of the hole. The hole was collapsing. At that time, we left the house," Duvall said.

Sheriff's office spokesman Larry McKinnon said authorities asked sinkhole and engineering experts to help with the recovery effort, and they were using equipment to see if the ground can support the weight of heavy machinery that was needed.

"We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn't see anything compatible with life," Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said. "The entire house is on the sinkhole."

Neighbors on both sides of the home have been evacuated. - THP

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Israeli researchers: Group of Colorado Native Americans have genetic Jewish root

Sheba Medical Center geneticists have found that a population of Indians in the U.S. state of Colorado has genetic Jewish roots going back to the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

The common marker was a unique genetic mutation on the BRCA1 gene. This mutation, commonly known as the “Ashkenazi mutation,” is found in Jews of Ashkenazi origin and is associated with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The trail began with research conducted by Prof. Jeffrey Weitzel, an oncogenetic (cancer genetics) expert at the City of Hope Hospital in California. Weitzel examined samples from 110 American families of Hispanic origin, and followed them through a computational genetics study, and in 2005 published an article pointing to their common ancestry: People who had immigrated to the United States from Mexico and South America.

Weitzel’s discovery of the BRCA1 mutation in these Hispanics led him to suspect that there was a genetic connection between them and European Jews, and he sought to confirm the connection.

A study recently conducted at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer whose findings have been accepted for publication by the European Journal of Human Genetics has found the missing link: The mutation was also found in a group of Mexican Indians who had immigrated from Mexico to the United States over the past 200 years and settled in western Colorado.

When their samples were submitted to a computational genetic study, it emerged that they, along with Weitzel’s original Hispanic subjects, all had a common ancestor: A Jew who immigrated from Europe to South America up to 600 years ago, the period in which Christopher Columbus discovered America and the Jews of Spain were expelled.

The Sheba research was performed by a team headed by Prof. Eitan Friedman, head of the medical center’s Oncogenetics Unit, and student Yael Leitman, and sought to identify the original source of the BRCA1 mutation, found in about 1.5 percent of Jews of Ashkenazi origin and 0.5 percent of Iraqi Jews.

To do this, they collected samples from 115 families carrying this mutation from all over the world. These included Jewish families of Ashkenazi and Iraqi origin, and Jews originating from the Indian city of Cochin. They also, with Weitzel’s help, collected samples from 16 mutation-carrying families among the Mexican Indians in Colorado, five British families from Manchester, and three families from Malaysia.

The study was based on previous Sheba research from 15 years ago, during which primitive analyses were done on the mutation found in Ashkenazi and Iraqi Jews; at that time, it was thought the mutation had first occurred 2,500 years earlier, during the dispersion after the destruction of the First Temple.

However, the new analysis, which checked 15 different genetic markers associated with the mutation, demonstrated that the Iraqi version of the mutated gene traces back only 450 years, which testifies to a migration of Ashkenazi Jews to Iraq – most probably merchants – that has not been well documented.

Meanwhile, the mutation found in the Colorado Indians was found to be identical to that of Ashkenazi Jews, and dates to a period more than 600 years ago. Researchers say this offers incontrovertible genetic proof that some of the Jews expelled from Spain who reached the New World intermarried with local Indians whose descendants later migrated to the United States.

The mutation identified in the British and Malaysian families, on the other hand, does not come from the same source as the Ashkenazi mutation, indicating that the mutation developed in other communities in parallel.

According to Friedman, the Mexican-Indians of Colorado, who are concentrated in the Mesa Verde area, have never demonstrated any adherence to Jewish customs, nor do they possess any oral traditions that might link them to Jews. - Forwarded by email

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