Monday, 28 November, 2022
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New mineral from deep inside Earth found trapped in a diamond

ScientiFix, our weekly feature, offers you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to their sources.

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New mineral from Earth’s lower mantle discovered

Researchers say they have discovered a new mineral on the surface of the Earth that should not have been there.

The mineral — entrapped in a diamond — traveled up to the surface from at least 659 kilometres deep within the Earth’s lower mantle.

This is the first time that lower mantle minerals have ever been observed in nature because they usually fall apart before they reach the Earth’s surface. In this case, the diamond’s strength preserved the mineral and made the discovery by scientists possible.

The calcium silicate compound showed up as small dark specks in a diamond unearthed from an African mine in the 1980s.

The diamond arrived on the surface decades ago in Botswana via the Orapa mine, the world’s largest diamond mine by area. A gem dealer sold the diamond in 1987 to a mineralogist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The team crystalline compound named “davemaoite” after Ho-kwang “Dave” Mao an experiment geophysicist who developed many of the techniques that were used to study the minerals. Read more here

Physics of a finger snap decoded

The finger snap that destroyed half the population of the Universe for Thanos in Marvel Studio’s Avengers: Infinity War would scientifically not be possible, according to scientists who studied the physics of a finger snap.

According to a study from researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, using an intermediate amount of friction, that is not too high and not too low, a snap of the finger produces the highest rotational accelerations observed in humans.

This acceleration is even faster than the arm of a professional baseball pitcher.

The study may help design prosthetics meant to imitate the wide-ranging capabilities of the human hand.

The team said they felt compelled to decode the physics of a finger snap after watching the movie Avengers:Infinity War in April 2018 in which Thanos obtains six special stones and places them into his metal gauntlet. After collecting them all, he snaps his fingers and triggers universe-wide consequences.

Researchers say it would not be possible to snap at all while wearing a metal gauntlet. In the case of a finger snap, the skin friction plays an important role — a component mission from metal gauntlet. More about it here

Also read: Water and CO molecules found in a galaxy light years away and how black holes gain mass

First fossil evidence of rare botanical condition found

Researchers from Oregon State University have uncovered the first fossil evidence of a rare botanical condition known as precocious germination.

In this, the seeds sprout before leaving the fruit.

The team found a pine cone, approximately 40 million years old, encased in amber from which several stems are emerging.

Typically seed germination occurs in the ground after a seed has fallen. But Seed germination inside fruits is fairly common in angiosperms or flowering plants like tomatoes, peppers and grapefruit.

Gymnosperms, which don’t have flowers, such as conifers, produce “naked,” or non-enclosed, seeds. Precocious germination in pine cones is so rare that only one naturally occurring example of this condition, from 1965, has been described in the scientific literature so far.

Researchers found a small pine cone that germinated inside the cone. At the sprouts’ tips are needle clusters, some in bundles of five. Read more here

Supersaurus identified to be the world’s longest dinosaur

By fixing a fossil mix-up, researchers have now identified what might be the world’s longest dinosaur and named the species Supersaurus.

Like other exceedingly long dinosaurs, Supersaurus is a long-necked sauropod with a whip-like tail. Supersaurus has always been viewed as one of the longest dinosaurs, but research now shows that this is indeed the longest dinosaur based on a decent skeleton. As other dinosaur remains are fragmentary, it’s challenging to accurately estimate their lengths.

Supersaurus was alive about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period. It likely exceeded 128 feet and possibly even reached 42 metres from snout to tail.

The first Supersaurus specimen was uncovered in 1972 but it was not immediately clear which bones belonged to the animal since the quarry it was found in also contained additional bones. Read more on this here

Also read: Brrr! German scientists produce coldest temperature ever recorded in lab


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