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The Mountain of Blue Fire

Nature has a way of continually surprising us and inspiring awe within us, and it seems there are just as many fantastical wonders t...


June 30, 1908: The Tunguska Event

In the morning of June, 30 1908 eyewitnesses reported a large fireball crossing the sky above the taiga of the Stony Tunguska (PodkamennayaTunguska) in Siberia. A series of explosions was heard even in the 1.200km distant village of Achajewskoje. Various meteorological stations in Europe recorded seismic and pressure waves and in the following days strange atmospheric phenomena were observed, silvery glowing clouds, colourful sunsets and strange luminescence in the night.
Russian newspapers reported about a meteorite impact based on the eyewitness accounts and the hypothesis of Dr. Arkady Voznesensky (1864-1936), director of the Meteorological Observatory at Irkutsk from 1895 to 1917. International newspapers speculated about a possible volcanic explosion, remembering the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. However the inaccessibility of the region and the instable political situation in Russia prevented further research.
Thirteen years later the Russian mineralogist Leonid Alexejewitsch Kulik (1883-1942), reading some of the eyewitnesses' accounts about an explosion and a large glowing object, became interested in the phenomena - there was also the hope to recover precious extraterrestrial metals from the supposed meteorite.
Kulik travelled to the city of Kansk, where he discovered further reports in the local archives. Most stories refer to large fireballs, flames and a sequence of 14 thunders. March 1927 he arrived at the outpost of Wanawara -then, April 13, Kulik discovered a large area of 2.150 square km covered with rotting logs and almost no tree still standing - the strange "Forest of Tunguska".

Despite an intensive survey, Kulik and his team didn't locate a single great impact crater as expected, but found some circular pits that were interpreted as impact craters of fragments; however no meteoritic material was discovered in the entire studied area.
In autumn 1927 a preliminary report by Kulik was published in various national and international newspapers, the destroyed forest and the event became known as the "Tunguska Event".
Kulik formulated one of the first hypotheses to explain the phenomena and the lack of evidence on the ground, as he proposed that a bolid exploded already in the atmosphere, causing the observed explosion and devastation. Fragments became buried in the swampy ground, to soft to preserve the typical morphology of an impact crater. Also later expeditions in 1929 failed to find extraterrestrial material.
In 1934 Sowjet scientists proposed a variation of the meteorite-hypothesis. A comet is composed mostly of ice, and would be completely vaporized in an explosion in the atmosphere.
The lack of direct evidence generated many more or less serious speculations and hypothesis: The engineer Aleksander Kasantsews formulated between 1945 and 1959, based on the impression left by the first atomic bombs, an unusual explanation involving a nuclear explosion of possible extraterrestrial origin.
American physicists published in 1973 in the journal Nature the idea that a small black hole collided with earth, causing some sort of matter-antimatter explosion.
The German astrophysician Wolfgang Kundt and later Jason Phipps Morgan of the Cornell University in Ithaca and Paola Vannucchi from the University of Florence proposed in the last years an ulterior hypothesis: "Verneshots", in reference to the author of the novel "A Journey to the Center of the Earth", are supercritical magma/gas mixtures erupting violently from the underground. According to the proposed model in areas with a thick earth crust or composed of resistant rocks (the region of Tunguska is covered by the basalts of the Siberian Trapps) magmatic intrusions and gases tend to build up pressure until the cover is shattered to pieces. Hot gases escape into the atmosphere, causing a huge explosion.
However the most compelling hypothesis remains the impact of a natural extraterrestrial object. This hypothesis is supported by the reports describing a fireball descending on the tundra, sedimentary features (the presence of nanodiamonds, magnetic- and silicate spherules in sediments) and the mapped distribution of the logs.
But there are some inconsistencies - accounts of a series of thunders are hard to reconcile with a single impact and the recovered sediments are not unambiguous, explainable also by the common background sedimentation of extraterrestrial material on earth.
In 2007 Luca Gasperini and his research team of the University of Bologna proposed a small lake as possible impact crater of a fragment of the meteorite that caused the explosion. Lake Cheko is unusually deep for a region characterized by shallow ponds, formed by melting permafrost. The lake was apparently not reported previously of 1908, however the region was poorly mapped and explored at the time. Also here the proposed evidence is not undisputed as seen in the published paper by COLLINS et al. in 2008.
Only the discovery of extraterrestrial material on the bottom of a lake would (may)be the decisive argument to settle the discussion of the mystery of Tunguska.



Wave of dead sea creatures hits Chile's beaches

Heaps of dead whales, salmon and sardines blamed on the El Nino freak weather phenomenon have clogged Chile's Pacific beaches in recent months.
Last year, scientists were shocked when more than 300 whales turned up dead on remote bays of the southern coast. It was the first in a series of grim finds.
At the start of this year, a surge in algae in the water choked to death an estimated 40,000 tons of salmon in the Los Lagos region, where the Andes tower over lakes and green farming valleys down to the coast.
That is about 12 percent of annual salmon production in Chile, the world's second-biggest producer of the fish after Norway.
This month, some 8,000 tons of sardines were washed up at the mouth of the Queule river. And thousands of dead clams piled up on the coast of Chiloe Island.
Authorities blamed a "red tide" of algae.
They banned fishing in the affected region, putting thousands of fishermen out of work.
"We have red tides every year in southern Chile, but this time it reached further north," said Jorge Navarro, a researcher at the marine institute IDEAL.
"It affected bivalve populations (such as clams) that had never before been exposed like this" to the algae, he said.
On the shores of Santa Maria Island off the center off Chile's long coast, cuttlefish have been washed up dead in the thousands.
Various beaches in the center of the country were closed meanwhile as the specimens of the dreaded Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish, normally foreign to the area, floated nearby.
- Shifting oceans -
Scientists largely blame the anomalies on El Nino, a disruptive weather phenomenon that comes with warming sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.
With its 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) of Pacific coastline, Chile is particularly exposed to the effects of El Nino, which strikes every few years.
"We think that a common factor in the deaths of creatures in southern Chile, in the salmon farms and in fish off the coast is the El Nino phenomenon," said experts at the Chilean fisheries institute IFOP.
The current El Nino "has been classed as one of the most intense in the past 65 years," they told AFP in a statement.
Warmer sea water can lead to greater quantities of algae. They kill others species by consuming oxygen in the water or filling it with toxins.
"The Chilean ocean is shifting and changing," said Sergio Palma, an oceanographer at Valparaiso Catholic University.
"There has been a series of events that indicate an El Nino which is making its presence felt in many ways."
- Fish farming impact -
But scientists also suspect other causes for the mass destruction of the sea creatures.
The huge toll of whales last year "could be caused by a natural ecological process" that may be nothing to do with what killed the sardines and clams, said Laura Farias, an oceanographer at Concepcion University.
"There is no ecological, oceanographic or climatic explanation" linking the whales to the other incidents, she said.
She suspects the growth of fish farming in Chile's southern Patagonia region is to blame for killing the salmon and clams.
"There are studies indicating that in Patagonia the greater occurrence of toxic blooms could be a consequence of aquaculture."
Various scientists have said the current El Nino seems to be subsiding, causing the surface of the sea to cool slowly.
The mass destruction of sea life has been a wake-up call, however.
"Chile still lacks information about the sea," said Valesca Montes, a fisheries specialist at the Chilean branch of the World Wildlife Fund.
"It has to invest in oceanographic studies, so that we can predict certain events" and be better prepared for climate change.


Mysterious fish die-off in Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world, terrifies residents

Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world occupying the caldera of a supervolcano on the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Millions of fish were found dead by fishermen between May 3 and May 5, 2016. Officials are unable to find the source of the mass killing but think it is linked to the lack of dissolved oxygen in the water. Could the drop in oxygen content in the north-east of lake Toba be the result of volcanic activity of some kind?

  It all started one month ago, when fishermen at Lake Toba started to find dead fish in their nets.

lake toba mass die-off, lake toba fish mass die-off, lake toba eruption, volcanic unrest lake toba, mysterious fish kill lake toba, mysterious mass die-off lake toba, lake toba supervolcano eruption
via Beritasatu
But the mysterious die-offs have suddenly increased beginning of this month, when professional fishermen caught more than 320 tones (May 3, 2016) and then 800 tons (May 5, 2016) of dead fish… In overall about 1500 tones in 3 days! So millions of fish!

lake toba mass die-off, lake toba fish mass die-off, lake toba eruption, volcanic unrest lake toba, mysterious fish kill lake toba, mysterious mass die-off lake toba, lake toba supervolcano eruption
via Vulkania.ru
Fishermen report these apocalyptical fish kills have never happened before. Normally, they only find a few dead fish. But this time, all the fish are dead.

 Officials aren’t able to clearly pinpoint the cause of this still unexplained mass die-off but believe it is related to the lack of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Strange Sounds


Monster Humanoid Godzilla-Like Marine Iguana Scares British Media

The headlines are telling about a recent reptile video making the rounds on social media:
And what exactly was the Godzilla-like creature that got British tabloid writers into a panic? A mere marine iguana that grows to about 4 to 5 feet in length and feeds exclusively on algae that it rasps off rocks on the ocean bottom.
The British media, though, would have you thinking otherwise, what with the allusions to Godzilla terrifying the divers who captured the footage of this particular reptile at Cabo Marshall, a dive site off Isabela in the Galapagos island chain, the only known islands in which these lizards can be found.
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The Daily Star was the biggest offender. It says the lizard caused panic among the humans who encountered the reptile, but the only “panic” the divers may have encountered would be either: 1. running out of air as they filmed this magnificent creature swimming in the ocean, or 2. running out of space on the video camera used to capture the footage. The Daily Star also reported the lizard as a 7-footer. At 7 feet in length, this particular iguana would be about the average size of a Komodo dragon, a reptile that can grow to 10 feet in length and has been documented to attack humans. Most reputable information outlets describe the marine iguana as averaging 3 to 5 feet in length, its size varying based on what island in the chain it is found.
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Does this creature look like a humanoid Godzilla? Via Steve Winkworth/YouTube
Does this creature look like a humanoid Godzilla? Via Steve Winkworth/YouTube
“The hungry lizard was filmed by Steve Winkworth as it prowled like a cynical hunter before surfacing for air,” the Daily Star story reports.
Yes sir, that cynical hunter is 100 percent vegetarian. That’s right. The marine iguana is no more a cynical hunter than a cow.
The coverage of the reptile on another British news site, the Mirror, was a bit tame compared to the Daily Star. The writer did say the iguana was as big as the divers who were swimming near and next to it, but forced perspective of the video must be taken into account coupled with the fact that water tends to magnify imagery. But you have to give points to the Mirror for at least calling the marine iguana what it is, a herbivore.
Yahoo News Australia (‘Mini-Godzilla’ marine iguana filmed in incredible underwater feeding session) also got it right mostly. It, however, reported the reptile at 6 feet in length. But you have to love that headline, too.
The marine iguana is not a monster, though Charles Darwin apparently called them disgusting clumsy lizards. Nor are they “humanoid Godzillas.” They are just lizards that feed exclusively on algae. And, they are not the size of a human. The coverage of this Godzilla-Like Humanoid Lizard Bigger Than A Human Monster? Lame. Winkworth’s video, though, is absolutely brilliant!

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