Daily Archives: September 11, 2014

Timeline of mega-earthquakes in Indian Ocean recreated

Washington: Researchers recently reconstructed the mega-earthquakes timeline in Indian Ocean and examined sediment records to unveil region’s tsunami potential.

The study on the frequency of past giant earthquakes in the Indian Ocean region showed that Sri Lanka, and much of the Indian Ocean, was affected by large tsunamis at highly variable intervals, from a few hundred to more than one thousand years.

The findings suggested that the accumulation of stress in the region could generate as large, or even larger tsunamis than the one that resulted from the 2004 magnitude-9.2 Sumatra earthquake.

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka collected and analyzed 22 sediment cores from Karagan Lagoon, Hambantota in southeastern Sri Lanka, to expand the historical record of giant earthquakes along the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian plate and Eurasian plate meet.

Using sand deposited in the lagoon during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and seven older paleo-tsunami deposits as proxies for large earthquakes in the region, the scientists reconstructed the timeline for mega-earthquakes along the Indian Ocean’s plate boundary from Myanmar to Indonesia, assuming that the tsunamis were all generated by large earthquakes.

The Dec. 26, 2004 M-9.2 Sumatra earthquake resulted in a trans-oceanic tsunami, with wave heights up to 100 feet (30 meters) in some places, which impacted much of the Indian Ocean region causing widespread damage in southeastern Sri Lanka.

During the 7,000 year record of Indian Ocean tsunamis preserved in the sediment, the research team found evidence that estimated the time period between consecutive tsunamis from 181 years and 1045 years. The longest period was nearly twice the time period prior to the 2004 earthquake.

Falk Amelung, professor of geophysics within the department of Marine Geosciences at the UM Rosenstiel School, said that a scary result was a 1000 year time period without a tsunami , which was nearly twice as long as the lull period prior to the 2004 earthquake, which meant that the subduction zone was capable of generating earthquakes almost twice as big as in 2004, although they don’t have any evidence yet that this actually happened.


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Strong solar storm heading to Earth, scientists say ‘don’t worry’

A strong solar flare is blasting its way to Earth, but the worst of its power looks like it will barely skim above the planet and not cause many problems.

It has been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

The flare on the sun barely hits the “extreme” on forecasters’ scale, but with its worst effects missing Earth it is only looking “potentially strong” at most when it arrives at Earth as a solar storm, he said.

New calculations from satellite data show that the worst of the energetic particles streaming from the sun likely will go north or above Earth this time, Berger said late Wednesday.

So while the power grid may see fluctuations because the storm will cause changes in Earth’s magnetic field, it won’t knock power systems off line, Berger said. It may cause slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions but nothing major.

“We’re not scared of this one,” Berger said.

The storm is moving medium fast, about 2.5 million mph (4.02 million kph), meaning the soonest it could arrive is early Friday. But it could be later, Berger said.

Solar storms occur often, especially during peaks in the solar cycle, and don’t directly harm people.

“There’s been a giant magnetic explosion on the sun,” Berger said. “Because it’s pointed right at us, we’ll at least catch some of the cloud” of highly energized and magnetized plasma that can disrupt Earth’s magnetic sphere, which sometimes leads to temporary power grid problems.

On the plus side, sun flares expand the colorful northern lights so people farther south can see them. But don’t expect them too far south, Berger said.


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Barack Obama: Will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country


In a bid to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday revealed the plan to tackle ISIS.

Washington, Sept 11: In a bid to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday revealed the plan to tackle ISIS.

Obama, in a speech said that the ‘US would join hands with international bodies to take on ISIS, no matter where they were.’ “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists, who threaten our country, wherever they are,” Obama said.

He added that he would not hesitate to take action against the ISIL (otherwise known as ISIS) in Syria as well as Iraq.

Obama then ordered fresh airstrikes in Syria as well as Iraq in a bid to flush out the ISIS militants. Obama annouced that 500 more troops would be dispatched to Iraq.

This comes days after Obama was criticised for saying that ‘he didn’t have a plan in place to fight of militants in Iraq.’ ISIS militants had released videos in August depicting the beheading of two American journalists who were held captive in Syria.

US had launched airstrikes in Iraq on the request of country’s former prime minister.


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Twitter sees mixed reactions on iPhone 6, Apple Watch launch


Washington: Apple launched its much anticipated products, the iPhone 6 and the Apple watch on Tuesday which raised mixed reactions on Twitter.

Some users expressed that they are desperately waiting for the watch, some cracked some jokes about the products, while there were some people who criticized the products.

One of the users posted on Twitter that ‘I just want to buy the iPhone 6. Where is it why is it not here yet. I can’t wait another hour’ while another wrote that ‘Oh iPhone 6… I can’t wait to meet you!’

There were other users who were focused on the smartwatch, one said that ‘This apple watch is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.’ Another tweeted ‘I’m so gonna get the apple watch’

There were others who were disappointed with the fact that Apple Watch needs iPhone to work, and it is not a standalone watch. A disappointed user wrote ‘Was interested in the apple watch till i needed an iphone to use it. The device is now POINTLESS’.


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Busted: Sri Lankan spy on Pakistani rolls nabbed in Chennai

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a Sri Lankan national on charges of taking photos and videos of vital security installations in Chennai and passing them on to his handler in the Pakistani high commission in Colombo.

It is believed the spy gained access to sensitive areas such as the National Security Guard hub, Army officer training academy and Coast Guard facilities through an event management company that he opened in Chennai.

“It is a revisit of David Coleman Headley who opened an immigration firm and visited India several times and shot videos of places that were targeted by Lashkar-e-Taiba on November 26, 2008. In this case, Arun Selvarajan, the arrested Sri Lankan national of Tamil origin, managed to get an Indian passport based on forged documents and started an event management company in Chennai. In the guise of managing events, he videotaped the sensitive facilities and several crowded places in Chennai,” said a counter terror official requesting anonymity.

Selvarajan also went to Visakhapatnam where he photographed and took videos of naval facilities. He used to save these videos and photos as drafts attachments in his email account that was accessed by his Pakistani handler in Colombo.

Before him, counter-terror officials had arrested a Sri Lankan Muslim Sakir Hussain in Chennai on April 29 who was in touch with a staffer in Pakistani high commission in Colombo. Hussain allegedly followed and took photos of US consulate vehicles in Chennai. He also took photos of the Israeli mission in Bengaluru. Hussain allegedly emailed the photos to Amir Zubair Siddiqui, a counselor (visa) in the Pakistan high commission in Colombo.

Siddiqui, who was later recalled by Pakistan, was also the handler of another Sri Lankan Muslim Thameem Ansari who was arrested two years back — again in Chennai.

Selvarajan was arrested in connection with the case against Ansari. “Selvarajan was being handled by an officer junior to Siddiqui. He has identified Siddiqui and the junior officer in photos,” said the official.


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