8/21/2015

Nevada Drought Uncovers Lost Ghost Town


In 1938 the last resident of St Thomas rowed away as the rising Lake Meade flooded the town. Because of the drought the lake has been rapidly receding revealing the crumbled structures for us to see.



St. Thomas, Nevada was founded by Mormon settlers in 1865 near the banks of the Muddy River. Originally believing they had settled in Utah, the Mormon pioneers were attracted to the large salt deposits in the surrounding area. Most of the Mormons abandoned the town after they discovered they were actually in Nevada and owed three years of state taxes. A new wave of settlers brought in farmers, and St. Thomas’s population peaked at roughly 500.

That all changed in 1936 with the completion of the Hoover Dam. The dam caused water levels of the Colorado River to rise, creating Lake Mead, one of the world’s largest reservoirs, in its wake. St. Thomas had to be abandoned and its townspeople relocated. Over the past decade, however, widespread drought, and growing regional water usage has caused water levels of Lake Mead to drop, and with it, the formerly submerged town has resurfaced.

More Photos Here
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8/20/2015

Argentina: Spider Webs, Spider Webs Everywhere!


People in an eastern Argentinean town woke up to quite a surprise Wednesday! Blankets of spider webs covering plants and trees all over the place. The spider invasion comes after days of heavy rain and flooding in the region. The wet weather caused spiders to seek out higher ground to build their webs. Authorities believe the spiders don't pose any threat to humans, but tests are being run just to make sure. Health Department officials said the town won't be fumigated if the spiders are proven to be harmless.   WTVY
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Terrifying footage of enormous waterspout bearing down on beach in Mexico



This incredible footage captured the intensity of a waterspout that hit a beach in Mexico.

The incident occurred earlier this month and the amateur video was recorded by a visitor to the San Agustinillo beach in Tonameca.

In the clip the columnar vortex can be seen travelling over the North Pacific Ocean very close to the shore of the state of Oaxaca.

Other beachgoers can be seen staring up at the perfectly funnel-shaped cloud that sways from left to right slightly but stays straight and tubular throughout.

The sound of the strong wind can be heard throughout the video and the short clip concludes with the non-supercell tornado heading away from the filmmaker and along the coast.

Daily Mail

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8/18/2015

Solar activity is declining - what to expect?

Is Earth slowly heading for a new ice age? Looking at the decreasing number of sunspots, it may seem that we are entering a nearly spotless solar cycle which could result in lower temperatures for decades. “The solar cycle is starting to decline. Now we have less active regions visible on the sun’s disk,” Yaireska M. Collado-Vega, a space weather forecaster at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told Phys.org.
But does it really mean a colder climate for our planet in the near future? In 1645, the so-called Maunder Minimum period started, when there were almost no sunspots. It lasted for 70 years and coincided with the well-known “Little Ice Age”, when Europe and North America experienced lower-than-average temperatures. However, the theory that decreased solar activity caused the climate change is still controversial as no convincing evidence has been shown to prove this correlation.
Helen Popova, a Lomonosov Moscow State University researcher predicts that if the existing theories about the impact of solar activity on the climate are true, then this minimum will lead to a significant cooling, similar to the one during the Maunder Minimum period. She recently developed a unique physical-mathematical model of the evolution of the magnetic activity of the sun and used it to gain the patterns of occurrence of global minima of solar activity and gave them a physical interpretation.
“Given that our future minimum will last for at least three solar cycles, which is about 30 years, it is possible that the lowering of the temperature will not be as deep as during the Maunder Minimum,” Popova said earlier in July. “But we will have to examine it in detail. We keep in touch with climatologists from different countries. We plan to work in this direction.”
The solar cycle is the periodic change in the Sun’s activity and appearance like changes in the number of sunspots. It has an average duration of about 11 years. The current solar cycle began on in January 2008, with minimal activity until early 2010. The sun is now on track to have the lowest recorded sunspot activity since accurate records began in 1750. The long-term decline in solar activity set in after the last grand solar maximum peaked in 1956.
But according to Collado-Vega, the current minimum in the number of sunspots doesn’t mean that the sun won’t show us its violent nature in the coming years.
“There is a development for coronal holes, due to the reconfiguration of the sun’s magnetic field, that bear the well-known high-speed streams. These high-speed streams have the ability to cause strong geomagnetic storms at Earth, and changes to the radiation environment in the inner magnetosphere,” Collado-Vega noted.
Coronal holes are regions with lower density and temperatures in the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona. The sun contains magnetic fields that arch away from areas in the corona that are very thin due to the lower levels of energy and gas, which cause coronal holes to appear when they do not fall back. Thus, solar particles or solar wind escape and create a lower density and lower temperature in that area.
The existing fleet of spacecraft studying the sun includes the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), which provide continuous solar observations that are currently enhancing our knowledge about sun’s corona. And if that’s not enough, a new NASA probe named Solar Probe Plus is being developed to revolutionize our understanding of solar phenomena. Significantly, the mission, with a planned launch in mid-2018, will fly closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft. Its primary science goals are to trace the flow of energy and understand the heating of the solar corona and to explore the physical mechanisms that accelerate the solar wind and energetic particles. This would definitely improve future solar activity forecasts and help us more accurately predict the impact that the features on the sun have on our planet.

Phys.org
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