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Pot Pouri

7 September 2020
Inside science

William sent in the link to www.yahoo.com/news/mammoth-central-found-mexico-airport-222432079.html … and Robert sent in https://phys.org/news/2020-09-mammoth-central-mexico-airport-site.html … which is a story that hit the media a couple of months ago and was posted on the News at the time. It seems to have had another airing. The site was originally located on the shore of a lake – or what is thought to have been a lake. So far, the remains  of 200 mammoths are said to have been unearthed but the size of the site is not clear at the moment, or how many are yet to be excavated. All we know is that there are more of them. Lots more. They died somewhere between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago which includes the end of the Late Glacial Maximum as well as the Oldest, Older and Younger Dryas events. In addition to mammoth there are horse and camel remains. For some reason the archaeologists ignore the signficance of the dates, and what was going on in the wider world at the time, and plump for a human engineered killing spree. They even claim some shallow pits nearby were artificial constructs designed to trap mammoths going about their business. Another possibility given oxygen is that the mammoths became trapped in mud on the lake bed. They are currently also examining the bones for cut marks – or lesions that might be construed as cut marks made by human butchering. In fact, they are considering just two options, human predation or climate change. Nothing else.

Robert also sent in a link to https://phys.org/news/2020-09-solar-eclipse-mars-affects-interior.html … a seismometer aboard NASAs InSight Mission records marsquakes. However, it also seems to react to solar eclipses. When the Martian moon Phobus moves directly in front of the sun the instrument tips slightly to one side. This miniscule effect (their words), it is hoped, will aid researchers to determine the nature of the interior. Is Mars built of the same building blocks as the earth. The scientists attribute the shift on the seismometer to a cooling of Mars surface – as Phobus passes in front of it. Robert is sceptical.

Robert also sent in a link to https://phys.org/news/2020-09-deep-underground-quakes-san-andreas.html … where we are told rock melting forces are occurring in rocks much deeper in the earth than previously considered. They appear to drive tremors along the San Andreas fault system. Most seismicity is thought to occur in the first ten miles of the crust – which leaves a big question. How deep is deep in the case of California. Why it happens is an unknown.

The new study is published in Science Advances. The tremors occur every few months, it has been calculated. These are rather frequent then. Robert comments – deep earthquakes are a problem for mainstream geology. Has it got something to do with subduction or do some faults go deeper into the crust than currently acknowledged. Rocks at depth are supposed to be hot and plastic. Warm soft rocks do not snap, he adds. The explanation on offer in the study is that when rock is less solid and semifluid in character they are able to slip. We are talking about a lot of soft semi fluid rock – but slipping. Robert is again sceptical. Where are all these rocks slipping past each other going?

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