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Scientists discover 30-tonne Meteorite in Gancedo Town, Argentina

The largest meteorite ever found is called Hoba, weighing 66 tonnes in Namibia, Africa

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Representational image. Wikimedia Commons.

Benos Aires, Sep 13, 2016: Scientists have discovered a meteorite weighing over 30 tonnes in northern Argentina.

The meteorite was found in the town of Gancedo, 1,085 km north of capital Buenos Aires, Mario Vesconi, president of the Astronomy Association of Chaco, said on Monday.

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“While we hoped for weights above what had been registered, we did not expect it to exceed 30 tons,” Vesconi said, adding that “the size and weight surprised us”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Representational Image of Meteorite. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Representational Image of Meteorite. Wikimedia

“It was in Campo del Cielo, where a shower of metallic meteorites fell around 4,000 years ago,” Vesconi added.

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The meteorite will be weighed again to ensure an accurate measurement.

The largest meteorite ever found is called Hoba, weighing 66 tonnes in Namibia, Africa. (IANS)

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Fossil of Patagotitan Discovered in Argentina: The Heavyweight Champion of all Dinosaurs weighs 76 Tons

The New Heavyweight Champion of Dinosaurs is Patagotitan

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Museum attendees walk by the head of the newly named Patagotitan mayorum, a 122-foot (37.2 meter) titanosaur, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York
Museum attendees walk by the head of the newly named Patagotitan mayorum, a 122-foot (37.2 meter) titanosaur, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. VOA
  • The dinosaur’s fossils were found in southern Argentina in 2012
  • The researchers named the dinosaur Patagotitan dinosaur Patagotitan mayorum after the Patagonia region where it was found and the Greek word titan, which means large
  • A cast of the dinosaur’s skeleton is on display at the American Museum of Natural History

USA, August 10, 2017: A study proclaims a newly named species the heavyweight champion of all dinosaurs, making the scary Tyrannosaurus rex look like a munchkin.

At 76 tons (69 metric tons), the plant-eating behemoth was as heavy as a space shuttle.

The dinosaur’s fossils were found in southern Argentina in 2012. Researchers who examined and dated them said the long-necked creature was the biggest of a group of large dinosaurs called titanosaurs.

“There was one small part of the family that went crazy on size,” said Diego Pol of the Egidio Feruglio paleontology museum in Argentina, co-author of the study published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The researchers named the dinosaur Patagotitan dinosaur Patagotitan mayorum after the Patagonia region where it was found and the Greek word titan, which means large. The second name honors a ranch family that hosted the researchers.

Six fossils of the species were studied and dated to about 100 million years ago, based on ash found around them, Pol said. The dinosaur averaged 122 feet long (37 meters) and was nearly 20 feet high (6 meters) at the shoulder.

ALSO READ: Frogs’ Survival Possible due to Dinosaurs’ Death: Study

A cast of the dinosaur’s skeleton is on display at the American Museum of Natural History. It’s so big that the dinosaur’s head sticks out into a hallway at the New York museum.

Legendary T. rex and other meat-eaters “look like dwarfs when you put them against one of these giant titanosaurs,” Pol said. “It’s like when you put an elephant by a lion.”

Scientists have known titanosaurs for a while, but this is a new species and even a new genus, which is a larger grouping, Pol said. Another titanosaur called Argentinosaurus was previously thought to be the largest.

“I don’t think they were scary at all,” Pol said. “They were probably massive, big, slow-moving animals.”

“Getting up. Walking around. Trying to run. It’s really challenging for large animals,” he said.

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The big question is how did these dinosaurs get so big, Pol said. Researchers are still studying it but said it probably has to do with an explosion of flowering plants at the time. Along with a forest, it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet for these dinosaurs and they just got bigger.

“It’s hard to argue this isn’t a big deal when it concerns the [probable] largest land animal ever discovered,” University of Maryland paleontologist Thomas Holtz, who wasn’t part of the study, said in an email.

Kristi Curry Rodgers, a paleontologist at Macalester College who wasn’t part of the study, praised the work as important. She said the fact that Patagotitan’s bones show signs that they haven’t completed their growth “means that there are even bigger dinosaurs out there to discover.” (VOA)

 

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Music from Namibia? Putting the South African Nation on the World Music Map

There is only one commercially available compilation of music from Namibia in Europe, "A Handful of Namibians"

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Shisani and the Namibian Tales band. From left to right: Sjahin During on percussion, vocalist, guitarist Shisani Vranckx, Debby Korfmacher (Germany) on mbira, kora, voice, and Bence Huszaron cello. (Photo: Eric van Nieuwland) (VOA)

Hands up anyone who has ever heard music from Namibia! This large corner of Southern Africa seems to have dropped off the world music map, but that may be changing. At this year’s World Music Expo in Spain, VOA caught up with a young Namibian-born musicologist who is blending the old and the new.

There’s only one compilation of music from Namibia that is commercially available in Europe. Called “A Handful of Namibians,” it was released in 2004. Since then: nothing. But Shisani is changing all that.

“Hello everyone, my name is Shisani. I’m from Namibia, from the Netherlands, from Belgium… I’m a songwriter, a musicologist. I’ve researched different styles of music in the development of music history of Namibia.”

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Namibiab-born vocalist and guitarist Shisani Vranckx. (Courtesy photo: Eric van Nieuwland)
Namibian-born vocalist and guitarist Shisani Vranckx. (Courtesy photo: Eric van Nieuwland) (VOA)

Namibia is a crossroads: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Germany – all run through its turbulent national story – and its music. Recording the original sound and converting it into something new is what Shisani does.

She was born of mixed parentage in the Namibian capital Windhoek. At the age of five, she moved to the Netherlands and started her musicology study.

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“Growing up in Europe…there was no access to Namibian music. In 20 years, I only found one CD from Namibia, which was an ethnographic recording of the Bushmen people, the San people…Soul music, jazz,r&b, hip hop – that was the kind of stuff that was accessible to me, growing up as a child in Europe,” said Shisani. “There were no African artists on MTV or TMF when I was watching TV…”

All these influences are now coming together in a new band: Shisani and the Namibian Tales.

Featuring herself on voice and guitar, a German player of the Zimbabwean mbira, a Hungarian cello player and a Turkish-Dutch percussionist, the band has been exploring and expanding the traditional sounds from Namibia.

“We’re going to do a collaboration with the San people in the Kalahari, with the idea of creating new musical performances and hopefully touring as well…,” said Shisani.

This approach, Shisani thinks, can be replicated across the continent, where traditions are old but have never been static. And now she is taking her musical hybrid around the world.

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“We have played in various European countries,” said Shisani. “We’re visiting Pakistan in December. We are fortunate to be traveling so much and promoting Namibia and its culture in other places in the world.’

Shisani and the Namibian Tales have just released a new album, Itaala, and are already confirmed for various concerts in the Netherlands in 2017. (VOA)

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Dwarf planet Ceres hosts an unexpectedly young cryovolcano, says NASA’s Dawn mission images

The cryovolcanic formation on Ceres is named Ahuna Mons

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Young cryovolcano on dwarf planet Ceres. Image source: IANS

Washington, September 2, 2016 :  The dwarf planet Ceres hosts an unexpectedly young cryovolcano, analysis of images from NASA’s Dawn mission has revealed. Instead of molten rock, salty-mud volcanoes, or Cryovolcanoes, release frigid, salty water sometimes mixed with mud. The cryovolcanic formation on Ceres is named Ahuna Mons.

“Ahuna Mons is evidence of an unusual type of volcanism, involving salty water and mud, at work on Ceres,” said study lead author Ottaviano Ruesch of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and the Universities Space Research Association in Washington, DC. ”Geologic activity was discussed and debated among scientists: now we finally have observations testifying to its occurrence,” Ruesch noted.

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Although the volcano is not active now, the team was surprised that it appears geologically recent. Young volcanism on an isolated dwarf planet is a surprise, as usually only planets, or satellites orbiting around them, have volcanism.  Also, volcanic eruptions require bodies to be rocky, like Earth or Mars, or icy, like Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Ceres is made of salts, muddy rocks and water ice: exotic and unexpected ingredients for volcanism. Ahuna Mons on Ceres indicates such physical and chemical limitations to volcanism are only apparent. As a consequence, volcanism might be more widespread than previously thought.

“The Ahuna Mons cryovolcano allows us to see inside Ceres,” Ruesch said. ”The same process might happen on other dwarf planets like Pluto,” Ruesch noted. The team used images and 3-D terrain maps from the Dawn mission to analyse the shape of Ahuna Mons. They compared features and models of known mountain-building processes on Earth and Mars to the features found on Ahuna Mons.

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According to the research, published in the journal Science, it is the combination of features that makes the case for a volcanic dome. For example, the summit of Ahuna Mons has cracks like those seen in volcanic domes when they expand. Also, the slopes have lines that resemble those formed by rockfalls, and the steep flanks surrounding the dome could be formed by piles of debris. The mountain’s appearance also indicates it is young on a geological timescale. Surface features on planets with little or no atmosphere like Ceres get eroded by asteroid and meteoroid impacts and take on a soft, rounded appearance.

“We’re confident that Ahuna Mons formed within the last billion years, and possibly within a few hundred million years,” Ruesch said. This is relatively new geologically, given that our solar system is about 4.5 billion years old. ”Ahuna Mons is telling us that Ceres still had enough heat to produce a relatively recent cryovolcano,” Ruesch said. ”There is nothing quite like Ahuna Mons in the solar system,” said co-author on the paper Lucy McFadden of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. ”It’s the first cryovolcano we’ve seen that was produced by a brine and clay mix,” McFadden noted. (IANS)