The Dreadnoughtus

A supermassive dinosaur that would have weighed as much as 60 small cars has been found in Argentina, where it likely perished in a bog some 77 million years ago, paleontologists said Thursday, September 4.
 
Dubbed Dreadnoughtus schrani (the ‘Dreadnoughtus‘ part coming from “fear nothing” in old English), the long-necked lizard would have measured 26 meters (85 feet) from nose to tail and weighed some 60 tons – about as much as seven Tyrannosaurus rex put together.
 
And the giant wasn’t even fully grown when it got bogged down in a flooded plain, where it died next to a smaller companion, researchers reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

“With a body the size of a house, the weight of a herd of elephants, and a weaponized (9-meter, muscled) tail, Dreadnoughtus would have feared nothing,” study co-author Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University in Philadelphia said of the mighty beast.

MASSIVE ANIMAL. Rendering of the massive Dreadnoughtus schrani in life. Dreadnoughtus had a 37-foot-long neck, 30-foot tail, and weighed an estimated 65 tons, making it the most massive land animal whose size can be confidently calculated.  Illustration by Jennifer Hall/Drexel University
MASSIVE ANIMAL. Rendering of the massive Dreadnoughtus schrani in life. Dreadnoughtus had a 37-foot-long neck, 30-foot tail, and weighed an estimated 65 tons, making it the most massive land animal whose size can be confidently calculated. Illustration by Jennifer Hall/Drexel University
 
The fossilized skeleton is the most complete yet found in the category of super-sized, plant-eating dinosaurs called Titanosaurs– which makes it the largest land animal for which a weight has been calculated with such a degree of accuracy.
 
The find comprised over 70% of the types of bones in the dinosaur’s body – 45% of its total skeleton. There were no skull bones.
 
Paleontologists uncovered most of the vertebrae from the lizard’s tail, a neck vertebra with a diameter of over one yard (0.9 meters), ribs, toes, a claw, a section of jaw and a tooth, and nearly all the bones from its four limbs, including a humerus (upper arm bone) and a femur (thigh bone) over six feet tall.
The femur and humerus are key to calculating the mass of extinct four-legged animals.
 
“Because the Dreadnoughtus type specimen includes both these bones, its weight can be estimated with confidence,” said a Drexel University statement.
 
“It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet,” added Lacovara, who discovered the skeleton in southern Patagonia in 2005 and oversaw its four-year excavation.
 
Dino Misfortune, Science’s Luck
 
To sustain its massive bulk, Dreadnoughtus would have had to eat vast quantities of plants growing in the temperate forest on the continent’s southern tip.
 
“I imagine their day consists largely of standing in one place,” said Lacovara.

“You have this 37-foot-long (11-meter) neck balanced by a 30-foot-long (9-meter) tail in the back. Without moving your legs, you have access to a giant feeding envelope of trees and green ferns. You spend an hour or so clearing out this patch that has had thousands of calories in it, and then you take three steps over to the right and spend the next hour clearing out that patch.”

 
The dimensions of all previously discovered supermassive dinosaurs had been pieced together from relatively fragmentary fossil remains.
 
Prior to Dreadnoughtus, another Patagonian giant, Elaltitan, held the title for the dinosaur with the greatest calculable weight, at 43 tons.
MEGA DINO. Dreadnoughtus schrani was substantially more massive than any other supermassive dinosaur for which mass can be accurately calculated. Image courtesy Lacovara Lab/Drexel University; Size and weight comparisons citations at http://bit.ly/1oI5acS

MEGA DINO. Dreadnoughtus schrani was substantially more massive than any other supermassive dinosaur for which mass can be accurately calculated. Image courtesy Lacovara Lab/Drexel University; Size and weight comparisons citations at http://bit.ly/1oI5acS
 
Argentinosaurus, also from Argentina, was thought to be of a comparable or even greater mass than Dreadnoughtus, and longer, at about 37m.
 
But Argentinosaurus is known only from a half-dozen vertebrae in its mid-back, a shinbone and a few other fragments but no upper limb bones, said the researchers.
 
An adult Dreadnoughtus would likely have been too large to fear any predators, but would have made a great feast for scavengers after their death, the team added.
 
They discovered several teeth of small predatory and scavenging dinosaurs at the excavation site, which also included a secondDreadnoughtus skeleton, though smaller and much less complete.
 
From the preservation of the skeletons, the team concluded theDreadnoughtus pair was buried soon after death, but not before their carnivore cousins took a few bites.
 
“These two animals were buried quickly after a river flooded and broke through its natural levee, turning the ground into something like quicksand,” said Lacovara.
 
“The rapid and deep burial of the Dreadnoughtus type specimen accounts for its extraordinary completeness.
 
“It’s misfortune was our luck.”
 
Source: Rappler

Massive Underground Ocean Exists Beneath Earth’s Crust

Summary: The first terrestrial discovery of Ringwoodite confirms the presence of massive amounts of water 400 to 700 kilometers beneath Earth’s surface.

Ringwoodite is a form of the mineral peridot, believed to exist in large quantities under high pressures in the transition zone.

Ringwoodite has been found in meteorites but, until now, no terrestrial sample has ever been unearthed because scientists haven’t been able to conduct fieldwork at extreme depths.

Scientists scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.

The discovery marks the first time such a large body of water has found in the planet’s deep mantle. [The World’s Biggest Oceans and Seas]

Water covers 70 percent of Earth’s surface and one of its many functions is to act like a lubricant for the movement of continental plates.

The crust thickness averages about 18 miles (30 kilometers) under the continents, but is only about 3 miles (5 kilometers) under the oceans. It is light and brittle and can break. In fact it’s fractured into more than a dozen major plates and several minor ones. It is where most earthquakes originate.

The Earth’s radius is about 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers). The main layers of its interior are in descending order: crust, mantle and core.

The mantle is more flexible – it flows instead of fractures. It extends down to about 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) below the surface.

The core consists of a solid inner core and a fluid outer core. The fluid contains iron, which, as it moves, generates the Earth’s magnetic field. The crust and upper mantle form the lithosphere, which is broken up into several plates that float on top of the hot molten mantle below.

SOURCE: LiveScience

http://www.livescience.com/1312-huge-ocean-discovered-earth.html

The Godzilla Of Earths

The Godzilla Of Earths

The “Godzilla of Earths!” is in the foreground. Behind it is the smaller ‘lava world’. Their sun, in the back, appears to have been created only 3 billion years after the Big Bang.

Based on what we know about how solar systems form, researchers thought that a giant rocky planet could not exist. But they just found one that’s 17 times Earth’s mass. They’re calling it the Mega-Earth.

Scientists say the new planet may have “profound implications for the possibility of life” on extra-solar planets, according to a press release from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They announced the finding in a talk at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston.

Researchers have always thought Mega-Earths were impossible since any planets that big would attract hydrogen gas, forming a gas planet like Jupiter.

Meet The Mega-Earth

Mega-Earth, also known as Kepler-10c, is 18,000 miles in diameter and 2.3 times as large as Earth. It appears to be as solid as the planet beneath our feet.

Kepler-10c was previously known to astronomers, but they had not yet measured its mass. Due to its size — 2.3 times that of Earth — it was assumed to be a “mini-Neptune,” a planet encased in thick gas. But the new observations have confirmed that it is rocky, not gassy.
It orbits an 11 billion-year-old star named Kepler-10 located 560 light years away from Earth. Its year lasts only 45 days.

Interestingly, this solar system is more than twice as old as our own — it was born less than 3 billion years after the Big Bang.

A Mysterious System

Researchers had previously thought that this kind of planet impossible.

Not only did they think something that big would be a gas giant, but they didn’t even think the elements that make up a rocky planet existed in our universe when this solar system was born: The early universe had only the lighter elements of hydrogen and helium.

Heavier elements were forged from these lighter ones in stars over billions of years.
Because of this, many scientists hadn’t been looking for rocky planets in these very old solar systems.

The mega-Earth isn’t the only weird planet in its solar system. There’s also a ‘lava-world’ 1.5 times Earth’s size whose year lasts only 20 hours.

By David A. Aguilar

Fantastic Voyage

Fantastic Voyage

Before we invented civilization our ancestors lived mainly in the open out under the sky. Before we devised artificial lights and atmospheric pollution and modern forms of nocturnal entertainment we watched the stars. There were practical calendar reasons of course but there was more to it than that. Even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. When it happens to me after all these years it still takes my breath away.

WallPaper
Quote by: Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Quote provided by: CZ
Note: The title is mine