World’s Oldest Asteroid Crater Discovered In Western Australia

World's Oldest Asteroid Crater Discovered In Western Australia

Scientists at Curtin University have discovered that a crater in Yarrabubba, Western Australia, may be the world’s oldest, and that the asteroid’s landing 2.2 billion years ago may one of the reasons behind the end of the last Ice Age.

Despite the crater itself having been discovered in the outback in 1979, scientist had previously not tested the mineral deposits left behind to determine its age. The crater is not visible to the naked eye due to billions of years of erosion.

To determine when the asteroid hit the earth, scientists tested tiny zircon and monazite crystals found within the rocks whose properties will have changed upon the impact. Tiny amounts of uranium and iron deposits within the crystals enabled the scientists to figure out relatively accurately how long ago the asteroid struck.

Zircon crystal used to date the Yarrabubba impact. Curtin University

Zircon crystal used to date the Yarrabubba impact. Curtin University

The team of scientist are very excited about the age of the crater especially in the context of the Earth’s other events.

At this point, 2.2 billion years ago, the Earth’s surface was covered in ice, and it is now believed that the water vapour produced by this asteroid striking such a thick sheet of ice could be the reason behind a warming effect on the planet, perhaps even ending the Ice Age. Water vapor today is the most abundant greenhouse gas within the Earth’s atmosphere. Without greenhouse gasses, it is estimated that the average temperature of the planet would be -18 degrees Celsius, rather than the 15 degrees Celsius that currently stands. With additional greenhouse gasses entering the atmosphere, the average temperature of the planet is set to continue to rise.

Other theories have suggested that the carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas, released from volcanic eruptions may be responsible.


Main Image: Barlangi Hill, part of the Yarrabubba crater. Graeme Churchyard, Flickr Creative Commons

 

Smoke From Australia’s Fires Will Make Full Circuit Around The Globe

Smoke From Australia's Fires Will Make Full Circuit Around The Globe

The smoke from the recent bush fires on the east coast of Australia will continue to push across the Pacific and will eventually make at least one full circuit around the globe, according to NASA.

The space agency has used satellites to map the trajectory of the smoke which has so far affected New Zealand and parts of South America.

The smoke has travelled so high into the atmosphere it has moved into the stratosphere, the second atmospheric layer surrounding the earth, which could cause unprecedented and rapid changes in global atmospheric conditions. NASA added that the volume of smoke being released into the atmosphere is also responsible for multiple pyrocumulonimbus events – or fire-generated thunderstorms.

The agency is studying the effects of smoke at this altitude and whether it provides “a net atmospheric cooling or warming”.

In this tragic spell of bush fires, over 2000 homes have been destroyed and 28 people killed. The air quality of those living in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra are experiencing severely diminished air quality which has been deemed ‘hazardous’ on several occasions by Australian officials. The is wide concern over public health.

Some of the harmful gasses released from the fires include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. There is also great concern for the ultra-fine particles released into the atmosphere — invisible to the naked eye but able to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat. Officials have warned that face masks alone are not enough protection from these harmful particles, and has urged people to refrain from exercising outdoors.

More information:

Read: Extreme Australia

Main Image: Ferocious Fires in Australia Intensify, NASA

The Big Screen: True History of the Kelly Gang

The Big Screen: True History of the Kelly Gang

The new film depicting the life of famous bush-ranger Ned Kelly and his family is set to hit Australian cinemas on January 9 with a following release date in the UK of February 28.

After the death of his father – who was also a criminal – Kelly’s life of crime began at age 14, with his first prison stay coming just one year after. In and out of prison for various offences including murder, the next 10 years of his life were tumultuous and bloody.

One of the incidents he was most famous for occurred in April of 1878 after it was claimed that he shot a police trooper named Fitzpatrick who had arrived at his mother’s home.  The real facts of the case were never uncovered but nonetheless, family members, including: Mrs. Kelly, her son-in-law, William Skillion, and a neighbour, William Williamson, were arrested and charged with aiding and supporting the attempted murder of Fitzpatrick.  They were convicted.  Mrs. Kelly was sentenced to three years, while the men were sentenced to six.  Ned and his brother Dan were nowhere to be found, as they had gone into hiding in the Wombat Ranges. They were still fervently sought after, even offering a reward for information leading to their capture.

Some would say that Ned was a common hero, while others proclaim he was a common murderer. A gritty string of crime and punishment accompanied his life, which he later justified in a letter which became known as the Kelly’s manifesto. After a prolific career, he was eventually hanged for his crimes at the young age of 25. It is said that his final words were “such is life”.

Read more about the life of Ned Kelly and his Family before heading to the picture-house to see the universally acclaimed movie.

More on the Kelly Gang:

Read: Colonial Australia – The Gold Rush and Ned Kelly

Watch: Globe Trekker – Colonial Australia

Major Shipping Firms Dedicate $5bn To Clean Fuel Research

Major Shipping Firms Dedicate $5bn To Clean Fuel Research

7 major global shipping firms have between them pledged $5 billion to develop new clean fuel systems to tackle pollution caused by the industry.

The firms’ aim to decarbonise transoceanic shipping has been received positively by the wider industry and environmental campaigners alike. Shipping accounts for 3% of global emissions and for 90% of how goods are transported around the globe.

Currently viable options include biofuels, green hydrogen, ammonia, renewable electricity and fuel-cells.

The ship owners also are also welcoming a fuel levy to help support research and development in the future. The shipping industry is known for being heavily subsidised, with legislation protecting them from taxes in most parts of the world, however these calls signify a change in attitudes and an acknowledgement that pollution will not tackle itself.

This move also comes following an International Maritime Organisation regulation which has seen fuel suppliers innovating for the January 2020 date which it is set to come into effect, for heavy fuel oil suppliers cut the amount of sulfur used in ship fuels. The sulfur-containing fuel, when heated before combustion, creates harmful sulfur dioxide as a by-product which is released into the atmosphere. It is thought that the reduction of sulfur in the fuel will dramatically improve public health, particularly in the world’s busiest major port areas such as Shanghai, Singapore, Rotterdam, Los Angeles and Valencia.

The international shipping community is clearly demonstrating wider awareness and an eagerness to follow many of the world’s heavy industry communities in their commitment to tackle climate change.

More information:

Read: Chinese Firm to Manufacture 200,000 ‘New Energy’ Vehicles by 2025

Read: All-Female Sailing Team ‘eXXpedeition’ on a Mission to Clean Up Our Oceans

Read: IMO 2020 – cleaner shipping for cleaner air

By Sofi Summers

Main Image: Emma Maersk, Roy, Flickr Creative Commons

Equal Pay Confirmed for Australia’s “Matildas”

Equal Pay Confirmed for Australia's "Matildas"

The bosses of Australia’s national football team have laid-down a new deal for the female Matildas meaning they will get the same 24% share of commercial revenue as the male team.

The new deal comes following the Matildas’ campaign during the Women’s World Cup this summer for female football players to receive fairer pay. The World Cup gained more support and viewership than ever before, with over 82 million people watching the final between the USA and the Netherlands – A 56% uplift on the previous games in 2015.

The public’s increased interest and support hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the game, with FIFA

Gianni Infantino, Piotr Drabik, Flickr Creative Commons

Gianni Infantino, Piotr Drabik, Flickr Creative Commons

President Gianni Infantino pledging to spend $1 billion on women’s football over the next four years.

However, Football Federation Australia’s decision is the first of its kind, with clear ambitions to set precedent on how women could be paid more fairly further afield than football. The worldwide movement originally gained most of its traction in America, where the game is very big business.

Along with the issue of cash, the national team are also addressing the current differences in training between the two teams, with women set to receive the same coaching as their male counterparts; better negotiating of sponsorship deals; and providing greater parental support systems to help the players return to the game post-partum.

The female players will also be afforded the luxury of flying business class when travelling for games – a luxury previously reserved for only the male team.

Main Image: Australia’s Matildas at the Women’s World Cup 2019, Liondartois, Wikimedia Commons

By Sofi Summers

All-Female Sailing Team ‘eXXpedeition’ on a Mission to Clean Up Our Oceans

All-Female Sailing Team 'eXXpedeition' on a Mission to Clean Up Our Oceans

10 eager members of the public have set off on the first leg of an around the world journey to research and assess the extent of the plastic pollution in our oceans, and to explore creative solutions to clean it up. The team hope to build knowledge to inform scientists, legislators and the public alike on how the problem can be tackled for generations to come.

The all-female and multidisciplinary crew departed from Plymouth, UK – the same port that 18th century explorer Captain Cook set sail from on his round the world journey – and will sail for a planned 11 days to the Azores before their first stop. The Azores are a group of 9 islands, which are volcanic in origin and a famed north-east Atlantic deep-sea coral hotspot.

eXXpedition ©

eXXpedition ©

Each of the 13 legs around the world will see a new set of women set sail for the cause, and in total over 300 women will participate in the project which is expected to take 2 years to complete.

Mission Director Emily Penn’s motivations don’t stop there – eXXpedition also hopes to raise awareness of a lack of female participation in STEM professions, to research female-specific diseases caused by plastic and chemical pollution in greater depth, and to encourage female participation and positive coverage in all-female sailing and the wider sporting community.

The UK registered Community Interest Company have been sailing for these causes since 2014, though this is their first journey of such scale. The team are supported by multiple sponsors from environment companies to firms in the technology and legal sector. Many of the ladies on board are also sponsored personally by smaller community groups and businesses local to their homes.

eXXpedition ©

eXXpedition ©

Each stop along the voyage will not only involve research, but also talks, panel discussions, community clean-ups and send-off parties in hope of bringing together passionate individuals who are all working towards solving the plastic pollution crisis.

You can follow the progress of the boat, S.V. TravelEdge, and all of the fantastic ladies on their regular blog which they are completing at sea, no matter how perilous the conditions!

All images courtesy of eXXpedition 

By Sofi Pickering

 

 

 

Gold Prospector Finds Gold Nugget Worth Over A$100,000

Gold Prospector Finds Gold Nugget Worth Over A$100,000

Gold fever is running high this week after a prospector, who wishes to remain anonymous, unearthed a chunk of Gold weighing 1.4 kilograms (just over 3lbs) in Western Austrialia. The cigarette-packet-sized piece was removed from less than a metre below the surface, and within 100km of the city Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Gold Prospecting – the act of searching for gold – has become a popular recreation in the area, with people flocking from all over Australia and from overseas hoping to get lucky. The permit to do so costs just $25, and allows the prospector to find and remove up to 20 kilograms of the precious metal.

The current price of Gold is around £32,500 per kilogram (nearly $60,000AUD). However the question is whether he intends to sell it or sit on it – the price of gold has dramatically increased over the last 20 years, and due to it’s finite supply and increasing demand, is only likely to become more scarce and more valuable! Matt Cook, of prospecting equipment company Finders Keepers, has also pointed out that collectors typically pay a premium of 15 to 20 per cent on top of the gold value for rare specimens.

Mineral-rich Australia is the second largest Gold producer in the world after China. Other mining operations include metals such as Copper, Silver, Iron Ore and Uranium among others, and also gemstones such as Diamonds and Opals.

Will you be taking your detector, pick, pan and shovel out any time soon?

More information:

Read: Colonial Australia – The Gold Rush and Ned Kelly

Download: Globe Trekker – Colonial Australia

By Sofi Pickering

 

What’s Happening In New South Wales For 2019

What's Happening In New South Wales For 2019

With a host of exciting electrifying events and a calendar bursting with exciting anniversaries, it’s never been a better year to explore New South Wales.

Holiday-makers visiting in 2019 can take advantage of the array of events across these areas; including Byron Bay’s Bluesfest’s 30th anniversary and the inspiring Vivid Sydney Festival, as well as exploring some of the hottest new hotel openings and tourism experiences.

Home to Australia’s largest and liveliest city, Sydney, and the glorious Bondi Beach, New South Wales also features some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, from the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley vineyards to sun-kissed coastlines and endless outback vistas. Please see below for a roundup of some of the State’s most exciting news for 2019.

Vivid Sydney 2019

Australia’s largest festival returns from 24 May – 15 June 2019 to transform the city into a colourful canvas of light, music, ideas and a major celebration of the creative industries. Vivid aims to define the cultural identity of Sydney, with a grand platform for out-of-the-box thinkers, artists, musicians, creative professionals and educators to showcase their talents to local and international audiences. The festival comprises of three main elements; Vivid Light, Vivid Music and Vivid Ideas. Every evening, light installations and projections illuminate Sydney’s most famous sites including the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Darling Harbour and Taronga Zoo.

The Reinvention Of Darling Harbour Continues In 2019

The picturesque Harbourside location has undergone extensive renovations and a vibrant new space packed with unique restaurants, bars and stylish hotels is being revealed.

In 2019, the final touches will be put on the new Darling Square neighbourhood, on the site of the old Entertainment Centre. The Steam Mill Lane dining precinct was the first to be completed and it will be joined by Little Hay Street, a strip of al fresco cafes and shops that links Darling Harbour and Chinatown. Darling Harbour is also set to be the city’s new hotel hub. The high-rise Sofitel Darling Harbour led the way and will soon be joined by Vibe Darling Harbour and the five- star W Sydney in the striking Ribbon Building in 2019 or 2020.

Parramatta Cements Its Position As Sydney’s Second CBD

The west’s most stylish watering hole has recently opened its doors, on the 26th floor of Parramatta’s new V by Crown development. Nick & Nora’s is a 300-seat rooftop bar from The Speakeasy Group (behind Eau de Vie and Mjolner) and is styled like a New York penthouse. There are more than 50 Champagnes on the menu, 300 spirits and cocktails made with liquid nitrogen.

Sports fans will find plenty to love in Western Sydney too. The new £165 million Western Sydney Stadium (which replaced Parramatta Stadium) will be completed in 2019. Its 30,000 seats sit at a 34-degree angle, making it the steepest stadium in the world, and there are lots of high-tech amenities across the ground.

Upgrades Completed To Manly Wharf

sake-manlyPassengers getting off the ferry in 2019 will walk into a completely redeveloped Manly Wharf complex. The $9 million facelift has seen a second storey added and existing facilities upgraded. Saké and El Camino have opened new restaurants on the second floor, joining Merivale’s Queen Chow which took over from Papi Chulo in late 2018. Over on the beach side, the three-level Manly Greenhouse has an Italian restaurant on the ground floor, a grill on the middle level and an open-air rooftop cocktail bar.

Byron Bay Bluesfest Celebrates 30th Anniversary In 2019

Byron Bay Bluesfest, one of Australia’s original outdoor music festivals, is marking its 30th anniversary in 2019. Held over the Easter long weekend, the festival showcases blues and roots music from around the world with more than 200 performances over five days. The anniversary show is set to be the biggest yet, with artists like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Ray LaMontagne, Kasey Chambers and George Clinton to perform.

Upgrades To Walking Tracks Along The NSW South Coast

Hikers should plan a trip to the South Coast in 2019 with the completion of a £2.1 million upgrade to the Great Southern Nature Walk in the Royal National Park. Work is also continuing along the Royal Coast Track, which is set to be finished in 2020. An upgrade to Wollongong’s Blue Mile Patch has been completed with the new path linking Belmore Basin where walkers can stop for lunch with the local pelicans and North Wollongong Beach, ideal for families to play in the rockpools and shallow waters.

More Information

Destination New South Wales
Destination New South Wales is the lead government agency for the New South Wales (NSW) tourism.

First Mammal Species Recognised As Extinct Due To Climate Change

First Mammal Species Recognised As Extinct Due To Climate Change

The government of Australia has officially recognised the Bramble Coy melomys as extinct. The small rodent, found solely on a single island in the Eastern Torres Strait of the Great Barrier Reef, is the world’s first mammal to become a casualty of climate change.

Bramble Cay, the name of both the animal and its home, is at most only 10 feet above sea level. Since 1998, the section of the island that sits above high tide has shrunk from 3.9 hectares to 2.5 hectares – the rodents therefore losing approximatively 97% of their habitat.

The animal was last seen by a fisherman in 2009 and failed attempts to it down in 2014 led scientists to believe it was likely extinct.

“The key factor responsible for the extirpation of this population was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, very likely on multiple occasions, during the last decade, causing dramatic habitat loss and perhaps also direct mortality of individuals,” claimed a state government report.

The loss of an animal little known in the public mind has caused sadness and regret in Australia and abroad.

“The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” said Tim Beshara, a spokesman for advocacy group The Wilderness Society.

“But it was our little brown rat and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”

By Natarsha Brown

Australia Day: Inventions you didn’t know you had Oz to thank for

Australia Day: Inventions you didn't know you had Oz to thank for

It’s time to thank the many Australian inventors who have quite literally changed our world… here’s a list of the top 14 essential gizmos and gadgets that can trace their roots Down Under (and which without – our day-to-day lives would be very different).

The Electric Drill

Hailing from Scotland (but an honourary Aussie), Arthur James Arnot touched down on the sun-kissed soil of Australia in 1889. He came to build a power plant for the Union Electric company in Melbourne, but fate had other ideas, and he created one of the most useful tools that is still used universally today.

The drill designed by Arnot wouldn’t exactly fit in your toolbox today as it was designed to drill rock and coal so was rather cumbersome. Yet, within six years, a miniature version was on the market.
And the rest, as they say, is history.

Wi-Fi

Sullivan had his eyes to the skies in 1977. His work as an electrical engineer led him to investigate how a tool called a Fourier Transform, which breaks waveforms down, could be applied to radio astronomy.

His discoveries turned out to have a much wider application. They formed the core technology, patented in 1996, which made wireless LAN fast and reliable.

And today there’s just the small matter of 8 billion devices using Wi-Fi across the globe, with more than $420 million having been banked thanks to the patent held by the national science agency, CSIRO.

Plastic Banknotes

Way back in 1968 the increasing number of forged and counterfeit bank notes led to a skilled team of individuals being appointed to develop an alternative to paper banknotes: polymer banknotes.

These notes incorporate many security features not available with paper banknotes and last significantly longer.

It took twenty years until the world’s first ever plastic banknote was released into circulation in Australia during 1988.

Worldwide now you will find some three billion polymer notes in service in 22 countries, including right here in the UK.

Google Maps

Australians Noel Gordon and Stephen Ma co-founded a mapping-related startup in 2003. It wasn’t long before their invention, quite literally, placed Australia on the map.

Google bought the company in 2004 and, using the Where 2 Technologies software, created Google Maps, which is now used all over the world. In fact, it has almost replaced the paper map entirely in some countries.

There are 4,632,704 live websites that currently integrate Google Maps, and who knows how many of us have reached our intended destination thanks to it?

There’s more!

Here are some other notable inventions we have Australia and Australians to thank for.

  • Pharmacologist and pathologist Howard Florey shared a Nobel Prize in 1945 for his work extracting penicillin
  • David Ronald de Mey Warren invented the ‘black box’ flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder in 1958
  • Ian Frazer invented a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer in 2006
  • Notepads (1902)
  • The tank (1912)
  • Aspirin (1915)
  • The pacemaker (1926)
  • The wine cask – or Goon Bag, as it is affectionately called in Australia (1965)
  • The bionic ear (1978)
  • Dual-flushing toilets (1980)

Post thanks to Distant Journeys