Tuesday, April 7, 2015

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Woman Falls Into Sinkhole In St. Louis, Missouri And Another Sinkhole Opens Up In Horn Lake Subdivision, Mississippi!

April 7, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Here are several of the latest reports of sinkholes across the United States as monumental planetary transformations continue.

Another Sinkhole Opens Up In Horn Lake Subdivision, Mississippi

A DeSoto County subdivision is dealing with a hole in the ground...again.

Local 24 News first told you about the sinkhole problem in the Ravenwood subdivision in 2013. At that time, crews filled were busy filling one measuring four feet wide and four feet deep.

Monday, a year and a half later, frustrated neighbors are dealing with another one.

Jim Stacy has a measuring stick, a sink hole next to his drive and an axe to grind.

"I'll never, every buy a home again," Stacy said. "If this falls in the ground, that will be the the best that could happen, insurance could pay for it." Stacy said.

He noticed the hole March 25th and alerted the city of Horn Lake.

While waiting for the sinkhole to be fixed, things got worse March 31st, when Stacy said a teenager fell in, and somehow didn't break a leg.

"He was walking by on his cell phone, not paying attention, and down he went," Stacy said.

In 2013, Horn Lake leaders said another sinkhole on the same street opened due to a misplaced sewer main hole. However, Horn Lake Director of Operations Spencer Shields believes Mother Nature, not engineering, caused Ravenwood's latest sinkhole.

WATCH: Sinkhole in DeSoto County.

"Between the snows and the rain, the ground is just going to compact. And as it dries out, it expands back and that causes water lines to break and sewer lines to break and storm drains to open up. So, it's weather, more weather related than anything," Shields said. Horn Lake crews are expected to fill the sinkhole Tuesday morning. City leaders said final repairs on the larger sinkhole will be done in a couple of weeks. - Local Memphis.

Woman falls into sinkhole in St. Louis, Missouri

A South City woman fell into a sink hole in front of her house a month after reporting it to the city.  KSDK

Nearly a week after a south St. Louis woman reported falling into a sinkhole to the city, she's wondering why it's still there.

So she contacted Five on Your Side's Mike Rush.

Other than a pinky finger, 63-year-old June LaBarbera has gone all her life without a broken bone. Until now.

"The humerus bone goes up here... is broken from that collar bone up there," LaBarbera points out.

Her bone and her record were broken by a hole about a foot across and three feet deep that developed in her front yard at the curb on Odell Street.

WATCH: South City woman falls in sinkhole.

Saturday night, LaBarbera was helping her great-granddaughter out of the car, "and all of a sudden I don't know what happened. I was holding onto the car with this hand when I went around and I just went down and I heard my shoulder crack when I went down," she said.

One of her legs dropped completely in the hole. The pain was intense.

Neighbor Michael Decker, along with her grandson, helped LaBarbera out.

"It was a much greater surprise that it was a hole in the neighborhood, right here where we're always getting out walking around," LaBarbera said.

Decker covered the hole. LaBarbera called the city when she returned from the hospital. She's concerned that the city hasn't filled in the hole.

"I just don't see it as safe," she said. "I mean, children could come and lift that up and it's still there. They could fall right down into it."

NewsChannel 5 called the city.

"We believe it's a sewer problem," Kent Flake said.

Flake is the streets commissioner. He says he got the complaint late Monday and the next day a crew put up a barricade.

He says the hole hasn't been repaired because his crew needed to investigate what caused the problem.

"If I filled this up with more dirt, there's a good chance she's going to get more sewer issues, she could actually end up having backup in her basement," Flake said. "We just want to be able to inspect these and make sure we're doing the right thing with their tax dollars."

The city has determined a sewer leak in the street led to the sinkhole.

Flake says the repairs to the sewer line and the hole should be taken care of early next week.

He says, on average, the city deals with about 500 sinkholes every year.


INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes At Newtownards Airfield, County Down, In Northern Ireland - "Highly Experienced Pilot" Killed!

The crash happened at Newtownards airfield near Belfast at 11.25am, shortly after take off.

April 7, 2015 - IRELAND
- Air accident investigators are trying to determine the cause of an incident that left a pilot dead after a light plane crashed at Newtownards airfield in Co Down on Tuesday morning.

The PSNI confirmed that a man died after the two-seater aircraft crashed just off the runway of the airfield shortly before 11.30am.

The incident happened shortly after take-off, it is believed.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, which was called to the scene, found the man inside the aircraft. He was not trapped and without major difficulty they were able to take him from the plane. He was rushed to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald in east Belfast.

PSNI Inspector Glen Campbell confirmed that the man died from his injuries. “The Air Accident Investigation Branch have been informed and will be the lead agency in this investigation,” he said.

The name of the man who was killed was not being released until his next of kin were informed. It is understood that he is aged in his 60s.

Jim Shannon said the married victim was catching up on his flying hours but already had significant experience.

Air accident investigators were at the scene on Tuesday trying to establish what caused the plane to crash.

The DUP MP for Strangford Jim Shannon visited the scene. He offered his condolences to the pilot’s family and said that members of the Ulster Flying Club which runs the airfield were “shaken and distraught” to lose one of their friends.

“This is a very tight family club with a large membership of almost 600 or thereabouts, both seniors and juniors. They are a great bunch of people and the loss of the man is one that is felt very deeply by everyone in the club,” he said.

“How could this happen? That was the question that they were all asking,” added Mr Shannon.

He said the man who died was an experienced pilot with many hours flying time. “I suppose there can be only two reasons for the accident: either aircraft failure or the health of the pilot. But that is only supposition at this time because we don’t know for definite what the outcome of the investigation will be,” said Mr Shannon. - Irish Times.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

April 7, 2015 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Kentucky Floods and Storms Leave 2 Dead, Governor Calls State of Emergency

Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide emergency on yesterday after torrential rain and flash floods caused widespread damage across several counties in Kentucky.

Declaring a statewide emergency will allow local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts.

Gov. Beshear said: “We have reports of heavy damage in some areas of the state already, but the threat of thunderstorms and further flooding has not cleared Kentucky yet.

By declaring a state of emergency for the entire state, we can deploy any needed state assistance, such as National Guard troops, without delay.”


National Weather Service say that 5.64 inches (143 mm) of rain fell in Louisville on 03 April 2015. Lexington saw 5.17 inches (131mm) of rain fell.

rainfall totals kentucy
2 day rainfall totals for Kentucky. Image: NWS

2 People Killed
Around 160 emergency rescues had to be carried out in Louisville alone. One woman died after she was swept away in her car by flood water in Lee County. Another woman died, it is believed, after she was hit by a falling tree blown down by the storm at the Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

The severe weather also affected other states on the south of west. Thousands have been left without power in Kansas, where the storms have left at least 6 people injured.

Adding to the sense of Armageddon in Louisville, Kentucky, a huge fire at General Electric’s Appliance Park broke out on 03 April 2015, billowing black smoke across the sky while people waded through flood water 3 feet deep in the city’s streets.

5 people were killed in floods and storms in Kentucky in late December 2013Louisville was hit by floods in October 2013 after nearly 6 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.

Powerful thunderstorm creates rivers of hail in St. Louis

A massive storm system rumbled across the Midwest on Tuesday, dumping large amounts of hail in a relatively short period of time. Many communities, particularly in St. Louis, were flooded with rivers of hail when drainage systems were unable to handle the amount of water.

WATCH: Rivers of hail flood St. Louis.

Floods in Baghlan, Afghanistan – At Least 5 Dead

Local and international news agencies are reporting that floods in the northern province of Baghlan, Afghanistan, have left at least 5 people dead, with some local reports saying the figure is as high as 17, with around 10 people injured.

Emergency teams, including police, are still carrying out rescues. Iran state news agency say that 200 houses have been destroyed. Associated Press have this figure at 400, and quoting local police, say that three districts of the province, including the capital Puli Khumri, have been affected.

File photo: Afghanistan flash floods. Photo Save the Children

AP also say that “The floods mark the start of Afghanistan’s annual flooding season as snow on northern mountain ranges melts. The situation worsens each year due to deforestation and environmental degradation”.

At least 54 people were killed and 1000s of houses destroyed in floods in Baghlan in June 2014.

In February 2015, the country suffered widespread floods and landslides after heavy rain. Several provinces were affected, including Panjshir, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Parwan, Nuristan and capital Kabul, and at least 230 people lost their lives.

Six dead in Haiti following heavy rains and severe flooding

Flooded streets of Cap-Haitian November 2014.  Photo: Jean-Junior JOSEPH / Twitter

At least six people have died and several thousand homes flooded as Haiti’s rainy season continues to bring suffering on the people of this French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

The Directorate of Civil Protection and Interior Ministry said the rains have also resulted in 245 families being relocated and 8,379 homes being flooded as a result of overflowing rivers in recent days.

Three of the deaths occurred in Cite Soleil, a district of Port-au-Prince and three others in Delmas, and Carrefour.

Interior Minister Ariel Henry said the district of Grand Anse in the south is also worrisome because it has been raining since March 30. Resulting in more than 390 homes being flooded with 16 being totally destroyed,.

“We have taken steps to mobilize resources to help the affected populations,” Henry said, urging people residing in vulnerable areas to be vigilant to prevent other human and material losses.

The rains come at a time when Haiti is still dealing with the outbreak of Cholera that has resulted in 8,000 deaths and 750,000 cases since 2010.

Since December last year, 86 people are reported to have died from the disease which thrives in water.

5 Killed After Dams Overflow in South West Kenya

Local media in Kenya are reporting that 5 people have been killed in floods in Bondo Sub County, Siaya County, in south-west Kenya.

The area has seen several days of rain. WMO report that 54mm of rain fell in 24 hours on 29 March 2015 and 21 mm of rain fell on 01 April 2015.

According to Kenya’s Daily Nation, the rain forced two dams in Miruka and Ochot to overflow, flooding nearby villages, leaving at least 5 people dead and damaging crops, houses, property and vehicles.

WATCH: 5 people feared dead in Bondo floods.

12,000 Evacuated after Floods in Hunan Province, China

File photo: flooded streets in China. Photo credit

State media have reported that heavy rainfall has caused floods in south central and eastern parts of China that have forced at least 12,000 people to evacuate their homes and affected around 240,000 people.

The worst affected areas are the provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi. WMO say that 220mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Yueyang City, Hunan Province, on 04 April 2015. Further heavy rain has been forecast.

A man wades through a flooded street after heavy rainfall in Weifang, Shandong province, April 2, 2015.  © Reuters

Xinhua, the Chinese News Agency, say that floods have caused damage in 52 towns and villages in Hunan Province, and also damaged around 19,467 hectares of crops. No fatalities have been reported. Dozens of towns have also been affected by floods and heavy rain in Jiangxi province, although no evacuations have been reported as yet.

Heavy Rainfall Expected in China, Taiwan and Japan
The heavy rain fell in the wake of Super Typhoon Maysak, which despite weakening, is expected to bring further heavy rain and thunderstorms to China, Taiwan and Japan as it moves northwards.

According to Accuweather:
“The heaviest and most widespread rain through Tuesday is expected to fall in the interior of southeast China across the provinces of Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei and eastern Sichuan. Heavy rain has already fallen in some of these areas on Friday and Saturday with in excess of 100 mm (4 inches) of rain being recorded”.

Government Promises Help for Farmers After Devastating Floods That Killed Dozens

A delegation from Chile’s Ministry if Agriculture (MINAGRI), headed by Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Furche, visited the flood affected areas of Atacama earlier this week in order to assess the damage to crops, land and the region’s farming infrastructure.

Copiapó Valley is one of the farming areas affected by the floods in Atacama Region. Much of the farming there is medium to small, mainly producing tomatoes, watermelons, corn and lettuce. Crops, greenhouses and irrigation structures have all been damaged or destroyed in the floods, and with them the livelihoods of many of the local farmers.

Flood damaged greenhouses and crops in Copiapo Valley, Atacama, Chile. Photo: MINAGRI

Flood damaged farm land in Copiapo Valley, Atacama, Chile. Photo: MINAGRI

Flood damaged crops Copiapo, Atacama, Chile. Photo: MINAGRI

After visiting the areas and seeing the destruction first hand, the Minister of Agriculture promised financial aid of around $5 million US dollars to rebuild canals, wells and other irrigation structures.

The minister said, “Our top priority now is to restore irrigation channels and infrastructure as soon as possible so we can then determine if crops can be saved.”

Soil Contamination

Another priority is to test the soil for contamination. The minister said that local farmers had expressed concern regarding the soil and earth that had been washed onto their land by the floods.

Farmers will be involved in collecting samples from their own land, which will then be sent to a laboratory for testing by Chile’s Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA).

Burundi Floods – Death Toll Now 20 as Rivers in Bujumbura Overflow

At least 15 people were reported as killed in floods and landslides that struck in the Bujumbura province of Burundi on 29 March 2015.

Photo: presidence.gov.bi
One of the landslides, near to the RN3 road. Photo: presidence.gov.bi

Since then very little information has been available regarding the current situation. However, a team from Caritas Burundi, part of the Caritas Internationalis Catholic charity, was able to visit the affected area recently.

In their report, Caritas say that the death toll has since risen to at least 20 people. They also say that the heavy rain has increased river levels in the area.

“…witnesses note that the four rivers that cross the communes of Bugarama Muhuta and in Bujumbura have burst their banks, creating enormous material damage..”

As many as 700 houses have been damaged or destroyed. Bridges, roads and crops have also been damaged. However, a thorough assessment of the damage is yet to be completed.

Photo: presidence.gov.bi
Work on clearing the landslide debris begins. Photo: presidence.gov.bi

President Visits Affected Areas
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza visited the affected area on Monday 30 March 2015. During his visit he requested departments responsible to make a complete assessment of the damage caused by the floods and landslides in order to facilitate support to victims.

President Pierre Nkurunziza visits the flood affected area of Burundi, 30 March 2015. Photo: Photo: http://presidence.gov.bi
President Pierre Nkurunziza visits the flood affected area of Burundi, 30 March 2015. Photo: presidence.gov.bi

Blocked Roads a Major Concern
The recent floods and landslides have blocked the major RN3 road in several places which has affected traffic in the area heading to or from the capital city.

In a statement made after the president’s visit, his office said that emergency work is underway to clear the RN3 road.

Burundi floods
Work on the RN3 road after it was damaged by flooding and landslides. Photo: presidence.gov.bi

Iran Floods – 77 Injured in Qazvin Province

Over 70 people have been injured – 21 of them seriously – by a rainstorm and subsequent floods in north-west Iran.
According to IRNA, the state sponsored news agency in Iran, the severe weather struck on during the evening of 30 March 2015.  The worst affected area is Esfarvarin, a district with a population of around 28,000, located in Takestan County, Qazvin province.

Iran Red Crescent Society said that the floods in Esfarvarin left 77 people injured. At least 21 of the injured needed to be hospitalised. The floods have destroyed houses and infrastructure, and also disrupted water and power supply in the area.

Esfarvarin, Iran. Photo: Wikimedia Commons /  نگونبانگونی
Esfarvarin, Iran. Photo: Wikimedia Commons /

Three people died and around 900 houses damaged by heavy rain and floods in the south of Iran on 10 March 2015. The provinces of Hormozgan, Kerman, and Sistan-Baluchestan were the worst affected.

Angola Floods – 1 Dead, 500 Homeless in Cuanza Sul

Local media are reporting that heavy rainfall and floods from 28 to 29 March 2015 have caused serious damage and loss of life in the western province of Cuanza Sul, Angola.
Quoting reports by the Civil Protection commission for the municipalities of Sumbe and Porto Amboim, ANGOP, the Angola News Agency, say that the heavy rain left one person dead, 3 injured, and around 150 homes destroyed.

Overall the floods in Sumbe and Porto Amboim have affected 2,160 people, with around 500 of those left homeless. Local authorities are relocating those in affected areas. A temporary camp has been set up in nearby Pomba Nova to safely house those displaced.

3 Deadly Floods in 4 Weeks in Angola
This is the third major flood event to hit Angola this year. On 12 March 2015, over 60 people died in floods in Lobito, which is about 180 km south of Sumbe.

A few days earlier, torrential rain and resulting floods damaged 1,000s of homes in several municipalities around Luanda. One person died in the floods which affected the Viana, Cacuaco and Belas districts of the city.

Alaska: Flooding closes highway with 'unprecedented levels of overflow'

"Notice the height of the water: Delineators along the edge of the road are usually 5 feet above the road,"
the state transportation department said on Facebook.   © ADOT / PF

Flooding has once again forced the closure of the Dalton Highway
after it was briefly opened following the clearing of unprecedented levels of overflow.

The highway will remain closed though Monday as crews tackle further complications from a storm that has created low visibility and prevented crews from keeping up with the overflow on the road and snow drifts, Alaska Department of Transportation spokeswoman Meadow Bailey said. A 35-mile section between mileposts 378 and 413 was closed.

Trucks use the highway to take supplies to North Slope oil fields, but the blockage essentially put a halt to those deliveries.

Unprecedented levels of overflow from the Sagavanirktok River began flooding the highway last week. That made a portion of the highway impassible and truck drivers trying to drive to and from Prudhoe Bay had to wait as long as three days before proceeding, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper reported.

The closed stretch was reopened Thursday evening.

Bailey said crews were able to keep the highway somewhat passable through most of Friday. But serious delays began again Saturday as more water and ice reached the road.

"It's still a serious thing, and they're still trying to battle it," Bailey said.

The transportation department has dealt with overflow from the Sagavanirktok River before, but never on a level near last week's flooding, according to Bailey. Department hydrologists are assessing the problem, but have not yet identified the cause, she said.

The department plans to make changes to the stretch of highway starting this summer and continuing through next year.

In work set to take place this summer, a portion of the road will be raised by 7 feet at an estimated cost of $27 million. Next year, plans call for another portion of the road to be raised at an estimated cost of up to $50 million.

Floodlist | RT | Alaska Dispatch News | Caribbean 360.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Stunning Images In Space - Rogue Supernova In Deep Space, Are They Hypervelocity Stars That Escape Their Host Galaxy; Massive Supernova Event From Merging White Dwarfs Or A Single Star; And Stunning Einstein Ring Captured by ALMA/Hubble "Reveals Secrets of Nature"?!

April 7, 2015 - SPACE - We are currently living in a time of monumental transition and paradigm shift. This transformation is not only taking place on a personal and planetary scale, but in space as well. As above so below. Changes that will ultimately affect every aspects of our life as cosmic events unfold.

Rogue Supernova in Deep Space --Are They Hypervelocity Stars that Escape Their Host Galaxy?

Astronomers have long puzzled over the appearance of supernovae that detonate out in the dark space – rather than within a host galaxy. Various theories have been proposed, the most plausible is that they might be hypervelocity stars - which are stars flung out of their host galaxy due to an unfortunate coincidence of gravitational interactions. It’s thought that such interactions may accelerate those stars up to a velocity of more than 500 to 4,000 kilometers a second – that is, more than the escape velocity of your average galaxy. These fast moving stars likely start off as one of a pair or triplet of stars that strays too close to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Galaxy. Another theory is that these stars are created during the merging of galaxies. An odd fact is that many hypervelocity stars - just over half of those so far found - seemed to be coming from around the constellation Leo. Astronomers from Cordoba Observatory, Argentina, proposed that they were ejected during the assimilation of a dwarf galaxy into the Milky Way. Because these dwarf galaxies orbit the Milky Way on a "radial path", sometimes coming close to the center, there would be times when some of their stars would get sucked.

But Peter-Christian Zinn at Ruhr University and colleagues suggested a more mundane theory for their particular orphan supernovae of interest, which is SN 2009z. They propose that it is in an obscure, dust-shrounded galaxy, that's difficult to see.

Zinn and company proposed the supernova actually detonated within a low surface brightness galaxy, N271. From the images they have produced, this seems a reasonable claim – it’s just that low surface brightness galaxies (or LSBs) aren’t meant to have supernovae.

Since galaxies can appear as extended objects, rather than as point-like stars, we refer to them as having ‘surface brightness’ - which can vary across the object’s apparent surface. LSB’s are generally isolated field galaxies, rather than being grouped in amongst dense galaxy clusters. They are most often dwarf galaxies as well, but at least one spiral LSB has been identified.

The dimness of LSB galaxies is suggestive of them having almost no active star formation – either being too old, with no free hydrogen remaining for new star formation – or just not dense enough for much star formation to ever have taken off.

But here you have supernova SN 2009z that was most likely was contained within LSB galaxy N271. And SN 2009z was a Type II supernova – a massive and short-lived star that underwent core collapse. Indeed, it was a Type IIb with only a small shell of hydrogen when it detonated. Type IIb supernovae are probably massive stars which lose most, but not all, of their hydrogen shell through having it stripped off by a companion star in a binary system.

This all seems quite unusual behaviour for a galaxy that does not support active star formation. Zinn et al proposed that LSB galaxies must go through short bursts of active star formation followed by long quiescent phases of almost no activity. This then suggests that the progenitor star of supernova SN 2009z was formed in the previous starburst period, before N271 quietened down again.

Of course, none of this need suggest that hypervelocity stars don’t exist – indeed several have been discovered since the first confirmed finding in 2005. All those known are associated with the Milky Way, since finding a single isolated hypervelocity star ejected by a distant galaxy is probably beyond the detection of our current technology – unless of course they go supernovae.

But given what we know so far:
• a hypervelocity star arises from a binary system’s unfortunate interaction with a galaxy’s central supermassive black hole
• one binary member is captured, the other flung violently outwards at escape velocity.
• but, massive stars that go supernovae only have a main sequence life span of the order of millions of years;
• so, even at more than 100 kilometers a second, it’s unlikely that any are going to make it across the many light years distance from the center of a galaxy to its outer boundary before they detonate.

Seeding the Cosmos! Massive Supernova Event from Merging White Dwarfs or a Single Star?

Until recently, astronomers thought the most likely way for a white dwarf to gain mass would be as a member of a close binary system with a normal sun-like star. By accumulating matter from its companion, the white dwarf can, over millions of years, nudge itself closer to the limit and explode. The companion stars are expected to survive, but astronomers find scant evidence for them, suggesting the need for an alternative model. In the merger scenario, the blast is triggered by a pair of lower-mass white dwarfs, whose orbits tighten over time until they eventually merge and explode. Using archival data from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite, astronomers have determined the pre-explosion mass of a white dwarf star that blew up thousands of years ago. The measurement strongly suggests the explosion involved only a single white dwarf, ruling out a well-established alternative scenario involving a pair of merging white dwarfs.

"Mounting evidence indicates both of these mechanisms produce what we call type Ia supernovae," said lead researcher Hiroya Yamaguchi, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "To understand how these stars explode, we need to study the debris in detail with sensitive instruments like those on Suzaku."

The researchers analyzed archival observations of a supernova remnant named 3C 397, which is located about 33,000 light-years away in the constellation Aquila. Astronomers estimate this cloud of stellar debris has been expanding for between 1,000 and 2,000 years, making 3C 397 a middle-aged remnant.

The team made clear detections of elements crucial to weighing the white dwarf using data from Suzaku's X-ray Imaging Spectrometer. The observation, made in October 2010 at energies between 5,000 and 9,000 electron volts, provided a total effective exposure of 19 hours.

Infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope provided insight into the amount of gas and dust the expanding remnant has gathered up as it drives into interstellar space. The observations, from April 2005, indicate 3C 397 has swept up a mass some 18 times greater than the original white dwarf. As a result, the team concludes that shock waves have thoroughly heated the remnant's innermost parts.

Most low- and medium-mass stars similar to the sun will end their days as white dwarfs. A typical white dwarf is about as massive as our sun yet roughly the size of Earth. This makes white dwarfs among the densest objects scientists know of, surpassed only by neutron stars and black holes.

"White dwarfs remain stable as long as they never tip the scales too closely to 1.4 solar masses," said team member Carles Badenes, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. "White dwarfs near this limit are on the verge of a catastrophic explosion. All it takes is a little more mass."

"We can distinguish which of these scenarios is responsible for a given supernova remnant by tallying the nickel and manganese in the expanding cloud," said Goddard astrophysicist Brian Williams. "An explosion from a single white dwarf near its mass limit will produce significantly different amounts of these elements than a merger."

The team also measured iron and chromium, which are produced in all type Ia explosions, as a way to standardize their calculations.

The study, which was published March 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, is part of a continuing program of Suzaku research aimed at helping astronomers better understand the diversity of type Ia supernovae, an important class of stellar explosion used in probing the distant universe. This finding shows that at least some type Ia supernovae must have surviving stellar companions, and the team emphasizes that the search for these stars should continue.

Stunning Einstein Ring Captured by ALMA/Hubble --"Reveals Secrets of Nature"

Einstein Rings are more than just an incredible novelty. It’s also a very rare phenomenon that can offer insights into dark matter, dark energy, the nature of distant galaxies, and the curvature of the Universe itself. The phenomenon, called gravitational lensing, occurs when a massive galaxy in the foreground bends the light rays from a distant galaxy behind it, in much the same way as a magnifying glass would. When both galaxies are perfectly lined up, the light forms a circle, called an “Einstein ring”, around the foreground galaxy. If another more distant galaxy lies precisely on the same sightline, a second, larger ring will appear. “Such stunning cosmic coincidences reveal so much about nature. Dark matter is not hidden to lensing,” said Leonidas Moustakas of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, USA. “The elegance of this lens is trumped only by the secrets of nature that it reveals.”

Astronomers have discovered that a distant galaxy -- seen from Earth with the aid of a gravitational lens -- appears like a cosmic ring, thanks to the highest resolution images ever taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Forged by the chance alignment of two distant galaxies, this striking ring-like structure is a rare and peculiar manifestation of gravitational lensing as predicted by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity.

ALMA/Hubble composite image above of the gravitationally lensed galaxy SDP.81. The bright orange central region of the ring (ALMA's highest resolution observation ever) reveals the glowing dust in this distant galaxy. The surrounding lower-resolution portions of the ring trace the millimeter wavelength light emitted by carbon monoxide. The diffuse blue element at the center of the ring is from the intervening lensing galaxy, as seen with the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); B. Saxton NRAO/AUI/NSF; NASA/ESA Hubble, T. Hunter (NRAO)

Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies bends the light emitted from a more distant galaxy, forming a highly magnified, though much distorted image. In this particular case, the galaxy known as SDP.81 and an intervening galaxy line up so perfectly that the light from the more distant one forms a nearly complete circle as seen from Earth.

Discovered by the Herschel Space Observatory, SDP.81 is an active star-forming galaxy nearly 12 billion light-years away, seen at a time when the Universe was only 15 percent of its current age. It is being lensed by a massive foreground galaxy that is a comparatively nearby 4 billion light-years away.

"Gravitational lensing is used in astronomy to study the very distant, very early Universe because it gives even our best telescopes an impressive boost in power," said ALMA Deputy Program Scientist Catherine Vlahakis. "With the astounding level of detail in these new ALMA images, astronomers will now be able to reassemble the information contained in the distorted image we see as a ring and produce a reconstruction of the true image of the distant galaxy."

The new SDP.81 images were taken in October 2014 as part of ALMA’s Long Baseline Campaign, an essential program to test and verify the telescope’s highest resolving power, achieved when the antennas are at their greatest separation: up to 15 kilometers apart.

The highest resolution image of SDP.81 was made by observing the relatively bright light emitted by cosmic dust in the distant galaxy. This striking image reveals well-defined arcs in a pattern that hints at a more complete, nearly contiguous ring structure. Other slightly lower-resolution images, made by observing the faint molecular signatures of carbon monoxide and water, help complete the picture and provide important details about this distant galaxy.

Though this intriguing interplay of gravity and light in SDP.81 has been studied previously by other observatories, including radio observations with the Submillimeter Array and the Plateau de Bure Interferometer, and visible light observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, none has captured the remarkable details of the ring structure revealed by ALMA.

ALMA image of the gravitationally lensed galaxy SDP.81. The bright orange central region of the ring (ALMA's highest resolution observation ever) reveals the glowing dust in this distant galaxy. The surrounding lower-resolution portions of the ring trace the millimeter wavelength light emitted by carbon monoxide. Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); B. Saxton NRAO/AUI/NSF

"The exquisite amount of information contained in the ALMA images is incredibly important for our understanding of galaxies in the early Universe," said astronomer Jacqueline Hodge with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Va. "Astronomers use sophisticated computer programs to reconstruct lensed galaxies' true appearance. This unraveling of the bending of light done by the gravitational lens will allow us to study the actual shape and internal motion of this distant galaxy much more clearly than has been possible until now."

For these observations, ALMA achieved an astounding maximum resolution of 23 milliarcseconds, which is about the same as seeing the rim of a basketball hoop atop the Eiffel Tower from the observing deck of the Empire State Building.

"It takes a combination of ALMA’s high resolution and high sensitivity to unlock these otherwise hidden details of the early Universe," said ALMA Director Pierre Cox. "These results open a new frontier in astronomy and prove that ALMA can indeed deliver on its promise of transformational science."

SDP.81 is one of five targets selected for study during the ALMA Long Baseline Campaign. The others include the protoplanetary disk HL Tau, the asteroid Juno, the star Mira, and the quasar 3C138. Papers describing these publicly available data and the overall outcome of the ALMA Long Baseline Campaign are to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, Letters.
- Daily Galaxy.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: The Latest Outbreak Of Fires And Explosions Across The Globe - Huge Blast At Paraxylene Plant In China's Fujian Province; Massive Fire Rages At GE Plant In Kentucky; Netherlands Church Lost In Midnight Blaze; 3-Alarm Fire Destroys 2 Firetrucks, Clouds Skies Over Washington D.C.; Fuel Tanks Ablaze For 6th Day In Port Of Santos, Brazil; Nuclear Submarine Catches Fire At Russian Shipyard; 600 Cars Toasted In A Massive Dealership Fire Carnage In South Korea!

April 7, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitute some of the latest reports of fire and explosions across the globe.

Blast at paraxylene plant in China's Fujian Province

A massive blast occurred at a paraxylene plant in Zhangzhou City in China’s Fujian Province, CCTV reported.

Photos of the event revealed a fireball rising over the factory. Paraxylene, or p-Xylene, is a mildly toxic hydrocarbon used in polyester manufacturing.

The PX plant suffered a powerful fire and explosion back in July 2013, when a hydrogen pipe ruptured during a pressure test. No casualties were reported.

The plant was built in 2009 and was initially slated for the city of Xiamen in the same province, but was relocated after protests over potential environmental problems. The project cost was estimated at $2.3 billion.

WATCH: Huge blast rocks paraxylene plant in Zhangzhou City.

Zhangzhou is a city in the coastal Fujian Province in southern China. According to a 2010 census, it had over 4,800,000 residents at the time.

Massive fire raging at GE plant in Kentucky

A massive fire ravaged part of a Louisville, Kentucky industrial park on Friday. Eyewitnesses say parts of GE’s Appliance Park facility was consumed in the blaze, and local media reported that all employees are safe and accounted for.

The fire broke out Friday morning within one of the buildings that composes the massive manufacturing plant opened in the 1950s by General Electric. Witnesses say that the blaze erupted inside Building 6 inside GE’s Appliance Park and that the building had collapsed entirely sometime before 8:30 a.m., according to WDRB News.

By 10 a.m., NBC News was describing the blaze as a six-alarm fire.

Building 6 was evacuated soon after the fire erupted, according to a local ABC News affiliate, and the network reported that it had “consumed the building,” sparing next to nothing.

Nearby, witnesses reported seeing huge clouds of dark smoke and hearing explosions. As of 10 a.m., aerial footage captured by local network WAVE-TV showed dozens of firefighters attempting to control the blaze as huge black clouds continued to come from the building, and NBC reported that the smoke could be seen for miles.

WATCH: Massive fire rages at GE factory in Kentucky.

Building 6 is leased by Derby Industries, an industrial supply company, according to the ABC station, and a former GE employee told WDRB that the site was being used for storage. Authorities have not yet determined a cause of the fire, and a member of the Jefferson County Fire Service told NBC that more than 120 firefighters from 18 different districts throughout the region were on the scene as of 10 a.m. local time.

Netherlands Church lost in midnight blaze-battle on last day of Easter

WATCH: Firefighters rushed to the scene of a church that had caught fire in a residential area of Heiloo early Tuesday morning.

3-alarm fire destroys 2 firetrucks, clouds skies over Washington, DC

A three-alarm fire raged through a commercial building in Capitol Heights, Maryland, as firefighters battled the blaze. So much smoke was pumped into the sky that the plumes could be seen in all four quadrants of Washington, DC.

The fire broke out on the 8700 block of Ashwood Drive, according to the Prince George's County Fire Department. Officials described the building as a commercial one, though local WJLA News said it belonged to a roofing company.

So far, no casualties or serious injuries have been reported, but the fire department sent in additional units to help put out the blaze. Two firetrucks were lost, officials said, and posted a video on Twitter showing one of their vehicles consumed by flames.

Several neighboring fire departments were also called in to assist. Witnesses at the scene told WJLA that they heard up to five explosions before they saw the fire.

While local officials dealt with the situation, enormous smoke plumes filled the sky and could be seen at least 7 miles (11km) away in Washington, DC.

The plumes of smoke were even spotted at the opening day baseball game between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets at Nationals Park.

Fuel tanks ablaze for 6th day in Port of Santos, Brazil

WATCH: Fuel tanks ablaze for 6th day in Port of Santos, Brazil.

Nuclear submarine catches fire at Russian shipyard

A fire has broken out on a Russian nuclear submarine undergoing repair work at a shipyard in Severodvinsk. The cause of the fire is believed to be related to welding work.

The incident occurred at the Zvezdochka shipyard, in the Arkhangelsk region in northern Russia.

“The fire started in the ninth section of the sub close to the stern," a spokesman for the shipyard, Evgeny Gladyshev, told RIA Novosti. “All the personnel left the submarine and fire brigades are currently dousing the flames.”

The fire has been localized after firefighters decided to submerge the burning submarine in water to put off the flames.

The United Shipbuilding Company said nobody was hurt in the fire.

The fire broke out onboard the K-266 Oryol, an Oscar II-class nuclear-powered submarine, which is part of Russia’s Northern Fleet. The shipyard is overhauling the sub to prolong its active service, so its nuclear reactor was shut down and its weapons unloaded before the repair works started.

WATCH: Russian nuclear submarine ablaze at shipyard in Severodvinsk.

Preliminary reports say the fire was caused by a welding accident, which resulted in the ignition of the rubber insulation between the sub’s two hulls, according to Gladyshev.

The Oryol entered service in December 1992. It was transported to the shipyard in November 2013 for a scheduled overhaul, which is to last until 2016.

Oscar II submarines, designated Project 959A Antey in the Russian Navy, are designed to attack aircraft carrier groups with P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck according to NATO designation) supersonic cruise missiles as their primary weapons.

A total of 11 such submarines were built. The nuclear sub Kursk that sank in August 2000, killing all submariners aboard, belonged to this class. Two others were decommissioned while the others remain in active service.

A similar fire at a nuclear submarine occurred in Russia in December 2011, when the K-84 Yekaterinburg of Delta-IV class caught fire during welding works at a shipbuilding dock. The fire, which was caused by a violation of safety guidelines, first ignited scaffolding around the sub and later spread to the insulation between its hulls.

The massive fire, which lasted for some 20 hours, left nine people injured after inhaling toxic fumes and caused dozens of millions of dollars worth of damage.

Carnage: 600 cars toasted by massive dealership fire in South Korea

WATCH: Nearly 600 cars were destroyed when a huge fire broke out at a used car dealership on Friday in South Korea's second largest city of Busan. Due to the extent of the blaze, around 200 residents were evacuated from their houses in the residential areas around the dealership. No one was injured or killed in the incident, but loss to property was estimated at around three million US dollars according to the County fire officials.

- RT News.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Newly Discovered MASS MORTALITY In Sea Creatures Along California Coast - Body Parts Falling Off; Animals Are "WASTING AWAY"; Researchers Fear SEA STAR EPIDEMIC HAS SPREAD!

April 7, 2015 - PACIFIC OCEAN
- [M]illions of sea stars along North America’s Pacific coast met a grisly end when a virus rotted their bodies into lumps of white goo… scientists fear that greater consequences of this “wasting disease” are already at play. And the sickness may be spreading even further… ecologists worry that the sea urchins could now be catching the same ailment. - Apr 6, 2015 - Smithsonian.

Now urchins are wasting away off California, in addition to sea stars… as the fallout from sea star disease ripples along the California coast. - Apr 1, 2015 - Tweet from National Geographic.

[I]n southern California, urchins are losing their spines and dying… [T]he mass mortalities are newly discovered phenomena that appear to be connected to a die-off of sea stars… Santa Barbara to Baja California, urchins’ spines are falling out, leaving a circular patch that loses more spines and enlarges with time… We think that there’s a wasting event going on with urchins,” says Peter Raimondi, an ecology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “It is by no means as rapid as the sea star wasting… But we do see it in multiple sites. And when we do see it, we see it in a lot of animals.”… [S]cientists revealed a virus… had suddenly flourished [in sea stars], although no one at this point understands whybiologists have suggested that the virus may have evolved, becoming an extra-potent slayer “There are particular signs that point to this being a wasting event, the way the animals are dying,” Raimondi says. The most common kinds of California urchins—purple, red, and white—are losing their spines… markers indicate that sea urchins in southern California are now in a wasting event, Raimondi says… Researchers fear that sea star wasting disease has spread to urchins. - Apr. 1, 2015 (emphasis added) - National Geographic.

Are urchins only dying in So. California as National Geographic reports?

Not according to another recent National Geographic report: “Urchins… seemed to have escaped the ill effects of the virus until now. But in recent weeks, reports have started to come in that they too are dying along beaches in the Pacific Northwest… [Cornell microbiologist Ian Hewson is] studying the urchins… that are already dying to see if the same killer is responsible.”

“Lime Kiln State Park… It appeared to have patchy dark lesions all over its body- areas where spines had fallen off and were replaced with goopy purple epidermis or potentially microbial colonies. There was a white margin to the presumptively infected patches, with darker purple or red centers. The urchin was still alive… His tube feet are lethargic.” - July 29, 2012 - Friday Harbor Laboratories (Univ. of Washington), Amy Henry’s Lab Notebook.

“What we found during this process was one of the divers reported that all the red urchins have lost their spines… I’m always assuming that there’s a wolf eel or a sea otter that eats urchins and so when we see a huge abundance of green urchins and then suddenly they’re gone, I’ve seen that, Ive always tended to think, ‘What ate them? … What killed them off?’ It could have been a bug.” - Jan 2014 (at 48:00 in) - Jeff Marliave, Vancouver Aquarium.

In early 2015, we reported on a similar phenomenon observed in Hawaii: Gov’t: Sick urchins have patchy loss of their spines and lesions

Compiled by: ENE News.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Blackout - Widespread Power Outages Hits Washington, D.C.; Government Left In The Dark; Possible Explosion At Power Plant!

RT Photo/Gayane Chichakyan

- Lights went out at the State Department, White House, Capitol and many other places in Washington, DC, in a puzzling series of power outages. Terrorism is not suspected, officials say.

Power went out at the State Department during the question-and-answer session on Iran nuclear talks.

After the initial confusion, the briefing continued.

Acting State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, continued the session under what appeared to be light from a smartphone.

Outage at State seemed to be part of a widespread chain of power failures around Washington, DC, for “unknown” reasons. Reports are coming in from a number of government buildings, metro stations and offices downtown, including the White House and the Department of Justice.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) reported 13 stations on emergency power.

Several office buildings downtown have been evacuated.

The University of Maryland, in the suburb of College Park, also lost power.

Smithsonian Institution museums downtown were also affected. Four museums were evacuated, including the popular National Air and Space Museum.

WATCH: State Dept. plunges into darkness when reporter asks about Iran.

Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) has not officially confirmed the cause of the outage, but said that by 1:15 PM local time there were 111 active outages and 2,467 affected customers.

According to Washington Post reporter Aaron C. Davis, Homeland Security officials believe the cause of the outage was due to an "explosion" at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) power facility in southern Maryland.

US government officials told Reuters there were "no initial indications" terrorism was involved. - RT.

Scattered power outages reported across D.C.

This image provided by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency shows widespread power outages Tuesday afternoon
concentrated in Southern Maryland, south of the District. (Maryland Emergency Management Agency)

D.C. utilities and homeland security officials are investigating a power surge that temporarily knocked out power to the White House, parts of downtown Washington and other nearby areas.

D.C. homeland security officials said an explosion at a southern Maryland electrical facility is believed to have caused the power surge that temporarily knocked out power to the White House and much of downtown Washington.

The explosion was at a facility run by SMECO, a customer-owned electric that serves parts of the District’s Maryland suburbs, said Nicole Chapple, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency

Chris T. Geldart, director of the agency, said the District experienced a broad power surge that left many downtown buildings dark or on backup generation.

Any District facility with a critical operations center flipped over to emergency back-up power, Geldart said. That appeared to include the White House, State Department, and many District offices.

Several Metro stations were running on back-up generation near 1:30 p.m.

Chapple said PEPCO was working to bring its electrical grid back up to normal strength.

Reports indicated outages at the Justice Department, State Department and Smithsonian museums. As of about 1:20 p.m., power was on at the White House, Executive Office Building and Department of Homeland Security.

Metro reported that 13 stations were operating on backup power, but train service was normal. Some elevators and escalators weren’t in operation.

The University of Maryland in College Park also reported several people were stuck on elevators.

Mark Brady, Prince George’s County fire department spokesman, said that firefighters were getting the people out of the elevators.

Pepco did not respond to a request for information. - Washington Post.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Ship Sinks In The Southern Ocean - Crew Rescued By Sea Shepherd Activists!

The Nigerian-flagged boat Thunder lists to starboard as it sinks in the waters of Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation
off the coast of Africa's eastern coast, on April 6, 2015 (AFP Photo/Simon Ager)

April 7, 2015 - SOUTHERN OCEAN
- Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd said it rescued 40 crew members from a sinking "poaching" ship it was pursuing for months for allegedly illegally fishing in the Southern Ocean, but described the ship's sinking as suspicious.

Sea Shepherd said its ships Bob Barker and Sam Simon picked up the crew, which included the captain, from life rafts from the Nigerian-flagged boat Thunder late Monday.

They had been sailing in the waters of Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation off Africa's western coast.

"It is an incredibly suspicious situation, to say the least," Bob Barker's captain Peter Hammarstedt said in a statement.

"When my chief engineer boarded the Thunder in the hours leading up to the sinking, he was able to confirm that there were clear signs that the vessel was intentionally scuttled.

"Usually when a vessel is sinking, the captain will close all hatches so as to maintain buoyancy. However, on the Thunder, the reverse was done -- doors and hatches were tied open and the fishhold was opened."

The crew of the Nigerian-flagged boat Thunder being handed water during rescue operations by Sea Shepherd activists in the waters of Sao Tome and Principe,
an island nation off the coast off Africa's eastern coast, on April 6, 2015 (AFP Photo/Jeff Wirth)

Sea Shepherd said the crew were given food and water and were transferred to Sam Simon.

Video recorded by the activist group showed the ship sinking just hours after it said Thunder issued a distress signal on Monday afternoon.

Hammarstedt said Thunder's captain, who was not named, complained about being rescued and "started applauding and cheering" when the vessel sank.

"We've been chasing the Thunder for 110 days now, and I think they're basically at the end of their fuel, and they would have had to make a port call," Hammarstedt told the Sydney Morning Herald.

WATCH: Ship crew rescued by ‪Sea Shepherd‬ activists.

"I think the captain of the Thunder made the decision that he preferred the physical evidence on board... was better on the ocean bottom than going into port with him."

Thunder, on a list of boats deemed to have engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing activities by multi-national body the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), is suspected of illegal fishing for Patagonian toothfish and other rare species in the Antarctic.

Toothfish is sold as Chilean sea bass, which is popular in high-end restaurants. It sells primarily in the United States, Europe and Japan, although there is also a growing market in China. - Yahoo.