The Most Interesting Science News Stories Of The Week

Posted: Apr 23 2017, 7:07am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 23 2017, 7:15am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

The Most Interesting Science News Stories of the Week
A new crack has opened in Greenland's Petermann Glacier. Credit: NASA

Mysterious Crack Spotted on Greenland Glacier

NASA’s airborne survey of polar ice has detected a new crack near the center of Greenland’s Petermann Glacier ice shelf. Cracks like this are commonly found on ice shelves across the globe these days but the new discovery is concerning because it is formed dangerously close to another rift on the ice shelf. If the two cracks intersect, a massive iceberg could break away.

Petermann is one of largest glaciers in Greenland but it has shrunk considerably in recent years. The glacier has already lost a massive amount of ice from two collapses in 2010 and 2012. The new crack could shed more ice, leading to the further shrinking of the glacier.

Arctic Water is Heavily Polluted with Plastics

Arctic is becoming a “dead end” for plastics floating in Atlantic. Even though human populations are very low in the remote Arctic, Greenland and Barents seas in the region are accumulating large amount of plastic debris. Low population means that the derbis is not local. It is brought there from somewhere else. Researchers have found that the plastic debris in the Arctic Ocean is carried and trapped by the powerful current system of northern Atlantic.

Humans dump plastics into the world oceans which make its way into the Arctic and damage its pristine waters. Today, Greenland and Barents seas have accumulated hundreds of tons of plastic debris and its pathway is traced by using 17,000 satellite buoys.

Retreating Yukon Glacier Caused a River to Disappear

The melting of massive Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Canadian territory of Yukon has triggered a rare phenomenon over the course of just few days.

For the last 300 years, the toe of the glacier has been sending meltwater toward the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea. But climate change has caused Kaskawulsh Glacier to retreat so much that its meltwater is now going in a completely different direction. Instead of flowing into Sims River, the water now flows south toward the Kaskawulsh River, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean.

The phenomenon is known as river piracy and it has been documented in the geological records thousands of millions of years ago, but it the first known case of "river piracy" in modern times. In the summer 2016, researchers have conducted a fieldwork on the Slims River and found there was barely any flow whatsoever. Detailed elevation model of area through drone mapping showed an abrupt drop over four days in May 2016 and also confirmed the occurrence of river piracy.

Frog Slime could Prevent the Flu

It sounds weird but the slime found on the skin of Indian frogs can help fight flu viruses and could be used to create powerful drug to treat influenza.

Some frog mucus contains peptides that can kill bacteria, virus and fungi. However, its efficacy has been demonstrated only on lab mice so far. Further research is needed to determine how effective this substance can be in curing flu in humans.

New Astronomical Phenomenon Discovered by Scientists

While chasing dancing northern lights, researchers have discovered a new incredible feature in the skies and its name is Steve.

Steve, the strange ribbon of purple light, was first detected by a professor while going through several images of night skies from a social media group on Facebook: the Alberta Aurora Chasers. Initially, it was confused with a form of aurora ‘proton arc’ but the idea was ruled out for a number of reasons, including the fact that proton aurora are never visible.

Later, ESA’s Swarm magnetic field mission had also detected the presence of the unique phenomenon and confirmed its separate, distinctive identity. Researchers are hoping to understand the nature of this new-found feature using Swarm and other ground based networks.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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