PART II – Press Release of Smallest Ozone Hole in 30 Years is Misguided; Here’s Why

Many of you will remember the numerous press release announcing the ozone hole was the smallest it has been over the last 30 years going back to 1988. NASA, NOAA and a half dozen other space agencies have stated the cause of this reduction was due to global warming. Yes, global warming, due to the warmer jet stream vortex around the Antarctic. This is ‘political tug’ number 1.

Here comes “political tug” number 2. Just two or three paragraphs later, the covey reports make a 180° turn reminding us that it is humans created the ozone hole, clearly insinuating only humans can heal it. Of course they go on to say most humans alive today will never see this because the ozone hole will not be healed until 2070.

Now here is Mitch’s prediction. Within around eight months, the healing ozone hole will be as large – or larger than it was in 1985. Why eight months? Because recent research, as a result of incredible modern technology such as Fermi, Voyager, Cassini, Ace, Ulysses, Planck, and Herschel to name a few.

If my prediction is correct, you have to ask yourself: “What will global warming enthusiast will say when the ozone is “larger” in less than a year from now?” You have known my reports on a lessening magnetic field, and an increase in galactic cosmic rays – and then add the fact we are approximately two years away from Cycle 24’s solar minimum apex.

New research indicates a time lag of approximately eight months between solar-activity data and cosmic-ray flux measurements in space. In addition, factor in solar minimum (lowest period of solar activity), and Earth’s weakening magnetic field, the sum of which would indicate a period increased of cosmic ray showers.

There may be a Part III highlighting what is only recently been acknowledged, that high-energy cosmic rays penetrate the Earth’s lithosphere which I hypothesize contributes to the heating of the surface, including the world’s oceans.

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Cheers, Mitch

 

Eruption Clues: Researchers Create Snapshot Of Volcano Plumbing

Much like a forensic team recreates a scene to determine how a crime was committed, researchers at the University of New Hampshire are using scientific sleuthing to better understand the journey of magma, or molten rock, in one of Europe’s largest and most active volcanoes, Mount Etna. Researchers applied several techniques, in a new way, to create a more accurate picture of the volcano’s plumbing system and how quickly the magma rises to the top to cause an eruption. Their findings contribute to our understanding of how and when volcanoes erupt.

In their study, recently published in the journal Geochemical Perspective Letters, the UNH team set out to determine if the magma lingers below in pockets of the volcano or if it pushes up all at once. To put the pieces of the puzzle together, they combined three approaches previously not used together to reconstruct the ancient magma plumbing system by looking for chemical signatures in lava rock collected from flows on the surface. They looked at the minerals and the trace elements in the rocks because the tracers can help identify where the minerals have been by how they crystallized.

“As magma moves up through Earth’s crust beneath the volcano, it starts to crystallize,” says Sarah Miller, of UNH’s department of Earth sciences and lead author of the study. “Some elements move rapidly and some more slowly, so there is a chemical record of events in those crystals that can help us determine their journey.”

Extracting the timing and magma source information for ancient volcanism demonstrates how long-lived pre-eruptive processes of transport and storage work at Mount Etna. The researchers found a range of crystallization depths, suggesting there were discrete sites beneath the volcano where the rising magma crystallized. Their chemical forensic work showed two interesting things about the volcano. First, the source that produced magma in the ancient Mount Etna is much the same as what happens in Mount Etna in the present-day. Secondly, they showed that the crystals were virtually chemically identical to the lavas in which they erupted. This second finding suggests that in Mount Etna the length of time for crystal storage beneath the volcano is likely relatively short, a result which could help provide insight with recent findings for larger more explosive eruptive systems like Yellowstone.

“This proof-of-concept work puts us in a position to apply our approach more widely to other volcanoes,” said Julie Bryce, professor and chair of Earth sciences and a co-author of this paper. “Our work advances ways we can examine and think about volcanic plumbing systems beneath frequently active volcanic centers. Reconstructing the dynamics of these plumbing systems, and knowing how long-lived they are, helps in anticipating future changes in eruptive potential.”

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.

Handheld Cosmic Ray Detector Available to Public – Coming Soon

First, let me announce Part – II of “Mitch’s New Prediction” is coming later today. But I wanted to make public the possibility of being a distributor for this new device of a handheld cosmic ray detector of which I may be able to purchase 10 units per order.

So I’m interested to know if this is something you would be interested in, perhaps as a Christmas gift or one for yourself, or both. I’m not sure what the price would be, but I’m hoping it will stay around $125.

Personally, I believe this product is more than just a novelty item, new studies are indicating cosmic rays are more abundant than previously known, and with our weakening magnetic field, more harmful.

Further details on cosmic rays and recent “political tugs” as related to the ozone reduction will be coming forth in a few hours and is related to my new prediction.

Earth’s atmosphere is constantly showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic rays collide with Earth’s atmosphere, they decay into charged particles – muons, that are slightly heavier than an electron.

 

Cosmic rays last only fractions of a second, and during their fleeting lifespan they can be found through every layer of Earth’s atmosphere, circulating in the air around us and raining onto the surface at a rate similar to a light drizzle. A smaller number of cosmic rays can penetrate Earth’s surface and travel several kilometers through rock and ice.

Physicists at MIT have designed a pocket-sized cosmic ray detector to track these invisible particles. The detector can be made with common electrical parts, and when turned on, it lights up and counts each time a cosmic ray passes through. The relatively simple device costs just $100 to build, making it the most affordable cosmic ray detector available today.

The researchers, led by Spencer Axani, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Physics, have designed the detector with students in mind. They have started an outreach program that lists parts to purchase and detailed instructions on how to assemble, calibrate, and run the detector. The team estimates that an average high school student should spend about four hours building a detector for the first time, and just one hour building it a second time.

 

Once up and running, detectors can be carried around to measure cosmic rays rates in virtually any environment. The team has helped supply nearly 100 detectors to high school and college students, who have sent the instruments up in planes and weather balloons to measure cosmic ray rates at high altitudes.

The researchers have published the first version of the detector design in the American Journal of Physics. Axani’s co-authors are MIT professor of physics Janet Conrad and junior Conor Kirby.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Mitch Has Another Prediction – This Time Regarding the Ozone Layer

I have been working on this analysis for the last few weeks. I recently noticed some in the science community supporting this idea that humans, or solar storms, are the main culprit for reducing what has become known as the “ozone hole“.

Several recent reports announcing the ozone depletion measured in September of this year was the smallest since 1988. NASA, NOAA and a half dozen other space agencies have stated the cause of this reduction is due to an unstable and warmer Antarctic vortex; the stratospheric low pressure system that rotates clockwise in the atmosphere above Antarctica.

My prediction will come as a surprise to many of you, perhaps mostly because I do not deny the recent announcement embellishing the report of the smallest ozone depletion in the last 20 years. However, it is inconsistent with the latest research on chemical and electrical interactions which occur on varying levels in atmosphere; from the troposphere to the edges of the heliosphere.

I believe the purpose of which is to comfort the public with the ambiance of “hey everybody, you’re doing a good job with your recycling  and maintaining the minimization of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), usually referred to as aerosols. Although all things that reduce pollution is a good thing, any reduction of hairspray (aerosols) is not what reduced the ozone hole.

In a recent article I sent out titled “Evidence for a Time Lag in Solar Modulation of Galactic Cosmic Rays”, indicating the solar modulation effect of cosmic ray particles is a dependent phenomenon that arises from a combination of basic particle transport processes such as diffusion, convection, adiabatic cooling, and drift motion.

This study shows evidence for a time lag of approximately eight months, between solar-activity data and cosmic-ray flux measurements in space, which reflects the dynamics of the formation of the modulation region. This result enables us to forecast the cosmic-ray flux near Earth well in advance by monitoring solar activity.

Cosmic rays may be enlarging the hole in the ozone layer, according to a study appearing in the August issue of the scientific journal American Physical Society. Researchers analyzed data from several sources, and found a strong correlation between cosmic ray intensity and ozone depletion. Back in the lab they demonstrated a mechanism by which cosmic rays could cause a buildup of ozone-depleting chlorine inside polar clouds. Their results suggest that the damage done by cosmic rays could be millions of times larger than anyone previous believed and may force atmospheric scientists to reexamine their models of the Antarctic ozone hole.

I better make this Part – I  More Coming

Science Of Cycles Research Fund

If you find this research and presented cutting edge published reports of great interest, then help us help you by providing an open-ended donation of any amount you choose. $1 dollar or $1,000 dollars, whatever the amount you choose goes directly into our work process of accumulation, presentation, and delivery. *Click on the banner below to begin this simple process.

Cheers, Mitch

Research Reveals The Scale At Which Earth’s Mantle Composition Varies

New research by Brown University geochemists provides new insights on the scale at which Earth’s mantle varies in chemical composition. The findings could help scientists better understand the mixing process of mantle convection, the slow churning that drives the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates.

“We know that the mantle is heterogeneous in composition, but it’s been difficult to figure out how large or small those heterogeneities might be,” said Boda Liu, a Ph.D. student in geology at Brown. “What we show here is that there must be heterogeneities of at least a kilometer in size to produce the chemical signature we observe in rocks derived from mantle materials.”

The research, which Liu co-authored with Yan Liang, a professor in Brown’s Department of Earth Environmental and Planetary Sciences, is published in Science Advances.

Earth’s crust is on a constantly moving conveyer belt driven by the convecting mantle. At mid-ocean ridges, the boundaries on the ocean floor where tectonic plates are pulling away from each other, new crust is created by eruption of magmas formed by the rising of the mantle materials from depth. At subductions zones, where one tectonic plate slides beneath another, old crust material, weathered by processes on the surface, is pushed back down into the mantle. This recycling can create mantle materials of different or “enriched” compositions, which geochemists refer to as “heterogeneities.” What happens to that enriched material once it’s recycled isn’t fully understood.

“This is one of the big questions in Earth science,” Liang said. “To what extent does mantle convection mix and homogenize these heterogeneities out? Or how might these heterogeneities be preserved?”

Scientists learn about the composition of the mantle by studying mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORBs), rocks formed by the solidification of magmas erupted on the seafloor. Like fingerprints, isotope compositions of MORBs can be used to trace the mantle source from which they were derived.

Another type of seafloor rock called abyssal peridotites is the leftover mantle after the formation of MORBs. These are chunks of mantle rock that once were the uppermost mantle and later uplifted to the seafloor. Abyssal peridotites have a different isotope composition than MORBs that appear to come from the same mantle region. To explain that difference in isotope compositions, scientists have concluded that the MORBs are capturing the isotope signal from pockets of enriched material—the remnants of subducted crust preserved in the mantle.

The question this new study sought to answer is how large those enriched pockets would need to be for their isotope signature to survive the trip to the surface. As magma rises toward the surface, it interacts with the ambient mantle, which would tend to dampen the signal of enriched material in the melt. For their study, Liu and Liang modeled the melting and magma transport processes. They found that in order to produce the different isotope signals between MORBs and abyssal peridotites, the pockets of enriched material at depth would need to be at least one kilometer in size.

“If the length scale of the heterogeneity is too small, the chemical exchange during magma flow would wipe the heterogeneities out,” Liang said. “So in order to produce the composition difference we see, our model shows that the heterogeneity needs to be a kilometer or more.”

The researchers hope their study will add a new perspective to the fine-scale structure of the mantle produced by mantle convection.

“Our contribution here is to give some sense of how large some of these heterogeneities might be,” Liang said. “So the question to the broader community becomes: What might be the deep mantle processes that can produce this?”

Mysterious Deep-Earth Seismic Signature Explained

New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. Published in Nature, the findings could have far-reaching implications on our understanding of Earth’s geologic history, including life-altering events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred 2.4 billion years ago.

Sitting at the boundary between the lower mantle and the core, 1,800 miles beneath Earth’s surface, ultralow velocity zones (UVZ) are known to scientists because of their unusual seismic signatures. Although this region is far too deep for researchers to ever observe directly, instruments that can measure the propagation of seismic waves caused by earthquakes allow them to visualize changes in Earth’s interior structure; similar to how ultrasound measurements let medical professionals look inside of our bodies.

These seismic measurements enabled scientists to visualize these ultralow velocity zones in some regions along the core-mantle boundary, by observing the slowing down of seismic waves passing through them. But knowing UVZs exist didn’t explain what caused them.

However, recent findings about iron and oxygen chemistry under deep-Earth conditions provide an answer to this longstanding mystery.

It turns out that water contained in some minerals that get pulled down into Earth due to plate tectonic activity could, under extreme pressures and temperatures, split up — liberating hydrogen and enabling the residual oxygen to combine with iron metal from the core to create a novel high-pressure mineral, iron peroxide.

Led by Carnegie’s Ho-kwang “Dave” Mao, the research team believes that as much as 300 million tons of water could be carried down into Earth’s interior every year and generate deep, massive reservoirs of iron dioxide, which could be the source of the ultralow velocity zones that slow down seismic waves at the core-mantle boundary.

To test this idea, the team used sophisticated tools at Argonne National Laboratory to examine the propagation of seismic waves through samples of iron peroxide that were created under deep-Earth-mimicking pressure and temperature conditions employing a laser-heated diamond anvil cell. They found that a mixture of normal mantle rock with 40 to 50 percent iron peroxide had the same seismic signature as the enigmatic ultralow velocity zones.

For the research team, one of the most-exciting aspects of this finding is the potential of a reservoir of oxygen deep in the planet’s interior, which if periodically released to Earth’s surface could significantly alter Earth’s early atmosphere, potentially explaining the dramatic increase in atmospheric oxygen that occurred about 2.4 billion years ago according to the geologic record.

“Finding the existence of a giant internal oxygen reservoir has many far-reaching implications,” Mao explained. “Now we should reconsider the consequences of sporadic oxygen outbursts and their correlations to other major events in Earth’s history, such as the banded-iron formation, snowball Earth, mass extinctions, flood basalts, and supercontinent rifts.”

Lightning, With A Chance Of Antimatter

In a collaborative study appearing in Nature, researchers from Japan describe how gamma rays from lightning react with the air to produce radioisotopes and even positrons — the antimatter equivalent of electrons.

“We already knew that thunderclouds and lightning emit gamma rays, and hypothesized that they would react in some way with the nuclei of environmental elements in the atmosphere,” explains Teruaki Enoto from Kyoto University, who leads the project.

“In winter, Japan’s western coastal area is ideal for observing powerful lightning and thunderstorms. So, in 2015 we started building a series of small gamma-ray detectors, and placed them in various locations along the coast.”

But then the team ran into funding problems. To continue their work, and in part to reach out to a wide audience of potentially interested members of the public as quickly as possible, they turned to the internet.

“We set up a crowdfunding campaign through the ‘academist’ site,” continues Enoto, “in which we explained our scientific method and aims for the project. Thanks to everybody’s support, we were able to make far more than our original funding goal.”

Spurred by their success, the team built more detectors and installed them across the northwest coast of Honshu. And then in February 2017, four detectors installed in Kashiwazaki city, Niigata recorded a large gamma-ray spike immediately after a lightning strike a few hundred meters away.

It was the moment the team realized they were seeing a new, hidden face of lightning.

When they analyzed the data, the scientists found three distinct gamma-ray bursts. The first was less than one millisecond in duration; the second was a gamma-ray afterglow that decayed over several dozens of milliseconds; and finally there was a prolonged emission lasting about one minute.

Enoto explains, “We could tell that the first burst was from the lightning strike. Through our analysis and calculations, we eventually determined the origins of the second and third emissions as well.”

The second afterglow, for example, was caused by lightning reacting with nitrogen in the atmosphere. The gamma rays emitted in lightning have enough energy to knock a neutron out of atmospheric nitrogen, and it was the reabsorption of this neutron by particles in the atmosphere that produced the gamma-ray afterglow.

The final, prolonged emission was from the breakdown of now neutron-poor and unstable nitrogen atoms. These released positrons, which subsequently collided with electrons in annihilation events releasing gamma rays.

“We have this idea that antimatter is something that only exists in science fiction. Who knew that it could be passing right above our heads on a stormy day?” says Enoto.

“And we know all this thanks to our supporters who joined us through ‘academist’. We are truly grateful to all.”

The team still maintains over ten detectors on the coast of Japan, and are continually collecting data. They look forward to new discoveries that may await them, and Enoto hopes to continue seeing the participation of ordinary citizens in research, expanding the bounds of scientific discovery.