Scientists just found a chunk of North America attached to Australia

January 24, 2018 by  
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Billions of years ago, getting from North America to Australia would have taken no time at all. That’s because researchers just confirmed that the two distant continents were once attached to one another. Scientists at Curtin University found sandstone rocks in Queensland that aren’t native to Australia, but are found all over eastern Canada, confirming the long-ago link. According to the new information, a chunk of what is now Queensland broke away from eastern Canada 1.7 billion years ago, eventually connecting with northern Australia 100 million years later. The result was a supercontinent known as Columbia/Nuna. 300 million years after Nuna formed, it broke apart, but the piece of Canada stuck with Australia as it moved away. Scientists have suspected that Australia was near North America or Siberia when Nuna was around, but this is the first time they’ve been able to confirm it. Related: Ancient ocean crust in the Mediterranean Sea may predate supercontinent Pangea “This was a critical part of global continental reorganization when almost all continents on Earth assembled to form the supercontinent called Nuna,” said Adam Nordsvan, part of the research team. The scientists published their findings in Geology last week . Via Slashdot and Live Science images via Deposit Photos Flickr , and Geology

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Scientists just found a chunk of North America attached to Australia

Tesla’s massive Australia battery rakes in estimated $1 million AUD in a few days

January 24, 2018 by  
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The world’s largest battery storage project – Tesla’s South Australia battery – has not only helped stabilize the grid , but it could be quite profitable. Electrek reported the 100 megawatt (MW)/129 megawatt-hour (MWh) Powerpack project, operated by French company Neoen , may have raked in an estimated one million Australian dollars (AUD) in just a few days. The South Australia battery, part of Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve , is used in two ways. Per Electrek, the government has access to a large amount of the capacity to stabilize the grid, and so far it seems the system has been put to good use – it reacted in milliseconds to crashed coal plants in December. And then Neoen has access to around 30 MW/90 MWh “to trade on the wholesale market.” Related: Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early It appears the company has been making good use of the battery. The system can “switch from charging to discharging in a fraction of a second,” according to Electrek, so Neoen can take advantage of changes in power prices – especially in times of high demand. RenewEconomy shared a graph with data from January 18 and 19 at the Hornsdale Power Reserve “showing the actual price achieved during the buying (charging) and selling (generation). It’s hard to be sure, but it might have made around $1 million over the two days from the wholesale market.” In the graph, Electrek pointed out that Neoen could sell electricity for as much as $14,000 AUD – around $11,294 – per MWh. And during overproduction, the system can charge itself at nearly zero cost. The publication also pointed out that use of the battery storage system is specific to Australia’s energy market – it might not be quite as valuable in other markets around the world. But it seems many people in Australia are interested in installing more such systems – Tesla and Neoen already have plans in the works for another battery in Victoria , and RenewEconomy said other batteries are coming in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory. + Hornsdale Power Reserve Via Electrek and RenewEconomy Images via Hornsdale Power Reserve and Tesla

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Tesla’s massive Australia battery rakes in estimated $1 million AUD in a few days

Ancient ocean crust in the Mediterranean Sea may predate supercontinent Pangea

August 17, 2016 by  
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A fascinating new geological study reveals a piece of oceanic crust in the Mediterranean Sea that could predate the supercontinent Pangea . Dated at around 340 million years old , the piece of oceanic crust found by geologist Roi Granot of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a promising contender for the oldest oceanic crust in the world.

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Ancient ocean crust in the Mediterranean Sea may predate supercontinent Pangea

This little black rectangle quickly and effortlessly disinfects water

August 17, 2016 by  
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Around the world, 663 million people lack access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, disinfecting contaminated water can be an elaborate, costly and time-intensive procedure – for example, disinfecting water with UV rays can take up to 48 hours, limiting the amount of water that can be treated. A new device created by researchers at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory solves this problem: it’s a little black rectangle that harnesses the sun’s light to disinfect water in 20 minutes flat. While the rectangle looks like a simple block of black glass, it’s actually covered in nanostructured molybdenum disulfide . The thin flakes are staked together sideways so that their maze-like edges are exposed to the water. When the block is placed in water and then left in the sun, it reacts with the sunlight and the water, forming hydrogen peroxide and other antibacterial chemicals. Soon after, the chemicals dissipate and leave crystal clear water behind. Related: Cilantro Purifies Drinking Water in Developing Countries Cheaply and Sustainably The reason this device works is because molybdenum disulfide is a photocatalyst, releasing electrons which cause chemical reactions to take place in the water. While it’s a promising new development, it can only disinfect water , not filter it. So industrial pollutants would still need to be a concern in many parts of the world. The technology still requires more research before it can be used in the field, since it’s unclear exactly which strains of bacteria can be eliminated using this process. + Stanford University Via Treehugger

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This little black rectangle quickly and effortlessly disinfects water

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