Should the radioactive forests preemptively be cut down?
For 26 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements but a fire would send them skyward again – a concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier.
Combined with changes in climate, these overcrowded pines are a prescription for wildfire. In their assessment of the potential risks of a worst-case fire, Zibtsev and the team of international scientists concluded that much of the Chernobyl forest is “in high danger of burning.”
MOSCOW (AP) — A perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood has been found on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal, Russian scientists said Thursday.
The carcass was in such good shape because its lower part was stuck in pure ice, said Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the Mammoth Museum, who led the expedition into the Lyakhovsky Islands off the Siberian coast.
"The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities bellow the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out," he said in a statement released by the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, which sent the team.
Wooly mammoths are thought to have died out around 10,000 years ago, although scientists think small groups of them lived longer in Alaska and on islands off Siberia.Scientists have deciphered much of the woolly mammoth’s genetic code from their hair, and some believe it’s possible to clone them if living cells are found Grigoryev said the find could provide the necessary material. The blood of mammoths appeared not to freeze in extreme temperatures, likely keeping mammoths warm, he said.The temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to - 10 degrees Celsius (14 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit.)
The researchers collected the samples of the animal’s blood in tubes with a special preservative agent. They were sent to Yakutsk for bacterial examination in order to spot potentially dangerous infections.The carcass’ muscle tissue was also in perfect condition.
"The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat," Grigoryev said.Up to 4 meters (13 feet) in height and 10 tons in weight, mammoths roamed across huge areas between Great Britain and North America and were driven to extinction by humans and the changing climate.
RUSSIA has ordered the urgent evacuation of the 16-strong crew of a drifting Arctic research station after the ice floe that hosts the floating laboratory began to disintegrate.
The station is currently home to 16 personnel including oceanologists, meteorologists, engineers and a doctor.
It conducts meteorological research, monitors environmental pollution and conducts a number of tests.
If the situation is not addressed, it may also result in the loss of equipment and contaminate the environment near Canada’s economic zone where the station is currently located, the ministry added.
The floating research laboratory will be relocated to Bolshevik Island in the Russian Arctic with the help of an ice-breaker.
"The ice floe has crumbled into six pieces," said Arkady Soshnikov, spokesman for the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute. "The people are not at risk but it is not possible to work in these conditions. The ice may disintegrate so a decision has been taken to evacuate" the station, he told AFP.
Scientists point to increasing signs of global warming in the Arctic, which is being significantly affected by climate change.
The UN weather agency said this month the Arctic’s sea ice melted at a record pace in 2012, the ninth-hottest year on record.