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Interesting Discoveries in April 2008

Earthquake-like activity, the discovery of previously labeled extinct plants, the exploration of moon dust, and new early North American evidence are the topics up for discussion in this article focused on interesting discoveries reported in April of 2008.

Remote Australia Brings New Life to Once-Lost Plants

Melbourne reports this month that two plants that were previously thought extinct since the late 1800s have been rediscovered in a region located in the far northern parts of Australia. According to a report released by the Queensland state government regarding the State of the Environment, two species were founding Cape York – in tropical far north Queensland.

The first is called the “Rhaphidospora cavernarum” , a large herb that measures 1 ½ meters tall. Researchers haven’t seen this plant in Queensland since 1873. The second plant was last seen in 1891 and is called the “Teucrium ajugaceum.” To complete the report regarding these finds, the input of more than 100 academic and government experts played a role.

Interestingly, about 50 plant species new to the eyes of science are uncovered and reported in Queensland on a yearly basis. There are more than 12,000 native plant species that the state is home to.

Oregon is Showcasing Odd Earthquake Activity

In central Oregon, scientists who were listening to underwater microphones have gathered information regarding an odd host of earthquakes detected in the region. The strange part of this discovery is that when sounds like this emerge , they are an indication that a volcanic eruption is to take place, yet there are no volcanoes in the vicinity.

Scientists are baffled to what these ‘earthquakes’ mean, but Robert Dziak, a geophysicist working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Oregon State University adds that he believes it could be the sound of molten rock making ‘waves’ from earthquake faults that have already been detected in the Oregon region. To recap the earthquake activity in the past 10 years , there have been more than 600 erupted in a basin located 150 miles southwest of Newport. The largest quake measured at a magnitude of 5.4, while two others racked up at more than 5.0 magnitude.

New Evidence of Early North Americans

According to the journal titled, “Science,” fresh proof regarding humans that lived in North America more than 14,000 years ago has surfaced, which makes the date 1,000 years earlier than scientists previously thought. In a cave in Oregon , fossil feces was discovered with DNA that has led to evidence that early inhabitants were related to people that thrived in East Asia and Siberia.

NASA Spacecraft Will Investigate Moon Dust

NASA is in the midst of drumming up plans to investigate the secrets of moon dust with the help of a small orbiter that will accompany another spacecraft rocket. The LADEE spacecraft, which carries an $80 million price tag is scheduled to launch with a lunar gravity-mapping probe. This expedition should take place in 2011 and consist of a mission that will last 100 days. The objective is to study the thin atmosphere of the moon, as well as analyze its dust.