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New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger earthquakes in future: study

According to scientists, a new plate boundary may be forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in Wharton Basin as a result of the 2012 earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region.

The discovery was based on the study of seismic data recorded before, during and after the 2012 quakes and sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard a research vessel.

Key Facts
  • Scientists created a high-resolution imagery of the sea floor by using data which unveiled deformations that had occurred on the tsunamilgIndo-Australian Plate.
  • It showed that the plate had broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone due to 2012 earthquakes, resulting in a new plate boundary and likely to be the site of future fault-slip earthquakes.
  • The analysis showed a new fault system had developed in the area off the coast of Sumatra that was involved in the 2012 earthquakes. The new fault system can trigger more quakes in the future.
  • Slip-strike earthquake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. As a result, earthquake causes deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.
  • These earthquakes can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.
  • This similar scenario is believed to happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean which was the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

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US Researchers discover the function of human appendix

Researchers from Midwestern University have identified the function of the human appendix, often viewed as a vestigial organ with little-known use.

They discovered that the human appendix has evolved at least 30 times and even possibly up to a maximum of 41 times throughout the mammalian evolution.

Key Facts
  • According researchers, once the appendix appears in human body, it never disappears, suggesting that the organ likely serves an adaptive purpose.
  • This may be due to evolutionary reason of the human body that never got rid of the appendix as it doesn’t harm most people, there’s simply little evolutionary pressure to eliminate the body part.
  • It was found that species with appendix have higher concentrations of immune (lymphoid) tissue in cecum (part of the large intestines), thereby suggesting that appendix could serve as a secondary immune organ.
  • The appendix might also function as a “safe house” for helpful gut bacteria as lymphatic tissue can stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Thus, fulfilling an important role in our bodies.

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China launches first commercial space mission with new Kuaizhou-1A rocket  

China successfully launched first commercial mission using an updated version of the low-cost Kuaizhou-1A rocket. As part of the mission three satellites JL-1, CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1 were launched into space.

 The rocket was launched form northwestern China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province. Rocket technology company under the state owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (ACSIC) was responsible for the successful launch mission. 

Key Facts
  • The success of the mission marks the Chinese company’s capability of providing flexible, convenient, quick and economical launch services for domestic and overseas clients.
  • KZ-1A rocket: It is improvised and advance version of erstwhile Kuaizhou-1 rocket. It is a low-cost solid- fuelled carrier rocket with high reliability and short preparation period. It has been designed to launch low-orbit satellites weighing less than 300 kg.
  • JL-1 Satellite: It is a multifunctional remote-sensing satellite providing high-definition video images. It is expected to be used for environmental protection, land resource and forestry surveying, transport and disaster prevention and relief purposes.
  • XY-S1 and Caton-1 Satellites: They are experimental satellites to test technologies of low-orbit narrow-band communication and VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) respectively.

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