Science and Technolgy Current Affairs

Floating B4 boat labs to study the Brahmaputra River

The Union Government is planning to safeguard fast-eroding Majuli island — world’s largest riverine island using research carried out on floating Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) labs along Brahmaputra River.

The purpose of project is to study changes caused by dams, climate change, human interventions and eventual effects on river eco-system. It will constantly monitor impact of various environmental and anthropological factors that affect river and conduct research to mitigate effects.

The project’s interdisciplinary work plan is developed with IIT Guwahati as the nodal agency. It will also study freshwater resources of North East India. The integrated approach is aimed to combine data, science and judgement that can impact policy. It will start research work by December 2017. Initially, it will cover region from Pasighat, Dibrigargh, Neemati, Tejpur and Guwahati in Assam.

Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) labs

B4 boat labs will be large barge (or boat) which will be set up on river. It will be well-equipped laboratory with cold storage facilities for holding samples, along with multiple satellite boats or rafts that will venture into shallower and narrower parts of the river to lift samples. The boat will have permanent lab spread over two floors. One floor will be dedicated to scientists, while other floor will be accessible to residents of area to learn about the eco-system.

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Molten Jet Stream discovered deep inside Earth’s core  

Scientists for the first time have discovered the so-called molten jet stream within the Earth’s molten iron core using latest data obtained from three European satellites called Swarm.

The three satellites were launched in 2013 with the goal of studying Earth’s magnetic field.  The latest satellite data that helps create an sharpest ‘x-ray’ view of the planet.

Key Facts 
  • The molten jet stream is an accelerating band of molten iron circling the North Pole. It just like the jet stream in the atmosphere
  • It moves about 40 km per year, currently in a westward direction. This speed is three times faster than normal outer-core speeds and hundreds of thousands of times faster than rate at which Earth’s tectonic plates move.
  • It is located along a boundary between two different regions in the core. This movement is caused when liquid in core flows toward the boundary from both sides and then is squeezed out sideways.
  • Significance: The satellite data has helped clarify Earth’s inner workings and magnetic field. It showed that changes in the magnetic field are actually being caused by the molten jet stream.
  • The discovery can also add light in changing magnetic field of earth and may relate it with switch in direction of the jet stream.

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