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Dinosaur-killing impact acidified oceans

The space rock that smashed into Earth 65 million years ago, famously wiping out the dinosaurs, unleashed acid rain that turned the ocean surface into a witches' brew, researchers said Sunday. Delving into the riddle of Earth's last mass extinction, Japanese scientists said the impact instantly vaporised sulphur-rich rock, creating a vast cloud of sulphur trioxide (SO3) gas. This mixed with water vapour to create sulphuric acid rain, which would have fallen to the planet's surface within days, acidifying the surface levels of the ocean and killing life therein.

Italy says to unblock 2.0mn euros to save Pompeii

Italy vowed on Tuesday to unblock some 2.0 million euros ($2.8 million) to save the long-neglected ruins of Pompeii after rain caused further damage to the UNESCO World Heritage landmark. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said he was "unblocking many measures which will get the machine working" amid anger about the slow pace of a multi-million EU-backed project to restore the famous Roman site. Franceschini's statement came after the Temple of Venus and the walls of a tomb and shop in the archaeological site near Naples were damaged by rainfall on Sunday and Monday.

Damage found in ancient ruins of Pompeii

The Temple of Venus and walls of a tomb and shop in the long-neglected ruins of Pompeii near Naples have been damaged, possibly due to heavy rain, officials said on Monday. Custodians found that a two-metre wall of an ancient shop in the ruined city -- which had recently been restored -- had collapsed under the weight of another wall that crumbled onto it. It followed the discovery Sunday that parts of an archway in the temple had fallen off and a wall in the necropolis -- the biggest in the ancient Roman city -- had tumbled down.

New collapses occur at Pompeii

Rome, Mar 2 (EFE).- Portions of the Temple of Venus and the Porta Nocera necropolis in the Pompeii archaeological complex near Naples in southern Italy suffered fresh collapses caused by recent heavy rains in the area, Italian media reported Sunday. The problems affected part of the Temple of Venus and one of the walls of a tomb in the Porta Nocera necropolis in the ancient Roman city, which was completely buried by ash during an eruption of the nearby Vesuvius volcano in 79 A.D., rediscovered in 1748 and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

Nankai Trough quake rubble to be 11 times more than 2011 disaster

The amount of rubble and debris that will be created in the event of a powerful earthquake and tsunami in the Nankai Trough off central and western Japan is expected to be up to 11 times more than that produced by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, a government study showed Friday.

B.C. scientist joins NASA-funded simulated mission to Mars on Hawaiian mountain

KELOWNA, B.C. - A Kelowna, B.C., scientist is joining the crew of a NASA-funded simulated mission to Mars after beating out hundreds of applicants from around the world. Ross Lockwood and five others will spend four months inside a sealed environment high on the slopes of a Hawaiian mountain. The main purpose of the mission, starting March 28, is to help the space agency develop psychological guidelines that will be used to select future astronauts capable of making a real trip to Mars.

Rock around the clock: zircon crystal is oldest piece of Earth

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - To put it mildly, this is one gem of a gem. Scientists using two different age-determining techniques have shown that a tiny zircon crystal found on a sheep ranch in western Australia is the oldest known piece of our planet, dating to 4.4 billion years ago. Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience on Sunday, the researchers said the discovery indicates that Earth's crust formed relatively soon after the planet formed and that the little gem was a remnant of it.

Sun-dimming volcanoes partly explain global warming hiatus-study

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday. Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulfur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, it said.

Sun-dimming volcanoes partly explain global warming hiatus-study

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday. Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulfur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, it said.

Monday night viewing: close encounter with enormous asteroid

(Reuters) - An asteroid estimated to be the size of three football fields is set for its close-up on a live webcast as it whizzes by Earth on Monday, roughly a year after one exploded over Russia and injured 1,200 people. Slooh Space Camera plans to track the close approach of Asteroid 2000 EM26 as it races past the planet at approximately 27,000 miles per hour (43,000 km/h), starting at 9 p.m. EST (2 a.m. GMT, February 18), the robotic telescope service said in a statement on Slooh.com.
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