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Posts Tagged ‘Explosion’

Genomic Fossils Reveal Explosion of Life 3 Billion Years Ago

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 6:25 am

Life has existed on Earth for roughly 3.5 billion years, but there is very little fossil record left for most of that time. However, two researchers have used modern genomes to look back in time and reconstruct the evolution of ancient cells.

Their work has revealed an explosion of life about 3 billion years ago, coinciding with the appearance of the chemical mechanism that makes possible two crucial processes – respiration and photosynthesis. [Scientists Hunt for Signs of the Earliest Life on Earth]

“What is really remarkable about these findings is that they prove that the histories of very ancient events are recorded in the shared DNA of living organisms,” said one of the researchers, Eric Alm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He collaborated with Lawrence David, who received his doctorate from MIT and is now a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows.

To turn the clocks back, Alm and David used information about modern genomes in combination with their own mathematical model that took into account the ways genes evolve, such as, the creation and inheritance of new gene families and the loss of genes. Using this technique, they traced thousands of genes from 100 modern genomes back to those genes’ first appearance on Earth.

This genomic “fossil record” indicates that the collective genome of life expanded between 3.3 billion and 2.8 billion years ago. During this period, 27 percent of all presently existing gene families came into being. The pair dubbed this the Archean Expansion.

This expansion coincided with the development of modern electron transport, which is the biochemical process responsible for shuttling electrons within cellular membranes to make breathing oxygen and carrying out photosynthesis possible.

“Our results can’t say if the development of electron transport directly caused the Archean Expansion,” David said. “Nonetheless, we can speculate that having access to a much larger energy budget enabled the biosphere to host larger and more complex microbial ecosystems.”

After the Archean Expansion, about 2.5 billion years ago, the atmosphere filled with oxygen, a dramatic event in the history of life on Earth, called the Great Oxidation Event. A type of photosynthesis, made possible by electron transport, is believed to have driven the oxygenation of the atmosphere.

Alm and David detailed their findings online Dec. 19 in the journal Nature.


Source: SGGP

Explosion at NZealand mine, 25-30 miners missing

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 5:56 am

Five Canadians, two Mexicans dead in Cancun resort explosion

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 6:29 am

Four workers killed in fireworks explosion in My Dinh National Stadium

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 7:47 am

Four people were killed and three others were injured including some foreign experts who will participate in the firework display when a shipment of fireworks exploded in the My Dinh National Stadium’s Stage C in Hanoi on Oct.6, said a high-ranking officer.

 Smoke rises from the incident (Photo:

Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Duc Nhanh, deputy head of the Security General Department II and director of the Hanoi Police Department, said it was a regrettable accident but would not affect work to ensure security for the capital city’s celebrations.

My Dinh National Stadium is one of 29 sites in the capital where organizers planed firework showcases for Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday celebrations.

Police verified the carelessness during the transportation of the two containers of fireworks caused the blast. Two containers were imported by Hanoi-based International Investment Trade and Service Company (Interserco) to be used in firework displays at the My Dinh Stadium on Oct.10.

Right after the incident, Mr. Nhanh ordered eight vehicles to the site to extinguish the fires, cordon off and examine the scene as well as take injured people to hospital.

Source: SGGP

Two dead, five injured in thermo-power plant explosion

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 at 11:19 am

Two workers were killed and five were injured August 3, when an explosion rocked a thermoelectric plant construction site in Hai Phong City’s Thuy Nguyen District.

A view of Hai Phong Thermoelectric Plant’s construction site (Photo: Dan Tri)

Do Thi Thuy, 28 and Le Van Minh, 21 were killed instantly; both were from Thuy Nguyen District.

One out of the five injured workers is Chinese. The injured were hospitalized.

According to witnesses, the explosion occurred as eight workers, including six men and two women, were moving chemicals from the plant’s store to other places.

Tran Huu Nam, general director of Hai Phong Thermoelectric Joint Stock Company, said the contractor, Dong China’s Phuong Company must bear responsibility for the accident.

Preliminary investigations have shown chemicals caused the explosion.

Further investigations are currently underway.

Source: SGGP

Congo: UN says at least 220 dead in oil explosion

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2010 at 4:08 pm

A tanker truck hauling fuel on a rural eastern Congo highway overturned, gushing oil and exploding in a massive fireball that killed about 220 bystanders, including many who had been watching the World Cup in flimsy roadside shacks, officials and witnesses said Saturday.

The Red Cross said at least 61 children and 36 women were among the dead. Witnesses said dozens of people had descended on the truck to siphon fuel illegally from the wreckage with jerry-cans and plastic buckets, apparently unaware of the danger.

An inhabitant of the town of Sange, eastern Congo, walks past the burned out wreckage of a tanker truck Saturday, July 3, 2010, that was involved in a accident Friday night. .

U.N. peacekeepers rushed to evacuate more than 200 wounded from the scene by helicopter and ambulance, while Red Cross teams carried the charred bodies from the scene in body bags and buried them in two mass graves a few miles (kilometers) away.

The truck overturned as it was trying to pass a minibus late Friday near the village of Sange, around 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of Uvira, a town on the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika near the Burundi border, said Mana Lungwe, manager of the Congolese oil company that owns the truck. The vehicle began gushing oil, then burst into flames an hour later.

Lungwe said the driver was injured in the accident and taken to a local clinic before the blast occurred. Sange is located between Uvira and the Congolese provincial capital, Bukavu, further to the north.

As oil began leaking from the damaged tanker, Pakistani peacekeepers from a nearby U.N. base “came and told people to get away from the area, but people refused to leave,” said Bedide Mwasha, a 45-year-old resident.

“Men, women and children, even (government) soldiers were stealing petrol,” Mwasha said, adding that when night fell, one woman lit a kerosene lamp that may have ignited the blaze.

In Sange on Saturday, the remains of the white tanker’s blackened carcass lay tipped on its side, its tires burnt off, one small flame still leaping from the outside of the wrecked fuel container. Along the side of the road a few yards (meters) away, the remains of three wood and brick shacks smoldered where hundreds of people had gathered to watch the World Cup. The explosion took place in between matches, as people were watching television and milling outside.

Congolese Red Cross workers wearing masks over their faces to ward off the stench of smoldering flesh carried corpses away on stretchers.

“It was so terrible, we lost so many family and friends,” said Umoja Ruzibira, 25, who was about 100 yards (meters) away when he heard a huge explosion and saw a fireball engulf thatch huts in a 20 yards (meters) radius. A teeming market nearby had also been reduced to ashes. “There were so many men, women and children around when it happened,” Ruzibira said.

James Reynolds, the deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Congo, said at least 219 people died — 208 immediately, and another 11 from burn wounds after they were taken to surrounding medical facilities. The U.N. estimated the death toll at least 220, and a police chief in Sange, Flament Baliwa, put the toll at 232 dead.

“Many of the bodies were burnt far beyond recognition,” the Kinshasa-based Reynolds said. “It’s a terrible scene,” and a tragedy, he added, “for people who didn’t have very much to begin with.”

Desperately poor people in Congo — which is still struggling to recover from a 1998-2002 war — often descend quickly around damaged or disabled oil trucks leaking fuel on roads and highways, carting it away with plastic jugs, unaware of the danger of doing so.

Some of the worst tragedies have occurred in Nigeria, where thousands have died as crowds siphoned fuel from ruptured or pierced oil pipelines that subsequently exploded. In a separate accident Friday involving another fuel truck, an out-of-control gasoline tanker flipped over and exploded outside the gates of a local hospital in northern Nigeria, killing 14 people in an inferno in Gombe state.

Reynolds said the ICRC has dispatched medical supplies and body bags to collect the dead and help wounded alongside local volunteers for Congo’s Red Cross.

“We’re doing our best to ensure that the wounded are treated as well as possible,” Reynolds said. “The more lightly burned or less injured are being treated on the spot at a health center in Sange.”

Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission, said a U.N. helicopter evacuated 35 wounded to Bukavu. Other peacekeepers were taking more wounded to nearby hospitals by ambulance.

Reynolds said the casualty toll was likely high in part because, although the town was small, “it was densely populated, it was close to a market, and a lot of the houses are made with thatched roofing.”

After the truck flipped over and began gushing fuel, “a big crowd rapidly gathered around to see what happened,” Reynolds said. “And sometime after, the leaking oil caught fire and the fire spread extremely quickly.”

Mounoubai said the truck overturned around dusk and was carrying fuel from Bukavu to Uvira. Lungwe, the truck’s owner, said the tanker had begun its journey in the Kenyan city of Eldoret, then traveled through Uganda and Rwanda before heading into Congo.

The U.N.’s acting special representative to Congo, Leila Zerrougui, expressed condolences for the tragedy and said the U.N. “will do everything possible to help authorities and assist victims.”

Source: SGGP

200 dead after DR Congo tanker truck explosion – Red Cross

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm

KINSHASA, July 3, 2010 (AFP) – At least 200 people died and dozens were injured when a tanker truck filled with oil exploded and set fire to a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Red Cross said Saturday.

“So far, the accident has left 200 dead. It is a provisional toll. We have people on the spot and the search (for victims) is continuing,” the Red Cross official in charge of Sud-Kivu province, Leonard Zigade told AFP.

AFP – A map locating the town of Bukavu in eastern DR. Congo.

Earlier local officials said at least 100 people had been killed, while a security source in the United Nations mission in DR Congo (MONUC) gave a toll of “223 dead and 110 injured.”

“What is certain is that the toll will get higher. It seems that what happened was truly horrible,” the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that the search was still going on “for more charred bodies.”

The accident happened late Friday.

“A tanker truck coming from Tanzania overturned in the village of Sange. There was a crush (of people) and a petrol leak, there was an explosion of fuel oil which spread through the village,” regional government spokesman Vincent Kabanga told AFP.

The village is located around 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of the Sud-Kivu county town of Bukavu, close to the border with Burundi.

Dozens of mostly earth and straw constructed homes in Sange were engulfed in the blaze after the accident, which a police officer based in Bukavu said had been caused by the truck’s “excessive speed.”

The officer, who asked not to be named, added that many of those who surrounded the vehicle before it exploded were children.

He said the village was now “in total mourning.”

MONUC has made available three helicopters to evacuate villages and has alerted hospitals at Uvira and Bukavu, a source in the mission told AFP.

Source: SGGP

China coal mine explosion traps 46 people

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm

An explosion in a central China colliery on Monday left 46 miners trapped, state media reported, in the latest accident to hit the country’s notoriously dangerous mining sector.

The blast happened near Pingdingshan city in the central province of Henan, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the State Administration of Work Safety.

State television said that a store of gunpowder kept underground at the Xingdong No. 2 Mine had detonated at about 1:40 a.m. (1740 GMT) with 72 miners working at the time.

Following the accident, 26 miners were brought to safety, according to Xinhua, which added that a search and rescue operation had been launched to find the remaining 46 missing miners, state television said.

File photo shows a rescued miner being treated in northern China’s Shanxi province following flooding in a coal mine.

China’s vast coal mining industry is notoriously accident-prone because of lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency as mines rush to meet soaring demand. China relies on coal-generated power for about 70 of its electricity needs.

A total of 2,631 miners were killed in China last year, according to official figures, but independent labour groups say the actual figure could be much higher as many accidents are covered up to avoid costly mine shutdowns.

In March, a flood at the huge, unfinished Wangjialing mine in the northern province of Shanxi left 153 workers trapped underground. A total of 115 were recovered alive, in what was seen as a rare successful rescue for the industry.

Zhao Tiechui, head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said in February that China would need at least 10 years to “fundamentally improve” safety and reduce the frequency of such disasters.

“Awareness of safety and the rule of law is still low in some coal-rich areas and some coal enterprises,” he said.

As part of its efforts to increase safety standards, the central government has levied heavy fines and implemented region-wide mining shut-downs following serious accidents.

But such actions have resulted in the under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit economic losses, labour rights groups maintain.

The March disaster in Shanxi province set off a new round of official pledges to make the industry safer, but since then several other accidents have been reported, leaving dozens of miners dead.

The issue of mining safety is sensitive in China, as the workers that toil in mines are largely poor migrants whose interests the ruling Communist Party has vowed to protect.

Following Monday’s accident, Zhao and Luo Lin, who is head of the state work safety bureau, travelled to the site in Henan to personally oversee rescue efforts, state media reports said.

Source: SGGP

70 miners feared dead in Colombia explosion

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 4:28 am

 About 70 miners were feared dead in a Colombian coal mine after a fiery explosion ripped through underground shafts overnight during a change of shifts, authorities have said.

Dozens of relatives gathered outside, anxious for news of missing loved ones.

Only a single miner was found alive, with burns on 30 percent of his body, Civil Defense chief Juan Carlos Posada said.

The official said the deaths of 17 miners had been confirmed, and 11 bodies identified and removed from the site near the city of Medellin.

“It’s difficult for there to be survivors, because the explosion produced very high temperatures,” Posada told AFP, adding that the bodies recovered so far had been burned.

A buildup of toxic gases hampered search and rescue efforts. A team entered the mine Thursday afternoon and were able to make it 180 meters (yards) inside, but the search was suspended at 5:30 pm (2230 GMT) to allow gas levels to dissipate, officials said.

At least 72 men were in the mine when the explosion hit during an 11 pm (0400 GMT) shift change Wednesday, apparently as a result of a gas buildup, officials said.

The force of the blast caused cave-ins in parts of the mine, one of the largest in Colombian’s northwestern coal-producing region. Five people were killed in 2008 when the mine flooded.

Grief-stricken family members were kept at a distance from the mine by authorities for security reasons. Several hearses were parked nearby.

Liliana Aguirre, a 25-year-old housewife with a seven-year-old boy whose father was missing, anxiously waited news.

“I have been here since the morning. All they have told me is that I have to wait,” she said.

President Alvaro Uribe expressed his condolences over the disaster, saying he was “very sad… for the people trapped there. It’s a very difficult fate.”

He said he had asked for an immediate report “on safety conditions at the mine, whether it was up to date in meeting its requirements, if it had accident and professional risk insurance.”

Colombia’s Minister of Mines Hernan Martinez said there appeared to have been no gas detectors in the mine.

“I am very concerned about the magnitude of the explosion. The last inspection was June 9 and nothing irregular was found. However we have to investigate because it is likely there was no gas detector,” he told a news conference.

The mayor of Amaga, Auxilio Zapata, said the local stadium was “already set up to receive the injured and the dead because the morgue does not have the capacity for an emergency like the one we are facing.”

Luz Amanda Pulido, director of disaster prevention, said the hope of finding survivors was “not much, almost nothing.”

Source: SGGP

China coal mine explosion kills 17 workers

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

BEIJING, May 30, 2010 (AFP) – An explosion at a colliery in central China has killed 17 workers, a provincial official said Sunday.

The blast happened on Saturday in Hunan province’s Rucheng county, an official with the provincial work safety bureau, who refused to be named, told AFP.

“Rescue work has ended,” he said, without providing further details.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, the explosion happened inside the pit where dynamite was being stored and there was also a build-up of poisonous gas.

A total of 18 people were working underground at the time, and one survived with injuries, Xinhua said.

Police and work safety officials are investigating the cause of the blast, the report said.

Around 2,600 people were killed last year in China’s vast mining industry due mainly to lax regulation, corruption and inefficiency, according to official figures.

Earlier this month, 21 workers were killed in a gas blast at a colliery in the southwestern province of Guizhou.

Source: SGGP