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Ancient ‘Jurassic World’ of Volcanoes Found Hidden Below Earth’s Surface

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An international team of researchers, including scientists from Australia’s University of Adelaide and Scotland’s University of Aberdeen, has discovered a field of 100 ‘Jurassic-era’ underground volcanoes hidden below the Earth’s surface in central Australia, according to a study published in the journal Gondwana Research.

The Cooper-Eromanga Basins, spanning and area in the northeast of South Australia and southwest of Queensland, have been the site of about 60 years of petroleum exploration and production. The ancient underground landscape, however, went unnoticed by experts.

Using advanced subsurface imaging technology to identify volcanic craters, lava flows and magma chambers in the Cooper-Eromanga basins, the team revealed the features of the volcanoes, 180 million years after they first developed, in the Jurassic period, between 180 and 160 million years ago.

The volcanoes were subsequently buried beneath layers of sedimentary rock.

Although offering a barren landscape today, the Cooper-Eromanga Basins in Jurassic times had craters and fissures that spewed hot ash and lava, and were encircled by river channels evolving into lakes.

“While the majority of Earth’s volcanic activity occurs at the boundaries of tectonic plates, or under the Earth’s oceans, this ancient Jurassic world developed deep within the interior of the Australian continent,” said associate professor Simon Holford.

According to Holford, the find offers the prospect of more undiscovered volcanic worlds concealed under the surface of Australia.

What renders the current research particularly interesting is that it suggests more volcanic activity in Australia during the Jurassic period than earlier believed. The new finds have the potential of altering the understanding of processes that operated in the Earth’s past, conclude the scientists.

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French police suicides on the rise

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Three riot police officers, a police commander, a police academy teacher, are among eight French police officers who have taken their life killed themselves recently. That makes 64 so far this year, and the number keeps on climbing.

Deaths by suicide for French police now outnumber deaths in the line of duty. The protectors need protecting, say police unions, which are demanding more help to stop the problem.

Many of those who choose to end their lives are from everywhere in France and of all ages, many with young children. The latest death came Wednesday in the Ardeche region in southeast France. Why they step across what one police union calls the “thin blue line” remains a question that French authorities have so far been unable to answer.

A parliamentary inquiry made public in July lists a multitude of reasons for the stress and despair among French police, including overwork since a series of terrorist attacks that started in January 2015 and the weekly, often extremely violent, anti-government protests since November by the yellow vest movement seeking more economic and social justice. It does not single out any one reason.

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Another Bird Strike Causes Utair Flight to Return to Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport

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A Utair airliner headed from Moscow to Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Bashkortostan Region, returned to its departure airport on Friday after a bird hit its windshield, the air carrier’s press service informed TASS.

“The Moscow-Ufa flight returned to Vnukovo after suffering a bird strike shortly after takeoff. A bird hit its windshield. The aircraft landed safely. The airline is changing the plane,” the press service stated.

It noted that the flight to Ufa is scheduled to depart at 15:30 Moscow time.

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At Least 5 Killed, 11 Injured in Blast in Pakistan’s Balochistan

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At least five people were killed and 11 others injured on Friday in an explosion that occurred in Pakistan’s Balochistan province at an Islamic school or madrassa, the Pakistani media reported.

According to Pakistani news website Dawn, the nature of the blast could not immediately be ascertained. The injured in the explosion were transported to Quetta Civil Hospital.

A local police official told media that the IED blast occurred at around 1525 hrs local time and video showed that the explosion caused extensive damage to the madrassa.

Since June this year, the frequencies of attacks have increased. On 23 July, at least three people were killed, and 18 were injured in a bomb attack in the Eastern Bypass area. On 30 July, five people were killed, and 30 people were injured in an attack at a police station.

Earlier this year, Pakistan deployed an army division to protect interests in Sino-Pakistan development projects including those in the Balochistan region.

Pakistan has been facing an insurgency in Balochistan since 1947, with Baloch nationalist organisations struggling to create an independent state. The Balochi are also a dominant ethnic minority in Iran and Afghanistan.

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