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Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Unearths early Harappan artefacts

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/m8ljqs/article26207612.ece/ALTERNATES/FREE_660/7

News

  • Artefacts believed to be around 5,000 years old, dating back to the early Harappan phase, have been unearthed during an excavation jointly being held by archaeologists in Khatiya village of Kutch in Gujarat.

Findings

  • Researchers stumbled upon several pieces, including mud pots, conch-shell bangles, beads, and stone blades, during the excavation, being undertaken in burial sites in the region. The area of excavation spanned around 300 sq m.
  • The project is believed to be the first such excavation to be undertaken at Harappan sites by a university based in south India. The research team had conducted an exploration in Gujarat in 2016, following which they obtained permission from the Archaeological Survey of India to carry out the excavation.
  • Prior to the activity, the team had undertaken a preliminary survey of the region using drones, total station, and Differential Geographic Positioning System (DGPS) to understand the topography and geomorphology of the region.
  • The project is expected to shed light on the burial rituals and other customs prevalent in the Harappan civilisation during its early phase from 3300 BCE to 2600 BCE.

Climate change threatening underwater forests

News

  • Climate change could lead to decline of underwater kelp forests by impacting their microbiome.
  • Ocean warming can change microbes on the kelp surface, leading to disease and potentially putting fisheries at risk.
  • Blistering and bleaching of the kelp’s surface impacts their ability to photosynthesis.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Ladakh gets divisional status

News

  • The administration of Governor granted Ladakh a divisional status, thus creating three administrative units of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

Beyond News

  • Ladakh was earlier a part of the Kashmir division.
  • The J&K government has approved creation of a separate a administrative and revenue Division for Ladakh. This division will comprise Leh and Kargil districts with its headquarters at Leh.
  • Ladakh will now get its own Divisional Commissioner and Inspector General of Police.
  • A committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary to Government, Planning, Development and Monitoring Department to identify the posts of divisional level heads of various departments that may be required for the new division.
  • The is second time that Ladakh was granted more autonomous status in the State.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

A voyage into the hidden depths of Indian Ocean

News:

  • A mission to explore uncharted depths in the Indian Ocean was launched, hoping to discover hundreds of new species and find out what impact plastic is having way below the surface.

Beyond News:

  • The First Descent expedition, is set to send submersibles as deep as 3,000 metres off the Seychelles from March to test the health of the ocean.
  • The project was launched at the Commonwealth headquarters in London.
  • The Commonwealth, a 53-country grouping that unites nations such as Britain, India, Canada and Nigeria with small states like Tonga and the Seychelles, has focused on managing climate change in recent years as many of its members are vulnerable, low-lying island nations.
  • The ocean is suffering serious degradation from overfishing, pollution and climate change.
  • The $5 million collaboration brings together 47 partners from business, philanthropy, sub-sea technology, media and civil society.
  • The Ocean Zephyr mothership is on its way from Bremerhaven in Germany to the Seychelles. It will be home to 50 scientists, engineers and technicians during the project.
  • Its two submersibles will take 17 different research tools and technology into the deep, along with 18 cameras to create the first three-dimensional maps of deep sea ecosystems. Some of the dives will be broadcast live.

Remove illegal power lines in Kawal tiger reserve: HC

News

  • Exhorting all government wings concerned to make concerted efforts for wildlife conservation, Telangana High Court passed a slew of directions including removal of all unauthorised power lines in Kawal Tiger Reserve which is spread over northern parts of the State.

Beyond News

  • A Division Bench directed the government to enforce all laws vigorously to ensure tigers and other animals were protected in Kawal reserve and elsewhere in the State.
  • Unauthorized usage of electric fences by people were resulting in animal deaths.
  • The CJ instructed Telangana State Northern Power Distribution Company Limited officials to immediately remove all such connections in the tiger reserve.
  • Also instructed them to use aerial bundled (AB) cables for better insulation of power lines in forest areas.
  • The Bench directed that a special committee be constituted with officials from Forest, Excise, Police and Electricity wings to inspect forest areas and suggest measures for conservation of flora and fauna. It instructed them to file separate affidavits within three weeks on the matter.

Hubble discovers mysterious dark storm on Neptune: NASA

News

  • The Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a new mysterious dark storm on Neptune and provided a fresh look at a long-lived storm circling around the north polar region on Uranus.

Findings

  • Like Earth, Uranus and Neptune have seasons, which likely drive some of the features in their atmospheres.
  • However, their seasons are much longer than on our planet, spanning decades rather than months.
  • The storm appeared during the planet’s southern summer, the fourth and latest mysterious dark vortex captured by Hubble since 1993.
  • A study estimated that the dark spots appear every four to six years at different latitudes and disappear after about two years.
  • Hubble uncovered the latest storm in September last year in Neptune’s northern hemisphere. The feature is roughly 6,800 miles across.
  • To the right of the dark feature are bright white “companion clouds.” Hubble has observed similar clouds accompanying previous vortices.
  • Like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the dark vortices swirl in an anti-cyclonic direction and seem to dredge up material from deeper levels in the ice giant’s atmosphere.
  • The Hubble observations show that as early as 2016, increased cloud activity in the region preceded the vortex’s appearance.
  • The images indicate that the vortices probably develop deeper in Neptune’s atmosphere, becoming visible only when the top of the storm reaches higher altitudes.
  • The snapshot of Uranus, like the image of Neptune, reveals a dominant feature: a vast bright stormy cloud cap across the north pole.
  • Scientists believe this new feature is a result of Uranus’ unique rotation. Unlike every other planet in the solar system, Uranus is tipped over almost onto its side.
  • Because of this extreme tilt, during the planet’s summer the Sun shines almost directly onto the north pole and never sets.

Two die, 10 missing as avalanches hit Kashmir Valley

News

  • Two persons have died and 10, including eight policemen, went missing in twin avalanches in Kashmir Valley.

Avalanche 

  • An avalanche (also called a snowslide) is a cohesive slab of snow lying upon a weaker layer of snow in the snowpack that fractures and slides down a steep slope when triggered. Avalanches are typically triggered in a starting zone from a mechanical failure in the snowpack (slab avalanche) when the forces of the snow exceed its strength but sometimes only with gradual widening (loose snow avalanche). After initiation, avalanches usually accelerate rapidly and grow in mass and volume as they entrain more snow. If the avalanche moves fast enough, some of the snow may mix with the air forming a powder snow avalanche, which is a type of gravity current.

Beyond News

  • Ongoing heavy snowfall is slowing down the rescue operation. The personnel of the State Disaster Response Force has decided to carry on the operation in the night. They have employed snow clearing machines to reach the building. 
  • Earlier in the day, several houses were damaged in south and central Kashmir due to fresh spell of snowfall in the valley. Over a dozen civilians were rescued in central and north Kashmir by the police after avalanches trapped them in their villages.
  • According to the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), a high level avalanche warning was issued for upper reaches of south and north Kashmir for the next 24 hours. All residents were asked to avoid venturing into the avalanche-prone areas.

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