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Whitelee wind farm

Scotland is generating enough wind energy to power two Scotlands

Motivated from numerous renewable energy records and landmarks achieved, another milestone has been achieved in the first half of 2019. The country Scotland has produced enough energy from wind power which can power its homes twice.

For a nation which is home to 2.6 million people, producing 9.8 million Megawatt-hours of electricity by using turbines in the time period between January and June which is the adequate power supply to 4.47 million homes is a notable achievement. The record high wind energy is capable of providing enough electricity for every home in Scotland and also most part of Northern England for the first six months of the year. The month with the highest production was March with 2,194,981 Megawatt-hours (MWh) of output.

Robin Parker, the Climate & Energy Policy Manager at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said that everyone is benefitting from cleaner energy and atmosphere throughout the country and also seeing those incredible statistics, Scotland’s wind energy revolution seems to boost up. Moreover, he added that the data shows that utilising Scotland’s abundant coastal wind potential could supply eco-friendly electricity for millions of houses in both Scotland as well as England.

In the field of renewable energy, the United Kingdom (UK) has just achieved its longest span without depending on coal energy since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. According to the National Grid in the UK, for seven days and a total of 167 consecutive hours in a row, coal power stations didn’t supply them energy in which gas turbines, nuclear power, solar energy and other renewables played a part.

Scotland could play a big role in the UK government’s aim of producing energy without coal completely by 2025.

With huge funding in the wind and solar, Germany and other nations are benefiting with increased demand and the possibility of renewable energy production. Qinghai Province in northwest China which is home to five million has been operating for weeks on renewable sources like solar, wind and hydropower.

With the increased ability and more productive technology, scientists discover the ways to produce more electricity with existing solar or wind. With coastal farms at a potential of 8,423 Mega-Watt (MW) as of December 2018, Scotland is a groundbreaker in terms of wind power and hopefully, within next 12 months, they will supply all of its energy from renewables. Alex Wilcox Brooke, Weather Energy Project Manager at Severn Wye Energy Agency said that those statistics actually highlight the compatibility of wind energy in Scotland and its significance in the UK energy market.

Scottish Crannog Centre Loch Tay

Researchers find artificial islands in Scotland to be much older than previous estimates

Ancient human beings in the northern part of British Isles did not live on dry land always. In Scotland, Ireland and Wales, there are several artificial islands which are present even to this day. Named as crannogs, these structures were built by prehistoric humans in the middle of rivers, lakes. It has not been known exactly when these structures were constructed. Normally, archaeologists have estimated it to be built around 800 BCE. However, recent evidence tells a different story. These structures could have been built much before than realised by researchers. The study has been published in Antiquity journal.

With the help of radiocarbon dating on sites located in the Outer Hebrides which is the Western Isles of Scotland, scientists have detected crannogs which date back as far as 3640-3360 BCE, which means that early human beings started building them 5500 years ago, even before the construction of Stonehenge.

Archaeologist Fraser Sturt, University of Southampton told that the crannogs are a symbol of monumental effort made thousands of years before to construct mini-islands by piling up rocks on loch bed. This is not the first time that researchers have thought about the Neolithic origins of the crannogs. Excavations carried out in the 1980s showed that they could date back thousands of years although for decades no such other specimens were located.

Things were shaken up when Chris Murray, former Royal Navy diver who resided in Scottish Isle of Lewis discovered a collection of very well preserved Early/Middle Neolithic pots on the loch bed while diving. Researchers then investigated Loch Arnish and other crannogs, many of which were not present in archaeological records with the help of Google Earth.

In total, the team discovered more than 200 Neolithic vessels made from ceramic, from five crannogs – which is an evidence of an extensive cultural practice we had not known about until now. Survey of these sites has demonstrated that crannogs had been a feature of the Neolithic and they may have been special locations, as found from evidence of deposition of material culture in the water.

According to the researchers, by the quantities of material identified and position of vessels in relation to islets, it is clear that the pots were intentionally deposited in water. Presence of soot on external surfaces and inner charred residues show that they were used before deposition. The amount of work gone into creating these giant structures make it clear that they had unique importance to the early community. The crannogs may have been reserved for important feasts, or mortuary rituals.

Meteor crater aerial view

Biggest asteroid crash in UK revealed by hidden crater

The biggest asteroid which is known to hit the British Isles is known to have slammed the Earth close to 1.2 billion years ago. However, experts have identified where the exact impact point may have been hidden for this whole time. The estimated spot is about 15 to 20 kilometres from the Enard Bay in the Minch Basin, between mainland Scotland and the Outer Hebrides. The study has been published in the Journal of the Geological Society.

The asteroid is expected to crash at about 65,000 kilometres per hour. There is no crater visible as of today and it is 200 meters deep in the ocean which is caked in layers and layers of sediment. The asteroid is thought to be one kilometre wide. The crater is predicted to be 13 to 14 kilometres wide and 3 kilometres deep.

Geochemist Ken Amor from the University of Oxford in the UK has said that the impact would have sent huge amounts of rolling clouds of dust and gas at several hundred degrees in all directions from the site.

During a field trip to the Scottish Highlands, the expedition included a study of the Stac Fada Member(SFM) where they noticed strange green blobs in the rock. These blobs are a sign that an asteroid strike took place. The samples were taken to the lab and were identified to be quartz crystals and metals like platinum and palladium which are well known as meteorite metals.

The team also analyzed the rock patterns as well as the orientation of the magnetic grains in the geographical area to pinpoint the area of the original site of the crash. Amor has said that if we imagine debris flowing out of a cloud across the area, hugging the ground, then eventually the material will slow down and come to rest. The clouds at the front will stop first and the ones at the back keep pushing forward until they stop which causes an overlap of layers in the front. Events such as these are known to happen once in a million years and as often as once in every 100,000 years.

The next process would be to conduct a complete geographical survey in the Minch Basin which would confirm the results as stated by the laboratory research. The material which is excavated from a meteor crash is rarely preserved by Earth as it gets eroded very rapidly by air and water. It was a purely coincidental discovery that this rock landed in an ancient valley and sediments quickly covered it and the debris was preserved.