Gas Explosion in Nigeria Leaves 15 Dead, More Than 50 Buildings Damaged
At least 15 people died in a gas explosion in Lagos, Nigeria Sunday morning.
More than 50 buildings were damaged in the blast, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) acting coordinator in Lagos Ibrahim Farinloye told reporters, as The Vanguard reported. One of the buildings was the Bethlehem Girls College, and at least 60 injured students were taken to a hospital for treatment.
"The fire started with smoke," one eyewitness told Reuters. "The smoke was coming up and later we heard a sound ... and some houses collapsed even the roofs."
What you people heard in festac and other parts of Lagos is obviously just the ripple effect. I fear for the peopl… https://t.co/LAyzIMLhxF— Dawriz (@Dawriz)1584264340.0
The explosion occurred in Abule Ado area of Lagos, but the blast was so loud it could be heard almost all across Lagos state, Pulse TV reported.
It occurred around 9 a.m., and one family of four was killed in the blast returning from church, according to The Vanguard.
Lagos pipeline explosion: APC expresses shock, sympathises with victims https://t.co/OmeszGkRxy #vanguardnews https://t.co/kJ1yKHSr3k— Vanguard Newspapers (@Vanguard Newspapers)1584295568.0
The explosion was sparked when a truck hit some gas cylinders at a gas processing plant near a pipeline owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the state-owned company told Reuters.
Farinloye then explained to The Vanguard what happened next:
"The resulting fire later spread to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) oil pipeline passing through the area even though the pipeline has been shut down as a precautionary measure.
"The fire was eventually extinguished at 3:30 p.m. through the combined efforts of officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service, and Nigerian Navy Fire Tender."
The fire also damaged the pipeline, but NNPC said that the pipeline shutdown would not impact oil delivery to the rest of the state, according to Reuters.
Pipeline explosions are a recurring danger in Nigeria, where they are usually caused by attempts to steal from the pipelines. One such fire killed 60 people in 2018.
Nigeria is Africa's leading producer and exporter of oil, but it has paid a price for its fossil fuel extraction. In the Niger Delta, that extraction has led to oil spills of 40 million liters (approximately 10.6 million liquid gallons) every year, The Guardian reported. This has polluted air and water and harmed residents' health.
"You just need to take a tour to understand the magnitude of the environmental abuse," Bayelsa state commissioner for the environment Udengs Eradiri told The Guardian. "[Bayelsa] used to be green, you could go to farm or fish. We used to have very impressive harvests. You would spend just an hour in the water and you have a lot of fish."
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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