Asthma-like disease in the children living in the neighborhood of Mt. Sakurajima.
We conducted self-administered questionnaire surveys of school children living in the vicinity of Mt. Sakurajima using ATS-DLD questionnaire. In this paper, we report the results of analysis comparing the proportion of children with asthma-like disease in the area exposed to the volcanic ash and gases released by Mt. Sakurajima and control areas. Asthma-like disease was ascertained using ATS-DLD questionnaire and the definition proposed by the study group established by Environmental Protection Agency in Japan. The proportion of children with asthma-like disease was not different between the exposed and control groups. The odds ratio of asthma-like disease comparing the exposed and control groups was 1.1 and its 95% confidence interval was 0.7-1.8 (P = 0.583). When the exposed area was divided into Tarumizu city. Sakurajima town and Kagoshima city, none of them showed an elevated proportion of children with asthma-like disease when compared with the control area. In the entire study population including both the exposed and control groups, the proportion of children with asthma-like disease was 6 and 3% in boys and girls, respectively. These values were quite similar to those obtained from a survey of 45,674 school children in western districts in Japan in 1992. In conclusion, the present study indicates that the proportion of children with asthma-like disease is not elevated in the exposed area. Further investigations are necessary to confirm our conclusions. (+info
Climate change as a regulator of tectonics on Venus.
Tectonics, volcanism, and climate on Venus may be strongly coupled. Large excursions in surface temperature predicted to follow a global or near-global volcanic event diffuse into the interior and introduce thermal stresses of a magnitude sufficient to influence widespread tectonic deformation. This sequence of events accounts for the timing and many of the characteristics of deformation in the ridged plains of Venus, the most widely preserved volcanic terrain on the planet. (+info
Thermoanaerobacter siderophilus sp. nov., a novel dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing, anaerobic, thermophilic bacterium.
A thermophilic, anaerobic, spore-forming, dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacterium, designated strain SR4T, was isolated from sediment of newly formed hydrothermal vents in the area of the eruption of Karymsky volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula. Cells of strain SR4T were straight-to-curved, peritrichous rods, 0.4-0.6 micron in diameter and 3.5-9.0 microns in length, and exhibited a slight tumbling motility. Strain SR4T formed round, refractile, heat-resistant endospores in terminally swollen sporangia. The temperature range for growth was 39-78 degrees C, with an optimum at 69-71 degrees C. The pH range for growth was 4.8-8.2, with an optimum at 6.3-6.5. Strain SR4T grew anaerobically with peptone as carbon source. Amorphous iron(III) oxide present in the medium stimulated the growth of strain SR4T; cell numbers increased with the concomitant accumulation of Fe(II). In the presence of Fe(III), strain SR4T grew on H2/CO2 and utilized molecular hydrogen. Strain SR4T reduced 9,10-anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonic acid, sulfite, thiosulfate, elemental sulfur and MnO2. Strain SR4T did not reduce nitrate or sulfate and was not capable of growth with O2. The fermentation products from glucose were ethanol, lactate, H2 and CO2. The G + C content of DNA was 32 mol%. 16S rDNA sequence analysis placed the organism in the genus Thermoanaerobacter. On the basis of physiological properties and phylogenetic analysis, it is proposed that strain SR4T (= DSM 12299T) should be assigned to a new species, Thermoanaerobacter siderophilus sp. nov. (+info
Relationship between ambient sulfur dioxide levels and neonatal mortality near the Mt. Sakurajima volcano in Japan.
We examined the association between neonatal mortality and ambient sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels in the neighborhood of Mt. Sakurajima, Yamashita public health district of Kagoshima City, during the period between 1978 and 1988. The analysis using Poisson regression models showed that the monthly average level of SO2 was positively associated with the neonatal mortality (P = 0.002). When the SO2 levels were categorized into four groups to estimate the relative risk (RR) of neonatal mortality using the lowest exposure category as a reference, the RR increased with elevated exposure levels (P for trend < 0.001) and was the highest in the group with the highest level of exposure (RR = 2.2, 95% confidence interval; 1.2-4.1). Other than SO2, we also examined the number of eruptions, the amount of ashfall, and the average level of suspended particulate matter. None of these factors was associated with neonatal mortality. Although the present study suggests that increase in SO2 levels has had an adverse effect on neonatal mortality in the neighborhood of Mt. Sakurajima, it is difficult to determine the source of the SO2. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanisms of the excess neonatal mortality probably associated with the volcanic SO2 levels. (+info
Biomarker evidence for widespread anaerobic methane oxidation in Mediterranean sediments by a consortium of methanogenic archaea and bacteria. The Medinaut Shipboard Scientific Party.
Although abundant geochemical data indicate that anaerobic methane oxidation occurs in marine sediments, the linkage to specific microorganisms remains unclear. In order to examine processes of methane consumption and oxidation, sediment samples from mud volcanoes at two distinct sites on the Mediterranean Ridge were collected via the submersible Nautile. Geochemical data strongly indicate that methane is oxidized under anaerobic conditions, and compound-specific carbon isotope analyses indicate that this reaction is facilitated by a consortium of archaea and bacteria. Specifically, these methane-rich sediments contain high abundances of methanogen-specific biomarkers that are significantly depleted in (13)C (delta(13)C values are as low as -95 per thousand). Biomarkers inferred to derive from sulfate-reducing bacteria and other heterotrophic bacteria are similarly depleted. Consistent with previous work, such depletion can be explained by consumption of (13)C-depleted methane by methanogens operating in reverse and as part a consortium of organisms in which sulfate serves as the terminal electron acceptor. Moreover, our results indicate that this process is widespread in Mediterranean mud volcanoes and in some localized settings is the predominant microbiological process. (+info
Galileo at Io: results from high-resolution imaging.
During late 1999/early 2000, the solid state imaging experiment on the Galileo spacecraft returned more than 100 high-resolution (5 to 500 meters per pixel) images of volcanically active Io. We observed an active lava lake, an active curtain of lava, active lava flows, calderas, mountains, plateaus, and plains. Several of the sulfur dioxide-rich plumes are erupting from distal flows, rather than from the source of silicate lava (caldera or fissure, often with red pyroclastic deposits). Most of the active flows in equatorial regions are being emplaced slowly beneath insulated crust, but rapidly emplaced channelized flows are also found at all latitudes. There is no evidence for high-viscosity lava, but some bright flows may consist of sulfur rather than mafic silicates. The mountains, plateaus, and calderas are strongly influenced by tectonics and gravitational collapse. Sapping channels and scarps suggest that many portions of the upper approximately 1 kilometer are rich in volatiles. (+info
Io's thermal emission from the Galileo photopolarimeter-radiometer.
Galileo's photopolarimeter-radiometer instrument mapped Io's thermal emission during the I24, I25, and I27 flybys with a spatial resolution of 2.2 to 300 kilometers. Mapping of Loki in I24 shows uniform temperatures for most of Loki Patera and high temperatures in the southwest corner, probably resulting from an eruption that began 1 month before the observation. Most of Loki Patera was resurfaced before I27. Pele's caldera floor has a low temperature of 160 kelvin, whereas flows at Pillan and Zamama have temperatures of up to 200 kelvin. Global maps of nighttime temperatures provide a means for estimating global heat flow. (+info
A close-up look at Io from Galileo's near-infrared mapping spectrometer.
Infrared spectral images of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io, acquired during the October and November 1999 and February 2000 flybys of the Galileo spacecraft, were used to study the thermal structure and sulfur dioxide distribution of active volcanoes. Loki Patera, the solar system's most powerful known volcano, exhibits large expanses of dark, cooling lava on its caldera floor. Prometheus, the site of long-lived plume activity, has two major areas of thermal emission, which support ideas of plume migration. Sulfur dioxide deposits were mapped at local scales and show a more complex relationship to surface colors than previously thought, indicating the presence of other sulfur compounds. (+info