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heatwave

Flinders Island airport broke the three-decade-old record, reaching 41.5 degrees just before 4pm today [01.30].

The previous high was 40.8 degrees, set in Hobart in 1976.

Tasmanian temperatures have been well above average.

Launceston Airport reached 37.2 degrees, making it the hottest day there since World War II.

In the north-west, Marrawah recorded 33 degrees, while at Fingal in the north-east the temperature hit 40.6 degrees.

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anthomastiscascadeA bright red, undescribed species of shell-less coral, called an anthomastid or gorgons-head coral, at 1700 metres deep at the Cascade Plateau, off south-east Tasmania.



A four-week expedition to explore the deep ocean south-west of Tasmania has revealed new species of animals and more evidence of impacts of increasing carbon dioxide on deep-sea corals.

The collaborative voyage of US and Australian researchers was led by chief scientists Dr Jess Adkins from the California Institute of Technology and Dr Ron Thresher from CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation and Wealth from Oceans Flagships.

“We set out to search for life deeper than any previous voyage in Australian waters,” Dr Thresher says. “We also gathered data to assess the threat posed by ocean acidification and climate change on Australia’s unique deep-water coral reefs.”

Click any image below to see larger version


The survey through the Tasman Fracture Commonwealth Marine Reserve, south-west of Tasmania, explored the near vertical slice in the earth’s crust, known as the Tasman Fracture Zone, which drops from approximately 2000 metres to over 4000 metres.

[click to continue…]

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The new island may have been caused by changing sea levels. Australian Antarctic Division: Gary Miller.

The new island may have been caused by changing sea levels. Australian Antarctic Division: Gary Miller.

Australian scientists making a visit to sub Antarctic Heard Island in the Southern Ocean have found a rapidly changing landscape.

The island is 4,000 kilometres south west of Western Australia and is home to two active volcanoes.

Australian Antarctic Division researchers found that an area known as “Elephant Spit” was no longer attached to the mainland.

Senior Environmental Policy Adviser, Ewan McIvor, says the creation of what appears to be a new island may have been caused by changing sea levels.

“Certainly the air temperature at Heard Island has been observed to have increased by about one degree celsius in the last 50 years,” he said.

“But it’s really hard to remove the possible contribution of rising sea levels from other contributions like the strong ocean swells and winds.”

The glaciers are in retreat too. Read more here.

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baldwin

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is sorting through a treasure trove of antiques and artefacts at a house in Hobart.

The 1920′s Battery Point home was left to the museum by wealthy benefactor Henry Baldwin, who died in 2007.

It was his dying wish that his home and contents be transformed into a museum.

He also donated another two properties and two million dollars, making it one of the largest bequests to an Australian museum.

The Director of the Museum and Art gallery Bill Bleathman says his staff are cataloguing thousands of items and have found rare china, historically significant furniture and unique book collections.

“It really reflects early colonial life in Tasmania right through to current day.”

Read more here. Photograph above by ABC-News.

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florentine-1Police move in on protestors at Camp Flozza in the Florentine Valley. Photographer: Niki Davis-Jones

Anti-logging protesters have clashed with police in the Upper Florentine Valley in Tasmania’s south.

Up to 200 protestors tried to march onto Forestry Tasmania land this morning and more than a dozen were arrested after forcing their way through a police line.

One protestor stopped forest workers by chaining himself to machinery, while four people remain in tree sits at the site of a protest camp that was broken up early this week.

The march was in response to the police breaking up a protest camp on Monday to allow Forestry Tasmania to build a road through the area.

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The federal government has refused to give the final green light to the $2.2 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill.

In a shock development, federal environment minister Peter Garrett announced in Sydney early this afternoon that he had knocked back three of the required 12 environmental permits for the Gunns pulp mill.

Mr Garrett said federal environmental approval for the proposed Tasmanian pulp mill would not be granted until detailed studies on the potential marine impacts have been completed.

More here.

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somer1

Sunday, December 7, will see a massive auction, titled Australia, of convict relics, colonial art, furniture and decorative arts at historical Somercotes — one of Tasmania’s finest estates established in 1823 near Ross.

The auction will have 535 uniquely Australia items on sale.

They include a set of convict handcuffs, and wet weather ‘slops’ or garments that were discovered in the attic of the original homestead at Somercotes. This collection is estimated to sell for $40-50,000.

Another Somercotes item is a neoclassical early Colonial double-ended blackwood sofa, circa 1830, with an estimated value of $20-30,000.

For more information visit Mossgreen Auctions.

For larger views click any image below.

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A Trichopeltarion crab

A Trichopeltarion crab

Scientists have found 274 new species of corals, starfish, sponges, shrimps, and crabs two kilometres beneath the surface of the ocean around Antarctica.

“We know very little about the deep sea,” said lead scientist Nic Bax, a marine biologist with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Hobart, Tasmania.

“Finding out how much live coral is down there, and how large those communities are, is very exciting,” he added.

<em>A new species of sea star, or starfish</em>

A new species of sea star, or starfish

Some of the corals were found to be about 2,000 years old, said Bax.

CSIRO made the discoveries in two separate voyages to marine reserves located 100 to 200 nautical miles off the southern coast of the island of Tasmania, Australia.

Using powerful cameras, scientists shot 8,000 pictures and more than 100 hours of video footage of the seafloor.

They also discovered 145 undersea canyons and 80 new seamounts, or underwater mountains.

<em>A new species of Ophiomitrella brittle star</em>

A new species of Ophiomitrella brittle star

<em>New species of Plesionika shrimp found at depth of 2km</em>

New species of Plesionika shrimp found at depth of 2km

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icy.jpg

Snow and ice are causing major disruptions on Tasmania’s roads this morning, with authorities forced to shut the main highways between the north and the south and to the west coast.

The Midland Highway is shut south of Oatlands, and the Lyell Highway is closed north of Derwent Bridge.

Snow and ice have created treacherous conditions.

The Midland Highway is closed between Melton Mowbray and Mudwall Road, and the alternative route through Colebrook, shown above in a photograph by Laurie Smythe, is barely passable.

[From ABC News ]

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Today is the 25th anniversary of the High Court’s decision to block the Franklin Dam in Tasmania’s south-west Wilderness.

In 1982 Tasmanians elected a Liberal Government for the first time ever. The Premier, Robin Gray, had campaigned on building the Franklin Dam.

After losing the battle to save Lake Pedder from being dammed in the 1970s conservationists launched a highly co-ordinated battle to save the Franklin River, beginning in late 1982.

Over three months about 6,000 protesters blockaded the river and construction roads.

Current Australian Greens leader Bob Brown was among the hundreds sent to jail.

“I came out of jail and the next day found myself a member of Parliament,” said Senator Brown.

One of Tasmania’s Supreme Court judges, Pierre Slicer, also ended up in jail for three weeks.

“And I’m the only judge in Australia that I know of who’s been refused bail by his own Chief Justice,” he said.

In 1983, the then Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, took the Tasmanian Government to the High Court. It decided by just one vote to allow the Federal Government to stop Tasmania building the dam. Later that year, Mr Hawke provided Tasmania with $276 million in compensation.

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