UPSC Prelims News of 17 October 2022
Iranian kamikaze Drones
Context: Ukraine’s capital region was attacked by Iranian-made kamikaze drones.
More on the news:
- Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones to target infrastructure facilities such as Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
- They are small, unmanned aircraft packed with explosives that can directly destroy a tank or a group of troops by flying into them.
- The name is derived from the World War II era’s Japanese kamikaze pilots, who carried out such suicide attacks by intentionally crashing their explosive filled aircraft into enemy targets.
- The US possesses most advanced drones this class but Russia, China, Israel, Iran and Turkey have some versions of it.
Effectiveness of Kamikaze Drones:
- These modern drones can surpass traditional defences to strike targets that are not accessible through conventional weapons.
- They are cheaper to deploy than conventional missiles but are equally effective.
- These small drones are difficult to detect on radar.
- These drones can use facial recognition to hit specific human targets.
- They can be carried easily to forward areas and then deployed.
Diethylene Glycol and Ethylene Glycol
Context: Indonesia has banned diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which are ingredients used in manufacturing of cough syrup.
More on the News:
- Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup are the cough syrups under investigation.
- Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol were the main ingredients that were used in the syrups manufactured by an Indian company, which led to the death of children in Gambia.
- Indonesian regulator has made it compulsory to ensure that medicinal syrup products for children and adults do not contain diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG).
Diethylene Glycol and Ethylene glycol:
- They are chemical contaminants that may be present in the solvent that is used in the syrups. They are considered toxic to humans.
- They can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to pass urine, headache, and altered mental state. It can lead to acute kidney injury that may turn fatal in children.
Mauna Loa Volcano
Context: Hawaii national park authorities have closed the summit area of Mauna Loa as 65 earthquakes have hit the huge volcano in a single day.
About the Mauna Loa volcano
- About: Mauna Loa is the largest active volcano in the world in terms of its area and volume.
- It is the third youngest volcano in the Hawaiian – Emperor Seamount chain, a chain of shield volcanoes and seamounts extending from Hawaii to the Kuril–Kamchatka Trench in Russia.
- Location: It is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
- Type: It is an active shield volcano with relatively gentle slopes, a consequence of its extremely fluid lava.
- Formation: Mauna Loa was created as the Pacific tectonic plate moved over the Hawaii hotspot in the Earth’s underlying
Types of Volcanoes
- Shield Volcano:
- Lavas low in silica have a low viscosity and have the capacity to flow long distances away from the vent. Over time they develop into gently sloping volcanoes called shield volcanoes.
- For example, Hawaiian island volcanoes like Mauna Loa and Kilauea, Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island, and the volcanoes on the Galapagos Islands and in Iceland are shield volcanoes.
- More viscous lavas (with a higher silica content) form a steep-sided plug over the vent called a lava dome.
- These volcanoes are made up of layers of pyroclastic materials like ash, lapilli, scoria, and volcanic bombs, and lava, which can have slopes of 30 degrees or more, and are known as stratovolcanoes or composite volcanoes.
- Some examples of stratovolcanoes are Mount Mayon (Philippines) Mount Fuji (Japan), Mount Ruapehu (New Zealand), and Mount Yasur (Vanuatu).
- It is a large bowl-shaped volcanic depression that, after an explosive eruption of magma, forms ash and pumice by emptying
- These volcanic features can be tens of kilometers in diameter and are often filled with water to form large lakes.
- Some examples include Aniakchak caldera (Alaska), Lake Taupo (New Zealand), Yellowstone caldera (United States), and Lake Toba (Indonesia).the magma chamber beneath the volcano. The volcanic cone collapses into the empty magma chamber, forming the caldera.
Context: An expert team has identified six varieties of the Neelakurinji plant in the Santhanpara region of Western Ghats.
- The types of Neelakurunji identified were Strobilanthes kunthiana, Strobilanthes anamallaica, Strobilanthes heyneanus, Strobilanthes pulnyensis, and Strobilanthes neoasper.
- It is a shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- Locally known as Kurinji, the flowers grow at an altitude of 1,300 to 2,400 metres.
- Besides the Western Ghats, Neelakurinji is also seen in the Shevroy in the Eastern Ghats, Sanduru hills of Bellary district in Karnataka.
- Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains, got their name from the purplish blue flowers of Neelakurinji that bloom only once in 12 years.
- The Paliyan tribal people living in Tamil Nadu used it as a reference to calculate their age.
- In ancient Tamil literature,kurinji flowers symbolize love.
- Kurinjimala Sanctuary of Kerala protects the kurinji in approximately 32 km2 core habitat in Kottakamboor and Vattavada villages in Idukki district.