Daily Prelims Notes 21 March 2021
- March 21, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
21 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- GREAT NICOBAR
- ISTANBUL CONVENTION
- FAGRADALS VOLCANO
- VOYAGER STATION
- CLASSIC BAGH FESTIVAL
- INDIAN MONSOON
- INSIGHTS MISSION
- BLACK HOLE
Subject : Geography
Context : NITI Aayog vision for Great Nicobar ignores tribal, ecological concerns.
Great Nicobar Group of Islands
- Geography: They are located around 1,300 km southeast of the Indian subcontinent, across the Bay of Bengal and are home to the two most primitive tribes namely- Nicobarese & Shompens.
- Species found: It is a habitat for diverse creatures including the giant robber crab, a megapode bird, the crab-eating macaque, and is also a nesting ground for leatherback sea turtles.
- Ecology: The island harbors a wide spectrum of ecosystems from tropical wet evergreen forests, mountain ranges, and coastal plains. These islands also host the growth of coral reefs (the existence of which is threatened by the plastic debris & marine litter).
- The island includes the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve (GNBR) which has been declared as one of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO.
- The reserve comprises of the Galathea National Park and the Campbell Bay National Park.
- The Sundalands which is one of the four biodiversity hotspots in India includes the Nicobar group of Islands.
Subject : Geography
Context : Japan’s meteorological agency lifted a tsunami advisory around an hour after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the country’s northeastern coast on Saturday, causing no immediate damage or injuries.
- These are a series of waves usually generated by movement of the sea floor. These movements are caused by different types of geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions.
- The word tsunami is a Japanese word, represented by two characters: tsu, meaning, “harbor”, and nami meaning, “wave”.
- The tsunami waves behave very differently in deep water than in shallow water as their speed is related to the water depth.
- They frequently occur in the Pacific, where dense oceanic plates slide under the lighter continental plates. When these plates fracture they provide a vertical movement of the seafloor that allows a quick and efficient transfer of energy from the solid earth to the ocean.
Mechanism of Tsunami Waves
- Megathrust earthquakes cause a sudden displacement in a seabed sufficient to cause the sudden raising of a large body of water.
- As the subducting plate plunges beneath the less dense plate, stresses build-up, the locked zone between the plates give way abruptly, and the parts of the oceanic crust is then upthrust resulting in the displacement of a large column of water vertically.
- The tsunami on December 26, 2004, was caused after an earthquake displaced the seabed off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.
- A marine volcanic eruption can generate an impulsive force that displaces the water column and gives birth to a tsunami.
- During a submarine landslide, the equilibrium sea-level is altered by sediment moving along the floor of the sea. Gravitational forces then propagate a tsunami.
- Most destructive tsunamis can be caused due to the fall of extra-terrestrial objects on to the earth.
Subject : Environment
Context :70 years after big cat’s extinction, India prepares to welcome cheetahs from Africa.
- Nearly 70 years after the cheetah was declared locally extinct or extirpated, India will receive its first batch of the large cats from Africa by the end of this year.
- Within a week’s time, two expert teams — one from Namibia and the other from South Africa — the two countries with the highest cheetah populations in the world, will arrive to train Indian forest officers and wildlife experts on handling, breeding, rehabilitation, medical treatment and conservation of the animals.
- This is the first time in the world that a large carnivore will be relocated from one continent to another.
- IUCN status – Vulnerable
- CITES status – Appendix-I of the List. This List comprises of migratory species that have been assessed as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range.
- Habitat – Around 6,500-7,000 African cheetahs present in the wild.
- Physical Characteristics – Bigger in size as compared to Asiatic Cheetah.
- IUCN Status – Critically Endangered.
- CITES – Appendix 1 of the list
- Habitat – 40-50 found only in Iran.
- Physical Characteristics – Smaller and paler than the African cheetah. Has more fur, a smaller head and a longer neck. Usually have red eyes and they have a more cat-like appearance.
Subject : History
- Erode Venkatappa Ramasamy was born in 1879 in Erode, then a part of the Coimbatore district of the Madras Presidency.
- He later came to be called “Periyar”, which in Tamil means ‘respected one’ or ‘elder’. He was also popularly referred to as Thanthai Periyar.
- He was a respected Indian social activist and politician who started the Self-Respect Movement and the political party DravidarKazhagam. He is also known as the ‘Father of modern Tamilnadu’.
- His works against the Bhraminical dominance, oppression of women in Tamil Nadu, caste prevalence are exemplary.
- Periyar promoted the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste. He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the people of South India and the imposition of what he considered Indo-Aryan India
- In the year 1919, E.V. Ramasamy joined the Indian National Congress (INC) but resigned in 1925 when he started feeling that only the interests of the few elite sections of society were being catered to by the party.
- In 1924, Periyar participated in a non-violent satyagraha in Vaikom in Kerala.
- From 1929 to 1932, he travelled to British Malaya, Europe, and Russia which had a great influence on him.
- In 1939, E.V. Ramasamy became the head of the Justice Party, changed its name to DravidarKazhagam in 1944.
- The party later split with one group led by C. N. Annadurai forming the DravidaMunnetraKazhagam (DMK) in 1949.
- He advocated for a separate, independent “Land of Dravidians” – Dravida Nadu while continuing the Self-Respect Movement.
Subject : International Organisations
Context : Turkey quits landmark Istanbul Convention protecting women from violence.
- It is also called as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
- The treaty is the world’s first binding instrument to prevent and tackle violence against women.
- It is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls, covering domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation (FGM), so-called honour-based violence, and forced marriage.
- The Convention sets minimum standards for governments to meet when tackling violence against women.
- When a government ratifies the Convention, they are legally bound to follow it.
Subject : Geography
Context : Long-dormant Iceland volcano erupts for first time in 6,000 years.
- A long dormant volcano erupted near Iceland’s capital Reykjavik on Friday, shooting lava high into the night sky after thousands of small earthquakes in recent weeks. This was the area’s first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.
- The eruption occurred near Fagradalsfjall, a mountain on the Reykjanes Peninsula, around 30 km (19 miles) southwest of the capital.
Subject : Economics
Context : The weighted average lending rate (WALR) on fresh rupee loans sanctioned by scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) fell by 183 basis points (bps), of which 112 bps cut was effected since March 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.
Weighted average lending rate (WALR)
- The Weighted Average Lending Rate (WALR) of scheduled commercial banks, is the interest rate charged on all the outstanding loans of a bank.
- Unlike, the MCLR, which is lower because it is for the newest borrower, the WALR is higher.
Marginal Cost of Lending Rate
- It is a benchmark lending rate for floating-rate loans which came into effect in 2016.
- This is the minimum interest rate at which commercial banks can lend.
- This rate is based on four components—the marginal cost of funds, negative carry on account of cash reserve ratio, operating costs and tenor premium.
- MCLR is linked to the actual deposit rates. Hence, when deposit rates rise, it indicates the banks are likely to hike MCLR and lending rates are set to go up.
- The transmission of policy rate changes to the lending rate of banks under the current MCLR framework has not been satisfactory.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : One big discovery this year was the announcement to open the first hotel in space, named Voyager Station, in 2027.
- Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), the company behind the ambitious project, recently unveiled new details about the resort, and the images and videos have created a huge buzz online.
- The one-of-its-kind luxury hotel named Voyager Station will be able to accommodate 400 people and will offer unprecedented views of our planet for tourists and researchers.
- A journey to the outer space will no longer be limited to just astronauts. Moving beyond the plot of a sci-fi film, people can now plan a vacation outside the Earth as world’s first space hotel will soon be a reality.
- And by 2027, space enthusiasts can literally have an out-of-the-world experience as the interstellar resort will be operational. However, it stresses that only a selected few can have this lifetime experience, and a trip to space “cost up to $25 million”.
- The concept of Voyager Station was ideated in 2012 with the launch of the Gateway Foundation which established OAC in 2018 to realise the dream of building the first commercial hotel in space.
Subject : Culture
Context : Classic Bagh Festival all set to captivate music and nature lovers in the national capital.
- The Classic Bagh Festival, a symbol of UK-India creative collaboration, is all set to captivate music and nature lovers in the national capital today
- Set within the grounds of Sunder Nursery, Delhi, the Classic Bagh Festival is a unique and intimate festival.
- Designed as an immersive and environmentally-conscious experience, the free one-day festival (on from 6 am till 10 pm today) has been developed as a site-conscientious response to the luscious green setting of Sunder Nursery and its broader location within Nizamuddin, celebrating Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s vision of pluralism and kindness, and the legacy and contribution to Hindustani music of his favourite disciple, father of Qawaali and Urdu literature, Hazrat Ameer Khusrau.
- Open to visitors of Sunder Nursery, it hopes to highlight the importance of community and celebrate inclusiveness.
- Presented by Jodhpur RIFF and British Council, in association with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the festival supports Indian artistes and festival sector professionals impacted by Covid-19.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Every year, India imports helium worth ₹55,000 crore from the U.S.
- Helium is a colourless, odourless, insipid and non-toxic gas. It’s less soluble in water than any other gas.
- It’s the less reactive element and doesn’t essentially form chemical compounds. The density and viscosity of helium vapour are very low.
- The thermic conductivity and the caloric content are exceptionally high. Helium can be liquefied, but its condensation temperature is the lowest among all the known substances.
- Helium is one of the noble gases of group O in the periodic table. It’s the second lightest element. The main helium source in the world is a series of fields of natural gas in the United States.
Uses of Helium
- The primary use of Helium goes in altitudes research and meteorological balloons.
- It is utilized as an inert protective gas in autogenous welding.
- It is the only cooler capable of declining temperature lower than 15K (-434ºF).
- Helium is also used in the production of germanium crystals and silicon crystals.
- Since it has the ability to diffuse through solids much faster than air, helium is used industrially for pipeline leak detection.
- This element is also used in gas chromatography as a carrier gas.
- Owing to its low melting point, liquid helium has numerous applications in cryogenics, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and superconducting magnets.
Subject : Geography
Context : The evolution of the monsoonal climate in India is still debatable and not fully understood. Though recent data indicates that the monsoon system we experience now dates back to about 25 million years, it is still unclear how the climate was during its long voyage.
- The climate of India is described as the ‘monsoon’ type. In Asia, this type of climate is found mainly in the south and the southeast.
- Out of a total of 4 seasonal divisions of India, monsoon occupy 2 divisions, namely.
- The southwest monsoon season – Rainfall received from the southwest monsoons is seasonal in character, which occurs between June and September.
- The retreating monsoon season – The months of October and November are known for retreating monsoons.
Onset of the South-West Monsoon
- The location of ITCZ shifts north and south of the equator with the apparent movement of the Sun.
- During the month of June, the sun shines vertically over the Tropic of Cancer and the ITCZ shifts northwards.
- The southeast trade winds of the southern hemisphere cross the equator and start blowing in southwest to northeast direction under the influence of Coriolis force.
- These winds collect moisture as they travel over the warm Indian Ocean.
- In the month of July, the ITCZ shifts to 20°-25° N latitude and is located in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the south-west monsoons blow from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The ITCZ in this position is often called the Monsoon Trough.
- The shift in the position of the ITCZ is also related to the phenomenon of the withdrawal of the westerly jet stream from its position over the north Indian plain, south of the Himalayas.
- The easterly Jet Stream (Somali Jet) sets in along 15°N latitude only after the western jet stream has withdrawn itself from the region. This easterly jet stream is held responsible for the burst of the monsoon in India.
- As these winds approach the land, their southwesterly direction is modified by the relief and thermal low pressure over northwest India. The monsoon approaches the Indian landmass in two branches:
- The Arabian Sea branch – The monsoon winds originating over the Arabian Sea.
- The Bay of Bengal branch – The Arakan Hills along the coast of Myanmar deflect a big portion of this branch towards the Indian subcontinent. The monsoon, therefore, enters West Bengal and Bangladesh from south and southeast instead of from the south-westerly direction.
- Another phenomenon associated with the monsoon is its tendency to have ‘breaks’ in rainfall. The monsoon rains take place only for a few days at a time. They are interspersed with rainless intervals. These breaks in monsoon are related to the movement of the monsoon trough.
Inter Tropical Convergence Zone
- The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ,) is a broad trough of low pressure in equatorial latitudes. This is where the northeast and the southeast trade winds converge.
- This convergence zone lies more or less parallel to the equator but moves north or south with the apparent movement of the sun.
Retreating Monsoon Season
- The retreating southwest monsoon season is marked by clear skies and rise in temperature.
- The land is still moist. Owing to the conditions of high temperature and humidity, the weather becomes rather oppressive. This is commonly known as the ‘October heat’.
- In the second half of October, the mercury begins to fall rapidly, particularly in northern India.
- The weather in the retreating monsoon is dry in north India but it is associated with rain in the eastern part of the Peninsula. Here, October and November are the rainiest months of the year.
- The widespread rain in this season is associated with the passage of cyclonic depressions which originate over the Andaman Sea and manage to cross the eastern coast of the southern Peninsula. These tropical cyclones are very destructive.
- A bulk of the rainfall of the Coromandel Coast is derived from these depressions and cyclones.
- Unlike the rest of the country, which receives rain in the southwest monsoon season between June and September, the northeast monsoon is crucial for farming and water security in the south.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : NASA’s Insight spacecraft which is located on Mars has made an estimate of the size of the Martian core. It finds that Mars’s core is about half the size of Earth’s core and measures between 1,810 and 1,860 kilometres.
- NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander touched down on Mars at the end of 2018.
- It is a two year mission that will study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.
- The InSight mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program (1992).
- InSight is the first mission dedicated to looking deep beneath the Martian surface.
- Among its science tools are a seismometer for detecting quakes, sensors for gauging wind and air pressure, a magnetometer, and a heat flow probe designed to take the planet’s temperature.
- It is being supported by a number of European partners, which include France’s Centre National d’ÉtudesSpatiales (CNES), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Until now, the number of black hole mergers detected by LIGO, VIRGO and KAGRA detectors is minuscule compared with the number of mergers actually taking place in the sky.
- A black hole is formed when stars collapse and can be defined as a space in the universe with an escape velocity so strong that even light cannot escape it.
- Escape velocity is the speed at which an object must travel to override a planet or an object’s gravitational force.
- Since light cannot get out, black holes are invisible and can only be tracked with the help of a space telescope or other special tools.
- And the reason light cannot escape is mainly that the gravity inside a black hole is very strong as a result of a lot of matter being squeezed into a small space.
- It acts like an ideal black body reflecting no light. It continues to grow, by absorbing mass from its surroundings.
Black hole merger
- Gravitational waves, postulated by Albert Einstein 100 years ago but discovered only in 2015 do not produce any sound on their own.
- These are just ripples created in the fabric of space-time by moving celestial objects just like a moving boat produces ripples in water.
- But when converted into audio signals, these can produce signature sounds that can reveal the origin of the gravitational waves.
- The gravitational wave detected on September 14, 2015, is now known to have been produced by the merger of two black holes about 1.3 billion years ago.
- Scientists already knew the kind of sound that gravitational waves emanating from such events were likely to produce.
- As two such dense and massive objects, black holes or neutron stars, are about to merge, they start rotating around each other at almost the speed of light. The merger takes place within a fraction of a second.
- The gravitational waves released in this last bit, when converted into audio signals, produce sound that is within audible range of human beings.
- The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) is a group of scientists focused on the direct detection of gravitational waves, using them to explore the fundamental physics of gravity, and developing the emerging field of gravitational wave science as a tool of astronomical discovery.
- The LSC works toward this goal through research on, and development of techniques for, gravitational wave detection; and the development, commissioning and exploitation of gravitational wave detectors.
- The project operates three gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. Two are at Hanford, Washington, north-western US, and one is at Livingston in Louisiana, south-eastern US.
- The proposed LIGO India project aims to move one advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India.
- Virgo is a giant laser interferometer designed to detect gravitational waves.
- Virgo has been designed and built by a collaboration of the French Centre National de la RechercheScientifique (CNRS) and the Italian IstitutoNazionale di FisicaNucleare (INFN)
- It is now operated and improved in Cascina, a small town near Pisa on the site of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), by an international collaboration of scientists from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Hungary.
- The Kamioka Gravitational Wave Detector (KAGRA), formerly the Large Scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope (LCGT), is a project of the gravitational wave studies group at the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (ICRR) of the University of Tokyo.
- It is Asia’s first gravitational wave observatory, the first in the world built underground, and the first whose detector uses cryogenic mirrors.