‘Now it’s official!’ – Aston Villa relegated from Premier League after 28 years

first_imgLONDON (AP):Aston Villa’s 28-year stay in the English top flight ended yesterday with a 1-0 loss at Manchester United, while Newcastle and Sunderland gave themselves hope of escaping the Premier League relegation zone by both winning 3-0.The threat of relegation ended some time ago for Chelsea, but an 11th loss of a feeble title defences was inflicted by Manchester City. Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick secured a 3-0 win that bolstered City’s position in the Champions League places.Relegation to the second-tier League Championship was confirmed for former European champions Villa in a season of turmoil that has seen the bottom-placed club collect only 16 points from 34 games. Marcus Rashford’s goal sealed Villa’s fate, while keeping United in touch with the top four.”It’s never nice to see it confirmed, but it’s been on the cards for a while,” Aston Villa defender Joleon Lescott told the BBC. “Now (that) it’s official, it’s a weight off people’s shoulders and we can go into the last four games with a bit of freedom and something to prove … and show the fans we still have a fight in us.”Villa have been in the Premier League since their inaugural season in 1992-93 and had been in the top flight in their previous guise for four years before that. Villa won the top tier in 1981 and followed it up by lifting the European Cup the following season, but were relegated in 1987.Villa, now owned by American businessman Randy Lerner, are likely to find it harder to make an instant return to the top division like they did in 1988.There has never been a worse time to be relegated from the Premier League. New television contracts kick in from next season, worth more than £8.3 billion ($12 billion) over three years. Teams are set to earn at least £100 million per season in TV and prize money.SLIDINGSCALEVilla are in line to receive around £65 million for finishing bottom in a sliding scale that sees the champions earn around £100 million.Newcastle and Sunderland are both scrapping to avoid missing out on the larger windfall from next season.Sunderland moved one point from safety by winning at Norwich and they have a game in hand over the eastern England club, who are immediately outside of the relegation zone in 17th. Fabio Borini put Sunderland ahead from the penalty spot in the first half, while Jermaine Defoe and Duncan Watmore netted after the break.Newcastle are two points behind Sunderland after beating Swansea, and Rafa Benitez’s team also has a game in hand over Norwich. Jamaal Lascelles headed Newcastle ahead at the end of the first half and there were late goals from Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend.Yesterday’s focus at the top of the standings was on the scrap for the fourth Champions League spot.City followed up their midweek victory over Paris Saint-Germain, who secured a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, by completing a hat-trick of Premier League wins for the first time this season.Aguero’s first two goals completed counterattacks launched by Kevin De Bruyne. The third came from an 80th-minute penalty after Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was dismissed for clipping Fernandinho.City provisionally climbed above Arsenal into third place. United are three points behind Arsenal in fifth place and could have to settle for a place in the second-tier Europa League.The focus returns to the title race in the coming days. Today, Leicester host West Ham and third-placed Arsenal take on Crystal Palace. Tottenham, who are seven points behind Leicester in second, are at Stoke tomorrow.Elsewhere yesterday, seventh-placed Southampton remained in contention for Europa League qualification after drawing 1-1 at Everton. Watford climbed to 12th place by winning 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion, thanks to goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes saving two penalties after Ben Watson’s goal.last_img read more

Rocks may hold clues to quakes

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityThe samples, taken from 21/2 miles beneath the surface of the San Andreas Fault, are the first rocks ever to be obtained from deep within an actively moving fault zone responsible for some of the world’s most damaging earthquakes. The project, with a budget of about $25 million, has been 15 years in the making. After drilling close to the fault in 2004 and 2005, geologists worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week last summer to retrieve 135 feet of rock cores, each measuring four inches in diameter. The last of the samples was brought to the surface in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 7. The scientists unveiled the rock samples on Thursday. “For the very first time, scientists can hold the San Andreas Fault in their hands,” said Mark Zoback, a professor of earth sciences and geophysics at Stanford University. “It’s a new beginning for several different areas of earthquake research.” Researchers aren’t optimistic that the dark-gray chunks of rock will help them predict when the “Big One” is about to occur. But they will now know exactly what the fault is made of, which they hope will answer questions about the mechanics of earthquakes. Hundreds of scientists from around the world are expected to submit requests to study the samples, yet it will likely be years before they understand what the rocks have to say about the physics of earthquakes. “The ultimate goal is to understand how faults work,” Ellsworth said. The drilling has all occurred about 23 miles northeast of Paso Robles near the small town of Parkfield. The site was selected because it’s an especially active part of the San Andreas Fault that moves regularly, but does not produce large earthquakes. There is no risk of the drilling itself causing a massive temblor. Researchers can already see from the samples that chunks of serpentine are embedded within them. Serpentine is a green-colored mineral which scientists have long suspected might be one of the reasons why that stretch of the San Andreas Fault silently creeps. But it had never been proven that the substance was indeed in the fault. Scientists wonder if the serpentine (which, ironically, is California’s official state rock) has been literally smoothing the way for huge tectonic plates to slide silently past one another. During earlier drilling in 2005, mineralogist Diane Moore of the USGS detected talc in the rock cuttings. Talc is a slippery mineral best known for its use on babies’ bottoms. It can be produced when serpentine comes into contact with water. Scientists aren’t done in the belly of the San Andreas Fault, either. During the next phase of the project, scientists will create the world’s first underground earthquake observatory that is within an active fault. They will lower into it a number of seismic instruments that will await and observe dozens of small earthquakes and their aftershocks over the next 10 to 20 years. That phase of the project could help scientists determine whether earthquakes are predictable. The drilling, which first broke ground in 2004, hasn’t always been easy. The drilling equipment – the same kind used to drill oil wells in California – failed at times this summer as it faced the daunting task of burrowing into thick rock far below the Earth’s surface, where temperatures reached 240 degrees. Then, on the very day scientists had hoped to retrieve their first samples, a major lightning storm swept through the area, threatening their work. “Poetically speaking,” Zoback said, “the San Andreas Fault was fighting back.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! After drilling more than two miles into the ground in a remote area of central California, scientists said Thursday they have hit pay dirt – the first rocks ever to be obtained from deep within the San Andreas Fault. Experts believe the cylindrical samples, which have been washed, shrink-wrapped and gently tucked away in refrigerators for safekeeping, may hold many secrets about earthquakes and the 800-mile-long fault line responsible for the Bay Area’s devastating 1906 earthquake. Why do earthquakes start? How do they stop? What is the fault made of? Scientists believe that by studying the new rock samples they’ll be able to come up with answers for some of the tough questions that have eluded them for years. “This for us is really the mother lode,” said William Ellsworth, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. “They’re more precious than moon rocks and gold.” last_img read more