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Including humans: Scientists say mass extinction may be underway

© www.fredhoogervorst.com
An international team of scientists is warning that Earth may be entering the early stages of another mass extinction event, reports Live Science.

More than 320 land vertebrates have gone extinct since the year 1500 and many of the world's plant and animal species are endangered, says a new study. Up to one-third of all vertebrates are threatened or endangered, the researchers said.

Large land animals, such as elephants, rhinoceroses and polar bears, show the highest rates of decline. They are at particular risk because they tend to have few offspring and low population growth rates. Hunters and poachers also find their fur, meat, tusks or horns to be attractive targets.

Losing a species of large animal can have unexpected effects on the ecosystem and nearby human developments, a process known as defaunation. In an earlier study, researchers isolated patches of land from animals, including zebra, giraffes and elephants. Without the animals, the grass and shrubs grew tall, and the soil became looser. Rodents quickly took over and doubled in numbers, eating the seeds from the plants and living in the patchy soil that was relatively predator-free.

Comment: Mass extinctions have happened before and will happen again soon.

See: Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction! And read Sott's Comets and Catastrophe series here. Something wicked this way comes!

Life Preserver

17 confirmed dead after landslide buries houses in West India - hundreds trapped

© BBC
Reports say heavy rains triggered the landslide
At least 17 people are confirmed dead after a landslide buried some 40 houses and trapped about 150 people in a village in west India, officials say. Teams of emergency workers have so far rescued six people in Malin village, near the city of Pune in Maharashtra state, where the disaster happened. Rescuers trying to reach survivors caught under the debris are being hampered by bad weather.

The landslide hit the village early in the morning while people were sleeping. BBC Hindi's Devidas Deshpande, who is at the scene, says it took hours to raise the alarm. A local bus driver alerted officials on discovering that Malin and the road leading to it were no longer to be seen. The whole village except its school has been washed away or buried, our correspondent says.

Landslides are common in some parts of India during the monsoon rains, which run from June to September. An official from India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said hilly terrain was making rescue work difficult. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the loss of lives in the landslide as "saddening". He said Home Minister Rajnath Singh would travel to Pune to assess the situation.
Magnet

Scientists left baffled after two new holes appear in Russia's icy wilderness

  • One of the craters is located in Siberia's Yamal Peninsula in the Taz district and has a diameter of 49ft (15 metres)
  • The other was spotted on the Taymyr Peninsula in Kransoyark region and has a diameter of 13ft (four metres)
  • They follow the discovery of a larger hole found in Yamal earlier this month at around 230ft (70 metres) in diameter
  • Andrei Plekhanov from Scientific Research Center of the Arctic says crater was formed due to rising temperatures
  • One theory is that a chunk of ice that is located underground created a hole in the ground when it melted
  • Another is that the crater was formed by a mixture of water, salt and gas igniting an underground explosion

The new Yamal crater (pictured) is in the area's Taz district near the village of Antipayuta and has a diameter of about 49ft (15 metres). According to local residents, the hole formed on 27 September 2013.
New unexplained holes have appeared in Siberia following the mystery over a giant crater on the Yamal Peninsula.A second is in the same permafrost region of northern Russia, and a third on the Taymyr Peninsula, to the east, in Kransoyark region.

Both were spotted by reindeer herders who almost fell in.The original hole received worldwide attention after being identified by helicopter pilots some 20 miles (32km) from a huge gas extraction plant at Bovanenkov. Now the new holes - smaller in diameter but similar in shape - are posing a fresh challenge for Russian scientists.

Comment: See also:
  • SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Sinkhole, meteor crater, or something else? Giant hole spotted in remote Yamal Peninsula, northern Siberia


Cloud Precipitation

Hundreds evacuated and 3 killed due to floods in Bulgaria and Romania

© REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel
A destroyed house is seen after flash floods in Vaideeni, southern Romania, July 30, 2014.
Three people died and several hundreds were forced to evacuate as surging floodwaters submerged villages in Eastern Europe on Tuesday.

In Bulgaria, authorities said a 61-year-old woman died in the floods and another person was reported missing after torrential rains hit the region of Gabrovo in the central parts of the country.

Two people, including a 72-year-old man, also drowned in Romania as floods raged in different regions, said Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea. A passenger train derailed in the same area after a small bridge caved in due to flooding, but there were no immediate reports of injuries, the national railway said.

Seventy Bulgarian villages and parts of the city of Gabrovo were left without electricity and water supply was disrupted as the flooding destroyed some of the water and sewerage infrastructure. The rains also induced landslides and destroyed bridges, and many roads in the region were blocked by mud and debris.


Attention

Dwarf minke whale washes up near Portland, Australia


The dwarf minke whale washed up near Duttons Way, Portland, before being dissected by researchers.
People are being warned to keep their distance from the remains of a dead whale at Portland.

A Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) spokeswoman said the dwarf minke whale recently washed up close to the city.

"The specimen is valuable to science, with DEPI assisting the Museum of Victoria to conduct scientific research to learn more about marine life," she said.

"Samples, photographs and measurements from the whale will now be available to scientists and researchers for study and comparison."

It is understood the dead whale was cut into pieces in order to remove samples and the skeleton.

Portland resident Michael Biasol said the result was gruesome. "I was walking down the beach near Duttons Way and I found the whale chopped up into little pieces," Mr Biasol said.

"It was in big chunks and lots of them, stretched all down beach. It was weird."
Ice Cube

Antarctic sea-ice extent persists in setting new records - So it's time to double down

Even though Antarctic sea-ice extent has set yet another all-time record, I expect ever more hand-wringing articles about melting ice in desperate attempts to keep the global-warming scam alive.

How will this come about? I think we'll see the media focus their attention more and more on the West Antarctic Peninsula.

This subterfuge might work, because most people know next to nothing about Antarctica. They certainly don't realize that the West Antarctic Peninsula is only a small portion of that huge continent.
Cloud Precipitation

Very heavy rain in much of Holland leads to floods, traffic disruption

© Novum
The heavy rain caused flooding in Arnhem.
Very heavy rain in much of the Netherlands led to localised flooding and traffic disruption on Monday.

The KNMI weather bureau issued a code orange weather warning for much of the country as up to 15 centimetres of rain fell in some places.

Police and fire officials received so many calls they urged the public only to ring the emergency 112 number in cases where lives were at risk.

In the north-east of the country, however, it remained dry with sunny spells.


Comment: On the same day: Flash floods and storms cause travel chaos in London

Blue Planet

Ground opens up, breaking water main, flooding Sunset Blvd near UCLA

© KTLA-TV
A large water main break near UCLA prompts the closure of Sunset Boulevard.

Severe flooding after an apparent water main rupture in Westwood near UCLA has stranded vehicles and caused road closures, officials said.

Sunset Boulevard was closed in both directions from Marymount Place to Westwood Plaza, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Water was as high as wheel wells shortly after the flooding began. Vehicles were stranded in parking structures, and at least one person was stranded. LAFD assisted three motorists.

There is a possible need for local evacuations, according to the LAFD.

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.3 - 19km SW of Juan Rodriguez Clara, Mexico

Juan Rodriguez Quake_290714
© USGS
Event Time
2014-07-29 10:46:15 UTC
2014-07-29 05:46:15 UTC-05:00 at epicenter

Location
17.842°N 95.524°W depth=95.1km (59.1mi)

Nearby Cities
19km (12mi) SW of Juan Rodriguez Clara, Mexico
60km (37mi) W of Sayula de Aleman, Mexico
62km (39mi) SSE of Carlos A. Carrillo, Mexico
65km (40mi) W of Acayucan, Mexico
418km (260mi) ESE of Mexico City, Mexico

Scientific Data
Cloud Precipitation

Dramatic film of flash flooding in Prague

A dramatic video has emerged of flash flooding in Prague on Monday which was caused by heavy rainfall.

According an eyewitness, flood waters washed away street signs and road barriers and Metro station was also flooded.

So far there have been no reports of injuries.



Comment: As can be seen from the chart below, the number of flood reports so far this year is already nearly equal to the total for 2013.



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