Earth Changes


April blizzard conditions cause 70-vehicle pile up on Wyoming interstate; 10 inches of snow in one day

As many as 70 vehicles piled up in one spot of a Wyoming interstate Thursday after a heavy April storm dropped almost 10 inches of snow on the area, authorities said.
© Wyoming Highway Patrol
Multiple-vehicle crashes in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 on Thursday, April 16, 2015, that closed the highway between Rawlins and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
An almost 150-mile-long stretch of Interstate 80 remained closed in both directions Thursday afternoon between Cheyenne in southeast Wyoming and Rawlins in the central part of the state because of treacherous, slick conditions that caused accidents across the area, officials said. The worst spot was near mile post 342, between Cheyenne and Laramie, two of the state's major population centers.

The state Highway Patrol said three major accidents happened at that location within just a few hours, the first at 11:22 a.m. ET (1:22 p.m. ET) in blizzard conditions. All told, as many as 50 commercial vehicles and 20 passenger vehicles were piled up at the scene, it said.

No deaths were reported, but the Highway Patrol said, "but multiple injuries have been confirmed." Details on the injuries weren't immediately available.

State Transportation Dept. traffic cameras showed that a long line of trucks and cars remained stalled at that location late in the afternoon:

The National Weather Service said parts of Laramie County along I-80 got up to 9.8 inches of snow — and things could get worse.

Snow was expected to increase overnight into Friday morning, with as much as a foot of snow expected along the southern Laramie range. "there will likely be significant impacts to travel, especially along Interstate 80 from Buford to Arlington," it said.

Comment: Average Snowfall for Wyoming in April:

Bizarro Earth

The number of volcanoes erupting right now is greater than the 20th century's YEARLY average

Volcano Eruption.
Is the number of volcanic eruptions worldwide increasing? Yes. During the 20th century, there were a total of 3,542 volcanic eruptions globally. That works out to approximately 35 eruptions per year. That may sound like a lot, but according to Volcano Discovery there are 36 volcanoes erupting around the world right now. In other words, the number of volcanoes erupting as you read this article is greater than the 20th century's yearly average.

And all of this is part of a larger trend. In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we had ever seen in a single year, and 2015 is already threatening to be another one for the record books. All over the planet, volcanoes that have long been dormant are beginning to wake up, and this is greatly puzzling many scientists.

Fortunately, most of the eruptions in recent years have been relatively small. But scientists tell us that if we do see a VEI 7 or a VEI 8 eruption today, the amount of energy that would be released would be somewhere in the neighborhood of a million nuclear bombs going off all at once, and such an eruption would completely literally transform our civilization almost overnight.

The last VEI 7 eruption that the world witnessed was in Indonesia in 1815.

According to the Express, that massive eruption resulted in a "year without summer" and created famine all over the globe...
The deadly eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia sparked what was known as the 'Year Without Summer' in 1815 as crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere - causing the worst famine for hundreds of years.

However, academics have warned that the chances of a similar disaster happening in the next 85 years, which could see the Earth flung back into a "pre-civilisation state", was estimated to be as high as one in 10.

Due to dense population, an eruption which killed tens of thousands only two centuries ago would now be "cataclysmic" for today's population, the authors warned.

"Large volcanic eruptions have the potential to impact climate, anthropogenic infrastructure and resource supplies on a global scale," the panel of geologists, economists and climate scientists from the European Science Foundation have written in a new paper.
If you don't think that such a thing could happen today, you should keep in mind that global food production is just barely keeping up with global food demand. In fact, in some years the world actually eats more food than it produces. Global food reserves are at perilously low levels, and so a "year without summer" would be absolutely cataclysmic.

And right now, some of the biggest volcanoes in the world are starting to wake up.

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.5 - 183km SSW of Sigave, Wallis and Futuna

  1. 2015-04-17 15:52:51 (UTC)
  2. Times in other timezones
Nearby Cities
  1. 183km (114mi) SSW of Sigave, Wallis and Futuna
  2. 224km (139mi) ENE of Lambasa, Fiji
  3. 401km (249mi) NE of Suva, Fiji
  4. 474km (295mi) ENE of Nadi, Fiji
  5. 679km (422mi) NNW of Nuku'alofa, Tonga
Scientific Data


Wolves attack sheep flock on the edge of Roquebillière town, France


Wolves have attacked a flock of sheep just yards from houses in the Alpes-Maritimes town of Roquebillière.

The pack killed 12 sheep and injured many others in the attack early on Tuesday morning, the first time wolves have attacked so close to houses.

Farmer Daniel Nicolao, 59, told Nice Matin that 21 sheep were either killed or injured - and the injured animals were so badly hurt they were going to be slaughtered.

The Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage told the paper that so far this year there had been 128 wolf attacks and they had killed about 300 animals, with many of the attacks being near Roquebillière, a spa town in the Vésubie valley just 30km from Nice.

Mr Nicolao said he would get compensation but told the newspaper: "I don't give a damn about compensation, it's my sheep that matter. Do you know how much work that means! I'm going to get my rifle, and I'll fix the problem. You watch!"

He added that the pack had attacked every one of the sheep in the flock, meaning they had had young wolves with them and were teaching them to hunt.

"Today they are in the field next door - next year they'll be doing our dustbins!"


Zimbabwean hunter trampled to death by elephant


Hey, that's one less hunter to contend with
A Zimbabwean professional hunter was killed by a bull elephant in the north of the country, his company said on Thursday.

Ian Gibson was killed on Wednesday by the elephant he was tracking with a client in the lower Zambezi Valley, Chifuti Safaris said in a statement posted to the website.

The bull charged Gibson from a distance of less than 100m, the statement said.

"Feeling he was quite close to the elephant, Ian and his tracker Robert continued to follow the tracks in the hopes of getting a look at the ivory," Chifuti Safaris said.

"They eventually caught up to the bull, spotting him at about 50m-100m. The bull instantly turned and began a full charge.

Cloud Precipitation

At least 4 passengers dead after bus is swept away by floods near Mandera, Kenya


Passengers atop a bus that was swept away by flash floods as it tried to cross a seasonal river at Gadudia in Mandera County on April 16, 2015.
At least four passengers were killed while more than 20 remained unaccounted for after floods swept away a bus in Mandera on Thursday.

County Commissioner Alex ole Nkoyo, who confirmed the four deaths, said rescuers were still searching for more bodies along the river where the incident occurred.

The bus, Mr Nkoyo said, had 59 passengers with an unknown number of children when it was rummaged by the fierce waters. Only 42 passengers had been rescued by around 5pm, Mr Nkoyo said.

There were fears that the number of those killed following the floods could rise as signs of more passengers being rescued faded as darkness neared.

Bizarro Earth

Billions of barrel jellyfish appear in coastal waters off Cornwall, UK

Making waves: Billions of barrel jellyfish have been spotted in water off the coast of Devon and Cornwall
This week's warm weather may have tempted you to take a dip in the UK's usually chilly waters.

And if you had, you wouldn't have been the only one swimming around the coastline.

Billions of jellyfish have appeared in our waters, apparently attracted by the higher sea temperatures.

Hundreds of the barrel jellyfish - each the size of a dustbin lid - have been hauled in by fishermen on the Devon and Cornish coast, with dozens of sightings reported to the authorities.


Huge power outage strikes Macau

© Xinhua
A sign at a Macau bank notifying business interruption due the power failure.
A massive power outage, triggered by malfunctioning electrical substations, hit Macau yesterday, paralysing fixed-line telephones, traffic lights and elevator services, said the government. Banking services in the affected areas were also briefly suspended before electricity supplies were restored at noon. Some shops were temporarily closed due to the incident as well.

The city's sole electricity supplier CEM - Companhia de Electricidade de Macau - said at 10:56am yesterday morning that a malfunction of the 110kV high-voltage equipment in the Canal dos Patos substation subsequently affected four primary substations including S. Paulo, D. Maria, Porto Exterior and Ariea Preta substations.

Extensive areas in Macau Peninsula were affected, with 100,000 customers on the Macau Peninsula and some customers in Taipa, Coloane and the University of Macau encountering voltage dips caused by the incident. The power supply was fully restored at 12:20pm according to CEM.


Unofficially it's 365 rhino killed already in South Africa this year


Rhino drinking
With officials figures hard to come by and a change from regular monthly reports to 'quarterly or so' reports its difficult to find out the current situation on rhino poaching in South Africa. Even with reports and statistics now being published on a quarterly basis the South African government is still finding excuses not to publish the figures.

This is so with the first set of rhino poaching statistics due to be published for 2015. The press conference and publication due today has been postponed because the departments that were to be involved in the press conference had 'timetable clashes'.

With a current investigation going on that will probably lead to South Africa asking for a legal rhino horn trade market at next years CITES meeting it is obviously beneficial to cloud the waters where the scale of the poaching epidemic is concerned.

With official figures hard to come by then unofficial reports need to be used as an indication about the effectiveness of anti-poaching activities.

One of the unofficial statistics compiled on rhino poaching in South Africa is put together by OSCAP (Outraged Citizen Against Rhino Poaching) who have their own system in place to monitor rhino deaths and court cases.

Arrow Down

No big surprise: Bird populations around Fukushima plummet after nuclear disaster

© Taramoto
Scientists have taken a closer look at bird populations and have found that since the March 11 earthquake, which caused the nuclear catastrophe, bird populations have plummeted.
Bird populations may have declined to a large extent in Japan's Fukushima province due to the disaster that occurred there in 2011. Scientists have taken a closer look at bird populations and have found that since the March 11 earthquake, which caused the nuclear catastrophe, bird populations have plummeted.

"We were working with a relatively small range of background exposures in this study because we weren't able to get into the 'hottest' areas that first summer after the disaster, and we were only able to get to some 'meium-hot' areas the following summer," said Tim Mousseau, one of the researchers, in a news release. "So we had relatively little statistical power to detect those kinds of relationships, especially when you combine that with the fact that there are so few barn swallows left. We know that there were hundreds in a given area before the disaster, and just a couple of years later we're only able to find a few dozen left. The declines have been really dramatic."

© Alpsdake/Wikimedia Commons
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica gutturalis) in Japan