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Fri, 12 Feb 2016
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake rattles northeastern Taiwan

An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale occurred off the coast of northeastern Taiwan at 10:19 p.m. Tuesday, the Central Weather Bureau reported shortly after the temblor.

The quake's epicenter was located at sea about 185.4 kilometers east of Keelung City Hall in northern Taiwan at a depth of 212.7 km, the bureau said.

The strongest tremors, which had an intensity of 3 on Taiwan's 0-7 seismic intensity scale, were felt in Nan'ao in Yilan County and Yenliao in Hualian County.

Taichung, Nantou County, Taitung County and Hsinchu County recorded an intensity of 2, while an intensity of 1 was reported in Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan, the bureau said.

Bizarro Earth

Australian volcanic eruption captured on film

© Pete Harmsen
The still-smoking peak of Big Ben volcano, shortly after the eruption.
Australia's only two active volcanoes have both erupted - and scientists on board a ship conducting research nearby caught the rare event on film.

The Big Ben volcano on remote Heard Island in sub-Antarctica, almost 1800 kilometres north of Australia's Antarctic base at Davis Station, erupted a combination of poisonous gases and red-hot lava. It was the first time it had done so in decades.
We witnessed the lava descending Big Ben interacting dramatically with the snow and ice cover of the mountain.

Richard Arculus, ANU volcanologist
The other volcano, on the neighbouring McDonald islands, erupted gas only. Scientists on board the CSIRO's RV Investigator were visiting the islands to conduct research into the concentration of iron in Antarctic waters.

"We witnessed the lava descending Big Ben as it interacted dramatically with the snow and ice cover of the mountain," said ANU volcanologist Professor Richard Arculus, who witnessed the eruption first hand.

Snowflake Cold

Mexico enduring the coldest winter in its history

A hat! a hat! I should have worn a hat!
The situation is particularly worrying in the north, where the thermometer reached the -17 ° C mark. In Mexico City it snowed in January, a phenomenon not seen in the capital since 1967.

31 Jan 2016 - While the storm Jonah was unleashed on the United States, in Mexico temperatures dropped to record lows.

The snow and cold forced the government to declare a state of emergency is declared in 24 of the 32 states in the country.

The National Meteorological System has warned that the worst of winter may be yet to come and that temperatures will fall in the north, northeast, east and center of Mexico.

Comment: See also: Mexico hit by polar air mass: State of emergency declared in 446 municipalities


One of the lucky ones: Blue whale rescued off Dapoli, India

© Mohan Upadhye
Volunteers of Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra and forest officials rescuing the stranded blue whale on Dapoli beach in Ratnagiri district.
The whale, weighing approximately 25 tonnes, was seemingly stranded in the shallows during the night because of the high tide and was then trapped in the sand.

Sightings of whales along the coastline of Maharashtra seem to have become a common occurrence. Three days after a 45-feet-long Bryde's Whale was found dead on the Juhu beach, another behemoth whale was spotted around 200 km away from Mumbai.

A 40-feet-long blue whale was spotted stranded in the shallow waters of Dapoli beach in Ratnagiri district by members of the Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra on February 1, who successfully rescued it and sent it back into deeper seas.

According to the environmental group, on a chilly morning at around 6 am, a volunteer of the group saw the whale struggling to keep itself in the waters, almost 100 metres from the shore.

The whale, weighing approximately 25 tonnes, was seemingly stranded in the shallows during the night because of the high tide and was then trapped in the sand.

"Immediately, the volunteer alerted other members of the group and we informed the forest officials," Project Director, Mohan Upadhye from Dapoli said. The distress call by the group was heeded by around 25 men of the village, alongside a strong force of forest officials as well.


Dead sperm whale washed ashore at Ganjam, India

The body of the sperm whale
The sight of dead body of a 35 feet long and 10 feet round sperm whale washed ashore shocked locals on Tuesday near Kantiagada village that under Ganjam block.

The whale is suspected to have died five days back.

Informing about the body that washed ashore, Khalikote Forest Ranger, Dilip Kumar Martha, said, "We doubt that the whale died four or five days back. Initial investigations suggest that the whale died after being hit by a ship. The Odisha museum has also been informed about the whale if they ever want to preserve it. If they don't, the whale will be buried near the coast."


Tourist gored and trampled to death during elephant ride in Thailand

The elephant is said to have attacked its handler first, before turning on Mr Crowe. This is another elephant on the same park where Mr Crowe was killed
Thai authorities said Tuesday that a Scottish tourist was gored by an enraged elephant and trampled to death during a trekking tour on the resort island of Koh Samui.

Gareth Crowe, 36, and his stepdaughter, Eilidh Hughes, 16, were riding the adult elephant when they were thrown from the animal, police told Agence France-Presse. Crowe's stepdaughter and the elephant's handler were able to escape, but Crowe — who had a prosthetic leg, police said — could not outrun the elephant, Samui District Chief Paiboon Omark told AFP.

Crowe was wounded by the elephant's tusk and trampled. He died after being transported to a local hospital.

According to Thai news reports, the elephant — named Rambo but also known as Golf — became upset when his handler, called a mahout, climbed down to take a picture for the tourists.


Tasmania fighting fire and flood emergencies at the same time

Floods Tasmania
A refuge has been set up at the Triabunna council chambers for those stranded in the area.

The Tasman Highway between Buckland and Orford has been closed due to flooding and landslides, as has the highway a kilometre north of Triabunna.

One holiday-maker, who asked not to be named, said he and his young family were stuck on the other side of the Orford Rivulet, which was now a torrent.

He had been forced to walk into town for supplies, crossing the river via the beach.

"I spoke to the police and they said just to sit tight — the road south is closed and they don't know how long that will be the case for, " he said.

"They told me there was no point trying to get out at his stage."


Rare earthquake shakes residents of Maine, US

© Google Maps
The location of the temblor that reached 3.3 on the Richter scale on Feb.2.
At 6:56 a.m., residents on the east coast of Maine got a wake up call from nature.

A magnitude 3.3 earthquake hit 5 miles to the northeast of Eastport's shore, but residents thought it felt a lot closer than that.

Luckily, there wasn't much damage, but it gave people a good rattle.

The earthquake was detected coming from the waters between Maine and Canada's coasts. Residents from Charlotte and Perry and as far as Machias reported they heard and felt it. Some people experienced minor damage like falling household objects up to 10 miles from the center of the quake. Early risers even saw waves coming from the epicenter in the water. A magnitude 3.3 earthquake is still considered a minor one, but to some who lived close by, it was anything but.

"The only thing I could think of was the house blowing up," said one Eastport resident.

"There were some things falling off the shelves and it sounded like the house was going to crack in half," said another Eastport resident.

A worker on the pier said, "a short time later was a big wave rolling in. Just one rogue wave."

Arrow Down

Underwater sinkhole in Romblon, Philippines draws curiosity, fear

Sinkhole Philippines
The apparently sudden appearance of a sinkhole in a creek in Romblon has raised concern among parents and authorities in the area.

The creek is a common play area for local kids, who love to take a dip in its cool waters. But just over the weekend, two kids were surprised to discover a 1.8-meter-deep sinkhole in their usual haunt.

Parents have since warned their kids to stay away from the creek for fear that they may be sucked into the hole.

This fear may be unfounded, however: sinkholes are usually just depressions formed by the collapse of the surface above a hidden space in the ground.


First EVER snowfall in central Vietnam - Records date back to 1650

Snows blanketed Vietnam and Laos the last week of January 2016 breaking hundreds of cold and snow records.

SaPa farmers at total crop losses, 9000+ cattle froze to death and Nghe An recorded its first snowfall ever with records stretching back to 1650.