Earth Changes


New giant sinkhole in Siberia 'can explode at anytime'

Hillocks (pingos) form before the gas emission that creates sinkhole craters, outlines in red.
Scientists in Siberia are preparing for the formation of a massive new crater, which will be even bigger than an existing one. The researchers believe the sinkhole will be caused by a blast in the permafrost, though they are keeping its location under wraps.

The scientists have located a so-called 'hillock of swelling,' which is abnormal in terms of size and form, according to Vladimir Olenchenko, a senior researcher at the Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics in the city of Novosibirsk. He added that the new possible sinkhole is not far from and will be bigger than a massive crater, which was formed last year in Solikamsk.

"We are keeping the coordinates of its location a secret so that this will not lead to a pilgrimage of the scientists and quasi-scientists, as it can explode at anytime," said Olenchenko.The scientists are planning to keep track of how quickly this new crater may develop by using aerial and space footage.

Comment: See also: Russia: Giant Sinkhole in Dagestan
Drone film gives terrifying glimpse of growing sinkhole in northeast Russia


Magnitude 4.2 earthquake recorded off Vancouver Island coast

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit off the west coast of Northern Vancouver Island, around 535km away from Vancouver.

The earthquake occurred at 6:24 a.m. Tuesday morning 201km west of Port Hardy under the Pacific Ocean in the area known as the Cascadia Basin. The epicenter is measured to be 10km below the Earth's crust.

There are currently no known reports that anyone felt the quake.

There have been 75 earthquakes in the surrounding coastal region so far this year.



Dead minke whale discovered at Cape Wolfe, Canada; third in area in a month

© Merle Massie
Jodie Asselin from Alberta stands next to a dead minke whale she and two women from Saskatchewan, Merle Massie and Darcy Overland, discovered Saturday on a beach in Cape Wolfe.
For three travelling companions from the Prairies, Saturday's discovery was a rare find, indeed.

Merle Massie and Darcy Overland from Saskatchewan and Jodie Asselin from Alberta had just completed a conference in Summerside when they decided to go exploring.

Their adventure took them to Cape Wolfe.

"We were just walking the coastline, because the cliffs are quite nice. We thought it would be very picturesque," Overland related.

"We went down and we went, 'Well, that's a funny-looking rock,'" Massie said.

That unusual rock turned out to be a dead whale. Provincial Conservation Officer, Sandra Keough, who examined the whale on Monday, said she believes it's a minke, the third such find along a 17-kilometer stretch of West Prince beach in a month. One was found in Roseville on August 18. On Friday another one was floated off the beach in Burton and buried on a more accessible section of beach further north in the community.


2 bear attacks on people near Revelstoke, British Columbia

© Revelstoke Bear Aware
A black bear.
A B.C. environment minister spokesperson has confirmed there were two separate bear attacks in the Revelstoke area in the past few days.

Original story follows this update

A Revlstoke man walking between the Bell Pole yard and the Smokey Bear Campground on Sunday afternoon found himself in the one situation you really don't want to be in when it comes to bears.

The man, who didn't want his name used, said he was walking with his daughter's 13-year-old black lab Midnight when he came across a bear cub on the path.

He instantly turned around to retreat, but behind him was the mother bear, and he was caught in between the two.

His daughter, Heather Hill, tells the story from here:

"Mama came out of nowhere and jumped him and pushed him from the back into a puddle," Hill said. "She just hit him like a brick. We are assuming that he probably fell with him into the puddle."


2.8 magnitude earthquake recorded in Rutland, UK

© David Cheskin/PA
The British Geological Survey has confirmed an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.8 has been recorded in Oakham, Rutland.
The British Geological Survey has confirmed it has recorded an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.8 in Oakham, Rutland.

It was felt at approximately 10.40pm on Tuesday evening. The British Geological Survey said the depth of the tremor was 2km.

It is the second time this year that tremors have been felt in Rutland. In January, an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 was recorded in the county.

Comment: Remember these earthquakes recorded in the Rutland area over the past couple of years? Now consider this:

Earthquake frequency increasing: Rate of strong quakes doubles in 2014

Black Cat

British Columbia dad slugs cougar that attacked two-year-old daughter

With a cougar's jaws wrapped around the head of his two-year-old daughter, Travis Nielsen selflessly did what any other parent would do.

The Tahsis, B.C. father fired a punch at the big cat and shielded his daughter, Bree, before it could do any more harm.

The terrifying scene unfolded at a property in the remote western Vancouver Island community at around 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Nielsen, his wife and their daughter were sitting in deck chairs in their backyard when suddenly, the animal pounced on the toddler from behind.

"I immediately reacted. I punched the cougar, and then I kind of shielded my daughter behind me when he let her go," he said.


Signs and Portents: Two-headed turtle hatched in China


Rare: The farmer claims it is the first turtle in the 30 million he has bred to have two heads
The farmer claims to have bred millions of turtles over his career but has never seen one that looks quite like this

A farmer has been left in shock after a two-headed turtle was born at his farm - and claims it is the first in 30 million.

The bizarre creature hatched recently at a farm in Nanfeng County, in the Jiangxi Province of China, according to


2015 wildfire season already a record-breaker

© U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Trees engulfed in flames at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Worst recorded years for U.S. wildfires are 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2012. This year has already joined that list, and wildfire season is still going strong.

The 2015 wildfire season in the United States has already broken records. So far this year, more acres of land have burned as of mid-September than the total annual amount in 2011, which was the 4th worst year for wildfires at least since the 1960s. So will this year be the new fourth worst, third worst, second worst, or worst wildfire year since then? Read on, and take a guess.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, publishes a ton of useful statistics on wildfires that are critical for helping state and federal agencies manage the flames. These records date back to the 1960s.

The chart below, created with the National Interagency Fire Center data, shows that the worst years for wildfires in the U.S., since these records began being kept, were 2006 (9,873,745 acres burned), 2007 (9,328,045 acres burned), 2012 (9,326,238 acres burned), 2011 (8,711,367 acres burned), and 2005 (8,689,389 acres burned).

© D. E. Conners, EarthSky.
Annual amount of land burned by wildfires in the U.S.
Already as of September 18, 2015, 8,821,040 acres of land have burned across the U.S., and this number exceeds the total number of acres burned for 2011. Hence, 2015 has already earned a spot as the 4th worst year on record, and the 2015 wildfire season is still going strong.



Mysterious explosion obliterates house near Dallas, Texas


100, Arabian Street, Waxahachie, near Dallas.
Two people are being treated for severe burns after their North Texas home was leveled by an incredible explosion early Monday morning.

Waxahachie firefighters arrived at the home on the 100 block of Arabian Road at about 8 a.m. after neighbors called 911 to report the devastation.

Meanwhile, residents in the Saddlebrook Estates rushed to the flattened home to help free the residents, a woman and her adult special needs brother, who were trapped inside.

"I took off running down the street. About that time I saw somebody carrying a gentleman out of the house," said neighbor Robert Denton.


5.6 earthquake recorded in Gulf of Aden

A 5.6-magintude earthquake struck the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday morning, with authorities confirming the UAE was not impacted by any seismic activity.

The incident occurred at 8.03am UAE time, with the head of the country's seismology centre telling 'Emirates24|7', the epicentre of the tremblor was 10 kilometres deep in the Gulf of Aden, the body of water between Yemen and Somalia.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) posted the epicentre was near Qalansiyah, Socotra Island, Yemen.

"The 5.6-magnitude tremblor is what we call a moderate earthquake, which are regular occurrences in the Gulf of Aden," said Khamis Al Shamsi from the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS).