Earth Changes


Woman and dog injured by black bear near Chico, California


Black bear
A woman and her dog were injured when they were attacked by a bear Monday night outside a home near Chico, in Butte County.

At about 11:30 p.m. Monday a woman who lives in Magalia heard a noise in her yard and her dog began barking. She let the dog out, heard sounds of a fight and stepped out herself.

According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy, she said a bear immediately came out from beneath a blue tarp, clawed her on the shoulder and bit her before running off.

The woman was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening wounds and given rabies treatment. The dog, a 9-year-old golden retriever, was taken to a veterinarian, and is in tough shape, according to Foy. "Sounds like he fought hardily," Foy said of the dog.

Fish and Wildlife are deploying a trap to the area to try and capture the offending bear. Foy said it should be in place by the end of the day.

Cloud Precipitation

Gigantic, near record-size hailstones pummel northern Maryland

© Nicka Pohl
Massive hailstone that fell in Timonium, Md. June 23, 2015
As a violent thunderstorm tore through northern Maryland Tuesday evening, it unloaded massive hail - large enough to rank among the biggest in Maryland state weather records.

Nicka Pohl shared with Capital Weather Gang the photo of a softball-size, spiked hailstone measuring approximately 4 inches in diameter, which fell near Timonium. Hail larger than golf balls fell throughout the Hunt Valley, Cockeysville, and Timonium areas in northern Baltimore County.

The hail dented cars all over the area and smashed back windows
, Pohl said.

Christopher Strong, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office serving Washington and Baltimore area, said Maryland records show there have been only two instances of hail larger than the 4-inch stone Pohl collected. Hail measuring 4.5 inches in diameter was observed in LaPlata in 2002 when a large, violent F4 tornado swept through the area. And a stone measuring 4.5 inches was reported in Baltimore in 1970.


Northern Lights making 'rare' appearance in the skies above Cornwall, UK

© Geoff Robinson
Beautiful: Incredible aurora appears over Bude beach
A photographer taking night time beach shots could not believe his eyes as he spotted the natural phenomenon

This stunning time-lapse footage shows the beautiful sight of the Northern Lights appearing in the skies over Cornwall.

A photographer taking night time beach shots could not believe his eyes as he spotted the natural phenomenon.

Chris Small was on the beach at Bude around 1.30am on Tuesday when the eerie ribbons of purple light appeared in the star strewn sky above.

The Northern Lights are frequently sighted in the Arctic Circle and Scandinavia and sometimes even Scotland but very rarely seen as far south as Cornwall.

And Mr Small was delighted.

"I've never seen them before although I've always wanted to," he said.


50 wildfires burn across Northeast Florida

Wildfires are consuming more than a square mile of forest as 50 fires burn throughout Northeast Florida, including a fire in Nocatee that came within 20 feet of homes, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Greg Dunn, senior forester, said three bulldozers plowed about two miles of fire lines in the Nocatee area to contain the 8-acre fire.

Storms soaked parts of Northeast Florida Sunday night, although it was a mixed bag for fire officials. While the rain was helpful, lightning bolts compounded the problem by igniting more fires.

Of the 50 fires burning 720 acres in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties, 37 of them have been started by lightning, according to the Forest Service.

Arrow Down

Huge sinkhole opens up on golf course in Lenexa, Kansas


Sinkhole opens on Lenexa golf course
A big sinkhole has opened up on a Lenexa golf course.

The sinkhole is on the left side of the fairway on the 13th hole at Canyon Farms Golf Course. Despite the change in the landscape, the course and the hole itself remain open.

"I believe it's par 4," said golfer Jerry Nelson. "But they have set the tee box way up front about 120 yards out."

Shortening the hole takes the sinkhole out of play.

A statement from the owners said a portion of the course is built over a nonoperating limestone mine. The statement said the majority of the mine is considered stable, according to various geotechnical studies.

Nelson and his partner said they took a good look at the sinkhole as they played the course.

Cloud Precipitation

Flooding in Costa Rica prompts evacuation of hundreds of people

© Red Cross
National Meteorological Institute forecasts say rains likely will increase starting Monday night, and emergency agencies are sending food and other supplies to people in the most affected cantons.

A total of 458 people were evacuated to six shelters in Costa Rica's Caribbean and Northern regions due to flooding caused by heavy rains beginning over the weekend, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) reported Monday evening.

Most of those affected are residents from the cantons of Sarapiquí in Heredia, Matina, Siquirres and Pococí in Limón, as well as Grecia and San Carlos in Alajuela. A total of 92 communities are reported to be affected to some degree by the heavy rains, according to the report.

CNE officials reported that the floods have affected five roads, blocking passage to at least 24 communities. Six bridges currently are closed, and several communities do not have access to drinking water because two aqueducts failed over the weekend.

Officials from the National Roadway Council and the Public Works and Transport Ministry on Monday afternoon reported that passage on Route 32, the main highway connecting San José with the province of Limón, is closed at the Blanco River bridge at kilometer 58.


Basking shark caught near Australia for the first time in 85 years


It took a crane to lite the shark out of the boat and another five hours to cut into small enough pieces to carry
The uncommon discovery of a peculiar-looking shark is the first sighting of the second largest living fish in Australian waters for 85 years.

James Owen and his crew accidentally caught the 6.3-metre basking shark in their trawler at Portland, west of Warrnambool, in Victoria on Sunday but instead of selling the sought-after Chinese delicacy, they decided to donate the rare three-tonne male fish to science.

Only smaller than the whale shark, the mammoth fish has an unusual pink/purple hue to its skin and a huge flat nose.

The last recording of this species being captured was in the 1930s by a skipper at Lakes Entrance in eastern Victoria.


Pakistan heat wave kills hundreds: Victims 'dying on the streets'

© B.K. Bangash / AP

Pakistanis cool themselves Tuesday under a broken water pipe in Islamabad as temperatures increase during Ramadan.
A heat wave raging through southern Pakistan has claimed more than 700 lives, officials said, with witnesses describing victims "dropping dead" on the streets.

Temperatures have exceeded 110 degrees in recent days, and thousands of people have been left to face the heat without electricity amid widespread power outages.

At Karachi's largest hospital, more than 150 people have been admitted for heatstroke since Monday, according to Ali Nawazish, the emergency room registrar at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center.

"Some patients have come to us with their families, some have been found by ambulances, and some families have come here looking for their loved ones who they fear are dead or affected," Nawazish said. "It's chaos."

Ramzan Chippa, who runs a volunteer ambulance service with a fleet of 300, told NBC News that all his vehicles are committed and that most of their relief activity is taking bodies to morgues.

"Most of the bodies we are recovering are people dying on the streets. They're just dropping dead," said Chippa. "Graveyards have filled up."

The army has joined the relief effort, setting up heatstroke relief camps in Karachi and five other cities in Sindh province. But relief systems are stretched across the city, and small, angry skirmishes have erupted in protest.

A deputy commissioner in the Korangi suburb of Karachi admitted that public relief services are stretched to their limits.

"People are screaming at us on our helpline to get help them, and when we do, they fight to get on the ambulance," he said.

More opposition parties, including the Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi movement, are blaming the federal government for the crisis, which they say has been compounded by massive power cuts all across Sindh province.

Dildar Shah lives in the Karachi suburb on Malir and has lost two neighbors to the extreme conditions. "This is like the Day of Judgment," he said. "It seems all of us will die in this heat together."


Fish-killing virus sweeps Europe

© Creative Commons
Red koi abound at the pond of a shopping area of downtown Shanghai.
Vienna - Carp edema virus affects fish like carp, causing lethargy and eventual death. The disease originated in Asia and has now been detected in Austria.

The disease is also sometimes called koi sleepy disease. It is an infectious disease of fish, where they gravitate to the bottom of a pond or a river and display little movement.

Physiologically, the eyes of the fish become sunken, the skin undergoes flaking and the gills become swollen.If the swelling of the gills progresses then the fish dies through lack of oxygen.

The fish affected are mainly carp and koi. Carp is a general term for oily, freshwater fish including the silver carp, common carp and black carp.

Koi are a specific type of ornamental carp, which come in a variety of colors including white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream.

The type of virus and how it reacts is still a mystery to virologists. It is thought that the infectious virus is related to the small-pox family (although it is not hazardous to humans). The case in Austria has allowed scientists to begin exploring the disease in more detail, using the latest molecular biology methods bolstered by electron micrography.


Poachers slaughtering African elephants on an 'industrial scale': Study

© Getty Images
Elephants stroll through Namibia's Etosha Park
Investigators who collected DNA from the tusks of slain elephants and painstakingly looked for matches in the vast African continent have identified two large areas where the slaughter has been occurring on an industrial scale, according to a study published on Thursday.

The two areas are Tanzania in the east and a cross-border region encompassing several nations in the central-western part of Africa.

Samuel Wasser, an author of the study published in the journal Science, said he hopes the study will focus law enforcement efforts and increase international pressure on host countries to crack down on poaching, but he acknowledged the challenge.

"You're literally asking them to police themselves," Wasser said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. He suggested donor countries could demand more robust conservation efforts in exchange for development aid.

The big size of shipments of confiscated ivory from both regions - over half a ton - indicates the presence of transnational crime syndicates likely operating with corrupt authorities, said researchers who matched DNA from seized tusks to samples of elephant hair, tissue and dung from wildlife parks across Africa.