Earth Changes

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New one-mile volcanic island forms off Tonga in the Pacific

Three men scale peak of new one-mile island off Tonga which is believed to have formed after a volcano exploded underwater and then expanded
© GP Orbassano
The first photographs have emerged of a newly formed volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean after three men climbed to the peak of the land mass off the coast of Tonga.

The three locals from Tonga visited the island on Saturday, landing on a black beach and climbing to the rim of the crater.

They said the surface was still hot and the green lake in the crater smelt strongly of sulphur.

"It was a perfect day, with fantastic views - bright blue sky and the sea was the same colour as the sky," GP Orbassano, one of the locals, told Tonga's Matangi Online.

The one-mile long cone-shaped island began forming last month, about forty miles from the nation's capital, and is now safe to walk on.

© GP Orbassano
The new volcanic island (centre) forms a trio with the older Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai volcanic islets, Tonga.
© GP Orbassano
Experts believe a volcano exploded underwater and then expanded until an island formed. The island is expected to erode back into the ocean in a matter of months.

Mr Orbassano said he believed the island was high enough for it to remain for some time - and potentially attract tourists.

"There are thousands of seabirds - all kinds, laying eggs on the island," he said.

Tonga's lands and natural resources ministry said last month the island was half a mile wide and just under a mile long. It is believed to be about 820 feet high.


Strange animal behaviour? Weasel attacks heron in Kent, UK

© SWNS/Jonathan Forgham
'Excuse me sir, please let go of my beak’
Warning: This article contains content animals lovers may find upsetting

The world went crazy for a weasel riding a woodpecker last week, but it seems not all weasel/bird relationships are as harmonious as that one.

One weasel received a much colder reception when he tried to jump on and attack the beak of a heron, which ended up eating the furry little rodent for dinner.

First the understandably annoyed heron grabbed the angry weasel in it's beak before dunking him in the water several times, drowning him.

After making sure his nemesis was dead the bird swallowed him in one mouthful.

Bird watcher Jonathan Forgham captured the horrifying moment in the Elmley Mature Reserve in Kent.

© SWNS/Jonathan Forgham
‘OK. Now I’m getting angry.’


Dozens of dead birds found in Cincinnati, Ohio


Dead robins
Nearly a dozen dead robins could be seen Tuesday around Paul Brown Stadium. On the walkway off Central Avenue and West Pete Rose Way five lifeless birds could easily be spotted, just below the expressway.

"Carbon-monoxide poisoning, maybe the trucks and stuff coming across and it builds up," said Wild Birds Unlimited General Manager, Chris Sweigard. He said the birds most likely roost in pockets of the expressway to protect themselves from the weather and to stay warm.

Bird experts at the Cincinnati Zoo said the robins are also victims of the harsh winter, and the stress of the weather and lack of food can kill them.

Ice Cube

Huge chunks of ice wash ashore on Cape Cod

© Dapixara Photography
Chunks of ice washed ashore in Wellfleet
The historic winter of 2015 has left giant chunks of ice on the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Cape Cod photographer Dapixara captured images of a person standing next to the massive pieces of ice that washed ashore in Wellfleet over the past few days.

WBZ-TV Chief Meteorologist Eric Fisher says this could be a "once-in-a-generation" event due to the extraordinary amount of ice on the Massachusetts Bay. Fisher says the ice won't be around for long.

There have been several remarkable images left from the record-setting winter, including the nearly frozen waves captured off the coast of Nantucket last month.

© Dapixara Photography
Chunks of ice washed ashore in Wellfleet

Bizarro Earth

Evacuations as 6.6 earthquake shakes Colombia capital

© Google maps
A screenshot from Google maps.
A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has hit the Colombian capital of Bogota, prompting mass evacuations from the city's buildings. Strong and prolonged tremors sparked panic and a social media storm.

The Colombian Geological Survey reported that the tremors originated from the Santander Department area and were 158 kilometers deep. The earthquake was an estimated magnitude of 6.6.
BOGOTA, Colombia - A Widely Felt Earthquake Has Shaken Colombia's Capital, Swaying Buildings. No Immediate Reports of Damages -AP

— Breaking News (@Breaking911) March 10, 2015
"@monterocnn: Evacúan varios edificios del centro de #Bogotá tras el fuerte sismo"

— AdrianaCarolina! (@Cinnamon_Skin22) March 10, 2015
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake was centered about nine miles (14 kilometers) north of Aratoca, which is about 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of Bogota. The epicenter was reportedly 91 miles (147 kilometers) deep. The USGS revised the earthquake's magnitude to 6.2.

No damage or casualties were immediately reported.


Falling meteor may have sparked unexplained bush fires in New Zealand

© Supplied
This bushfire at Tangahoe on the Whanganui River was reported on February 20
A falling meteor may have caused the spate of unexplained fires in Wanganui forest and bush.

Eight fires in sometimes very remote places have Department of Conservation staff investigating whether the meteor which flashed across the New Zealand sky on the evening of February 11 was to blame.

DoC Whanganui services manager George Taylor said in some cases trees were burned right down to stumps, which was unusual.

Fires at Parinui and Tangahoe were among those fought near the Whanganui River last month. The three latest fires, reported on March 3, were even more remote - one was 5km from the river and the other two were west at Matemateaonga.

Kelly O'Neill farms at Pipiriki and DoC have been using his property to land firefighting helicopters.

He talked to DoC staff there who were pretty convinced the falling meteor of February 11 caused at least some of the fires.

Mr O'Neill saw the meteor himself, around 10pm that night.

"It made a massive big flash in the sky - it was there for about a second, and headed over in that direction."

The meteor was a very bright type called a fireball, said David Britten, the astronomy educator at Auckland's Stardome.

It was probably the size of a football or two and travelling south to north across the country. It could have been debris from an asteroid, comet, moon or planet.


Meteor: Shooting star plummets from New Zealand nightsky


Sinkhole causes gridlock in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

© Lando Zawawi via Facebook
A sinkhole the size of a wheel caused traffic to slow down in Jalan Maarof, heading to Bangsar. The wheel of a car also got stuck in it.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) Civil Engineering and Drainage Department director Tan Keng Chok said the hole appeared after Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) employees were dragging an underground high tension cable to supply power for a nearby Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd construction site.

"The hole appeared after a 33kv cable was pulled to lay supply for the MRT construction in Jalan Damansara," Tan said, when contacted by The Rakyat Post today.

Comment: Yeah, right. It's the cable!

Adding that TNB had admitted its fault, Tan said repairs would be conducted on the road tonight.

An image of the hole was uploaded onto biker group Silaturrahim Brotherhood spokesman Azlan Sani Zawawi @ Lando Zawawi's Facebook page.

Lando, who regularly conducts road repair works on potholes and sinkholes and is part of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) WhatsApp group, uploaded images of his conversation in the group, calling on the authorities to take swift action.

The image of the sinkhole was also uploaded on to Friends of BN's Twitter page.

Arrow Down

Car crashes into sinkhole in Boston, Massachusetts

© Westboro Fire Department
A car was damaged after it crashed into a sinkhole Saturday night in Westborough.

The car fell a few feet into the sinkhole before it came to rest on a gas main below.

Firefighters were able to lay a ladder across the hole and walk out to the woman to rescue.

Police said the driver was not hurt, but the car was totaled.

Comment: The earth is opening up! There have been 25 sinkholes in the past month.


Blizzard conditions close access to Hawaii summits

Ice, snow, and high winds close Mauna Kea Access Road
There is some visibility on Mauna Loa.
The wintry weather continues on the summits of Hawaii Island.

Mauna Kea rangers report blizzard conditions have shut down the road to the summit of the mountain. Poor weather is forecast for the next several days. Webcams have been blinded by the white out.

The summit of Mauna Loa is also closed. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park says the area is off limits for backcountry use due to the continued winter storm conditions.

A high wind warning is in effect for both summits until 6 p.m., reports the National Weather Service. Southwest winds are blowing 45 to 70 mph with localized gusts over 105 mph.

A winter weather advisory is also in effect, with an additional 1 inch of snowfall expected at elevations above 12,500 feet.

There has been constant snow on the summits over the last week. On Saturday, the harsh weather took a break long enough for island residents to drive up to the summit.

Cloud Precipitation

Giant waterspout spotted near the coast of Mauritius

© Delphine Hugounenc
A giant waterspout has allegedly been observed at La Preneuse beach on Friday 6th of March. The sighting of the meteorological phenomenon is attributed to Delphine Hugounenc, a French woman who has settled down in Mauritius for two years now.

Delphine Hugounenc related that she was at the public beach of La Preneuse with her family on the 6th of March. Around 16h00, something bizarre caught her attention. According to her, she saw a waterspout over the sea. When she pointed it out to a friend of hers, they were both shocked at such a sight. Delphine Hugounenc also admitted that on seeing the phenomenon, a feeling of insecurity swept over them.