Earth Changes


14 whales and 16 turtles wash up dead on Baja California Sur coast

© Profepa
The finding of the specimens was detected during a surveillance round carried out by Profepa inspectors .
Specialists say the death of the specimens might be due to natural causes.

14 gray whales and 16 sea turtles were found dead in the Baja California Sur coast, according to the Federal Attorney's Office for Environmental Protection (Profepa).

The finding of the specimens was detected during a surveillance round carried out by Profepa inspectors on the Ojo de Liebre lagoon, in the municipality of Mulegé, Baja California Sur.

According to specialists, the death of cetaceans could be due to natural causes, as this is a breeding area for the mammals, so it is common the whale calves get lost or are abandoned by the mother, so they do not receive adequate nutrition and die.

Cetaceans found were in an advanced state of decomposition, however no rips or injury caused by ships or entanglements were found.

According to Profepa inspectors, another cause of death could be hypothermia, derived from the low temperatures due to cold fronts in recent days.

Comment: See also: 554 dead seabirds and 4 sea lions found on beaches in Baja California, Mexico


Ice covering Great Lakes makes giant leap in January

GIF animation

Animation of ice cover on the Great Lakes from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14 (NOAA)

Ice cover on the Great Lakes has made quite a leap after the first, week-long cold snap of the season.

As of Thursday, ice covered 34.1 percent of the Great Lakes, up from just 5.6 percent on Jan. 1, and 10.8 percent on Jan. 5 - the first day of a polar plunge that gripped most of the eastern U.S. for days to come.

"Last year, the Great Lakes were 21.2 percent ice-covered on Jan. 14, making this year's ice cover 13 percent higher to date," writes "If you recall, below-average temperatures were persistent from mid-January onward in the winter of 2014, leading to the second highest ice coverage on record at 92.2 percent on March 6, 2014."
Amazing shot from our Life on #LakeErie Photo Contest: Fortress of Solitude by @LakeErieSurfer

- Lake Erie Commission (@OhioLakeErie) January 15, 2015
This year's January cold snap set off an upward spiral in ice cover over the lakes, particularly for Erie, the shallowest lake in the network.

Pack of Dhol wild dogs kill 7-yr-old girl in India

© Tarique Sani
Dhol - Indian wild dog
A seven-year-old girl was mauled and killed by a pack of feral dogs in Bhidiya Rasoolpulpur village on Thursday afternoon.

According to reports, the minor, daughter of a brick kiln worker, was attacked by the pack while she was on her way home after giving lunch to her father.

Hearing her cries, villagers and passersby rushed to the spot and tried shooing the pack away but to no avail. The girl, after some time, started bleeding profusely and fell unconscious on the spot.

The dogs did not leave the spot despite many attempts by the locals. It was only when some villagers armed with sticks rushed to the place, that the dogs left.

By then, the girl had already died due to extensive bleeding and deep injuries, said inspector Bachchu Singh of Sheshgarh police station.

"This is the first time that such an incident has been reported. Though the pack inhabits the forest area, it rarely ventures into the village to attack the locals," said Singh. The girl's body was taken away by her parents who refused to allow the police to conduct a postmortem and instead cremated her body quietly.
Ice Cube

Lake Erie's sudden freeze of January 2015

NASA/NOAA satellite image from above the Great Lakes taken just after 1:30 p.m. Monday
Lake Erie was less than six percent frozen last Tuesday with ice covering only a sliver of the lake's western basin.

But, after a week with frigid temperatures in the single digits, heavy lake-effect snows and high winds, Lake Erie is freezing up fast.

Nearly 60 percent of the lake waters were frozen today, according to graphs by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL).

Most of the western half of the lake is already under ice coverage.

In some areas - the western basin, along the U.S. and Canadian shorelines, near Long Point, Ont. and close to Buffalo - it's nearly 100 percent iced over, according to GLERL charts.

As Lake Erie iced, so too have the Great Lakes at large.

Just a week ago, more than eight percent of the surface area of all of the lakes was frozen.

But by Monday, nearly one-quarter of the Great Lakes were under ice.
Bizarro Earth

Tongan volcano creates new island since last month's eruption

Erupting Volcano
© Agence France-Presse
This handout photo taken on January 15, 2015 from a boat at sea and released by New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade shows smoke rising from the eruption of a volcano, some 65 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of the South Pacific nation Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa.
Nuku'Alofa, Tonga -- A Tongan volcano has created a substantial new island since it began erupting last month, spewing out huge volumes of rock and dense ash that has killed nearby vegetation, officials said Friday.

The volcano, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of the South Pacific nation's capital Nuku'alofa, rumbled to life on Dec. 20 for the first time in five years, the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry said.

It said the volcano was erupting from two vents, one on the uninhabited island of Hunga Ha'apai and the other underwater about 100 meters offshore.

The ministry said experts took a boat trip to view the eruption on Thursday and confirmed it had transformed the local landscape.

100 cows die after falling through lake ice in South Dakota

Fell through: Mike Carlow (left) and Bob Pille (right) use a shovel and a prying tool to free a dead cow from the ice on White Clay Reservoir south of Pine Ridge, South Dakota on Tuesday. Last week an estimated 100 of Carlow and his brother Pat's cows wandered onto the ice, broke through and died
These images of drowned cattle are enough to make meat eaters and vegetarians alike shed a tear over the mistake that caused their mass death.

Last week, about 100 cattle wandered onto a South Dakota reservoir covered in six-inch-thick ice while seeking shelter in a severe windstorm.

Their hunt for rest turned tragic when the ice collapsed under their enormous weight of more than 1,000 pounds.
Snowflake Cold

'Siberian' winter temperatures predicted to hit Denmark

© Søren Bidstrup/Scanpix
Wednesday offered "blink and you'll miss it" snow, but the real winter wallop may be coming as early as this weekend.
Storm-strength winds are once again hammering parts of Denmark on Thursday and winter is set to truly make its presence felt next week.

After a beautiful blanket of snow hit parts of Denmark on Wednesday and then disappeared again in about an hour, many were left wondering if and when true winter conditions will set in.

Meteorology institute DMI predicts that winter will truly make its presence felt as early as this weekend, with temperatures falling below the freezing point Saturday night and then remaining there for much of the next week.

The national forecast calls for rain to turn to snow on Sunday, with small amounts predicted through the middle of next week. By late next week, DMI's forecast is short and to the point: "Cold, windy and snow showers."
Arrow Down

Sinkhole in Cleveland swallows plow truck

A plow truck was on its route in Cleveland when it hit a steel plate on the road, displacing the plate and sending the truck falling into the sinkhole.

The steel plate was from the Cleveland Water Department and was not marked properly. The sinkhole was in place so the property owner's plumber could make repairs to the home.

After the truck fell, it was removed from the hole shortly after. The plate has since been replaced.

The driver was taken to the hospital as a precaution and there were no other injuries.

Comment: Heat map for sinkholes for the past year -

Arrow Down

Sinkhole opens up on Scottish golf course

The sinkhole at Traigh Golf Club
That 16-foot putt for birdie just got a whole lot easier. Scotland's Traigh Golf Club woke up one morning to find a large sinkhole had developed on the course.

The 14-foot hole was created by erosion from a broken drainpipe underground. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But the golf course's troubles are far from over: The hole will cost about 20,000 British pounds, or more than $13,000 USD.

That's a huge cost that the golf course, which has been used for more than 100 years, cannot afford. And since insurance isn't likely to cover the cost of the hole, it could spell the end of the beautiful course.

"Without repairing this pipe about half of the golf course will revert to bog and this would effectively be the end of our golf course," said Traigh Golf Club spokesman Alec Stewart to

Even if the sinkhole is repaired, the erosion could be a harbinger for similar problems elsewhere on the course. The club is urgently seeking out any sources of funding to stay afloat.
Arrow Down

Massive sinkhole swallows car just moments after driver makes dramatic last-gasp exit, China

Hole: Sheng's car tipped inside this massive crater
Lucky motorist Sheng Hsu was driving in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou when his car was pulled into the hole

These incredible pictures show the moment a massive sinkhole swallowed a car just moments after the driver was able to escape in the nick of time.

Sheng Hsu, 43, was on his way to work when the huge chasm appeared in the road.

Luckily, he was able to make a dramatic, last-gasp exit from the vehicle.

He said: "I had just slowed down because there was a bit of a queue and leaned in to switch the radio on.