Earth Changes


Another humpback whale found dead on Broulee beach, Australia

South Broulee and North Head beaches were closed on Saturday after a Humpback whale washed ashore.
Two Eurobodalla beaches were closed for 24 hours over the weekend after a Humpback whale washed onto the shores of south Broulee Beach.

The dead whale was first spotted 300 metres out to see off North Head Beach, forcing lifeguards to close to beach for swimmers safety.

Around mid-day on Saturday the whale was found washed ashore on South Broulee Beach, which was then also closed.

Police attended the scene and taped off a 100-metre exclusion zone around the whale to keep onlookers away.

The whale looked as though it may have been dead for some time and had large chunks missing from its body.

Comment: See also: Sharks feed on humpback whale carcass in Batemans Bay, Australia


Man dies in camel bite attack in Bapunagar, India

A 45-year-old man on Monday died in Bapunagar after a camel bit him on his head.

The animal owner has been detained for further legal procedure, police said.

"Govind Trivedi (45) was walking near Jamunanagar slum in Bapunagar area of the city late Sunday night when a camel tied there bit him on his head. After brief treatment, the man died today," Bapunagar police station's inspector P D Parmar said. The animal's owner Lalsingh was questioned about whether the camel was suffering from any disease or if it had bitten any other person in the past, Parmar said.

Comment: See also: Camel escapes from cage and kills owner of wildlife sanctuary

Camel tramples 2 people to death at Texas farm

Cloud Precipitation

Canada: B.C. storm leaves thousands without power, triggers avalanche warnings

BC Snowstorm
© DriveBC
Avalanche warnings are in effect throughout the B.C. Interior today as the coastal storm that brought significant rainfall overnight moves inland and turns to snow.

The storm was accompanied by strong winds that left at one point left 25,000 B.C. Hydro customers without power. Vancouver Island was the hardest hit. There were also power outages in parts of the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast.

Power to many areas was restored by noon, although areas of Central and North Saanich were without power until 6 p.m. PT according to B.C. Hydro.

Environment Canada says the storm will generate another 25 mm of rain in the Fraser Valley Sunday bringing the total rainfall in the valley from the storm to about 50 mm. It says localized flooding in some areas is possible.

Heavy snow is forecast for highway passes in B.C. with the Coquihalla Highway expected to receive up to 30 cm of snow by Monday morning.
Bizarro Earth

Vancouver Island will 'rip open like a zipper' when overdue megathrust earthquake strikes, experts say

Capes Lake, Vancouver Island
© National Post, Canada
Capes Lake, Vancouver Island. The odds of another megathrust earthquake and tsunami on Vancouver Island happening within the next 50 years are about one-in-10, experts say.
Pachena Bay , B.C. - The low tide, bright sunshine and constant roar of endlessly approaching waves display the full power of the wide-open Vancouver Island shoreline at the remote beach handed down to Stella Peters and her family as a wedding dowry.

For generations, Peters and her relatives have been the keepers of Pachena Bay, the picturesque beach that scientists forecast as an epicentre for the next massive earthquake and tsunami.

The bay is also the home to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations village of Anacla, about 300 kilometres northwest of Victoria, which aboriginal oral history says was devastated when an ancient earthquake convulsed the West Coast of North America.

First Nations from Vancouver Island to northern California describe the earthquake and tsunami in similar legends and artwork involving a life-and-death struggle between a thunderbird and a whale that caused the earth to shake violently and the seas to wash away their people and homes.

When the next megathrust quake hits, residents on the west side of Vancouver Island will barely have 20 minutes to get to higher ground.

Another completely lost bird: Brown pelican turns up in Nebraska in winter

© Clark Grell | Lincoln Journal Star
American white pelicans — and one out-of-place brown pelican — enjoy the warm waters of the cooling pond at Gerald Gentleman power station near Sutherland.
Last Saturday, my alarm sounded at 3:45 a.m. and I rose out of bed in order to make the three-hour drive to Sutherland Reservoir to "twitch" a brown pelican.

For nonbirders, "twitching" is a British birding term meaning to chase after a previously located (usually rare) bird. Brown pelicans are typically found in coastal areas, but birds occasionally wander inland. The brown pelican I was chasing was found by Stephen J. Dinsmore and Kevin Murphy on Dec. 26. Nebraska's other seven documented sightings, as well as the vast majority of inland records from other states of brown pelicans, are during warmer months. Thus, a brown pelican in Nebraska is notable, but one in winter is crazy.

It seems most likely this particular brown pelican is from the Gulf Coast, perhaps Texas. Any part of the brown pelican's normal range is at a minimum a thousand miles from Sutherland Reservoir. It's impossible to know when this bird left its familiar coastal haunts to fly inland. The explanation for why this bird ended up at Sutherland in winter, and possibly why it is still alive, is easier to understand.

Sutherland Reservoir has a cooling pond, which receives water from the Nebraska Public Power District's nearby coal-fired Gerald Gentleman power station. The constant infusion of warm water into the cooling pond keeps the water open even during the coldest winters. This human-created environment allows several fish-eating bird species, including American white pelicans, double-crested cormorants and great blue herons, to overwinter at this site when they might otherwise migrate south to warmer climes or perish.

Comment: Recent reports of birds completely losing their way across the Northern Hemisphere: White-rumped sandpiper from Arctic North America ends up in Australia

Rare goose from northern Asia turns up in Suffolk, UK

Rare Eurasian kestrel appears in Nova Scotia, Canada

Another completely lost avian species: Couch's Kingbird flies from southern Texas to New York

Warbler that should be wintering in western Mexico turns up in Louisiana

Bean goose from Eurasia takes a wrong turn and winds up on the Oregon Coast

Four lost flamingos fly NORTH for the winter and turn up in Siberia

Wrong place, wrong time: European robin turns up thousands of miles away in China

Rare bird from Mongolia turns up in Wakefield, UK

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare bird found in Barrie, Canada

Bizarro Earth

Iceland lava field may now be the biggest in 200 years

© Jesse Allen and Josh Stevens/ NASA Earth Observatory
The infrared images above show the Holuhraun lava flow from Sept. 6, 2014
Bigger than the island of Manhattan, the lava flow from the Holuhraun lava field in Iceland is now the largest the country has seen in more than 200 years, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.

Since August of last year, massive amounts of lava have been spewing from a fissure that erupted in Iceland's largely uninhabited Bárðarbunga volcanic system. In the past six months, the lava flow spread a total of 32 square miles, making it now the largest lava flow since the 1783 - 84 Laki eruption that wiped out 20 percent of Iceland's population.

According to the University of Iceland's Institute of Earth Sciences, the eastern part of the lava field was about 30 feet thick, and the center and western parts were about 40 feet thick.

Comment: See the volcanic activity around the world during the last year alone:

Black Cat

Escaped zoo lynx attacks dog in Sweden

© Lycksele Zoo
A lynx at Lyksele Zoo.
A teenage girl in northern Sweden had the fright of her life on Wednesday night when a lynx which had escaped from a local zoo leapt out of the woods and pounced on her two-year-old Siberian husky.

Emma Danielsson, 18, had taken Kira out for a walk near her house in the small Sami town of Lycksele at around 11pm when she heard something crashing around in the nearby woods.

"At first I thought it was a fox, but the dog was reacting very strongly and starting to growl," Emma told Aftonbladet.

Then the lynx leapt out of the undergrowth.
Cloud Lightning

Incredible footage shows 7 trees collapsing onto a highway in Australia

The dash camera footage shows the moment the driver had to hit the brakes, while travelling along the Black Spur in Victoria's north-east
Two drivers travelling along a Victorian highway have narrowly escaped being crushed by seven trees during a wild storm.

Posted under YouTube name Ron Cooper, the dash camera footage shows the moment he had to hit the brakes just inches away from where the first tree falls in front of his vehicle.

The driver was travelling on the Black Spur highway between the towns of Healesville and Narbethong - north-east of Melbourne, which spans for about 30 kilometres, on December 29 about 2.15pm.


Carcass of whale found near Chennai, India

The carcass that weighed around 15,000 kilograms was hauled with a crane and buried on the shore by forest department officials.
The carcass of a 40-foot-long tropical male whale washed ashore on the Sadras Kuppam Beach near Chennai on Sunday morning.

The whale, also known as the Bryde's whale, might have died after being struck by a large steel-hulled vessel as its spine was broken, a forest official said.

The carcass that weighed around 15,000 kilograms was hauled with a crane and buried on the shore by forest department officials.

"From the measurements of the whale, the small size of its dorsal fin and the absence of teeth, we declared it to be a tropical whale," said Supraja Dharini of Tree Foundation.

314 turtles found dead on Chennai beaches in 20 days, India

© Tree Foundation India Facebook
An olive ridley sea turtle tangled in fishing net; Feb. 22, 2014.
The nesting season for Olive Ridley turtles is barely 20 days old and already 314 turtles have washed ashore dead on the city's beaches. Conservationists say the turtles die after getting stuck in trawlers' fishing nets.

On Saturday morning, 60 turtles were found dead on the stretch between Neelankarai beach and Alamparai village in Kancheepuram district, according to Tree Foundation that patrols the stretch every year during the nesting season. "The numbers are alarmingly high this year and we are just into the second week of the season that will continue till March-end," said Tree Foundation founder-chairperson Supraja Dharini. Tree Foundation volunteers buried the dead turtles near the shore later in the night.

Members and volunteers of the Students' Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN), a group that patrols the coastline from Neelankarai to Napier's Bridge, including Marina and Elliot's beaches, reported 70 dead turtles were washed ashore. SSTCN coordinator V Arun said, "Considering that only 5-6% of the dead turtles are washed ashore, the real death toll could be many times higher."

According to turtle conservation groups, most of the deaths are caused due to the failure in implementing the Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1983, which prohibits fishing trawlers from operating within 5 km of the shore.

Comment: Other reports of turtle mass deaths over the past 2 years, some due cold weather conditions and some to unknown factors other than fishing nets: 1,122 dead turtles washed ashore in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, India in January

30 Kemp's ridley sea turtles suffering from hypothermia taken from Cape Cod to the Florida Keys

Over 1,200 sea turtles have washed up on Cape Cod beaches during December

Gulf World treating some 50 endangered sea turtles stranded by cold weather in Florida

23 Olive Ridleys turtles washed ashore in two days, Napier Bridge, India

800 turtles found dead on Nellore beach, India

Costa Rica investigates deaths of 280 sea turtles

Eighty sea turtles wash up dead on the coast of Guatemala