Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

3,400 lightning strikes in Central Oregon - dozens of wildfires erupt

Mt. Bachelor opened its mtn. bike park for the season Sunday -- but this is a far more electrifying moment caught on camera, a view of lightning appearing to hit the summit of South Sister
Thunderstorms rolled north through Central Oregon Sunday afternoon, accompanied by 3,400 lightning strikes that had crews scrambling to hit dozens of new, mostly small fires across the region -- some threatening homes on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. A Klamath County fire grew to 600 acres and burned structures.

About 3,400 lighting strikes pelted the region between early Sunday morning and the evening hours, resulting in 65 smoke reports by early evening to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville, said spokeswoman Jean Nelson-Dean.

Nearly half of those resulted from an intense late-afternoon thunderstorm that rolled through the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville District of the BLM, as well as private lands in Crook County, she said.

The largest new fire in Central Oregon was burning at the extreme southern end, four miles northeast of Cabin Lake, near Forest Service Road 18, about three miles north of the Klamath-Deschutes County border.

That fire was estimated at about 40 to 60 acres, with five engines, a 20-person crew and a water tender working the fire, along with a pair of single-engine air tankers (SEAT planes) making retardant drops.

Arrow Down

Ten metre wide sinkhole closes Gold Coast Highway in Australia

© Channel Nine
A sink hole has created traffic chaos on the Gold Coast.

A major water main break has led to a 10 metre sink hole on the Gold Coast Highway and it could take another 24 hours to completely repair the site.

Police spent hours at the site directing traffic around the giant hole, which reduced the Gold Coast Highway at Margaret Street in Broadbeach to one lane on Sunday.

Police signed off from the area just before 2pm, but repairs are on-going.

Gold Coast Council staff have been on the scene since early Monday morning, working to patch the road.

Motorists are still advised to avoid the area.

On Monday morning, a Gold Coast City Council spokesman said the site was cleared overnight.

Council crews were waiting for Energex to disconnect utilities so they could get in and repair the pipe.

It would take another 24 hours before the site was completely repaired but the spokesman stressed residents still had water supplies.

One lane of the Gold Coast Highway remained closed on Monday morning.

Comment: As with many of these water main break and pipe bursting explanations for the sinkholes phenomena, quite often nowadays it's really the other way round, the sinkholes open up first then cause the pipe fractures. The earth is opening up! See chart below.


Japan still bracing for violent aftershocks from deadly 2011 earthquake

© Unknown
Seismologists said an earthquake that struck near Japan's shuttered Fukushima nuclear site early Saturday was an aftershock of the tremor that sparked 2011's deadly tsunami, and warned of more to come.

The strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan caused a minor tsunami in the early hours, though authorities lifted all weather warnings roughly two hours later.

Seismologist Yasuhiro Yoshida of the Japan Meteorological Agency said it was a delayed tectonic reaction to the 9.0-magnitude quake which left the Fukushima nuclear power plant in a meltdown crisis after the coast was ravaged by monster tidal waves in March 2011.

"There are fears that relatively large earthquakes will occasionally occur in the ocean area where aftershocks of the great earthquake continue," he said.

"The aftershock activity has been steadily declining on a long-term basis. But aftershocks, accompanied by tsunamis, will still occur."

The 2011 disaster killed more than 18,000 people.

Saturday's quake measured up to four on the Japanese scale of seven in terms of intensity, and Yoshida said there was a possibility aftershocks measuring a moderate three on that scale would occur in the next two weeks.

Comment: Readers can check out a short video of this earthquake here. Some additional updates on the Fukushima disaster can be found in these related articles:


Rare albatross found 2,500 km from home in New Zealand

A rare species of albatross found injured on Chapel Street could be more than 2500km from home.

Sooty the light-mantled sooty albatross is being nursed back to health at Oropi Native Bird Rescue Haven after being discovered in very poor condition on the side of the road last month.

Haven owner Chrissy Jefferson says it's the first of this species she's encountered in her 54 years of bird rescue work in the Bay.

"They're from the Antipodes Islands, down near the Antarctic. It's very rare for them to be found here.

"It's even stranger he was found on the road; if he'd turned up on the beach, it wouldn't have been as strange."

Comment: See also: Monster storms bring rare seabird visitors to New Zealand

Alarm Clock

USGS: Earthquake Magnitue 6.4 - 83km SSE of Pondaguitan, Philippines

Earthquake 6.4 Pondaguitan, Philippines
Event Time
2014-07-14 07:59:58 UTC
2014-07-14 15:59:58 UTC+08:00 at epicente

5.696°N 126.534°E depth=22.5km (14.0mi)

Nearby Cities
83km (52mi) SSE of Pondaguitan, Philippines
101km (63mi) ESE of Caburan, Philippines
129km (80mi) SE of Malita, Philippines
141km (88mi) ESE of Malapatan, Philippines
897km (557mi) WSW of Koror Town, Palau

Scientific data
Cardboard Box

7 quakes possibly caused by fracking hit central Oklahoma within 14 hours

Fracking wells
© Unknown
Some scientists say the temblors could be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, and especially the wells in which the industry disposes of its wastewater.
Seven small earthquakes have shaken central Oklahoma in a span of about 14 hours.

According to the US Geological Survey, earthquakes across Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas have increased in recent years.

Some scientists say the temblors could be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, and especially the wells in which the industry disposes of its wastewater.

Sunday's quakes ranged from magnitude 2.6 to 2.9 and were centered in the Guthrie, Jones and Langston areas, 15 miles to 30 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, ABC News reported.

The USGS said the temblors were recorded between 7:57 p.m. Saturday and 9:51 a.m. Sunday. No injuries or damage were reported.
Bizarro Earth

Another outbreak of noctilucent clouds over Europe

The weekend of July 12-13 brought another outbreak of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) to Europe. Across the northern reaches of the continent, skies were criss-crossed by signature ripples of electric blue, like these photographed by Jaan Jalgratas of Tartu, Estonia:
Noctilucent Clouds
© Jaan Jalgratas
Taken by Jaan Jalgratas on July 12, 2014 @ Tartu, Estonia.
"The display was very bright and it extended at least 35 degrees above the horizon," says Jalgratas. "It was my best sighting ever."

NLCs are Earth's highest clouds. Seeded by "meteor smoke," they form at the edge of space 83 km above Earth's surface. When sunlight hits the tiny ice crystals that make up these clouds, they glow electric blue.
Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.1 - 22km W of Iquique, Chile

Iquique Quake_130714
Event Time
2014-07-13 20:54:14 UTC
2014-07-13 16:54:14 UTC-04:00 at epicenter

20.245°S 70.357°W depth=35.7km (22.2mi)

Nearby Cities
22km (14mi) W of Iquique, Chile
195km (121mi) S of Arica, Chile
205km (127mi) N of Tocopilla, Chile
248km (154mi) S of Tacna, Peru
475km (295mi) SSW of La Paz, Bolivia

Scientific Data
Alarm Clock

Volcanic earthquakes detected at Philippine's Bulusan volcano

© USGS/Chris Newhall
Although not posing any serious threats at the moment, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Sunday told the public to stay away from Bulusan volcano's permanent danger zone in Sorsogon after volcanic earthquakes were detected.

"During the 24-hour observation period, the seismic network detected thirteen (13) volcanic earthquakes. Ground deformation data from continuous GPS and precise leveling survey also indicated that the volcano is slightly inflated," Phivolcs said in a statement.

The agency said the volcano's status is still at alert level 0.

"The local government units and the public are reminded that entry to the four-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited due to the possibility of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions," Phivolcs said.

It warned against aircraft flying near the volcano's summit since sudden eruption may be harmful.

Mount Sinabung volcano erupts (again) in Indonesia

© Baltimore Sun/Matt Bracken
Mount Sinabung, one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, has erupted, spewing ash to the sky. No casualty was reported, official said here Sunday.

The volcano located in Karo district of North Sumatra province erupted at 23.05 p.m. Saturday, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of national disaster management agency, said.

"The height of the eruption could not be determined as it took place at night and there were many clouds," he told Xinhua by phone.

"Rains of hot ash occurred in several place in Karo district, but it did not trigger further evacuation," Sutopo added.

The 2,600-metre (8,530-foot) Mount Sinabung last erupted June 29, shooting columns of ash by up to 4,000 metres into the sky.