Earth Changes

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Landslide kills four in Afghanistan

A landslide triggered by heavy rains and a small earthquake swept through two villages in northern Afghanistan killing four people and destroying around 100 houses, officials said on Saturday.

The natural disaster occurred overnight in the Rustaq district of northern Takhar province, about 300 kilometres north-east of the capital Kabul, police spokesman Abdul Khalil Aseer said.

Breaking! Second 7.5 magnitude earthquake in 12 hours strikes off Solomon Islands

A tsunami warning has been issued after a strong, 7.5-magnitude quake hit near the Solomon Islands in the southwestern Pacific for the second time in hours. It follows a 7.6-quake that rocked the region overnight.

A shallow 7.7 magnitude earthquake, which was then revised down to 7.5, centered about 114 kilometers south of Kirakira, Solomon Islands and 20 kilometers deep shook the area, the US Geological Survey reported.

A tsunami warning has been issued for Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The previous quake estimated at 7.6 hit the region overnight. It struck 100 kilometers south-east of Kirakira, Solomon Islands, at a depth of almost 30 kilometers. A tsunami warning was initiated, however it lasted only for a few hours.

Earthquake 7.4 Solomon Islands
Event Time
2014-04-13 12:36:18 UTC
2014-04-13 23:36:18 UTC+11:00 at epicenter

11.451°S 162.069°E depth=35.0km (21.7mi)

Nearby Cities
111km (69mi) S of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
321km (199mi) SE of Honiara, Solomon Islands
713km (443mi) NW of Luganville, Vanuatu
922km (573mi) SE of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
967km (601mi) NW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu

Technical data

4 dead as wildfire rages through city of Valparaiso, Chile - 500 already homes destroyed as thousands flee in panic

Fire in Valparaiso
© Alberto Miranda, AFP/Getty
View of houses in flames during a fire in Valparaiso,west of Santiago, Chile, on April 12, 2014.
A large forest fire raging in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso has killed at least two people and destroyed 500 homes, officials said Sunday. Thousands of people have been evacuated, including more than 200 female inmates at a prison.

Firefighters were having difficulty combating the blaze because of the topography of the city, which is surrounded by dozens of steep hills where most people live.

President Michelle Bachelet has declared the city a catastrophe zone, which puts the armed forces in charge of maintaining order and evacuating thousands of people affected by the smoke and flames.

"This is the worst disaster I have seen," regional governor Ricardo Bravo said. "Now we fear that the fire will spread to the center of the city, which would increase the severity of the emergency."

Comment: Multiple wildfires in recent times across the globe:

Outbreak of multiple wildfires in central Oklahoma
Wildfires break out across Carolinas despite cool temperatures
Federal government steps in to deal with record number of wildfires in Western U.S. this winter
In January 2013 there were zero wildfires in California - In January 2014 there were over 400 wildfires
Huge wildfires across Scottish Highlands

Many Tibetan monasteries and famous sites destroyed this winter by mysterious 'wildfires'
256 wildfires suddenly break out in Victoria, Australia amid heatwave
Wildfires heat up the Arctic as climate change frazzles the north of Siberia

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 4.9 - 15km N of Challis, Idaho

Event Time
2014-04-13 00:04:41 UTC
2014-04-12 18:04:41 UTC-06:00 at epicenter

44.644°N 114.251°W depth=5.0km (3.1mi)

Nearby Cities
15km (9mi) N of Challis, Idaho
193km (120mi) NE of Boise, Idaho
195km (121mi) NE of Garden City, Idaho
198km (123mi) ENE of Eagle, Idaho
202km (126mi) SW of Butte, Montana

Technical details
Bizarro Earth

Ubinas volcano erupts in Peru, emergency evacuations may be ordered (Video)

Check this out -- a huge volcanic eruption in Peru is sending a giant plume of smoke and ash high into the sky! This is the Ubinas volcano, high in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru. It's long been an active volcano -- with major eruptions as recently as 2006.

Authorities have advised Peruvians living near the mountain to plan for emergency evacuations should the situation get worse.

Cloud Lightning

Austrian player in coma and 7 others injured as lightning strikes football field

An Austrian lower league match between FC Notsch and FC Sillian was postponed on Sunday when lightning hit the pitch shortly before kick off.
© Special to Yahoo Sports
According to, a heavy rain storm began soon after the teams came onto the field, at which point the coaches ordered everyone to head back indoors. But before the players had the chance to seek shelter, a crack of lightning hit the field, injuring eight players.
Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 7.6 - 100km SSE of Kirakira, Solomon Islands

Kirakira Quake_120414
Event Time
2014-04-12 20:14:39 UTC
2014-04-13 07:14:39 UTC+11:00 at epicenter

11.315°S 162.211°E depth=29.3km (18.2mi)

Nearby Cities
100km (62mi) SSE of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
323km (201mi) SE of Honiara, Solomon Islands
711km (442mi) NW of Luganville, Vanuatu
925km (575mi) SE of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
968km (601mi) NW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu

Technical Details
Alarm Clock

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.1 - 92km SSW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Earthquake 6.1 Papua New Guinea
Event Time
2014-04-12 05:24:25 UTC
2014-04-12 15:24:25 UTC+10:00 at epicenter

7.116°S 155.236°E depth=35.0km (21.7mi)

Nearby Cities
92km (57mi) SSW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
105km (65mi) SSW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
449km (279mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
579km (360mi) WNW of Honiara, Solomon Islands
589km (366mi) ESE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

Technical details
Arrow Down

Couple discover backyard sinkhole in Schuyler Falls, New York

© WPTZ/Alison Carey
A sinkhole opened up in the backyard of a Schuyler Falls property. Highway departments from Plattsburgh and Schuyler Falls teamed up to bring the resident enough sand to fill the sinkhole
Dennis Trost and his wife discovered a sinkhole last week in the backyard of their Schuyler Falls home.

"Well, it's scary when you hear all the stories. Then it happens to you and you don't know what the heck's going to happen," said Trost.

Since finding the sinkhole, Trost said the gaping hole has only grown. When the Highway Department officials arrived the hole was about 5 feet deep.

"We came running out and there was no dirt around but this big hole was here, so we kind of backed off and looked inside it because it was undermine quite a bit," said Trost.

Schuyler Falls Highway Department Superintendent John Rock said sinkholes are rare for the North Country, and it's often difficult to determine the cause.

"[Trost] said he's been here 20-something years and it wasn't filled in, so it must be an underground spring or something," said Rock.

Rock said another possibility is that there used to be a rotting tree in the spot which created an underground hole.

Dead juvenile pilot whale found on Searsport beach, Maine

© Wayne Hamilton
Volunteer firefighters worked to move a dead juvenile pilot whale Friday morning. The whale, which weighed about 500 pounds and did not show signs of propeller damage, will be studied by researchers at Allied Whale in Bar Harbor.
Several Searsport volunteer firefighters responded to a plea Friday morning for a lift assist down at the town dock.

What they didn't know was that they'd be lifting a whale - a 500-pound dead pilot whale, to be precise.

"[They had] not a clue," Officer Mike Larrivee of the Searsport Police Department said. "They all showed up and said 'oh boy, what are we doing here?'"

The dead whale, believed to be a female, had been found Thursday at the beach at the end of Lobster Lane, just east of Moose Point State Park. A man walking his dogs found the animal and called to report it. Larrivee then got in touch with Allied Whale, the marine mammal research arm of the College of the Atlantic, which helps Searsport with seals or other marine mammals. But this was something different, he said.