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Red Flag

Back-to-back tremors shake Los Angeles: Big One Coming?

© Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images
San Francisco's Marina district crumbled after a 1989 earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.
When is the Big One due?

Sometime in the next 30 years - and as soon as tomorrow. With about 300 large fault lines running beneath it, California is one of the most seismically active parts of the world, and has 37,000 tremors a year. Most are too small to be felt, but seismologists believe a couple of fault lines in particular - including the much-dreaded San Andreas - could trigger a megaquake similar to the one that flattened San Francisco in 1906, wiping out entire neighborhoods in seconds. Today, geologists say, there's a 99.7 percent chance of a Big One of at least magnitude 6.7 striking California within the next three decades, with Southern California most at risk. Fears that a big quake is imminent in Los Angeles were stoked in March when two earthquakes, including a magnitude-5.1 quake in La Habra, cracked walls, triggered landslides, and sent furniture flying. "Sooner or later there's going to be the Big One," says U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Kate Hutton.
Arrow Down

Another large sinkhole opens up in Dunedin, Florida


A large hole reported in the parking lot of San Christopher Villas in Dunedin is now believed to be a sinkhole.
A large hole reported in the parking lot of San Christopher Villas in Dunedin is now believed to be a sinkhole, according to the Dunedin Fire Department.

Initially, Dunedin Fire referred to the hole as a "roadway collapse." But after checking underground pipes and finding them intact, the opening is now believed to be a sinkhole.

The hole opened up in a parking lot in the 1300 block of Powderpuff Drive, about a mile away from where a serious sinkhole opened up in November 2013. It's 10 feet by 10 feet across and about 10 feet deep.

Crews are going to fill the hole and it does not appear to be increasing any more at this time. No homes have been evacuated, although cars have been moved away from the hole as a precaution.
Arrow Down

Sinkhole swallows man in New York City

© Jabbari Douglas
A Bronx man claims he was playing football and swallowed by a sinkhole, but authorities have their suspicions.
Talk about a fall guy.

Investigators from several city agencies are trying to get to the bottom of how a man wound up in a large sinkhole on a Wakefield street this week.

This Bronx tale began on Monday about 1:30 p.m. when a 6-foot section of the road suddenly collapsed into a 5-foot-deep hole large enough to swallow a medium-sized car in front of 658 E. 234th St.

Jabbari Douglas, 17, said he was standing outside his home when he suddenly heard the ground collapse and heard the sound of someone yelling for help.
Alarm Clock

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 7.8 - 68km SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Earthquake 7.8 Papua New Guinea
© USGS
Event Time
2014-04-19 13:28:00 UTC
2014-04-19 23:28:00 UTC+10:00 at epicenter

Location
6.700°S 155.000°E depth=10.0km (6.2mi)

Nearby Cities
68km (42mi) SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
80km (50mi) SW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
399km (248mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
552km (343mi) ESE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
623km (387mi) WNW of Honiara, Solomon Islands

Scientific data
Arrow Down

Jackson, Wyoming landslide now moving fast enough to observe

© Price Chambers/JACKSON HOLE DAILY
Rockfall on Budge Drive draws a crowd Thursday as the creeping cliff continues its path downhill. Crews were working to install a barrier wall along the road when increased activity forced them to stop.
Efforts have stopped to build a tall concrete barrier to stall part of the East Gros Ventre Butte from giving away. The incipient slide has changed from movement too slow for the naked eye to fast enough to draw a crowd. Cracks and bulges were noticed about a week ago, and a small part of northwest Jackson was evacuated (Budge Drive). Rain, snowmelt, and human activities at the toe of the slide and also on it are blamed for situation. Today and Tuesday rain will move into the valley - Jackson Hole.

For years roads, homes and businesses have slowly crowded the base of the landmark butte and begun to climb onto it. Busy U.S. Highway 89 (West Broadway Ave) parallels Budge Drive 200 to 400 further to the south. Despite the proximity of the slide to the highway artery into the busy resort community, Wyoming Department of Transportation (WDOT) still thinks the slide will not come down quickly onto the highway. Some onlookers yesterday were not so sure. See the story in the Jackson Hole Daily by Ben Graham.
Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.9 - 62km SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Panguna Quake_190414
© USGS
Event Time
2014-04-19 01:04:06 UTC
2014-04-19 11:04:06 UTC+10:00 at epicenter

Location
6.701°S 155.069°E depth=45.5km (28.2mi)

Nearby Cities
62km (39mi) SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
74km (46mi) SW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
405km (252mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
559km (347mi) ESE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
616km (383mi) WNW of Honiara, Solomon Islands

Technical Details
Bizarro Earth

Almost one-fifth of China's farmland is polluted, according to a government report

Polluted Farms
© Reuters
It's not easy balancing economic development and the environment.
Almost one-fifth of China's farmland is polluted, according to a government report released this week. Officials have acknowledged the country's problems with water and air pollution, but the extent of soil contamination has been a closely guarded "state secret," for fear of incriminating certain provinces or companies.

About 19.4% of China's farmland is polluted by cadmium, nickel and arsenic, according to the seven-year study that analyzed a little over half of China's entire land area. One-fifth of China's total arable land is about 26 million hectares (64 million acres), the same area as the United Kingdom, by the most recent estimates.

The pollution is concentrated around the Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas - key sources of water in the country and home to millions of people - as well as in parts of the south where much of China's rice is grown. Last year, half of all samples of rice in Guangzhou were found to have poisonous levels of cadmium, a chemical that can cause kidney failure when ingested. The main causes are agriculture and industry, the report said. (Farmers contribute to soil pollution with their use of fertilizers and pesticides and improper disposal of animal waste.)
Alarm Clock

Second earthquake in 24 hours recorded in Rutland, UK

© Alamy
A street in Oakham, Rutland. A British Geological Survey said it was 'unexpected' for there to be a second earthquake in exactly the same location.
3.5-magnitude quake in Oakham bigger than Thursday's, which at 3.2-magnitude had been region's biggest since 2001

Another earthquake has struck Rutland in the East Midlands, 24 hours after one shook houses for around 10 seconds.

Initial data released by the British Geological Survey (BGS) said the latest quake struck Oakham at around 7.50am on Friday and that it was bigger than Thursday's, measuring magnitude 3.5.

Thursday's 3.2-magnitude quake occurred at 7.07am and was the biggest in the region since October 2001.

A BGS spokesperson said that it was unexpected for there to be a second earthquake in exactly the same location. The organisation had already received 600 reports from members of the public, compared with 450 on Thursday.

In comments posted on the BGS Facebook page, residents in Rutland and neighbouring Lincolnshire claimed the latest quake was more powerful than the first.
Bulb

"Incredibly severe": Scotland left in dark about cause of massive blackout

© REUTERS/ Vasily Fedosenko
Electric power lines (Archive)
Investigators are still trying to ascertain why 200,000 homes in northern Scotland lost power earlier this week.

The blackout on Wednesday evening left almost a third of the country in darkness and was described by the distribution company, Scottish Hydro-Electric Power, as "incredibly severe."

The precise cause of the fault still remains unknown and a number of scenarios are being considered.

A spokeswoman for the utility company told RIA Novosti that such an occurrence is extremely rare.

"Our network transmission is 99.9 percent reliable. This is highly unusual, given the scale of the area. Our engineers have not heard of such an outage in recent times," the spokeswoman said.
Attention

Rare Arctic Bowhead whale seen in Cape Cod Bay - only the second in recorded history

© NOAA
A bowhead whale was spotted feeding with right whales in Cape Cod Bay last week
Experts call the sighting rare and remarkable

It is a remarkable sighting, according to experts from the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown. Last Friday marks only the second time in recorded history that a bowhead whale has been seen so far south in the waters of the Atlantic. The whale was spotted swimming and feeding with right whales on Cape Cod Bay on April 11, according to a CCS release.

The first time a bowhead was spotted in our waters was two years ago, when one was observed by CCS researchers off the Outer Beach in Orleans in August 2012.
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