Earth Changes

Control Panel

Wildfire burns 100 acres near Fisher Canyon in Flagstaff, 0 percent contained

A wildfire sparked in the Coconino National Forest Friday afternoon is expected to grow to 150 acres, officials said.

The Fisher Fire is burning timber on slopes near Fisher Point in Walnut Canyon, approximately six miles southeast of Flagstaff, said Heather Noel, acting public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service

PHOTOS: Wildfire burns in Fisher Canyon in Coconino National Forest.

The fire was reported around 3 p.m. on Friday.As of 9 p.m., the fire remained at zero percent contained.

The Coconino National Forest tweeted that 60 fire personnel were battling the 85-acre fire and would be working into the night.

Pacific Ring of Fire becoming increasingly more active

The season of hyper seismicity which I warned would unfold across the globe from March 15 to April 12 continues in earnest with a dazzling display of increased seismic events erupting along the peripheral boundaries of the Pacific Plate in the Ring of Fire. This latest burst of seismic activity reflects dramatic, intense changes occurring deep within the interior of the planet as gradient pressures become increasingly more erratic. Powerful churning forces generated from gradient fluctuations, which boil magma, awaken dormant volcanoes, perturb dormant fault systems, and incinerate massive slabs of rock continue to build deep below the planet's surface.

The increased risks from some of these cataclysmic forces are seen in the latest round of large tremors striking the globe which are occurring at depths greater than what is normally observed with most recent large earthquakes. Chile's 8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 20 km, and the 7.7 magnitude earthquake which followed erupted much deeper at a depth of 31 km. The 7.1 magnitude earthquake which struck Papua New Guinea on April 11 occurred at a depth of 50 km and the 6.6 which struck Nicaragua on the same day was recorded at a depth of 138 km.
Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.6 - 11km ESE of Nandaime, Nicaragua

Nandiame Quake_110414
Event Time
2014-04-11 20:29:15 UTC
2014-04-11 14:29:15 UTC-06:00 at epicenter

11.710°N 85.963°W depth=138.6km (86.1mi)

Nearby Cities
11km (7mi) ESE of Nandaime, Nicaragua
20km (12mi) SSE of Diriomo, Nicaragua
24km (15mi) S of Granada, Nicaragua
30km (19mi) ESE of Jinotepe, Nicaragua
56km (35mi) SSE of Managua, Nicaragua

Technical Details

Swarm of Africanized bees kill man in Eagle Pass, Texas

A swarm of Africanized bees attacked and killed an Eagle Pass man Wednesday.

According to the Eagle Pass Daily News, Enrique Galindo, 41, was discovered unconscious outside a home. Galindo was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Law enforcement authorities believe Galindo may have been stung hundreds of times.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Africanized honey bees, known colloquially as "killer bees," can be highly defensive around their nests and swarm more frequently than other honey bees.

Sonny Krout of Abolish Pest & Wildlife Control in San Antonio said the spring and summer is when bees will attack people.

"A lot of times, people are out mowing their lawn, they didn't know there was a colony or even on a neighbor's property," Krout said. "They just come swarming at them and all of the sudden, they attacked out of nowhere. It happens quite a bit."
Arrow Down

Sliding hillside causes evacuation in Jackson, Wyoming

© AP Photo/Jackson Hole News & Guide, Angus M. Thuermer Jr.
Kristin Livingstone, right, watches her evacuated hillside neighborhood after spending a night away from her home because of danger from a potential landslide in Jackson, Wyo., on Thursday. Brendon Newton, left, gets in touch with others at an assembly point in a parking lot across the street from the threatened slope. Dozens of Jackson residents who were evacuated after land began shifting on the hillside.
Local officials and dozens of evacuees kept anxious watch Thursday on a slowly sliding hillside that threatened to take out several homes and businesses in this resort town.

They also had an eye on the weather, hoping no rain or snow triggers a sudden, massive release of dirt and rock. Forecasters predicted a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain and snow this weekend.

People remained evacuated, since Wednesday, from 46 houses and apartment units. Authorities were escorting people back to their homes, temporarily, to fetch belongings.

"We're just wanting to make sure we have everyone out in case there's some kind of catastrophic release of the hillside," Assistant Town Manager Roxanne Robinson said Thursday. "Even if it continues to be slow, it's going to be disruptive for access."

Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin death toll tops over 1,200 between July 2013 and April 2014 - nearly seven times the normal rate

© University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, New Bolton Center
Dead bottlenose dolphins at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, New Bolton Center
The bottlenose dolphin die-off in the mid-Atlantic isn't over, a stranding expert told me this afternoon.

"It's still ongoing," said Blair Mase, NOAA Southeast region marine mammal stranding coordinator, who is based in Miami.

The migratory stock of dolphins is starting to move north and "we still have dolphins stranding at above-average rates" in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, she said.

In the Florida area, the strandings are "slowing down a little bit, which is good," she said.

According to NOAA Fisheries, the toll of dead bottlenose dolphins from New York to Florida has risen to 1,204 from July 1 to April 6.

That's preliminary data. And the death toll is 62 percent higher than during the last major die-off in 1987-88 and 6.7 times higher than the 2007 to 2012 norm for July 1 to April 6, according to calculations.
Bizarro Earth

Appearance of night-shining clouds has increased

Noctilucent Clouds
© Thinkstock
First spotted in 1885, silvery blue clouds sometimes hover in the night sky near the poles, appearing to give off their own glowing light. Known as noctilucent clouds, this phenomenon began to be sighted at lower and lower latitudes - between the 40th and 50th parallel - during the 20th century, causing scientists to wonder if the region these clouds inhabit had indeed changed - information that would tie in with understanding the weather and climate of all Earth.

A NASA mission called Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, was launched in 2007 to observe noctilucent clouds, but it currently only has a view of the clouds near the poles. Now scientists have gathered information from several other missions, past and present, and combined it with computer simulations to systematically show that the presence of these bright shining clouds have indeed increased in areas between 40 and 50 degrees north latitude, a region which covers the northern third of the United Sates and the lowest parts of Canada. The research was published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres on March 18, 2014.

"Noctilucent clouds occur at altitudes of 50 miles above the surface - so high that they can reflect light from the sun back down to Earth," said James Russell, an atmospheric and planetary scientist at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and first author on the paper. "AIM and other research has shown that in order for the clouds to form, three things are needed: very cold temperatures, water vapor and meteoric dust. The meteoric dust provides sites that the water vapor can cling to until the cold temperatures cause water ice to form."
Bizarro Earth

Aftershock - USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.5 - 78km SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Earthquake 6.5 Papua New Guinea
Event Time
2014-04-11 08:16:48 UTC
2014-04-11 18:16:48 UTC+10:00 at epicenter

6.855°S 155.017°E depth=39.4km (24.5mi)

Nearby Cities
78km (48mi) SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
91km (57mi) SW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
411km (255mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
558km (347mi) ESE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
613km (381mi) WNW of Honiara, Solomon Islands

Technical details
Alarm Clock

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 7.1 - 57km SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Earthquake 7.1 Papua New Guinea
Event Time
2014-04-11 07:07:21 UTC
2014-04-11 18:07:21 UTC+11:00 at epicenter

6.625°S 155.064°E depth=50.0km (31.1mi)

Nearby Cities
57km (35mi) SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
69km (43mi) SW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
399km (248mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
557km (346mi) ESE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
621km (386mi) WNW of Honiara, Solomon Islands

Scientific data

Mystery remains over why river in Australia is bubbling

Condamine River
CSIRO field studies included the use of floating chambers to capture and measure the gas emitted from the Condamine River.
Queensland has another mystery that science still can't pin down: the bubbling of the Condamine River.

After two years and a "considerable sum'' invested, coal seam gas company Origin has released a scientific report that has four theories but still cannot quite pin down the mystery.

CSG could not be scientifically ruled out by the study but is just one of the myriad factors raised that could be contributing.

The bubbling occurs along a 5km stretch of the river, near Chinchilla, where coal seam gas is plentiful, but the source has always been a mystery and an issue of local debate ranging from rotting vegetation to CSG fracking.

Local folklore tells of at least one of the seeps that may have been occurring for decades while others were spotted by farmers soon after heavy flooding subsided in February 2012.