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Earth Changes


Fish develop red spot fungus after floods

Fish in Brisbane waterways are starting to develop a red spot fungus from flood contamination, while authorities are rushing to fix a treatment plant to stop a sewage leak.

The Oxley sewerage plant was flood damaged a fortnight ago.

Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) director general John Bradley said Oxley Creek's enterococci levels, which indicate sewage contamination, were "250 times higher" than normal.

Bizarro Earth

Tonga - Earthquake Magnitude 6.0

Earthquake Location
Monday, January 31, 2011 at 06:03:26 UTC

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 07:03:26 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

21.943°S, 175.510°W

68.6 km (42.6 miles)


95 km (60 miles) SSW of NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga

360 km (225 miles) ESE of Ndoi Island, Fiji

400 km (245 miles) SSW of Neiafu, Tonga

1905 km (1180 miles) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand

Cloud Lightning

Storm could end dry spell in California

A Pacific storm was expected to slam into the West Coast on Sunday, ending a long dry spell in California as it brings rain and snow to the higher elevations.

Winter weather advisories were posted for the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, where as much as a foot of new snow is expected. Rain could make its way into Southern California late in the day and into Monday.

Farther to the north, snow was expected to fall in Idaho and Montana before creeping into the Dakotas late Sunday. Winter weather advisories were posted for much of the area in anticipation of up to 10 inches of snow and wind gusts as high as 25 mph.

Cloud Lightning

US: Multi-Day Dangerous, Destructive Winter Storm

© National Weather Service

A multi-day, multi-region potentially historic and destructive winter storm will unleash its fury beginning Monday and will last through Wednesday.

When everything is said and done, the storm may very well impact a third of the population of the United States; approximately 100 million people.

Its reach will be felt from the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies to the Ohio Valley to the coast of New England.

Accompanied with the winter storm will be a severe thunderstorm threat across the South capable of producing damaging winds, hail and a few tornadoes.

Our Midwest storm coverage will be categorized into the four factors: heavy snow, destructive ice, tornadoes and bitter cold. To find out more on the various factors, click on each of the images above.

Bizarro Earth

Swarm of nine earthquakes at Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens, Washington - A series of nine small earthquakes shook an area near Mount St. Helens over the weekend.

© Susan Wyatt/ KING 5 News
Seismologists at the University of Washington have been monitoring the quakes.

A 2.6 quake occurred at 2:26 p.m. on Saturday about six miles north of the volcano. Another quake, a 2.5, occurred at 2:44 p.m. in the same area. The depth for both quakes was two miles. Another quake occurred six miles north-northwest at 10:48 p.m. That measured 2.2 and was 2.2 miles deep.

Smaller quakes, ranging from magnitude 1.3 to 2.2, occurred on Sunday.


Photo: Eruption of Colima Volcano As Seen From Orbit

Colima Volcano, Mexico's most active, has been erupting since 1998. The eruption began with several months of earthquakes beneath the volcano, followed by explosions and rockfalls at the summit lava dome as it began to grow.

Dome growth was accompanied months later by a series of lava flows which cascaded down the southwestern flank of the mountain, stretching up to 3,100 meters (10,000 feet) from the summit. Since then dome growth has continued, with a few periods of actively flowing lava. As of March 2010, the dome was growing about 2,000 cubic meters (70,000) cubic feet a day, leading to frequent small rockfalls and occasional ash plumes. In January 2011, local newspapers reported "dust plumes" rising over Colima, likely pulverized lava stirred up by landslides at the summit dome.

Bizarro Earth

Hundreds evacuate as Japan volcano erupts

Mount Shinmoedake has been belching smoke and ash into the air since late Wednesday
Tokyo - Hundreds of people living near a Japanese volcano that has been spewing columns of smoke and ash thousands of metres into the air were forced to evacuate their homes Monday, a local official said.

More than 600 residents of the town of Takaharu in Miyazaki prefecture, on the eastern outskirts of the erupting Mount Shinmoedake, were sheltering in school gyms and community halls, an official said.

Municipal authorities had issued an evacuation advisory for 1,158 residents in high-risk districts near the 1,421-metre (4,689-foot) volcano earlier Monday.

Cloud Lightning

Queensland Braces for Worst Ever Storm - Cyclone Yasi

© Commwealth of Australia 2011
Cyclone Yasi's predicted path
The state of Queensland, still reeling from the effects of weeks of widespread flooding, is bracing for the arrival of what could be the state's worst cyclone in history.

Tropical Cyclone Yasi, which currently lies northwest of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean, is expected to strengthen into a category four storm, the second highest category, before hitting the north coast of the Sunshine State later this week.

In preparation for its arrival, tourist resorts on the popular Whitsunday Islands have been evacuated and several ports along the busy coast have been shut down. Residents in towns from Innisfail to Mackay have been warned to batten down the hatches or consider fleeing before the storm hits early on Thursday morning, while emergency management teams have held meetings across the state's north.

Authorities have also warned locals to stock up on food, water, batteries and other essentials in case they are cut off for a number of days after Yasi strikes.

There are fears that Yasi could whip up the seas and create a storm surge that would cause significant flooding in low-lying areas, just weeks after devastating floods killed more than 30 people and covered an area the size of France and Germany combined.


More snow? Next storm takes aim at Northeast

There's more snow heading to the Northeast and it's expected to impact as many as 29 states. This new snow system is being called one of the more significant systems of the season.

Some state averages and current measured snow fall measures: New York Average 22" currently has seen over 45 inches. Philadelphia Average 19.3", currently seeing over 37 inches. Hartford, average 45.3, current total so far this year 71.2". This is a general trend throughout the North and East of the United States.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Better Earth

Shinmoedake Peak in Japan Erupts Dramatically with Powerful Lightning Display

Shinmoedake Peak in Japan erupted last January 26, 2011, and alert level was raised to 3 as of January 27, 2011. This is because the volcano spurted lava, 2.5 km into the air.

The volcanic eruption was accompanied with powerful lightning display and lava ejections, sending residents within 1.2 mile radius to evacuate. This is according to National Geographic.

Watching it from afar provides an "awesome" view of the eruption with the vibrant colors emitted by the volcanic lightning.

The Shinmoedake Peak is a part of the famous Mount Kirishima Volcano group, and is located in Kyushu. Included in the volcano group are Mount Karakuni, Mount Shinmoe, and Takachihonomine. The highest peak is Mount Karakuni which is 1,700 meters above sea level.
© National Geographic
Volcanic lightning flashes from Shinmoedake Peak.