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Igloo

UK: Commuter chaos as forecasters caught out by heavy snowfall

Snow Britain March 2009
© SWNS
The scene on Dartmoor today. The snowfall caught out forecasters and commuters.

A worse-than-predicted shower of snow left motorists stranded in parts of South West England today, while heavy frost caused commuter chaos in the South.

Forecasters admitted being caught unawares after up to 3in (8cm) of snow landed overnight near Okehampton, in Devon, while parts of Somerset and West Dorset also experienced heavy flurries.

However, the travel chaos spread beyond the areas affected by snow this morning, with several train services from the south coast to London being suspended, disrupted or cancelled due after heavy frost froze power lines.

In the West, forecasters admitted being taken by surprise by the suddenness of the snowfalls affecting the region, which led to drivers being stranded for an hour near Okehampton while the main A30 road was cleared, and other parts of Somerset - in particular Taunton - and West Dorset also being hit.
Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 6.4 - North of Svalbard Archipelago

© US Geological Survey

Date-Time Friday, March 06, 2009 at 10:50:29 UTC

Friday, March 06, 2009 at 10:50:29 AM at epicenter

Location 80.297°N, 2.046°W

Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Distances 315 km (195 miles) ESE of Nord, Greenland

990 km (610 miles) ENE of Alert, Nunavut, Canada

1320 km (820 miles) NNW of Tromso, Norway

2325 km (1450 miles) NNE of NUUK (GODTHAB), Greenland
Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 4.2 - Western Montana

© US Geological Survey

Date-Time Friday, March 06, 2009 at 11:29:54 UTC

Friday, March 06, 2009 at 04:29:54 AM at epicenter

Location 45.703°N, 112.128°W

Depth 11.7 km (7.3 miles) set by location program

Distances 19 km (12 miles) S (187°) from Whitehall, MT

22 km (14 miles) SW (216°) from Cardwell, MT

24 km (15 miles) NE (42°) from Twin Bridges, MT

399 km (248 miles) NE (53°) from Boise, ID

551 km (342 miles) N (358°) from Salt Lake City, UT
Bizarro Earth

Volcano Erupts in Indonesia

The tallest volcano on Indonesia's Java island erupted on Friday, spewing smoke and ash high into the sky and coating a nearby town in black dust, an official said.

The 3,676-metre Mount Semeru burst into life shortly after midnight but officials said it posed no danger to people living in the area, 35 kilometres southeast of Lumajang.

'We recorded that it erupted after midnight on Friday but luckily we have had rains so the ash isn't causing serious respiration problems for the residents,' volcanologist Agus Budianto told AFP.
Bizarro Earth

4.7 Earth Tremor Shakes Melbourne, Australia

Residents across Melbourne have been rattled by an earth tremor that struck about 100km south-east of the city.

The United States Geological Survey reported on its website the tremor measured 4.7 on the Richter scale, about 96 kilometres from Melbourne, and Geoscience Australia says the tremor was centred near Korumburra.

There have been no reports of injury and police are urging people not to call 000 unless they have been injured or suffered property damage.

Victoria Police and the State Emergency Service also say there has been an earth tremor but said there are no reports of any damage so far.
Bizarro Earth

California: 3.1 Earthquake Recorded in Geysers

An earthquake was felt on Cobb Mountain Thursday afternoon.

The quake, measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale, occurred at 3:06 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

It was centered two miles north northeast of The Geysers, three miles west of Cobb and six miles northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported. It occurred at a depth of three-tenths of a mile.

Residents of Cobb, Middletown and even distant Fresno reported to the US Geological Survey that they felt the quake.
Magnify

Chilean extremophile bacteria thrive in Mars-like conditions

The Atacama desert lies on the western edge of South America, covering much of northern Chile and parts of Argentina. It is the closest one can get to Mars while remaining grounded on Earth. High atop the Socompa volcano on the Eastern edge of the Atacama desert, the atmosphere is thin, the ultraviolet radiation is intense, and the climate is dry. Nevertheless, the improbable has been found: life. Near the rim of the 19,850-foot-high Socompa volcano, researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder's Alpine Microbial Observatory found a thriving, complex microbial community that appears to be supported by gases emanating from volcanic vents around the rim.
Phoenix

Alaska: Okmok Volcano warning level raised to yellow

Unalaska - The Alaska Volcano Observatory raised the warning level for Okmok to yellow, or advisory, on Monday after a series of seismic bursts that lasted for six hours. The tremors repeated again Wednesday but have since subsided. AVO coordinating scientist Steve McNutt said these seismic signals could mean anything.

"Signals like this sometimes precede eruptions on the scale of hours to days, sometimes weeks or longer. And then sometimes the volcano just goes back to sleep," he said. "So you have to be cautious and assume that it may erupt and it could do so quickly, so that's the basis for our treating it with caution and changing the color code. On the other hand it could represent a new physical state of the volcano in which case it could do something different and then go back to sleep."
Bulb

US: Preventing Bat Illness: A Potential Solution?

Little brown bats
© Al Hicks, New York Department of Conservation
Little brown bats.
Some researchers are suggesting a way to save bats from white-nose syndrome - at least temporarily. In a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, scientists used mathematical models to determine whether warmer caves could help decrease bat mortality from the illness, recognized by a white fungus on their noses, ears, and wings.

Heating caves "might be a way to keep the bats alive for a while until we come up with a cure or a solution," says lead author Justin Boyles.
Black Cat

US: Mountain lion spotted in Spooner, Wisconsin

Cougar
© Courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
An adult male mountain lion weighing between 120 and 130 pounds, in a tree near Spooner, Wis. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources attempted to sedate the animal with tranquilizer darts, but it escaped.
An extremely rare sighting of a mountain lion has been confirmed near Spooner, Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The animal, an adult male weighing between 120 and 130 pounds, was first seen Tuesday by a homeowner about 15 miles northwest of Spooner in Burnett County. Dogs were used to track the animal and chase it up a tree.

After the DNR was notified, officals from the department joined in the search, and on both Wednesday and Thursday the mountain lion was chased up trees. Two attempts to sedate the animal with a tranquilizer dart failed, and the mountain lion was not captured.
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