Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.7 - Solomon Islands

Earthquake Location
Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 05:30:20 UTC

Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 04:30:20 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

10.607°S, 161.429°E

35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program


55 km (35 miles) WSW of Kira Kira, San Cristobal, Solomon Isl.

205 km (130 miles) SE of HONIARA, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

220 km (135 miles) SSE of Auki, Malaita, Solomon Islands

2070 km (1280 miles) NNE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia

Cloud Lightning

Gale Force Winds Could Leave Gulf Oil Gushing for 2 Weeks

© Peter Andrew Bosch/Miami Herald
Smoke rising in the background from an in-site burning of oil caught on the water surface, as workmen on the relief well in foreground are tripping in the well bore.
Winds in excess of 45 miles per hour days away from the Deepwater Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico spill could force at-sea workers to abandon their oil-collection efforts for as long as two weeks, the head of the national response effort said Friday.

That timetable would conservatively unleash another half-million barrels of oil into the sea -- twice the Exxon Valdez spill. Using upper-end federal estimates of the leak, 840,000 barrels would gush out. That's 35 million gallons.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen described the cut-and-run plan in a conference call to reporters at noon Friday -- about six hours before the National Weather Service announced that a tropical depression had formed in the Caribbean.

''Realistically, over an abundance of caution,'' the admiral predicted that Deepwater Horizon's well would remain uncapped for ''14 days'' if the storm headed into the area of the Gulf where the ships are collecting oil.

Cloud Lightning

Adios El Niño, Hello La Niña?

© NASA/JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team
The latest data from the NASA/European Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 satellite show that the tropical Pacific has switched from warm, or higher-than-normal sea surface heights (shown in red) to cold, or lower-than-normal sea surface heights (shown in blue) during the last few months.
The latest image of Pacific Ocean sea surface heights from the NASA/European Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 oceanography satellite, dated June 11, 2010, shows that the tropical Pacific has switched from warm (red) to cold (blue) during the last few months.

The blue area in the center of the image depicts the recent appearance of cold water hugging the equator, which the satellite measures as a region of lower-than-normal sea level. Remnants of the El Niño warm water pool, shown here in red and yellow, still linger north and south of the equator in the center of the image.

The image shows sea surface height relative to normal ocean conditions. Red (warmer) areas are about 10 centimeters (4 inches) above normal. Green areas indicate near-normal conditions. Purple (cooler) areas are 14 to 18 centimeters (6 to 7 inches) below normal. Blue areas are 5 to 13 centimeters (2 to 5 inches) below normal.


Pensacola Clean-Up: Last Stand Against Gulf Oil Spill

© Walter Michot/Maimi Herald
A shrimp boat is being used as a skimmer boat just 200 yards off the Pensacola Beach.
A day after this pristine seashore was walloped with oil, most of the sticky crude was gone from its beaches -- either cleaned up, buried or swept back into the sea.

But the question remained: How could miles of gooey mess have slipped past the ocean skimmers onto the shore?

The answer: Easily.

Although state officials say there are about 20 skimming vessels working night and day straining matted and weathered oil from the sea, there are too few of them to cover much of the vast Gulf, and the effort is more art than science.

''It's almost like beating a grizzly bear with a hickory stick,'' said charter boat Capt. Paul Redman Jr., who has been battling the oil on his ''vessel of opportunity'' -- the label for private boats serving in the cleanup -- for about three weeks. ''You're going to fight till you can't fight no more. No one wants to give up.''

Cow Skull

Pensacola Beach Covered in Oil

The beach is covered in oil tonight. I walked for two hours from near Peg Legs west about one mile past the Fort Pickens gate and saw nothing but oil everywhere and maybe a dozen clean up people half of which were working.


What is Killing Argentina's Right Whales?

A Franca Austral whale (also known as Southern Right Whale).
Agadir, Morocco - Fatal strandings of southern right whales around Argentina's Valdes Peninsula have soared in recent years, and worried scientists are not sure why, the International Whaling Commission heard Friday.

From 1971, when systematic monitoring began, only a relative handful of whale deaths were reported over the next three decades.

Starting in 2003, however, the mortality rate began to soar: from 31 that year, to 47 in 2005, 83 in 2007, 95 in 2008 and 79 last year, the IWC's scientific committee reported.

"Over 90 percent of the deaths have been of first-year calves," the scientists said.

The Valdes Peninsula is one of the most popular whalewatching venues on the planet, attracting some 200,000 eco-tourists every year hoping to see the huge mammals -- which grow up to 17-metre (56-foot) long -- in their element.

It is also a critically important breeding and nursery ground for right whales.

Three causes, possibly in combination, have been fingered as possible culprits.


Grand Cayman Island: DoE Investigate Mystery of Dead Fish

The cause of a large number of dead juvenile fish along the waterline on Seven Mile Beach is unknown, according to the Department of Environment, and appears to be confined to a single species.

The fish, which were reported to the DoE Wednesday 23 June, appeared to all be filefish fry about 2-3cm long, possibly white-spotted filefish, but because of their young stage of development the department is unable to identify the species with certainly.

"Despite the large number of dead fish observed over several miles on southern and central Seven Mile Beach we do not suspect that there is a systemic environmental problem at this time," said John Bothwell, Senior Research Officer with the Department of Environment.

Bizarro Earth

At Least 42 Dead, 115,000 Homeless in Brazil Flooding

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met Tuesday with his emergency Cabinet as flooding in two northeastern states killed at least 42 people and left more than 115,000 homeless or displaced, the Agencia Brasil state news agency and civil defense officials reported.

In Pernambuco state, 53 cities have declared a state of emergency, the nation's civil defense agency said. Thirteen people are dead and more than 42,000 are homeless there, the agency said.

In Alagoas state, 22 cities have declared an emergency. At least 29 people are dead, officials said. More than 73,000 residents are homeless or displaced, the national civil defense said.

More than 600 people have been reported missing in Alagoas.

Bizarro Earth

Big Algae Bloom Expanding Off China's East Coast

© Jianan Yu/Reuters
Green algae outbreak in 2008, in Chaolu lake in Hefei, Anhui province, endangered water supply in nearby cities and posed a great threat to aquatic life.
A huge bright green algae bloom is blanketing the sea off China's east coast and wind is driving it closer to land, an official said Friday.

Cui Wenlin, an official with the State Oceanic Administration, said the slimy bloom is the biggest China has seen since a huge outbreak in 2008 threatened to disrupt sailing events during the Beijing Summer Olympics. Before the games, thousands of soldiers, volunteers and fishing boats were recruited to clean up that bloom, which sailors took to calling "The Fairway" and "The Carpet."

The current outbreak has nearly doubled in size since it was first spotted June 14 near eastern China's Shandong province and now measures about 110 square miles (300 square kilometers), said Cui, who works at the administration's North China Sea Environmental Monitoring Center.

Winds are pushing the mass toward the resort city of Qingdao, and it was 6-12 miles (10-20 kilometers) from shore late Friday, he said.

Cloud Lightning

US: Suspected tornado shatters largest city in Connecticut

© Madalyn Ruggiero, The Associated Press
The severe weather system that spawned the Connecticut winds also damaged the town hall and fire station in Edgerton, Ohio, photographed Thursday.
A suspected tornado tore through Connecticut's largest city Thursday -- a rare occurrence in the state -- toppling trees and power lines and collapsing a building in Bridgeport as a powerful line of storms swept across parts of the Northeast. Remarkably, no serious injuries were reported.

Hundreds of bricks shook loose from buildings, trees split in half and crushed cars, and a billboard hung precariously several stories up over Main Street. Rescuers searched what was left of a collapsed building before determining no one was inside.

The office of Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch declared a state of emergency after the fast-moving system of wind and rain.

Jacqueline Arroyo, 44, said she saw a black cloud and ran inside to her third-floor apartment, where the window exploded. Trees were blown so ferociously they appeared to be coming out of the ground, and people were screaming, she said.

"All the wind started coming inside the house. I heard 'boom, boom!'" she said. "It was so fast but terrifying."