Earth Changes


Researchers find helium anomaly preceded Mount Ontake eruption

© Earthquake Research Institute, The University of Tokyo
Mount Ontake is located 200 km west of Tokyo on the border of Gifu and Nagano Prefectures. This image shows the continued release of steam and gas from the volcano after the eruption.
University of Tokyo researchers discovered an increase in a helium isotope during a ten-year period before the 2014 Mount Ontake eruption in central Japan. The finding suggests that this helium isotope anomaly is related to activation of the volcano's magma system and could be a valuable marker for long-term risk mitigation concerning volcanic eruption.

Small quantities of the isotope helium-3 are present in the mantle, while helium-4 is produced in the crust and mantle by radioactive decay. A higher ratio of helium-3 to helium-4 therefore indicates that a sample of helium gas originates from the mantle rather than the crust. Previous research suggested that variation of helium isotopic ratios over time in crater fumaroles and hot springs correlates well with volcanic activity.

However, helium anomalies reported in these studies were all related to magmatic eruptions, and not to hydro-volcanic or phreatic eruptions, caused when a heat source such as magma vaporizes water to steam. Because phreatic eruptions are highly local phenomena, they are extremely difficult to predict. Mount Ontake, which erupted unexpectedly on September 27, 2014 just before noon, is believed to have been a phreatic eruption, and resulted in 58 deaths with 5 still missing.


Dead whale washes up on beach in Angourie, Australia


Sharks have partially devoured the carcass of a whale washed up on Back Beach at Angourie over the weekend.
Local authorities will leave the stinking carcass of a whale washed up on Back Beach at Angourie to the ghost crabs and other organisms.

Media officer for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Lawrence Orel said National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers investigating the scene had decided to let nature take its course.

The dead whale, which has been partially eaten by sharks, washed up on the beach on Saturday.

Mr Orel said the ghost crabs and other beach organisms would quickly finish what the sharks had started.

"It's already partially buried by the natural action on the beach," he said.

"There's only two or three square metres of it still visible."

Mr Orel said the evidence of shark activity on the whale's body had to be expected.


Whale washes up on southern Iranian coast


The photo shows the decomposing body of a 13-meter-long whale washed up on a beach in the southern Iranian province of Bushehr.
The decomposing body of a whale is washed up on a beach in southern Iran, with experts providing conflicting accounts on why the giant creature has died.

Iranian media said Monday that the animal was spotted a few days ago on a beach near the port city of Dayyer in southwestern province of Bushehr, a first such incidence in decades in the gas-rich area.

Experts have begun assessing how the animal had actually died while people were also pondering what would be the best way to dispose of the large beast.

The head of the local environment department said biometric and sampling tests have been carried out on the carcass of the whale, showing that the animal died after hitting a big vessel.

Abdullah Najafi did not elaborate whether there were broken bones or hemorrhaging visible on the body of the whale which could prove a ship strike. He said the animal is 13.30 meter long (43.6 feet) and has a weight of around 8 tons.

Cloud Precipitation

7 dead, 3 missing as floods and mudslides hit northeastern Turkey

© AA
Artvin on Aug. 24, 2015
Seven people were killed, 17 were injured and three were lost in floods and mudslides in Turkey's northeastern province of Artvin, the province's governor Kemal Cirit said on Monday.

Kemal Cirit said, one of the lost was a child, and the rescue teams are currently trying to reach the other two.

"Since 12 p.m. today [Monday], our coastal regions, especially Hopa, have received a lot of rain. This terriantial rain has caused mudslides, and 8 people lost their lives in the center of Hopa and its three villages," Cirit had told a private news channel.

But talking at the governorate's press meeting later on the evening, Cirit stated that seven people-not eight- had died in the floods and three had gone missing. The governor also said that 17 people were injured, five of whom were transferred to Rize State hospital.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods wash out crops worth $850 millions in Sindh, Pakistan

The ready to harvest major and minor crops, including cotton, paddy, chilly and vegetables worth almost Rs85bn ($0.85bn) have been completely washed out by the rain and floods in Sindh, an official of Sindh Abadgar Board said yesterday.

"Almost all the summer crops planted on 2.1 million acres of riverine land on two sides of the Indus River were ready for the harvest," the president of Sindh Abadgar Board Abdul Majeed Nizamani told, adding that rains and floods wiped out the standing crops completely.

The average value of the washed out crops comes to around Rs40,000 acre, which brings the total cost to around Rs85bn.

A part of the crops planted on mainstream agriculture lands in the province have also been impacted, the farmers added.

Arrow Down

65-feet-deep sinkhole opens up in Groveland, Florida


Sinkhole in Groveland
A sinkhole in a Groveland neighborhood led to one person evacuating and almost forced a local middle school to close their doors after a boil-water alert was issued.

The sinkhole opened on Sunday afternoon, swallowing up parts of the street and driveway of a home in this central Florida town, police said. It measured at 45 feet wide and 65 feet deep and ruptured a water main, which caused the hole to fill with water, WFTV reported.

Sgt. Stephanie Crews of the Groveland Police Department said no one was injured, but one person had to be evacuated.

The sinkhole is estimated to stop shifting by Monday morning, WFTV added, and once that happens, crews will be able to cap off the water main and restore service to the customers that were affected.


Family dog kills woman in Spartanburg, South Carolina

© FOX Carolina
The fatal dog attack was reported on Beverly Hills Drive.
The Spartanburg County Coroner's Office was on scene of a dog attack Saturday night.

Jamie Nelson, director of Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement, said a dog attack occurred at a residence on Beverly Hills Drive. Nelson said three individuals were attacked during the incident.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said 25-year-old Porsche Nicole Cartee was pronounced dead at the scene. Clevenger said statements from witnesses indicate Cartee suffered trauma to her body during the attack.

On Sunday, Clevenger said an examination revealed the cause of death to be dog bites to the head and body.

Clevenger identified the dog as a pit bull and said two other family member were injured in the incident.
Nelson said the dog was euthanized and will be tested for rabies on Monday.

The attack remains under investigation by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office and Animal Control.


Battle for Baikal: Raging Siberian wildfires threaten world's biggest freshwater lake

© Chono Erdenebayar
The world's oldest and deepest lake could face severe damage from wildfires which are burning out of control along its shores. Lake Baikal, home to 20 percent of the world's unfrozen fresh water, is facing a potential ecological catastrophe with 36 fires burning in the region.

It is one of the jewels of Russia, both in terms of its importance ecologically and for tourism. However, as plumes of smoke billow out in southern Siberia, thousands of hectares of forest are being destroyed around Lake Baikal.

Comment: All over the world we are witnessing extensive wildfires, which in some regions have been described as "unprecedented". Could some of these wildfires have been fueled from outgassing, then possibly 'sparked' by an increase in atmospheric electric discharge events, such as lightning strikes? See also:

Study: Wildfire seasons are more destructive and lasting longer almost everywhere on Earth

Cloud Lightning

Unusual Cape Town lightning storm

Weird weather took hold this past weekend as both Saturday and Sunday evening saw the skies over the Mother City light up due to thunder and lightning storms.

Many in Cape Town took to social media to document the unusual weather, saying they felt as if they were in Joburg or Durban.

Following are seven shots we thought completely nailed the stunning occurrence.

The South African Weather Service confirmed in an update on Sunday afternoon that there was a 30% chance of rainfall for Sunday evening with similar conditions for the Western Cape continuing into Monday and Tuesday.

Mild conditions can be expected in Cape Town on Monday with maximum temperatures reaching a 17°C, while cold conditions could be expected in the Northern Cape with Sutherland reaching a low of 2°C.

Weather conditions for Joburg, Pretoria and Vereeniging would be fine and warm with maximum temperatures of 25°C but the SA Weather Service warned of extremely high fire dangers over the western interior of the Eastern Cape.
© Instagram

Cloud Precipitation

Rome to Milan plane encounters violent hailstorm, destroys its nose cone and shatters cockpit window


The Alitalia plane was heavily damaged after making an emergency landing at Naples through a violent storm
These shocking images show the extreme damage suffered by a plane after it was forced to make an emergency landing after ploughing through a violent hailstorm.

Pilots brought the plane down with one of the cockpit windshields completely shattered and the nose cone virtually destroyed.

And in video footage shot from a passenger on board, screams can be heard as the Alitalia aircraft makes a terrifying descent.

Flight AZ2016 took off from Rome's main airport of Fiumicino yesterday morning at 8.30am, en-route to Milan.

But around 30 minutes into the journey, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing after being battered by the violent hailstorm.

Speaking to La Republica, Luca Quadarella, who was on board the plane, said: 'For two or three minutes the fuselage [was engulfed] by a very loud noise.'


The pilots had to use all their skills for the emergency landing after the storm shattered the windscreen

Comment: Wow, that's the second time in a month! Unprecedented!

See also: What's up with the weather? Huge hail stones damage multiple commercial planes