Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.9 - 62km SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Panguna Quake_190414
Event Time
2014-04-19 01:04:06 UTC
2014-04-19 11:04:06 UTC+10:00 at epicenter

6.701°S 155.069°E depth=45.5km (28.2mi)

Nearby Cities
62km (39mi) SW of Panguna, Papua New Guinea
74km (46mi) SW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
405km (252mi) SE of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
559km (347mi) ESE of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
616km (383mi) WNW of Honiara, Solomon Islands

Technical Details
Bizarro Earth

Almost one-fifth of China's farmland is polluted, according to a government report

Polluted Farms
© Reuters
It's not easy balancing economic development and the environment.
Almost one-fifth of China's farmland is polluted, according to a government report released this week. Officials have acknowledged the country's problems with water and air pollution, but the extent of soil contamination has been a closely guarded "state secret," for fear of incriminating certain provinces or companies.

About 19.4% of China's farmland is polluted by cadmium, nickel and arsenic, according to the seven-year study that analyzed a little over half of China's entire land area. One-fifth of China's total arable land is about 26 million hectares (64 million acres), the same area as the United Kingdom, by the most recent estimates.

The pollution is concentrated around the Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas - key sources of water in the country and home to millions of people - as well as in parts of the south where much of China's rice is grown. Last year, half of all samples of rice in Guangzhou were found to have poisonous levels of cadmium, a chemical that can cause kidney failure when ingested. The main causes are agriculture and industry, the report said. (Farmers contribute to soil pollution with their use of fertilizers and pesticides and improper disposal of animal waste.)
Alarm Clock

Second earthquake in 24 hours recorded in Rutland, UK

© Alamy
A street in Oakham, Rutland. A British Geological Survey said it was 'unexpected' for there to be a second earthquake in exactly the same location.
3.5-magnitude quake in Oakham bigger than Thursday's, which at 3.2-magnitude had been region's biggest since 2001

Another earthquake has struck Rutland in the East Midlands, 24 hours after one shook houses for around 10 seconds.

Initial data released by the British Geological Survey (BGS) said the latest quake struck Oakham at around 7.50am on Friday and that it was bigger than Thursday's, measuring magnitude 3.5.

Thursday's 3.2-magnitude quake occurred at 7.07am and was the biggest in the region since October 2001.

A BGS spokesperson said that it was unexpected for there to be a second earthquake in exactly the same location. The organisation had already received 600 reports from members of the public, compared with 450 on Thursday.

In comments posted on the BGS Facebook page, residents in Rutland and neighbouring Lincolnshire claimed the latest quake was more powerful than the first.

"Incredibly severe": Scotland left in dark about cause of massive blackout

© REUTERS/ Vasily Fedosenko
Electric power lines (Archive)
Investigators are still trying to ascertain why 200,000 homes in northern Scotland lost power earlier this week.

The blackout on Wednesday evening left almost a third of the country in darkness and was described by the distribution company, Scottish Hydro-Electric Power, as "incredibly severe."

The precise cause of the fault still remains unknown and a number of scenarios are being considered.

A spokeswoman for the utility company told RIA Novosti that such an occurrence is extremely rare.

"Our network transmission is 99.9 percent reliable. This is highly unusual, given the scale of the area. Our engineers have not heard of such an outage in recent times," the spokeswoman said.

Rare Arctic Bowhead whale seen in Cape Cod Bay - only the second in recorded history

A bowhead whale was spotted feeding with right whales in Cape Cod Bay last week
Experts call the sighting rare and remarkable

It is a remarkable sighting, according to experts from the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown. Last Friday marks only the second time in recorded history that a bowhead whale has been seen so far south in the waters of the Atlantic. The whale was spotted swimming and feeding with right whales on Cape Cod Bay on April 11, according to a CCS release.

The first time a bowhead was spotted in our waters was two years ago, when one was observed by CCS researchers off the Outer Beach in Orleans in August 2012.
Blue Planet

Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

Mexico earthquake
A powerful, magnitude-7.5 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.

The quake was felt strongly in the resort city, as well as in Mexico's capital, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Is the giant rat reported in Gravesend in fact a rat?

A massive rat which was reported in Gravesend yesterday (April 15) sparked debate throughout the borough.

The dead-looking rodent was pictured on a pink spade and tweeted by BBC Radio 2 yesterday.

Debate has raged over whether the photo might be a totally different rodent altogether, one pest control expert saying it could be a rodent known a beaver-type animal known as a coypu.

Another animal specialist claims it is an "oversized, brown rat" mutated from the increase in food waste.

BBC Radio 2 posted a photo of the dead-looking rodent on a pink spade on Twitter, from a listener known as "Sarah" days after the Daily Mail reported rats "the size of small cats" are invading cities and are immune to poison.

Ben Johnson, who is director of Direct Pest Solution, based in Trosley Avenue, Gravesend, believes it is another animal altogether.

He told News Shopper: "I don't think it's a rat, I believe it's a coypu, a bit like a beaver.

"We certainly haven't had any reports of giant rats."

Comment: All the recent, over the top claims, about "rats as big as cats' in the British print media, usually turn out to be this different rodent species - Coypu - misidentified by the observer.


27 killed as severe dust storm hits parts of India

India dust storm 1983
© Unknown
Dust storm that took place in Rajasthan, India in 1983.
At least 27 persons were killed and more than 30 injured in incidents of roofs collapse and uprooting of trees and poles after a severe dust storm hit several districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Ten persons were killed in Farukhabad, six including two children in Barabanki, three each in state capital Lucknow and Sitapur, two each in Hardoi and Jalaun and one in Faizabad last evening, officials said today.
Ice Cube

Why it's a big deal: Half of the Great Lakes are still covered in ice

Over the winter, as polar vortices plunged the U.S. Midwest into weeks of unceasing cold, the icy covers of the Great Lakes started to make headlines. With almost 96 percent of Lake Superior's 32,000 miles encased in ice at the season's peak, tens of thousands of tourists flocked to the ice caves along the Wisconsin shoreline, suddenly accessible after four years of relatively warmer wintery conditions.

The thing is, all of that ice takes a long time to melt. As of April 10, 48 percent of the five lakes' 90,000-plus square miles were still covered in ice, down from a high of 92.2 percent on March 6 (note that constituted the highest levels recorded since 1979, when ice covered 94.7 percent of the lakes). Last year, only 38.4 percent of the lakes froze over, while in 2012 just 12.9 percent did - part of a four-year stint of below-average iciness.
Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.0 - 122km WSW of Lata, Solomon Islands

Solomon Quake_180414
Event Time
2014-04-18 04:13:12 UTC
2014-04-18 15:13:12 UTC+11:00 at epicenter

11.155°S 164.806°E depth=10.0km (6.2mi)

Nearby Cities
122km (76mi) WSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
547km (340mi) NNW of Luganville, Vanuatu
565km (351mi) ESE of Honiara, Solomon Islands
820km (510mi) NNW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
1111km (690mi) NNW of We, New Caledonia

Technical Details