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Tue, 09 Feb 2016
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Earth Changes


Eruptive activity reported on Barren Island, Indian Ocean

Steam / ash plume and thermal hot spot at Barren Island on 1 Feb 2016
Minor eruptive activity (possibly strombolian) seems to continue on the remote island, at least intermittently.

Yesterday and the day before, a weak steam and possibly ash plume was visible on satellite imagery as well as a thermal hot spot.


Dog missing for 3 days found buried alive in sinkhole, Platte County, Missouri

A dog missing for three days is found buried in a 5-foot sinkhole in Platte County.

Lisa Van Valkenburgh said she let her dog Maverick out Thursday evening to relieve himself and he wandered off. Van Valkenburgh said she and her family searched for her dog and found him Saturday afternoon.

"I walked this road. I walked down and back and walked on this side and came right here and heard a moan, like a bark," Van Valkenburgh said.

Maverick's owner said she couldn't believe her 12-year-old German Shepherd was buried alive. "That would swallow a child; that is a dangerous situation," she said.

When the dog was pulled to safety Van Valkenburgh said he was lethargic and dehydrated.

Greg Sager, the Platte County Director of Public Works said water caused the pipe to rust and the soil was washed away, creating the sinkhole. Sager said a new pipe was ordered today and he expects to have it replaced in a week or two.

As for Maverick, his veterinarian said he's expected to make a full recovery.

Arrow Down

Forgot to pay the parking fee? Sinkhole in Moscow swallows two cars

© alicebon5 / Instagram
Moscow authorities are trying to determine what caused a rather deep crevice to open up in a parking lot in the capital's northeast. It swallowed two cars! Social media users jokingly suggested the drivers overlooked the parking fee.

The incident happened on Wednesday after two unsuspecting drivers parked their Hyundai and BMW on a spot that would soon turn into a gaping hole.

The Hyundai was unlucky and literally took a dive into the gap. It had to be pulled out with a crane and a tow truck, while the BMW teetered on the edge of the crater.

The surface of the hole was 15 square meters (nearly 161 square feet) and was 3 meters deep, TASS reported.


Several tornadoes hit the American South, heavy snow in the Midwest

© Paula Merritt, AP
Debris lies on the ground near First Baptist Church of Collinsville in Lauderdale County, Miss., after it was severely damaged during a storm Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016
Several tornadoes ripped across parts of eastern Mississippi and western Alabama Tuesday, while a brutal winter storm paralyzed parts of the Midwest with more than a foot of snow.

The southern tornadoes left behind devastation but no deaths. The storms took down trees and power poles and damaged structures, the Weather Channel reported. More than 14,000 Alabama Power customers were without power, mostly in Birmingham, the utility reported.

In Alabama, the National Weather Service in Birmingham reported a "confirmed large and destructive tornado" on the ground near the city of Aliceville, about 45 miles west of Tuscaloosa, according to the Associated Press.

"We have trees down along with live power lines," said Belinda Tilley, Aliceville's emergency 911 director, after the tornado had passed. "We've had some houses hit and minor injuries reported," she added.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake rattles northeastern Taiwan

An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale occurred off the coast of northeastern Taiwan at 10:19 p.m. Tuesday, the Central Weather Bureau reported shortly after the temblor.

The quake's epicenter was located at sea about 185.4 kilometers east of Keelung City Hall in northern Taiwan at a depth of 212.7 km, the bureau said.

The strongest tremors, which had an intensity of 3 on Taiwan's 0-7 seismic intensity scale, were felt in Nan'ao in Yilan County and Yenliao in Hualian County.

Taichung, Nantou County, Taitung County and Hsinchu County recorded an intensity of 2, while an intensity of 1 was reported in Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan, the bureau said.

Bizarro Earth

Australian volcanic eruption captured on film

© Pete Harmsen
The still-smoking peak of Big Ben volcano, shortly after the eruption.
Australia's only two active volcanoes have both erupted - and scientists on board a ship conducting research nearby caught the rare event on film.

The Big Ben volcano on remote Heard Island in sub-Antarctica, almost 1800 kilometres north of Australia's Antarctic base at Davis Station, erupted a combination of poisonous gases and red-hot lava. It was the first time it had done so in decades.
We witnessed the lava descending Big Ben interacting dramatically with the snow and ice cover of the mountain.

Richard Arculus, ANU volcanologist
The other volcano, on the neighbouring McDonald islands, erupted gas only. Scientists on board the CSIRO's RV Investigator were visiting the islands to conduct research into the concentration of iron in Antarctic waters.

"We witnessed the lava descending Big Ben as it interacted dramatically with the snow and ice cover of the mountain," said ANU volcanologist Professor Richard Arculus, who witnessed the eruption first hand.

Snowflake Cold

Mexico enduring the coldest winter in its history

A hat! a hat! I should have worn a hat!
The situation is particularly worrying in the north, where the thermometer reached the -17 ° C mark. In Mexico City it snowed in January, a phenomenon not seen in the capital since 1967.

31 Jan 2016 - While the storm Jonah was unleashed on the United States, in Mexico temperatures dropped to record lows.

The snow and cold forced the government to declare a state of emergency is declared in 24 of the 32 states in the country.

The National Meteorological System has warned that the worst of winter may be yet to come and that temperatures will fall in the north, northeast, east and center of Mexico.

Comment: See also: Mexico hit by polar air mass: State of emergency declared in 446 municipalities


One of the lucky ones: Blue whale rescued off Dapoli, India

© Mohan Upadhye
Volunteers of Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra and forest officials rescuing the stranded blue whale on Dapoli beach in Ratnagiri district.
The whale, weighing approximately 25 tonnes, was seemingly stranded in the shallows during the night because of the high tide and was then trapped in the sand.

Sightings of whales along the coastline of Maharashtra seem to have become a common occurrence. Three days after a 45-feet-long Bryde's Whale was found dead on the Juhu beach, another behemoth whale was spotted around 200 km away from Mumbai.

A 40-feet-long blue whale was spotted stranded in the shallow waters of Dapoli beach in Ratnagiri district by members of the Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra on February 1, who successfully rescued it and sent it back into deeper seas.

According to the environmental group, on a chilly morning at around 6 am, a volunteer of the group saw the whale struggling to keep itself in the waters, almost 100 metres from the shore.

The whale, weighing approximately 25 tonnes, was seemingly stranded in the shallows during the night because of the high tide and was then trapped in the sand.

"Immediately, the volunteer alerted other members of the group and we informed the forest officials," Project Director, Mohan Upadhye from Dapoli said. The distress call by the group was heeded by around 25 men of the village, alongside a strong force of forest officials as well.


Dead sperm whale washed ashore at Ganjam, India

The body of the sperm whale
The sight of dead body of a 35 feet long and 10 feet round sperm whale washed ashore shocked locals on Tuesday near Kantiagada village that under Ganjam block.

The whale is suspected to have died five days back.

Informing about the body that washed ashore, Khalikote Forest Ranger, Dilip Kumar Martha, said, "We doubt that the whale died four or five days back. Initial investigations suggest that the whale died after being hit by a ship. The Odisha museum has also been informed about the whale if they ever want to preserve it. If they don't, the whale will be buried near the coast."


Tourist gored and trampled to death during elephant ride in Thailand

The elephant is said to have attacked its handler first, before turning on Mr Crowe. This is another elephant on the same park where Mr Crowe was killed
Thai authorities said Tuesday that a Scottish tourist was gored by an enraged elephant and trampled to death during a trekking tour on the resort island of Koh Samui.

Gareth Crowe, 36, and his stepdaughter, Eilidh Hughes, 16, were riding the adult elephant when they were thrown from the animal, police told Agence France-Presse. Crowe's stepdaughter and the elephant's handler were able to escape, but Crowe — who had a prosthetic leg, police said — could not outrun the elephant, Samui District Chief Paiboon Omark told AFP.

Crowe was wounded by the elephant's tusk and trampled. He died after being transported to a local hospital.

According to Thai news reports, the elephant — named Rambo but also known as Golf — became upset when his handler, called a mahout, climbed down to take a picture for the tourists.