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USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.8 - 84km NNE of Port-Vila, Vanuatu

Port-Vila Quake_230115
© USGS
Event Time
  1. 2015-01-23 03:47:27 (UTC)
  2. Times in other timezones
Nearby Cities
  1. 84km (52mi) NNE of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
  2. 218km (135mi) SE of Luganville, Vanuatu
  3. 453km (281mi) NNE of We, New Caledonia
  4. 610km (379mi) NNE of Dumbea, New Caledonia
  5. 84km (52mi) NNE of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
Scientific Data
Attention

Dead gray whale discovered at Seattle ferry terminal

© Ted S Warren
A dead whale floats under a dock at the Colman Dock Washington State Ferry Terminal in Seattle, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015
A 30-foot gray whale has turned up dead under the Washington state ferry terminal in downtown Seattle, where its stench is wafting into the noses of thousands of daily commuters.

A Washington State Ferries spokeswoman, Susan Harris-Huether, says the whale was found just before 11 p.m. Wednesday. She says people are reporting that the smell is "not good."

Harris says it's under a dock, but ferry service Thursday wasn't affected.

A spokesman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that officials believe the whale may have been there for about a week. Michael Milstein says it's not known yet why the animal died, how it got there or other details.

He says NOAA will work with ferry officials and others to move the animal so a necropsy can be conducted.

Source: Associated Press
Arrow Down

Miracle escape for couple as watery sinkhole swallows their car in Tampa, Florida


The car was removed from the water around 4am on Monday
A car plunged into a massive, watery sinkhole late Sunday evening - forcing the couple inside the vehicle to flee as it continued to be engulfed.

Ashley Guzman was with her boyfriend Christopher Atkinson when the incident took place at the intersection of North 20th Street and East Yukon Street in Tampa, Florida, she told WTVT.

'Right when I got out the car it just - like the floor just started cracking towards me,' she told the affiliate station. 'That's when I started panicking more and I started yelling at him so he could get out.'

Hardhat

Oil pipeline leak causes saltwater and crude oil to spill into Missouri river

oil leak williston north dakota
© AP Photo/Williston Herald, Zack Nelson
In this photo taken Jan. 12, 2015, crews dig up land at a saltwater spill site near Blacktail Creek outside Williston, N.D. A North Dakota health official called the 70,000 barrel spill the state's largest during the state's current oil boom.
Nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater and an unknown quantity of crude oil have leaked from a North Dakota pipeline into a creek that feeds the Missouri River, by far the largest spill of its kind in the state's history, officials said.

The leak, from a four-inch saltwater pipeline operated by Summit Midstream Partners LP approximately 15 miles north of Williston, occurred sometime earlier this month and was reported to state officials on Jan. 7.

It's not clear what caused the leak and an investigation is underway, a Summit spokesman said.

The leak does not pose a threat to drinking water supplies, the North Dakota Department of Health said in a statement released on Wednesday. Summit said it does not believe wildlife was affected.

The spill was first publicly reported on Jan. 8, though Wednesday's statement from the Department of Health was the first to mention the spill's volume.

Comment: Despite assurances that the leak poses no danger to drinking water supplies or wildlife, the fact that the saltwater is a byproduct of fracking is a cause for concern. The numerous chemicals used in the fracking process are highly toxic, and the oil industry is not likely to 'own up' when profits are at stake.

Fracking Hell: The Untold Story

Arrow Down

Horse rescued from sinkhole in Arroyo Grande, California


Rescued: This horse was eventually able to get out of a sinkhole on Tuesday
Fire officials worked together to help a horse get out of a sinkhole it fell into near Arroyo Grande, California on Tuesday.

Cal Fire San Luis Obispo's Twitter account posted multiple updates on the horse's rescue Tuesday.

The fire department first tweeted at 11:34am on a report of a 'horse stuck in hole' on Sunray Place.

The department quickly updated at 11:53am, writing 'Horse is trapped in a sink hole. The incident is off of Noyes Rd. USAR [Urban Search and Rescue] team is responding. Veterinarian has been contacted.'
Attention

Wild elephant tramples tourist couple to death in India

© Rahula Dassenaieke
A middle-aged couple from Ahmedabad was trampled to death by a wild elephant in Kerala's Periyar Tiger Reserve on Wednesday.

Bhupendra B Ravel (52) and his wife Jagriti (50) were killed by the elephant while they tried to click its photo during a trek in the Gavi forest region in the PTR. The camera flash is said to have provoked the elephant. The couple, accompanied by a forest tour guide, was on a trekking trip organised by the Kerala Forest Development Corporation.

Gavi, close to the Sabarimala temple, is a deep forest and has in the past few years emerged as a key centre for tourists interested in wildlife and forest trekking. Since there are a lot of wildlife including tigers and elephants in Gavi, there are restrictions on visitors and trekking is allowed only on the package run by the KFDC, which has arranged accommodation and other facilities for visitors within the forest.
Attention

Elephant kills forest worker in India

For the first time, an employee of the state forest department was killed in an elephant attack in the state. On Tuesday late evening, Bharat Singh Chaudhary, a 49-year-old forester, was killed by a female leopard at Kolhu in Kotri area of the forest division.

Anil Dutt, principal chief conservator of forests, (wildlife) told TOI, "It is for the first time that a forest employee has been killed by an elephant in the state. During Monsoon last year, one daily wager of the department was killed by a leopard. In this particular case, the surprise factor made the elephant to charge at the employee. At the turn of the road, he came in contact with female elephant which got shocked with his presence. Both elephants and bears kill people due to the surprise element."

According to Nitishmani Tripathi, divisional forest officer of Lansdowne forest division, Bharat Singh was walking to his quarters from Kotri area to Kolhu section which is just one km away. Another employee was few meters behind him. It had become foggy by that time. Chaudhary heard the sounds of the elephant and held back for some time. After being assured that animal must have crossed over, he moved ahead. But the female elephant which was very much present there became insecure and attacked him.
Ice Cube

Earth opening up: Two lakes beneath Greenland ice sheet "rapidly drained away" surprising researchers

Greenland lake
© Stephen Price, Los Alamos National Laboratory, courtesy of The Ohio State University.
In April 2014, researchers flew over a site in southwest Greenland to find that a sub-glacial lake had drained away. This photo shows the crater left behind, as well as a deep crack in the ice.

Researchers who are building the highest-resolution map of the Greenland Ice Sheet to date have made a surprising discovery: two lakes of meltwater that pooled beneath the ice and rapidly drained away.

One lake once held billions of gallons of water and emptied to form a mile-wide crater in just a few weeks. The other lake has filled and emptied twice in the last two years.

Researchers at The Ohio State University published findings on each lake separately: the first in the open-access journal The Cryosphere and the second in the journal Nature.

Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State, leads the team that discovered the cratered lake described in The Cryosphere . To him, the find adds to a growing body of evidence that meltwater has started overflowing the ice sheet's natural plumbing system and is causing "blowouts" that simply drain lakes away.

"The fact that our lake appears to have been stable for at least several decades, and then drained in a matter of weeks - or less - after a few very hot summers, may signal a fundamental change happening in the ice sheet," Howat said.

The two-mile-wide lake described in Nature was discovered by a team led by researcher Michael Willis of Cornell University. Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Geodynamics and professor of earth sciences at Ohio State, is a co-author of the Nature paper, and he said that the repeated filling of that lake is worrisome.

Each time the lake fills, the meltwater carries stored heat, called latent heat, along with it, reducing the stiffness of the surrounding ice and making it more likely to flow out to sea, he said.

Bevis explained the long-term implications.

Comment: As expected, they blame it on "Global Warming" and ice melt. What a bunch of bozos!

Bizarro Earth

Mexico's Colima volcano spews ash 29,000 ft in the air

Colima volcano eruption

Still from YouTube video/webcamsdemexico
A huge ash column exploded into the sky from one of Central America's most dangerous volcanoes on Wednesday, reaching airplane-level heights of the atmosphere.

Mexico's Colima volcano played host to a "strong vulcanian-type explosion" at 9:15 a.m. local time on Wednesday. The mountain belched an ash column more than 4 km above the summit, with volcanic matter rising to 29,000 ft (9 km). The resulting ash flow eventually drifted to the northeast, Volcano Discovery reported.

A webcam focused on the active stratovolcano captured the powerful blast.


A small pyroclastic flow that descended the steep slope of the volcano was generated during the explosion.

The Protección Civil (Civil Protection) said there is not a forecast of ash falling in the region, which is located in southwestern Mexico, according to Mashable. The volcano, which is also known as the 'Volcano of Fire,' straddles the states of Colima and Jalisco.
Question

Mysterious goo coats hundreds of California seabirds

Duck
© Cheryl Reynolds/International Bird Rescue
A bufflehead duck is seen covered in a mysterious substance at the International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center.
Hundreds of birds in the East Bay area of Northern California have been found covered in a mysterious goo that causes hypothermia.

About 100 seabirds had died at the International Bird Rescue's San Francisco Bay center, where rescue workers were cleaning dozens a day.

"The good news is that we have modified our wash protocol and it appears to be working on healthier birds," said International Bird Rescue's interim director, Barbara Callahan, in a statement. "However, some of the birds that have recently arrived are in much poorer condition, likely because they've had this substance on their feathers for several days now."

Comment: Tough times for birds lately, as they lose all sense of direction, die due to decades-old DDT pollution, are being trapped in abandoned fishing nets, or fall dead from the sky.

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