Earth Changes
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Fire

Washington state battles worst wildfire in history


The state of Washington, in the North-west of the United States, is battling its largest wildfire on record.

The flames have devoured more than 1,000 square kilometers of land so far, burning over 200 homes and now threatening thousands more.

Heavy smoke has grounded firefighting airplanes and helicopters, making it difficult to contain the flames.

At Okanogan county, near the Canadian border, Incident commander Todd Pechota said firefighters were gradually making progress against the fires.


2015 US wildfires

Comment: It is not only volunteer firefighters from Australia and New Zealand who are assisting with these unprecedented US wildfires. In California, 4000 PRISONERS not firefighters have been tasked with putting out raging wildfires there!


Bizarro Earth

Death of 30 whales off Alaskan coast baffles scientists, could be linked to toxic bloom

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© Ruptly
The death of 30 whales off the coast of Alaska may be linked to a rapid growth of toxic phytoplankton in the local marine environment that can paralyze as well as kill, a University of Alaska scientist told RT.

While a federal investigation has been opened into the giant mammals' mysterious demise - a situation that's been labeled an "unusual mortality event" - one of the leading theories is that an algal bloom is to blame, as they have been the cause of many similar events in the past.

"It's a bloom of phytoplankton in the ocean that actually releases toxins," Dr. Bree Witteveen, a marine mammal specialist at the University of Alaska, told RT. "Those get accumulated into various preys and it works its way up the food chain, and can cause paralysis and death."

She added that these whales were not beaching themselves, but had died at sea and were washed ashore. It's not exactly surprising for dead whales to wash ashore, but the number of instances recorded this year is particularly unusual.


Comment: There has been a spate of whale deaths recently. Something is certainly up in the oceans;


Bizarro Earth

Papua New Guinea provinces under state of emergency due to drought and crop-destroying frosts


Papua New Guinea Highlands affected by drought.
An intensifying El Nino may bring the worst drought in 20 years to Papua New Guinea, the country's prime minister said, raising fears that production of the country's critical agricultural commodities may drop.

Dry weather has gripped much of Papua New Guinea in recent months, while frosts in the last fortnight in the country's highland regions have destroyed vital food supplies, the government said late on Monday.

The El Nino is typically linked to dryness and frosts are often an early symptom of the phenomenon, weather experts say.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill warned of an escalation of unfavorable conditions across the rest of Papua New Guinea as the El Nino strengthens over the next few months.

Comment: Drought has been plaguing many parts of the globe - the following map shows worldwide droughts during the past year:




Info

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.

Attention

Dead whale washes up on beach in Angourie, Australia

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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.

Attention

Whale washes up on southern Iranian coast

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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

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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

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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.


Wolf

Family dog kills woman in Spartanburg, South Carolina

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© 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.