Earth Changes


Rare 45-foot sei whale dies in Virginia river

A 40-foot whale that had been swimming around in a river died Thursday afternoon. A necropsy will be performed on the animal to find out just what caused its death
A rare whale that entered the Elizabeth River in Virginia earlier this week has died.

Joan Barns of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center says the whale died on Thursday. A necropsy is planned, including tissue and blood samples for further study.

The 35- to 45-foot sei whale was first spotted Monday in the river's Southern Branch near the Jordan Bridge and Paradise Creek.

Marine experts said the whale been acting strangely and may have been ill or disoriented. Boaters had reported that the whale appeared to be swimming without a clear direction.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sei whales are usually seen in deeper waters of oceanic areas far from the coastline.

Source: The Associated Press

Comment: See also: Rare sei whale seen off Cornwall's coast in Penzance, UK

Is there any connection to this?
Hundreds of methane plumes erupting along U.S. Atlantic coast


6.0 magnitude earthquake shakes San Francisco Bay Area

bay area earthquake
© Lyall Davenport/Associated Press
A damaged building in Napa, California, after an earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 was reported early Sunday in California's northern San Francisco Bay Area.

Leslie Gordon of the United States Geological Survey said the tremor struck about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, about 10 miles northwest of American Canyon, which is about six miles southwest of Napa. The agency said it was the largest tremor to shake the Bay Area since the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake in 1989.

The agency said there was a "low likelihood for casualties," but issued an "orange alert" for possible damage, a rating that means "significant damage is likely and the disaster is potentially widespread."

Comment: Here's a map of the global seismic activity from just the beginning of August till today:

Ice Cube

Climber finds spectacular 120-metre glacial tunnel in Scotland in summer

© Gordon Jack/
The heavy winter snow and north facing aspect of the gully has created this spectacular natural phenomena in the middle of summer.
A climber stumbled across a 120-metre snow tunnel on the east side of the Drummochter Pass that has miraculously survived the summer due to its hidden position.

A hillwalker discovered an 120-metre glacial snow tunnel when he went for a summer climb on a Scots mountain.

Les Smith came across the incredible sight in a gully on Carn na Caim - the most northerly of the two Munros on the east side of the Drumochter Pass in the Highlands.

The 69-year-old, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, said: "The tunnel stays in shadow for most of the day and rarely sees the sun. Because of that, the snow is still several metres deep in places and below it, the stream has run through to create this spectacular tunnel. It's like a mini glacier.

"I climbed down to the mouth of the tunnel. With the correct gear you could probably climb the glacier from within."

© Gordon Jack/
The small patch of snow can be seen in the top left of the picture above Dalwhinnie Distillery.
Cloud Precipitation

Summer hailstorm and cold temperatures produces wintry scene in Belton, UK

© Lesley Chalmers
A covering of hail at Belton, Norfolk.
Hail is not unusual during a British summer as it's produced in the towering thunderstorm clouds that often build up during the season. However it can quickly turn a summer scene into a wintry wonderland.

That's what happened in Belton near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk on Saturday 23 August 2014 at the start of the Late Summer Bank Holiday weekend.

These pictures were sent in by ITV Anglia viewers Lesley Chalmers and John Welsby:

© John Welsby
Hail falling at Belton, Norfolk on Saturday.

© Lesley Chalmers
A thick covering of pea-sized hail at Belton in Norfolk.
Arrow Down

Huge 100ft wide sinkhole appears overnight in Pennines, UK

A 100ft-wide sinkhole appeared overnight on Wednesday in the Pennines and was first spotted by Sam Hillyard, 39, as she was walking her dogs the next day
* Farmer John Hensby, 71, says his partner Sam Hillyard, 39, discovered the hole on Thursday morning

* Hole has grown since then and because rain is forecast he is worried there could be another collapse

* He is also worried that his dogs or one of the sheep that graze in the surrounding pastures could fall in

A 100ft-wide sinkhole that is so deep the bottom cannot be seen at one end has appeared overnight just yards from a farmer's house in County Durham.

John Hensby, 71, says his partner Sam Hillyard, 39, first discovered the hole on Thursday morning, adding that it has been growing ever since.

And Mr Hensby now fears that heavy rain forecast for the coming days could be about to make the situation even worse.

Comment: Check out the map below showing the distribution of sinkholes records from across the world for the past year.

Bizarro Earth

Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano erupts, airlines put on high alert

Eyjafjallajokull volcano
© Agence France-Presse/Emmanuel Dunand
Archive Photo: Smoke and ash bellow from Eyjafjallajokull volcano as it is seen from Asolfsskali, Iceland, on April 23, 2010
Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano began a small volcanic eruption as lava burst out underneath the Europe's largest glacier. In response, the government closed the airspace around the volcano, triggering fears of air chaos.

Iceland has issued aviation red alerts for Bardarbunga and authorities have evacuated the remote area 320 kilometers (200 miles) east of the capital of Reykjavik.

Following conflicting reports, the Icelandic Met Office confirmed the eruption under the Dyngjujökull glacier icecap in the northern part of Vatnajökull glacier.

The local authorities are keeping the country's airspace open, but have declared a no-fly zone of 100 nautical miles by 140 nautical miles around the eruption zone.

But, the no-fly zone could be expanded if the eruption melts the ice and spews volcanic ash.

Comment: This is the latest data point showing an intensification geological activity all over our Big Blue Marble:
  • Earthquake 'swarm' observed at remote Aleutian volcano - 5 volcanoes in Alaska are now simultaneously active
  • Authorities report volcanic eruptions and earthquakes intensifying in Kamchatka
  • Russian volcano Klyuchevskoy sends pillar of fire 1,000 meters into the air
  • Underwater Antarctic Volcanoes Discovered in the Southern Ocean
You can also check out earthquakes and volcanic activity over the past year below:

Cloud Precipitation

Hurricane Marie forecast: Rapid intensification expected off Pacific Coast of Mexico - Category 4 expected

Marie strengthened into the eighth hurricane of the eastern Pacific hurricane season on Saturday morning. Tropical Storm Marie became the 13th named storm in a busy eastern Pacific hurricane season on Friday morning after organizing into a tropical depression on Thursday night.

Located about 345 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, Marie is expected to maintain a west-northwest heading over the next five days, remaining a safe distance from the Mexican Pacific coast. Only the tiny offshore islands of Socorro and Clarion are in its path.

Marie is expected to continue to strengthen in a favorable environment and there is an above-average likelihood of rapid intensification with this system, which could make it a major hurricane this weekend or early next week.

Marie is expected to be a large hurricane. While not directly affecting land, large swells should begin propagating to the Mexican Pacific coast this weekend, including the southern Baja Peninsula continuing into next week, then to the Southern California coast by mid-late next week, bringing a danger of rip currents to area beaches.
Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 5.3 - 113km WNW of Hofn, Iceland

Event Time
2014-08-24 00:09:53 UTC
2014-08-24 00:09:53 UTC+00:00 at epicenter

64.686°N 17.351°W depth=5.4km (3.4mi)

Nearby Cities
113km (70mi) WNW of Hofn, Iceland
116km (72mi) SSE of Akureyri, Iceland
227km (141mi) ENE of Reykjavik, Iceland
229km (142mi) ENE of Kopavogur, Iceland
231km (144mi) ENE of Hafnarfjordur, Iceland

Comment: This year has seen a sharp rise in the number of earthquakes reported across the globe compared to 2012 and 2013, see chart below -

Bizarro Earth

6.6 Magnitude earthquake shakes Valparaiso, Chile

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake rocked the region around Valparaiso, Chile on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.No injuries or serious damage from the strong quake that occurred at 7:23 p.m. ET were reported, but electricity and telephone service was interrupted in some areas.Earthquakes in the range of 6.1 to 6.9 happen about 100 times a year, according to the Department of Geological Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Technological University. But they can cause a lot of damage in populated areas and can be felt hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

The seismological service said a preliminary report showed the quake was centered about 11 miles west-northwest of a community called Hacienda La Calera, about 67 miles northwest of the capital of Santiago. It had a depth of about 19 miles.

The largest recorded earthquake was the Great Chilean Earthquake of May 22, 1960, which had a magnitude of 9.5. Each whole-number increase on the Richter scale represents a tenfold increase in an earthquake's strength.

USGS data
Cloud Precipitation

Southeast U.S. on alert for Tropical Storm Cristobal

Tropical Storm Cristobal is expected to take shape later this weekend, then impact the Atlantic beaches and potentially other parts of the southeastern United States next week.

All interests across the southeastern U.S., the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands should be keeping a close eye on the area of disturbed weather in the southwestern Atlantic.

The development of a tropical depression or storm has failed to occur yet due to the obstacles of dusty air, disruptive wind shear and, more recently, interaction with the Caribbean Islands.

As conditions become more conducive, the disturbed area should organize into Tropical Storm Cristobal later in the weekend.

Regardless of when Cristobal takes shape, torrential downpours, gusty squalls and rough surf will continue to spread from Hispaniola and Puerto Rico to the Turks and Caicos and southern and central Bahamas this weekend. Some drenching showers and thunderstorms will even reach eastern Cuba.