Earth Changes

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Half-mile stretch of road in Sandusky, Ohio road closed due to sinkholes

© Register/Andy Ouriel
An emerging sinkhole on McIntyre Road near Edison High School forced local officials to shut down a portion of the corridor until further notice.

On Tuesday, after finding a depression caving several inches deep into the pavement, Milan Township officials closed a half-mile stretch of roadway.

Among the areas where a worker blocked off the road to all traffic, including emergency vehicles:

- Heading south, turning off Ohio 113: Vehicles can travel on McIntyre Road up until a driveway leading to a private residence.

- Heading north, turning off Seminary Road: Vehicles can only access a small portion of McIntyre Road.

No homes, businesses or points of interest are located within the barricaded area.

"We're not too sure how it happened," township road employee Dave Fox said. "We can't fill it like a pothole. We have really never dealt with anything (in the Milan area) like this before. If a car hit that spot just right, it would tear up the undercarriage and could possibly cause the vehicle to crash."

Evil Rays

Consequences of fracking - Reactivated fault lines in Oklahoma could cause major quake

Fault lines dating back hundreds of millions of years in Oklahoma that have been recently reactivated could lead to a devastating quake in the state where many structures were not built to withstand major seismic activity, a report said.

The state, which has seen several hundred seismic events over the past five years, has "a high degree of potential earthquake hazards," according to the study accepted for publication this month whose authors include researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

"The majority of the recent earthquakes in central Oklahoma define reactivated ancient faults at shallow depths in the crust" of less than 3.7 miles (6 km), said the report for the American Geophysical Union.

The report did not look at whether the reactivation of the faults was linked to the energy extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.


Another sinkhole appears in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

© Eric Veronikis/Pennlive
A sinkhole closed South 15th Street, between Swatara and Drummond streets, in Harrisburg's South Allison Hill neighborhood on Tuesday night.
A large sinkhole closed South 15th Street, between Drummond and Swatara streets, in the city's South Allison Hill neighborhood on Tuesday night.

It wasn't immediately clear when or why the sinkhole, just north of Swatara Street, opened. But a Capital Region Water crew was at the scene assessing the cause as of 6 p.m.

Crews hope to pinpoint whether a water leak exists in the area, repair it and refill the hole, which appears to be about 3 feet deep, as soon as possible, said Andrew Bliss, spokesman for the water company.

Bliss could not immediately say when he expects the road to reopen.

Comment: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has been pretty active recently with sinkholes.

From February 2013: From March 2014:


Dayton, Ohio women wakes to find sinkhole next to garage

© WHIO/Michael Franz
A woman woke up early this morning to find a large sinkhole had opened up next to her garage in Dayton.

A neighbor first spotted the hole - which is about three feet deep and four feet across - in an alley between Hodapp and Wilfred avenues.

Kathy Harris says she called the city water and street crews right away, and they responded and covered the area with grates.

"They were nice enough to help me get my car out of the garage because I didn't know how I was going to do anything," she said.

Crews ran a camera into the hole to determine whether it might have been caused by recent rain or a pipe that runs under the garage and to the house.


City crews scramble to repair large sinkhole in Cranberry, BC

© Gerry Frederick
A large sinkhole has appeared near the intersection of 3rd Street South and 20th Avenue South.
Public Works water crews were expecting to have the water back on to approximately half the 100 residences affected by numerous water main breaks across Cranbrook by 7 pm Sunday tonight.

Four full water crews and machinery will continue through the evening to restore water service after a failure in a pressure reducing station overnight Saturday which caused 8 separate water main breaks across the City and a serious sinkhole.

Crews will be moving up to a break at 5th Avenue and 12th Street South as well as working on three separate breaks on 3rd Street South and 20th Avenue near the large sinkholes created near the former Muriel Baxter School site. Officials are expecting that water service will be restored to all affected residents by midnight tonight.

Residents are reminded that as the water service is restored and the water turned back on, you could experience dirty or discoloured water. This is due to the water pressure stirring up sediment in the water lines. The discoloured water is not a health concern. Simply run your cold water tap until the water runs clear.

Arrow Down

10-foot deep sinkhole closes streets in Tucson, Arizona

A massive sinkhole shut down part of a street in midtown Tucson, and it could take weeks to fix.

The 10 foot deep hole was caused by a ruptured water line near the intersection of Swan Road and Glenn Street. Tucson Water has closed off the block of Glenn Street between Swan and Tornio.

Fernando Molina with Tucson Water says the burst pipe brought recycled water to about 15 schools and businesses. Molina says the water was used for irrigation purposes, and they have had issues with that pipe before.

"We're not exactly sure what the problem is. We don't know if it's the soils that are just very aggressive and are causing the pipes to deteriorate," Molina said.

For now, Molina says the impacted businesses are getting water from another pipeline.


200-pound ice boulder crashes through apartment roof in Wilmington, Massachusetts

© Wilmington Police Department
A huge chunk of ice crashed through the roof of a Wilmington Apartment building on Sunday. Luckily nobody was hurt.

The ice boulder weighing about 200 pounds landed in the back stairwell of the Avalon Oaks Apartments. Residents who were home when it happened say they heard a huge 'bang' when the ice came crashing through the ceiling.

"It was like this big," Kathleen Trowbridge said, holding her arms the width of her doorway, "and it just came through solid. It didn't break up." She then called 911.

Wilmington Police say the giant ice block fell from the highest part of the apartment building's roof, crashing onto a lower roof and through the back stairwell, leaving a gaping hole.

"Luckily nobody was there," a male resident said. "That was the most important thing. If somebody had been hit by that, they'd probably be dead."

Residents say that maintenance crews did shovel off the roof from past storms, but the ice buildup did not go away. Some are still concerned.

"If it's going to happen here, is going to happen in the front?" Trowbridge questioned. "There's icicles up there."

"I'm just very disappointed and very nervous for my health, for my kids' health," another resident voiced.

Bizarro Earth

Severe geomagnetic storm lights up New Zealand's sky

© Stephen Chadwick
The Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, in the sky at Himatangi Beach on Tuesday night, March 17.
A severe geomagnetic storm has whipped through Earth's magnetosphere, putting on a light show at both ends of the earth.

The storm, which began on Tuesday, is among the strongest in the current 11-year solar cycle, earning a rating of a "severe" G4 on a one-to-five scale, which means it had the potential to affect power grids, high-frequency communications and satellite operations.

Interestingly, there was no radiation storm, which typically accompanies geomagnetic storms of this magnitude. Therefore, NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center was not expecting disruption to satellite electronics or polar-routed aviation.

But the changes in density in the ionosphere - the very high levels of Earth's atmosphere - could cause more drag on low-orbit satellites, which operators may have to adjust for with thrusters. Simple GPS technology, like the kind in your car or on your smartphone, could be affected in the form of difficulties locating your position.

Cloud Lightning

Heavy rain and high winds pummel Portland, Oregon, leaving thousands without power

A landslide in NW Portland.
Heavy rain and high winds combined to create problems in the Portland and Vancouver metro areas Sunday.

Area residents reported trees down, along with some power lines. On Sunday, Portland General Electric reported 45,000 customers without power. The number dropped to about 1,700 by 5 p.m. Monday.

Pacific Power and Clark Public Utilities no longer reported widespread outages due to the storm Monday afternoon.

In Vancouver, crews responded to more than 30 reports of downed trees or large branches that were blocking streets, including the busy East Mill Plain Boulevard.

"Crews concentrated on quickly cutting up and clearing out a big fallen tree so traffic could get through safely on the busy arterial, a major route for emergency services," said Loretta Callahan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works. "Meanwhile, Operations Signal crews spent the day restoring traffic signals that were entirely out of service or operating in flashing red due to windstorm power outages and surges."

Cloud Lightning

Yet another cyclone heading for Australia's northeast coast

The category two cyclone is heading towards the north-east of Cairns.
A cyclone in the Coral Sea is forecast to intensify before slamming into Australia's northeast coast later this week, less than a month after the area was pummeled by one the most powerful cyclones on record to hit Australia, the national weather forecaster said on Tuesday.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology expects Cyclone Nathan to turn toward the coast in the next 24 to 48 hours, with the storm's epicenter reaching land about 300km (185 miles) north of the Great Barrier Reef city of Cairns in Queensland state, driving winds reaching as high as 224km (135 miles) per hour.

Comment: Last month Northeastern Australia was struck by two cyclones almost simultaneously:

Double cyclones to strike Northeastern Australia