Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Baby volcanic island 'eats' its older neighbor as Pacific Ring of Fire continues erupting at unprecedented rate

New Volcanic Island
© NASA Earth Observatory
Landsat 8 snapped this image of Niijima and Nishinoshima, now one island, on March 30, 2014.
As a seafloor volcano continues to erupt in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean, a newborn island has swallowed its neighbor whole, images from space show.

In November 2013, a baby volcanic island rose from the sea out of a volcanic blast in the Bonin Islands about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Tokyo, on the western edge of the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a hotbed of seismic activity. Named Niijima, the newcomer boiled the sea and spewed steam, ash and lava fragments into the air.

Some thought the small black cone - which sprouted just offshore of a larger volcanic island called Nishino-shima - might slip back into the sea, vanishing under pounding waves. But Niijima kept growing.
Cloud Lightning

Baseball-sized hail, heavy rain and tornadoes pound the Midwest and Southern U.S. states

Thunderstorms were crawling across a large swath of the Midwest and South on Thursday, spawning suspected tornadoes in Missouri and Texas, and slamming several states with large hail and heavy rain that prompted a handful of water rescues.

Four people were injured in Texas when a suspected tornado destroyed a farmhouse and a mobile home Thursday night near Merit, about 40 miles northeast of Dallas. Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said the injuries weren't life-threatening, though he didn't have details.

Storms pummeled the North Texas college city of Denton with hail as large as baseballs, leading to reports of broken windows and other damage. The National Weather Service in Tulsa noted reports of hail up to the size of ping pong balls and strong wind gusts.


Beekeeper loses all his 500,000 honeybees due to long harsh winter in Holland, Michigan

Beekeepers in West Michigan are calling it a 'crisis', which has only gotten worse from several months of extreme cold.
A local beekeeper who lost all of his honeybees this winter and he says it's happening across the state.

Anyone can look at Don Lam's beehive and see piles of dead honeybees. However, for Lam, each hive also tells the story of a struggle to survive. "They vibrate their wing muscles and that vibration is similar to shivering," says Lam, a beekeeper in Holland.

It was a fight that his nearly half a million honeybees lost to a long, harsh winter. "They had eaten there way all the way to the top, had run out of food, and they couldn't move over because it was too cold," says Lam. "In some cases they froze to death because the cluster got too small and in other cases they starved to death."

Comment: See also: The death and global extinction of honeybees

Arrow Down

Sinkhole moves closer to Gulfport, Mississippi homes as others appear nearby

Julie Dean says she is getting frustrated with the City of Gulfport in trying to get a sink hole repaired in her backyard. The hole is deep, and Dean says the sink hole swallowed her six foot gate.

"This past Friday, after the heavy rain, the hole opened up a lot larger than it has ever been before, and now it's feet from my home. I contacted the drainage department and the Mayor's office Friday when it happened," said Dean." No one came by, no one called. Monday came; I contacted the drainage department and the Mayor's office. No one came by, no one called. Finally yesterday, Tuesday April 1, someone came and put up a very large fence around our sink hole that is about to swallow two homes."

You can see that other sink holes have popped up in the neighborhood. Across the street from Dean's home there's a smaller sink hole. Next door to that, another sink hole and two more in the front yard of Jason Geddings home. He says the city filled one hole a few months ago, but two more popped up.
Arrow Down

Large sinkhole destroys road in Licking County, Ohio

© ABC6
A portion of a central Ohio road will remain closed for the foreseeable future because of a large sinkhole that opened late Thursday night.

The 20 ft.-30 ft. sinkhole destroyed a chunk of S. York Road between Morse and Wesleyan Church Road near Pataskala.

A representative from the Licking County Engineer's Office began examining the damage at approximately 7 a.m. Friday, when heavy rain finally subsided after falling consistently in the area since Thursday morning.

Officials believe that rainfall, combined with wear and tear caused from winter weather as well as the road's position above a creek, likely caused the collapse.

A timetable for the repair of the road has not been established.

Arrow Down

Three metre-wide sinkhole appears at Staffordshire B&B, UK

The hole is expanding "all the time" Mr Tester said
A sink hole has opened up next to a bed and breakfast in north Staffordshire.

Phil Tester, owner of The Laurels, in Oakamoor, said the chasm appeared on Thursday morning and now stood at more than three metres (10 ft) wide and is expanding "all the time".

Mr Tester said experts were on site to try and find out what caused the hole to appear.

The hole followed drilling work at the property this week to check damage caused by a nearby landslide last year.

Mr Tester said: "It's been an incredibly stressful time, there have been a few tears.

"It's not just our business, it's our home and [wife] Helen's parents' home.

"We were all in guest bedrooms last night, in rooms furthest from the hole. But, as you can imagine, we didn't sleep very well."

Comment: This comes a few days after 'Road in Staffordshire, England is mysteriously 'bleeding' red'.


Blood moon eclipse on April 15 - begins rare sequence of lunar eclipses

© Gary Kronk
A total lunar eclipse photographed by astronomy writer Gary Kronk on Feb. 20, 2008, from his back yard observatory near St. Louis.
Sky watchers are getting ready for an evening of special viewing when a total lunar eclipse arrives just after midnight on April 15.

What's more, this begins a rare sequence of four total lunar eclipses expected over the next two years.

Some Christians see this series of so-called blood moons as linked to a biblical prophecy of the End Times.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up so the Earth's shadow falls on the moon, darkening it.

The one on April 15 will begin at 1:20 a.m. on the East Coast, according to Sky and Telescope magazine.

"Eclipses are one of the few astronomical events that can easily be enjoyed with the naked eye," though a pair of binoculars brings it into even greater focus, said astronomy writer Gary Kronk.


Thousands of dead, dying starfish washing ashore across the U.S. Gulf coast

© CBS4
Dead Brittle Stars, also called Spider Starfish, have been washing ashore beaches from Florida Panhandle to Alabama.
Beaches across the Gulf coast, including the Florida Panhandle, are getting the star treatment as thousands of starfish drift ashore.

Most of them, dead or dying, are washing up on beaches from Perdido Key, Florida in Pensacola to Alabama.

The majority are brittle stars, also called spider starfish, and they are very common in waters around the world.

"This is very rare, I have lived here all my life and I have never seen them like this," said beachgoer Charlotte Phillips.

Marine experts said rough surf caused by recent storms may have pushed the starfish over the sandbars and onto the beach.

Tidal pools hold most of what's left.
Ice Cube

Worst ice in decades: Ships turn back after ice damage on Lake Superior

Morro Bay
© Unknown
The USCGC Morro Bay

Ice is still four, five, even eight feet (2.4 m) deep in places.

"This is delaying the start of the shipping season," says reader Greg. "The last shipping season came to an abrupt end and the local steel mill was forced to truck in raw materials instead of by the usual and much less expensive lake freighter method."

Duluth, Minnesota (28 Mar 14) - The start of the 2014 shipping season has ground to a near halt by some of the worst lake ice in recent history.

The Presque Isle freighter and the Morro Bay cutter have sustained damage from the powerful ice and are being forced to return to the Twin Ports for repairs.
Alarm Clock

USGS: Earthquake magnitude 6.0 - 28km WSW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands

Earthquake 6.0 Solomon Islands
© US Geological Survey
Event Time
2014-04-04 11:40:32 UTC
2014-04-04 22:40:32 UTC+11:00 at epicenter


10.530°S 161.672°E depth=63.8km (39.6mi)

Nearby Cities
28km (17mi) WSW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
224km (139mi) ESE of Honiara, Solomon Islands
813km (505mi) NW of Luganville, Vanuatu
827km (514mi) SE of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
1072km (666mi) NW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
Scientific data