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Blue Planet

Some San Francisco bay area residents report mysterious flashes in the sky during Napa quake


Several people called the KPIX 5 newsroom after Sunday morning's magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Napa, reporting mysterious flashes of light in the sky. Witnesses said the strange phenomenon looked like lightning.

Similar flashes of light have been reported in earthquakes around the world, from Japan to Peru.

Friedemann Freund, a scientist with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, said the same thing happened during Sunday morning's earthquake. And it wasn't a transformer blowing up or UFOs.

"What they are, are a consequence of the stresses building up deep below the earth, seven miles like in the case of the Napa Valley earthquake," Freund told KPIX 5.

He calls the phenomenon "earthquake lights," the quick buildup of stress that causes an electric current to flow to the surface and burst through the earth. This typically happens before or during an earthquake.
Ambulance

Deadly landslide strikes in south-west China

China landslide

The landslide hit the village in south-west Guizhou province on Wednesday night.

At least six people have died and 21 others are missing after a landslide struck a village in south-west China.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported that more than 70 houses in the village in Guizhou province were destroyed.

It also said, quoting officials, that 22 people were injured and had been transferred to hospitals for treatment.

The landslide was believed to have been caused by a breach from a small reservoir, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Windsock

Last year's blustery winter gales were stormiest ever recorded for Ireland

Irish weather

Winter storms hit Dun Laoghaire.
Last winter was the stormiest on record, climatologists have revealed. Weather buffs used detailed atmospheric charts to rate winter storms dating as far as 1871.

And they discovered that last year's gales were the stormiest on record.

Dr Tom Matthews, Dr Conor Murphy and Shaun Harrigan from NUI Maynooth's Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units teamed up with Professor Rob Wilby from Loughborough University in the UK to analyse winter storminess over the North Atlantic for the last six decades - and as far back as the winter of 1871 in Ireland.

And the results showed that last year's was the windiest.
Water

China has lost 55% of its most valuable resource - water

© Unknown
A few days ago I had a conversation with the Chief Operating Officer for our agricultural fund in Chile. We were discussing water, and he told me that roughly 60% of California right now is suffering "extreme drought" conditions. 30% of the state is in "severe drought". And 10% of the state is only under "drought".

In other words, roughly the entire state - the 8th largest economy in the world - is facing a severe shortage of water. But if you think that's bad, China is about to take over the spotlight yet again. A study by China's Ministry of Water Resources found that approximately 55% of China's 50,000 rivers that existed in the 1990s have disappeared. Moreover, China is over-exploiting its groundwater by 22 billion cubic meters per year; yet its per-capita water consumption is less than one third of the global average.

This is astounding data. More than 400 major cities in China are short of water, with some 110 facing "serious scarcity". Beijing and other northern cities get most of their water from underground aquifers. Over the last five decades, China has had to drill increasingly deeper to gain access to water.

Another challenge China faces is logistics. More than 60% of China's water is in the southern part of the country, but most of the usage is in the north and along the coastlines. When you consider that this is a country that has almost one fifth of the world's population and is soon to become the world's biggest economy, this is rapidly becoming a global problem.

Comment: See also:
  • About that overpopulation problem


Attention

Sub-glacial eruption of Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano forms deep 'cauldrons' of melted ice

Icelandic volcano activity increased on Wednesday, with scientists detecting 10-15 meters deep cauldrons of melted ice at the Vatnajökull glacier, prompting fears of an imminent eruption.
© Reuters / Sigtryggur Johannsson


A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano, some 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) away, in the north-west region of the Vatnajokull glacier August 19, 2014.
Icelandic scientists have detected a series of 10-15m deep cauldrons at Bardarbunga volcano glacier. They apparently are a result of melting following a sub-glacial eruption, the Icelandic Civil Protection Scientific Advisory Board reported. A surveillance flight over the surface of Vatnajokull has shown the cauldrons to be 1 km wide, located in a straight line some 4-6 kilometers south of the Bardarbunga caldera.
The 10-15 m deep cauldrons, 1 km wide, south of the #Bárðarbunga caldera. Picture by https://t.co/ZiKocZlLJSpic.twitter.com/lSLWDJZnEO
- Almannavarnir (@almannavarnir) August 28, 2014
"The cauldrons have been formed as a result of melting, possibly a sub-glacial eruption, uncertain when," country's Meteorological Office said, pointing out that the data is still being analyzed.

"During the night (Wednesday) we have had three larger events, two of them in the Bardarbunga caldera. Those were 5.2 and 5.3, and very similar to the events that we have seen there before," Palmi Erlendsson, a geologist at the Met Office told the country's RTE news.

At the same time, scientists have registered more than 1,300 earthquakes since midnight Wednesday. Meanwhile 50km to the north, a 4.5 magnitude quake shook the Askja volcano, presumably because magma from Bardarbunga crater is traveling in that direction.

Comment: Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes and flooding all in one: Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano 'cauldrons'

Windsock

'Tornado' seen over Romney Marsh, Kent, UK

© Steve McGarrigIe
A funnel cloud spotted from a Dymchurch caravan park.
Sky-spotters were stunned to see a large tornado forming over Kent this afternoon.

Onlookers grabbed their cameras after spotting what appeared to be a twister in the skies over Dymchurch, on Romney Marsh.

The funnel cloud - technically not a tornado because it did not touch the ground - was snapped from a caravan park and elsewhere in the town.

Pictures of the would-be tornado of rapidly rotating air were posted on Twitter by Jayne Theo and Steve McGarrigle.

Holidaymaker Jayne said: "On holiday this week in Dymchurch and saw this little twister forming this afternoon!"

And Steve posted: "Wow spotted mini tornados in the sky at Dymchurch."

A funnel cloud is made up of condensed water droplets that becomes a tornado on contact with the ground.

X

More mysterious and rare sea creatures washing up along US west coast this summer

Thousands of Velella velella, also known as 'by-the-wind sailors' have been appearing on the beach from Washington to Southern California. The organisms are usually only found in the middle of the ocean, and the phenomenon has drawn a lot of excitement as people have been discovering them for the first time.
© CNN
Thousands of Velella velella sea creatures are washing ashore on beaches along the West Coast this summer.
Thousands of members of a mysterious and rarely seen sea creature have begun popping up on the California shore, creating new attention to the jelly-like species.

Velella velella, a blue sea creature that bears some resemblance of a jellyfish, is about the size of a hand and usually remains in the water. They can be seen washed ashore in this CNN video.

But a shift in the currents and winds have brought thousands of them onto the West Coast this summer, creating an excitement over an animal of the ocean that is usually kept hidden from the public.

Comment: Something strange and worrying is definitely going on, since Velella velella is only one out of many mysterious and rare creatures that were either caught or spotted in the recent times: Creatures from the deep signal major Earth Changes: Is anyone paying attention?

Bandaid

Minneapolis girl attacked and chased by otter in Wisconsin lake

It was a fun time at the lake -- until the otter arrived.

After spending about an hour swimming with friends in Bone Lake near Luck, Wis., on Saturday, Rory Kliewer began to climb a ladder onto a dock when she suddenly felt something bite her backside and thigh.

"I thought it was a northern pike," the 12-year-old Minneapolis girl said Wednesday. "I thought a fish was after me."

As she threw the creature off of her, she realized that the animal was an otter -- later estimated at 3 1/2 feet long and about 40 pounds.

"It was a big, nasty one," said Rory, who had been staying at a friend's family cabin over the weekend.

The otter then bit Rory's head and pulled itself onto her, scratching her face.

© Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi
12-year-old Rory Kliewer shows the scratches on her face and ear Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, at her home in Minneapolis after being attacked by an otter while swimming Saturday, Aug. 9, at Bone Lake in Polk County, Wis. Kliewer sustained bites, scratches and bruises during the attack.

Comment: There appears to have been a spate of unusually aggressive animal attacks on humans of late including some by species normally thought of as being wary and retiring when encountering people, see also: Giant anteaters kill Brazilian hunters!

Bear attacks kill at least three people with many others injured in Siberia and far-east Russia

Boy and grandmother attacked and injured by river otter on Pilchuck River, Washington

Paddling family of three attacked by a beaver in Austria

400 pound alligator attacks 9-year-old boy, Florida

Crocodile kills fisherman in front of his wife in Northern Territory, Australia

Man mauled by bear in Italian wood

The interested reader might wish to look at the chart below for animal events over the period 2007 to the present, which include reports of not only mass die-offs and strange behaviour but also includes abnormal migrations and gatherings. Note that the number of records this year have already surpassed the 2013 total.



Attention

Giant sinkhole consumes Indiana couple's backyard

Indiana sinkhole

An Indiana couple's backyard features a sinkhole that's 40 feet wide and 30 feet deep.
An Indiana couple's backyard turned into a huge sinkhole -- and it was unclear over who was responsible to fix it.

The sinkhole in Frank and Letitia Casto's yard used to be about four feet wide and six feet deep. It now measures about 40 feet wide and 30 feet deep.

"It just keeps dropping and swallowing trees, and this is where we are at," Letitia Casto told ABC News station WLS.

The hole was initially filled with rocks and covered with grass, but it kept growing, swallowing up trees.

"We've been complaining to different people for all this time, and everybody just keeps kind of ignoring us," Frank Casto told WLS. "It could have been a little problem, but it's turned into a monster, at this point."

Fish

Rare creatures left stranded by stormy seas in Queensland, Australia

© Jo Joyce
Jo Joyce photographed this sea snake near Pincushion Island on the Sunshine Coast. It was about 50cm long..
The Sunshine Coast played host to a handful of odd and rare animals after last weekend's deluge. Marine biologist Julian Pepperell was called on to investigate.

Sunshine Coast locals have noticed a plethora of strange creatures washed up on beaches and lost from home.

Red stinky blob

Debbie Higgs of Mt Coolum found a "weird red blob-like creature" on Mudjimba Beach.

"It's 25cms long roughly. It's oval-shaped, frilly and it's got a peculiar pattern down its back. [It was] cold, squishy and had that really gluggy type feeling like a jellyfish. It had vibrant dark red around it in a frill," she said.

"When I found it, it was still pulsing. I didn't want to touch it in case it was poisonous. I've never seen anything like it.

Debbie says she put a photo on twitter and linked it to Instagram and "suddenly all these people started contacting me."

Since, the story has been published worldwide.

"We contacted a museum and we've been told it's a Spanish dancer usually found in Indian waters or off Bali," Debbie said.
© Debbie Higgs
Debbie Higgs found this suspected Spanish Dancer on Mudjimba Beach.

Comment: See also: Australian students discover rare fish dead on beach

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