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Wed, 28 Sep 2016
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Bizarro Earth

Massive water drawdown beneath world's megacities poisoning groundwater with arsenic

Arsenic poisoning in rural Bangladesh's groundwater has been a known health hazard for at least two decades, and is blamed for the death of more than 40,000 people every year.
A massive drawdown of water beneath delta-based megacities across the world may be pulling surface pollution deeper into the ground, risking contamination and health problems for local populations, a new study said Tuesday.

Research led by Holly Michael of the University of Delaware in the United States used the example of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka to show how unsustainable water use was exacerbating arsenic pollution.

Water consumption in greater Dhaka, home to some 18 million people, is lowering the local water table by more than three metres per year in some areas.

Slaking the capital's thirst is driving down shallow water contaminated with arsenic—known to cause a host of deadly health problems.

Using a new method for calculating water flows, the researchers showed that deep sources of clean water outside the capital could be polluted "within a decade," said the study, published in Nature Communications.

Previously, scientists had said it would take up to a century for contaminants such as arsenic to infiltrate deep groundwater at least 150 metres below the surface.


Four farmers mauled by sloth bear in Maharashtra, India

© Manpreet Romana
Sloth bears are found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan but shrinking habitats and rampant poaching have reduced their numbers
At least four people have been mauled by a female sloth bear in Ashti range of Wardha. The attacks have been taking place since last two months.

All the attacks were on farmers and took place mostly when they were working in the farms. Forest officials informed that in the initial two attacks, farmers sustained serious injuries and were shifted to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). The last attack happened about three days back. Officials said that so far, there have been no deaths.

The same female bear is being sighted regularly with two cubs on the fringes of Manikawada and Moi villages. "Maximum attacks took place on the boundary of farms and forest. While patrolling their farms, farmers mistook the bear as wild boar or some other animal and tried to chase it away. The mother bear instinctively attacked to protect its cubs," officials said.

Comment: Reports of other sloth bear attacks this year: Sloth bear kills 3 before being shot dead in India

Pack of sloth bears attack and injure 3 in Chandrapur, India

Farmer survives 3 hour bear attack in Karnataka, India

Arrow Down

Five sinkholes open within two days in Hyderabad, India

© Deccan Chronicle
A fresh road cave-in at King Koti. So far, five sinkholes have appeared across the city.
Three more sinkholes opened up on Thursday, taking the total to five after just two days of rain. A one-metre diameter sinkhole opened up on the road opposite HDFC Bank in Basheerbagh and another one on the road at King Koti.

Earlier in the day, a four-foot deep sinkhole formed on the Shivam Road near Amberpet on Thursday, the third after two days of rain following the ones on NTR Marg and at Neredmet.

A tanker-trolley got stuck in the Shivam Road sinkhole at about 6 am on Thursday, and was cleared using two large cranes at about noon. The accident caused a massive traffic jam and congestion along the busy road from Osmania University to Amberpet. Traffic police barricaded the sinkhole, even as emergency repairs were being undertaken.

At Basheerbagh, Narayanaguda traffic inspector A. Balaji said he and his team had barricaded the sinkholes. "The road at Basheerbagh is a busy route. We have diverted traffic from one side of the road. GHMC and water works officials will begin repairs from Friday morning," he said.

About the massive NTR Marg sinkhole that had opened up on Wednesday, Sewerage and Water Board MD M. Dana Kishore said six teams had been set up to reduce water flow into the site.

Emergency response teams have been posted at the sinkhole itself. Infrastructure Repairs will begin after the flow of water stops. Another sinkhole had opened at Neredmet on Wednesday.

Comment: Sinkholes: The groundbreaking truth


Barujari volcano erupts in central Indonesia sending ash column 2 km high

© West Nusa Tenggara Disaster Mitigation Agency
Thick volcano ash emanates from the crater of Mount Barujari, a sub-volcano of Mount Rinjani in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara
Mount Barujari in West Nusa Teggara province of central Indonesia erupted on Tuesday, with ashes potentially enveloping a nearby city and disturbing international flight, a disaster agency spokesman said.

The eruption took place at 14:45 local time with a column of ash rising up to 2 km in the sky, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency told Xinhua via phone.

The ash tends to spread to southwest of the crater and fall down on the provincial capital of Mataram city and hamper flight at the Lombok international airport, Sutopo said.

Authorities are preparing more than 300,000 masks for local people, he added.

Indonesia, an archipelago country home to over 16,500 islands, has 129 active volcanoes.

Source: Xinhua


3.9 magnitude earthquake at Katla Volcano, Iceland

© Páll Stefánsson
Katla volcano.
An earthquake of magnitude 3.9 hit Mýrdalsjökull glacier at 1:30 pm today, mbl.is reports. A few aftershocks have registered, but there is no sign of volcanic activity in the area, according to the Icelandic Met Office.

The source of the quake was the south side of the Katla volcano caldera, which is under the ice cap of Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The area is being monitored day in and day out by the Icelandic Met Office.

There was less seismic activity in Mýrdalsjökull glacier last week than during the previous week. On August 29, two earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 registered in the northern part of the Kaltla volcano caldera. Those were the largest quakes to hit the area since 1977.


Loud, unexplained boom startles residents, rattles windows in South Frontenac, Ontario

A loud and still unexplained boom startled South Frontenac residents on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 24.

The boom, first reported at around 8:50 p.m., was heard throughout the county, including Inverary, Sydenham, Glenburnie and Sunbury. Several residents of Rutledge Rd, Railton Rd, Greenfield Rd, Perth Rd, Freeman Rd, Unity Rd, Round Lake and Silverwood Dr reported what was described as "a window rattling explosion".

While South Frontenac fire crews and OPP quickly responded to the reports, they reported nothing visible and were unable to find a cause. Some theorized that a jet may have caused a sonic boom, however no jet noises were reported prior to the sound. Another theory, an earthquake, has not been corroborated by recent seismographic records. There are some unconfirmed reports of a visible meteor streaking across the sky north of Kingston at approximately the same time, however, as well as areas of the GTA and Northern USA.

Some residents jokingly pointed out that the boom coincided with Brad Marchand's goal against the Russians, giving Canada the lead in the World Cup hockey game. The investigation continues. More to come...

Comment: On September 22nd, a meteor fireball shot across Eastern Canada and US night sky

Blue Planet

Mysterious Siberian crater, Batagaika, 'gateway to a subterranean world'

© Alexander Gabyshev
Batagaika started to form in 1960s after a chunk of forest was cleared: the land sunk, and has continued to do so, evidently speeded by recent warmer temperatures melting the permafrost.
Locals hear 'booms from the underworld' in giant ravine but now scientists say it holds secrets of the planet's past.

Many Yakutian people are said to be scared to approach the Batagaika Crater - also known as the Batagaika Megaslump: believing in the upper, middle and under worlds, they see this as a doorway to the last of these.

The fearsome noises are probably just the thuds of falling soil at a landmark that is a one kilometre-long gash up to 100 metres (328 feet) deep in the Siberian taiga.

Batagaika started to form in 1960s after a chunk of forest was cleared: the land sunk, and has continued to do so, evidently speeded by recent warmer temperatures melting the permafrost, so unbinding the layers on the surface and below. Major flooding in 2008 increased the size of the depression which grows at up to 15 metres per year.

© Julian Murton
Face of the Batagaika crater, Siberia

Comment: See also:

Bizarro Earth

Flooding in Siracusa, Italy caused by heavy rains

© http://earth-chronicles.com
Flooding in Siracusa Italy
The flood occurred due to heavy rains in Syracuse. In the last hours in Sicily fell more than 100 mm of precipitation.

Comment: More recent flooding:

Cloud Precipitation

Three children killed after flash floods hit Tunisia

© YouTube/Extreme UP (screen capture)
Villagers in the Governorate of Kairouan recovered the body of a young girl earlier today after she had been washed away by flash flooding on Friday. Elsewhere, two boys from the city of Ryadh in the governorate of Sousse were also killed during the flash flooding that saw large parts of the country's transport network rendered unusable due to heavy rains.

Speaking on MosaiqueFM, the girl's father Mohamed Lotfi Kotii explained that the three year old, who was one of seven, had been left on her own by her siblings. The girl had apparently been trying to locate her sisters when the storm broke on Saturday, causing the flash flood which swept her away.

Neighbors from their village of Rhima in Hajeb Laayoun, within the governorate of Kairouan had been searching the area since, finally locating the girl's body in a ditch earlier today.

The two boys killed in Ryadh were reported to have been swimming in flood water on Sunday, before being swept away by additional water. The bodies of the two boys were recovered by civil protection officers later the same day.


Typhoon Megi: Taiwan braces for third severe storm in two weeks

A NASA satellite image shows Typhoon Megi in the western Pacific.
Typhoon Megi is forecast to make landfall in northeast Taiwan on Tuesday, the third storm system to hit the island in two weeks.The typhoon will slam into the island around 3 p.m. (3 a.m. ET), according to CNN meteorologists, bringing strong winds, extreme rainfall and the risk of landslides to Taiwan's less heavily populated east coast.

"The storm is a dangerous typhoon and is expected to dump heavy rain over much of the island," said Michael Guy, a CNN meteorologist. "Some areas could get upwards of 300-500 mm of rainfall."

"This can cause mudslides and landslides. Also, expect more power outages and flash flooding as well," he added.

After tearing through Taiwan, the typhoon -- equivalent to a category three hurricane in the Atlantic -- is expected to weaken and make a second landfall in Fujian, eastern China, 24 hours later.

Storm chaser James Reynolds, who is in the eastern city of Hualien, said that winds were picking up and surges of sea water were consuming the port's sea wall.