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Dramatic moment sinkhole swallows entire house in Ecuador


Giant sinkhole swallows houses in Ecuador's Zaruma
Dramatic footage shows how a building collapsed in the southern Ecuadorian city of Zaruma late on Wednesday night as the ground beneath it gave away.

The terrifying footage shows onlookers looking and gasping as the sinkhole consumes the house.

Local residents complained this wasn't the first time a sinkhole has opened up in the heritage city, pinning the blame on uncontrolled mining.

No casualties have been reported in the collapse.

Cloud Precipitation

Deadly flash floods in Erbil, Iraq - at least 8 killed

Flood damage in Erbil, December 2021.
© Erbil Civil Defence
Flood damage in Erbil, December 2021.
At least 8 people have died and more are feared missing after flash floods struck in the city of Erbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, for the second time in 6 weeks.

Authorities said heavy rain began to fall late on 16 December 2021, causing floods in the city of Erbil and surrounding areas of Erbil governorate early the following day. Cars, buses and trucks were swept along streets in a repeat of the flash floods that struck in Erbil in late October this year.

As of 17 December, 8 fatalities were reported, including 7 people who drowned in flood water and one person who died from a lightning strike. More are feared missing and search and rescue operations are ongoing. Officials urged residents to stay off the roads and avoid flooded areas. As of late 17 December the flood waters had receded and authorities had started to clear flood debris in affected areas.


Shallow magnitude 6 earthquake in South Sandwich Islands region

6.0 magnitude earthquake

UTC time: Thursday, December 16, 2021 21:14 PM
Your time: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 9:14 PM GMT
Magnitude Type: mww
USGS page: M 6.0 - South Sandwich Islands region
USGS status: Reviewed by a seismologist
Reports from the public: 0 people
15 km depth

Snowflake Cold

New bogus study claims "no snow" in 35 years as snowfall records (from the 1800s) broken in Nevada & California

heavy snow ski resort

Heavy snow at a Lake Tahoe ski resort
A parched Western U.S. has been buffeted by heavy precipitation this week, precipitation which fell as record-breaking snow across the region's higher elevations as storm systems collided with descending Arctic air.

As I reported yesterday, snow has buffeted California's Sierra Nevada this week, with as much as 8 feet has accumulating along the mountain chain, busting regional records. However, as the storm tracked east and entered the state of Nevada, it took out a number of historic snowfall records for the time of year.

Snow fell across Nevada on Tuesday, with the city of Elko picking up 3 inches. More impressive totals were registered elsewhere, though, including in the central Nevada towns of Ely, Eureka, Winnemucca and Tonopah, which all smashed snowfall records.


More hurricane-force wind gusts were reported across the US in a single day than ever before

hurricane winds midwest US truck
© Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette via AP
Two semi trucks, one southbound and one northbound, were part of the truck carnage on I-25 Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, in Colorado Springs, Colo. These trucks were north of Briargate Pkwy. Over a dozen semi trucks were blown over by high winds in the Pikes Peak region on I-25.
Heavy winds barreled Wednesday from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, exacerbating fire dangers and setting weather records as gusts shut down a stretch of interstate, tore off roofs and even forced the evacuation of some air traffic controllers.

At least 55 reports of hurricane-force thunderstorm wind gusts over 75 mph were tracked across the Great Plains and Midwest, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, setting a one-day national record. Around 300 severe wind reports came in across the regions throughout the day, with alerts impacting at least 80 million people.


The future is full of garbage

As the coast erodes, decades-old trash is coming out of the ground.

Leaky Landfills
© Global Warming Images/Alamy Stock Photo
Thousands of landfills built over the past century, like this one on Walney Island, England, are susceptible to flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion.
In the early 2010s, garbage started falling out of the sand dunes in Lingreville, France. Beset by chronic coastal erosion, a long-forgotten landfill was spewing its rotten trove into the ocean. In 2016, a powerful storm dug into the site. The next year, cleanup crews stripped 14,000 cubic meters of sand mixed with waste — including asbestos — from the site. Now, researchers are warning that coastal communities around the world are set to face the same fate, with destabilized landfills on the verge of releasing large amounts of waste into the ocean.

Humans have been throwing everything from hazardous industrial waste to domestic rubbish into landfills for decades. Landfills were originally seen as eternal dumping grounds that could hold waste forever. It didn't take long for environmental concerns to arise, and today legislation often dictates what can and can't be chucked into a landfill. But the vast majority of landfills predate such rules. And with sea level rise causing more extreme erosion, flooding, and storm surges, we are on the verge of being reunited with much of this refuse.

Robert Nicholls, an expert in climate adaptation at the University of East Anglia in England, is concerned that people are under-appreciating just how much garbage could be loosed from degrading shorelines. To demonstrate the true extent of the issue, Nicholls and his colleagues analyzed existing data on landfills in Europe and in Florida — a state set to lose huge swaths of its area over the next century — to show the vast number of historical landfills sitting precariously close to the rising ocean.


Couple find terrifying deep sea fish on beach in Devon, UK - 9,000 miles away from its natural home

The rare fish is usually found half a mile underwater

The Angler fish washed up on South Sands Beach in Devon.
The Angler fish washed up on South Sands Beach in Devon.
A terrifying-looking rare fish usually found half a mile underwater has washed up on Devon's shores - a staggering 9,000 miles from its home in the Pacific Ocean.

Katrina Ashmore, 41, and Paul Ashurst, 43, spotted the fish as they paddled in the sea on their staycation.

The couple watched the angler fish bobbing about for ten minutes before it washed up onto South Sands beach.

They thought the deep-sea monster, which lives as much as 3,300 feet underwater, was a turtle or even an old rucksack.

Comment: Recommended reading: Creatures From the Deep Signal Major Earth Changes: Is Anyone Paying Attention?

Cloud Precipitation

Floods leave 15 dead, 9 missing and thousands displaced in Congo-Brazzaville

Floods in Oyo, Congo November 2021.
© Ministère Des Affaires Sociales Et De L’action Humanitaire Congo
Floods in Oyo, Congo November 2021.
At least 15 people have died, 9 are missing and thousands have been displaced after weeks of flooding in Congo-Brazzaville (also Republic of Congo).

Congo-Brazzaville's ministry of Social Affairs (Ministère Des Affaires Sociales Et De L'action Humanitaire) reported flooding in parts of Likouala Department from early September this year. Further heavy rain has been reported since then, intensifying from mid- to late November. In response to the disaster the government declared a state of emergency on 29 November 2021.

Flooding was reported along the main rivers in the central and northern departments of Likouala, Sangha, Cuvette and Plateaux. Heavy rain also caused damage and flooding in the cities of Pointe-Noire in the south, and the capital Brazzaville.


South Sudan - Over 800,000 affected by worst flooding in 60 years

Floods in Fangak, Jonglei state, South Sudan, October 2021.
© WFP South Sudan
Floods in Fangak, Jonglei state, South Sudan, October 2021.
Ongoing floods in South Sudan have affected more than 835,000 people across 8 states. Livelihoods, food production and drinking water supply have all been severely impacted. Humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide described the flooding as the worst in 60 years, and estimates over 200,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.

Flooding began with the onset of the rainy season in May this year. In July 7 people died in floods which submerged several homes in Mayendit County. Flooding worsened considerably in the following weeks and by 01 September over 380,000 people across 6 states were affected.

In a recent update, the United Nations said flooding has now affected more than 835,000 people in 33 of South Sudan's 78 counties. Jonglei, Unity and Upper Niles remain the worst impacted states, with some 80 per cent of the total cumulative number of affected people, the UN said. The situation in particularly bad in Jonglei State, where 305,000 people affected, followed by Unity (220,000 affected) and Upper Nile (141,000 affected).


'Extremely rare' deep-sea fish washes up on California beach

Ultra-rare Pacific footballfish
© Photos via Scripps Institution of Oceanography
An ultra-rare Pacific footballfish, pictured here with Ben Frable of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was reported as washing ashore Dec. 10 at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas, Calif. Researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego say it’s the third time in the past month a deep-sea fish has been reported near a local beach.
Another ultra-rare deep-sea fish has washed up this month on a beach in California, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego said Tuesday.

Officials say scientists were notified Dec. 10 about a deceased female Pacific footballfish found at Swami's Beach in Encinitas, in San Diego County. The creature measures nearly 13 inches long and weighs 5 pounds, Scripps spokeswoman Brittany Hook said in a news release.

It is the third time in the past month a deep-sea fish was reported near an area beach, including the second such Pacific footballfish, which was photographed on Nov. 13 at a beach in La Jolla. An unusual 4-foot lancetfish also was found dead Dec. 1 on the sand at La Jolla Shores.