Earth ChangesS


Big Quake Cuts Communications in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Undersea fiber-optic cables were damaged by a powerful earthquake off the southern tip of Taiwan, causing the largest outage of telephone and Internet service in years and demonstrating the vulnerability of the global telecommunications network.

Two residents were killed and more than 40 injured in the magnitude-6.7 tremor that hit offshore, near the southern Taiwanese town of Hengchun late Tuesday.

Up to a dozen fiber-optic cables cross the ocean floor south of Taiwan, carrying traffic between China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, the U.S. and the island itself. Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan's largest phone company, said the quake damaged several of them, and repairs could take two to three weeks.

Cow Skull

Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island

For the first time, an inhabited island has disappeared beneath rising seas. Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean reports

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.


Second Volcano Erupts in Russia's Far East in Two Days

According to a local seismology center a second volcano has erupted on the Kamchatka Peninsula - Russia's Far East, spewing out ash up to an altitude of 6 miles, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

A village 31 miles away from the Shiveluch volcano, was covered with ash, and volcanic tremors were registered in the area, the seismology center spokesman said.


Prayers and perseverance, the Asian tsunami remembered

ACEH, Indonesia: Thousands of people joined in Indonesia's largest- ever tsunami drill on Tuesday as nations across Asia remembered the moment two years ago when devastating waves crashed into coastlines and killed 230,000 people.

Elsewhere in the region, survivors and mourners visited mass graves, lit candles along beaches, observed two minutes of silence and erected warning towers in hopes of saving lives in the future.


Taiwan warned of tsunami after strong quakes

Two earthquakes struck off the southwest coast of Taiwan on Tuesday, the second anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster that left more than 200,000 dead.

Tuesday's first temblor registered a magnitude 7.1, and the second one, which followed eight minutes later, was a magnitude 7.0.


Duck die-off in Idaho sparks fears

BOISE, Idaho - The number of mallard ducks that have died along a creek in southeastern Idaho has climbed to 2,500, as puzzled wildlife officials awaited test results they hoped would provide clues to what is killing them.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Department ofHomeland Security officials expected to have results Thursday from the tests on tissue samples from the ducks' abdominal tract and on water samples from the creek.

The battery of tests at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's national laboratory in Wisconsin, the University of Idaho and Washington State University were expected to rule out an avian flu outbreak.


Christmas storm brings devastation

A powerful weather system, including at least one tornado, tore through the state Monday as Floridians were celebrating Christmas.

Volusia County seemed hardest hit in Central Florida, though Lake, Osceola and Sumter counties also were slammed by the fast-moving storm. On the leading edge of a cold front, the deluge trampled the region with rain and high winds that knocked down trees and power lines and damaged dozens of homes.


Fourth small earthquake in 6 days rattles San Francisco Bay area

SAN FRANCISCO - The fourth small earthquake in six days rattled the San Francisco Bay area on Monday, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

The temblor that struck at 10:07 a.m. had a preliminary magnitude of 2.6 and was centered about three miles northeast of Union City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It is considered a "microearthquake" by the USGS.

The quake occurred along the Hayward Fault, which runs underneath the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay and was the site of three other small earthquakes last week.

Two of those quakes had a magnitude of 3.7, and the other had a magnitude of 3.5.

Seismologists said the activity is not unusual for the area and does not necessarily mean the "Big One" will strike soon.

Comment: Comment: Of course, it doesn't mean that "the big one" will not strike soon.


Lewiston residents unnerved by dead crows

LEWISTON - Residents unnerved by the unexplained deaths of dozens of crows in a neighborhood next to the Promenade Mall hope tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide some answers.

To residents, it seems almost as though dead crows were falling from the sky. Damien Perreault, 71, said he disposed of 10 dead crows he found on a walk Monday. That didn't count crows dead in the trees.


Hundreds of seagulls killed mysteriously

Chinanews, Jinan, Dec. 19 - Hundreds of seagulls were found dead on the beach of Zhouge Village, eastern China's Shandong Province.