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Mon, 02 Oct 2023
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Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Symbolic? Lightning Hits Chevron Oil Operations In Indonesia's Riau

Three oil fields in the central Sumatran province of Riau with a combined output of 400,000 barrels a day have been halting oil production since late Thursday after lightning struck power transformers and obstructed the supply of power to the three fields, an official said Friday.

Two of the fields are the Duri and Minas fields, operated by Chevron, and have a combined output of 379,000 barrels a day. The other is a 21,000-barrel-a-day field operated by PT Bumi Siak Pusako, which is controlled by the Riau government. Bumi's field uses electricity generated by Chevron's power plant in Duri.


US: Midwest under siege from floods, tornadoes

© Cliff Jette, Associated Press
Floodwaters from the Cedar River inundate downtown Vinton, Iowa, on Wednesday. Electricity was cut this morning when rising water affected the city's municipal power plant.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa - From Iowa to Missouri, officials in the flood-ravaged Midwest were frantically sandbagging, watching weakened dams and rescuing residents from water that in some places rose knee-high, while storms threatened more damage in the Upper Plains.

Several tornadoes touched down in Minnesota's Nobles, Murray and Cottonwood counties, damaging trees and farm outbuildings, as well as in eastern Nebraska.


Earthquake hits Timor Leste

An earthquake with magnitude of 5.2 rocked Timor Leste on Thursday, with no report of damage or casualty, Indonesian meteorology agency said here.

Magic Wand

First beaver dam in England for centuries

A pair of beavers have built what is believed to be the first dam in England for centuries.

The animals were hunted to extinction in England and Wales during the 12th century and disappeared from the rest of the country 400 years later.

However, two beavers from Germany were introduced to a river enclosure in Devon last year.

This year, the pair have built a 6ft dam with mud, bark and twigs on the River Tale at Escot House, near Ottery St Mary.

John-Michael Kennaway, who owns the estate, has been working to reintroduce the animals on the site for three years. He said that the beavers may be rearing young, known as kits.

One of the beavers that has settled on the River Tale

Evil Rays

Quakes in Lebanon shake Israel

Country's residents shaken by four moderate earthquakes measuring from 3.9 to 4.2 on Richter scale; no injuries or damage reported.

Four separate earthquakes shook Israel on Thursday. Ynet received calls from residents living in the northern and central areas of the country who said they felt the quakes. No injuries or damage have been reported, however.

The Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) stated that the first quake, which occurred at about 4 pm, measured 3.9 on the Richter scale, and that it originated in southern Lebanon. GII Director Rami Hopshteter told Ynet that "this was a moderate earthquake, with enough power to be felt by the northern settlements near the border."

Three other quakes took place between 6:40 and 6:43 pm, ranging from 3.8 to 4.2 on the Richter scale. A Nahariya resident told Ynet, "I felt the earthquake. It wasn't like the one that happened two hours ago, but much stronger. Our apartment is on the fourth floor and the entire house shook. The computer and TV screens shook, the couch shook, I have never felt such a thing before. My daughter who lives in Nahariya also called in a fright." Another resident said the quake lasted 10 to 15 seconds.

Red Flag

Potentially devastating wheat rust spreads

Since the 1950s, resistance genes bred into wheat varieties have held truly devastating stem rust epidemics in check. However, a new race of the rust, Ug99, has overcome many of those resistance genes and is marching east through southern Asia.

Ug99 first appeared in Uganda wheat in 1999 and spread to Kenya and Ethiopia during the next few years.

"At that point, many international scientists said, 'This is something we need to check because this new race can overcome many of the effective resistances,'" said David Marshall, research leader with the USDA-ARS in North Carolina last spring.

"And that included the resistances that are in the international germ plasm out of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center near Mexico City. That's alarming and this rust has become a front-burner issue."

Bizarro Earth

Crazytalk: Scientist says dolphin deaths look like a mass suicide

The dolphins that died after becoming beached in Cornwall had ingested debris and mud, leading one of the scientists who examined some of the corpses to compare their deaths to a "mass suicide".

Vic Simpson, who has been involved in the postmortem examinations of some of the 26 dolphins that died, said yesterday: "On the face of it, it looks like some sort of mass suicide - but the question is why?

"The dolphins had swallowed and inhaled big chunks of mud from the estuary. Their lungs and stomachs were full of it. That is very bizarre indeed."

Simpson, who founded the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre in Truro and is examining the dolphins on behalf of the Zoological Society of London, added: "We have seen strandings on beaches, sometimes with five to seven dolphins, but never on a scale like this."

Comment: See: What terrified the dolphins? Cause of mass dolphin deaths in U.K. may have been fear
and UK Dolphin update: Royal Navy exercises and an "unexplained explosion"


Update: 4 dead, 40 injured as tornado hits Boy Scout camp

BLENCOE, Iowa - A tornado slammed a Boy Scout camp in the remote hills of western Iowa late Wednesday, killing at least four people, injuring 40 and setting off a frantic search for others who could be trapped in the piles of debris and downed trees.


Water Scarcity: The Real Food Crisis

After decades in the doldrums, food prices have been soaring this year, causing more misery for the world's poor than any credit crunch. The geopolitical shockwaves have spread round the world, with food riots in Haiti, strikes over rice shortages in Bangladesh, tortilla wars in Mexico, and protests over bread prices in Egypt.

The immediate cause is declining grain stocks, which have encouraged speculators, hoarders, and panic-buyers. But what are the underlying trends that have sown the seeds for this perfect food storm?


Iowa: Reports of injuries as tornado strikes Boy Scout camp

DES MOINES - The National Weather Service has received reports of injuries and possibly fatalities from an apparent tornado that struck a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa.