Earth ChangesS


Scientists find clue to 'creeping' along San Andreas Fault - talc

Scientists drilling more than 2 miles deep into the San Andreas Fault have discovered underground patches of talc, nature's softest known mineral, that could help explain the absence of sharp earthquakes where the fault is "creeping."

The surprising result of what one expert calls "a literally groundbreaking project" adds a new understanding to the strange behavior of the infamous fault's 90-mile segment between Parkfield in southern Monterey County and San Juan Bautista in San Benito County.

Cloud Lightning

Oklahoma: Storm blows in trouble for Chouteau

Students at the Chouteau Elementary and Middle School were evacuated to buses Friday afternoon when a burning odor was discovered in a classroom during the thunderstorm.

Principal Steve Boone said he doesn't know for sure if lightning was the culprit, but he suspects lightning struck the building.

During the storm, Boone said despite a loud boom was heard over the normal thunder claps. Immediately following the boom, a burning plastic odor was smelled in a middle school classroom.

No Entry

Ukraine: Fire on slopes of Mount Ai-Petri in Crimea contained

A major forest fire on the slopes of Mount Ai-Petri in the Yalta Mountainous Preserve in the Crimea has been contained, the Ukrainian Ministry for Emergency Situations reported on Monday.

The fire is raging on the area of 50 hectares at the present moment. There is no threat for local settlement.

The manmade incident on the slopes of Mount Ai-Petri near the resort town of Alupka has claimed the lives of two people - the forest ranger and his wife. Their death has been officially confirmed.

Evil Rays

Earthquake rocks northern Japan

A moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 jolted northern Japan on Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The quake struck at 11:01 IST on Sunday and was centered off the eastern coast of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, according to the agency.


18 killed as deadly fires sweep parts of southern Europe

Forest fires ravaged swathes of southern Europe Friday with blazes killing at least 17 people in Greece and prompting Athens to seek European aid, as an elderly man died in Italy and hundreds were evacuated from their homes.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who Friday sought the help of the European Union to tackle the fires, described the situation as a "tragedy without precedent."

"We are today living in a tragedy without precedent," he said after meeting with firefighters in Zacharo in the country's south where 11 people died Friday.

"I wish to express my pain at the deaths of our countrymen," he said. "We are living in difficult times, in moments of responsibility and combat."


US: Tornado kills one in North Dakota town

A tornado destroyed a mobile home park, killing one person, and blew out windows in a nursing home and school, officials said Monday. At least 18 people were injured.

"This town is a mess. This town is a disaster," said Kevin Dean, a spokesman for the town's emergency operations center. "There's virtually nothing ... that hasn't been damaged."

Residents of the town's health center, which includes a small hospital and a 77-bed nursing home, were moved into corridors before the storm struck and no one was injured, said nursing director Carla Sletten.

Evil Rays

Moderate Earthquake Shakes Western Greek Island

A moderate earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 hit Monday the western Greek island of Kefalonia, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said.

There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

Life Preserver

Helicopter sent to save trapped Greeks

Firefighters scrambled a helicopter to rescue people encircled by flames in southern Greece on Monday - one of dozens of fires that have torn through village and forest across the country, leaving blackened landscape in their wake.

The worst wildfires in living memory have killed 63 people, destroying everything in their path. One fire broke out on the fringe of Athens Monday, but was quickly brought under control. Another scorched the woodland around the birthplace of the Olympics.

©AP / Petros Giannakouris
Fire burns on the Hill of Kronos next to the site of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, in southwestern Greece on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007. A massive effort by firefighters, assisted by water-dropping aircraft and fire trucks, succeeded in keeping a raging blaze away from the 2,800-year-old site - the holiest sanctuary in ancient Greece. Three days of forest blazes throughout the country have left at least 57 people dead, authorities said Sunday.

The flames were driven back from the capital and Ancient Olympia, but a helicopter headed to the village of Frixa in the western Peloponnese to rescue people surrounded by fire, the fire department said.

Bizarro Earth

Flashback Scientists urge guard against comet disaster

There is a one-in-10,000 chance that an asteroid or comet, more than two kilometres in diameter, will collide with Earth in the next century, killing a large proportion of the population, according to space scientists.

Bizarro Earth

Flashback Fire stones support catastrophe theory

MILLIONS of small fire-blackened stones in Ireland and Scotland are giving support to the theory that northern parts of the British Isles were depopulated by a nuclear winter-style disaster almost 3,200 years ago.