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US: Engineers watch Wisconsin's dams after collapse

Engineers kept watch over this rain-deluged state's dams Tuesday after a major collapse nearly emptied Lake Delton in a torrent that washed away houses and a highway.

The Lake Delton breach was caused by violent, drenching weekend thunderstorms that threatened the survival of the tiny Wisconsin town of Gays Mills and displaced thousands of Indiana residents. The stormy weather was blamed for 15 deaths in the Midwest and elsewhere.

An engineering assessment team from the Wisconsin National Guard headed to Lake Delton to determine what was needed to repair the gaping hole that let water from the 267-acre lake carve a new channel to the Wisconsin River on Monday.

Other crews were going to dams throughout the southern and western part of the state to assess damage. They also were monitoring several dams that were seeping or in danger of failing, state Emergency Management spokeswoman Jessica Iverson said.

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©AP Photo/Andy Manis
People look at two houses that fell into an emptied Lake Delton Tuesday, June 10, 2008, in Lake Delton, Wis., after the 267-acre lake drained Monday. The Lake Delton breach was caused by violent, drenching weekend thunderstorms that also threatened the survival of the tiny Wisconsin town of Gays Mills and displaced thousands of Indiana residents.

Bizarro Earth

Crews continue to battle 50 square miles wildfire at eastern NC refuge



Image
©2008 WRAL.com/AP
A satellite shows the distribution of smoke from a fire in an eastern North Carolina wildlife refugee just before midnight on June 7, 2008. (Photo courtesy of Modis Today)

COLUMBIA, N.C. - Fire crews on Monday continued building containment lines around a massive wildfire burning in a sparsely inhabited rural area of eastern North Carolina.

North Carolina Division of Forestry spokesman Bill Swartley said plans for firefighters also include pumping water onto smoldering peat fires burning in the ground.

Bizarro Earth

Quake lake water surges through cities

BEIJING -- A huge volume of water Tuesday surged from a lake created by China's massive earthquake, safely plunging downstream through an area where hundreds of thousands had been braced for disaster, officials said.

The mammoth effort to drain Tangjiashan lake -- where floodwaters behind a landslide had threatened to burst through the wall of rubble to submerge low-lying towns -- was declared a success by officials who said the crisis was over.

But with the risk of man-made drainage channels collapsing under pressure from the water charging through them, there was still a danger of sudden tidal waves.

The official Xinhua news agency reported late Tuesday that a crest of flood water, carrying with it trees, TVs, refrigerators and the bodies of earthquake victims, had surged safely past the city of Mianyang in southwestern Sichuan province.

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©AP
An engineer prepares to fire a missile to blast boulders in a man-made spillways in Tangjiashan, China.

Question

South Africa: Mysterious Crocodile Deaths Puzzle South African Scientists

A group of animal experts and wildlife officials rushed to South Africa's Kruger National Park to find out what has suddenly killed at least 30 crocodiles in the refuge within a week's time.

The first carcasses were sighted on May 27, then helicopter searches found many more littering the Olifants River, the park's most polluted waterway.

While no dead fish or other animals were found, all of the dead crocodiles contained yellow-orange hardened fat in their tails - usually a sign of eating rotten fish.

"We are in unknown territory, and we certainly don't have the answers as to why these crocodiles seem to be dying, so we need to look at the problem closely and find a solution," Danie Pienaar, head of scientific services for the park, said in the statement.

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©Grant Shimmin
A healthy Nile crocodile lurking on the bank of the Olifants River, in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Cloud Lightning

Wide Range Of Weather Ills Plague U.S.

Midwest Floods, East Bakes, Washington Chilled

Some residents in Gays Mills, Wis., have to start from scratch again after a second devastating flood in 10 months washed away the progress they had been making.

The swollen Kickapoo River spilled over its banks and engulfed nearly the entire town Monday, just as it did last August.

On Tuesday, officials in Wisconsin and other parts of the Midwest were assessing the damage from storms that have now left at least 15 people dead.

A Wisconsin National Guard team was headed to Lake Delton to determine what equipment is needed to begin repairs at a man-made lake.

Fish

Persistent Man-made Chemical Pollutants Found In Deep-sea Octopods And Squids

New evidence that chemical contaminants are finding their way into the deep-sea food web has been found in deep-sea squids and octopods, including the strange-looking "vampire squid". These species are food for deep-diving toothed whales and other predators.

cockatoo squid
©Michael Vecchione, NOAA
Close-up of eyes of Teuthowenia megalops, a cockatoo squid. Although not very muscular, the species is quite common in the deep waters off New England.

House

Greece orders villages evacuated in quake-hit area



greek quake
©AP Photo/Phil Ipparis
People setup tents at the village of Fostena, Greece, Monday June 9, 2008. Seismologists warned Monday that a strong aftershock was expected in southwestern Greece a day after a powerful earthquake killed two people and injured nearly 150. The quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 6.5, struck Sunday afternoon near the western port city of Patras, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) west of Athens, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said

Authorities evacuated three villages in southwestern Greece on Monday after seismologists warned that a strong aftershock was expected in areas where a powerful earthquake killed two people and injured more than 200.

Fish

Navy ships' sonar may have led 26 dolphins to their death

Sonar devices on board Naval vessels was today blamed for the death of 26 dolphins who died when they swam up a river in Cornwall.

But initial post-mortem examinations of seven of the animals revealed no clues as to the cause of the mass stranding.

The animals appear to have been well-fed and there were no obvious signs of disease or poisoning.

Dead Dolphin
©MSN
British Divers Marine Life Rescue have suggested that the sonar used by military ships had disorientated the Common dolphins.

Bizarro Earth

Ravaged China town flooded as quake lake drains

BEICHUAN - Muddy lake water from a dangerously unstable "quake lake" rushed into the devastated Chinese town of Beichuan on Tuesday, covering about a third of the settlement where the water level was rising fast.

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©REUTERS/Alfred Cheng Jin
Soldiers pile up stones to build a temporary dam against the possible coming floods at the earthquake-hit Yong'an town of Anxian County, Sichuan province, June 9, 2008.

Brown water, clumps of trees and occasional vehicles pushing against buildings were moving quickly into low-lying areas of the town, washing away remains of buildings, bodies and valuables left under the rubble.

The water level at the Tangjiashan quake lake formed by China's most devastating earthquake in decades dropped by nearly two meters (seven ft) in one hour on Tuesday, after soldiers used explosives to widen a sluice, Xinhua news agency said.

Cloud Lightning

4 homes washed away in Wisconsin as Midwest rivers swell

LAKE DELTON - Floodwater washed away four houses and threatened dams in Wisconsin on Monday as military crews joined desperate sandbagging operations to hold back Indiana streams surging toward record levels.