Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

The Disturbing Sex Lives of Deep Sea Squid

A Dutch biologist has extensively studied the reproductive techniques of deep-ocean squid. During sex, they are brutal and ruthless -- and sometimes clumsy.

Sex in the deep sea is a difficult proposition. The problems already begin with the partner search: How do you find someone to mate with in the pitch-black depths of the ocean? And for any creature that does manage to have a rendezvous beneath the waves, failure is simply not an option.

"Seize the moment," is how Dutch researcher Hendrik Jan Ties Hoving describes the most basic rule of undersea reproduction. "Chances are low of finding a partner a second time."

Bizarro Earth

US: Floods could follow ice in Midwest

Chicago, Illinois - Rain and rapidly rising temperatures accompanied by thick fog threatened to cause flooding Saturday in the Midwest after days of Arctic cold, heavy snow and ice.

Bizarro Earth

US: Magnitude 3.4 Earthquake Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The U.S. Geological Survey said a magnitude 3.4 earthquake early Saturday, centered near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was felt as far south as Harford County in Maryland.

The quake was reported at 12:04 a.m. and lasted a few seconds. No damage was reported.

Harford County 911 officials confirm their 911 call center received "a few calls" from people in northern Harford County reporting that the ground shook around midnight.

The USGS said the quake was "widely felt" throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, from Hanover to the west to Harrisburg to the northeast.

Cloud Lightning

Hawaii's Oahu island regains power after blackout from storm

© AP Photo/Lawrence JacksonPedestrians take pictures as traffic lights, street lights and buildings are without power along Kalakau Ave. and the rest of Honolulu, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008, during an extensive blackout on the island. The island of Oahu lost power Friday evening in the midst of heavy rain and lightning, leaving some 800,000 residents and thousands of tourists in the dark, as well as the neighborhood where President-elect Barack Obama was vacationing.
HONOLULU - Crews gradually restored electrical service across parts of Oahu on Saturday after a power failure blacked out the island's population of about 900,000 people and thousands of tourists including vacationing President-elect Barack Obama.

Residents were urged to stay home after the lights went out during a thunderstorm Friday evening and to conserve water.

Hawaiian Electric Co. spokeswoman Jan Loose said power had been restored to about 113,000 customers as 6 a.m., mostly on the west side of the island. The utility serves a total of 295,000 homes and businesses.

She said power to neighborhoods on the eastern shore, where Obama was staying with his family, would likely not be restored until later Saturday.


Kilauea lava flow pauses for three days

Honolulu -- The Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii took a three-day break this week from its 26-year eruption.

Scientists said that lava stopped flowing at what is known as the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout on Monday and started up again on Christmas Eve, the Honolulu Advertiser reported Friday.


Montserrat volcano hurls lava, rocks, ash

San Juan, Puerto Rico - A volcano on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat has resumed its rumbling and hurled rocks and lava toward the abandoned capital.

Bizarro Earth

Asia at risk of era of mega-disasters: report

Sydney - The Asia-Pacific faces an era of large-scale natural disasters which could kill up to one million people at a time, with Indonesia, the Philippines and China most at risk, according to an Australian report.

The Sydney Morning Herald cited a scientific report which found that the impact of natural events such as earthquakes and tsunamis would in coming years be amplified by rising populations and climate change.

The paper said the report, by government body Geoscience Australia, had prompted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to create a joint disaster training and research centre.

Geoscience Australia could not be reached for comment Friday.

Alarm Clock

Earthquake strikes northern California: USGS

© AFP/File/Nicolas AsfouriA quake reading on a seismograph. A 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck northern California on Friday, the US Geological Survey said, revising an earlier report of a stronger quake.
A 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck northern California on Friday, the US Geological Survey said, revising an earlier report of a stronger quake.


Welcome to the Coldest Town on Earth

Oymyakon, Siberia, is bracing for temps as low as minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 67.8 degrees Celsius)
SA siberia
© ©iStockphoto.comFRIGID CONDITIONS: The temperature in Oymyakon, Siberia, could plunge to match (or exceed) the record minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 68 degrees Celsius) reached in 1933.

As winter sets in, the 800 hearty denizens of the coldest town on earth are bracing for one of the most frigid blasts yet, as forecasters predict that temperatures in Oymyakon, Siberia, could plunge to the coldest ever recorded in an inhabited location. There is no disputing that the mercury slides in Alaska and even in the Midwestern U.S. in the heart of winter. But if you want cold, visit Oymyakon, which this winter is expected to reach (or perhaps exceed) its record low temperature: a bone-chilling minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 68 degrees Celsius) reached on Feb. 6, 1933. It is a record matched only by nearby Verkhoyansk, Siberia, which endured minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Feb. 7, 1892.


Dense fog halts Houston Channel shipping

Dense sea fog was keeping about 40 ships from entering or exiting the Houston Ship Channel to the busiest U.S. petrochemical port on Friday morning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The shutdown began on Thursday morning when ship pilots stopped steering vessels through the 60-mile waterway to refineries and petrochemical plants in Houston and Texas City, Texas, after fog reduced visibility to unsafe levels, the Coast Guard said.