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Thu, 20 Oct 2016
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Earth Changes


143% increase in dog attacks between 2010 and 2015 for the county of Essex, UK

Figures obtained by Heart following a freedom of information request, show dog attacks in Essex have increased by 143% over the last 5 years.

Between 2010 and 2015 the number of attacks by dogs here, where injury has been caused, has gone up by 278.

The figures also show that attacks on children under the age of 18 has almost doubled.

In the last 3 months alone, there have been two fatal dog attacks on children here in Essex. In August this year, 3 year old Dexter Neal was mauled to death in a garden in Halstead and then last Thursday, 4 month old Archie Darby died after being attacked by a dog at his aunt's house in Colchester.

And the trend shows no evidence of slowing down. This year alone, between January and August, there's already been 397 dog attacks in Essex.

Bizarro Earth

Methane gas seep discovered at the Cascadia Subduction Zone

© NOAA Okeanos Explorer
Methane gas bubbling up out of cold seeps on the Atlantic Ocean floor offshore Virginia.
From British Columbia to Northern California, planet Earth's got a case of the toots. A recent deep ocean mapping survey has learned that a geologically-active strip of seafloor called the Cascadia Subduction Zone is bubbling methane like mad. It could be one of the most active methane seeps on the planet.

"It's like bottles of champagne all along the seafloor," said Jesse Ausubel, an organiser for the 2016 National Ocean Exploration Forum, where the gaseous discovery, along with other intriguing finds from recent deep ocean surveys, is being presented this week.

For years, scientists have been aware that methane, an odourless, colourless gas produced naturally during microbial digestion (and more famously, by farting cows) bubbles up from the seafloor where the conditions are right. Recent scientific surveys have discovered hundreds of methane seeps along the Atlantic continental margin, and it's believed there could be thousands more across the world.

Understanding these seeps — where and when they occur, and what controls their activity — is a hot topic in Earth science research today, given that methane is a potent greenhouse gas. In fact, many scientists worry that by warming the oceans, climate change is speeding up the very processes that produce methane, in addition to melting icy methane hydrates that accumulate on the seafloor. In theory, this could lead to an enormous release of heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere.


Whale washes up on beach in Norfolk, UK

© Mattheew Usher
Holkham Beach, where the whale washed up
A spokesman for the Holkham estate said the beach remained open but plans were in place to remove the creature.

She added: "On Thursday afternoon, a dead 40ft Finn whale was washed up on Holkham Beach, part of Holkham National Nature Reserve, on the north Norfolk coast.

"Wardens from the reserve have reported the whale to the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) who hope to carry out a post-mortem to establish cause of death.

"Plans are in place to remove the whale from the beach. Holkham Beach remains open but we advise the public not to venture close to the carcass and to keep dogs on leads."


Whale carcass washes up on Southbroom Beach, South Africa

© John Neaves
Beachwalkers stumbled across a decomposing whale washed up on Southbroom beach this morning.

Madelene Stopforth, (52), of Margate was walking along the beach with her husband when they found across the carcass wedged up between the rocks, about half a kilometre south of Southbroom's main beach.

She described the sight as very gory, as the whale's flesh was peeling off it's massive body.

"The mammal's backbone was sticking out and it's intestines, which were full of gas and looked bubbly, were floating in the water."


Update: Typhoon Haima kills at least 8 in the Philippines; tens of thousands of homes destroyed

© REUTERS/Erik De Castro
A woman stands outside her house which was damaged by a fallen tree during Typhoon Haima, in Bangui, Ilocos Norte in northern Philippines, October 20, 2016.
One of the most powerful typhoons to ever hit the Philippines killed at least eight people on Thursday as ferocious gales and landslides destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

Super Typhoon Haima struck late on Wednesday night with winds similar to those of catastrophic Haiyan in 2013, which was then the strongest storm to strike the disaster-prone Southeast Asian archipelago and claimed more than 7,350 lives.

Haima then roared across mountain and farming communities of the northern regions of the main island of Luzon overnight, causing widespread destruction and killing at least eight people, authorities said.

"We were frightened because of the strong winds. There was no power, no help coming," Jovy Dalupan, 20, told AFP as she sheltered at nightfall on the side of a highway in San Pablo, a badly damaged town of 20,000 people in Isabela province.

Dalupan, her two young daughters and husband, were forced to flee to the highway along with their neighbours during the height of the storm when their shanty homes, made of plywood, were ripped apart.

Comment: Haima is now approaching Hong Kong and is the third severe typhoon to hit the city in October - the last time that happened in that month was in 1989.

Arrow Up

More strong eruptions at Colima, Turrialba and Bulusan volcanoes

© www.webcamsdemexico.com
It's not even a week away that the Colima and Turrialba volcanoes erupted violently. And yesterday again they covered surrounding municipalities with ash after strong explosions. The Bulusan volcano also shows enhanced activity patterns.

The Colima continues its activity with some photogenic explosions yesterday, Oct. 18th.

Arrow Down

Massive sinkhole appears in Manchester, UK after 'noises and grumbling' heard by residents

© Via [email protected]
A large sinkhole has appeared in the middle of a residential street in Greater Manchester with police urging motorists in the area to "give the road a miss".

The six-metre wide hole appeared at around 12.30am in Heywood Road, Prestwich, believed to have been caused by a collapsed sewer.

Residents were woken in the middle of the night by a loud 'banging' sound, the Manchester Evening News reports.

A resident named George, who did not give his surname, told the newspaper it was "a bit scary" and "kept getting bigger". "I had to wake everyone up to tell them to move their cars because it started to spread," he said.

Greater Manchester Police officers covering the Whitefield area also tweeted for motorists in the area to give the road a "miss for the next week or so. Big sinkhole one of our night sgts is looking into".

A spokesman for United Utilities said the road is "likely to be closed for a few weeks as engineers will need to excavate around it. It was reported to us in the early hours by the police," they said in a statement.


Earth-shattering boom, flash of light in Berkshire, UK sparks online debate

© newburytoday.co.uk
Loud bang 'was not thunder' - was it a meteor?

A huge bang which startled people in Thatcham last night (Sunday) could have been caused by a meteor, some have speculated.

Last night's boom sent several people out into the street expecting to see a plume of smoke from an explosion.

The earth-shattering noise was accompanied by a flash which lit up living rooms, prompting many to assume it was a single, extraordinarily loud, clap of thunder.

But one poster on social media wrote: "So now the met office don't know what the loud noise was."

Others speculated it might have been a meteor like the one which caused a blinding flash and loud boom in Arizona, USA, in June.

What's your theory? Let us know via the comments section below.


Signs and Portents: Video shows 'mutant' pig with two snouts and three eyes born in China

The piglet was born with two snouts and three eyes
More disturbing footage has emerged online showing another 'mutant' pig born in China.

The animal was born with three eyes and two snouts on a farm in a rural area in the south west of the country.

Owner He Ruxian said the piglet had been hand-reared since birth as its deformity makes it difficult to feed, according to the New China newspaper.

Despite being scared by the creature's bizarre appearance, He said she now thinks it is "quite cute".

Owner He Ruxian now thinks the animal is "quite cute"


Typhoon Haima strikes the Philippines; second powerful storm in a week

Infrared satellite image of Typhoon Haima making landfall in Luzon, Philippines on Oct. 19, 2016.
Typhoon Haima, which on Tuesday became the planet's seventh Category 5 storm of the year, is slamming northern Luzon in the Philippines with damaging winds, storm surge flooding and heavy rains.

Fortunately, Haima lost some of its punch shortly before striking land, coming ashore at about 10:30 p.m. local time, or 10:30 a.m. EDT, packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The storm is known locally in the Philippines as Typhoon Lawin.

The weakening trend can be primarily traced to a phenomenon known as an eyewall replacement cycle, known to meteorologists by the acronym "ERC."

During such cycles, which typically occur in the most intense tropical cyclones, the storm's inner eyewall — where the worst winds and some of the heaviest rains tend to be concentrated — collapses, while an outer eyewall forms and gradually contracts inward toward the storm's center. During such a process, the storm's maximum sustained winds tend to diminish slightly, while the area of strong winds expands overall.

Eventually the outer eyewall replaces the inner eyewall, and the storm's maximum wind speed increases once again.

As Typhoon Haima showed, such cycles are unpredictable, and can take 12 hours or more to complete. The storm had been forecast to make landfall as a Category 5 storm.

The replacement cycle that occurred within Super Typhoon Haima was fortuitous, since it spared areas of northern Luzon from a truly catastrophic blow.

Comment: Typhoon Sarika leaves two dead, thousands stranded in Philippines