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Sun, 13 Jun 2021
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Earth Changes


Amazing photos of rare sunset 'quadruple' microburst in Texas

Quadruple microburst
Mike Olbinski and his crew were about to call the day a bust, he shared on YouTube, when '"magic unfolded right before our eyes."

On the way to Lubbock, Texas, from New Mexico, the storm chasers caught a quadruple microburst as it came down with large hail in a "spectacular" storm. A microburst is a localized column of sinking air, usually about 2.5 miles or less in diameter, according to the National Weather Service, but at sunset Tuesday, Olbinski captured four massive downdraft plumes fanning outwards from a central point, painted in the pink, purple and blue of the sky.


Drought ravages California's reservoirs ahead of hot summer

Enterprise Bridge over Lake Oroville's dry banks
© AP Photo/Noah Berger
A car crosses Enterprise Bridge over Lake Oroville's dry banks Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Oroville, Calif. At the time of this photo, the reservoir was at 39% of capacity and 46% of its historical average.
Each year Lake Oroville helps water a quarter of the nation's crops, sustain endangered salmon beneath its massive earthen dam and anchor the tourism economy of a Northern California county that must rebuild seemingly every year after unrelenting wildfires.

But now the mighty lake — a linchpin in a system of aqueducts and reservoirs in the arid U.S. West that makes California possible — is shrinking with surprising speed amid a severe drought, with state officials predicting it will reach a record low later this summer.

While droughts are common in California, this year's is much hotter and drier than others, evaporating water more quickly from the reservoirs and the sparse Sierra Nevada snowpack that feeds them. The state's more than 1,500 reservoirs are 50% lower than they should be this time of year, according to Jay Lund, co-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California-Davis.

Bizarro Earth

Mexico sinkhole continues to expand, threatens to swallow farm house

sinkhole Santa Maria Zacatepec mexico
© AFP via Getty Images
Aerial view of a sinkhole nearing a house in a farmland in Santa Maria Zacatepec, state of Puebla, Mexico
A deep and massive sinkhole has opened up in Mexico, measuring 300ft in diameter and expanding rapidly to threaten a large farmhouse.

The gaping sinkhole is more than 60ft deep and located in Santa María Zacatepec, Puebla state. It has also filled up with water, said state governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta at a press conference on Monday.

Dramatic images showing the scale of the hole have been widely shared online - but when it was first spotted on Saturday it measured just 15ft across. The family living nearby say it grew suddenly in the space of just 24 hours after a loud thud was heard, reported Newsweek.

Comment: There has been an uptick in sinkholes and other land deformations world wide. Not all of them can be attributed to underlying conditions such as limestone erosion. One might wonder if they are perhaps related to the Earth's slowing rotation, which would cause the lithosphere to slip as the rotational speed of Earth's different geological layers become mismatched.


6.1 magnitude earthquake hits eastern Indonesia

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia's remote Maluku islands Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said, but no tsunami warning was issued.

The strong quake hit at a relatively shallow depth of 31 kilometres (20 miles), about 127 kilometres southwest of the city of Ternate.

Shallower quakes tend to cause more damage, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

"It was a decent shake, but people weren't panicking," said Ternate resident Nasarudin Amin.

"There are warnings about potential aftershocks."

Cloud Lightning

Thunderstorms trigger flash floods in northern France - 2 inches of rain falls in 1 hour

Thunderstorms and heavy rain crossed northern France and into Belgium from 01 June 2021, causing flash floods and mudslides. Météo-France reported 55mm of rain fell in 1 hour at Joigny in Yonne department on 02 June 2021.

Heavy rain triggered flooding or mudslides in several departments of northern France from 01 June, in particular the departments of Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Maritime, Oise and Meuse.

Hundreds of calls were made to emergency services. However the situation was complicated by a telecoms network outage that left people unable to reach emergency services by the standard telephone numbers. The ministry of Interior said via Social Media, "Some 15-17-18-112 emergency call centers are having difficulty receiving calls. Everything is being done to resolve the problem as quickly as possible."

In Seine-et-Marne department, flash floods were reported in city of Thieux, while images shared on Social Media showed flood waters raging through the town of Doudeville.


Nearly a tenth of all Florida manatees have already died this year

A manatee swims in a recovery pool in Tampa, Florida.
© Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images
A manatee swims in a recovery pool in Tampa, Florida.
Environmental groups in Florida are warning that unusually high numbers of manatee deaths in the first five months of the year, blamed in part on resurgent algal blooms contaminating and destroying food sources, could threaten the long-term future of the species.

The 749 fatalities recorded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to 21 May surpassed 637 from the whole of 2020, the agency said. The total is on course to exceed the high of 804, set in 2018.

The dying off of substantial areas of seagrass, the favoured food source for the slow-moving aquatic mammals, has caused starvation. The situation has been exacerbated by the recurrence of inland blue-green algal blooms and phytoplankton blooms in Florida waterways.

Offshore, the recent leak and discharge of toxic wastewater into Tampa Bay from the abandoned Piney Point fertilizer plant and the return of the red tide algal menace has poisoned waters. FWC says 12 manatee deaths so far this year were from confirmed or suspected red tide blooms, but the real figure could be far higher because not every dead manatee is necropsied.


KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa wakes up to winter wonderland

Parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Freestate woke up to a winter wonderland on Wednesday morning after snow dusted the peaks of the Drakensberg mountains and some foothills as well as Harrismith and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Snow seekers are already planning their weekend and berg resorts are expecting demand for accommodation bookings to rise as families seek to take their children to view the snow capped mountains.

Comment: Rare 'Level 5 snow warning' in place for parts of South Africa

Cloud Precipitation

Flash floods hit Samsun, Turkey

Flash floods in Samsun, Turkey.

No Entry

Angry elephant rams truck off the road in Kruger National Park, South Africa


An elephant wants some living room.
The driver of a bakkie in the Klaserie area of Kruger National Park was stunned into silence earlier this week, after clashing with a furious elephant on a dirt road. Needless to say, the vehicle came off MUCH worse.

During the drive, the bakkie appeared to inadvertently get too close to one of the elephant calves, putting the family on high alert. The clip shows the adult ellie approaching the car and apparently backing away - but this was only to get a good charge lined up. The grey marvel then bounds down the road, ready to deliver a clear message to the motorist.


Woman mauled by bear in Asturias, Spain

Police have launched a search for the animal
© AFP - Getty
Police have launched a search for the animal (which is strongly believed to bear a striking resemblance to the one shown above).
A WOMAN was attacked by a bear during an evening walk with her friends, suffering facial injuries and a broken pelvis.

The 75-year-old was rushed to hospital after the beast clawed her face and tried to drag her away in the Asturias region in northern Spain.

The pensioner, identified only as Carmen, was enjoying an evening stroll with some pals after dinner when the animal appeared suddenly at around 9pm on Sunday.

The bear struck her in the face with one of its front claws after rearing up on its back legs.

According to local reports, the animal tried to drag the woman away before her friends, who were a few feet a head of her, got the bear to desist by shouting at it.