Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Quakes confuse experts, send kids under their desks

Experts are mystified by a "swarm" of earthquakes hitting Reno, Nevada.

Quakes aren't uncommon there, but analysts just do not know what has caused 344 of them in the area in the past week, the strongest of which was magnitude 4.7.

Evil Rays

On shaky ground: UH Prof finds geological faults threaten Houston, US

After finding more than 300 surface faults in Harris County, a University of Houston geologist now has information that could be vitally useful to the region's builders and city planners.

This information - the most accurate and comprehensive of its kind - was discovered by Shuhab Khan, assistant professor of geology, and Richard Engelkemeir, a geology Ph.D. student, using advanced radar-like laser technology. Although geologists have long known of the existence of faults in Southeast Texas, only recently have UH researchers produced a comprehensive map pinpointing the locations of the faults. A Houston-area map showing active surface faults is available here.

While the ground moving beneath Houstonians feet is not felt at the magnitude of recent earthquakes in San Antonio and Illinois, this shaky ground could mean trouble for buildings, roads and pipelines located on one of these hundreds of faults traversing the region's surface.

©Shuhab Khan and Richard Engelkemeir
Pictured is a Houston-area map showing the locations of salt domes and known active surface faults interpreted on lidar imagery.

Cloud Lightning

8 die in severe storms in Arkansas, raising 2008 toll to 24

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. - With a pep talk from Gov. Mike Beebe, emergency workers fanned out across Arkansas to help residents cope with another bout of violent weather that pushed the state's storm death toll to 24 for the year.

Tornado Damage
©AP/Orlin Wagner
Homes damaged by severe thunderstorms are viewed from the air over Gladstone, Mo., Friday, May 2, 2008. Severe thunderstorms with straight line winds damaged over 200 homes and businesses.


California to consider rationing water this summer due to drought

Two parched years - punctuated by the driest spring in at least 150 years - could force districts across California to ration water this summer as policymakers and scientists grow increasingly concerned that the state is on the verge of a long-term drought.

Bizarro Earth

May blizzard shuts down parts of S. Dakota

The mayor of Rapid City, S.D., Friday pleaded with residents to stay home as a May blizzard closed down streets and highways in parts of the state.


Chile: evacuation as volcano dormant for 450 years erupts

A volcano has erupted in southern Chile, scattering ash over the surrounding area and forcing more than 1,000 people to leave their homes.

The eruption of the Chaiten volcano caught local authorities by surprise, as experts say it has been dormant for at least 450 years.

Chile Volcano
©AP/Christian Brown, Intendencia Regional de los Lagos
In this photo released by Intendencia Regional de Los Lagos, a large column of smoke and ashes comes out from the Chaiten volcano after it erupted Thursday night, causing 60 minor tremors in the Los Lagos region, 1,200 kms (750 miles) south of Santiago, Friday, May 2, 2008. Chilean government declared a state of emergency early Friday, evacuating about 250 people from the Pacific towns of Blanco and Chana, closing schools throughout the region and urging other residents to stay inside.

Cloud Lightning

Storms kill 7 in Arkansas, damage homes around Kansas City

Arkansas storm

Severe storms that rolled across Arkansas early Friday killed at least seven people, including a teenager crushed by a tree while she slept in her bed. The deaths came after earlier storms seriously damaged homes and businesses in the Kansas City, Mo., area. Tornadoes were also reported in Oklahoma and Texas, although there were no immediate reports of severe damage.


All salmon fishing banned on US West Coast

Salmon fishing was banned along the West Coast for the first time in 160 years Thursday, a decision that is expected to have a devastating economic impact on fishermen, dozens of businesses, tourism and boating.


6.4 Earthquake Hit Between Vanuatu, New Caledonia

A magnitude 6.4 undersea temblor occurred today between Vanuatu and New Caledonia, the U.S. Geological Survey, based in Denver (Colorado) said.


Moderate earthquake hit southern Mexico

Mexico City -- A moderate earthquake of a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale rocked southern Mexico Sunday, but no major injuries or damages have been reported.