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Sat, 09 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Mother Earth Naked: A Modern Masterpiece

Have you ever wondered what our world would look like stripped bare of all plants, soils, water and man-made structures? Well wonder no longer; images of the Earth as never seen before have been unveiled in what is the world's biggest geological mapping project ever.

South America on the globe
Geology of South America on the globe.

Earth and computer scientists from 79 nations are working together on a global project called OneGeology to produce the first digital geological map of the world. This project is doing the same for the rocks beneath our feet that Google does for maps of the Earth's surface. These scientists have achieved their goal in just over one year after initiating this global project. For a science that usually counts time in millions of years, this is no mean feat!


World's smallest snake is as thin as spaghetti

WASHINGTON - Scientists have identified the world's smallest snake -- a reptile about 4 inches long and as thin as spaghetti that was found lurking under a rock on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

smallest snake
Handout photo of Leptotyphlops carlae resting on US quarter

Cloud Lightning

Colorado: Children Taken To Hospital After Microburst Throws Inflatable Playhouse

WELLINGTON -- At least three children were taken to a hospital Saturday after a microburst of wind ripped up an inflatable bounce house from its metal stakes. Authorities said it was a "significant wind event" and it managed to push the play structure up a hill 200 feet before it slammed it into a flagpole.

Bizarro Earth

U.S. Long Beach Jellyfish Invasion

In the waters off Long Beach, N.Y., swimmers aren't the only ones enjoying the surf: Jellyfish are showing up in droves.

"We were here a few weeks ago and there were a lot of jellyfish. We didn't even go in the water. It was horrible," one teen told CBS News correspondent Susan Koeppen.

Bizarro Earth

231 hurt as 5.8 magnitude earthquake hits China

BEIJING -- A 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit southwest China on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, close to the area devastated by a massive tremor in May that left nearly 70,000 dead.

Chinese state media quoted local officials as saying that 231 people were hurt in the quake, which struck 65 km north of Mianyang, which was severely hit by the 8.0-magnitude quake on May 12.

Bizarro Earth

5.0 earthquake rattles Kingdom of Fiji

A moderate earthquake shook the ocean floor near Fiji about 5:35 a.m. today Hawaii time, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The 5.0 magnitude quake was centered about 85 miles west of Lambasa, Vanua Levu, Fiji and 21.7 miles beneath the earth's surface, the USGS reported.


Cold And Ice, Not Heat, Episodically Gripped Tropical Regions 300 Million Years Ago

Unaweep Canyon in the Rocky Mountains
©Gerilyn Soreghan, courtesy NSF
Unaweep Canyon in the Rocky Mountains is the site of a deep gorge that reveals ancient landscapes and sediments. The inset image is of a "dropstone" from an eons-old glacier.

Geoscientists have long presumed that, like today, the tropics remained warm throughout Earth's last major glaciation 300 million years ago. New evidence, however, indicates that cold temperatures in fact episodically gripped these equatorial latitudes at that time.

Geologist Gerilyn Soreghan of Oklahoma University found evidence for this conclusion in the preservation of an ancient glacial landscape in the Rocky Mountains of western Colorado. Three hundred million years ago, the region was part of the tropics. The continents then were assembled into the supercontinent Pangaea.

Soreghan and colleagues published their results in the August 2008, issue of the journal Geology.

Cow Skull

Ivory Poaching At Critical Levels: Elephants On Path To Extinction By 2020?

African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory at a pace unseen since an international ban on the ivory trade took effect in 1989. But the public outcry that resulted in that ban is absent today, and a University of Washington conservation biologist contends it is because the public seems to be unaware of the giant mammals' plight.

Elephant tusks
©William Clark
Elephant tusks seized by authorities lie next to weapons used by poachers, including rocket-propelled grenades used against rangers who protect the elephants.

But the poaching death rate in the late 1980s was based on a population that numbered more than 1 million. Today the total African elephant population is less than 470,000.

"If the trend continues, there won't be any elephants except in fenced areas with a lot of enforcement to protect them," said Wasser.


Mima Mounds: Mystery hides in vast prairie

Unlike many Washington state attractions, the word "majestic" does not apply to the slopes and swales of the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve. But walk amid the mounds, and you will be struck by how their subtle uniformity adds up to an otherworldly power.

The swath of grassy humps known as the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve spins a mystery as yet without an ending. And with any good story, context is critical.

©Chris Joseph Taylor / The Seattle Times
Summertime visitors who stroll along the Mima Mounds' interpretive trail will find themselves amid humps covered in lichen and moss, along with other vegetation, butterflies and bees. The color palette of the landscape, which is south of Olympia, changes with the seasons.


'Dead Zone' in The Gulf of Mexico Near Record Size

The "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, an area on the seabed with too little oxygen to support fish, shrimp, crabs and other forms of marine life, is nearly the largest on record this year, about 8,000 square miles, researchers said this week.

Only the churning effects of Hurricane Dolly last week, they said, prevented the dead zone from being the largest ever.