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Wed, 21 Oct 2020
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Earth Changes


Death from above! Face of Mexican 'Day of the Dead' symbol 'the Elegant Skull' appears in volcanic ash cloud weeks before the annual festival

Netizens commented that the shape formed by the plume of smoke was similar to that of the ‘La Calavera Catrina’ (The Catrina Skull), the unofficial face of the ‘Day of the Dead’ festival

Netizens commented that the shape formed by the plume of smoke was similar to that of the ‘La Calavera Catrina’ (The Catrina Skull), the unofficial face of the ‘Day of the Dead’ festival
'The Elegant Skull', the face of Mexico's 'Day of the Dead' festival, appeared in a volcanic ash cloud during an eruption weeks before the annual festivities.

A photograph of the cloud shared on social media soon had netizens likening its shape to the character - also known as The Catrina Skull - and saw the sighting as a reminder of the festival held on November 1 and 2 every year.

The picture of the Popocatepetl volcano eruption, located between the central Mexican states of Puebla, Morelos and Mexico, was taken on Wednesday.

Authorities from Puebla issued a warning on Wednesday morning notifying citizens the volcano was showing moderate activity, however, what made headlines was the viral picture of the cloud of ash it was producing.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills 2, injures 5 others in Nigeria

Tension heightened at mile 5, Ugbolu, Oshimili South Local Government Area, Delta State after lightning killed two yet to be identified persons during a heavy downpour. Vanguard correspondent reports that the two dead persons, a male and female were in a makeshift shop when the incident occurred. They both died on the spot, it was also reported that five other persons sustained serious injuries.

Although the identity of the victims were unknown at press time, the man was said to be an Evangelist who hailed from the community while the woman was said to be a cassava farmer.

One of the survivors, Mrs. Gladys Okah, who spoke with newsmen, said she ran into a meat shop owned by one Mrs. Ortega due to the heavy downpour when the thunder struck.


Up to 1,500 birds flew into skyscrapers in Philadelphia

Some of the 400 birds Stephen Maciejewski collected in Center City Philadelphia Oct. 2,
Some of the 400 birds Stephen Maciejewski collected in Center City Philadelphia Oct. 2, during what Pennsylvania Audubon says a rare event with from 1,000 to 1,500 birds colliding into buildings in just a three block area.
Stephen Maciejewski dropped to a knee on a Center City sidewalk Wednesday morning and gently scooped up a yellow-billed cuckoo that had smashed into a skyscraper and died on its way to Central America or the West Indies.

"This probably happened yesterday," said Maciejewski, a 71-year-old retired social worker and volunteer for Audubon Pennsylvania. He labeled a plastic bag with the time, date, and location, tucked the slim migrator into it, and continued his rounds.

Maciejewski gets emotional when he speaks about all the birds he finds, but nothing, he says, prepared him for what happened Friday.

"So many birds were falling out of the sky, we didn't know what was going on," he said, choking up. "It was a really catastrophic event. The last time something like this happened was in 1948."

Cloud Precipitation

Floods killed 36 in Sokoto, Nigeria - 302,500 hectares of farmlands were submerged

No fewer than 36 people have died while 470 others displaced from their homes following floods due to heavy rainfalls in various parts of Sokoto state from January to date.

Mustapha Umar, the Director Relief and Orientation of the Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), disclosed this at a meeting on disaster management on Thursday in Sokoto.

The meeting was organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Mr Umar said about 302, 500 hectares of farmlands were submerged and about 120 animals were killed due to flooding experienced across the state.


Signs and Portents: Pair of two-headed turtles hatched in Milford, Pennsylvania

Jake, left and Elwood both have fully formed and completely functional heads and facial features and are able to eat, see, hear, and move their heads on their own.
Jake, left and Elwood both have fully formed and completely functional heads and facial features and are able to eat, see, hear, and move their heads on their own.
A Milford couple has been protecting a colony of painted turtles on their property for years, but this was the first year the hatchlings included two-headed turtles.

Mike and Tanya Pfaeffle, who moved into their Milford home in 2008, quickly discovered a few northeastern painted turtles living on their property. Since then, they have watched over the turtles, whose numbers increase each spring.

"There were a few when we moved here. We don't really do anything except for putting cages over egg clutches to keep predators out each spring. This just gives them a chance," Mike explained. "This year there were five turtles, 35 eggs. Thirty-four of the eggs hatched, and the turtles are doing well. This includes the two-headed turtles that we found and were advised to bring inside to help them survive."

Two-headed turtles are extremely rare, but this year's hatchlings included two of them. One survived, and the Pfaeffles are caring for it (or them). They named the turtle Jake and Elwood.


Iceland's most active volcano on verge of erupting again, scientists warn

Volcano eruption
© File photo
Getty Images / Arctic-Images
Scientists in Iceland have raised the threat level for the Grimsvotn volcano, warning there are now multiple indications that an eruption could soon take place.

This volcano experienced an unusually powerful eruption in 2011, firing a 20km pillar of ash into the air, but was overshadowed by the smaller eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano the previous year, which forced the cancellation of some 100,000 flights in an unprecedented disruption.

Recently, the volcano has been observed "inflating" as new magma enters the chambers beneath it once again, and the resulting increased thermal activity has melted more ice. Localized earthquake activity has also increased, all combining to suggest that an eruption may soon take place.

Seismologists are now on the lookout for an intense swarm of earthquakes, which could last up to 10 hours, signaling a rush of magma to the surface and an imminent eruption.

Though a slim possibility, an eruption event of a similar scale to 2011 would exacerbate an already precarious situation for the airline industry which has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Road Cone

Suspected sinkhole grows to 75-feet deep in Pasco County, Florida

Florida sinkhole
© ABC Action News
A suspected sinkhole in Pasco County has continued to widen and is now forcing the evacuation of a neighborhood bar.

The county tells 10 Tampa Bay the large hole has gotten 10 feet wider since Tuesday and is now at least 35-feet wide and about 75-feet deep.

A county official says the nearby Varsity Club Sports Bar will be closed as a precaution.

The possible sinkhole, which is officially being called a depression until geologists make a final determination, opened up earlier this week just north of State Road 54 on the west side of Little Road at the intersection with Spring Haven Boulevard.

Comment: Sinkholes: The groundbreaking truth

Cloud Lightning

Rare weather phenomenon 'St. Elmo's Fire' captured near equator

St Elmo's fire
© Twitter
Dramatic video as plane is caught in 'St Elmo's fire'
The rare weather phenomenon, which looks very similar to lightning, was said to have been captured by a military plane from the 99th Squadron of the UK Royal Air Force during a nighttime flight through the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) near the equator.

The UK Royal Air Force's Number 99 Squadron released on Monday footage of a rare weather phenomenon, known as "St. Elmo's Fire", captured by the aircrew of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III near the equator.

The Number 99 Squadron tweeted that the incident took place while the C-17 was passing through the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

Comment: This rare weather phenomenon was also captured above the North Atlantic in February this year.


Unknown illness kills 'unusual' number of Marco Island seabirds in Florida

A young black skimmer with a swollen leg joint

A young black skimmer with a swollen leg joint was spotted on Marco Island on August 23. Dozens of sick and dying skimmers were found throughout the summer on the island and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues to investigate the cause.
On the north end of Marco Island, near a stretch of beach locals call Sand Dollar Island, residents this summer noticed a strange sickness afflicting a local seabird colony.

Young black skimmers, a state-protected species, were seen limping and dying in alarming numbers in the state's Big Marco Pass critical wildlife area.

"This summer, a number of chicks started hobbling like they had arthritis and some died," Marco resident Andrew Tyler said. "These were primarily juveniles."

Wildlife officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have confirmed there has been an unusual number of sick and dying skimmers.

"The birds displayed swollen leg joints and lameness," FWC spokeswoman Michelle Kerr wrote in an email. "Full necropsy results are still pending, and once complete, may help with a more accurate interpretation of what caused the illness."


At least 7 dead or missing after floods in central provinces of Vietnam - 17 inches of rain in 24 hours

Vietnam's Disaster Management Authority (DMA) reports that at least 6 people have died or are missing after days of heavy rainfall in central parts of the country.

DMA said one person died in floods in Hai Lang district, Quang Tri province. Also in Quang Tri, 4 people are missing after being swept away by flash flooding in the mountainous district of Huong Hoa. Local media report that around 5,000 people from 1,100 families in Huong Hoa have evacuated their homes and moved to safer areas after the Sesan River broke its banks. Heavy rain in the province also caused landslides which have blocked several roads. As much as 435 mm of rain fell in Huong Linh, Quang Tri, in 24 hours to 07 October, 2020.

Also affected are the provinces of Quang Nam, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang and Gia Lai, where 2 other flood-related fatalities were reported.