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Tue, 25 Jan 2022
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Blanco Fracture Zone: Four quakes hit sea floor

Four moderate earthquakes rattled the sea floor about 200 miles due west of Winchester Bay on Saturday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The first 5.2-magnitude quake struck at 1:11 a.m., followed by a 4.4 quake at 1:24 a.m. and a 4.8 quake at 4:06 a.m. The final quake Saturday shook the sea floor at 8:08 a.m. All were about 6 miles beneath the earth's surface, which is typical for temblors off the South Coast.

Geologists have said this is an extremely active fault area known as the Blanco Fracture Zone. Typically, hundreds of quakes strike along the zone every year, but most are so small no one notices.

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 3.3 rattles East Tennessee homes

Folks in East Tennessee might not have felt the earth move, but some heard their windows rattle.

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 3.3 earthquake, centered two miles north of Friendsville in Blount County at 10:07 a.m. EDT Monday.

WLVT-TV in Knoxville reported receiving viewer calls about windows rattling and houses shaking.


US: California Fire grows to more than 122,000 acres; officials hope for improved conditions

firefighter Thomas Rindge
© Wally Skalij / LA Times
Los Angeles firefighter Thomas Rindge takes a break from battling the Station fire in La Crescenta Monday
The Station fire grew to more than 122,000 acres overnight and continued to burn out of control despite some signs of improving weather conditions.

The massive blaze, which has burned more than 50 structures, killed two firefighters and caused thousands of evacuations, grew by about 15,000 acres over the last 12 hours. That's a smaller rate of growth than Sunday or Monday, but officials are still on guard.

[Updated at 7:20 a.m.: At a briefing this morning, officials said they were growing more optimistic about the fire. They said firefighters were set backfires overnight in areas of Glendale, Tujunga and the Santa Clara ridge. More moisture in the air was slowing the blaze. Although temperatures are cooling, officials said they worried about the possibility of gusty winds and dry lightning. No new structures were burned overnight. The fire is 5% contained, but officials expect that number to grow significantly today.]

The fire this morning was bearing down on neighborhoods in Tujunga, where homes have been evacuated.


US: Californians told to prepare for mass evacuation

© Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
A wide plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles national forest seen from downtown Los Angeles
California's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has urged the residents of Los Angeles to prepare for a mass evacuation in the event of a public call to flee raging fires.

Wildfires in the US Golden State, razing around 35,000 acres (over 14,000 hectares) of bush land, are threatening 13,000 properties just north of Los Angeles.

The ravaging flames, fanned by the weak Pacific Ocean breeze and fueled by incoming arid weather system from the west midlands United States, have thus far forced thousands out of their homes in the vicinity of the ongoing inferno.

The blaze has caused mandatory evacuations of around 7,000 California houses close to the valleys around the Big Tujunga Canyon, Schwarzenegger told reporters on Monday.


US: Wildfire makes menacing advance near Los Angeles

Aliso Canyon Road
© Genaro Molina / LA Times
The Station fire bears down on Aliso Canyon Road in Acton, several miles north of the area where two L.A. County firefighters died Sunday night after their truck went down a mountainside.
Los angeles - A deadly wildfire that has blackened a wide swath of tinder-dry forest around Los Angeles took another menacing turn Monday as five people became hopelessly trapped inside a smoky canyon and thousands of suburban homes and a vital mountaintop broadcasting complex grew dangerously close to being devoured by explosive, towering flames.

The five trapped people refused to evacuate threatened areas and reported they were stranded at a ranch near Gold Creek, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. A sheriff's helicopter was unable to immediately reach them because of intense fire activity, but would try after the flames passed, he said.

"What this says is, 'Listen, listen, listen,'" Whitmore said. "Those people were told to get out two days ago, and now we are putting our people in danger to get them out."

Fire crews battling the blaze in the Angeles National Forest tried desperately to beat back the flames and prayed for weather conditions to ease. The fire was the largest of at least eight burning across California after days of triple-digit temperatures and low humidity.


US: Farmers' Almanac predicts numbing cold this winter

Lewiston, Maine - Americans, you might want to check on their sweaters and shovels - the Farmers' Almanac is predicting a cold winter for many of you.

The venerable almanac's 2010 edition, which goes on sale Tuesday, says numbing cold will predominate in the country's midsection, from the Rocky Mountains in the West to the Appalachians in the East.

Bizarro Earth

US: Wind, Current Combined to Raise East Coast Sea Level

Folks living along the East Coast were in higher water early this summer thanks to a change in the wind and current flow.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday the higher than normal sea levels were caused by persistent winds from the northeast - pushing water toward shore - and a weakening of the Florida current that feeds water into the Gulf Stream.

Water levels ranged from six inches to two feet above normal in areas from Maine to Florida during June and July, the agency said.

Arrow Down

Nitrous oxide is top destroyer of ozone layer: study

Nitrous oxide emissions caused by human activity have become the largest contributor to ozone depletion and are likely to remain so for the rest of the 21st century, a US study has concluded.

The study by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency said efforts to reduce chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere over the past two decades were "an environmental success story.

"But manmade nitrous oxide is now the elephant in the room among ozone-depleting substances," said A. R. Ravishankara, lead author of the study, which was published Friday in the journal Science.


Mobile towers threatening honey bees in Kerala, India

© Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Thiruvananthapuram-- Mobile towers are posing a threat to honey bees in Kerala with electromagnetic radiation from mobile towers and cell phones having the potential to kill worker bees that go out to collect nectar from flowers, says a study.


Update: Thousands flee Los Angeles County homes as fire races

LA firefighter
© Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
A firefighter clears brush from a propane tank in Acton as a fire races through the Angeles National Forest, where 18 structures were confirmed destroyed.
Los Angeles -- Two firefighters were killed when their vehicle rolled off a mountainside Sunday as they battled a huge wildfire that threatens 12,000 suburban homes. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged those in the fire's path to follow the instructions of authorities and get out.

Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Mike Bryant said at a news conference Sunday night that the two men were amid intense fire near Mount Gleason in the Angeles National Forest when the vehicle crashed. He did not release their identities or give a cause for the crash.

While thousands fled, two people who tried to ride out the firestorm in a backyard hot tub were critically burned. The pair in Big Tujunga Canyon, on the southwestern edge of the blaze, "completely underestimated the fire" and the hot tub provided "no protection whatsoever," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Sunday.