Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Indonesia shaken by another powerful quake

Jakarta - The U.S. Geological Survey says another powerful earthquake has shaken western Indonesia.

The 6.9 magnitude struck at 08:52 a.m. local time (0152GMT) Thursday on Sumatra island, about 180 miles (280 kilometers) from the epicenter of a more powerful quake on Wednesday.

Rescue efforts are under way around the area worst hit by Wednesday's quake, the regional capital of Padang on West Sumatra. At least 200 people died there and thousands are said to be trapped under collapsed buildings throughout the province.

There were no immediate reports of damage from Thursday's quake.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Bizarro Earth

More than 300 killed in path of deadly storm Ketsana

© AFP / Getty Images
Ketsana, downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical depression, set its sights on a fourth nation Wednesday -- barreling toward Laos after leaving a trail of destruction and death across southeast Asia.

By Wednesday morning, the death toll from the storm's rage had topped 325: at least 246 in the Philippines, 74 in Vietnam and nine in Cambodia.

With heavy rains still lashing Vietnam, some major roads were closed and rivers and flood waters were rising. But the airport in the coastal city of Danang, which had been closed for three days, reopened Wednesday.

Bizarro Earth

Powerful 7.6 Indonesia Quake Kills 75, Traps Thousands

© ReutersA man stands in front of a collapsed building after an earthquake hit Padang, on Indonesia's Sumatra island September 30, 2009.
A powerful earthquake struck western Indonesia on Wednesday, triggering landslides and trapping thousands under collapsed buildings - including two hospitals, an official said. At least 75 bodies were found, but the toll was expected to be far higher.

The temblor started fires, severed roads and cut off power and communications to Padang, a coastal city of 900,000 on Sumatra island. Thousands fled in panic, fearing a tsunami.

Buildings swayed hundreds of miles (kilometers) away in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

In the sprawling low-lying city of Padang, the shaking was so intense that people crouched or sat on the street to avoid falling. Children screamed as an exodus of thousands tried to get away from the coast in cars and motorbikes, honking horns.

The magnitude 7.6 quake hit at 5:15 p.m. (1015GMT, 6:15 a.m. EDT), just off the coast of Padang, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It occurred a day after a killer tsunami hit islands in the South Pacific and was along the same fault line that spawned the 2004 Asian tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 11 nations.

Bizarro Earth

Bolivia: Earthquake Magnitude 5.9 - Las Paz

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 19:03:16 UTC

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 03:03:16 PM at epicenter

15.532°S, 69.249°W

Depth 250.2 km (155.5 miles)

95 km (60 miles) E of Juliaca, Peru

160 km (100 miles) NW of LA PAZ, Bolivia

260 km (160 miles) NE of Moquegua, Peru

930 km (570 miles) ESE of LIMA, Peru


Whale forensics highlights threat to species

© UnknownMinke Whale
A high proportion of the whale meat on sale in Japan comes from a population of north Pacific minke whales that some fear is under serious threat.

The finding, from a forensic DNA study of meat bought on Japanese markets, suggests that either Japan's scientific whaling programme is taking more animals from this population than previously estimated, or accidental "by-catch" of the whales in fishing nets is larger than officially reported.

Vimoksalehi Lukoschek of the University of California, Irvine, and Scott Baker of Oregon State University in Newport, along with their colleagues, bought samples of whale meat in Japan and used DNA analysis to determine in each case not only the species of whale, but also which population it came from.

They found that a disturbingly high proportion came from a population of north Pacific minke whale that was selected for protection by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the 1980s, before the wider moratorium on commercial whaling came into effect.

Arrow Down

Climate Change to Cut Crop Yields, Boost Prices, Study Shows

Farmers in South Asia may reap only half of today's wheat harvest in 40 years' time as global temperatures rise and rain falls in different places, according to a study on climate change and agriculture.

Climate change may cut corn, wheat and rice yields across developing countries by 2050, boosting prices and causing hunger, according to a study by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute, or IFPRI, financed by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has said it's "cautiously optimistic" food output can rise 70 percent to feed an increased world population in 2050. The agency expects nine-tenths of the growth to come from higher yields and more intensive farming.

Bizarro Earth

Southern Indonesia: Earthquake Magnitude 7.6

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 10:16:09 UTC

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 05:16:09 PM at epicenter

0.789°S, 99.961°E

80 km (49.7 miles) set by location program

45 km (30 miles) WNW of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia

220 km (135 miles) SW of Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia

475 km (295 miles) SSW of KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

960 km (590 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia

Life Preserver

Samoa tsunami: 100 feared dead on Pacific islands

© ReutersWreckage left behind in the village of Leone in American Samoa
Scores of people are feared dead and many more injured after a powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that swept the Pacific islands.

Cars and people were swept out to sea by the fast-churning water as survivors on the worst-hit islands of Samoa and American Samoa fled to high ground, where they remained huddled for hours.

The floodwater engulfed cars and homes, flattened villages and washed ashore a large boat that came to rest on the edge of a highway.

The 8.3-magnitude quake struck about 125 miles from Samoa at 6.48pm BST, sending a large wave into Apia, the capital of Samoa, and a 1.5-metre wave into Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa.

Bizarro Earth

Tsunami hits American Samoa after South Pacific earthquake

© Unknown
Pago Pago -- A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of up to 8.3 struck in the South Pacific between Samoa and American Samoa around dawn Tuesday, sending terrified residents fleeing for higher ground as a tsunami swept ashore, flattening at least one village.

Officials said they were checking reports of fatalities, including people being swept away from coastal communities, but communications and power outages were hampering rescue efforts.

The quake hit at 6:48 a.m. Tuesday (1748 GMT) midway between the two island groups. In Apia, the Samoan capital, families reported shaking that lasted for up to three minutes. The U.S. Geological Service, which estimated the magnitude at 8.0, said the quake struck 20 miles (35 kilometers) below the ocean floor, 120 miles (190 kilometers) from American Samoa and 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Samoa, with a 5.6-magnitude aftershock 20 minutes later.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put the quake's magnitude at 8.3 and issued a general alert for the South Pacific region, from American Samoa to New Zealand. It said there were indications a tsunami wave could be "destructive" along some coastlines. Several hours away from the epicenter, Hawaii was put under a tsunami watch, with five emergency centers opened as a precaution.

Cloud Lightning

Typhoon Ketsana slams into Vietnam

© UnknownA man walks by a lake alongside the national north-south highway near Danang, Vietnam on September 29, 2009
After lashing the Philippines for several days, killer Typhoon Ketsana strengthened over the ocean before slamming into the central Vietnam coastline Tuesday afternoon.

Aid agencies reported that amid flood warnings, some 200,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas to community centers and schools on higher ground.

"Today was pretty bad, they say that this is the worst of it," iReporter Jeff Puchalski, 43, told CNN, speaking from Danang. "It was very strong winds," he said.

Puchalski, who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, was staying at a resort in Danang. His video from outside the resort showed tiles falling from the roof and littering the ground. Although he had intended to stay only for a weekend, he said he was stuck there until the storm passed.

"We're also getting very heavy rains," he said.

Ketsana's maximum winds were reported at 167 km/h (104 mph) with gusts as strong as 204 km/h (127 mph) as it crossed over the South China Sea and approached land.

The city of Hue, Vietnam, picked up an estimated 13 inches of rainfall in a day, according to CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Delgado.