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Fri, 29 Jul 2016
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Earth Changes


Rabid bat attacks person in broad daylight in Terrace, Canada

© Getty Images
When a bat "dive-bombed" someone at Lakelse Lake near Terrace, B.C. recently, it was caught and tested positive for rabies.
The bat 'dive-bombed' a person near Lakelse Lake during the day

It was a bizarre sight: a bat, normally a nocturnal animal, dive-bombIng a person in broad daylight near Lakelse Lake in Terrace, B.C.

When the bat was caught, it tested positive for rabies.

The individual wasn't harmed, but Dr. Melissa McLaws, a veterinary epidemiologist with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, says rabies is a serious issue because it is "almost universally fatal if a person gets it or an animal gets it."

She says that less than one per cent of wild bats have rabies, but "we do find positive bats every year in every part of British Columbia".


Fish dying by the millions all over the planet in last month

Why are millions upon millions of dead sea creatures suddenly washing up on beaches all over the world?

It is certainly not unusual for fish and other inhabitants of our oceans to die. This happens all the time. But over the past month we have seen a series of extremely alarming mass death incidents all over the planet. As you will see below, many of these mass death incidents have involved more than 30 tons of fish.

Comment: More recent stories:


Scientists warn that volcanic "super-eruptions" give very little advance warning

The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in April, 2010, coated much of Northern Europe with volcanic ash, but was a very small event compared to “super-volcanos”.
A new study has determined that super-eruptions -volcanic events so large they spew out hundreds of cubic kilometres of magma and ash -typically give only one year's warning before they erupt, a prospect which would leave humanity little time to prepare for the worldwide devastation produced by such an eruption.

The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland disrupted air traffic and coated much of Northern Europe with volcanic ash, while the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State in May of 1980, which was the deadliest and most economically costly volcano blast in U.S. history, covering 11 states with ash and killing approximately 57 people.

But neither of these disasters comes close to the power and devastation of what geologists refer to as super-eruptions volcanic explosions that register highest on the Volcanic Explosivity Index and send up between 100 and 1000 cubic kilometers of ejecta into the atmosphere.

Scientists have long tried to pinpoint when and where the next supervolcano will erupt. Now, researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Chicago have used microscopic analysis of quartz crystals to conclude that the decompression process which releases gas bubbles prior to an eruption begins less than a year before the actual event.

Black Cat

Leopard attacks villagers, injuring 10 including a 3-year-old child in Uttar Pradesh, India

In the footage the big cat can be seen charging out of a building and pouncing on a man in white shirt before dashing away
An Indian village was plunged into fear when a runaway leopard attacked and injured 10 people.

Dramatic footage caught the moment the beast mauled two men as it ran through a courtyard.

The big cat reportedly emerged from the fields in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and entered a house where it savagely tried to drag away a 3-year-old child sitting in his uncle's lap.

Thankfully the man, known as Suraj, managed to hold onto the tot and raised the alarm, although the child sustained severe injuries from the mauling.

The animal fled to a neighbouring village where it hid in a heap of husk in a house and attacked two unsuspecting women.

Arrow Up

Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano flows into ocean for first time since 2013

© Lava Ocean Tours
Lava oozes into the ocean from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.
Lava from an ongoing Kilauea eruption entered the ocean early Tuesday, creating photo opportunities for those brave enough to get close.

The United State Geographical Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the lava flow extending southeast of Pu'u O'o toward the coastal plain on Kilauea's south flank reached the ocean about 1:12 a.m. local time.

The flow started May 24 and it's the first time it has traveled south down Kilauea and across the coastal plain since 2013.

USGS officials are warning those venturing out to view the spectacular display to use caution:

"There are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs," wrote the USGS in an update. "Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water."

They warned that the new land created by the lava flow is unstable because it is "built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea."

In addition, visitors should be careful to avoid the acidic plume that rises when the lava comes into contact with the water as the fine volcanic particles in the steam can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs."

Comment: Pu'u O'o volcano, Hawaii unleashes it's largest volume of lava for 500 years


Dead whale found in the Hudson River, Jersey City

© NBC New York
A dead whale was found floating in the Hudson River off New Jersey.
A dead whale struck by a ship several days ago in New Jersey has apparently resurfaced in the Hudson River — it's one of a number that have been spotted around New York City over the past few days.

The 30-foot whale was first spotted under the bow of a cargo ship in Newark Bay by a pilot boat driver a couple of days ago, according to Bob Schoelkopf of Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine. The ship appeared to have struck the whale, the pilot boat driver confirmed.

The whale apparently sank, then floated to the surface in the Hudson River off Jersey City Wednesday, according to Schoelkopf.

On Wednesday, crews were approaching the whale to try to remove it, Chopper 4 over the scene shows.

Bizarro Earth

What happens when the water's gone? Ogallala aquifer in western U.S. is being drained away

Bedsprings once served as a corral near Elida, New Mexico, where turbines tap into the High Plains’ unrelenting wind, generating new income for farmers who have lost earnings as their wells dry up.
The Ogallala aquifer turned the region into America's breadbasket. Now it, and a way of life, are being drained away.

"Whoa," yells Brownie Wilson, as the steel measuring tape I am feeding down the throat of an irrigation well on the Kansas prairie gets away from me and unspools rapidly into the depths below.

The well, wide enough to fall into, taps into the Ogallala aquifer, the immense underground freshwater basin that makes modern life possible in the dry states of Middle America. We have come to assess the aquifer's health. The weighted tip hits the water at 195 feet, a foot lower than a year ago. Dropping at this pace, it is nearing the end of its life. "Already this well does not have enough water left to irrigate for an entire summer," Wilson says.

It is three days into January, and we are alone on an endlessly flat expanse surrounded by 360 degrees of pale blue horizon, not a cloud, not a tree in sight. We are 4,000 feet above sea level, the reason this is called the High Plains. The incessant wind that blew topsoil from the Dust Bowl east to the Atlantic Ocean and onto the decks of ships during the 1930s is unseasonably calm, although Wilson's SUV is packed to the roof with gear for every possible weather calamity. On the field behind us, the spindly steel skeleton of a center-pivot irrigation sprinkler stretches out over brown earth like a giant sci-fi insect, dormant until spring.


Rare wolverine filmed in the Sierra Nevada believed to be first one in the area since 1920s

This May 18 photo taken from a remote camera, set up by biologist Chris Stermer, shows a wolverine in the Tahoe National Forest in California.
Scientists following up on a rare wolverine sighting in the Sierra Nevada set up cameras and captured video of the animal scurrying in the snow, scaling a tree and chewing on bait.

They believe the wolverine is the same one that eight years ago became the first documented in the area since the 1920s.

Chris Stermer, a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, set up the remote cameras in the Tahoe National Forest after officials at a field station sent him photos in January of unusual tracks in the snow near Truckee.

'They were definitely wolverine tracks,' Stermer told the Sierra Sun newspaper.

Wolverines, a member of the weasel family that look like a small bear with big claws, once were found throughout the Rocky Mountains and as far west as the Sierra.

An estimated 250 to 300 wolverines survive in remote areas of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state, according to wildlife officials.

Prior to the 2008 sighting, scientists were convinced fur trapping during the early 1900s had wiped out the species in California.

In this February 27, 2016 photo, the wolverine is pictured during a snowy day in the Tahoe National Forest

Cloud Grey

Rare 'morning glory' roll cloud seen in Queensland, Australia

© Michael Butler
Michael Butler from Athol station at Blackall took this picture of a roll cloud, also known as the Morning Glory, on Saturday.
A rare cloud formation, often called the morning glory, has rolled across outback Queensland delighting locals.

Michael Butler was home at Athol station, Blackall, on Saturday morning when he looked up and saw the cloud rolling across the sky.

The morning glory is often seen in the Gulf of Carpentaria in September but is almost never sighted over inland areas.

Mr Butler said in 16 years on his Blackall property, he had never witnessed anything like it.

"You see some unusual clouds in the storm season with the cold fronts but nothing like that," he said.

"This was just unusual, for being such a beautiful day, and this cloud just coming out of nowhere.

Bizarro Earth

Scientists say California's East Bay is overdue for the largest earthquake in centuries

© Tom Morgenstern
UC Berkeley professor Nick Sitar shows the gap at California Memorial Stadium due to Hayward Fault movement over the years.
A Hayward Fault shaker will be way, way worse than 1989's Loma Prieta quake.

Nicholas Sitar is a professor of civil engineering at UC Berkeley, and he likes to joke that "earthquakes don't come with due dates." Yet he and other scientists say it's only a matter of time — maybe days, more likely a few years — before a major Earth-shaking catastrophe hits the East Bay.

Their words are not scare tactics. The Hayward Fault runs nearly right through the heart of the region, splitting the flatlands from the hills. This 74-mile-long zone has been quiet since 1868, when it generated its last large earthquake. But scientists explained to the Express that the average time frame in which a large tremblor occurs on the Hayward Fault is about 140 years. And that period lapsed in 2008. "Yes, in terms of the statistical average, we are now well past the average period between earthquakes," is how Sitar put it.

This means that, in layman's terms, the proverbial Big One is overdue.

The professor is among many scientists who spend their time considering what would happen if a quake similar in size to, or perhaps substantially more powerful than, the 1868 Hayward Fault shaker struck Oakland and the greater region today. Nearly all agree that it would be a terrible disaster.

The shaking of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake would cause tremendous and unprecedented destruction. Thousands of buildings — even dozens of hospitals that are rated by state officials as seismically unstable — could be destroyed. Gas and water lines would break, and fires would leave the region reeling, if not wholly crippled, for days. Looters and thieves almost certainly will take advantage of abandoned homes and busy police and emergency officials.

Even less-dramatic experts such as Sitar concede that hundreds of people will die. Others expect a death toll in the thousands.