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Sat, 30 Sep 2023
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

State geologists team up with the Civil Air Patrol to study Mount Hood's unstable slopes

State geologists teamed with the Civil Air Patrol over the weekend on reconnaissance flights around Mount Hood, a dual mission to study landslides on the volcano's unstable slopes and train for possible future volcanic activity.

The flights Thursday through Sunday were part of an effort by the Oregon Wing of the Civil Air Patrol to expand its activities beyond traditional search and rescue and medical support missions to include science and response to natural disasters.

In planes from its fleet of six specially equipped Cessna 182s, the Civil Air Patrol flew geologists from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries over strategic locations on Mount Hood. Other planes participated at the same time in other training missions.

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake rattles counties in Alabama, explosion reported

A mild earthquake Monday night was strong enough to rattle homes and nerves in parts of Franklin and Marion counties.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the 2.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred at 8:47 p.m. was centered six miles southwest of Hodges and nine miles north of Hamilton.

"We had a few floors that shook. It was really mild," said Roy Gober, director of the Franklin Emergency Management Agency. "It was strong enough, though, to get some people excited."

Some callers to the Franklin 911 emergency dispatch center reported feeling what they believed was an explosion near their home Monday night.

Gober said only a few people called Monday night to report the earthquake. "We had a storm cloud coming through about that time and a lot of people didn't realize that there had been an earthquake," Gober said. "It was not until Tuesday morning when word got out about us having an earthquake that people really started talking about it."

No damage was reported.

Mike Evans, who lives near Hodges, said he was watching a movie and wearing headphones when the tremor struck.

"I heard it, but I didn't feel it. I thought it was thunder," he said.


Shipwrecks On Coral Reefs Harbor Unwanted Species

Shipwrecks on coral reefs may increase invasion of unwanted species, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study. These unwanted species can completely overtake the reef and eliminate all the native coral, dramatically decreasing the diversity of marine organisms on the reef. This study documents for the first time that a rapid change in the dominant biota on a coral reef is unambiguously associated with man-made structures.

The findings of the study, published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, suggest that removal of these structures sooner rather than later is key to keeping reefs healthy.

In many areas of the world, coral reef health is declining, but identifying the exact cause of the problem is difficult.

Overgrowth of coral reefs by other species, such as algae, are usually attributed to environmental degradation, but bleaching, disease, damage by typhoons, overfishing, coastal development, pollution, and tourism can cause problems as well.

Bizarro Earth

Livingston and Penn paper: "Sunspots may vanish by 2015″

From the "I hope to God they are flat wrong department", here is the abstract of a short paper on recent solar trends by William Livingston and Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson. It was sent to me by reader Mike Ward.


Earthquake rattles Tokyo

A moderate earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5 has rattled Tokyo, causing buildings to shake in the heart of the metropolis, officials say.


Greenland Ice Core Reveals History Of Pollution In The Arctic

Coal burning, primarily in North America and Europe, contaminated the Arctic and potentially affected human health and ecosystems in and around Earth's polar regions, according to new research.

©Joseph McConnell, Desert Research Institute
This image is of an ice core sample sitting on a melter head in the research facility. The longitudinal ice core sample falls by gravity onto the heated melter plate and the melt water split into three streams by grooves etched into the melter head. Only the inner most 10 percent of the melt water is used for ultra-trace elemental measurements. The middle 20 percent used for major ions and particle size determinations. The potentially contamined outer 70 percent of the melt water is discarded.

The study was conducted by the Desert Research Institute (DRI), Reno, Nev. and partially funded by the National Science Foundation.

Detailed measurements from a Greenland ice core showed pollutants from burning coal--the toxic heavy metals cadmium, thallium and lead--were much higher than expected. The catch, however, was the pollutants weren't higher at the times when researchers expected peaks.

"Conventional wisdom held that toxic heavy metals were higher in the 1960s and '70s, the peak of industrial activity in Europe and North America and certainly before implementation of Clean Air Act controls in the early 1970s," said Joe McConnell, lead researcher and director of DRI's Ultra-Trace Chemistry Laboratory.

"But it turns out pollution in southern Greenland was higher 100 years ago when North American and European economies ran on coal, before the advent of cleaner, more efficient coal burning technologies and the switch to oil and gas-based economies," McConnell said.


Quake hits southwest China, no reports of casualties

Beijing - An earthquake hit southwest China on Wednesday, knocking down houses and forcing around 1,200 people to evacuate from near the site of a devastating quake which killed at least 70,000 people in May, state media said.


Deforestation behind loss of Mount Kilimanjaro snow

A scientific theory has linked the loss of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro to deforestation and dismissed suggestions that the dwindling of glaciers on Africa's highest peak was due to global warming.

The theory is highlighted in a recent study report compiled by two researchers from Britain's Portsmouth University, Nicholas Pepin and Martin Schaefer, who surveyed the mountain's glaciers for 11 days.

Mt Kilimanjaro

The researchers, who revealed their findings at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, said the mountain's glacier surface had shrunk from 20 km in 1880 to a mere two kilometres in 2000.

They said the development was caused more by local than regional factors, with Pepin suggesting that deforestation mainly due to extensive farming as the major cause.

''Deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the most likely culprit because without forests there is too much evaporation of humidity into outer space.

Bizarro Earth

Oceanic Dead Zones Continue to Spread

Fertilizer runoff and fossil-fuel use lead to massive areas in the ocean with scant or no oxygen, killing large swaths of sea life and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage

Dead Zone: Waters with little or no oxygen continue to form in coastal areas worldwide thanks to fertilizer washing off agricultural fields and fossil fuel burning.

More bad news for the world's oceans: Dead zones - areas of bottom waters too oxygen depleted to support most ocean life - are spreading, dotting nearly the entire east and south coasts of the U.S. as well as several west coast river outlets.

According to a new study in Science, the rest of the world fares no better - there are now 405 identified dead zones worldwide, up from 49 in the 1960s - and the world's largest dead zone remains the Baltic Sea, whose bottom waters now lack oxygen year-round.

Cloud Lightning

Resilient storm Fay could hit Florida a third time

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Fay swept into Florida from the Gulf of Mexico and soaked the state on Tuesday while growing strong enough that forecasters said it could become a hurricane before smacking Florida a third time.