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Wed, 19 Feb 2020
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Earth Changes


Jamaica earthquake: Huge shallow 7.7-magnitude tremor hits off island's coast - tsunami warning issued

mao quake
A tsunami warning has been issued for parts of the Caribbean after a huge earthquake struck.

Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman islands were all said to be at risk.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.7-magnitude quake hit off the northwest coast of Jamaica, prompting the US Tsunami Warning Center to issue an alert.

It was so big that schools in Jamaica and buildings in Miami - 580 miles away - were evacuated.


Some 8,000 migratory birds mysteriously perish at wildlife sanctuary in northern Iran

An increasing number of migratory birds have been found dead in the Miankaleh peninsula in Mazandaran province, northern Iran.

An increasing number of migratory birds have been found dead in the Miankaleh peninsula in Mazandaran province, northern Iran.
According to Hossein-Ali Ebrahimi, head of Mazandaran province's department of environment, the corpses of some 8,000 birds of different species, including flamingos, have been collected in the peninsula since the unusual death of the birds was witnessed last week.

The official noted that a group of experts from Iran's Department of Environment has been sent to Mazandaran province to investigate the cause of migratory birds' death.

He said the DoE has banned hunting of migratory birds in the eastern parts of the province, where Miankaleh is located until the investigations are carried out, adding that in order to maintain human health, the sale of any migratory birds in the nearby cities would also be suspended until the exact cause of the deaths is revealed.


Signs and Portents: Pet axolotl spawns a two-headed baby in Waterlooville, UK

The two-headed axolotl, Orthrus, spawned by Louise Merrick's pet axolotls Falkor and Toothless.
© Louise Merrick
The two-headed axolotl, Orthrus, spawned by Louise Merrick's pet axolotls Falkor and Toothless.
Nine months ago Louise Merrick stopped collecting tropical fish and begun a search for a domestic pet altogether more fascinating.

The 39-year-old's three sons were delighted when she settled for a pair of axolotls - smiley amphibians often known as Mexican walking fish.

But what they didn't expect to see was the salamanders, named Falkor and Toothless, spawn a baby with two heads.

Dubbed a thousands-to-one occurrence by an amphibian expert, Falkor gave birth to a deformed larva on Friday, January 17.


One-month-old baby dies after family dog attack in Lafayette, Indiana

A 26-day-old baby has died after a dog attack in a home in Lafayette Saturday.

Indianapolis station WTHR reports that calls came in to Lafayette Police just after 11:30 a.m. to a home on Greenbush Street.

The victim's brother told police that the family's pit bull mix and beagle mix dogs were fighting in the infant's bedroom and went to separate the dogs. The brother took the beagle mix out of the room, but when he returned, he saw that the pit bull had attacked the infant.

When officers arrived, they found the pit bull standing over the infant, who had been severely injured by the dog. In order to render aid to the infant, the officer fired one shot at the pit bull, killing the dog.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods and landslides kill at least 58 in Minas Gerais, Brazil - highest rainfall ever in Belo Horizonte - 40,000 displaced (UPDATES)

Houses hit by flooding in Minas Gerais state.
© AP
Houses hit by flooding in Minas Gerais state.
At least 14 people have died after record rain caused flash flooding and landslides in Minas Gerais State in southeast Brazil.

The disaster comes just days after the deadly floods in Espirito Santo on 17 to 18 January, where 6 people died.

Minas Gerais Civil Defence reported 14 people have died in the Greater Belo Horizonte area, including in Belo Horizonte city and the municipalities of Ibirité and Betim. Many of the fatalities occurred as a result of landslides. Civil Defence added that 7 people have been injured and around 3,500 evacuated or left homeless.

Roads were turned to rivers as flood water raged through streets of the Greater Belo Horizonte area. Flooding and landslides damaged or destroyed buildings, including a city hospital. Belo Horizonte Civil Defence said that teams attended over 470 incidents of landslides and flooding across the region on 24 January, 2020.

Comment: Update: Sky News reports on Jan 26th:
Brazil: 30 killed in flooding and landslides after two days of torrential rain

Seventeen people are missing and 2,600 have been evacuated from their homes after 48 hours of heavy rain.

At least 30 people have died after two days of heavy rain caused flooding and landslides in southeast Brazil.

Seventeen people have been listed as missing and 2,600 were evacuated from their houses in Minas Gerais state, which has been buffeted by 48 hours of torrential rain.

Photos show people, including children, swimming through some of the flooded streets.

A child swims through a flooded street in Anama, Amazonas state

A child swims through a flooded street in Anama, Amazonas state
More rain is expected in Minas Gerais as well as other parts of Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Around 2,600 people have been evacuated from their homes

Around 2,600 people have been evacuated from their homes

Around 2,600 people have been evacuated from their homes
On Saturday, the number of deaths stood at 11.

The fatalities were reported in the state capital of Belo Horizonte and in the state's interior.

The governor of Minas Gerais, Romeu Zema, will fly over the affected areas on Sunday to evaluate the damage.

The announcement of the deaths comes the same day as mourners elsewhere in Minas Gerais observe the first anniversary of a mining dam collapse that killed at least 250 people.
Update 2: Xinhua reports on Jan 28th:
Severe flooding in southeast Brazil has left at least 58 people dead and displaced more than 40,000 others, the regional civil defense agency said on Monday.

The worst-hit states are Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo, where torrential downpours have wreaked havoc since late last week.

In Minas Gerais, 47 people have died since heavy rains fell on Friday, with four others missing and 65 others injured, the agency said.

At least 101 towns in Minas Gerais have declared a state of emergency after 14,609 people were driven away from their homes due to flood waters, and 3,386 others were left homeless.

The state's capital Belo Horizonte has registered 13 fatalities, mainly as a result of mudslides.

Nine people were reportedly killed in Espirito Santo, and at least two other deaths were reported in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian government has declared a state of calamity in four towns in south Espirito Santo, where rains have caused major damage.

Snowflake Cold

Capital Nur-Sultan under state of emergency as powerful winter storm hits Kazakhstan

Camel towing car
© YouTube/Мир 24 (screen capture)

Authorities in the Kazakh capital have declared a state of emergency after a winter storm pummeled the city with strong winds and heavy snowfall.

Transportation links to and from Nur-Sultan were cut on January 27, while all schools in the capital remained closed.

The spokesman for Nur-Sultan International Airport, Zhenis Akhmetzhanov, told reporters that all flights were postponed for an unknown period of time for safety reasons.

Nur-Sultan's emergencies department called on residents not to leave the capital before the state of emergency is lifted.

Dozens of highways across the Central Asian country have been closed due to winter storms.

Black Cat

Leopard mauls boy to death in Tanahun, Nepal - 9th such incident for district

Stock image of leopard
© Getty
A boy was killed a leopard attack at Lohipakha in Bandipur Rural Municipality-4 of Tanahun district, on Monday evening, police said.

According to Police Inspector Jitendra Shrestha at the Area Police Office, Dumre, 10-year-old boy Ishak Sunar was mauled by a wild animal while returning home with his mother after celebrating Chewar festival in a nearby jungle area.

"Police recovered the body some 90 metres away from where the boy was dragged to the river bank in the area," police inspector Shrestha added.


Record number of sea turtles arrive at North Carolina rehab center due to cold temperatures

Cold snap sends over 100 sea turtles to rehab center

Cold sends over 100 sea turtles to rehab center
A cold snap has flooded a turtle rehab center with more animals in need than ever before.

Volunteers at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center said they are treating more than 100 turtles. Forty-seven sea turtles were admitted Friday alone.

The turtles are cold-stunned. They are reptiles, which are cold-blooded. Cold-blooded animals cannot regulate their body temperature. So often when temperatures drop quickly, the animals seize up.


Unusually warm January in southern & eastern US has plants budding 2 months early

plant sprout

Nearly a foot of snow could fall in some areas while other locations will see widespread, icy conditions following rain.

Although it's January, you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at a thermometer. Many areas across the eastern U.S. have been experiencing temperatures typically seen during March and April.

Temperatures are typically at their lowest during this time of year in the United States when the days are at their shortest; however, the region has seen an increase in temperatures of 30 to 35 degrees above average.

Comment: Early budding can be devastating to crops because the buds and the resulting produce is ruined by the returning cold.

See also:


Possible magma accumulation on Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland

Possible Magma Accumulation on Reykjanes Peninsula
Authorities have declared a state of uncertainty due to possible magma accumulation on the Reykjanes peninsula in Southwest Iceland. The aviation colour code has been raised to yellow for the region, which includes Keflavík International Airport. An earthquake swarm has been ongoing in the area and inflation has been detected in the last few days.

A statement from the Icelandic Met Office asserts that, while earthquake swarms are not unusual in the area, "[t]he fact that an inflation is occurring alongside the earthquake swarm is a cause for closer concern and closer monitoring." The inflation is occurring just west of Þorbjörn mountain, near the town of Grindavík, and is unusually rapid, around 3-4 mm per day. It has accumulated to 2cm to date and is most likely a sign of magma accumulation at a depth of just a few kilometres. It is not certain that magma accumulation is causing the inflation, but if such is the case, then, according to the Met Office, "the accumulation is very small."