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Tue, 14 Jul 2020
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Earth Changes


Hundreds flock to see the snow in Matroosberg, South Africa, many for the first time

An intense cold front turned parts of the Western Cape highlands into a winter wonderland
© Amy Gibbings, News24
An intense cold front turned parts of the Western Cape highlands into a winter wonderland.
People waited in a long queue to enter the Matroosberg Nature Reserve on Saturday to get a first-hand glimpse of the snow that fell over the Western Cape highlands on the weekend.

The intense cold front that hit South Africa on Thursday created the perfect winter wonderland thanks to widespread snowfall in the Eastern Cape, Lesotho and areas across the Western Cape.

The muddy and ice-cold conditions didn't deter people from hiking the short distance into the mountains to play in the snow - many for the first time.

"This is breathtaking," said TEFL teacher Donito Adonis who got to hold snow for the first time. "I never thought I'd see snow like this in South Africa," he told News24.


Iceland earthquake swarm reaches over 10,000 quakes, largest in 40 years

earthquake graph
© Phil McCarten / Reuters
An ongoing earthquake swarm in Iceland has now reached over 10,000 quakes since it began on June 19. This is the biggest swarm to hit the Tjörnes Fracture zone in the north of the country in almost half a century, and experts are unsure what is causing it.

The earthquake swarm to the northeast of the town of Siglufjörður is ongoing. Experts with the Iceland Meteorological Office (IMO) said that of the 10,000 earthquakes, three had measured magnitude 5 or above. The largest, magnitude 5.8, hit around 18 miles from Siglufjörður. "Seismic activity if still ongoing and there are chances of more earthquakes of this magnitude occurring in the area," the IMO said in a statement.

Earthquakes have been felt in the area surrounding the swarm. Some of the larger quakes have been felt as far as Reykjavíc, 125 miles away.

Kristín Jónsdóttir, Earthquakes Hazards Officer for the IMO, previously told Newsweek the swarm was the largest recorded in the Tjörnes Fracture Zone in the past 40 years. "It is very difficult to say [when the swarm will end]," she said. "The behavior is episodic, we record hundreds of earthquakes in a few hours and then it becomes quiet and all of a sudden it starts again. The last swarm in 2012 was ongoing for a few weeks. Let's hope we only have a few weeks to go."

The IMO said that between June 22 and 28, over 3,300 earthquakes were recorded in the region. Of these, 2,800 were west of the Húsavík-Flatey Islands fault.

Cloud Precipitation

Nepal flood death toll mounts to 23, with 35 missing

The death toll from the floods in Nepal rose to 23, while 35 others are reported to be missing as relentless monsoon rains hammered the mountain nation.

Spokesman for Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority Janardan Gautam said that two people went missing on Saturday in the districts of Sindhupalchok and Jajarkot after being swept away by the swollen rivers.

On Thursday, Nepal's Meteorological Office had warned of heavy rainfall over the weekend, it issued warnings that dozens of rivers and rivulets could inundate cities and towns across the country.


Thousands displaced as rivers overflow in Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil

Floods in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil 09 July, 2020.
© Civil Defence RS
Floods in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil 09 July, 2020.
Several rivers have broken their banks in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil, after days of heavy rain. Authorities report 2 people have died and over 7,000 people displaced. The flooding comes just days after areas of southern Brazil were hit by a deadly cyclone.

Parts of Rio Grande do Sul have seen heavy rain throughout July. Rainfall was particularly intense from 06 to 08 July. At least twelve locations recorded more than 100mm of rain in 24 hours to 08 July, including the state capital, Porto Alegre with 106.2mm and Santa Rosa with 150mm.

The state's Civil Defence reported that, as of 11 July, 7,146 people were forced to leave their homes after flooding or landslides in 30 cities or municipalities. Four cities have declared an emergency situation: Arroio do Meio, São Jerônimo, Montenegro and Eldorado do Sul. Fatalities were reported in Caxias do Sul and Colinas.

By 09 July, wide areas of Lajeado, Cruzeiro do Sul and Bom Retiro do Sul were flooded by the overflowing Taquari river.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods and landslides in Arunachal Pradesh, India leave 8 dead

At least 8 people have died after flooding and landslides in the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Incessant rains for the last five days have triggered landslides and floods, leaving a trail of devastation in the state, damaging roads and houses and inundating low-lying areas, local media reported. Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on 10 July that the state capital, Itanagar, witnessed heavy rainfall of 142 mm which triggered landslides in many places.

Four people died after rain triggered a landslide in the Modirijo area between Itanagar and Naharlagun, while 4 members of the same family died after a landslide in Papum Pare district. Flash flooding was also reported in areas around Itanagar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the loss of lives and said all possible assistance is being provided to those affected.


Incredible snowfalls in the Andes - snow lying almost 5 metre (17 FEET) deep


Snow has been falling almost constantly for more than a month now in the Andes mountains of South America and ski areas area reporting the snow lying almost five metre (17 feet) deep.

It should be one of the best ski seasons of the century - but no resorts are able to open so far because of lockdown measures in Argentina and Chile to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Ski areas are none-the-less posting pictures of the snow are reporting how deep it has got, Chile's Corralco (pictured) say 4.9 metres (16 feet), Portillo (pictured bottom) an inch less with 4.87 metres. There are similar stats at other ski areas in the region where they've measured depth.


15-year-old surfer killed by shark in New South Wales, Australia - 5th fatality in 6 months

Shark attacks
15-year-old surfer died Saturday when he was mauled by a shark, the second fatal attack in a week in Australia and already at least the fifth this year.

Police said the boy was surfing at Wooli Beach, near Grafton, about 600 kilometres north of Sydney in New South Wales state just before 2:30 p.m. when he was attacked. The shark attack left him with severe injuries to his legs.

Several surfers came to the aid of the boy and helped him to shore for medical attention. Despite CPR efforts to revive him, he died at the scene.

Police initially said the victim was 17, but later corrected his age to 15.

Cloud Lightning

Red sprites appear in Mexico's sky after storm

Red sprites over Mexico
© Via Twitter @VladimirPozoC80
On Friday night, a strange phenomenon in the night sky known as sprites, caught the attention of the inhabitants of Villahermosa, Tabasco.

After the intense electrical storm that hit the capital during the afternoon, users on social networks shared photos and videos of a group of red lights in the sky of elongated appearance, as if it were sparks of fire:

Although speculation about its origin was immediately related to UFO sightings and other theories that lack scientific support, the explanation of meteorologists and specialists is that it is a luminous event that receives the name of sprites.


Houses carried away by floodwater after dam bursts following heavy rain in Ruza, Russia

A dam wreckage in the Russian city of Ruza near Moscow resulted in not just a 'flood' - whole houses were carried away by the stream. After the rain, a dam broke and the river formed a new channel right through the city. The streets simply disappeared, its inhabitants barely managed to escape from the rushing stream.


Man walking to work severely mauled by bear in Kashmir, India

bear attack
This is the shocking moment a man was severely injured after a bear attack while walking to work in Kashmir, India.

Ghulam Qadir Sheikh, 55, was the subject of an unprovoked attack on Thursday in the Budgam district in northern India.

Video footage shows a passer-by trying to help the victim utilizing a stick to beat the bear, who had wrapped his paws around the man's arms and body.