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Mon, 14 Jun 2021
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Earth Changes


Dead whale shark found on Great Barrier Island - first stranding recorded in New Zealand

A whale shark found at Great Barrier Island.
© Zane Broadbelt
A whale shark found at Great Barrier Island.
A morning stroll on the beach turned into a bit of a spectacle when Zane Broadbelt suddenly spotted what looked to be a stranded whale.

He and his partner, Laura, were walking along the beach at Harataonga, on Great Barrier Island, when they made the discovery on Sunday.

"I just saw a lump in the sand," he told the Herald.

On closer inspection, they realised it was a dead whale shark.

"It was about 6m long and looked like it had been there for about a week.

"I've never seen a whale shark before. It's not something you expect to see around here, especially at this time."

The Department of Conservation confirmed their staff responded to a public sighting of the dead whale shark last Thursday.

It was a significant find as although whale sharks migrate annually to New Zealand waters, this was the first recorded stranding in New Zealand, a DoC spokeswoman said.

Road Cone

Families evacuated after mud volcano eruption in Necoclí, Colombia

Colombia mud volcano
Emergency in Antioquia due to the eruption of the mud volcano in Necoclí.
More than 20 families were evacuated after the eruption of the mud volcano in the municipality of Necoclí, which belongs to the Urabá subregion, confirmed municipal risk management authorities.

The entity pointed out that due to this situation it was necessary to transfer around 100 people from the Palmares de Ceniza village to a rural school in the Piedrecita village, where humanitarian care is provided.

The Voluntary Fire Department and the Civil Defense responded to the emergency, after the volcano expelled ash and boiling mud, as seen in some videos shared by the inhabitants of the area on social networks.

The aid organizations indicated that the 23 families were evacuated from the early morning when the high volcanic activity of that natural formation was identified until it erupted in the last hours.


Amazing photos of rare sunset 'quadruple' microburst in Texas

Quadruple microburst
Mike Olbinski and his crew were about to call the day a bust, he shared on YouTube, when '"magic unfolded right before our eyes."

On the way to Lubbock, Texas, from New Mexico, the storm chasers caught a quadruple microburst as it came down with large hail in a "spectacular" storm. A microburst is a localized column of sinking air, usually about 2.5 miles or less in diameter, according to the National Weather Service, but at sunset Tuesday, Olbinski captured four massive downdraft plumes fanning outwards from a central point, painted in the pink, purple and blue of the sky.


Drought ravages California's reservoirs ahead of hot summer

Enterprise Bridge over Lake Oroville's dry banks
© AP Photo/Noah Berger
A car crosses Enterprise Bridge over Lake Oroville's dry banks Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Oroville, Calif. At the time of this photo, the reservoir was at 39% of capacity and 46% of its historical average.
Each year Lake Oroville helps water a quarter of the nation's crops, sustain endangered salmon beneath its massive earthen dam and anchor the tourism economy of a Northern California county that must rebuild seemingly every year after unrelenting wildfires.

But now the mighty lake — a linchpin in a system of aqueducts and reservoirs in the arid U.S. West that makes California possible — is shrinking with surprising speed amid a severe drought, with state officials predicting it will reach a record low later this summer.

While droughts are common in California, this year's is much hotter and drier than others, evaporating water more quickly from the reservoirs and the sparse Sierra Nevada snowpack that feeds them. The state's more than 1,500 reservoirs are 50% lower than they should be this time of year, according to Jay Lund, co-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California-Davis.

Bizarro Earth

Mexico sinkhole continues to expand, threatens to swallow farm house

sinkhole Santa Maria Zacatepec mexico
© AFP via Getty Images
Aerial view of a sinkhole nearing a house in a farmland in Santa Maria Zacatepec, state of Puebla, Mexico
A deep and massive sinkhole has opened up in Mexico, measuring 300ft in diameter and expanding rapidly to threaten a large farmhouse.

The gaping sinkhole is more than 60ft deep and located in Santa María Zacatepec, Puebla state. It has also filled up with water, said state governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta at a press conference on Monday.

Dramatic images showing the scale of the hole have been widely shared online - but when it was first spotted on Saturday it measured just 15ft across. The family living nearby say it grew suddenly in the space of just 24 hours after a loud thud was heard, reported Newsweek.

Comment: There has been an uptick in sinkholes and other land deformations world wide. Not all of them can be attributed to underlying conditions such as limestone erosion. One might wonder if they are perhaps related to the Earth's slowing rotation, which would cause the lithosphere to slip as the rotational speed of Earth's different geological layers become mismatched.


6.1 magnitude earthquake hits eastern Indonesia

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia's remote Maluku islands Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said, but no tsunami warning was issued.

The strong quake hit at a relatively shallow depth of 31 kilometres (20 miles), about 127 kilometres southwest of the city of Ternate.

Shallower quakes tend to cause more damage, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

"It was a decent shake, but people weren't panicking," said Ternate resident Nasarudin Amin.

"There are warnings about potential aftershocks."

Cloud Lightning

Thunderstorms trigger flash floods in northern France - 2 inches of rain falls in 1 hour

Thunderstorms and heavy rain crossed northern France and into Belgium from 01 June 2021, causing flash floods and mudslides. Météo-France reported 55mm of rain fell in 1 hour at Joigny in Yonne department on 02 June 2021.

Heavy rain triggered flooding or mudslides in several departments of northern France from 01 June, in particular the departments of Seine-et-Marne, Seine-Maritime, Oise and Meuse.

Hundreds of calls were made to emergency services. However the situation was complicated by a telecoms network outage that left people unable to reach emergency services by the standard telephone numbers. The ministry of Interior said via Social Media, "Some 15-17-18-112 emergency call centers are having difficulty receiving calls. Everything is being done to resolve the problem as quickly as possible."

In Seine-et-Marne department, flash floods were reported in city of Thieux, while images shared on Social Media showed flood waters raging through the town of Doudeville.


Nearly a tenth of all Florida manatees have already died this year

A manatee swims in a recovery pool in Tampa, Florida.
© Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP/Getty Images
A manatee swims in a recovery pool in Tampa, Florida.
Environmental groups in Florida are warning that unusually high numbers of manatee deaths in the first five months of the year, blamed in part on resurgent algal blooms contaminating and destroying food sources, could threaten the long-term future of the species.

The 749 fatalities recorded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to 21 May surpassed 637 from the whole of 2020, the agency said. The total is on course to exceed the high of 804, set in 2018.

The dying off of substantial areas of seagrass, the favoured food source for the slow-moving aquatic mammals, has caused starvation. The situation has been exacerbated by the recurrence of inland blue-green algal blooms and phytoplankton blooms in Florida waterways.

Offshore, the recent leak and discharge of toxic wastewater into Tampa Bay from the abandoned Piney Point fertilizer plant and the return of the red tide algal menace has poisoned waters. FWC says 12 manatee deaths so far this year were from confirmed or suspected red tide blooms, but the real figure could be far higher because not every dead manatee is necropsied.


KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa wakes up to winter wonderland

Parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Freestate woke up to a winter wonderland on Wednesday morning after snow dusted the peaks of the Drakensberg mountains and some foothills as well as Harrismith and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Snow seekers are already planning their weekend and berg resorts are expecting demand for accommodation bookings to rise as families seek to take their children to view the snow capped mountains.

Comment: Rare 'Level 5 snow warning' in place for parts of South Africa

Cloud Precipitation

Flash floods hit Samsun, Turkey

Flash floods in Samsun, Turkey.