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Sun, 26 Feb 2017
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Earth Changes

Cloud Precipitation

Bridge damage severs Big Sur's ties to outside world

© Kodiak Greenwood
A mudslide triggered by the recent heavy rains has damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur beyond repair.
Storms have wreaked hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to California's roads and bridges, but nowhere is the problem more obvious than on a stretch of Highway 1 just south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where the last link to the rest of civilization is about to slide down a hillside.

The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge spans a valley that has exploded with the cracking of falling redwood trees and the crash of rocks as the condemned bridge slides slowly toward the sea.

Two weeks ago, local James Wolfenden, 71, was out hiking when he spotted a jagged crack in the bridge's underbelly. It has since slid downhill several feet — though Caltrans isn't sure just how much because rain washed its markers away. Its northern end is visibly buckling and sagging like a roller coaster stopped in time.


Selfie opportunity becomes fatal as elephant tramples man in Zimbabwe

A Zimbabwean man, Moses Ndlovu, lost his life whiles attempting to get a selfie opportunity with a male elephant. His two friends, however, escaped unhurt.

The body of Moses was found with multiple injuries after the incident which police confirmed happened last Saturday. The incident occurred in Plumtree, a town located in the Bulilimamangwe district in southwestern Zimbabwe.

The state-owned Chronicle newspaper reports that the deceased in the company of two other friends, Mutheseli Sibanda and Magezi Nyathi, saw three elephants in a bushy area and tried to drive them to a clearly in order to take photos with them.

The elephants - a bull along with two males - reportedly charged at the three. The two others managed to safely escape whiles Moses who the male elephant caught up with died after he was trampled upon.


Unusual animal behaviour: Panda attacks, kills and eats goat in Sichuan, China

Bored with bamboo?
A wild giant panda attacked and ate a goat on Wednesday in Leshan, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, the Sichuan-based Chengdu Business Daily reported Saturday.

The meter-long panda was spotted by locals climbing down from a mountain near Muping village and wandering for 20 minutes before it attacked a goat.

Pictures taken by a local showed the bloody bones of a goat at the scene of the attack. The goat belonged to another local.

Employees of the Mabian County Forestry Bureau traveled to Muping after receiving a report of the attack and collected some of the panda's excrement.


Two earthquakes erupt at hydropower plant in central Vietnam

Two earthquakes set off an explosion near a hydropower plant prompting terrified residents to flee into the streets.

A 3.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the notorious Song Tranh Hydropower reservoir at 11:20 a.m. on February 26; local authorities described it as the strongest measured in a year.

Vietnam's Institute of Geophysics says the quake originated roughly 10 km below the ground in Nam Tra My District.

"The quake lasted five seconds, shook many houses and was followed by the shock of explosion," said the District Chairman Ho Quang Buu. "Many people rushed out of their houses in fear."

© VnExpress/Tri Tin
The Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant in Nam Tra My District, Quang Nam Province. The dam is suspected of having caused a series of minor earthquakes several years ago.


Dead dwarf sperm whale found in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Dead dwarf sperm whale
A dwarf sperm whale was found at the shoreline of Barangay Baloy in Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday.

Fisherman Cocoy Saa said two whales were earlier spotted near the shore, and one of the whales seemed to push the other to shallow waters before it left.

According to Laboratory Analyst John Roy Obsines of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' (BFAR) region 10 office, the dead whale might have suffered from stress, and was the victim of a shark attack.

The small whale had several injuries--its wounds were round, and seemed to be cookiecutter shark bites.

Cloud Precipitation

California drought continues to abate as flooding becomes the new crisis

© Getty Images
A man boards a bus on a flooded street as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 near Sun Valley, California.
After years of extreme drought, Southern California is now completely free of the worst conditions following recent rains that brought flooding, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

Also, the state's Central Valley region where agriculture is dominant continued to show improvement from abnormally dry conditions.

"The precipitation that fell this week continued to reduce long-term drought in California," the monitor said Thursday. "Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, which have been the epicenter of drought in California in recent weeks, received much-needed rainfall."

The monitor said more than 8 inches of rain was reported at two stations near Santa Barbara and almost 7 inches nearby at Ojai. Ventura County's community of Thousand Oaks also experienced well over 6 inches of rain.

"It's been raining a lot and gone a tremendous way towards eliminating surface drought conditions in California," said Richard Heim, a meteorologist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 's National Centers for Environmental Information and the author of this week's monitor.

Added Heim, "We felt it was time that the extreme drought [category] went away." He said this week's monitor is the first time since Aug. 6, 2013, that California is free of "extreme" drought conditions.

Comment: The recent Oroville dam crisis is a wake up call for the aging California water system.

Arrow Up

Increased activity at Guatemala's Fuego volcano; ash ejected up to 19,000 feet

Eruption at Fuego volcano, Guatemala on February 1, 2017.
The activity at Guatemalan Fuego volcano continues with constant moderate explosions ejecting columns of ash and smoke up to 5 km (16 404 feet) above sea level and traveling more than 25 km to the NE, N, NE and E. Ashfall is reported in areas near Alotenango and San Vicente Pacaya.

Explosive ejection of incandescent fragments of new viscous lava is reaching up to 300 m (984 feet) and falling up to 500 m (1 640 feet) from the crater. The eruptive behavior is producing constant moderate to strong rumble.

This activity is feeding two lava flows, one towards the Barranca Santa Teresa nad the second towards Las Lajas, INSIVUMEH reported in a special bulletin released February 25, 2017.

There is a possibility that pyroclastic flows are generated, so it is not advised to stay in or near the main canyons, the agency warned.

At 09:45 UTC today, the Washington VAAC reported satellite imagery showed one volcanic ash cloud up to 5.8 km (19 000 feet) a.s.l., extending 130 km (80 miles) NE of the summit, and another 1.5 km (5 000 feet) extending 139 km (86 miles) to the SSW.

Bizarro Earth

Climate changes alarm: Colorado River drought woes could affect 41 million Americans

© Marc Rasmus / www.globallookpress.com
Colorado River, Arizona, USA
Residents of the Southwest US will almost certainly face drought because of water loss in the Colorado River caused by global warming, according to scientists. By mid-century the water levels will drop by 5 million acre-feet, a new study says.

Researchers from Colorado State University and University of Arizona are predicting the Colorado River will suffer up to a 55 percent reduction in volume by the end of this century, due to global warming. That will be concern to the 41 million people in seven states of the American Southwest that use the river's supply for drinking water, and affect the water supply for six million acres of farmland.

The scientists began investigating after noticing that recent Colorado flows were lower than water managers expected, given the amount of precipitation. The projected loss is equal to the amount of fresh water used by 2 million people a year.

Researchers looked at the drought years of 2000-2014, and found that 85 percent of the river's flow originates as precipitation in the Upper Basin, the part of the river that drains portions of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The team found during 2000-2014, temperatures in the river's Upper Basic were 1.6 degrees F (0.9 C) higher than the average for previous 105 years.

Comment: Man made global warming didn't cause the megadrought in the 16th century, and it's not going to be the cause of a future one. Any solutions involving that bogus claim are useless. This is not to say that such kinds of megadroughts are not on the way. They very well may be, but the earth changes we are seeing are not so black and white as some pseudo-climate scientists would like them to be.

See also: Water shortage: Colorado river groundwater disappearing at 'shocking' rate

Arrow Down

Sinkhole swallows snowplow in Sioux City, Iowa

© Alex Boisjolie
A Sioux City snowplow was swallowed by a street sinkhole Friday afternoon.

The street caved around 4:30 p.m. while the dump truck was traveling eastbound at the intersection of Pierce and 30th streets.

The back of the truck was filled with sand and had to be lifted out of the hole by a crane while another tow truck pulled it forward.

There were no injuries reported.

Arrow Down

20-foot wide sinkhole closes street in Toronto

A street in Toronto's west end is closed to traffic while crews work to repair a sinkhole that opened up on Friday afternoon.

It happened around 4:30 p.m., police were called to Morningside Avenue, near South Kingsway and south of Bloor Street West.

When police arrived, they found a sinkhole 20 feet wide and five feet deep, where a truck had become trapped. No injuries were reported.

Officers said a watermain break may have caused the road to cave in.