Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Mexico: Earthquake Magnitude 5.1 - Baja, California

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 22:55:17 UTC

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 03:55:17 PM at epicenter

32.368°N, 115.262°W

10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Baja California, Mexico

17 km (10 miles) WNW (302°) from Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico

37 km (23 miles) SSE (148°) from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico

41 km (25 miles) SSE (147°) from Calexico, CA

166 km (103 miles) E (96°) from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Bizarro Earth

Indonesia: Earthquake Magnitude 5.8 - Bali

A strong earthquake shook Bali today, injuring at least seven people and sending panicked tourists and residents fleeing out of homes and hotels. No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of major damage.

The magnitude 5.8 quake hit just after 6am local time (0900 AEST), 75 kilometres south of Denpasar, the island's capital, the US Geological Survey said. Indonesia's Meteorological and Geophysics Agency put the quake at a more powerful 6.4 magnitude.

Seven people were treated for head injuries and broken bones at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar, said Dr Ken Wirasandi, adding that women and children had run from their homes screaming when the ground began to rattle.

Bizarro Earth

Philippines: Earthquake Magnitude 6.1 - Western Philippines

Seismologists say a strong offshore earthquake has rocked the western Philippines and was felt in Manila and nearby areas. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the epicenter of Friday's 6.1 magnitude temblor was 45 miles (73 kilometres) southwest of Mindoro island's Mamburao town.

Seismologist Ismael Narag says no tsunami warning was issued for the shallow earthquake. Aftershocks are expected.

In Manila, some 125 miles (200 kilometres) northeast of the epicenter, office workers felt their chairs and hanging ornaments swaying for a few seconds.


Solar Cycle Driven by More than Sunspots - Sun Also Bombards Earth with High-Speed Streams of Wind

Challenging conventional wisdom, new research finds that the number of sunspots provides an incomplete measure of changes in the Sun's impact on Earth over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. The study, led by scientists at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Michigan, finds that Earth was bombarded last year with high levels of solar energy at a time when the Sun was in an unusually quiet phase and sunspots had virtually disappeared.

"The Sun continues to surprise us," says NCAR scientist Sarah Gibson, the lead author. "The solar wind can hit Earth like a fire hose even when there are virtually no sunspots."

The study, also written by scientists at NOAA and NASA, is being published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics. It was funded by NASA and by the National Science Foundation, NCAR's sponsor.


Flashback Winged-Cat Causes Sensation in China

winged cat
© WENNNo ordinary tabby, this cat from China has mysteriously sprouted its very own pair of wings.
While most cats are known for their ability to land on their feet, some in China may soon be able to glide to safety on their mysterious wings.

A tabby from the Qingyan province in China recently sprouted a pair of fur-covered wings on his back during a hot-weather spell, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported.

Immediately, the unique kitty became a spectacle to behold, as visitors flocked to see the unusual feline.


Flashback Mysterious Winged Cat Baffles Animal Experts

White moggy grows fluffy wings out of its back - but can it fly?

Winged Cat
© China Foto Press / BarcroftThe winged cat chows down in China
Animal experts have been pussy-footing over the explanation for a cat that has developed bat-like wings on either side of its back.

The long-haired white feline was born a normal kitten, but started to develop furry wing-like appendages on either side of its back when it was just a year old.

Scientists believe the growths may be the result of a genetic mutation caused by chemicals during its mother's pregnancy. Alternatively, the cat which was discovered in Chongqing, China, may be a freak that developed from two embryos.


Snake Born with Hand Shocks Scientists

© Unknown
An elderly Chinese woman who discovered a snake with a clawed hand protruding from its body was so scared she beat it to death, according to reports. Xiu Qiong Duan, 68, told the SINA Beijing news agency she woke up in the middle of the night to find the snake clinging to the wall of her bedroom.

"I woke up and heard a strange scratching sound ... at first I thought it was thieves" she said. "I turned on the light and saw this monster working its way along the wall using his claw."

Ms Duan, from Suining in southwest China, said she then grabbed a shoe and beat the snake to death. She reportedly preserved its body in a bottle of alcohol which she gave to the Life Sciences Department at China's West Normal University in Nanchang.


El Niño, Global Warming Link Questioned; Possible Link Between 1918 El Niño And Flu Pandemic?

Research conducted at Texas A&M University casts doubts on the notion that El Niño has been getting stronger because of global warming and raises interesting questions about the relationship between El Niño and a severe flu pandemic 91 years ago. The findings are based on analysis of the 1918 El Niño, which the new research shows to be one of the strongest of the 20th century.

El Niño occurs when unusually warm surface waters form over vast stretches of the eastern Pacific Ocean and can affect weather systems worldwide. Using advanced computer models, Benjamin Giese, a professor of oceanography who specializes in ocean modeling, and his co-authors conducted a simulation of the global oceans for the first half of the 20th century and they find that, in contrast with prior descriptions, the 1918-19 El Niño was one of the strongest of the century.

Giese's work will be published in the current Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, and the research project was funded by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the National Science Foundation.


Chimps Catch Yawns from Cartoon

chimp yawning
© Emory UniversityBy copying the pattern of real chimps' yawning, researchers designed animations that in turn caused the real chimps to yawn.
In a bizarre twist on the odd phenomenon of contagious yawning, chimps have been found to yawn when they watch an animated chimp do so.

Scientists don't know for sure why yawning is contagious in humans, but the phenomenon is recognized as real. Researchers suspect it has to do with empathy and is therefore similar to our propensity to laugh (or cry) with others. Other primates are known to catch yawns, and last year a study revealed that dogs can catch a human yawn.

Humans, meanwhile, were known to catch yawns from animated characters.

"We know humans often empathize with fictional displays of behavior, including those in cartoons and video games, even though the displays are obviously artificial," said lead researcher Matthew Campbell of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University. "Humans experience emotional engagement with characters, empathizing with happiness, sadness or other emotions displayed by the characters.


Greenland icesheet could melt faster than thought: study

Greenland glacier
© AFP/Slim AllaguiAn aerial view of the ice glacier of Ilulissat, Greenland taken in July 2009. The Greenland icesheet responded to global warming over the past 10,000 years more quickly than thought, according to a study released Wednesday.
Paris - The Greenland icesheet responded to global warming over the past 10,000 years more quickly than thought, according to a study released Wednesday.

As a result, a medium-sized temperature increase this century could cause the continent-sized ice block to start melting at an alarming rate, it suggests.

"It is entirely possible that a future temperature increase of a few degrees Celsius in Greenland will result in a icesheet mass loss and contribution to sea level rise larger than previously projected," it warns.

Greenland contains enough water to raise sea levels by about seven metres (23 feet). Even a far more modest increase would put major coastal cities under water and force hundreds of millions of people out of their homes.

Until recently, experts were confident that the planet's two icesheets -- in Greenland and Antarctica -- would remain largely stable over the coming centuries despite global warming.

Comment: The Greenland Icesheet could just as easily respond to the drop of a few degrees Celsius too. It's also a far more likely scenario:

Fire and Ice - The Day After Tomorrow