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Sinkholes become an item of study

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In the wake of frequent sinkholes occurring around the globe and recently in Thailand, the Civil Technology Education Faculty of King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi is studying the phenomena via simulation and a numerical technique.

Sinkholes are also the subject of an undergraduate thesis by seniors Jakkraphong Sirichairawan and Khatiphong Ornchai, who said the causes were underground erosion and the collapse of soil layers, excessive use of groundwater, and riverside or coastal erosion, which were expanding.

The objective of the thesis is to find out how large sinkholes might affect the shallow foundations of average houses.

Working on a miniature simulation, Khatiphong built a model on a scale of 1:22, with a sinkhole of 2.42 metres in diameter shrinking to 11 centimetres.

He said this simulation found that the sinkholes' depth would not drastically weaken the entire structure, while its width would directly affect the strength of shallow foundations.

Radar

Hurricane Emilia follows Daniel, strengthens in Pacific Ocean

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© NASA
Hurricane Emilia (right) and Daniel in the Pacific Ocean
Emilia has strengthened to a Category Two hurricane in the Pacific far off the coast of Mexico but is not posing a threat to land.

The hurricane's maximum sustained winds Monday were near 100 mph (160 kph) with additional strengthening expected.

Emilia is centered about 710 miles (1,145 kilometers) south of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California and is moving west-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

Meanwhile, farther west over the Pacific, Hurricane Daniel had maximum sustained winds near 85 mph (140 kph). The hurricane is expected to weaken slowly during the next 48 hours and was moving west at 15 mph (24 kph).

Cloud Lightning

Possible Tornado or Microburst Hits Fredericksburg, Virginia

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© Dan Telvock
Cheer Fusion gym in Fredericksburg was severely damaged by a reported tornado on July 8, 2012.
The National Weather Service has not determined if the storm in Fredericksburg was a microburst or something else, and it may take another day or two before officials there make that determination.

What is a microburst?

"A microburst is a downdraft (sinking air) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "... Although microbursts are not as widely recognized as tornadoes, they can cause comparable, and in some cases, worse damage than some tornadoes produce. In fact, wind speeds as high as 150 mph are possible in extreme microburst cases."

Update 7:12 p.m.

Just nine days after a "super derecho" hit Fredericksburg, the area is dealing with another natural disaster - what may have been a rare tornado.

The event occured just after 5 p.m. and damaged buildings on Lafayette Boulevard and Fleming Street.

Cloud Lightning

Flooding and heavy rains lash Cape Town - more on the way

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© David Ritchie
Cars negotiate a flooded M3
Heavy rains in Cape Town on Sunday flooded roads and houses and caused the Liesbeek River to burst its banks, and there were "extreme weather" warnings of bitter cold over much of the country.

The M3 was flooded where the road dips near UCT, and traffic was backed up as motorists slowed down to plough through the muddy waters.

Many shacks on the Cape Flats were flooded and the city council and charity organisations provided hot meals, blankets and plastic sheeting to about 350 families.

The SA Weather Service said on Sunday's cold front had been particularly strong, adding that the cold, wet weather was here to stay for the next few days.

The weather office said westerly winds at Cape Point reached near gale force of 55km/h on Sunday morning, while there were rough seas with heavy swells between 4m and 5m from Lamberts Bay to the southern Cape coast.

The city council's disaster risk management centre ordered about 60 people to evacuate the River Club premises for their safety on Sunday after rising flood waters from the Liesbeek had inundated the club's parking lot and courtyard.

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 5.6 - Eastern Mediterranean Sea

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© USGS
Date-Time
Monday, July 09, 2012 at 13:55:00 UTC
Monday, July 09, 2012 at 04:55:00 PM at epicenterTime of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location
35.623°N, 28.925°E Depth
56.5 km (35.1 miles)

Region

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SEA Distances
83 km (51 miles) SSW of Kalkan, Turkey
111 km (68 miles) SE of Rodos, Greece
112 km (69 miles) S of Fethiye, Turkey
112 km (69 miles) SE of Trianta, Greece

Target

4.4 earthquake hits Labrador, Newfoundland

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A 4.4 magnitude earthquake hit central Labrador, about 150 kilometres south, southwest of Happy Valley–Goose Bay on Sunday, July 8, 2012. (CBC)
At 8:13 Sunday morning a 4.4 magnitude earthquake hit central Labrador, about 150 kilometres south, southwest of Happy Valley - Goose Bay.

There were no reports of damage and none would be expected according to Steven Halchuk, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.

"An earthquake of this size is not large enough to cause any damage whatsoever, but if you were close to it you would feel significant shaking," Halchuk told CBC News.

Earthquakes in the area are rare occurrences, according to Halchuk.

"There is a scattering of earthquake activity that extends from the Gulf of St. Lawrence up through Quebec and Labrador past Happy Valley - Goose Bay [but] it's usually small. The last earthquake I can find of this size in the region happened about 50 years ago, in 1962 actually," said Halchuk.

Radar

3.1 and 3.9 quakes strike near The Geysers, California

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Two earthquakes in quick succession were reported Sunday afternoon near The Geysers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The first was a shallow magnitude 3.1 earthquake two miles from The Geysers, according to the USGS. The temblor occurred at 5 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of 1.9 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was four miles from Cobb, six miles from Anderson Springs, 26 miles from Santa Rosa and 74 miles from Sacramento.

The second was a shallow magnitude 3.9 earthquake three miles from The Geysers, according to the USGS. The temblor occurred at 5:01 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of zero miles.

Igloo

Record Winter Snow and Cool Summer Means Snow Piles Still Tower Over Anchorage in July

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© ktuu.com
Melting Leftovers of Record Winter Requires Extra Work

Anchorage, Alaska - Bulldozer crews are on the clock this Independence Day, trying to break down mountains of snow, which still tower over some parts of Anchorage after a winter of record snowfall.

At American Landscaping, along C st. in South Anchorage, crews "roll" the surface of their pile every day or so, scraping off a top layer of gravel, which can insulate the snow, slowing its melt.

"I don't know how high it is now, looks like about 80 feet," said Glenn Ball, owner of American Landscaping, as he looked up at what he estimated to be about 280,000 cubic yards of leftovers.

Ball made good money off the snow dump after Anchorage broke its annual snowfall record of 132.6 inches. Now that it's summer, he could use some extra space on his property for the soil and landscaping side of his business.

Radar

Continuous earthquake activity recorded in El Hierro volcano

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Fishing boats in La Restinga, El hierro Island, Canary Islands
There have not been great changes in El Hierro volcano. Currently no eruption has taken place. There are also no signs of magma movement on tremor plots on seismometers stations that are located on El Hierro Island. The dike intrusion in El Hierro volcano is continues, but at slower rate then before. But that it is continuing means there is continued risk of an eruption where the earthquakes are currently taking place. Currently the rate of earthquake is around 3 to 8 earthquakes during the hour. Most of the earthquakes are around ML1.5 to 3.4 in magnitude. Please note that I am missing all earthquakes with the magnitude of ML0.0 and up to ML1.5. So there might well be a lot more earthquakes taking place in El Hierro volcano then I am seeing on IGN web page.
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© IGN
Current tremor plot of El Hierro volcano. The spikes are earthquakes in most cases.
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© IGN
Last 36 hours of earthquakes in El Hierro volcano. It shows clearly where magma has pushed it self into the crust. Creating inflation and earthquakes. The spikes are earthquakes in most cases.

Ambulance

Indian army rescues 400 tourists from massive landslide in Ladakh

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© reporterindia.com
The Army on Sunday said its troops rescued about 400 domestic and foreign tourists from 18,000 feet (5,475 m)-high Tangtse-Chang La (pass) in Ladakh hit by massive landslide on Saturday.

The Jammu and Kashmir police has, meanwhile, said that due to a landslide the road between Tangtse and Leh was washed away at Choltak and that it and the district administration rescued all the stranded passengers travelling in 87 vehicles to Leh and also some more vehicles on way to Leh from Chushul via Tsaga.

Defence sources said that landslide struck the mountain road in east of Leh at 10.45 am, blocking about 250 metres stretch. About 150 vehicles with 400 tourists onboard were stranded along the road and their lives threatened in view of the possibility of occurring of more landslides.

"Army troops deployed in the area immediately swung into action and provided assistance to the stranded tourists by evacuating them to safe places and to their camp in Tangtse, where they were served food and beverages and provided warm clothing and medical assistance," defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Rajesh Kalia said.