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Tue, 27 Sep 2016
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Earth Changes


Japan's Tsunami Smashes Antarctic Ice Shelf

NASA images capture waves' power

Cloud Lightning

Thailand: Flash flood destroys hilltribe shelter, killing seven

A flash flood last week smashed a hilltribe shelter in Mae Hong Son, killing seven occupants and injuring a few others.

The area had suffered days of heavy rain triggered by the lingering influence of tropical storm Nock-Ten.

Scores of hilltribe people, mainly Karenni, were seeking refuge at the shelter after fleeing armed fighting in Burma. Altogether 346 households have been affected. One person of unknown nationality was reported missing.

The seven bodies were retrieved and subjected to verification of death and identification in neighbouring Tak before they were cremated in a ceremony organised by survivors and Thais of Karenni descent.

Two communities were accommodated at the shelter, which was located between Mae La-oon and Sob Moei districts. Initial rescue attempts and medical assistance were made difficult by the high waters and raging currents.

Four Thais, including three children, were hurt after they were swept away by torrential currents.

In Nan, more than 400 homes in Tha Wang Pha district were submerged under two metres of floodwaters while landslides and falling trees blocked a main road, marooning villages. Many homes located along a large creek were inundated, leaving many residents stranded.

Alarm Clock

Fracking wastewater devours all life in West Virginia forest test

© Jeff Turner/Flickr
This is what's at risk.

Fracking fluid, the liquid waste left over from the controversial mining technique, wreacked havoc on a test plot of land in a test by the U.S. Forest Service.

A study by the U.S. Forest Service concluded that fracking wastewater, left over from hydraulic fracturing natural gas mining, is deadly when dumped on forestlands. A quarter acre section of forest was covered with 75,000 gallons of wastewater over a two-day application period. Two days after it was applied, all the ground plants were dead. Within 10 days, all the leaves on the trees started turning brown. After two years, more than half of the trees on the plot were dead.

Fracking fluid is made up of a slurry of caustic and toxic chemicals. Each company uses a different blend and is allowed to keep the ingredients secret in the name of protecting intellectual property. The fracking process kicks up a lot of really nasty water that is often dumped, untreated, into nearby waterways. It's disgusting.

Bizarro Earth

Indonesian Volcano Unleashes Fresh Burst

© Associated Press
Mount Lokon spews volcanic ash as seen from Tomohon, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Sunday, July 17, 2011.
Manado -- A volcano that has been spewing lava and clouds of searing gas high into the air let out a new, powerful burst Monday, sending panicked villagers streaming down the sides of the mountain.

One person was injured, said Ludianto, head of the search and rescue team, a man who fell as he was fleeing. The victim suffered only cuts and bruises, however, and no burns as earlier reported.

Mount Karangetang on Siau -- part of the Sulawesi island chain -- started spitting clouds of gas and lava up to 600 meters on Friday, said vulcanologist Surono.

Cow Skull

US: Texas drought will harm wildlife habitat for years

© AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Turkey vultures drop in for a drink from one of the very few remaining watering sources on a private ranch that spans over 7,000 acres Saturday Aug. 6, 2011, near San Angelo, Texas. Randy Bolf, a fence contractor and rancher that leases the property for his cattle herd said that all of the rain and run-off watering tanks on the ranch that straddles Tom Green and Coke county have dried up and area wildlife and his cattle rely on the artificial watering sources he maintains on the property.
In a muddy pile of sand where a pond once flowed in the Texas Panhandle, dead fish, their flesh already decayed and feasted on by maggots, lie with their mouths open. Nearby, deer munch on the equivalent of vegetative junk food and wild turkeys nibble on red harvester ants - certainly not their first choice for lunch.

As the state struggles with the worst one-year drought in its history, entire ecosystems, from the smallest insects to the largest predators, are struggling for survival. The foundations of their habitats - rivers, springs, creeks, streams and lakes - have turned into dry sand, wet mud, trickling springs or, in the best case, large puddles.

"It has a compound effect on a multitude of species and organisms and habitat types because of the way that it's chained and linked together," said Jeff Bonner, a wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Since January, Texas has only gotten about 6 inches of rain, compared to a norm of about 13 inches, making it the most severe one-year drought on record. Last week, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said the La Nina weather pattern blamed for the lack of rain might be back soon, and if that happens, the dry spell would almost certainly extend into 2012.

The extreme dry conditions, which have extended into parts of the Plains including Oklahoma and Kansas, have been made worse by week after week of triple-digit temperatures that have caused reservoirs to evaporate, crops to wither and animals and fish to die.


Norway: Polar Bear That Killed Student Was Starving

© AP Photo / Arild Lyssand / District governor of Spitsbergens office / via Scanpix) NORWAY OUT
This image released by the District Governor of Spitsbergen's office shows the dead male polar bear which had attacked youths who were camping on a remote Arctic glacier as part of a high-end adventure holiday at Spitsbergen, Svalbard archipelago, in Norway, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 . The polar bear was shot and killed by other members of the group. The attack took place on the Svalbard archipelago, which is home to about 2,400 people and 3,000 polar bears and one British youth was killed in the attack.
The polar bear that killed a British teenager and mauled four others was starving and significantly underweight, Norwegian officials said Sunday.

The results of the examination of the 550 pound adult male came as survivors of the attack were being airlifted back to Britain.

Scott Bennell-Smith, 17, from Cornwall, and Patrick Flinders, 16, from Jersey, were taken by air ambulance to hospitals in England. The team leaders, Michael "Spike" Reid, 29, and Andy Ruck, 27, who were both mauled as they tried to assist the boys, are due to be transferred Monday, The London Times reported.

All are said to be in a stable condition.

Reid was seriously injured around the face and neck, before he finally managed to fire the single shot that killed the animal.

His courage has been praised by other members of the 13-strong team, who had been camping out on the Von Postbreen glacier on the Norwegian island of Svalbard, when the polar bear attacked.

However, he could not save Horatio Chapple, 17, an Etonian from Salisbury, Wilsthire, who died at the scene. An autopsy will be carried out in Norway Monday.

Liv Asta Odegaard, spokeswoman for the governor of Svalbard, said that an examination of the bear's carcass showed it had not eaten for some time.

"It had a very thin fat layer and little content in its stomach," she told The Times.


US, Texas: Small Earthquake Reported in Dallas Area

A small earthquake has been recorded in the Dallas area.

A spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake occurred about 11:45 p.m. Saturday. No injuries were reported.

Geophysicist Paul Caruso told The Dallas Morning News that the late-night quake was a magnitude 2.6.

The epicenter was six miles west-southwest of Dallas, and it was felt as far away as Greenville, according to reports to the agency's Web site.

Caruso said experts "don't expect significant damage or injuries until the magnitude is in the 5.5 range."

Source: The Associated Press


US: Small Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake Hits Central California

A small earthquake shook a portion of Central California early Sunday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The magnitude 3.1 earthquake struck at 2:16 a.m. in a sparsely populated, mountainous area about eight miles northwest of Grapevine, Calif., and 78 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, according to the preliminary report of the quake. There are no reports of damage.


US: 2 Small Earthquakes Rattle Central Oklahoma

Two small earthquakes have shaken the Oklahoma City metropolitan area but there have been no reports of damage.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude 2.0 quake hit about 2:34 a.m. Sunday. It was centered about eight miles southeast of Oklahoma and had a depth of 3.1 miles.

The survey reported another earthquake about 8 a.m. located 13 miles northeast of Norman. That quake had a magnitude of 2.3 and also had a depth of 3.1 miles.

Geologists say earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 to 3 are generally the smallest felt by humans.

Source: The Associated Press

Cow Skull

US: Record 106 degrees at Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, Texas

Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, Texas
When Texas Rangers starter C.J. Wilson fired his first pitch to Cleveland Indians center fielder Michael Brantley on Saturday night, the temperature was a scorching 106 degrees, a record for game-time temperature at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Saturday was the fourth time it's been at least 105 degrees at the start of a game at the Ballpark (July 8, July 24 and Aug. 5 of this year). The temperature was one degree shy of the high in the majors this season --107 degrees when Baltimore played at Kansas City on Aug. 2.