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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

US: Alaska's mysterious floating orange goo identified as 'rusting' fungal spores but local Eskimos fear fish will be poisoned

The mystery of the floating orange goo has been solved.

© Alamy
Sea of orange: An aerial view of the strange goo taken on August 3 when it appeared in a giant lagoon threatening the native community of Kivalina on the Chukchi Sea in north western Alaska
But the results have only served to increase the fears of the small Alaskan village which spotted the colourful sight struck on their lagoon for the first time ever two weeks ago.

It soon disappeared but the local Eskimo community, which relies on the surrounding waters for its very existence, feared long-term damage to the water quality and particularly the fish and plants they use for food.

At first the leading theory suggested the goo was made up of millions of microscopic eggs.

But now scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have confirmed the presence of fungal spores which create rust, explaining the luminous colour.

Cloud Lightning

US: Overnight storms, hail pound northwestern Minnesota

Severe weather pounded northwestern Minnesota and the Bemidji area with hail and rain early this morning, leaving behind various reports of damage, the National Weather Service said.

© AccuWeatherr
The storms began around midnight, rattling Red Lake Falls with hail as large as 1-inch in diameter.

Trained weather spotters, media and members of the public reported to the weather service that the hail also pounded the communities of Mentor, Erskine, McIntosh, Fosston and Pinewood as the line of storms moved eastward.

Several of the reports said the hail was generally about the size of a dime or nickel, but with some pellets reaching the size of a quarter or larger.

By 2 a.m., the storms rolled into Bemidji with a fierce combination of hail, wind and rain.

The weather service received reports of ping-pong ball-sized hail and winds of up to 70 mph in the southeast part of town.

Cloud Lightning

US: Another Haboob storm envelops Phoenix, downs power lines

Crews are cleaning up after severe storms moved through the Valley Thursday night. Many are eager to see what damage has been done. "It will be interesting to see what it looks like after sunrise," said Sgt. Ryan Skedel of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

© Matt York / AP
Lightning reveals a large layer of dust in the sky over Gilbert, Ariz., on Thursday.
Sunrise revealed quite a sight. Utility poles blown over by heavy winds snapped like toothpicks along the Hunt Highway where stranded vehicles were still on the road as of 6:20 am Friday. The storm moved through Eloy, Casa Grande, San Tan Valley and Queen Creek before it hit central Phoenix just before 6 p.m. Thursday.

Bizarro Earth

Japan: Earthquake Magnitude 6.3 - East Coast of Honshu

Friday, August 19, 2011 at 05:36:32 UTC

Friday, August 19, 2011 at 02:36:32 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

37.673°N, 141.716°E

43.6 km (27.1 miles)


99 km (61 miles) SE of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
103 km (64 miles) NE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
113 km (70 miles) E of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
283 km (175 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan


US, California: Exclusive look at deadly sinkhole in Bakersfield

Photos from an oil field near Taft give a first look at the area where a sinkhole opened up, killing a Chevron worker. State officials have banned steam injection at problem areas near two wells, and they say more steam and fluids are reaching the surface.

Eyewitness News obtained photos from the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. The images from DOGGR show a hilly area of the large Midway Sunset Field. It's the place where Robert David Taylor, 54, was killed June 21 when he fell into a sinkhole.

The photos show what looks like steam coming from the side of a hill, and a large darkened area. That indicates the area affected by eruptions of water, steam, rocks and mud, DOGGR spokesman Don Drysdale explained by e-mail. Three photos are from the Chevron lease near Well 20.

That's where a "surface expression" had shown up, and that's what state investigators are worried about. According to DOGGR documents obtained by Eyewitness News, surface expressions have continued to turn up in this area, and they continued to develop.

No Entry

Canada, Ontario: Sinkhole opens on Bronson near Carleton University

Just in time for the Thursday evening commute, a sink hole on Bronson Avenue near Sunnyside Avenue narrowed the busy southbound artery to just one lane while city crews started repairs.

The sink hole was between Bronson Avenue and Brewer Way. There was no estimated repair time.

Power failures and downed wires were reported earlier Thursday afternoon as a small but strong storm cell made its way from west to east across Ottawa.

Environment Canada's website listed a severe thunderstorm watch for the Ottawa region as of 1:32 p.m., with the possibility of large hail and damaging winds. The small, intense storm was already making its way through Nepean at the time.

Arrow Down

US, Michigan: 3 People Escape Massive Sinkhole

© WWJ Photo/Stephanie Davis
Detroit Police have blocked off an area on the city's east side because of a massive sinkhole. Officials said a woman was driving down Beaubien at Smith when her SUV fell into the hole.

Detroit Water Department crews were on the scene, Thursday evening, on Beaubien just north of East Grand Blvd. near I-75.

"The front half of this SUV is inside, resting inside, this huge water sinkhole about five feet wide," reported WWJ Newsradio 950′s Stephanie Davis.

Witnesses said two women and a young child were rescued from the vehicle. "I talked to one of the young men who helped the people out of the car. He said he's just glad he was there," said Davis.

All three people escaped without injuries. There was no immediate word on how long repairs will take.

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 3.2 Strikes Long Beach and Los Angeles

© Unknown
A Southern California earthquake today August 18, 2011 struck moments ago centered in Long Beach; the earthquake was felt over sections of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Today's earthquake was of a marginal magnitude. But because it struck at a narrow depth, it was felt over a wide section of the South Bay and Southern California.

Ten minutes ago, at roughly 2:43 PM PST, a 3.2 earthquake struck Los Angeles County. Its epicenter was south east of Long Beach. Unlike previous earthquakes this year in the region, today's quake was not centered out in the Pacific Ocean.

Rather initial statements by USGS issued to news indicate that the quake was centered just a few blocks west of Pacific Coast Highway. Initial reports put the quake centered closest to the intersection of E7th Street and Park Avenue. It was centered apparently just north of the American Golf Pro Shops on the 9th Hole of the local Recreation Park Golf Course, near the East 7th street corridor.


Indonesia's Mount Lokon Erupts Again

Mount Lokon erupts
Indonesia's Mount Lokon, which is located on the northern tip of the island of Sulawesi, erupted again on Wednesday, local authorities said.

Farid Ruskanda Bina, the Mount Lokon and Mahawu Kakaskaben monitoring post chief, said Mount Lokon began to spew volcanic ash at around 1.25 p.m. local time. Ash fell as far away as the Kinilow I village and the Tinoor areas in North Tomohon sub district, which is a short distance from Lokon's crater.

Mount Lokon's activity had been quickly increasing since Tuesday as more tremors were being detected, the Antara news agency reported. The monitoring post recorded 25 tremors from 1 to 6 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Cloud Lightning

At least 2 die after storm hits Belgium music festival

Stage equipment dangles in high winds as rain-soaked concertgoers run for cover

A storm has hit an open air music festival east of the capital, killing at least two people, Belgian media reported Thursday.

Video from the Pukkelpop festival near the town of Hasselt showed stage equipment dangling in high winds as rain-soaked concertgoers ran for cover.

Winds toppled trees and blew over the Chateau tent, dining tent and several sponsor booths, said Nieuswblad.be. Heavy rain and hail drove the audience to seek shelter in festival tents. A collapsed metal frame blocked the main entrance, preventing many from leaving when the storm swiftly moved in and dumped up to four inches of rain, witnesses said.

The dead were described as one young man and one adult. At least 11 people with serious injuries were sent to hospitals, The Standard newspaper reported. Others with lesser wounds were treated at a nearby sports hall.

In the smallest tent, the Chateau, the support structure broke, The Standard reported. The boiler-room partly collapsed.