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Sat, 28 May 2016
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Earth Changes


Wasps deployed to fight the killer of 38 million ash trees

© Alamy
The emerald ash borer is a threat to trees in the US and Europe.
Millions of tiny wasps that are natural parasites for the emerald ash borer have been released into wooded areas in 24 states of the US to try and peg back the tree-killing insect's advances.

The US Department of Agriculture has researched and approved for release four species of parasitic wasps that naturally target the larval and egg stages of the ash borer, which has killed an estimated 38m ash trees in urban and residential areas. The estimated cost of treating, removing and replacing the lost trees is $25bn, according to a report written by USDA and US Forest Service entomologists.

On average, federal and state resource managers spend more than $29m per year to manage ash borer populations.

Arrow Down

Car swallowed by sinkhole in Barnaul, Russia

It needed 15 people to get it back out
This incredible footage reveals what greeted a 24-year-old woman when responded to her car alarm going off in the street.

Elena Silina had parked her Toyota IST outside a hotel where she worked in its beauty parlour.

But when she heard her car alarm she rushed outside and was shocked by the sight that greeted her.

As the footage shows, her car was almost swallowed whole by the massive sinkhole which had opened up in the road.

Ms Silina said: "When I looked down, I saw my car sinking into the road!"

She called the emergency services who needed 15 people and a crane to lift the car out of the sinkhole.

Arrow Down

Landslide kills over a dozen at jade mine in Myanmar

© European Pressphoto Agency
The site of a landslide at a jade mine in Kachin State, Myanmar, where as many as 100 people were feared missing.
At least 13 people have been killed by a landslide in Myanmar's northern jade-mining region that left dozens missing, an official has said.

Two piles of mining debris collapsed late on Monday after two days of rain, Myo Thet Aung, deputy head of Hpakant township administration office in Kachin State, said on Tuesday.

"We recovered 11 bodies last night and two more this morning," he said, adding that the death toll was expected to rise.

"Witnesses said there were about 100 workers when the accident occurred," he told DPA news agency. "Many are still buried."

Myanmar Times reported that the search had been temporary called off due to heavy rain.

Bizarro Earth

200-meter-long sinkhole swallows dozens of cars in Florence, Italy

A giant sinkhole opened up in the very center of Florence, Italy, swallowing dozens of cars parked near the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge. Firefighters claim that the sinkhole appeared after an old underground pipe broke. No injuries were reported, but two buildings in the surrounding area were evacuated.


Magnitude 5.5 earthquake hits near the island of Crete in Greece

© El Comercio/AP
Greek authorities say a strong earthquake with preliminary magnitude 5.5 has occurred off the southern island of Crete, but no damage or injuries have been reported.

Athens University's Geodynamic Institute says the undersea quake struck at 11:36 a.m. Wednesday, 30 kilometres (19 miles) south-southeast of Crete's southeastern tip.

Greece is one of the world's most seismically active countries, with hundreds of earthquakes recorded every year from several faults. But severe damage or injuries are rare.
#Earthquake 5.5R 30Km SSE of #Crete. Minor #power disruptions were reported in Heraklion pic.twitter.com/VO2AAqd8BV

— Thanasis Mitsakos (@TMitsakos) May 25, 2016
In 1999, a strong earthquake near Athens killed 143 people, levelling some buildings and causing extensive damage to others.


Snowfall record hit on May long weekend in Fort St. John, Canada

Snow on Friday May 20, 2016 set a one day record for Fort St. John.
The month of May has again lived up to its weather reputation in this region with record one day snowfall and precipitation amounts on Friday pushing monthly totals well past the norms.

The local airport weather station posted 19.4 centimetres of snow on Friday, and along with 1.2 millimetres of rain, that lifted the precipitation total to 20.6 millimetres.

The previous May 20th records were 18.8 millimetres of precipitation and only 1.6 centimetres of snow.

In addition when the Friday numbers were added to those posted Thursday, it resulted in two day snowfall and precipitation totals of 20.2 centimetres and 33.2 millimetres.

The latter was more than three and half times the amount of precipitation recorded at the airport station in the previous 18 days of this month, and it left the year-to-date total at 44.7 millimetres, nearly seven more than the May norm of 37.9.


India's roads melt as 'unprecedented' record-breaking heat wave continues

© NDTV/ YouTube
A man becomes stuck in melting tarmac as the heat wave in India continues

Temperatures hit a record-breaking 51C in the city of Phalodi, Rajasthan on Friday

India's on-going heat wave, which set a new record for the country's highest-ever recorded temperature last week, is melting tarmac on the roads of some of India's busiest cities.

Residents in the city of Valsad, Gujarat, had to fight melting tar while crossing the road as temperatures rose to 36C.

Video footage from NDTV shows people becoming trapped on a melting road surface as their shoes stick in the softening tarmac.


Tornado hits town in central Serbia

© YouTube/Milos Lukic (screen capture)
The town of Jagodina in central Serbia on Tuesday afternoon experienced a strong storm, with a tornado-like "landspout" forming in the sky.

The storm lasted half an hour, while the rotating column of air - a rare meteorological occurrence in Serbia - dissipated after about 15 minutes.

State broadcaster RTS said the Radar Center in Besnjaja reported that anti-hail missiles were fired into the storm clouds in the area, while small hailstones fell in Cuprija, Jagodina, and surrounding villages.

Comment: This week in Europe other 'rare' tornado-like phenomena have been reported in the UK, Germany, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.


Australian town overrun by bats; state of emergency issued

© Reuters
Work was underway on Tuesday to eradicate thousands of bats from the Australian town of Batemans Bay, in New South Wales, with local government officials labelling the situation as a "state of emergency,' local media reported.

There are more than 100,000 bats that made their home in the coastal town south of Sydney, creating problems for local residents, according to local media.

The New South Wales state government says it will commit about US $1.8 million to help the local council disperse the bats, known as grey-headed flying foxes.


Another dead whale found along Aquidneck Island's coastline in Rhode Island

© Jessica Pohl
Visitors to Ocean Loop at Sachuest on Tuesday morning discovered a small dead whale had washed ashore.

This is the second whale to wash ashore on the coast of Aquidneck Island in the last two months, in April a dead humpback whale washed ashore Hazard's Beach in Newport. There have also been reports of whales washing up on the shore of Long Island, Block Island and Cape Cod in recent weeks.

Folks on scene this morning at Sachuest believed the dead whale to be a small Minke Whale.

According to the American Cetacean Society, the minke whales is the smallest member of the rorqual family of whales (those whales with baleen, a dorsal fin, and throat pleats). Adult males average about 8 m (26 feet) with a maximum length of 9.4 m (31 feet), while adult females average 8.2 m (27 feet) with a maximum length of 10.2 m (33 feet). Both males and females weigh about 10 tons. Both sexes are slightly larger in the southern hemisphere.

Comment: Recent reports (last 2 months) from this part of the world: Rare Right whale calf found dead off Chatham, Massachusetts

Dead 7-ton minke whale found on beach in Biddeford, Maine

Dead Humpback whale washes up on Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts

Dead humpback whale washes up on beach in Newport, Rhode Island

Dead humpback whale washes up on Block Island, Rhode Island