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Tue, 25 Oct 2016
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Earth Changes


Woman killed in cattle attack in County Down, Northern Ireland

A woman has been killed after she was attacked by cattle on a family farm in Co Derry.

The pensioner, who has been named locally as Brigid McKeefry and is aged in her 70s, was rushed to the Causeway Hospital for treatment.

However she later died from her injuries and a post-mortem is taking place.

The tragic incident happened on the family farm off Carhill Road in Garvagh at about 2.30pm when the woman was attacked by cattle.

It is understood Mrs McKeefry had been working with livestock at the time.

DUP east Londonderry MLA Adrian McQuillan expressed his sympathies to the elderly woman's family.

Mr McQuillan said late last night: "This news is very shocking to the entire close-knit community of Garvagh and the surrounding areas.


Whale washes up on beach in Cameron, Louisiana

Whale washes up on beach in Cameron
A dead whale has washed up on a southwest Louisiana beach.

The whale was discovered Thursday, October 20th on Little Florida beach just west of Holly beach in Cameron Parish.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents say the 21-foot animal is believed to be a sperm whale.

An examination of the whale is underway to determine what happened.


Elephant kills tourist in Kenya; 3rd attack in a month

A Belgian tourist was trampled to death by an elephant near Kenya's famed Maasai Mara wildlife reserve.

It was the second such incident in a month.

"He was badly injured by the rogue elephant and succumbed to injuries at the Talek Health Centre," a police officer said.

The death of the Belgian man on Monday in circumstances that remain unclear comes after an Italian man was trampled in the Tsavo National Park, southeast Kenya, while trying to take a photograph of an elephant.

Kenyan daily The Standard reported that in a separate incident on Tuesday, a Kenyan secondary school student had been killed by an elephant while on the way to school.

The Kenya Wildlife Service warned that a fierce drought was pushing wildlife further from their traditional habitats in search of food and water.

Source: AFP

Comment: See also: Tourist trampled to death by elephant after provoking it by moving too near to takes pictures in Kenya

Ice Cube

Freak hailstorm hits drought stricken Bloemfontein, South Africa

© Arrive Alive official Facebook page.
Hail storm in Bloemfontein on 20 October, 2016 around Langenhovenpark.

A heavy storm passed through Bloemfontein last night with hail wreaking havoc in the drought stricken area.

The hail storm caused damaged to some cars.

The thick layer of hail, which could almost be mistaken for snow, covered the streets of Bloemfontein.

People on Twitter, though, have reacted with relief and have expressed how happy they are to receiving the rain:

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits western Japan's Tottori

© AFP 2016
Richter magnitude scale
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 shook western Japan on Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, adding that a tsunami warning was not issued.


'Nature can bite back': Doctors warn of otter attacks after one viciously attacks Quebec woman

© Charles Kennard
A river otter
Following an encounter naturalists are calling beyond bizarre, Canada's top medical journal is warning of otter attacks on humans after a Quebec woman received multiple deep puncture wounds in her legs from being bitten while swimming at a lakefront chalet.

The case — if the vicious marine animal was indeed a Lontra canadensis (North American river otter), and Elizabeth Elbourne is absolutely convinced it was — joins only 44 reports of otter attacks published worldwide since 1875.

The alarming encounter occurred last August, after Elbourne told her daughter she was going for a "quick dip" in the lake at their rental cottage in the Laurentians.

Suddenly, while doing the front crawl, the woman felt something sharp hit her leg. "So I stopped, and saw this otter's head sticking of the water."

Comment: See also these other reports from recent years: 9 year old boy recovering from otter attack near Kalispell, Montana

Minneapolis girl attacked and chased by otter in Wisconsin lake

Boy and grandmother attacked and injured by river otter on Pilchuck River, Washington

River otter attacks woman swimmer in British Columbia lake

Girl, 13, attacked by otter in Kalama River, Washington

Woman recovering after 'vicious' OTTER attack in West Yellowstone, Montana


143% increase in dog attacks between 2010 and 2015 for the county of Essex, UK

Figures obtained by Heart following a freedom of information request, show dog attacks in Essex have increased by 143% over the last 5 years.

Between 2010 and 2015 the number of attacks by dogs here, where injury has been caused, has gone up by 278.

The figures also show that attacks on children under the age of 18 has almost doubled.

In the last 3 months alone, there have been two fatal dog attacks on children here in Essex. In August this year, 3 year old Dexter Neal was mauled to death in a garden in Halstead and then last Thursday, 4 month old Archie Darby died after being attacked by a dog at his aunt's house in Colchester.

And the trend shows no evidence of slowing down. This year alone, between January and August, there's already been 397 dog attacks in Essex.

Bizarro Earth

Methane gas seep discovered at the Cascadia Subduction Zone

© NOAA Okeanos Explorer
Methane gas bubbling up out of cold seeps on the Atlantic Ocean floor offshore Virginia.
From British Columbia to Northern California, planet Earth's got a case of the toots. A recent deep ocean mapping survey has learned that a geologically-active strip of seafloor called the Cascadia Subduction Zone is bubbling methane like mad. It could be one of the most active methane seeps on the planet.

"It's like bottles of champagne all along the seafloor," said Jesse Ausubel, an organiser for the 2016 National Ocean Exploration Forum, where the gaseous discovery, along with other intriguing finds from recent deep ocean surveys, is being presented this week.

For years, scientists have been aware that methane, an odourless, colourless gas produced naturally during microbial digestion (and more famously, by farting cows) bubbles up from the seafloor where the conditions are right. Recent scientific surveys have discovered hundreds of methane seeps along the Atlantic continental margin, and it's believed there could be thousands more across the world.

Understanding these seeps — where and when they occur, and what controls their activity — is a hot topic in Earth science research today, given that methane is a potent greenhouse gas. In fact, many scientists worry that by warming the oceans, climate change is speeding up the very processes that produce methane, in addition to melting icy methane hydrates that accumulate on the seafloor. In theory, this could lead to an enormous release of heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere.


Whale washes up on beach in Norfolk, UK

© Mattheew Usher
Holkham Beach, where the whale washed up
A spokesman for the Holkham estate said the beach remained open but plans were in place to remove the creature.

She added: "On Thursday afternoon, a dead 40ft Finn whale was washed up on Holkham Beach, part of Holkham National Nature Reserve, on the north Norfolk coast.

"Wardens from the reserve have reported the whale to the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) who hope to carry out a post-mortem to establish cause of death.

"Plans are in place to remove the whale from the beach. Holkham Beach remains open but we advise the public not to venture close to the carcass and to keep dogs on leads."


Whale carcass washes up on Southbroom Beach, South Africa

© John Neaves
Beachwalkers stumbled across a decomposing whale washed up on Southbroom beach this morning.

Madelene Stopforth, (52), of Margate was walking along the beach with her husband when they found across the carcass wedged up between the rocks, about half a kilometre south of Southbroom's main beach.

She described the sight as very gory, as the whale's flesh was peeling off it's massive body.

"The mammal's backbone was sticking out and it's intestines, which were full of gas and looked bubbly, were floating in the water."