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Fri, 09 Dec 2016
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Earth Changes


70-Mile-Long Crack Opens Up in Antarctica

© NASA/John Sonntag
A huge crack can be seen in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf in this aerial image snapped on Nov. 10, 2016, as part of NASA's IceBridge mission.
An ominous crack in an Antarctic ice shelf as wide as a football field is long takes on an otherworldly beauty in a new aerial image.

Snapped by scientists on NASA's IceBridge mission, the shot shows a rift in Larsen C, an ice shelf that is floating off the Antarctic Peninsula. When the crack eventually spreads across the entire ice shelf, it will create an iceberg the size of the state of Delaware, according to IceBridge. That's around 2,491 square miles (6,451 square kilometers).

As of Nov. 10, when the IceBridge scientists observed this crack, it was 70 miles (112 km) long and more than 300 feet (91 meters) wide. The dark depths of the crack plunge down about a third of a mile (0.5 km), all the way through the ice to the ocean below.

Comment: See also:


Pit bull terrier seriously injures four-year-old boy in Pocatello, Idaho

A four-year-old boy is recovering Monday night after he was attacked by a pit bull Sunday afternoon.

The boy is currently in his mother's custody and was living with her. The pit bull was owned by the mother's boyfriend.

The attack happened just off Highway 30 in a camper home next to the Idaho Salvage Pool. Greg Hamann, the boy's father, said his son went into the kitchen to talk to his mom. That's when the pit bull attacked. Hamann said they don't know why the dog would have attacked.

Now his son has a lot of healing to do. The attack damaged two of the boy's facial nerves, which control movements, like smiling. Other wounds damaged the spit glands, the upper lip and below one eye.

It took surgeons six and a half hours of surgery to repair the damage. Hamann said there were so many stitches no one could even get an exact count, but he said there's more than 1,000. He said his son will not only have a long to recovery physically, but emotionally.

"He's going to have to do a lot of counseling because he's going to be terrified," Hamann said. "A poor four-year-old don't know what's going on when something like that happens. So it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of counseling, a lot of love."


Magnitude 6.2 earthquake rocks Trinidad and Tobago

© UWI Seismic/ Image from social media
6.2 magnitude earthquake rocks Trinidad and Tobago.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 rocked Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday evening sending people into the streets and throwing items of the shelves of some stores and supermarkets.

The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) said that the quake, which occurred at 5:42 pm (local time), was located at a depth of 29 kilometres.

It said the 6.2 magnitude quake was felt in many parts of the country including Scarborough in Tobago.

The location was Latitude: 11.04N, Longitude: 60.70W.

Many people in the west of the capital scampered out into the streets as the buildings shook, throwing many items to the ground.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages.


More than 20 people killed and dozens of buildings collapse after 6.5 quake in Indonesia (Update)

© Zian Muttaqien / AFP
A badly damaged building is seen after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck the town of Pidie, Indonesia's Aceh province in northern Sumatra, on December 7, 2016.
More than 20 people have been killed and many are feared trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings after a powerful 6.5 earthquake struck off Aceh province on Indonesia's Sumatra island, according to officials.

A press officer at the provincial disaster agency said that more than 20 were killed, according to Xinhua news agency.

The Vice Regent of Pidie Jaya, Said Mulyadi, told MetroTV news that there may be as many as 20 dead and 40 injured.

The Red Cross put the number of fatalities at 20.

Comment: Update: (09.25 CET) The death toll has risen to at least 54 with dozens still feared trapped following the earthquake.


Tsunamis a threat to Britain's coastal nuclear power plants

© Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters
Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station in West Kilbride.
Britain's nuclear power stations are at risk from tsunamis caused by undersea landslides, scientists have warned. Marine geologists at Durham University found that the British Isles have been hit by more tsunamis than previously believed, including one wave which reached a height of 60 feet. Scientists are urging the government to take the threat of tsunamis seriously, warning that they could damage critical infrastructure on the coast, such as nuclear power stations, ports, and oil terminals.

New evidence has shown that the giant waves can be triggered by underwater landslides, as well as earthquakes, as was the case with the 2011 tsunami that killed 16,000 people in Japan in 2011. These landslides cause billions of tons of mud to break away from the seabed and tumble downwards, creating a suction hole in the sea above. Water then rushes to fill the void, creating a giant wave.

Researchers are urging the government to take steps to protect nuclear and other key installations from tsunamis, which are likely to occur more than once every 10,000 years.

Durham University professor of marine geology Peter Talling said: "We believe the government should consider adding tsunamis to the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies." The register sets out plans for rare, but potentially devastating disasters, such as flu epidemics and floods.

Talling, who leads the Landslide-Tsunami Consortium, cites the Storegga landslide as an example of how powerful and destructive this underwater threat could be. The landslide, which took place 8,200 years ago, saw a chunk of sediment larger than Scotland detach from the sea floor off Norway. "Storegga caused a tsunami 20 meters high in Shetland, 11 meters high in Norway and three to six meters high in Scotland," he said.

Professor David Tappin, of the British Geological Survey, said it was important to prepare for such hazards. "If you plan for such events before you start building, you can protect against them," he said.

Comment: More than once every 10,000 years doesn't seem like much chance of it occurring unless, of course, you are in year 9,999 since the last one. However, things can change rapidly...

Cloud Precipitation

Severe flooding due to heavy rainfall kills 14 people in Thailand

Much of the municipal area of Nakhon Si Thammarat was flooded on Tuesday
Severe flooding due to heavy rain in southern Thailand has killed 14 people, including five students, the Interior Ministry said.

Six days of floods have affected 582,345 people in 11 of Thailand's 76 provinces, the ministry said in a statement — one person is reportedly missing, while three others have suffered injuries.

Trains have also been halted in one province off the Gulf of Thailand as the rails there were submerged under rising floodwaters.

Southern Thailand is a popular destination for visitors due to its scenic islands and beaches, and the floods are expected to put a dent in the area's tourist industry, with the high season running from November to February.

Cloud Precipitation

Flooding kills 13 people in central region of Vietnam

© Quang Nam Portal
Residents of Quang Nam Province collect property from a flooded home.
Flooding due to heavy torrential rainfall has taken the lives of 13 people across the central region over the weekend amid fears of more rain this week.

The Centre of Flood and Storm Prevention in the Central and Central Highlands regions reported yesterday that six people from Bình Định Province were killed in the flooding, while the neighbouring Quảng Ngãi and Quảng Nam provinces lost four and three people, respectively.

A fisherman, Nguyễn Sơn, 49, from Bình Định, is still missing at sea, having been washed off a fishing vessel by high waves on November 29.

Another three residents were injured in the flooding.


Woman mauled by at least 1 of her 3 dogs in Lauderhill, Florida

A woman was rushed to a hospital Monday afternoon after she was attacked by at least one of her dogs, police said.

The incident was reported in the 4100 block of Northwest 21st Street.

Lauderhill Fire Rescue officials said the woman was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in critical condition after she was attacked by three pit bulls. However, Lauderhill police Maj. Rick Rocco said the breed of dog is unconfirmed.

Rocco said the woman was visiting from out of state and brought her three dogs with her. She was alone in her nephew's apartment when he came home to find the dog attacking her.

He called police, and officers arrived to help.


15 years of earthquakes rock the planet

A remarkable animation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows every recorded earthquake that took place between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2015. It's like watching the world fall apart in real-time.

Some notable and devastating earthquakes are of course included in this animation, an interactive version of which can be found by clicking here.

The tsunami-inducing Tohoku earthquake that killed over 18,000 people in March 2011 in Japan can be seen, as can the December 2004 Sumatran quake and tsunami that killed nearly quarter of a million.

Over the last 15 years, there have been 20 earthquakes registering as 8.0M or larger. The two aforementioned earthquakes were the most powerful during this period, both registering as 9.1M events.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills 1,735 people in 5 years across the state of Odisha, India

Lightning has killed as many as 1,735 persons across Odisha during the last five years from 2011-12 to 2015-16, informed Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijayshree Routray in the State Assembly on Monday.

In reply to a question of BJD MLA Priyadarshi Mihsra, Routray said steps are being taken to create awareness to protect people and animals from the lightning attack.

The Minister too stated that the State Government has decided to instal 122 Alert Siron Towers in coastal parts of the State in order to provide advance information regarding natural calamities like cyclone and tsunami. All these towers would be installed by May 12, 2017, the Minister said.