Earth ChangesS


Pilots, boaters adjust to shift in magnetic north

© Unknown
Magnetic north, the point at the top of the Earth that determines compass headings, is shifting its position at a rate of about 40 miles per year. In geologic terms, it's racing from the Arctic Ocean near Canada toward Russia.

As a result, everyone who uses a compass, even as a backup to modern GPS navigation systems, needs to be aware of the shift, make adjustments or obtain updated charts to ensure they get where they intend to go, authorities say. That includes pilots, boaters and even hikers.

"You could end up a few miles off or a couple hundred miles off, depending how far you're going," said Matthew Brock, a technician with Lauderdale Speedometer and Compass, a Fort Lauderdale company that repairs compasses.

Bizarro Earth

New Zealand: Oyster Virus Shuts Hatchery

© David Monniaux / Wikipedia
A herpes virus that has devastated North Island oyster farms and so far cost about $12 million in potential sales has shut the pioneering Nelson hatchery that supplies 20 per cent of New Zealand's stock.

No explanation has yet been found for how the virus, which has killed about half of Northland's farmed pacific oysters due for harvest next year, got into the Cawthron Institute's hatchery at The Glen.

But there was nothing to suggest that the hatchery itself, opened with great fanfare in mid-2009, was the source of the outbreak, Cawthron business development manager Mike Mandeno said yesterday.

"It's a temporary setback for us in terms of producing more stock. We'll be trying again at the end of the month."

Juvenile-farmed Northland oysters began dying towards the end of last year and the cause was identified by MAF scientists as a form of herpes which poses no risk to humans but which has been blamed for killing large numbers of oysters in France over the past three years. It is also found in many other countries, including Australia.

Bizarro Earth

Mt. Bulusan Erupts: Major Volcano Eruption In Philippines

Mt. Bulusan
© AP File Photo
Philippines volcano Mount Bulusan erupted on Monday morning at 9:15 a.m. local time, per the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Ash and steam from the explosion reached as high as 2 kilometers, according to the report.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer posted this photo of the Mount Bulusan eruption to Posterous.

Journalist Harold Geronimo of Manila, Philippines, was the first to report the eruption on Twitter, sending this tweet from his Blackberry minutes after the eruption.

Mount Bulusan had increased volcanic activity in November 2010, spewing ash and steam over several days (the photo above is from Nov. 2010). Families were evacuated at the time.

Bizarro Earth

Russia: Earthquake Magnitude 5.9 - Near the East Coast of Kamchatka

Russia Quake_200211
© USGSEarthquake Location
Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 21:43:20 UTC

Monday, February 21, 2011 at 09:43:20 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

55.920°N, 162.114°E

9.3 km (5.8 miles) set by location program


260 km (160 miles) WNW of Nikol'skoye, Komandorskiye Ostrova, Rus.

380 km (235 miles) SSE of Palana, Koryakia, Russia

395 km (245 miles) NNE of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia

6660 km (4140 miles) NNE of MOSCOW, Russia 1

Bizarro Earth

New Zealand: Stranded Whales Put Down on Stewart Island

Stranded Whales
© SuppliedWhales stranded on Stewart Island.

Time, hot dry conditions and a pending storm warning beat any attempts to save a large pod of pilot whales that beached themselves on Stewart Island.

The 107-strong pod was discovered by two trampers on Saturday.

Department of Conservation(DoC) biodiversity manager Brent Beavan says it took them several hours before they could raise the alarm.

Beavan says when DoC staff reached the whales, with about half their number still alive, they were stranded high up on the beach with the tide going out.

He said they were quickly aware that it would be at least 10 to 12 hours before any attempt could be made to re float them.

Bizarro Earth

Middle East: Earthquakes hit Northern Emirates

Measured 3.0 and 2.0 on Richter scale; no damage reported
earthquake, arab emirates
© Unknown
Tremors from earthquake were felt twice in the Northern Emirates on Sunday evening but there was no news of damage, according to the UAE's national network stations for monitoring earthquakes.

For the first time, the quake was felt in Fujairah and Hatta areas at 5.10 pm UAE time measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale. While the second quake was felt only in Fujairah at 7.10 pm measuring 2.0.

National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS) said the epicentre of the earthquakes was 24 kilometres southwest of Fujairah and 10 kilometres east of Hatta.

The residents living in the vicinity of epicentre said they felt mild tremors but there was no news of loss or damage.

On January 19, tremors from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Pakistan were felt across the UAE.

The UAE, which is located close to one of the world major earthquake zone in Iran, has some fault zones in the northern emirates.

Eye 2

Austrialia: Floods bring crocs as boy taken in creek

Evacuees Daly River croc
© Fiona Morrison Evacuees from the Daly River region at the Batchelor College in Wooliana
About 300 people were evacuated from a flooded and crocodile-infested town in the Northern Territory after the deluge from Cyclone Carlos caused the Daly River to rise to 14.9m.

Authorities estimate nearly every resident of the town of Daly River, located 200km south of Darwin and named after the creek that runs through its centre, had been moved by boat to a school at nearby Woolianna.

The river is expected to remain above 14m for a week. The Northern Territory Emergency Services director, Peter Davies, said buses had started moving people from the school.

"From there, those who don't have anywhere else to go will be taken to Batchelor College," Mr Davies said yesterday.

"We offered people the opportunity to evacuate on Saturday and they said no. But this morning, when the same offer went up, pretty much the whole community wanted to leave."

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Ashley Patterson said 355mm of rain fell from Thursday to Sunday morning at nearby Mount Nancar.

But just 2mm was recorded yesterday, providing psychological relief for locals -- despite the river height nearing 15m last night.


5 million aquatic animals die at Mara river in Kenya

The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), Public Health Ministry and Kenya Wildlife Service are investigating the deaths of fish in Mara River. Conservationists suspect the deaths that started last week might have been caused by agro chemicals from farms, that drain into the river. Hoteliers in Masai Mara Game Reserve are now expressing fear that the chemicals might kill animals that depend on the river.

"The deaths could have been caused by agro chemicals from large scale farms on the upper side of the river. The chemicals might also kill hippos, crocodiles and other animals that drink water from the river," said Ben Kipeno, a conservationist from the northern side of the reserve. Mr Kipeno said on Wednesday there were unconfirmed reports that apart from fish, a crocodile and a hippo have already succumbed to effects of the chemicals. He urged the Government to rein in farmers along the river who use potent chemicals and claimed that despite several complaints to Nema no action has been taken. Officials from KWS who were dispatched from Nairobi took samples of the fish to the Government Chemist for further tests to ascertain the cause of the deaths. When The Standard visited the river, dead fish were floating with scavengers, including the Marabou stork, feeding on them. The Narok South Nema officer in charge Gabriel Tambushi said initial reports had indicated that more than five million fish were killed at the confluence of the seasonal Moyan River in Transmara with the Mara following a heavy flood.


Scientists: Sun's Approaching 'Grand Cooling" Assures New Ice Age

ice age earth
© n/a
NASA and the ESA agree, and so does the Russian space agency, Roscosmos - the sun is headed for a Grand Solar Minimum and a Grand Cooling will commence.

The aptly named Grand Cooling is exactly what it implies: the sun is going to cool. That cooling will also cool off the Earth. It will last from 30 to 50 years.

What exactly does global cooling mean? Well for one, Al Gore was sure wrong! The Earth isn't going to warm, it's going to get colder. Much colder. So cold a little or full-blown Ice Age will ensue. As a matter of fact, some scientists claim we're already in the early stages of an Ice Age.

Maybe the Nobel Committee and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should ask Mr. Gore to return his awards.

Dutch Professor Cees de Jager, a prominent astronomer and solar expert, forcefully asserts that we the world is indeed entering for a long period of very low solar activity. The professor and his colleagues are certain Earth is heading for a "long Grand Minimum" - defined as either a Solar Wolf-Gleissberg or a Maunder Minimum - "not shorter than a century." His 2010 paper, "The forthcoming Grand Minimum of solar activity," outlined the extended period of time that the diminished solar radiation would affect the Earth.

Bizarro Earth

Scientist Finds Gulf Bottom Still Oily, Dead

Underwater video of BP's Gulf oil spill
© BPUnderwater video of BP's Gulf oil spill, from June, 2010.
Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a scientist's video and slides that demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.

At a science conference in Washington, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't.

"There's some sort of a bottleneck we have yet to identify for why this stuff doesn't seem to be degrading," Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. Her research and those of her colleagues contrasts with other studies that show a more optimistic outlook about the health of the gulf, saying microbes did great work munching the oil.

"Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know," Joye said, later adding: "there's a lot of it out there."