Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

US: Rain, snow and a rescue from cold

Unseasonably wet and cold weather Friday resulted in fender benders, heavy snow and a rescue effort for schoolchildren who got cold on a Tuolumne County hike.

Medics treated four children after they suffered hypothermic symptoms while on a camping trip with their Napa Valley charter school in the Pinecrest Reservoir area, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's spokesman deputy Ken Diaz said the children were in triage at a fire station Friday afternoon.

He said 21 other children from Stone Bridge School were camping at Cleo's Bath near the reservoir. The other children were not sick and remained with their chaperones at the campsite.

Diaz said the children, along with school officials and two hiking guides, were out hiking Friday morning when the students began showing symptoms of hypothermia.


It's it must be snowing: Great British summer goes from sweltering to shivering in just a week

snow june 2009
© unknownTwins Elizabeth (left) and Jeanette McGregor play in the snow in Aviemore

Five days ago we were flocking to the beach, queueing for ice-creams and slathering on the sunscreen.

Yesterday, we were shivering in summer's first dusting of snow. Yes, snow.

After the hottest spell of the year so far, sleet and snow swept in across northern parts of Britain while the rest of the country also cooled down considerably.

The Cairngorms in Scotland were the chilliest, with temperatures falling to zero while the Pennines and Cumbrian fells managed a mere 3c (37f).

Even by British summer standards, that is a remarkable weather turnaround.

In the Cairngorms, two inches of snow meant visitors were able to build a rather surprised- looking summer snowman.

Cloud Lightning

Five tornadoes slam Colorado; 1 damages mall

Aurora - The National Weather Service says at least five tornadoes hit Colorado, and one damaged a mall in Aurora on Sunday.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

The Weather Service says the tornado that damaged Southlands Mall touched down south of Buckley Air Force Base at 1:49 p.m. and may have been on the ground for about 30 minutes, going on an 8- to 10-mile path across southeast Aurora.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.0 - Southeastern Alaska

© US Geological Survey
Sunday, June 07, 2009 at 23:24:39 UTC
Sunday, June 07, 2009 at 03:24:39 PM at epicenter

58.967°N, 136.719°W

37.3 km (23.2 miles)


60 km (37 miles) SSW (212°) from Mosquito Lake, AK

60 km (38 miles) SW (218°) from Covenant Life, AK

67 km (42 miles) SW (225°) from Klukwan, AK

763 km (474 miles) ESE (103°) from Anchorage, AK

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.3 - Chiapas, Mexico

© US Geological Survey
Sunday, June 07, 2009 at 21:26:47 UTC

Sunday, June 07, 2009 at 04:26:47 PM at epicenter

16.229°N, 92.779°W

147.3 km (91.5 miles)

Chiapas Mexico

60 km (35 miles) SSW of San Cristobal d/l Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

70 km (40 miles) SSE of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico

300 km (185 miles) NW of GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala

765 km (475 miles) ESE of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico

Evil Rays

Bats Recognize The Individual Voices Of Other Bats

© Wikimedia, Public domain imageGreater mouse-eared bat. Researchers found that bats can use the characteristics of other bats' voices to recognize each other.
Bats can use the characteristics of other bats' voices to recognize each other, according to a study by researchers from the University of Tuebingen, Germany and the University of Applied Sciences in Konstanz, Germany. The study explains how bats use echolocation for more than just spatial knowledge.

The researchers first tested the ability of four greater mouse-eared bats to distinguish between the echolocation calls of other bats. After observing that the bats learned to discriminate the voices of other bats, they then programmed a computer model that reproduces the recognition behaviour of the bats. Analysis of the model suggests that the spectral energy distribution in the signals contains individual-specific information that allows one bat to recognize another.


Divining intervention: The growing popularity of dowsing

© Denver PostStorozuk's custom license tag speaks to his water-witching ways.
Two L-shaped metal rods slowly spin in Greg Storozuk's clenched fists as he gently steps through the grass near Sloan's Lake.

"The answer is already known," he says.

The rods rotate into a wide Y. Beneath bushy brows, Storozuk's blue eyes stare vacantly at the horizon. He stops walking.

"Good flowing drinking water. About four gallons a minute. Pretty close to five. Flowing this direction," he says as the rods rotate into a straight line.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.3 - Central Peru

© US Geological Survey
Saturday, June 06, 2009 at 21:51:13 UTC

Saturday, June 06, 2009 at 04:51:13 PM at epicenter

8.734°S, 74.686°W

63.4 km (39.4 miles)

43 km (26 miles) SSW (203°) from Pucallpa, Peru

210 km (131 miles) NE (51°) from Huanuco, Peru

254 km (158 miles) WSW (242°) from Cruzeiro do Sul, Brazil

455 km (283 miles) NE (35°) from Lima, Peru

Arrow Up

It's Not a Triffid, It's A Six Meter High Fungus

© unknownEven these giant (concrete) mushrooms pale in comparison with the 8 meter high fungi from 400 million years ago
We are used to seeing the occasional large mushroom or toadstool in our garden. I've seen pictures of Macrocybe titans ('titan' means big, like the giant Titan Arum flower from Indonesia) on the internet that seem to be about a meter tall, apparently weighing in at 20 kg.

But a six meter high fungus? We need to go back a few millennium. Scientists in the UK discovered fossilized trees from one of the first forests on earth, dating back nearly 400 million years. These trees emerged from a world of early plants barely a few centimeters tall.

But not everything was small. In this ancient forest near Rhynie in Aberdeenshire, there were what the New Scientist writer James O'Donoghue described last year as 'featureless columns standing up to 8 meters high and a meter wide at the bases'.

Bizarro Earth

Wales: Earthquake hits Port Talbot

A minor earthquake has been felt by a number of homes, police said today.

Concerned residents in south Wales contacted the police shortly before 9pm last night after experiencing lights flickering and a tremor.

The British Geological Survey later confirmed there had been an earthquake with a magnitude of three with an epicentre just over six miles north east of Port Talbot.

A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: "We had three reports yesterday evening. Members of the public from the Wild Mill and Sarn area of Bridgend reported feeling a tremor.

"The British Geological Survey confirmed an earthquake had occurred 10km northeast of Port Talbot with a magnitude of three."