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Thu, 25 Aug 2016
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Earth Changes


Elvis has left the sinkhole: 20 foot deep sinkhole opens up and swallows miniature horse named Elvis in Garrard County, Kentucky

A miniature horse who was missing for 10 days is back in his stable tonight.

Elvis, a family favorite, was found 20 feet down a sinkhole on his owner's property in Garrard County.

"And we brought him back from the dead. He's alive, healthy and doing great," said Robin Snowden, the property owner.

The Snowdens thought Elvis had run away, or was lost in the woods.

They had no idea he was still on the property until a worker noticed a large sinkhole, with Elvis at the bottom.


'Unprecedented': Deadly parasite kills thousands of fish and prompts Yellowstone river closure

© Montana FWP / Twitter
Nearly 200 miles of a popular Yellowstone river is closed to the public, as thousands of fish have gone belly up in an "unprecedented" way. Officials in Montana suspect the cause is a human-spread parasitic disease.

Fishing, rafting, swimming and other water-based recreational activities were banned for an undetermined amount of time as of Friday morning. The immediate closure is stretching from Yellowstone National Park's northern boundary at Gardiner to the Highway 212 Bridge in Laurel, the area surrounding the affected zone.

Officials from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) say the 183-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River would not reopen until fish stop dying. As of Friday morning, up to 4,000 fish have been counted, but a real number is believed to be in the tens of thousands. The fish kill has extended for nearly 100 miles, the FWP said.

"This kill is unprecedented in magnitude. We haven't seen something like this in Montana," FWP spokeswoman Andrea Jones said.


Northern Nevada wildfire increases to ten square miles

A federal official says more firefighters are being brought in to contain a wildfire that spread across more than 10 square miles of grassy rangeland just hours after a lightning strike in northern Nevada.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Gregory Deimel said Friday there have been no injuries reported among the more than 200 firefighters currently battling the fire 25 miles north of Battle Mountain.

Deimel says the fire started late Thursday and grew to some 6,600 acres by mid-day Friday. It's about 20 percent contained, but has been erratic during changing weather conditions.

Deimel says flames are threatening sage grouse habitat, but the closest ranch is several miles to the northwest.

No evacuations have been ordered.

He says air tankers are helping firefighters on the ground.

Source: AP


Amazing 'firenado' filmed near Cornelius, Oregon

This is a fire tornado -- or "firenado."

It occurred not far from Portland. The footage posted by the Cornelius Fire Department shows the twister spinning up smoke and flames as it moves across a field. Watch -- and it becomes a funnel of flames.

They are also called fire whirls, created when a wildfire or brush fire creates its own wind, which can turn into a spinning vortex of flames.

Crews were able to put out the fire without anyone getting hurt.


Bevy of 5 otters attack boys swimming in Shasta Lake, California

Chris Whitney and Jacob Savage were 70 yards from shore on a Sunday morning swim in Shasta Lake when they spotted five lithe, brown shapes swimming toward them.

But this family of North American river otters weren't there to give the boys an escort to shore.

They were furious.

On the other side of the lake with a beer in his hand, Chris' father, Ryan Whitney of Cottonwood, said he heard 14-year-old Jacob scream first. Then 13-year-old Chris.

Ryan Whitney said he could see the animals in the water, but he assumed the boys were merely frightened because the otters had gotten so close. He grew more alarmed as he watched three of the otters chasing the boys as they swam frantically back across a narrow section of the lake's Sacramento River arm.

"The boys finally made it to shore after a minute or two and they came running up the shore still yelling," Ryan Whitney said Thursday. "And I noticed blood all over their legs and their feet. They sat down and they were crying in pain."

Jacob had scratches on his neck, a bite on his thigh and some minor bites and scratches on his legs, Ryan Whitney said. Chris got the worst of it.

Comment: See also the following reports of 'rare otter attacks' from the last few 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


Japan hit by shallow 6.0 magnitude earthquake, no tsunami warning

There was no threat of a tsunami following quake which had a depth of 10 kilometres, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Japan was hit by a strong earthquake for the second straight day on Saturday, though there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, officials said.

A shallow magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck off the coast of northern Japan on Friday, 167 kilometres from Miyako city, the US Geological Survey said.

There was no threat of a tsunami following quake which had a depth of 10 kilometres, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Comment: Also within the last couple of days:

Bizarro Earth

Hundreds of sea urchins washed up on UK beach

© APEX News
Sea Urchins.
At first they looked like baseballs or perhaps esoteric vegetables. Finally the hundreds of odd orbs washed up on beaches and have been identified as a species of urchin known as a sea potato.

The sight of hundreds of the objects alarmed holidaymakers in Devon and Cornwall who steered well clear, fearing they could be poisonous. A dog walker, however, was brave enough to take one home as a memento, the Sun reported, before throwing it into the bin as a precaution.

Scientists have identified the objects as sea potatoes, a sea urchin which can grow up to three inches in diameter and able to survive in waters up to 650 feet deep. They have been dubbed sea potatoes because of their dried brownish yellow shells.

Hundreds of the urchins were washed up on the beach between Penzance and Marion on Wednesday night. The last time as many appeared on land was in May 1995. The sea potatoes or Echinocardium cordatum, to give the urchin its scientific name, lives in sand burrows and are commonplace on some sandy beaches.

"You get lots of them on Torbay main beach, for example," told the Guardian. "They are related to starfish and usually covered with little spines."

Mass strandings were not particularly rare, he added.

"I think such things happen from time to time and are entirely natural - bit like bushfires."


Photo captures waterspout at Donner Lake, California

© Jeremy Jensen
A water spout was spotted on Donner Lake on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016
A water spout was spotted at Donner Lake Thursday as thunderstorms moved through the Sierra.

Jeremy Jensen posted a photo of the water spout on his Facebook page. He said the spout picked up a paddle boat and knocked two children into the water. The children were okay, he said.

The spout formed around 4:30 p.m. near Chine Cove at the lake, Jensen said.

KCRA's Mark Finan reported Doppler looked quiet at the time, but there were thunderstorms over the area earlier.

"Nature is wild, I've never seen something like this in Truckee," Jensen said on Facebook.


Record year for cetacean strandings in Ireland as fin whale washes up on Dublin beach

© Gary Paul
Whale washed up on Shankill beach
A whale has washed up at Shankill Beach amid windy conditions in south Dublin.

In this video, the whale, roughly 25 feet long, appears to be dead as it sits in shallow water after being pushed inland in the bad weather and rough sea conditions.

The mammal, believed to be a milky white whale, was first spotted off the coast of Wicklow on Thursday evening.

A video of the floating body has been posted online via Twitter.
@BrayPeople whale washed up on Shankill beach, huge, sad pic.twitter.com/dYooL6z6UZ

— barbeldearbra (@barbeldearbra) 19 August 2016

Comment: According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group,
Together with four other strandings received in the last couple of days, this brings the total of strandings received by IWDG so far in 2016 to 152, the highest on record for any year to this date.


Large waterspout filmed off coast of Outer Banks, North Carolina

© WAVY viewer
Several WAVY News viewers sent in photos and video of what appears to be a waterspout seen off the coast of the Outer Banks Thursday. People reported seeing the waterspout in the Nags Head, Wanchese and Oregon Inlet areas.

There weren't any thunderstorm warnings or tornado warnings issued for the area Thursday. Chief Meteorologist Don Slater said the waterspout was likely nothing to worry about. Waterspouts can have strong winds, though, and are capable of throwing lightweight outdoor objects around, like umbrellas or lawn furniture. However, waterspouts often fall apart when they make landfall.

Storms did move through the Outer Banks Thursday evening, but were mostly contained to the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge area.