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Mon, 29 Aug 2016
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Question

Pennsylvania residents abuzz by cause of mystery 'sonic boom'

© Via YouTube/World Cities
Things are certainly booming in Hazleton — the question is, what caused the loud blast heard by many throughout the area? At approximately 12:15 a.m. Sunday many residents across the Hazleton area reported experiencing what sounded and felt like a "sonic boom" — rattling windows, and "echoing like an explosion," according to concerned resident Tom Heller.

"I've been hearing people report about it from all over," he said. "McAdoo, Hazleton, Packer Township ... even the Valley." The noise went viral on social media, drawing hypotheses from concerned residents as to what caused such a boom.

"We've haven't gotten any calls or responded to any incidents that were related to any type of boom like that," Hazleton Fire Chief Donald Leshko said. "We've heard people talking about this explosion, but there's nothing that we're sure of, or that we responded to."

While some cite a "sonic boom," "a meteor exploding in atmosphere" or "a high-tension power line breaking," the most popular guess points to the ignition of a methane gas pocket at the site of the Jeanesville mine fire, burning underground in Banks Township.

Many local residents also cite smelling sulfur — something common in methane-related incidents. "I wish we had some answers, but nothing was reported in that region for the past few days," Colleen Connolly of the Department of Environmental Protection told the Standard-Speaker on Sunday evening.

Ice Cube

8,000 blue lakes appear in Antarctica worrying scientists

© DigitalGlobe, Inc.
Satellite image of lakes on Langhovde Glacier, East Antarctica
Scientists have discovered that thousands of blue lakes of melt water have formed on the surface of Antarctica's glaciers over the past decade, an unprecedented event which threatens the stability of the largest ice mass on Earth.

Researchers from the Durham University in the UK analyzed hundreds of satellite images and meteorological observations of Langhovde Glacier, on the coast of East Antarctica's Dronning Maud Land. The study revealed that between 2000 and 2013, about 8,000 new blue lakes have appeared in Antarctica.

The scientists suspect that the water of some lakes could seep under the glacier's surface, potentially weakening it and making it more likely to fracture and break apart.

Previously it was thought that East Antarctica's ice hadn't been affected by global warming; therefore, more attention has been paid to the changes taking place in the Antarctic Peninsula. It is known that the occurrence of such lakes has led to melting of glaciers in Greenland, where 1 trillion metric tons of ice have melted between 2011 and 2014.

Attention

Brown bear mauls 2 guides near Sitka, Alaska


Grizzly bear
Alaska State Troopers say a brown bear that mauled two wilderness guides who were leading cruise ship passengers on a hiking excursion went on the attack after the group came between the female animal and her cub.

The guides injured Thursday are crew members of the 74-passenger cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer who were leading 22 people on a hike about 30 miles north of Sitka in southeast Alaska.

A statement from the troopers say two guides "were conducting a guided nature hike for several tourists when they were confronted by a sow and cub brown bear and ultimately mauled. One of the victims did deploy pepper spray and the bears eventually departed the area."

Spokeswoman Sarah Scoltock with vessel operator UnCruise Adventures of Seattle says no one else was injured and she doesn't know if anyone witnessed the mauling on the Sitkoh Creek Trail.

Fire

Raging wildfires in eastern Washington destroy homes, force evacuations

© Spokane Co. Fire District 8
Wildfires Spread in Washington State, Forcing Hundreds to Flee
Firefighters battled fast-moving wildfires in eastern Washington that have destroyed homes and forced hundreds of residents to flee the flames.

Three blazes in the Spokane region erupted Sunday afternoon, sending families rushing to pile pets and keepsakes into vehicles and hit the road.

The Spokesman-Review reported that homes burned in the Beacon Hill area of Spokane, in wheat country near Spangle and north of Davenport in nearby Lincoln County.

But the extent of the losses and number of evacuees was unclear as firefighters prepared to work through the night and into Monday morning. No injuries have been reported.

Together the three blazes scorched nearly seven square miles of terrain and sent plumes of smoke billowing high over the region.


Tornado1

'Wall of dirt': Huge dust storm rolls over Phoenix, Arizona

© Flashwing / YouTube
A dust storm swept through Arizona's largest city Sunday, delaying flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and creating spectacular visuals. The phenomenon is also known by its Arabic name, "haboob."

Phoenix on Sunday evening resembled a scene from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. While such sandstorms cannot actually happen in Dubai, as depicted in the movie, they are fairly common in the American Southwest.

Visibility at Sky Harbor International Airport was reduced to a quarter-mile or less, with winds gusting to 60 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. At least 16 flights were delayed, with the average delay running about 49 minutes, according to FlightAware.

"It was impressive. I've been watching it on the news, and it looks pretty imposing as you see it rolling through the Valley, and then you look outside and it's all hazy and orange with the sunset," Simon Norton, who was traveling through Sky Harbor, told KNXV-TV.

Telescope

Discharge event? Bright flashes of circular 'light' seen via telescope over Pacific Ocean

© Via YouTube/MrBB333
The bright flashes you will see in this video transpired over the course of 40 minutes. It is not a fireball and is not thunderstorm related. Very odd...


Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills two and injures five in Bajaur, Pakistan

Two persons were killed and five others sustained injuries when lightning struck them in Adad Banda in tehsil of Bajaur Agency on Sunday.

The two persons identified as Kashif and Inam were killed and five others injured when they were struck by lightning.

The Frontier Corps personnel reached the area and shifted the injured to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Khar.

The torrential rain also destroyed crops in several villages of the Bajaur tribal region.

Cloud Lightning

Man dies after being struck by lightning in Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

An Arvada man died after being struck by lighting Friday in the Roosevelt National Forest in northern Colorado.

Chad Trover, 45, was at a cabin near Red Feathers Lakes in Larimer County Friday afternoon when a storm rolled through.

A friend who was with Trover at the time told FOX31 Denver the storm seemed mild and they did not see a lot of lightning.

Trover was talking to his daughter on his cell phone while standing between two 60-feet-tall trees when he was struck.

Windsock

Typhoon Mindulle hits Tokyo, bringing risk of floods and landslides

© Japan Meterological Agency
Typhoon Mindulle
Typhoon Mindulle unleashed heavy rains on Tokyo, bringing the risk of floods and landslides as the tropical storm made landfall near the Japanese capital shortly after noon Monday.

The typhoon's center was about 74 kilometers (46 miles) south of Tokyo as of 1 p.m. local time and heading north, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. With maximum sustained winds of 126 kilometers per hour (78 mph) and a maximum wind gust speed of 180 kilometers per hour, Mindulle is the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane, the weakest on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

The weather agency issued heavy rain and flood warnings for all 23 wards of central Tokyo, while the Prime Minister's Office warned of possible landslides and damage from strong waves. A total of 250 millimeters of rain was predicted in the Tokyo region for the 24 hours to noon, the agency said, and it issued tornado warnings for Tokyo and surrounding areas. Nine rivers were at a dangerous risk of flooding, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Japan Airlines Co. canceled 148 domestic flights, affecting about 28,000 passengers, while ANA Holdings Inc. scrubbed 112 flights, affecting about 26,500 passengers, according to statements from the airlines. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said about 66,000 homes were without power as of 2:25 p.m., mostly in Chiba prefecture where the typhoon made landfall.

Alarm Clock

Another magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes off northern Japan; third strong quake in region in consecutive days

© U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
A strong earthquake struck off the coast of northern Japan for a third consecutive day early Sunday, but there were no reports of tsunami, injuries or damage.

The shallow magnitude-6.0 quake hit at 12:58 a.m. 170 km east-northeast of Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was followed by a magnitude-5.3 aftershock.

The Meteorological Agency, which logged the quake's magnitude at 5.9, said there was no threat of tsunami.

The temblor struck seven hours after another magnitude-6.0 quake struck the same area on Saturday, and followed a 5.3-magnitude jolt due east of Miyako on Friday.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year. Rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.

In April, two strong quakes hit Kumamoto Prefecture, followed by more than 1,700 aftershocks, leaving 49 dead and causing widespread damage.

A massive undersea quake in March 2011 sent tsunami barreling into the coast of the Tohoku region, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and tipping three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Comment: Seismic activity seems to be increasing worldwide recently. Also within the past week 6.4 and 7.3 magnitude quakes have struck near South Georgia island; while Queensland experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake - the 'biggest in 20 years'.