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Fri, 24 Feb 2017
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Earth Changes


6.3 magnitude earthquake hits northern Argentina

The earthquake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to scientific monitoring services
An earthquake believed to measure 6.3 on the Richter scale has struck in northern Argentina, close to the border with Chile.

Scientific monitoring service EMSC said the quake happened in the Jujuy region of the south American country today.

And government agency the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports it happened 50km northwest of San Antonio de los Cobres, Argentina.

It said: 'There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.'


Record February snowfall recorded at Sunday River and Sugarloaf ski resorts, Maine

Sugarloaf ski resort
In just over two weeks' time, Sunday River and Sugarloaf—Maine's two largest ski areas owned by parent company Boyne Resorts—are already reporting record snowfall totals for the month of February.

In the past 24 hours, Sunday River reports 24 inches of new snow, while Sugarloaf reports 14 inches. Both resorts have seen more than 4 feet of snowfall in just the past week, and more than 5 feet of new snow since the start of the month.

"This is hands-down the best February in terms of natural snowfall that Sunday River has seen in over a decade," Darcy Lambert, Director of Communications for Sunday River Resort, says.

"Conditions are incredible," Noelle Tuttle, Communications Manager for Sugarloaf, confirms. "Sugarloaf is one inch away from beating its best February in 22 years—an ideal set up for next week's holiday period."

Arrow Up

India's only active volcano erupts again in Andaman Sea

The Barren Island volcano was lying dormant for over 150 years before becoming active in 1991.
India's only active volcano in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is erupting once again. The Barren Island volcano, located about 140km northeast of Port Blair, started erupting in 1991 after a dormant phase of over 150 years and has shown intermittent activity since then.

A team of scientists led by National Institute Of Oceanography's Dr Abhay Mudholkar said that the volcano is active and spewing smoke and lava once again.

Researchers from the NIO have sampled the sediments and water in the vicinity of the volcano and recovered coal-like black pyroclastic material representing proximal volcanic ejecta. Clouds were seen at the crater mouth where the smoke was bellowing out in an otherwise clear sky. These samples will help in deciphering the nature of the present and past volcanic activity in the region.

"We are seeing the composition of the lava and powdering the black sand to figure out what the components are," Mudholkar told TOI.

Cloud Precipitation

Storm kills at least 2 in southern California

© David McNew / Getty Images / AFP
Sun Valley, California. February 17, 2017.
At least two people have been killed - one drowned and another electrocuted - in a heavy storm that hit southern California, uprooting trees and sweeping vehicles away. Voluntary evacuations were called, while some highways were closed and numerous flights delayed or cancelled.

Two cars were swept away by floodwaters in Victorville, where police discovered one person dead in a submerged car, but were able to rescue another person in a separate car.

Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a man in Sherman Oaks who came in contact with downed power lines. The man was found in critical condition and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Two vehicles were reported to have fallen into a sinkhole in Studio City shortly after 8:30pm local time.

Fire and rescue crews are on scene.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain, flooding as ex- Cyclone Dineo sweeps over South Africa

As the tropical ex-cyclone Dineo dissipates over SA, heavy rainfall has hit the north-eastern parts of the country.

Flooding has occurred following heavy rainfall late on Thursday afternoon, 16 February in the Free State capital of Bloemfontein, as some cars appeared to be floating.

To the north-eastern side of Bloem, the expected areas over Limpopo also received heavy rain. In the Kruger National Park, specifically, gravel roads have been closed and select remote camps evacuated in the wake of the rains.

KwaZulu-Natal, on the other hand, where disaster management teams have been on standby since Wednesday, was not hit as hard by the effect of Dineo.

In Mozambique, Dineo has displaced thousands of people, while seven fatalities have already been reported, the country's government disaster centre said on Thursday. Heavy rains and fierce winds have destroyed about 20 000 homes, they say.

Comment: See also: Tropical Cyclone Dineo leaves 4 dead in Mozambique


Thousands of dead fish found near Manzanillo, Costa Rica

More than two kilometers of beach near Manzanillo, on the Gulf of Nicoya, were filled with dead fish Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Disturbing images coming from Costa Rica's Gulf of Nicoya showed thousands of dead sardines washed ashore near the coastal town of Manzanillo.

Preliminary online reports from various agencies including marine conservation group Fundación MarViva say that the washed-up hordes of fish were seen for a few kilometers.

According to a Facebook post from MarViva, it seems only to be a sardine species that suffered the widespread deaths. However, no exact cause for the incident is yet known.

The report said it is unlikely that the phenomenon was caused by chemical poisoning or that it has anything to do with warmer water temperatures in the Gulf of Nicoya, since a single species appears to have been affected.

The following video posted to Twitter by Coast Guard officials shows the sheer scale of fish left dead on the surrounding beach:


Child killed by two family dogs in Clarksville, Kentucky

A 5-year-old boy was killed in a dog attack in Clarksville Thursday morning.

At about 8:20 a.m., emergency personnel were called to a home on Charles Thomas Road, according to a news release from the Clarksville Police Department. They found a 5-year-old boy who had extensive injuries from being mauled by the family's two dogs.

The child was transported to Tennova Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries.

Both dogs are English mastiffs, each under 1 year old. The dogs have been placed in the custody of Montgomery County Animal Control, the release said.

Anyone with additional information on this incident is asked to contact Detective Tim Anderson (931) 648-0656 ext. 5132 or the TIPS line at 645-TIPS.

The young English mastiffs that killed a 5-year-old boy in Clarksville Thursday


Warm temperature record from 1916 broken in Calgary, Canada

© Kate Adach/CBC
Hot enough for ya?

Wednesday's high of 16.4 C in Calgary broke a century-old record, beating the previous mark of 15.6 C set in 1916.

"Right now we have an upper ridge that's sitting overtop of Alberta, and that's brought in lots of warm air and kept our temperatures up for the last couple of days," said Brenda Niskaaro, lead meteorologist with Environment Canada.

That upper ridge is expected to start moving east on Thursday, taking the heat with it.

"Things will cool off by a couple of degrees for [Thursday], and by the weekend, Saturday, we'll have a cold front that will be moving through as well and that will bring temperatures back down to around the freezing mark."

Temperatures in Calgary have seen large swings in recent days. Just last week, on Feb. 7, the city saw a high of - 20 C, quite a contrast to this week's warmth.

"It's pretty normal for us to have really cold temperatures and to have really warm temperatures," said Niskaaro. "And once we do, with the systems moving slowly, they can last a week or two."


Huge sinkhole shuts down street in northeast Washington State

© King5
A massive sinkhole shut down a section of North 8th Street in Lynden Thursday.

Residents noticed a small hole forming on North 8th Street about 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, and by the morning, it was halfway through the street, according to Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis.

North 8th Street is closed between Pine and Ivy Streets.

A culvert under the street failed, and crews had to remove the sidewalk and a portion of the street, according to Korthuis. "The pipe has probably been in the ground for 40 years. That pipe started to rust and fail. The water got under the pipe and started to wash out the dirt, and that started the sinkhole," said Korthuis.

The sinkhole is about 30 feet wide and ten feet deep. The water channel is about 10 feet wide and has washed out about 90 feet of land.

Red Flag

Not just Oroville: Record rain is straining California's whole flood control network

© California Department of Water Resources
This image shows conditions at Lake Oroville and other Northern California reservoirs as of midnight February 15, 2017.
The frantic effort over the last few days to lower water levels at Oroville Dam after the structure's two spillways became damaged is part of a larger drama playing out as California rapidly shifts from extreme drought to intense deluges.

Large swaths of the region are on track to experience their wettest winter on record, with many areas having already surpassed their average precipitation for an entire year.

And all that water is putting new strains on the network of dams, rivers, levees and other waterways that are essential to preventing massive flooding during wet years like this one.

The biggest danger zone lies in the Central Valley at the base of the Sierra Nevada, whose tall peaks can wring the skies of huge amounts of rain and snow. The area is essentially one giant floodplain that would be easily transformed into an inland sea without man-made flood control. At 400 miles long and 40 miles wide, it has only a tiny bottleneck from which to drain — a one-mile opening at the Carquinez Strait at San Pablo Bay — before water heads into the San Francisco Bay.