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Tue, 27 Oct 2020
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Earth Changes
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Seismograph

Shallow 6.0-magnitude earthquake hits West Chile Rise

earthquake graph
© Phil McCarten / Reuters
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 jolted West Chile Rise at 0146 GMT on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 36.4011 degrees south latitude and 97.1352 degrees west longitude.

Biohazard

Devastating fungal pathogen wheat blast arrives in Zambia, first time detected in Africa

Zambia wheat
© BATISEBA TEMBO
Symptoms of wheat blast were first seen in experimental plots and small-scale farms in the Mpika district of Muchinga province in northern Zambia during the 2018 rainy season.
It could have been blown in by wind or transported by infected crop residue and maybe seeds — the exact mode of introduction remains debated. But the evidence for the presence of wheat blast is indisputable: the devastating fungal pathogen is now in Zambia, its first appearance in Africa.

"The detection of the disease in Africa is alarming," Tarekegn Terefe, a wheat pathologist at South Africa's Agriculture Research Council - Small Grain Institute, tells The Scientist. The disease is so deadly it can cause yield losses of more than 70 percent on susceptible cultivars, he says.

"The detection of the disease in Zambia puts southern African wheat-producing countries — South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Malawi — at high risk," Terefe explains. Previous studies have documented the occurrence of similar wheat fungal diseases in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, "indicating the possibility of inoculum exchange between these countries."

Comment: It's likely that, as we're seeing elsewhere on the planet with other diseases and infections, shifting climate patterns, as well as other Earth Changes, along with destructive agricultural practices have made the plants more vulnerable:


Arrow Down

Pakistan landslide buries minibus 'killing at least 15' on board

The vehicle was forced off road by a landslide
© AFP/EPA
The vehicle was forced off road by a landslide in a mountainous area of northern Pakistan
A landslide in northern Pakistan has buried at least 15 people in a minibus under tonnes of mud and rock, police have confirmed.

Rescue workers are desperately searching for survivors following the incident on Sunday on Skardu Road, in the Tangos area.

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn said 16 people on board had died, while two passengers had been dropped off before the tragedy. But police officer Wakil Khan suggested that the chances of finding anyone alive are slim.

He said the landslide overtook the vehicle that was travelling from the city of Rawalpindi in Punjab province to the scenic city of Skardu.


Cloud Precipitation

Landslide caused by heavy rain kills 11 miners in Indonesia

Villagers try to evacuate workers trapped 20 metres underground at an unlicensed coal mine in Muara Enim regency, South Sumatra, Indonesia

Villagers try to evacuate workers trapped 20 metres underground at an unlicensed coal mine in Muara Enim regency, South Sumatra, Indonesia
All bodies recovered from coal mine in South Sumatra, says official

A landslide caused by heavy rains killed at least 11 miners at a coal mine in Indonesia's South Sumatra province on Wednesday.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, the site of the landslide was a mine tunnel about 20 meters deep at Tanjung Lalang village in Muara Enim district.

"Seasonal rains in recent days have caused the landslide," said Raditya Jati, a spokesperson at disaster mitigation authority.


Eye 2

Signs and Portents: Rare two-headed snake found at Florida home

two-headed snake
A rare two-headed snake was discovered at a home in Florida, state wildlife officials said.

The southern black racer was found at a home in Palm Harbor, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said.

The snake was being cared for and monitored by FWC. It has a low chance of survival in the wild since its brains will make different decisions, making feeding and escaping from predators difficult.

Umbrella

Storms and floods leave 22 dead, thousands affected in Mozambique

damage
The government in Mozambique reports that 22 people have died and 12 injured after heavy rains, and strong winds in several regions of the country since the beginning of October 2020.

Government spokesperson and Deputy Justice Minister, Filimao Suaze, said 16,657 people from 3,695 families have been affected by floods in the provinces of Niassa, Nampula, Zambézia and Manica and in Maputo city. Almost 2,000 homes were damaged and 922 completely destroyed. Schools and health centres were also damaged.

According to the minister, flooding also affected areas of Doa district in Tete province due to an overflow of the Zambezi river.

At least 13 people died in flash floods at Rapale district in the province of Nampula after the Meluli river broke its banks on 12 October. Eight other fatalities were a result of buildings collapsing during heavy rain and strong winds and one other fatality was a result of lightning strike, the minister said.

Tornado2

Tornado hits Beirut Port, near explosion site

waterspot
First rains of the season in Lebanon bring along frightening whirlwinds to the destroyed Beirut port area. Some viral videos are circulating on the web of the whirlwind/tornado at the site of the explosion at Beirut Port.

On 4 August 2020, a massive amount of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port city, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, causing at least 203 deaths, and around 6,500 injuries.


Camera

More mysterious red auroras captured around the Arctic Circle

Auroras are still glowing red @ Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland
© Rayann Elzein
Taken on October 17, 2020 @ Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland
Spoiler alert: We do not know the answer to this question. Where did all the red auroras come from? For much of mid-October, Earth's magnetic field has been very quiet. Extremely quiet. There should have been no auroras at all, yet around the Arctic Circle, photographers recorded scenes like this.

Photographer Rayann Elzein of Utsjoki, Finland, took the picture on Oct. 17th. "I photographed similar displays on Oct. 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th," says Elzein. "On each occasion, geomagnetic activity was very low (with K-indices no greater than 0 or 1)."

Red auroras appear when particles from space strike oxygen atoms near the top of Earth's atmosphere. However, as Les Cowley explains, the very slow atomic transitions which produce red photons in the aurora zone are easily interrupted. Even experienced observers rarely see them.

Elzein has been chasing auroras in Finland for 10 years. He prides himself on going out in all conditions--even when geomagnetic activity is nominally low. "I can't recall ever seeing so much red on top of the green layer before," he says.

In Tromsø, Norway, aurora tour guide Markus Varik had a similar experience. "Activity was extremely low on Oct. 17th when pink and red colors appeared. After years of guiding, I have never seen anything similar to this."

Comment: Rare red auroras captured over Utsjoki, Finland


Arrow Up

Bezymyanny volcano on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula begins to erupt

Russia volcano eruption
© YouTube/Пятый канал Новости (screen capture)
The eruption of the Bezymyanny volcano on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula began at 08:22 local time (23:22 Moscow time on Wednesday), a spokesman for the Kamchatka branch of the geophysical service of the Russian Academy of Sciences told TASS on Thursday.

"According to preliminary estimates, the volcano spewed ash to an altitude of ten kilometers. An autonomous video surveillance camera at the Kirishev station recorded the beginning of the eruption. Since the volcano is currently partially covered by clouds, more exact information about the eruption will be available when we receive data from satellites," the spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, the eruption began as was anticipated by the Kamchatka branch of the Russian expert council on earthquake prediction. The intensification of the giant mount's activity began in early October.

Bezymyanny is one of 29 active volcanoes of Kamchatka. Its height is about 2,800 metres above sea level. Its eruptions are explosive. They occur one or two times a year and may last from several hours to several days. In recent years scientists have managed to predict the periods of its activity intensification rather correctly. Its previous powerful eruption occurred on March 15, 2019.


Tornado2

Waterspouts, torrential rains hit Greek Islands

A waterspout, or sea tornado, forming above the Greek island of Naxos.
© Naxos Press
A waterspout, or sea tornado, forming above the Greek island of Naxos.
Heavy rains, waterspouts and other extreme weather phenomena, including flooding on Crete, were recorded around the Greek islands in the Aegean on Wednesday as much of the country experienced severe storms.

Just past noon on Wednesday, a waterspout, also called a sea tornado, was visible hovering over the sea around the Cycladic island of Naxos. These rotating winds appear to reach down to the sea and take it up as they spiral into the air, but in reality the water inside the spout originates in the clouds above and snakes its way down to the sea.


Comment: Freak storm carpets Crete motorway with hail