Earth ChangesS


Eruption Gave Several Weeks' Notice; May Aid Forecasts

Scientists have determined that a 1925 volcanic eruption on Santorini island in Greece was preceded by an influx of hot magma into the volcano's lava chamber several weeks beforehand.

The insight may lead to better warnings of similar eruptions in the future, researchers say.

©Photograph courtesy Science/AAAS
Scientists studying lavas taken from the crater seen above on the Greek island of Santorini may have found a way to better predict volcanic eruptions in general, according to an August 2008 study.

Evil Rays

Southwest China quake destroys homes, three dead

An earthquake hit southwest China's Sichuan province on Saturday, destroying homes and killing three people, China's state television reported.

The epicentre of the quake, which struck around 4:30 p.m. (0730 GMT), was about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panzhihua, near the border with Yunnan province, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was about 6 miles (10 km) deep.

Magic Wand

Animals adapt their vocal signals to social situations

A special August issue of the Journal of Comparative Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association, presents a host of studies that investigate the way that animals adapt their calls, chirps, barks and whistles to their social situation.


UK: Spider forces family out of home

camel spider
A camel spider attacking a scorpion in the desert

A soldier's family have been frightened out of their home by a spider thought to have been brought to Essex from Afghanistan in a kitbag.

Lorraine Griffiths and her three children have moved out of their house in Colchester, the RSPCA said.

They are refusing to return until the large sandy-coloured creature, thought to be a camel spider, is captured.


Unexpected Large Monkey Population Discovered In Cambodia: Tens Of Thousands Of Threatened Primates

A Wildlife Conservation Society report reveals surprisingly large populations of two globally threatened primates in a protected area in Cambodia.

Yellow-cheeked crested gibbon
©Matt Hunt
Yellow-cheeked crested gibbon.

The report counted 42,000 black-shanked douc langurs along with 2,500 yellow-cheeked crested gibbons in Cambodia's Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, an estimate that represents the largest known populations for both species in the world.

WCS scientists conducted the surveys with the Royal Government of Cambodia's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries across an area of 300 square miles (789 square kilometers) within a wider landscape of 1,150 square miles (3,000 square kilometers), which is about the size of Yosemite National Park. The scientists believe total populations within the wider landscape may be considerably greater.


France: Firefighters tackle year's biggest fire

Hundreds of firefighters are battling to put out two fires in the south of France. Officials at Codis, the regional agency which co-ordinates firefighting, describe the blazes, which broke out on Thursday evening near each other, as "the biggest fire in the Mediterranean basin this year".

Officials say that 400 firefighters, 36 fire engines and nine water-carrying airplanes are trying to put out the flames which spread across an uninhabited and uncultivated area in mountains 15 kilometres from the southern city of Narbonne.


Strong earthquake rocks Russia's Lake Baikal

Moscow -- A strong earthquake jolted the southern part of Russia's Lake Baikal area Wednesday morning, Russian news agencies reported.

There are no reports of casualties so far.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake hits southern Iraq

The area near Iraq's border with Iran is known to be less than stable, and now it seems Mother Nature has joined smugglers and suspected militiamen in stirring up the pot there. Early today, an earthquake hit southern Iraq, centered near the Iranian border and strongly felt in the city of Amarah about 40 miles to the west.

The Voice of Iraq news agency said it measured about 5.1, but the U.S. Geological Survey put it at 5.7, not huge but big enough to frighten people unaccustomed to such things.

Life Preserver

Cuba evacuates over 33,000 as Gustav hurricane approaches

Cuba has evacuated over 33,000 people from its eastern provinces as hurricane Gustav approaches the country from the Caribbean, the Presna Latina news agency quoted emergency officials as saying.

The hurricane, accompanied by severe rains, has already swept through Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic, killing at least 60 and causing major destruction to infrastructure.


Canada: Earthquake, magnitude 5.8, strikes off B.C. coast

Vancouver -- The sea floor off the B-C coast has been rocked by strongest in a series of earthquakes to hit the area this week.

This map, provided by Natural Resources Canada, uses a red star to mark the location of a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck 157 kilometres west of Port Hardy, off the north coast of Vancouver Island, on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008.