Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

4.7 Earth Tremor Shakes Melbourne, Australia

Residents across Melbourne have been rattled by an earth tremor that struck about 100km south-east of the city.

The United States Geological Survey reported on its website the tremor measured 4.7 on the Richter scale, about 96 kilometres from Melbourne, and Geoscience Australia says the tremor was centred near Korumburra.

There have been no reports of injury and police are urging people not to call 000 unless they have been injured or suffered property damage.

Victoria Police and the State Emergency Service also say there has been an earth tremor but said there are no reports of any damage so far.

Bizarro Earth

California: 3.1 Earthquake Recorded in Geysers

An earthquake was felt on Cobb Mountain Thursday afternoon.

The quake, measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale, occurred at 3:06 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

It was centered two miles north northeast of The Geysers, three miles west of Cobb and six miles northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported. It occurred at a depth of three-tenths of a mile.

Residents of Cobb, Middletown and even distant Fresno reported to the US Geological Survey that they felt the quake.


Chilean extremophile bacteria thrive in Mars-like conditions

The Atacama desert lies on the western edge of South America, covering much of northern Chile and parts of Argentina. It is the closest one can get to Mars while remaining grounded on Earth. High atop the Socompa volcano on the Eastern edge of the Atacama desert, the atmosphere is thin, the ultraviolet radiation is intense, and the climate is dry. Nevertheless, the improbable has been found: life. Near the rim of the 19,850-foot-high Socompa volcano, researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder's Alpine Microbial Observatory found a thriving, complex microbial community that appears to be supported by gases emanating from volcanic vents around the rim.


Alaska: Okmok Volcano warning level raised to yellow

Unalaska - The Alaska Volcano Observatory raised the warning level for Okmok to yellow, or advisory, on Monday after a series of seismic bursts that lasted for six hours. The tremors repeated again Wednesday but have since subsided. AVO coordinating scientist Steve McNutt said these seismic signals could mean anything.

"Signals like this sometimes precede eruptions on the scale of hours to days, sometimes weeks or longer. And then sometimes the volcano just goes back to sleep," he said. "So you have to be cautious and assume that it may erupt and it could do so quickly, so that's the basis for our treating it with caution and changing the color code. On the other hand it could represent a new physical state of the volcano in which case it could do something different and then go back to sleep."


US: Preventing Bat Illness: A Potential Solution?

Little brown bats
© Al Hicks, New York Department of ConservationLittle brown bats.
Some researchers are suggesting a way to save bats from white-nose syndrome - at least temporarily. In a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, scientists used mathematical models to determine whether warmer caves could help decrease bat mortality from the illness, recognized by a white fungus on their noses, ears, and wings.

Heating caves "might be a way to keep the bats alive for a while until we come up with a cure or a solution," says lead author Justin Boyles.

Black Cat

US: Mountain lion spotted in Spooner, Wisconsin

© Courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesAn adult male mountain lion weighing between 120 and 130 pounds, in a tree near Spooner, Wis. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources attempted to sedate the animal with tranquilizer darts, but it escaped.
An extremely rare sighting of a mountain lion has been confirmed near Spooner, Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The animal, an adult male weighing between 120 and 130 pounds, was first seen Tuesday by a homeowner about 15 miles northwest of Spooner in Burnett County. Dogs were used to track the animal and chase it up a tree.

After the DNR was notified, officals from the department joined in the search, and on both Wednesday and Thursday the mountain lion was chased up trees. Two attempts to sedate the animal with a tranquilizer dart failed, and the mountain lion was not captured.

Bizarro Earth

4.1 Earthquake Hits New Zealand South Island

An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale struck near Sheffield in New Zealand South Island's mid-Canterbury region early Thursday, China's Xinhua quoted the GNS Science as reporting.

New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said the quake, occurred at 03:41 a.m. local time (1441 GMT Wednesday), was centered 20 km east of Sheffield at a focal depth of 33 km.

There were no reports of casualties or damages.

Bizarro Earth

California: Two Earthquakes Strike West of San Jose

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported that two earthquakes struck within 30 minutes of each other near San Jose late Wednesday.

The first shook the Los Altos Hills approximately 14 miles west of San Jose City Hall at about 11:15 p.m., and was recorded with the preliminary magnitude of 2.3, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A second earthquake with the preliminary magnitude of 2.6 reportedly hit the same region at about 11:45 p.m., approximately 13 miles west of San Jose City Hall.

Bizarro Earth

Australia: 3.5 Earthquake Hits Flinders South Australia

The Flinders Ranges have been shaken by a minor earthquake felt up to 30km from the epicentre near Wilmington.

The quake was felt around 9.50am today and measured 3.5 on the Richter scale.

It is the second-largest quake in SA this year and follows a magnitude 4.5 event north-east of Peterborough on January 26.

Primary Industries and Resources SA seismologist David Love said quakes in the ranges were not uncommon.

"Last year, about 250 earthquakes were recorded in the state and 80 per cent of lose were located in the Flinders and North mount Lofty Ranges," he said.


UK: Bee parasite devastates colonies as hives go unregistered and uninspected

© Associated Press/Haraz GhanbariA colony of honeybees
Millions of insects could be wiped out because thinly staffed inspectorate does not know where half the country's beekeepers are

A deadly Asian parasite that threatens to wipe out millions of bees across England and Wales has become endemic because Whitehall does not know the location of more than half the hives in the country, the National Audit Office reveals today.

The auditors estimate that at least 20,000 beekeepers are unregistered, which means they are never inspected and no action can be taken to eradicate the parasite before it destroys the bee colony, the report warns. The registered number of beekeepers stands at 17,000.

Failure to act could wipe out the country's £100m apple harvest and seriously damage pear, raspberry, strawberry and runner bean crops because they are highly dependent on bees for pollination.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs describes the pest as varroa, "a serious Asian parasitic mite of honey bees".