Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

Earthquake Hits Andaman Islands

A moderate earthquake struck northern parts of Andaman islands early this morning, Met Department said.

The tremor measuring 5.4 on the Richter Scale was felt at 02:00 hrs (IST) at latitude 13.7 degree north and longitude 92.9 degree east, the Met department said.

Cloud Lightning

Woman Freezes to Death in Remote Montana Cabin

A couple from Oklahoma that moved to Montana's rugged mountains for a cheap place to live apparently got caught off guard by a snowstorm, with the woman freezing to death in their remote cabin.

Her common-law husband, suffering from hypothermia and starving, was found propped up against her body, with an array of weapons spread in a half circle in front of him, authorities said.


New Species of Babbler Bird Discovered in China

Bab Bird
© AP Photo/Birdtour Asia, James Eaton, HOA Nonggang babbler is seen in southwestern China's Guangxi in December 2008. A new species of the fist-sized, babbler bird has been found in network of underground caves in China, raising the prospect the country could become a hot spot for other new discoveries, a conservation group said Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.
A new species of the fist-sized babbler bird has been found in a network of underground caves in southwestern China, raising the prospect the country could become a hot spot for other new discoveries, a conservation group said Thursday.

Ornithologists Zhou Fang and Jiang Aiwu first spotted the dark brown bird with white specks on its chest in 2005 and have since confirmed its identity as an undescribed species. They named it the Nonggang babbler, or Stachyris nonggangensis, for the region in China where it was found.

A formal description was published last year in The Auk, which is the quarterly journal of the Virginia-based American Ornithologists' Union.

"This is exciting evidence that there could be many more interesting discoveries awaiting ornithologists in China," said Birdlife International's Nigel Collar, which announced the discovery.


Co-op bans eight pesticides after worldwide beehive collapse

A bee collects nectar from a flower in a garden in Pontevedra. Photograph: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

First UK supermarket chain - and Britain's biggest farmer - to prohibit chemicals implicated in the death of over one-third of British bees

The Co-op today became the first UK supermarket to ban the use of a group of pesticides implicated in billions of honeybee deaths worldwide.

It is prohibiting suppliers of its own-brand fresh produce from using eight pesticides that have been connected to honeybee colony collapse disorder and are already restricted in some parts of Europe.

The Co-op said it will eliminate the usage of the neonicotinoid family of chemicals where possible and until they are shown to be safe. The Co-op has over 70,000 acres of land under cultivation in England and Scotland, making it the largest farmer in the UK. Since 2001, it has already prohibited the use of 98 pesticides under its pesticide policy.


Flashback Arctic Warming?

Once again claims are flying thick and fast regarding dramatic, in fact, unprecedented Arctic warming.

Once again, we look at the available data, now updated to the end of 2004.

Once again, we find the claims to be dead flat wrong. Click on the following thumbnails to view the full size images in a new browser window.

Note: subsequent to NASA's server upgrade the correct URL for zonal temperature anomalies is here.

Bizarro Earth

US: 2 Earthquakes Reported in Northeast Arkansas

A series of small earthquakes occurred Jan. 26 in northeast Arkansas.

The U.S. Geological Survey said three quakes of magnitudes ranging from 2 to 2.8 occurred between 1 a.m. and 5:09 a.m. a few miles east of Walnut Ridge and 85-90 miles northwest of Memphis, Tenn., the largest population center nearby.

That magnitude is considered barely strong enough to be felt on the earth's surface and too weak to cause serious damage.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, which includes northeast Arkansas, produces numerous small earthquakes each year.

Bizarro Earth

US Scientist: New fault could mean major Arkansas temblor

Little Rock - A previously unknown fault in eastern Arkansas could trigger a magnitude 7 earthquake with an epicenter near a major natural gas pipeline, a scientist said Wednesday. Haydar Al-Shukri, the director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said the fault is separate from the New Madrid fault responsible for a series of quakes in 1811-12 that caused the Mississippi River to flow backward.

Acres of cotton fields cover the fault west of Marianna, about 100 miles east of Little Rock, but stretches of fine sand mixed with fertile soil gave away the fault's location, Al-Shukri said. Liquefied sand bubbled up through cracks in the earth, while ground radar and digs showed vents that let the sand reach the surface, he said.

The fault, likely created in the last 5,000 years, sparked at least one magnitude 7 earthquake in its history. Such temblors cause massive destruction in their wake.

"This is a very, very dangerous (area) at risk of earthquake," Al-Shukri said. "When you talk about (magnitude) 7 and plus, this is going to be a major disaster."

Bizarro Earth

USGS Maps Show South San Francisco Bay Quake Liquefaction Risk

map shows the likelihood of liquefaction Bay area
This map shows the likelihood of liquefaction in Northern Santa Clara County during a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the northernmost segments of the San Andreas Fault.

New U.S. Geological Survey maps show, for the first time, the degree to which Northern Santa Clara Valley is at risk of liquefaction during an earthquake.

The maps draw on 10 years of research, said Tom Holzer, an engineering geologist with the USGS, and senior author of the maps. Scientists can now quantify the degree to which an area is at risk, from 0 to 40 percent.

"Earlier maps tended to use categories like high, medium and low, and never told you what 'high' meant," Holzer said Tuesday.

Liquefaction is what happens when loose, wet sand or soil is shaken by an earthquake and reacts like water rather than solid ground. This sand or soil can flow like a liquid, causing major damage to structures built atop the soil, and utilities located under this shifting ground.

Bizarro Earth

US: 3.4 magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting an earthquake southwest of Oklahoma City. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 3.4 and no injuries or damage is reported.

The U.S.G.S. say the earthquake was felt about 5:19 a.m. Wednesday and its epicenter was about 5 miles northeast of Chickasha.

Cloud Lightning

US: Deadly winter storm leaves 900,000 without electricity

Philadephia - A destructive winter storm that has left more than 900,000 customers in the dark barreled into the Northeast on Wednesday, delaying flights and turning the morning rush into the morning slush as communities braced for the worst.

The storm has been blamed for at least 21 deaths and a glaze of ice and snow that caused widespread power failures from the Southern Plains to the East Coast. Authorities said it could be a week before some communities have electricity again.

Tree limbs encased in ice tumbled onto roads and crashed onto power lines in hard-hit Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma on Tuesday and overnight. In Arkansas - where ice was 3 inches thick in some places - people huddled next to portable heaters and wood-burning fires as utilities warned electricity may be out for a week or more.