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Thu, 26 Nov 2020
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Iowa Floods: 'Beyond what anybody could even imagine'

Officials evacuated patients from a Cedar Rapids hospital on Friday as the rising waters from the Cedar River confounded the city's best efforts to secure the downtown area.

Cedar Rapids Flood
©Steve Pope/AP
Downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was submerged Thursday by the rising Cedar River. Around 100 blocks were under water, forcing some 10,000 people to flee.

Evil Rays

Mild earthquakes felt in northern Israel

Northern resident awaken by 3.3 magnitude earthquake felt throughout area; No injuries or damage reported. Tremor follows four moderate earthquakes felt in Israel Thursday.

Three earthquakes originating in Lebanon were felt in northern Israel on Friday morning. Numerous citizens reported the first quake felt mostly in the Galilee.

The Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) reported that the first quake felt at 8:30 am measured in at 3.8 on the Richter Scale; and the second and third quakes felt at around 9:15 am measured in at 3.5 and 3.4. No injuries or damage were reported.

Friday's tremors followed four separate earthquakes which were felt throughout Israel on Thursday.

Cloud Lightning

There's rain on the grill and snow in the passes

University of Washington professor says it's the coldest spring since 1917

There's further proof that this spring has been uncomfortably and depressingly cold -- the coldest in memory, the coldest since 1917.

Validation came Tuesday from the University of Washington, where Cliff Mass, an atmospheric sciences professor, published his new "barbecue index."

"I've gotten a lot of calls about how unusual this weather's been," said Mass. "In roughly 90 years, this is the most ­unpleasant year for being outside and having a barbecue."

Mass and meteorologist Mark Albright found proof of the pain after reviewing warm spring days since 1894. They tallied the number of spring days above 60 degrees.

Cloud Lightning

Symbolic? Lightning Hits Chevron Oil Operations In Indonesia's Riau

Three oil fields in the central Sumatran province of Riau with a combined output of 400,000 barrels a day have been halting oil production since late Thursday after lightning struck power transformers and obstructed the supply of power to the three fields, an official said Friday.

Two of the fields are the Duri and Minas fields, operated by Chevron, and have a combined output of 379,000 barrels a day. The other is a 21,000-barrel-a-day field operated by PT Bumi Siak Pusako, which is controlled by the Riau government. Bumi's field uses electricity generated by Chevron's power plant in Duri.


US: Midwest under siege from floods, tornadoes

© Cliff Jette, Associated Press
Floodwaters from the Cedar River inundate downtown Vinton, Iowa, on Wednesday. Electricity was cut this morning when rising water affected the city's municipal power plant.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa - From Iowa to Missouri, officials in the flood-ravaged Midwest were frantically sandbagging, watching weakened dams and rescuing residents from water that in some places rose knee-high, while storms threatened more damage in the Upper Plains.

Several tornadoes touched down in Minnesota's Nobles, Murray and Cottonwood counties, damaging trees and farm outbuildings, as well as in eastern Nebraska.


Earthquake hits Timor Leste

An earthquake with magnitude of 5.2 rocked Timor Leste on Thursday, with no report of damage or casualty, Indonesian meteorology agency said here.

Magic Wand

First beaver dam in England for centuries

A pair of beavers have built what is believed to be the first dam in England for centuries.

The animals were hunted to extinction in England and Wales during the 12th century and disappeared from the rest of the country 400 years later.

However, two beavers from Germany were introduced to a river enclosure in Devon last year.

This year, the pair have built a 6ft dam with mud, bark and twigs on the River Tale at Escot House, near Ottery St Mary.

John-Michael Kennaway, who owns the estate, has been working to reintroduce the animals on the site for three years. He said that the beavers may be rearing young, known as kits.

One of the beavers that has settled on the River Tale

Evil Rays

Quakes in Lebanon shake Israel

Country's residents shaken by four moderate earthquakes measuring from 3.9 to 4.2 on Richter scale; no injuries or damage reported.

Four separate earthquakes shook Israel on Thursday. Ynet received calls from residents living in the northern and central areas of the country who said they felt the quakes. No injuries or damage have been reported, however.

The Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) stated that the first quake, which occurred at about 4 pm, measured 3.9 on the Richter scale, and that it originated in southern Lebanon. GII Director Rami Hopshteter told Ynet that "this was a moderate earthquake, with enough power to be felt by the northern settlements near the border."

Three other quakes took place between 6:40 and 6:43 pm, ranging from 3.8 to 4.2 on the Richter scale. A Nahariya resident told Ynet, "I felt the earthquake. It wasn't like the one that happened two hours ago, but much stronger. Our apartment is on the fourth floor and the entire house shook. The computer and TV screens shook, the couch shook, I have never felt such a thing before. My daughter who lives in Nahariya also called in a fright." Another resident said the quake lasted 10 to 15 seconds.

Red Flag

Potentially devastating wheat rust spreads

Since the 1950s, resistance genes bred into wheat varieties have held truly devastating stem rust epidemics in check. However, a new race of the rust, Ug99, has overcome many of those resistance genes and is marching east through southern Asia.

Ug99 first appeared in Uganda wheat in 1999 and spread to Kenya and Ethiopia during the next few years.

"At that point, many international scientists said, 'This is something we need to check because this new race can overcome many of the effective resistances,'" said David Marshall, research leader with the USDA-ARS in North Carolina last spring.

"And that included the resistances that are in the international germ plasm out of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center near Mexico City. That's alarming and this rust has become a front-burner issue."

Bizarro Earth

Crazytalk: Scientist says dolphin deaths look like a mass suicide

The dolphins that died after becoming beached in Cornwall had ingested debris and mud, leading one of the scientists who examined some of the corpses to compare their deaths to a "mass suicide".

Vic Simpson, who has been involved in the postmortem examinations of some of the 26 dolphins that died, said yesterday: "On the face of it, it looks like some sort of mass suicide - but the question is why?

"The dolphins had swallowed and inhaled big chunks of mud from the estuary. Their lungs and stomachs were full of it. That is very bizarre indeed."

Simpson, who founded the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre in Truro and is examining the dolphins on behalf of the Zoological Society of London, added: "We have seen strandings on beaches, sometimes with five to seven dolphins, but never on a scale like this."

Comment: See: What terrified the dolphins? Cause of mass dolphin deaths in U.K. may have been fear
and UK Dolphin update: Royal Navy exercises and an "unexplained explosion"