Earth ChangesS


Millions of animals dead in Australia fires

Kangaroo corpses lay scattered by the roadsides while wombats that survived the wildfire's onslaught emerged from their underground burrows to find blackened earth and nothing to eat.

Wildlife rescue officials on Wednesday worked frantically to help the animals that made it through Australia's worst-ever wildfires but they said millions of animals likely perished in the inferno. Scores of kangaroos have been found around roads, where they were overwhelmed by flames and smoke while attempting to flee, said Jon Rowdon, president of the rescue group Wildlife Victoria.

Kangaroos that survived are suffering from burned feet, a result of their territorial behavior. After escaping the initial flames, the creatures - which prefer to stay in one area - likely circled back to their homes, singeing their feet on the smoldering ground.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake shakes Colombia-Venezuela border region

Caracas -- An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale on Wednesday rocked the Colombian region of Norte de Santander, which borders Venezuela, the seismological authorities reported.

The Geology and Mining Institute (Ingeominas) said the earthquake also affected cities like Bogota, Bucaramanga in the northeast and Manizales in central east.

So far there has been no report of casualties or severe property damages.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake near Indonesia's Sulawesi damages buildings


Jakarta - A powerful earthquake which struck near the Talaud Islands north of Indonesia's Sulawesi island has damaged many buildings in the area, the meteorology agency said on Thursday.

The quake, at a shallow depth of about 10 km (6.2 miles), was felt strongly in the Talaud Islands, and followed by several aftershocks. A tsunami warning issued by the agency was later lifted.

Oktifar Tribandono, an official at the agency, said many houses in the area collapsed, and two churches were damaged, but so far there have been no reports of casualties. The area lies in an agricultural belt and is sparsely populated.

The U.S. Geographical Survey initially put the quake at a magnitude of 7.5 magnitude, although later lowered its estimate to 7.0.

A reporter for Indonesia's state radio station in the town of Tahuna said frightened people had rushed out of their homes after the strong quake on the islands bordering the Celebes Sea.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake Fiji


Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 13:52:43 UTC

Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 01:52:43 AM at epicenter

Location 16.211°S, 178.316°E

Depth 21.8 km (13.5 miles) (poorly constrained)

Distances 115 km (70 miles) W of Lambasa, Vanua Levu, Fiji

215 km (130 miles) N of SUVA, Viti Levu, Fiji

430 km (270 miles) SSE of Rotuma Island, Fiji

2310 km (1440 miles) N of Auckland, New Zealand

Bizarro Earth

9 missing after mudslide, flooding in Argentine town

© AFPStrong rains and winds resulted in the Tartagal river breaking its banks, knocking aside trees, cars, houses, shops and even the 100-year-old rail bridge.

Buenos Aires - Nine people were missing in northern Argentina Tuesday after a mudslide and flooding that swept up a railway bridge and dozens of houses and vehicles, officials said.

Some 1,200 people had been evacuated Monday, before the storm which provoked the disaster struck the town of Tartagal. A third of the community's 60,000 residents were said to have been affected by the emergency.

Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo, who gave the figures, said after visiting the zone: "This is the worst tragedy ever to have struck Tartagal."


Wagging the "Fat Tail" of Climate Catastrophe

How much should we pay to avoid the tiny risk of total destruction?

How much should we pay to prevent the tiny probability of human civilization collapsing? That is the question at the center of an esoteric debate over the application of cost-benefit analysis to man-made climate change. Harvard University economist Martin Weitzman raised the issue by putting forth a Dismal Theorem arguing that some consequences, however unlikely, would be so disastrous that cost-benefit analysis should not apply.


Australia: Shark attacks Navy diver in Sydney Harbour

Navy Seal Gets Bitten 1
© Defence DepartmentAttacked: Clearance diver Paul Degelder fought off the shark this morning
A Navy diver has undergone emergency surgery after fighting off a shark off Woolloomooloo in Sydney Harbour this morning.

The 31-year-old was brought to St Vincent's Hospital in a critical condition about 7:00am (AEDT), with severe injuries to his right hand and right thigh. The hospital has not confirmed reports that the man lost his hand. It says he is in a serious but stable condition in intensive care.

The Navy says the specialist clearance diver was rushed to hospital from Woolloomooloo Bay, in Sydney's inner east, after being bitten off the naval base at Garden Island.

Bad Guys

Moderate quake hits eastern Indonesia

Jakarta -- An earthquake with magnitude of 5.4 rocked eastern parts of Indonesia on Tuesday, meteorology agency said here.

The quake struck in the morning and at epicenter at 103 kilometers northwest Ternate of North Mauku province and at 99 kilometers in depth.

There was no report of damage or casualty.

Bizarro Earth

NASA's Terra Captures Australia's Forest Fire Horror From Orbit

© NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, MODIS Rapid Response Team.

Bushfires in southeastern Australia turned deadly over the first weekend of February 2009. Out-of-control fires raced into small communities and towns in Victoria, and more than 100 people had died as of February 9, according to news reports.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News) reported that many of those who died had remained to protect their homes.

Among the most devastated communities were those in the Kinglake area and Marysville. As of February 9, firefighters were expressing concern about the increased activity of the fire around the town of Dederang, southwest of Lake Hume.

Bad Guys

Small quake strikes Mexicali, Mexico

A small earthquake has struck the sprawling border city of Mexicali, Mexico. There are no immediate reports of injury or damages.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the magnitude-3.7 quake struck nine miles southwest of Mexicali shortly before 2 p.m. today.