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Thu, 17 Oct 2019
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Methane gas leak responsible for Sago Mine Blast

Within hours of the Jan. 2 explosion at the Sago Mine that trapped and killed 12 men, some already believed lightning was the likely cause.

Powerful bolts had peppered nearby Buckhannon that morning, some striking close to the underground coal mine where two 13-man crews were just starting the day shift.

Two-and-a-half months later, the mine's owner said Tuesday it has evidence to prove the theory. Although it cannot fully explain how, International Coal Group Inc. officials said they believe electricity from above found some conduit into the earth, sparking methane gas that had accumulated in a worked-out, sealed-off chamber.

Bomb

Canadian miners safely above ground after fire

TORONTO - A group of Canadian miners, trapped by a fire in a potash mine for 24 hours in central Canada, were finally brought to the surface after the mine was cleared of fire and smoke, a mine official said on Monday.

The fire, which broke out at 3 a.m. Central Standard Time early on Sunday at the mine in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, had forced 70 miners to rush to safety in emergency refuge rooms.

Comment: Comment: Another mine accident...


Cloud Lightning

Crews Rush to Reach Trapped West Virginia Miners

Tallmansville - A coal mine explosion that may have been sparked by lightning trapped 13 miners 260 feet below ground Monday, and rescuers went in to find them after waiting almost 12 agonizing hours for dangerous gases to clear.

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Shifting Wind Worries Texas Firefighters

Firefighters said they were making progress Tuesday against a string of wildfires ravaging the dry Texas grassland, but the good news was tempered by a threat of shifting winds and the distress of evacuees returning to charred homes.

Wind-blown flames have raced across more than 1,000 square miles since Sunday, killed 11 people and forced about 1,900 others to evacuate.

Meteor

Comet dust build-up? South Korea gets rare yellow snowfall

Seoul - South Koreans were treated to a rare weather phenomenon on Monday when yellow snow fell in the capital and elsewhere across the country.

But the snow -- containing dust or sand from the desert regions of northern China -- could pose a health hazard, the country's meteorological office warned.

"It's tough to say whether it's yellow sand mixed in snow or if it's snow mixed in yellow sand," a met official told Reuters.

A high concentration of the dust particles prompted the weather bureau to issue a yellow dust warning for the second time in three days.

South Korea frequently gets sand or dust storms, but a yellow snow storm is very rare.

Cloud Lightning

Freak Wind: 'It's a miracle no one got killed'

NANAKULI - A freak gust of wind sent 13 utility poles crashing onto Farrington Highway yesterday, trapping motorists under live power lines but causing no serious injuries.

The huge wooden poles splintered in two about 1 p.m., some crushing cars, and fell across all four lanes of the highway in what many said looked like a hurricane scene - or a disaster movie.

"This was a cross between 'War of the Worlds' and 'Earthquake,' " said Bernie Baker, contest director for the Triple Crown of Surfing who had been at the Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic in Makaha.

Ice Cube

Survival Dance: How Humans Waltzed Through the Ice Age

Some people are naturally graceful on the dance floor, while others seem burdened by two inept left feet. Blame it on the Ice Age.

According to new research, the ability to dance may have been a factor in survival for our prehistoric ancestors, who used their moves to bond and communicate with each other when times were tough.

A study published in a recent issue of the Public Library of Science's genetics journal, suggests that, as a result, today's creative dancers actually share two specific genes. Both genes are associated with a predisposition for being good social communicators.

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Tornado Season Off to Roaring Start

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -Swarms of tornadoes killed at least 10 people across the Midwest, shut down the University of Kansas and damaged so much of Springfield on Monday that the mayor said "every square inch'' of town suffered some effects.

The violent weather started during the weekend with a line of storms that spawned tornadoes and downpours from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley.

On Monday, a second line of storms raked the region, with rain, hail and fierce wind tearing up trees and homes from Kansas through Indiana, and blizzards to the north cutting off power to thousands and shutting down schools in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Scientist Reading the Leaves to Predict Violent Weather

When meteorologist Edward Lorenz set up his computer to model the weather in 1960, he had no idea what a complex problem he was taking on. After a while, he realized that any small change in the starting conditions of his program had a huge impact on the outcome of his experiment and in predicting the weather.

Popularly called the butterfly effect, this aspect of chaos theory made Lorenz and others realize that predicting weather with pinpoint accuracy will never be possible.

But scientists are getting closer.

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100 twisters across 5 states

SEDALIA, Missouri - The frozen chicken that Joy Rank had been thawing for dinner was still soaking the next morning in a sink full of water -- a meal abandoned when Rank watched a scene of terror unfold outside her kitchen window.

A tornado tore through the mobile home park she co-owns Sunday night, flipping over one of six occupied homes and killing a 39-year-old woman inside.

"There's not a lot of damage to the homes people live in," Rank said Monday, crying while sipping coffee in the dim candlelight of her kitchen. But "it really bothered me that a girl had to lose her life."

Early reports show more than 100 twisters touched down in a weekend wave that stretched across five states, from Oklahoma to Illinois. Nine of the ten dead were in Missouri.

"It's just amazing how devastating it is," said Mayor Tim Davlin of the Illinois capital of Springfield. "It looks like the pictures we saw a couple months ago after Katrina."

The violent weather was driven by a powerful low-pressure system over the Midwest that pulled warm air out of the Gulf of Mexico. The same phenomenon caused powerful winds that drove deadly wildfires across Texas over the weekend.