Earth ChangesS


Earthquake, Aftershock Strike Near Devore, CA

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake and a 3.9 aftershock struck an area just southeast of Devore in San Bernardino County tonight, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The initial earthquake occurred at 11:11 p.m. two miles southeast of Devore, about 50 miles northeast of the downtown Los Angeles.


Tsunami warning lifted after strong Indonesia quake

An strong undersea earthquake on Thursday off central Indonesia's Nusa Tenggara island chain sparked panic and prompted a brief tsunami warning, but there were no reports of casualties or major damage.

The quake struck near Sumbawa island at a depth of 19 km (11 miles), Fauzi, head of seismology at Indonesia's meteorological and geophysics agency, told Reuters.

"We have cancelled the warning. The quake had no tsunami potential," Sri Woro, the head of the agency, told Reuters.

Residents in Raba town on Sumbawa island said the quake sparked panic but no damage was reported.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills 7 in southwest China village

A lightning strike killed seven students and injured 30 others in a village school on Wednesday afternoon in southwest China, said local authorities.

The lightning struck the school while children were attending class at around 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, in a primary school in Xingye Village, Kaixian County of Chongqing Municipality, said officials.


Weird Weather Continues in Rockies

Don't set the holiday picnic table just yet. You might need to clear some snow first.

Comment: For more information on the weather see this article.


Early arrival of butterflies demonstrates impact of climate change

Britain's astounding April, the warmest on record, has produced an astounding effect in the natural world, with at least 11 species of butterfly making their earliest recorded appearances this spring in what will be seen as the most remarkable demonstration yet of the effects of climate change on Britain's wildlife.


Ferocious Insects Devour Fish

Once the bugs locate prey, they stun it with a bite. "It's much, much worse than a bee or wasp sting," Sites said. "I was bitten in the pad of my little finger, and I felt intense pain all the way to my elbow for a good 30 minutes."

After the prey is stunned, the predatory insects whip a straw-like appendage out and pump toxins into their meal, liquefying it from the inside-out. "After that, they suck out the juice," Sites said.

Cloud Lightning

Snow kidding! Weather wacky

The southwestern mountains of Colorado are under a snow advisory, with up to 8 inches of accumulation possible by early evening.

A freeze watch is in effect for tonight in the San Luis Valley region and much of southeastern Colorado is under a flash flood watch.


Indian tiger numbers far lower than thought-experts

Disappearing tigers:

©Signs of the Times
Disappearing tigers

Early results from a tiger census in India indicate the population of the endangered big cats is drastically lower than previously assumed, wildlife experts and conservationists said on Wednesday.

Better Earth

Australia: Murray-Darling Rivers plan 'dead in the water'

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks says the proposed $10 billion federal takeover of the Murray-Darling basin is back to square one.

Mr Bracks has written to Prime Minister John Howard rejecting the second draft of the legislation.

He says the Federal Government had indicated it would no longer seek total control of the basin, but the new legislation still demands the states refer all their powers to the Commonwealth.

Comment: Could Australia be used as a "test lab" for USA water policy?


Sex-Changing Chemicals Can Wipe Out Fish, Study Shows

Tiny amounts of the estrogen used in birth control pills can cause wild fish populations to collapse, according to a new study.

The finding raises concern about even low levels of estrogen in municipal wastewater, said study leader Karen Kidd, a biologist with the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick.

"Women excrete estrogen naturally, and women on birth control pills also secrete the synthetic estrogen in those pills," she explained.

"And these estrogens, depending on the level of wastewater treatment, may not be completely broken down during sewage treatment, so they get discharged into rivers and streams."

Male fish exposed to the hormone become feminized - they produce the same proteins that female fish do to develop eggs. Some males even develop eggs in their testes.

"It doesn't take a lot of estrogen to feminize male fish and, based on the results of our experiment, to impact fish populations," Kidd said. (Learn more about freshwater pollution.)