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Thu, 27 Feb 2020
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Earth Changes


Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupts, spewing ash 6,500 feet high

Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi
Mount Merapi, Indonesia's most active volcano, erupted early Thursday morning, spewing an ash column around 6,500 feet in the air. Disaster management authorities are warning tourists and locals to stay outside a nearly two-mile radius from the peak of the volcano.

The volcano which rises to 9,550 feet above sea level, is located at the border between Yogyakarta and Central Java (home to Indonesia's capital Jakarta). It erupted at 5:16 a.m. local time, which lasted for around 150 seconds, according to a statement by Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).

Volcanic material was reported to have spewed over a 0.62-mile radius, pouring ash rain over various villages around 6.2 miles south of the volcano, according to a statement by Hanik Humaida, the head of the Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG).

Arrow Down

Giant unexplained sinkhole continues to enlarge in Westonaria, South Africa

The sinkhole is less than 80 metres away from houses in the area.
© Tumi Riba
The sinkhole is less than 80 metres away from houses in the area.
A huge sinkhole in an open veld near Davies Street in Westonaria has the town talking - especially those who live nearby.

One of the residents, 85-year-old Pat Markotter is one of those who are concerned about the dangers it poses.

"I took photo a while ago when it was much smaller. Look at it now, it has grown bigger. Two trees have already fallen in; this really poses a serious danger to everyone near it," he said.

Watch the following video of the sinkhole taken recently.


Horse rescued from sinkhole in Maury County, Tennessee

Firefighters in Tennessee said they used heavy equipment to dig a path to safety for a horse that fell into a sinkhole.

The Maury County Fire Department said crews responded alongside personnel from the Maury County Office of Emergency Management, Maury County Animal Control and the Spring Hill Fire Department when the horse was found in the sinkhole Tuesday on Forest Ridge Trail.


7.0 - magnitude earthquake hits Kuril Islands near Japan

quake j
According to Japan's Meteorological Agency, the epicentre of the quake was located at a depth of 160 kilometres to the south of Iturup island.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit north-eastern Japan, affecting the islands of Hokkaido and the northern part of the Honshu island, the country's meteorological agency said.

It added that the epicentre of the quake was located at a depth of 160 kilometres. No tsunami alert has been issued.

No damage has so far been reported.

The quake was felt even in Tokyo. According to Japan's seven-grade scale of earthquake intensity, the Hokkaido island was hit by a 4-magnitude quake, while on Tokyo it was measured only at one.


Severe snowstorm kills 7, injures 80 in northern Iran

Severe snowstorms in northern Gilan province, which in some areas have reached a thickness of over two meters, have killed 7 and injured about 80 people

Severe snowstorms in northern Gilan province, which in some areas have reached a thickness of over two meters, have killed 7 and injured about 80 people, IRINN reported on Wednesday.
Electricity had cut off in 250,000 households, but it has so far connected for 85,000 ones, Gilan Governor General Arsalan Zare'e said, adding, water disruption for 6,000 households of a total of 12,000 ones has so far been resolved.

Zare'e also announced the emergency resettlement of 1,630 people and the release of more than 500 cars caught in the snow, pointing out that power outages had cut off internet for 50 percent of subscribers, especially in rural areas.

All schools and universities in the province have also been closed.

Comment: Earlier this week Baghdad, capital of neighbouring Iraq, received ultra-rare snow - only its second snowfall in a century.


Snow pack in Shuswap, British Columbia reached 130% of normal by end of January

Snow pack
Flooding may be in the future as snow continues to accumulate to historic levels

Snow packs in the mountains of the Shuswap are well above normal for this time of year and have reached levels that might herald spring flooding.

According to a Feb. 1 report published by the BC River Forecast Centre, snow pack in the South Thompson basin which includes the Shuswap is at 130 per cent of normal levels. The Okanagan and Boundary basins to the south also have deep snow packs; they sit at 129 and 128 per cent respectively.


4 dead mel­on-head­ed whales wash up in Trinidad

Eric Lewis, curator of the Moruga museum, stands next to a dead whale which washed up at the La Lune beach in Moruga yesterday.

Eric Lewis, curator of the Moruga museum, stands next to a dead whale which washed up at the La Lune beach in Moruga yesterday.
A fourth whale beached at La Lune Beach yes­ter­day. It was spot­ted on the shore­line around 6 am. Res­i­dents, game war­dens and the po­lice as­sist­ed in lift­ing the whale on­to the tray of a pick-up and trans­port­ing it to an­oth­er beach where it was guid­ed back out to sea.

Hours lat­er, at around 4 pm, two dead whales washed ashore at an­oth­er area of the beach. Then at around 12.30 pm, an­oth­er dead whale was spot­ted on the shore about a mile away from where the two oth­er whales beached. Moru­ga mu­se­um cu­ra­tor Er­ic Lewis has tak­en pos­ses­sion of the three car­cass­es.

What ex­act­ly is caus­ing the whales to die is not yet known, but the T&T Ma­rine Mam­mal Strand­ing Net­work (TTMM­SN) has warned mem­bers of the pub­lic not to touch the strand­ed ma­rine mam­mals. Vet­eri­nar­i­an Dr Wade Seuk­er­an said the TTMM­SN has re­spond­ed to re­ports of strand­ed mel­on-head­ed whales at var­i­ous coast­lines and necrop­sies per­formed on some of the whales re­vealed that they died from a dis­ease.


Man dies following attack by his own pit bull terrier in Plainfield, Illinois

The 25-year-old victim most seriously injured in Saturday night's dog attack has died, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said. The victim has been identified as Devin White, a resident of the 2000 block of Mystic Drive, Plainfield.

White was pronounced dead at 8:30 p.m. Monday night at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. White was first taken to AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet immediately following the attack, which occurred sometime before 9:15 p.m. Saturday in a home on the 22000 block of Judith Drive in Plainfield. He was transferred to Loyola very early Sunday morning.

The three other victims of the attack, a 52-year-old woman, 25-year-old woman and 19-year-old man, survived with non-life-threatening injuries. The reason why the pit bull, which White owned, attacked them is still unknown, according to police.


Heavy snowfall in Iran cuts off water and electricity for several areas

snow iran
Currently the water in 4 villages of Gilan province has been cut off due to heavy snowfall, and the electricity and landline of some households in Guilan are still cut off.

Additionally, Guilan residents and many travelers have had problems on the roads leading to the province.

Gilan Provincial Crisis Director General said heavy snowfall and heavy snowstorms have stopped traffic on Saravan highway for 2km.

Snowflake Cold

Record-breaking cold spell grips eastern Turkey

A snow ambulance carrying a pregnant woman to a hospital travels on a village road in Turkey
© AA Photo
A snow ambulance carrying a pregnant woman to a hospital travels on a village road in Turkey Feb. 9, 2020.
Winter takes its toll in Turkey's eastern regions which are usually the coldest parts of the country during the season. Yet, temperatures broke another record in 2020: Residents of Göle, a small town in the northeastern Ardahan province saw temperatures drop to minus 40 degrees on Sunday night. Göle had the unenviable record last year as well, at minus 32.5 degrees.

Freezing temperatures, accompanied by snowfall and blizzards, also cut off access to critical locations like an area in Van province's Çaldıran district where 13 migrants are believed missing. Search and rescue crews are already blocked by piles of snow in Van's Bahçesaray where 41 people were killed last week while one person is still missing due to two avalanches.

Van Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez says crews can only work in the area once the weather improves, noting another road connecting Van to its Çatak district was already closed due to avalanche risk. Bilmez told İhlas News Agency (İHA) on Monday that they received a tip-off that 13 illegal migrants died in a remote area of Çaldıran, near the border with Iran, but the area was inaccessible. "We had phone calls (from relatives of migrants) from Iran, Germany and (the Turkish city of) Diyarbakır, and these people are believed to have been frozen to death while crossing the border. Even if crews can reach the area, they cannot recover anyone because of storms and blizzards. The visibility is zero now," he said.

Bilmez said the only way to clear the roads and reach any stranded persons was for the blizzards to end. "Unfortunately, such cases of migrant deaths happen in the region. Last year, we found about 100 bodies and only after the snow thawed," he said. The governor says that although they were able to clear the snowed road, blizzards led to their closure almost as soon as the road was cleared. He also warns against the risk of avalanche, especially in Çatak district and urged the public in rural areas not to leave for towns or central Van.