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Bizarro Earth

Fearful Aceh Islanders Tell of Massive Sea Change in the Wake of Earthquake

Banda - Local residents claim the seabed near Banyak Island in Aceh Singkil district, Aceh, has risen dramatically since the 7.2-magnitude earthquake on April 7.

They also say they have seen an undersea fissure spewing out mud and rocks. But experts are not so sure about the supposed geological phenomenon.

Banyak islander Mufliadi told the Jakarta Globe the phenomenon was first noted on Tuesday by fisherman Ruslan, who had been trawling for sea cucumbers in the Gosong Turak waters around Pailana Island, just off Banyak.

"He was shocked and came back to tell us what he'd seen because the site is a prime fishing spot for the local fisherman," Mufliadi said on Thursday.

Ruslan had been shocked to find layer upon layer of rocks and no fish in the area. The fisherman also reported a 10-meter-long fissure shaped like a frying pan.

Before the quake, the water in Gosong Turak had been 20 to 30 meters deep but now was just five meters, he said.

On Wednesday, hundreds of villagers dove into the water to see the change for themselves and take rock samples.

"The black rocks were the size of a person's head, and crumbled easily," Mufliadi said. "When we burned the rocks, a very strong odor was emitted."


Volcanic Sunset Alert

© Anthony Ayiomamitis
Northeastern outskirts of Athens, Greece
A cloud of ash from the Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano is drifting across Europe today. This has caused a massive disruption in air travel, as many countries have grounded their planes. On the bright side, the cloud is causing sunsets of rare beauty. Europeans should look west at the end of the day.

Bizarro Earth

US: Shallow Earthquake Magnitude 4.9 - Utah

Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 23:59:38 UTC

Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 05:59:38 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

41.703°N, 111.104°W

0.5 km (~0.3 mile) (poorly constrained)


8 km (5 miles) ENE (57°) from Randolph, UT

21 km (13 miles) NNE (13°) from Woodruff, UT

23 km (14 miles) SE (127°) from Laketown, UT

50 km (31 miles) NNW (347°) from Evanston, WY

124 km (77 miles) NNE (32°) from Salt Lake City, UT

Comment: According to USGS, there were a number of earthquakes in close proximity to this one and all at shallow depths.

Bizarro Earth

Update: Giant Ash Cloud Disrupts Flights Across Europe

Ash Cover
© Spiegel Online
Estimated coverage of ash plume across Europe, with flights, at 4 p.m. CET
An enormous plume of volcanic ash, invisible from the ground, has traveled from Iceland to northern Europe and grounded commercial air travel from Scandinavia and Britain to Belgium. Thousands of flights have been cancelled. Problems are expected through the weekend, and Germany hasn't been spared.

The Netherlands-based European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, or Eurocontrol, says the flight cancellations represent the most serious interruption of plane traffic in the history of air travel. Because of a massive ash plume from a volcano under the Iclandic glacier of Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted Wednesday, around one-quarter of all flights in Europe have been cancelled.

Some 28,000 flights depart daily from European airports. Eurocontrol estimates that air traffic will be affected for another 48 hours.

On Thursday afternoon airspace over Iceland, Great Britain, Ireland and several Scandinavian countries was fully closed. Air traffic over Belgium and the Netherlands has also been reduced and was expected to stop completely between 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Flights over the Atlantic have been re-routed to the south in order to avoid the plume.

So far German air traffic is unimpaired, according to Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister for Transport. Closing German airspace is not expected to be necessary, and any important measures for German flights will be announced over a weather warning system.


Climategate: CRU whiter than - er - whitewash, as world laughs at AGW scam apologists

© Ramirez
Well, we all knew it would be a second whitewash of CRU and its climate alarmist pseudo-data; but even the most hard-headed sceptics among us probably thought that Lord Oxburgh's inquiry would be a tad more sophisticated in its brushwork, that it would make some effort to persuade rather than patronise, that its bland conclusions would be a little less blatant and in-your-face.

Not so. If you want incontrovertible evidence that it is business as usual for the arrogant academic establishment, today has provided it. In the popular jargon, they still don't get it. They imagine the AGW scam will go on forever, along with all the other lies with which the political class deluges the public. This effort is too sloppy really to merit the term whitewash: the sceptical graffiti are still clearly visible through the transparent white coating.

"We found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention," said Oxburgh. I love that. It paints a moving (in the way a Disney animated cartoon is tear-jerking) picture of some loveable boffins, unversed in the ways of the world, being dragged out, blinking, into the glare of publicity, like embarrassed lottery winners. All it needs is Snow White. Here were we thinking that Phil Jones was a ruthless manipulator blocking the publication of colleagues' sceptical views, but he turns out to be Susan Boyle in a white coat.


British police employ "experts in extremism" to investigate anyone who sought CRU data


Thou shalt not ask questions
Police are investigating anyone who requested information from the university department at the centre of the 'climategate' scandal.

Norfolk Constabulary is trying to work out who stole thousands of emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia at the end of last year.

The emails, that were posted on the internet, appear to show scientists were unwilling to reveal data on global warming and led to an international scandal known as 'climategate'.

Already prominent climate change sceptics around the world have been questioned and members of staff at the university, but is has now emerged that ordinary members of the public who did nothing more than request information are also being targeted.

Sebastian Nokes, a businessman and climate change sceptic, wrote to a national newspaper to complain.


New satellite image of volcanic ash cloud

This image, acquired today by ESA's Envisat satellite, shows the vast cloud of volcanic ash sweeping across the UK from the eruption in Iceland, more than 1000 km away.

Carried by winds high up in the atmosphere, the cloud of ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier in southwest Iceland has led to the closure of airports throughout the UK and Scandinavia, with further disruption in northern Europe expected later today. The ash, which can be seen as the large grey streak in the image, is drifting from west to east at a height of about 11 km above the surface Earth. It poses a serious danger to aircraft engines; hence the airspace shut down.

No Entry

U.S. Airlines Cancel Europe Flights

© NEODAAS/University of Dundee/PA
An image from Nasa's Terra satellite shows the volcanic ash plume travelling from Iceland to the north of the UK
Americans flying to Europe on Thursday are in for some bumps in their itineraries as clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland close airspace in parts of Europe.

The United Kingdom's airspace was closed about noon Thursday (7 a.m. ET) and will be closed until at least 7 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) Friday, air traffic authorities said. Delta Air Lines has suspended service into and out of the UK for the rest of Thursday, spokesman Anthony Black said.

"At this point, it's only the UK (other flights have departed/arrived for the day). We will automatically rebook any cancelled flights. We are waiting to hear additional info from European air traffic controllers before we make any other adjustments," Black said in an e-mail.

Refunds will be available for Delta flights that are canceled or significantly delayed. The airline also will allow travelers to make a one-time change to tickets to or from London and Amsterdam free of charge for travel scheduled through April 18, according to its Web site. Rescheduled flights must originate no later than May 31.

Cloud Lightning

Canada: Spring storm slams central Alberta with snow and ice

© RCMP Innisfail
A collision on Highway 2 near Carstairs on April 8, 2010.
Edmonton - A spring storm that left roads slick with ice and caused major traffic tie-ups and road closures on provincial highways Thursday night forced the City of Edmonton to send 40 sanding crews onto city streets to bring roads up to good driving conditions.

Alberta Motor Association road report co-ordinator Terry Clovechok said the storm hit central Alberta particularly hard. On the Queen Elizabeth 2 Highway, there was a 54-car pileup near the Olds overpass. Also on the QEII, a tanker truck full of propane that overturned near the Highway 72 overpass, forced the highway to be closed for several hours overnight.

Clovechok said the spring snow storm had a major impact on driving conditions.

"Visibility is greatly affected, and when the snow hits the ground, because of the temperatures, it just forms into ice," Clovechok said. "You have a combination of zero visibility, icy roads, people slowing down, or maybe not slowing down, and the collisions result. You have big trucks, little cars - it's not a good combination."


Bodies piling up "like a hill" after China quake

© Associated Press
Rescuers search for survivors in the ruins after an earthquake at Jiegu township in Yushu county, western China's Qinghai province, Wednesday, April 14.
Rescuers fight freezing temperatures and altitude sickness to find survivors

Jiegu, China - Rescue teams fought gusty winds and altitude sickness Thursday as survivors faced a second night outside in freezing weather after strong earthquakes left more than 600 dead and 9,000 hurt in a mountainous Tibetan area of western China.

Rescuers, tired from the high winds and thin oxygen, pulled survivors and more bodies from the pulverized remains of the town flattened by Wednesday's quakes, the largest of which was magnitude 6.9. About 15,000 houses have collapsed.

"We've seen too many bodies and now they're trying to deal with them. The bodies are piled up like a hill. You can see bodies with broken arms and legs and it breaks your heart," said Dawa Cairen, a Tibetan who works for the Christian group the Amity Foundation and was helping in rescue efforts. "You can see a lot of blood. It's flowing like a river."

Grim pictures emerged from several collapsed schools that were the focus of early rescue efforts. Footage on state television and photos posted online showed bodies laid out near the rubble, and the Xinhua News Agency quoted a local education official as saying 66 children and 10 teachers had died, mostly in three schools.