Earth ChangesS


US: Fire burns 2,000 acres northeast of Los Angeles, California

Fire officials prepared late Sunday for rapid growth of a wildfire blazing 20 miles north of downtown with the expected arrival of strong, dry wind gusts overnight.


Trouble In The Pipeline For Grey Whales

The fate of the world's few remaining Western Grey Whales now rests on the outcome of appeals to Russian authorities and courts following the refusal of an oil consortium to consider alternatives to a proposal to lay an oil pipeline through a shallow lagoon crucial to the whales' food supplies.

Last month the Russian government ignored an outcry over project impacts on Piltun Lagoon to grant approval for the pipeline, part of the Sakhalin-1 project which includes oil giant Exxon and Russian, Japanese and Indian oil companies.

Only around 130 Western Gray Whales are left worldwide, including some 20 females able to reproduce. They gather in the seas around Sakhalin in Russia's far east for four months to feed and build up the fat to survive the rest of the year.

Piltun Lagoon produces organic matter crucial for benthos such as as sea stars, oysters, clams, sea cucumbers, brittle stars and sea anemones which form the Grey Whale's main food source.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.2 - Chuquisaca, Bolivia

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 6.2


* Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 20:55:42 UTC

Location 20.017°S, 64.939°W
Depth 356 km (221.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 100 km (60 miles) ESE of Potosi, Bolivia
115 km (70 miles) SSE of Sucre, Bolivia
165 km (105 miles) N of Tarija, Bolivia
515 km (320 miles) SE of LA PAZ, Bolivia
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 6.2 km (3.9 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST=265, Nph=265, Dmin=533.4 km, Rmss=0.86 sec, Gp= 58°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane Bears Down on Mexico's Baja California

Hurricane Norbert's winds strengthened to 165 kilometers (105 miles) per hour today as it continued on a track to strike Mexico's Baja California peninsula tomorrow. To the south, Tropical Storm Odile churned up Pacific waters off the Mexican coast.

Norbert, which again became a Category 2 hurricane after weakening yesterday, may produce a storm surge of as high as 1.5 meters (5 feet) when it makes landfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on its Web site. The system was 395 kilometers southwest of Baja California shortly before 5 p.m. Miami time, and moving north at about 17 kph.

Better Earth

Strong 6.1 quake shakes Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands: A strong earthquake jolted people awake Saturday in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and nearby Puerto Rico. There were no immediate reports of damages.

The magnitude 6.1 quake was the strongest to hit Puerto Rico in 20 years, according to Christa von Hillebrandt, director of the seismic network on the Mayaguez campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

Bizarro Earth

Deadly quake hits Russia

Twelve people have been killed and dozens seriously injured in Russia's Chechnya region in an earthquake which shook the Caucasus mountains.

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane Norbert lashes Mexico's Baja peninsula

Puerto San Carlos, Mexico -- Scores of people fled flooded homes Saturday as Hurricane Norbert lashed Mexico's southern Baja California peninsula with torrential rains and screaming winds.

Hurricane Norbert
© Guillermo Arias / Associated PressFishing boats are anchored under cloudy skies in Puerto San Carlos' dock as Hurricane Norbert approaches in Mexico's southern Baja California.
Norbert, with winds of up to 105 miles, was expected to hit land along a sparsely populated stretch north of the resort of Cabo San Lucas and then make a second landfall Saturday night in northwestern Mexico's mainland -- possibly as a hurricane, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Evil Rays

At least five dead as quake rattles Caucasus

A strong earthquake reverberated through the Caucasus mountains on Saturday, killing at least five people and disrupting power supplies in Russia's Chechnya region, reports said.

The quake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale according to Strasbourg observatory estimates, was felt in five regions of the Russian north Caucasus and neighbouring Georgia and Armenia.

The dead were found in Chechnya's east, four of them killed in the Kurchaloy district and the other in Gudermes, said Itar-Tass news agency, citing Chechen vice emergency situations minister, Akhmed Dzheirkhanov.

Bizarro Earth

Volcanic Eruptions More Complex And Harder To Predict

New research by a team of US and UK scientists into volcanoes has found that they function in a far more complex way than previously thought, making future eruptions even harder to predict.
© iStockphoto/Sean HannahPyroclastic flow across old city of Plymouth from the Soufrière Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean.

Although the Soufrière Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat exhibits cycles of eruption and quiet, the international team of researchers found that magma is continuously supplied from deep in the crust but that a valve acts below a shallower magma chamber, releasing lava to the surface periodically.

"Continuous records of surface deformation are available for only a few volcanoes," says Derek Elsworth, professor of energy and geo-environmental engineering, Penn State. "The Soufrière Hills volcano has been erupting since 1995 and provides a peek into the processes occurring deep beneath this stratovolcano."

Stratovolcanoes are one of the most common forms of volcano on Earth. They are cone-shaped with steep sides created by episodic eruptions of magma that flow down from the cone a short way and create layer upon layer of volcanic material.


Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'


Rainforest in Kakum National Park, Ghana
Losses are great, and continuous, says the report
Barcelona - The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.