Earth ChangesS

Life Preserver

Over 5,500 people pulled alive from rubble in quake-hit China

Over 5,500 people have been rescued from under rubble following a devastating earthquake that hit southwest China three days ago, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

The quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, was the worst to hit the country in more than three decades, and affected eight provinces, killing around 15,000 people and devastating buildings and infrastructure.

"Over 5,500 people had been pulled out alive from under rubble by 8:00 a.m. [midnight GMT] on Thursday," the agency quoted a police source as saying.

Some 25,000 people are believed to still be trapped under collapsed buildings.


Ants swarm over Houston area, fouling electronics

DALLAS - In what sounds like a really low-budget horror film, voracious swarming ants that apparently arrived in Texas aboard a cargo ship are invading homes and yards across the Houston area, shorting out electrical boxes and messing up computers.

©Associated Press / David J. Phillip
'Crazy rasberry ants' are shown Tuesday, May 13, 2008, in Deer Park, Texas. The ants are throwing off the balance of nature as they feast on beneficial insects, researchers say, noting that even the hatchlings of the endangered Attwater Prairie Chicken are at risk from these omnivores. They're invading homes and shorting out electrical boxes and electronics by getting their tiny bodies wedged into the intricate equipment.

The hairy, reddish-brown creatures are known as "crazy rasberry ants" - crazy, because they wander erratically instead of marching in regimented lines, and "rasberry" after Tom Rasberry, an exterminator who did battle against them early on.


Chile town closed for three months after volcano

SANTIAGO - The government on Wednesday declared the evacuated Chilean town of Chaiten off-limits for three months until it is no longer threatened by a cloud of hot ash from an erupting volcano.

The Chaiten volcano, six miles from the town that had been home to 4,500 people, started erupting on May 2 for the first time in thousands of years, spewing ash, gas and molten rock into the air.

A house is flooded by El Rio Blanco in Chaiten town May 12, 2008.

Cloud Lightning

Estimated 3.2 Million Burmese Potentially Affected By Cyclone

As many as 3.2 million Burmese are estimated to be affected by the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, according to geographic risk models developed by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Lehman College, CUNY. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the researchers calculated the likely distribution of the population of Burma (also known as Myanmar) and developed maps of the regions at greatest risk from the storm's effects.

Cyclone Nargis
©Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Cyclone Nargis: Affected areas and cyclone path.

Cloud Lightning

US: More rain, thunderstorms hitting soggy Louisiana

Shreveport - A line of drenching thunderstorms moved across the state from west to east Thursday after record rainfall caused flooding in water-logged parts of Louisiana.

Life Preserver

Chinese wonder if animals can predict earthquakes

Beijing - First, the water level in a pond inexplicably plunged. Then, thousands of toads appeared on streets in a nearby province. Finally, just hours before China's worst earthquake in three decades, animals at a local zoo began acting strangely.


Update: China quake death toll could reach 50,000

China earthquake victim
©Getty images
A rescue team attends to a quake victim at the Zipingpu Dam Wednesday.

China's state TV has said that the death toll from this week's massive earthquake could reach 50,000, news agencies have reported. The official death toll in southwestern China has now topped 19,500, Sichuan provincial government officials said Thursday, according to state-run media.

Bizarro Earth

Proof found of man-made climate change, Scientists fear public won't care after a comet falls on their head

Scientists have been able to say with virtual certainty for the first time that the climate change observed over the past four decades is man made and not the result of natural phenomena.


Etna volcano rumbles back to life in Sicily

Mount Etna

The Etna volcano in Sicily rumbled back to life on Tuesday with a "seismic event" followed by a burst of ash, volcanologists said three days after minor eruptions shook the cone.

A "seismic event provoking a strong explosion was recorded Tuesday at 0424 GMT (6:42 am local) in parts of the peak of the volcano," the National Geophysics and Vulcanology Institute in Sicily's Catania region said in a statement.

Cloud Lightning

Dozens die in Bangladesh ferry sinking during storm

Kishoreganji, Bangladesh - A crowded ferry sank during a tropical storm in northern Bangladesh, killing at least 36 people and leaving 50 more missing, officials said Tuesday.

The death toll from the accident late Monday could rise because some of those missing were feared trapped inside the sunken ferry, said local government administrator Sultan Ahmed.