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Tue, 18 Jan 2022
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Bizarro Earth

Strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

A strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Wednesday morning, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties on the ground.

The quake hit at 9:28 am (2328 GMT Tuesday) with an epicentre 117 kilometres (73 miles) south-southwest of Rabaul, which sits at the northern tip of the island of New Britain, at a depth of 47 kilometres, the USGS said.

Residents of Rabaul felt the tremor but there were no reports of damage, according to PNG's earthquake authority.

Attention

Large California earthquake may be on the way

The CEPEC believes that there is a 1% to 5% chance of a large earthquake (magnitude 7.0 or greater) on the San Andreas Fault over the next few days.

The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) issued a warning to operational Red Cross areas throughout the state yesterday after a 4.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred three miles south of Bombay Beach, Imperial County at 4:55 am. Although there were no damages or injuries reported as a result of this event, The U.S. Geological Survey has been tracking an "unusual sequence" of over 50 aftershocks, that have been clustered about 1 to 3 kilometers southwest of a projected extension of the San Andreas Fault, in the Salton Sea area. The majority of the magnitudes have been less than 2.5, although ABC has reported magnitudes as high as 3.5. Cal EMA recommended to the Red Cross that operational areas reach out to raise awareness of the events, and "ensure the readiness of systems essential to emergency operations".

Frog

New species found in Papua-New Guinea

new species
© REUTERS/Steve Richards/Conservation International/Handout
A Litoria frog, which uses a loud ringing song to call for a mate, was discovered in a rainforest during a Conservation International (CI) led Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) expedition of Papua New Guinea's highlands wilderness in 2008 is pictured in this undated handout photo.

Jumping spiders, a striped gecko and a chirping frog are among more than 50 new species discovered in Papua-New Guinea, the environmental group Conservation International reported on Tuesday.

The creatures were found during an expedition in July and August in Papua-New Guinea's highlands wilderness, the group said in a statement.

A total of 50 spider species, two plants, three frogs and one gecko found on the expedition are believed to be new to science.

The three frogs include a tiny brown frog with a sharp chirping call, a bright green tree frog with big eyes and a torrent-dwelling frog that has a loud ringing call.

Bizarro Earth

Rotation is Key to Understanding Volcanic Plumes

Rotation
© UPI/Landov
In 2008, the Mount Chaiten eruption in southern Chile showed what appeared to be a volcanic plume wrapped in a sheath of lightning.
A 200-year-old report by a sea captain and a stunning photograph of the 2008 eruption of Mount Chaiten are helping scientists at the University of Illinois better understand strong volcanic plumes.

in a paper to appear in the March 26 issue of the journal Nature, the scientists show that the spontaneous formation of a "volcanic mesocyclone" - a cyclonically rotating columnar vortex - causes the volcanic plume to rotate about its axis. The rotation, in turn, triggers a sheath of lightning and creates waterspouts or dust devils. The origins of these volcanic phenomena were previously unexplained.

"Rotation is an essential element of a strong volcanic plume," said Pinaki Chakraborty, a postdoctoral researcher and the paper's lead author. "By taking into account the rotation, we can better predict the effects of volcanic eruptions."

Camera

Monster croc at popular Northern Territory tourist spot - photographed

moster croc
© Brian Hammond
Fancy a dip? ... the monster croc is believed to be at least 4.5m long.
A monster croc believed to be at least 4.5m long has been spotted lurking near a walkway at a popular Northern Territory tourist reserve.

Brian Hannond, 66, managed to photograph the beast at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve - about 70km southeast of Darwin, reports the Northern Territory News.

Mr Hannond, of Stuart Park, said the saltie was sitting only two metres from where he stopped his car.

"I've never ever seen a croc that size out of the water," he said.

"I didn't get out of the car. But to sit there that close you know why you wouldn't have a chance in the world against him. It's the ultimate killing machine.

"He would be the king of the swamp out there."


Bell

El Nino study challenges global warming intensity link

Singapore - Research showing an El Nino event in 1918 was far stronger than previously thought is challenging the notion climate change is making El Nino episodes more intense, a U.S. scientist said on Tuesday.

El Nino causes global climate chaos such as droughts and floods. The events of 1982/83 and 1997/98 were the strongest of the 20th Century, causing loss of life and economic havoc through lost crops and damage to infrastructure.

But Ben Giese of Texas A&M University said complex computer modelling showed the 1918 El Nino event was almost as strong and occurred before there was much global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels or widespread deforestation.

The outcome of the research was valuable for several reasons, Giese told Reuters from Perth in Western Australia.

"It questions the notion that El Ninos have been getting stronger because of global warming," he said ahead of a presentation of his team's research at a major climate change conference in Perth.

The 1918 event also coincided with one of India's worst droughts of the 20th century.

Info

People still being sacrificed to climate god

Back in 1500, we learn from a Princeton professor, the Aztecs figured the climate debate was over, and that if you wanted rain or sunshine, it was simple enough what you had to do - sacrifice 20,000 lives a year to the right gods.

In 2009, it's an equally sure thing in the minds of some that carbon in the air is going to fry us unless we put the welfare of millions on the line, and here is the latest on President Obama's plan - it could cost industry $2 trillion over eight years.

That hefty sum to be paid out to a cap-and-trade carbon tax would snatch money from consumers far more than rising oil prices did, hinder economic growth and in still other ways generate human misery, and all in the name of what? Computer models that can't get anything right, that's what.

Igloo

US: Blizzard whips northern Plains; travel difficult

spring blizzard US plains
© The Scottsbluff Star-Herald / Rick Myers
Lady Liberty stands tall in a Gering park as a blizzard rages around her early Tuesday, March 24, 2009, in Gering, Nebraska.

Omaha, Nebraska - Wind-blown snow whipped across the northern Plains on Tuesday, closing major highways, as a powerful storm stalled over western Nebraska and South Dakota.

In neighboring Montana, the Army National Guard dispatched two helicopters to help locate motorists stranded by a snowstorm in southeastern part of the state.

"We do know we have some motorists out there, but we don't know where. So we have a serious situation," Charity Watt Levis, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Transportation, told The Associated Press.

Nearly 2 feet of snow had piled up in South Dakota's rugged Black Hills, and the storm system also had generated tornadoes.

The blowing snow cut visibility and piled up in drifts as much as 4 feet high in parts of Wyoming.

"We have wind gusts to 62 mph at Valentine this morning," said National Weather Service meteorologist Clifford Cole in North Platte, Nebraska.

Phoenix

New tremors at Alaska volcano spewing ash into sky

Anchorage - New tremors at Alaska's Mount Redoubt are prompting speculation that the volcano could be in a phase that will lead to more instability. The 10,200-foot volcano erupted six times Sunday and Monday, spewing clouds of gritty ash high into the sky.

A volcanologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory said Tuesday that Redoubt was exhibiting activity that could indicate it is creating a formation called a lava dome.

Volcanologist Peter Cervelli said such a formation can collapse, creating more ash plumes and mudflows.

Phoenix

Oil terminal a concern as Alaska volcano rumbles

Anchorage - An Alaska volcano continued to rumble Tuesday amid new concerns that eruptions and mud flows will damage a nearby oil terminal where about 6 million gallons of crude are stored. The 10,200-foot Mount Redoubt volcano, about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, erupted Sunday night. Since then there have been five more explosions; the latest, on Monday night, shot an ash plume into the air that was 40,000 to 50,000 feet high.

The volcano has been relatively quiet since, but that is not expected to continue, said Stephanie Prejean, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. The last time Redoubt erupted was in 1989, when there were more than 20 explosions as magma pushed to the surface and formed domes that later collapsed and sent ash plumes into the air.