Earth ChangesS


Legless Lizard And Tiny Woodpecker Among New Species Discovered In Brazil

Researchers discovered a legless lizard and a tiny woodpecker along with 12 other suspected new species in Brazil's Cerrado, one of the world's 34 biodiversity conservation hotspots.

species of lizard of the genus Bachia
©CI/Cristiano Nogueira
This species of lizard of the genus Bachia is one of the new species discovered during the expedition. Although there are other species of the genus in the Cerrado (almost all discovered and described only recently), this new species has only been recorded in the Ecological Station. The absence of legs and the sharply pointed snout help in locomotion over the surface layer of sandy soil, predominating in all the Jalapao, formed by the natural erosion of the escarpments of the Serra Geral plateaus.

The Cerrado's wooded grassland once covered an area half the size of Europe, but is now being converted to cropland and ranchland at twice the rate of the neighboring Amazon rainforest, resulting in the loss of native vegetation and unique species.


Japan: Fairly strong earthquake jolts southern Hokkaido, northern Aomori

A fairly strong earthquake jolted southern Hokkaido and northern Aomori Prefecture Tuesday afternoon, the Meteorological Agency said.

There was no report of casualties or damage to property, police said. No tsunami warning was issued following the quake.

Cloud Lightning

Storm brewing for William Gray - Will University Silence Him?

By pioneering the science of seasonal hurricane forecasting and teaching 70 graduate students who now populate the National Hurricane Center and other research outposts, William Gray turned a city far from the stormy seas into a hurricane research mecca.

Dr. William Gray
©Associated Press
Dr. William Gray, a top hurricane researcher, questions the impact of global warming on Earth's climate


"Extinct" Plants Discovered Blooming in Australia

Extinct plants
©Bruce Wannan (left) and Paul Forster (right), courtesy Queensland Herbarium, Environmental Protection Agency.
Two supposedly extinct plants - the pink-flowered mint Teucrium ajugaceum, (left) and Rhaphidospora cavernarum, (right) - have been rediscovered on a peninsula in northern Australia, scientists announced recently.

Two woodland plants long thought extinct have reappeared in far northern Australia, experts announced recently.

Teucrium ajugaceum, a pink-flowered mint that lives in eucalypt woodlands, had not been seen since 1891 and was listed as extinct in 1992.

Rhaphidospora cavernarum, not seen since 1873, also frequents eucalypt forests. Though it grows to almost 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and boasts white and purple flowers, the plant had somehow evaded surveyors until now.

Cloud Lightning

US: 200 Injured in Virginia Storms

Virginia tornado
©Mandana Marsh/Progress-Index, Associated Press
A firefighter checks inside cars in Colonial Heights, Va.

Houses were flattened and cars were thrown against buildings when tornadoes ripped across central and southeast Virginia on Monday, injuring more than 200.

Bizarro Earth

Australia: Homes evacuated after ground collapse

A number of homes have been evacuated after the ground caved-in on a suburban road in south-east Queensland.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pissale says parts of Duncan Road in Ipswich have fallen away, leaving big cracks in the road and causing structural damage to homes.

He says three people have been evacuated and the road has been closed while engineers test the area.

Mr Pissale says there is a history of ground movement in the suburb.


After Quake, Reno Told to Brace for Stronger One

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A day after a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck northern Nevada's largest city, scientists urged residents to prepare for a larger temblor as the area continued to rumble on Saturday.

Evil Rays

Moderate earthquake hits southern Mexico

A moderate earthquake of a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale rocked southern Mexico Sunday, but no major injuries or damages have been reported.

The quake, which was centered 154 kilometers north of the port city of Acapulco, shook the southern Mexican state of Guerrero and was felt in the capital.


Hawk found dead with the claw of a songbird protruding from its chest

A hawk was found dead along a California highway with the claw of a songbird protruding from its chest.

It's not clear, however, if the partially digested meal, one claw somehow managing to get back out from a terribly wrong location, had anything to do with the hawk's death.


California wildfire forces 1,000 to evacuate

LOS ANGELES - A wildfire that began along a popular hiking trail forced 1,000 people to evacuate their homes in the hills northeast of Los Angeles on Sunday, officials said.

The cause of the nearly 400-acre fire, which started Saturday afternoon as Southern California logged near-record temperatures, was still under investigation, said Elisa Weaver, a spokeswoman for the city of Sierra Madre, California.

Fifty people celebrating a wedding at a mountain campground were lifted from the area by helicopter after the fire cut off their exit trail. No one in the group was harmed.