Earth ChangesS


Invasive ant ruins gecko's sweet relationship

They say three's a crowd, and that appears to be as true ecologically as it is socially. Researchers have discovered that an invasive ant is ruining the mutualistic relationship that has long existed between a gecko and a critically endangered flower.

The blue-tailed gecko (Phelsuma cepediana) feeds on nectar from the flowers of the Roussea simplex shrub on the island of Mauritius, pollinating the plant and dispersing its seeds.
© Dennis HansenGeckos have an essential pollination role with this critically endangered flower.

But the invasive white-footed ant (Technomyrmex albipes) that arrived on the island in the last century has disrupted the gecko-flower relationship. The ant builds galleries of dirt on the flower where it can "farm" other insects to feed on honeydew.

Bizarro Earth

President-elect Barack Obama will hasten America's decline

American voters were faced with Hobson's choice in this election as far as global warming was concerned.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.8 - Off Coast of Northern California


* Friday, November 28, 2008 at 13:42:18 UTC
* Friday, November 28, 2008 at 05:42:18 AM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 40.336°N, 126.981°W

Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program



* 229 km (142 miles) W (271°) from Petrolia, CA
* 232 km (144 miles) W (264°) from Ferndale, CA
* 239 km (148 miles) W (260°) from Humboldt Hill, CA
* 243 km (151 miles) W (259°) from Eureka, CA
* 486 km (302 miles) NW (307°) from San Francisco City Hall, CA

Bizarro Earth

5.4 Earthquake recorded off coast of California

Eureka police say they have no reports of any damage or injuries after an earthquake was recorded off the coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a quake with preliminary magnitude of 5.4 hit about at 5:42 a.m. Friday about 147 miles west of Eureka.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.0 quake hits Indonesia's Sumatra

Jakarta - A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, although there was no tsunami warning or reports of damage or casualties.

The quake was centered 141 km (88 miles) south southwest of Bengkulu city at a depth of 35 km, the agency said in a bulletin on its website.

An official at Indonesia's meteorology agency said the quake could be felt in Bengkulu and Lampung provinces in southern Sumatra, but there was no report of damage or casualties.
Jakarta map
© Reuters

Bizarro Earth

Faroe islanders told to stop eating 'toxic' whales

Chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands have recommended that pilot whales no longer be considered fit for human consumption, because they are toxic - as revealed by research on the Faroes themselves.

The remote Atlantic islands, situated between Scotland and Iceland, have been one of the last strongholds of traditional whaling, with thousands of small pilot whales killed every year, and eaten by most Faroese.
 pilot whale slaughter
© Adam Woolfitt/Robert Harding/CorbisThe traditional pilot whale slaughter may become a thing of the past.

Anti-whaling groups have long protested, but the Faroese argued that whaling is part of their culture - an argument adopted by large-scale whalers in Japan and Norway.


Canada: Fragments of last week's 10-tonne meteor found

Remnants of the 10-tonne space rock that lit up the prairie skies last week have been found near Lloydminster.

Better Earth

Rocks evolve too, geologists claim

A landmark scientific study co-authored by a Canadian geologist has identified a sudden explosion of mineral diversity after the emergence of life on Earth, and advanced a "revolutionary" theory that rocks have been evolving -- much like plants and animals -- throughout the planet's history.

Wouter Bleeker, an Ottawa-based researcher with the Geological Survey of Canada, is one of eight members of an international team whose theory of "mineral evolution" -- the idea that many of the Earth's rocks are dynamic "species" which emerged and transformed over time, largely in concert with living things -- is generating a major buzz in the global scientific community since its publication last week in a U.S. journal.

"The key message," Mr. Bleeker told Canwest News Service, "is how closely intertwined the mineral world is with life and biology." He said human teeth -- with their key ingredient of apatite -- are vivid reminders that the "seemingly static, inorganic" physical Earth should be viewed more like a "living organism" underpinning the biosphere.

But the new theory is also being hailed as a potential tool in the search for life on other planets since it offers new ways of perceiving the interactions between rocks and living things. Probes of distant planets should be seeking evidence of biological processes that may have shaped alien landscapes, the scientists contend.


Underwater volcano found off Washington coast

Crew members of a research ship say they were surprised to find a volcano more than 10,000 feet underwater off the coast of Washington.

Jeremy Weirich, the operating officer on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship Okeanos Explorer, said the volcano was found while crew members were testing a new mapping program on underwater topography 200 miles off the Washington coast, The Seattle Times said Monday.

"It turns out we had this great volcano in the spot we were testing," Weirich said.
The discovery of the large underwater volcano was not an entire surprise to researchers as NOAA scientists have estimated that 95 percent of the world's oceans haven't been explored.


410 low temperature records set in the US during the past week

US record lows
© Hamweather