Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Moderate quake hits Panama-Costa Rica border

PANAMA CITY - A moderate earthquake of 5.2 magnitude struck on the Pacific coast side of the Panama-Costa Rican border on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but only minor structural damage was reported.

The quake, which hit at 10:01 a.m. local time (4:01 p.m. British time), was centred 135 miles (217 km) southeast of San Jose, Costa Rica, and at a depth of about 22 miles (35 km), the USGS said.


To predict quakes, listen to the animals, China survivors say

Well before this city was destroyed by an earthquake 32 years ago, the coming disaster was loudly preceded by strange animal behaviour and other bizarre signals that survivors wish they heeded.

"The animals were trying to tell us something. If only we knew that, not so many people would have died," said Fu Wenran, a retired farmer whose wife was among the estimated 240,000 who perished in Tangshan's quake on July 28, 1976.

Several survivors of the disaster in this northern city -- still the deadliest earthquake of modern times -- said the toll in this month's quake in southwestern China could have been minimised if such clues had been validated.

A cat sits outside a shop

Cloud Lightning

Expert: Colorado twister outbreak 'unusual'

Jim Kalina, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the service received 10 separate reports of tornadoes in eastern Colorado on Thursday afternoon.

Kalina said that survey parties from the weather service will go into the field Friday to determine exactly how many tornadoes there were and how strong they were.

He said that some of the 10 sightings may have been the same tornado. Kalina emphasized that at this point, the weather service has not determined the strength of the tornadoes.

©The National Weather Service
The National Weather Service's Doppler radar caught an image of the Weld County tornado at 11:44 a.m. on May 22, 2008.


US: Big Reptiles, Alien Trees Hamper Everglades Fire Fight

Firefighters in Florida's Everglades National Park are encountering large, dangerous reptiles and poisonous trees as they battle a fire that has consumed about 39,000 acres (16,000 hectares) since last week.

Fighting the Mustang Corners blaze in the remote, trackless Everglades has "posed a lot of challenges," said Mike Dueitt, a firefighter from Florence, Mississippi.

Cloud Lightning

US: Lightning shut Dominion Connecticut Millstone 2 reactor

Dominion Resources Inc's (D.N: Quote, Profile, Research) 882-megawatt Unit 2 at the Millstone nuclear power station in Connecticut shut from full power Thursday after lightning struck the main transformer, the company told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a report.

The company said the reactor had "an uncomplicated trip."

Cloud Lightning

US: Lightning thought responsible for death

A 20-year-old man was killed and three other people were injured apparently by lightning early Saturday at Pomona State Park, the Osage County Sheriff's Department said.

The fatality victim, whose identity hasn't been released, was camping with friends and was thought to have been struck by lightning between 1 and 4 a.m. as thunderstorms rolled through the area, a deputy said. He was discovered by another person at the park.

Cloud Lightning

'Dust devil' blows away city recycle station

One of three recycling stations operated by the City of Alamogordo is being rebuilt after it was blown away by a "dust devil" at its new location on North Florida Avenue recently.

Public Works Director Brian Cesar said the station, which had been on the corner of Florida and Indian Wells, was moved a few blocks away to the city public works yard on Florida.

"We moved it to the city yard, and that afternoon a large dust devil came through and destroyed the building," Cesar said.

Bizarro Earth

At least 6 die in Colombia earthquake

BOGOTA -- At least six people, including two children, were killed when a 5.5-magnitude earthquake jolted central Colombia Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

The earthquake occurred in Meta province at 14:21 local time (1921 GMT), and its epicenter was at a depth of 3.9 km, Colombia's seismological administration said.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake's epicenter was at 54 kilometers east-southeast of Bogota at a depth of 10 kilometers.

The dead, including two children, were killed when rocks fell on a bus at a highway linking Bogota and Meta provincial capital Villavicencio in a landslide caused by the quake. A dozen others were injured and the highway was paralyzed.

Bizarro Earth

Big quakes spark jolts worldwide

SALT LAKE CITY - Until 1992, when California's magnitude-7.3 Landers earthquake set off small jolts as far away as Yellowstone National Park, scientists did not believe large earthquakes sparked smaller tremors at distant locations. Now, a definitive study shows large earthquakes routinely trigger smaller jolts worldwide, including on the opposite side of the planet and in areas not prone to quakes.

"Previously it was thought seismically active regions or geothermal areas were most vulnerable to large earthquake triggers," says Kris Pankow, a seismologist at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations and a co-author of the new study.

seismic stations
©Aaron Velasco, University of Texas at El Paso
This map of the world shows seismic stations that detected more than twice the normal number of small, nearby earthquakes after the passage of what are known as "surface waves" from major quakes that were centered hundreds to thousands of miles away and occurred from 1992 through 2006. A new study co-authored by University of Utah seismologist Kris Pankow found that at least 12 of the 15 major earthquakes (greater than magnitude-7) during 1992-2006 triggered small quakes in distant parts of the world. Scientists once believed big quakes could not trigger distant tremors.

Bizarro Earth

Scorched Earth millenium map shows 'fire scars'

A geographer from the University of Leicester has produced for the first time a map of the scorched Earth for every year since the turn of the Millennium.

Dr Kevin Tansey, of the Department of Geography, a leading scientist in an international team, created a visual impression of the fire scars on our planet between 2000 and 2007. The work was funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

burn map
©University of Leicester
This map shows the occurrence of fire activity in sub-Saharan Africa, determined by detection of the fire scar, for a seven year period 2000-2007. The frequency of fire occurrence is shown in the map, color-coded from regions that burnt once in the seven year period shown in green to regions that burnt during every year of the project shown in purple.