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Bizarro Earth

7.0 magnitude earthquake hits off Vanuatu

WELLINGTON -- A strong earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu early Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Ambulance

Landslide in China kills 26, destroys warehouse

Beijing - A landslide triggered by heavy rain killed at least 26 people in northern China on Monday, while an unknown number of others remained trapped, a state news agency reported.

The flow of mud and rocks in Shanxi province collapsed a mine warehouse, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the provincial work safety bureau. It was not known how many of the victims were inside the warehouse when the landslide occurred at about 8 a.m. in Xiangfen county of Linfen city.

More than 300 police and villagers were searching for survivors, Xinhua said.

One person was injured, Xinhua reported. Twenty-two people were rescued, state broadcaster China Central Television said.

Arrow Down

Thousands of Australia's koalas felled by land-clearing

Sydney - Australian koalas are dying by the thousands as a result of land clearing in the country's northeast, while millions of birds and reptiles are also perishing, conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Sunday.

The environmental body warned that unless urgent action was taken to stop trees being felled, some species would be pushed to the brink of extinction.

In an annual statement, Queensland state last week revealed that 375,000 hectares of bush were cleared in 2005-06 -- a figure WWF said would have resulted in the deaths of two million mammals.

Among those that perished as a result of loss of habitat would have been 9,000 tree-hugging koalas, WWF Australia spokesman Nick Heath said.

"It's a horrifying figure," Heath told AFP. "Two million mammals and that's all sorts of kangaroos, wallabies. We couldn't come to an exact figure on the birds, but I would say it would be over five million."

Info

50,000 villagers in flooded India refuse to leave

Patna - At least 50,000 people in India have refused to abandon their homes in flood-ravaged northern Indian despite pleas by authorities to evacuate, an official said Sunday.

Image
©Unknown

Newspaper advertisements also urged thousands of flood survivors Sunday to go to one of 77 state-run camps set up in Saharsa district in impoverished Bihar state, where clean drinking water, food and medical care was available.

At least 50,000 people have refused to leave the district, one of the worst-affected areas in Bihar, said Prataya Amrit, a state disaster management official. Towns and villages in the flooded region are home to about 1.2 million people.

Cloud Lightning

Landslides leave 30 dead or missing in Philippines

Manila - Two landslides triggered by heavy rains buried more than 20 houses in a remote gold-mining village in the southern Philippines, leaving at least 11 people dead and 19 others missing, officials said Monday.

Image
©Unknown

Small stone houses and huts at the foot of the mountain village of Masara were destroyed Saturday by falling mud and rocks, killing six villagers and injuring 17 others. Another landslide struck the village early Sunday, killing five more people.

The landslides, which cascaded down a mountainside with frightening booms, buried about 28 houses and forced up to 5,000 people in Masara and nearby villages to run for their lives, said Mayor Voltaire Rimando.

Cloud Lightning

Killer Ike hits Cuba after lashing Bahamas, Haiti

Camaguey - Hurricane Ike roared onto Cuba Sunday after destroying houses and crops on low-lying islands and worsening floods in Haiti that have already killed more than 300 people.

Image
©Unknown

With Ike forecast to sweep the length of Cuba and possibly hit Havana head-on, hundreds of thousands evacuated to shelters or higher ground. To the north, residents of the Florida Keys fled up a narrow highway, fearful that the "extremely dangerous" hurricane could hit them Tuesday.

At least 58 people died as Ike's winds and rain swept Haiti Sunday _ and officials found three more bodies from a previous storm _ raising the nation's death toll from four tropical storms in less than a month to 319. A Dominican man was crushed by a falling tree.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.5 - Vanuatu

== PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE REPORT ==

***This event supersedes event PT08252011.

Region: VANUATU
Geographic coordinates: 19.974S, 169.046E
Magnitude: 6.5 Mw
Depth: 85 km
Universal Time (UTC): 8 Sep 2008 03:03:22
Time near the Epicenter: 8 Sep 2008 14:03:22
Local standard time in your area: 8 Sep 2008 03:03:22

Location with respect to nearby cities:
54 km (34 miles) SSW (205 degrees) of Isangel, Vanuatu
210 km (130 miles) NE (35 degrees) of Tadine, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
259 km (161 miles) SSE (163 degrees) of PORT-VILA, Vanuatu
1833 km (1139 miles) ENE (66 degrees) of Brisbane, Australia

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist at NEIC.

Attention

Major Flooding Risk Could Span Decades After Chinese Earthquake

Up to 20 million people, thousands of whom are already displaced from their homes following the devastating Chinese earthquake, are at increased risk from flooding and major power shortages in the massive Sichuan Basin over the next few decades and possibly centuries.

Image
© Dr. Alex Densmore, Durham University
Ruined village.

Dr Alex Densmore, a geographer from Durham University, makes the observations on returning from carrying out investigative fieldwork in the China earthquake zone, where nearly 100,000 people were killed in May 2008. He has been studying the active faults in Sichuan for the past eight years.

The biggest risk is posed by the ongoing landslides in Sichuan province, a common occurrence after major earthquakes such as these. Landslides cause rocks and sediment to be dumped in the river valleys, and this material then moves downstream to settle on river beds.

In some areas, river beds are already two to three metres higher due to the increased amounts of sediment after the earthquake. This means that during periods of heavy rains the rivers have greater potential to burst their banks - a risk that will last for decades to centuries.


Cloud Lightning

Ike's floods kill 58, add insult to Haiti's misery

GONAIVES - Haitians took to their roofs to escape rising floodwaters for the second time in a week on Sunday as squalls from Hurricane Ike killed 58 people and collapsed a bridge that cut the last land route into the starving city of Gonaives.

Bug

Artificial Meadows And Robot Spiders Reveal Secret Life Of Bees

Many animals learn to avoid being eaten by predators. Now ecologists have discovered that bumblebees can even learn to outwit colour-changing crab spiders.

Spider attacking a foraging bumblebee
©Queen Mary, University of London
Spider attacking a foraging bumblebee. Bumblebees can even learn to outwit colour-changing crab spiders.

Bumblebees learn to avoid camouflaged predators by sacrificing foraging speed for predator detection, according to scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

One of the bumblebee's main predators is the crab spider. Crab spiders hunt pollinating insects like bees and butterflies by lying in wait on flowers, and are particularly difficult for their prey to spot because they can change their colour to blend in with their surroundings.