Earth ChangesS


Study finds contaminated water reaching Florida's offshore keys

A new University of Georgia study finds that sewage-contaminated groundwater is reaching the offshore reefs of the Upper Florida Keys, possibly threatening corals and human health.

"The widespread use of in-ground waste disposal through septic tanks and injection wells appears to be leading to the contamination of submarine groundwater even up to six miles offshore," said study author Erin Lipp, associate professor at the UGA College of Public Health. "When the contaminated groundwater mixes with surface water and reaches the reef, the corals as well as human health might be harmed."

The findings were presented Tuesday at a meeting of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program Steering Committee in Marathon, Fla.

Lipp and doctoral student Carrie Futch, along with Dale Griffin of the U.S. Geological Survey in Tallahassee, sampled surface water, groundwater and corals from five sites from nearshore to offshore beginning outside of Port Largo Canal and ending near Molasses Reef. Their three-year study revealed common fecal indicator bacteria and human viruses.


Oxford evacuated as Thames bursts its banks

Emergency services evacuated hundreds of homes in the university city of Oxford today as the River Thames broke its banks and Britain grappled with its worst floods in 60 years.

Water levels rose steadily overnight and police said they had cleared up to 250 homes and gave people shelter in Oxford City's soccer stadium. Some power was cut but the defences of the local electricity substation were not breached.

Along the Thames, residents in other towns were warned that the river could go on rising throughout the day.


Cloud Lightning

South Africa: Full week of dangerously wild weather ahead

Massive swells, gale-force winds and heavy falls of rain are in store for large parts of the Western Cape throughout most of this week, weather forecasters warn.

The first in a series of cold fronts is likely to make landfall later on Monday, with a full week of wild weather ahead.


Hungary heatwave kills hundreds

Public thermometer in Budapest, 15 July 07

Up to 500 people have died in the past week from a heatwave in Hungary, a top health official has said.

Anna Paldy, deputy director of the National Institute of Environmental Health, told the BBC that the figure included 230 deaths in central Hungary.

Bizarro Earth

Fire traps tourists in southern Italy, kills 4

Four people were burnt to death on Tuesday by a fast-moving brush fire that trapped hundreds of tourists on beaches in southern Italy's Puglia region, local authorities said.

Emergency services used patrol boats and helicopters to whisk 450 holidaymakers and residents off the beaches to which they had rushed to try to escape the flames, which spread quickly and were threatening holiday villages and hotels, port police said.

Cloud Lightning

Loose dykes spur China flood fears as hundreds die

BEIJING - Hundreds of sections of embankments along China's third-longest river have become loose, threatening the homes of millions of people after three weeks of deadly floods across the country, state media said on Tuesday.

Cloud Lightning

Floods, landslides kill 30 in Indonesia

Flash floods and landslides in central Indonesia have killed at least 30 people, and the death toll looks set to rise, Associated Press (AP) has reported.

A map showing the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Helicopters sought to deliver aid to victims of floods and landslides in central Indonesia Wednesday as 66 people were confirmed dead and 23 listed as missing, officials said.(

A senior health official confirmed the toll, and predicted the number of deaths would rise as rescuers reach remote areas in the disaster zone.

Bizarro Earth

Moderate quake in India, mild tremors in Delhi

A moderate quake occurred in northern India on Monday, with mild tremors felt in the capital New Delhi, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The 4.9 magnitude quake was recorded at 4:32 a.m., with the epicentre near Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, 280 km northeast of New Delhi, said the USGS.

Bizarro Earth

Volcano in Tanzania erupts, spews lava

A volcano in northern Tanzania erupted on Friday, spewing small amounts of smoke and lava, the government spokesman said.

Mt. Oldonyo Lengai, which is close to the border with Kenya, is believed to be the source of a series of shallow earthquakes experienced in the region over the past week, said Alfred Mutua, the Kenyan government spokesman.



11 workers missing after coal mine flood in north China

Eleven miners are missing in a flooded coal mine in northern China's Shanxi province, Xinhua news agency said Monday.

Water burst into the small privately-owned mine near Lu-liang late on Sunday night. Rescuers have been pumping water out of the pit. Local authorities said it was impossible to say whether the workers were still alive.

Water had accumulated following several weeks of heavy rains, which have affected regions all over China in recent weeks.