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Sun, 03 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes

Magic Wand

Yipee! Riches Await as Earth's Icy North Melts

HAMMERFEST, Norway - Barren and uninhabited, Hans Island is very hard to find on a map. Yet these days the Frisbee-shaped rock in the Arctic is much in demand _ so much so that Canada and Denmark have both staked their claim to it with flags and warships. The reason: an international race for oil, fish, diamonds and shipping routes, accelerated by the impact of global warming on Earth's frozen north.

Magic Wand

Highway shut for butterfly travel

Taiwan is to close one lane of a major highway to protect more than a million butterflies, which cross the road on their seasonal migration.

The purple milkweed butterfly, which winters in the south of the island, passes over some 600m of motorway to reach its breeding ground in the north.

Many of the 11,500 butterflies that attempt the journey each hour do not reach safety, experts say.

Protective nets and ultra-violet lights will also be used to aid the insects.


Quakes shake Vanuatu in South Pacific

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Two strong earthquakes struck the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Sunday and a tsunami warning was issued for some of its southern islands, police said.

Bizarro Earth

Japan Quake Kills 1, Triggers Tsunamis

TOKYO - A strong earthquake struck Japan early Sunday, killing at least one person, violently shaking buildings and triggering two very small tsunamis which hit the coast, officials and media reports said.


Monsanto asks court to allow sale of GMO alfalfa

LOS ANGELES - Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON - news) has asked a San Francisco federal court to allow it to continue selling its genetically modified Roundup Ready Alfalfa while the USDA conducts a court-ordered environmental impact study.

Cloud Lightning

New Mexico Tornadoes Destroy Homes, Injure 16

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Storms that produced at least 13 tornadoes swept along New Mexico's border with Texas on Friday, destroying homes and other buildings and injuring at least 16 people, several critically, authorities said.


Microfossils unravel climate history of tropical Africa

Scientists from the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research obtained for the first time a detailed temperature record for tropical central Africa over the past 25,000 years. They did this in cooperation with a German colleague from the University of Bremen, The scientists developed an entirely new method to reconstruct the history of land temperatures based on the molecular fossils of soil bacteria.

They applied the method to a marine sediment core taken in the outflow of the Congo River. This core contained eroded land material and microfossils from marine algae. The results show that the land environment of tropical Africa was cooled more than the adjacent Atlantic Ocean during the last ice-age. This large temperature difference between land and ocean surface resulted in drier conditions compared to the current situation, which favours the growth of a lush rainforest. These findings provide further insight in natural variations in climate and the possible consequences of a warming earth on precipitation in central Africa. The results will be published in this week's issue of 'Science'.


Study: Plate tectonics well under way 3.8 billion years ago

Scientists have identified an expanse of rock in Greenland as a remnant of Earth's crust dating back 3.8 billion years, a finding that shows the dynamic geological process called plate tectonics was occurring early in our planet's history.

Writing in the journal Science on Thursday, a team led by Harald Furnes of the University of Bergen in Norway said these ancient layered rocks from southwestern Greenland originally were formed on the sea floor of primordial Earth.

They are made up of thin sheets of formerly molten rock, and look a bit like a multilayered cake. They contain a mix of volcanic rocks associated with the formation of new crust.

Plate tectonics is a theory broadly accepted by geologists relating to the movement of the gargantuan plates that make up the planet's surface. These plates, largely corresponding to the continents, are in constant gradual motion.

Life Preserver

South Africa: Sea continues to pound North Coast

Emergency services and harbour authorities braced themselves for a third round of damage from the spring equinox tidal action on Monday night.

The Zululand coast took a considerable pounding yesterday as Mother Nature unleashed her fury twice.

Richards Bay's beachfront took a hammering early on Monday as huge waves, driven by gale-force winds, scoured the beach and came within metres of crashing into the municipal beach office.

The beachfront and beaches around the harbour waterfront suffered further damage during Monday afternoon's phenomenal tide, which came close to causing major flood damage to the TuziGazi Waterfront.

Lifeguards evacuated the two-storey building and removed all valuables yesterday morning because municipal officials feared that although the structure rested on deep piles, erosion could make it unstable.

Cloud Lightning

Cyclone kills 69 in Madagascar, thousands homeless

ANTANANARIVO - A cyclone that swept across Madagascar last week killed at least 69 people and made tens of thousands homeless in the north of the Indian Ocean island, officials said on Friday.

Mudslides have buried whole villages, rivers have burst their banks and roads have been cut off since Cyclone Indlala struck on March 15.