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Tue, 30 May 2023
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Earth Changes


Two small earthquakes hit the Netherlands

aardbeving iran
© Shutterstock
On Sunday evening April 16th, an earthquake measuring 2.5 on the Richter scale was felt by residents of the Dutch province of Limburg. Residents in the vicinity of the Dutch cities of Venlo and Roermond in particular felt the earthquake. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the German city of Brüggen, which lies very close to the border with the Netherlands. It occurred at a depth of 19 kilometers (12 miles).

Several Dutch residents of Venlo tweeted about the event:

Cloud Precipitation

Rwanda - Dozens dead after floods and landslides in Western and Northern Provinces

Floods in Western Province, Rwanda, May 2023.
© Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA)
Floods in Western Province, Rwanda, May 2023.
Dozens of people have lost their lives after heavy rain, floods and landslides in the Western and Northern provinces of Rwanda over the last few days.

According to the state broadcaster, Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), as of 03 May 2023, 95 people have died in Western Province and 14 in Northern Province.

Heavy rain triggered flash flooding and landslides from 02 to 03 May 2023. François Habitegeko, governor of the Western Province, told Reuters that the hardest-hit districts were Ngororero, Rubavu, Nyabihu, Rutsiro and Karongi. According to the governor, 14 people have died in Karongi, 26 in Rutsiro, 18 in Rubavu, 19 in Nyabihu and 18 in Ngororero.


A massive seaweed bloom has been observed in the Atlantic Ocean

seaweed bloom atlantic ocean
© Lauren Dauphin and Joshua Stevens/Modis
A record seaweed bloom has been recorded in the Atlantic ocean in 2023
Nearly every spring and summer since 2011, a giant bloom of seaweed has developed in the central Atlantic Ocean. Patches of floating brown seaweed — known as Sargassum — have stretched from the west coast of Africa to the Gulf of Mexico in what is known as the "Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt." In March 2023, scientists found that the amount of Sargassum floating in the belt was the largest of any March on record.

The map above shows Sargassum density in the central Atlantic Ocean (including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico) for March 2023. Red and orange areas show where Sargassum densities were the highest, in terms of the percent of the pixel covered with the seaweed. The data for the map were developed by scientists at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science using data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites.

USF researchers estimate that the Sargassum belt in March totaled about 13 million tons, a record amount for this time of year. "So far this year, record high Sargassum abundance is mostly in the central East Atlantic," said Brian Barnes, a marine scientist at the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at USF. "But in other parts of the Atlantic and Caribbean, its abundance is still high — in the 75th percentile of measurements made between 2011 and 2022."

Comment: More on the extraordinary seaweed bloom:


Swarms of earthquakes rock central southern California over 24 hours in northward progression

salton Sea
© Getty Images
The series of earthquakes hit California's Salton Sea region on April 29, 2023
A slew of earthquakes shook up the Salton Sea region of Southern California within 24 hours over the weekend, with the seismic activity reaching up to 4.5 in magnitude.

The first swarm began at 12:08 p.m. Saturday in the US-Mexico border town of Herber, with nearly 50 tremors shaking the area until 5:12 a.m. Sunday, the US Geological Survey reported. The Herber quakes reached up to 3.7 in magnitude and were felt by about 60 people.

The second swarm struck nearly 40 miles north, by the town of Niland, where more than 25 tremors then shook the southeast shore of the Salton Sea starting at 12.09 a.m. Sunday.

Those earthquakes lasted until 5:28 a.m. and reached a higher magnitude of 4.5, which was felt by about 30 people, UGS said.

Cloud Precipitation

Canada - Two missing after floods in Quebec

Two firefighters are missing and around 1,000 people are stranded after floods in the Charlevoix region of Quebec Province, Canada.

Intense rainfall caused the Rivière du Gouffre to break its banks, flooding roads and damaging bridges. Around 1,000 residents in areas of the Baie Saint-Paul community have been left isolated as a result. Some have been forced to evacuate their homes. Videos on social media showed motorhomes from a nearby campsite being dragged away by the raging river and crashing into a bridge near the town.

The Mayor of Baie Saint-Paul, Michaël Pilote, declared a state of emergency and asked residents to stay home. Accommodation centres have been opened to house those displaced. Schools have been closed in the area.


Big May snowfall in the Alps

There have been some big snowfalls on high slopes in the Alps on the first day of May.

Most ski areas are already closed for the season but several dozen remain open in the Alps, and the latest snowfall continues a trend of regular snowfall through spring, after an often dry winter.

Tignes and Val d'Isere (pictured this morning), which are still open until next weekend, reported 20cm of fresh snowfall above 2,000m this morning, and it has continued to snow heavily through the day.

Arrow Down

Solo backcountry skier killed by avalanche near Breckenridge, Colorado

Site of a fatal avalanche accident on April 29
Site of a fatal avalanche accident on April 29, 2023. The avalanche started in a shallow crown, visible in the upper right corner of the image. It entrained wet snow in the track of the avalanche path.
On Saturday, a solo backcountry skier was killed in an avalanche near Breckenridge, CO. The 31-year-old man was skiing a northeast-facing couloir on Bald Mountain, or Baldy, southeast of Breck. His girlfriend reported him missing when he didn't return her phone calls.
PRELIMINARY REPORT: A solo skier was caught, buried, and killed in a small but long-running avalanche. The avalanche started at about 13,200 feet on an east-facing slope. It ran approximately 1,300 feet. The avalanche began in dry, wind-drifted snow and entrained wet snow in the track of the avalanche path. Summit County Sheriff's deputies, Summit Rescue Group, and Flight for Life all responded and performed a search and recovery in the late evening hours of April 29 and early morning hours of April 30.

CAIC staff will visit the site on April 30 and publish more details as they become available. We will issue a full report next week.

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.


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Avalanche kills female skier in Samnaun, Switzerland

The wet avalanche spilled over the track usually used by the groomers.
© Kantonspolizei Graubünden
The wet avalanche spilled over the track usually used by the groomers.
An avalanche in Samnaun, Switzerland, swept away two female skiers around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2023, who were skiing in the ski area of Ischgl-Samnaun, which is a popular cross-border resort in Austria and Switzerland.

The women were skiing on a path typically used by snow ploughs slightly above the groomed run, when a wet avalanche was released above them. The women noticed the avalanche and tried to outski it but both got swept away. One of the women, aged 54, was only partially buried and was found straight away by mountain rescue. She was flown with mild injuries to a hospital in Zams, Austria.

Cloud Precipitation

Four killed as heavy rains, flood trigger dam collapse in Yemen

The collapse of a water dam in the Al Mahwit governorate, roughly 111 km west of the country's capital Sanaa, resulted in the deaths of four people on Sunday in Yemen.

The Al-Aqabi Dam which collapsed was in the Hafash region of the Al Mahwit governorate. Following the collapse it triggered a flood that carried away a mosque with four people inside. All four died.

Moreover, homes and agricultural lands nearby were also damaged by the flood waters. The Houthi group has been in charge of the governorate since 2014. A Houthi-appointed official in the governorate named Adel Issa said that the dam was collapsed because of the excessive rains and the consequent floods.

Cloud Precipitation

Five die in torrential rains, floods in Balochistan, Pakistan

Five people were died on Sunday due to rains and floods in different areas of Balochistan. According to private media reports, two persons were died each in Khuzdar, Mach and Lasbela and one in Ketch due to rains and flood. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) officials said that several slum houses were damaged in Chagai and Panjgur while Bolan Panjra Bridge and Sonari Bridge were partially vanished by Kohlu floodwaters due to recent heavy rains.