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Sun, 26 Mar 2023
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Earth Changes


Undersea volcano threatens southern Italy

Marsili Volcano
© International Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
These images of the Marsili volcano show magnetic and gravity anomalies, which researchers say increase chances of a collapse.
Rome - Europe's largest undersea volcano could disintegrate and unleash a tsunami that would engulf southern Italy "at any time", a prominent vulcanologist warned in an interview published Monday.

The Marsili volcano, which is bursting with magma, has "fragile walls" that could collapse, Enzo Boschi told the leading daily Corriere della Sera.

"It could even happen tomorrow," said Boschi, president of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

"Our latest research shows that the volcano is not structurally solid, its walls are fragile, the magma chamber is of sizeable dimensions," he said. "All that tells us that the volcano is active and could begin erupting at any time."

Bizarro Earth

Australia: New South Wales facing huge locust plague

© Brad Markham
Locust eggs discovered on a property near Parkes in September 2009
There're fears NSW could be facing its worst locust plague since 2004.

Heavy rains have triggered a surge in locust activity. The pest has already ravaged early oat crops in the state's south. Some of the biggest clusters of baby locusts ever seen in NSW have been found in the far-west around Tibooburra.

The state's locust coordinator Simon Oliver is urging all landholders to check their paddocks for the pest.

"We've had good rain across NSW over the past three months," he says. "That's led to strong pasture growth and as a result the locusts have reinvigorated themselves. We're now finding large numbers in most parts of western NSW."


The white stuff is back! Snowfall heralds start of British Summer Time

© PA
White wilderness: Snow covers the ground as far as the eye can see at Fintry, Scotland
The arrival of British Summer Time has brought wet and windy weather, with snow already falling in some parts of the country.

Snow this morning in central and northern Scotland and there will be more to come as the cold weather pushes south.

Although shielded from the worst, southern England is likely to see sleet and frigid temperatures by the end of the week.

Brendan Jones, of MeteoGroup said: 'It's a small taste of what will come tonight. In northern Scotland overnight it reached -4c and -5c in some inland areas.

'It will be more significant over the coming evening and night. It will be significant over the hills and mountains but also lower levels will see some snow as well.

'There's rain moving up from the south hitting colder air in Scotland. The southern uplands and Perthshire hills could see 4in to 6in through tonight and into tomorrow.


Plight of Bees Worsens This Winter and Scientists Spot Stew of Pesticides in Pollen, Hives

© AP Photo
Scavenger bees in a dead hive (Merced, California)
The mysterious 4-year-old crisis of disappearing honeybees is deepening. A quick federal survey indicates a heavy bee die-off this winter, while a new study shows honeybees' pollen and hives laden with pesticides.

Two federal agencies along with regulators in California and Canada are scrambling to figure out what is behind this relatively recent threat, ordering new research on pesticides used in fields and orchards. Federal courts are even weighing in this month, ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overlooked a requirement when allowing a pesticide on the market.

And on Thursday, chemists at a scientific conference in San Francisco will tackle the issue of chemicals and dwindling bees in response to the new study.


Common Toads Can Predict Earthquakes, New Study Finds

Common toads (Bufo bufo) can detect impending seismic activity and alter their behaviour from breeding to evacuation mode, suggests a new study in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) Journal of Zoology.

Researchers from The Open University reported that 96 per cent of male toads in a population abandoned their breeding site five days before the earthquake that struck L'Aquila in Italy in 2009. The breeding site was located 74 km from the earthquake's epicentre.

The number of paired toads at the breeding site also dropped to zero three days before the earthquake. No fresh spawn was found at the site from the date that the earthquake struck to the date of the last significant aftershock (magnitude >4.5).

Breeding sites are male-dominated and the toads would normally remain in situ from the point that breeding activity begins, to the completion of spawning.

Bizarro Earth

US: Grasshopper Invasion Feared This Summer

© Scott Schell/University of Wyoming
Some Western, Plains states could see worst outbreak in 30 years

Newcastle, Wyoming - Grasshopper infestations have taken on mythic tones here on the arid prairie of northeastern Wyoming - they blanket highways, eat T-shirts off clotheslines and devour nearly every scrap of vegetation on ranches and farms.

The myth may come closer to reality this summer than at any time in decades in several states in the West and the Plains.

A federal survey of farm areas taken last fall found high numbers of adult grasshoppers in parts of Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Idaho. Each female lays hundreds of eggs so that high count could turn into costly grasshopper infestations this summer.

Well-timed cool and wet weather to stifle the young grasshoppers when they hatch around May and June.


Putting ClimateGate in perspective

I attribute much of the recent rapid rise of the skeptics to the ongoing effects of ClimateGate. Yet, in a sense, the e-mails that were sprung from East Anglia did nothing more than confirm what most skeptics already suspected. Lawrence Solomon, author of The Deniers, has written an unusually good summary in the form of a speech for the Colorado Mining Association.

With his permission, I've included my favourite points here, as well as a copy of the full speech. His blog is a part of the Energy Probe team.

Bizarro Earth

Russia: Koryaksky volcano becomes active

© RIA Novosti
Koryaksky volcano.
The Koryaksky volcano raising 3,456 m above sea level on the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula, 30 km from the region's main city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, is showing signs of higher seismic activity. Thirteen 3-magnitude tremors have been registered in the past 24 hours. After staying dormant for 52 years, Koryaksky woke up in December 2008, sending plumes of ash and steam into the air. So far, it poses no threat to local residents, but trails of ash and smoke endanger air flights. Caught amid turbines, particles of magma can cause engine failure. The peak of Koryaksky's volcanic activity occurred 7,000 and 3,500 years ago.

Evil Rays

Light earthquake hits Israel

Quake measuring 3.6 on Richter Scale felt in northern Israel; no injuries reported

An earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter Scale was felt across northern Israel Saturday evening, the Geophysical Institute of Israel said.

No injuries or damages were reported in the quake, whose epicenter was just north of the Sea of Galilee.

The earthquake, which hit Israel at 8:45 pm, was not an unusual incident, the Institute said.

"We got a few phone calls about the quake being felt at communities around the Sea of Galilee," Dr. Rami Hofstater said. "The earthquake was registered and recorded."

A Ynet reader said she felt the quake in Haifa. "The bed moved and the water bottle shook," she wrote. Another reader said that "the earthquake was felt on the Golan Heights." A Golan resident wrote that he felt the quake in his feet. "Nothing moved, it was something very weak, but we felt the quake," he said.

The head of the Mevo'ot Hermon regional council said that the quake was certainly felt in his community, Moshav Sdeh Eliezer.

Evil Rays

Light Quake Hits Northern Israel

A weak earthquake was felt in northern Israel on Saturday night; no injuries or damage was reported.

The Seismological Institute reported that the quake measured 3.6 on the Richter scale. It occurred just north of the Kinneret Sea (Sea of Galilee), near the Arik Bridge, at 8:45 PM, for about ten seconds. Residents reported feeling it.