Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Moderate quake off Japan

Tokyo - A moderate 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of the Japanese island of Honshu early on Saturday, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The tremor hit at 02.32 am (1732 GMT on Friday, 1.32am Singapore time) with an epicentre 192 kilometres (119 miles) east-southeast of Tokyo at a relatively shallow depth of 18 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

There was no immediate tsunami alert.

Around 20 per cent of the world's most powerful earthquakes strike Japan, which lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

Geologists warn that Japan is overdue for a massive and potentially devastating earthquake.

Bizarro Earth

Australia: Quake shakes Port Stephens

A small earthquake shook Port Stephens residents out of bed early yesterday morning, but authorities say no damage was caused.

Geoscience Australia said the tremor, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, struck at 3.24am yesterday.

The epicentre was about a kilometre from shore at the northern end of Mungo Brush, north of Hawks Nest.

Herald readers reported hearing one or two loud booms, and windows shaking for about 10 seconds.

"Staying in a two-storey house at Hawks Nest and woke to two loud bangs and the bed and windows shaking," a reader told

"[I] thought someone had driven into the side of the house."

A Salamander Bay resident said he was awake when the quake struck.

"Heard a boom in the distance, followed by a few seconds later the bedroom windows shaking for about five to 10 seconds."


Seismic Trends in South Iceland Still Monitored

Volcanic Glacier
© Páll StefánssonEyjafjallajökull.
There was more seismic activity underneath the volcano in Eyjafjallajökull glacier in south Iceland last night than the night before, although it is significantly lower than during last weekend. The Civic Protection Department keeps monitoring the area.

A sharp earthquake measuring three points on the Richter scale occurred underneath the glacier yesterday afternoon. It is among the largest earthquakes measured in the area this year, Fréttabladid reports.

According to, the earthquakes that followed were all weaker. The smaller scale seismic activity remains steady and occurs at a depth of seven to 11 kilometers, the Icelandic Meteorological Office reports.

Alarm Clock

US: Bat disease spreads

White-nose syndrome, a disease that has decimated bat populations across the East Coast, appears to have spread to bats in Maryland, state wildlife officials said Wednesday.

Officials said they found several dead bats in a cave in western Maryland's Allegany County on Friday, as well as more than 200 other bats that appeared "visibly affected" by the disease.

If the diagnosis is confirmed, the state said, this would be the first time white-nose syndrome has been found in Maryland.

Bad Guys

Chinese zoo blamed for death of 11 Siberian tigers

Siberian Tigers
© Associated PressIn this Jan. 8, 2010 file photo, an endangered Siberian tiger runs away with a chicken tossed by tourists at the Harbin Tiger Park in Harbin.
Beijing - Eleven rare Siberian tigers kept in small cages and fed only chicken bones have died of malnutrition at a cash-strapped zoo in China's frigid northeast, state media said Friday.

A manager at the Shenyang Forest Wild Animal Zoo in Liaoning province, however, said the animals had died of disease.

Siberian tigers are one of the world's rarest species, with just 300 believed remaining in the wild.

Liu Xiaoqiang, vice chief of the Shenyang Wild Animal Protection Station, a local animal protection agency, was quoted by the China Daily as saying 11 of the zoo's tigers died of malnutrition in the last three months after subsisting on a meager diet of chicken bones.

Two others were shot dead by police in November after the hungry animals attacked a zookeeper, the report said.

The Liaoshen Evening Post, a local Shenyang newspaper, reported on its Web site that the company that owns the zoo was trying unsuccessfully to auction the zoo property, and many staffers complained they hadn't been paid in 18 months.


Appearance of "Earthquake fish" spook Japanese

Rare, deep-sea oarfish have been washing ashore, and they've got ecologists and superstitious fishermen worried:

Oar fish live in the depths of the ocean, surfacing infrequently when they are sick or damaged. In Japan it is believed the appearance of oar fish means an earthquake is imminent. Since November, over 19 of the rare fish have washed up on the shores of Japan. The animal is thought to be the origin of ancient mariner myths of sea serpents.


Seeds Of Life: Hybrids and the Emergence of Seed Monopolies

Throughout much of agriculture, a remarkable span of 10,000 years, farmers were largely the stewards of the land and the crops that they grew. Seeds collected from one year's harvest were selected, stored, and used again for successive growing seasons. As Frank Morton, an organic seed breeder explains in this segment of the Seeds Of Life series, the role of the farmer at the center of agriculture began to change with the advent of hybrid seed development beginning with hybrid varieties of corn in the 1930's.


Australia: "Dead" Baby Elephant Calf Born Alive in Sydney Zoo

© Bobby-Jo Vial/ReutersTaronga Zoo veterinarians give treatment to a newborn elephant calf as its mother Porntip (R) stands next to it in Sydney March 10, 2010.
An elephant gave birth to a calf at Sydney's main zoo on Wednesday, surprising vets and keepers who two days earlier declared the baby had died in the womb.

The Asian elephant mother delivered the male baby in the early hours of Wednesday in what Taronga Park Zoo officials said was "unbelievable good fortune".

"Dedicated keepers reported the amazing news early this morning that the calf had been born and was showing signs of life," said zoo director Cameron Kerr.

On Monday, Kerr said despite an expert team of vets who had prepared for every eventuality, the calf had not survived after six days of labor, and ultrasounds found there was no chance of a successful birth.

Officials said they now believe the calf was in a coma throughout the labor. They said the calf had since taken its first steps, but it was too early to know if it would survive.

Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: Chile: 2nd Aftershock Earthquake Magnitude 6.9 - Within Minutes of Magnitude 7.2

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 14:55:30 UTC

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 11:55:30 AM at epicenter

34.287°S, 71.657°W

44.4 km (27.6 miles)

85 km (55 miles) W of Rancagua, Chile

125 km (80 miles) N of Talca, Chile

130 km (80 miles) SW of SANTIAGO, Chile

140 km (85 miles) S of Valparaiso, Chile

Bizarro Earth

Chile: Earthquake Magnitude 7.2 - Libertador O'Higgins

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 14:39:48 UTC

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 11:39:48 AM at epicenter

34.290°S, 71.950°W

35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program


110 km (70 miles) W of Rancagua, Chile

130 km (80 miles) NNW of Talca, Chile

140 km (90 miles) SSW of Valparaiso, Chile

150 km (95 miles) SW of SANTIAGO, Chile