Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

US: Giant blob found deep beneath Nevada

The blob, which drips like honey, is between 15 and 20 million years old

Hidden beneath the U.S. West's Great Basin, scientists have spied a giant blob of rocky material dripping like honey.

The Great Basin consists of small mountain ranges separated by valleys and includes most of Nevada, the western half of Utah and portions of other nearby states.

While studying the area, John West of Arizona State University and his colleagues found evidence of a large cylindrical blob of cold material far below the surface of central Nevada. Comparison of the results with CAT scans of the inside of Earth taken by ASU's Jeff Roth suggested they had found a so-called lithospheric drip. (Earth's lithosphere comprises the crust or outer layer of Earth and the uppermost mantle.)


Hundreds of Mt. Qomolangma trekkers stranded after heavy snowfall

Kathmandu -- Heavy snowfall and storm have hampered hundreds of tourists and trekkers in Mt. Qomolangma region with most of them stranded at the base camp, 5,365 meters on Tuesday.

According to Nishant Shrestha, field officer of Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee at Namche, Solukhumbu, more than 300 persons who were on their way to Lukla, were affected by the snowfall in the region.

Arun Pokharel, senior officer at the Mountaineering Department of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, said that tourists and trekkers couldn't proceed to their destinations due to the storm and snowfall in the upper part of Mt. Qomolangma region including the base camp.

It is a very unusual phenomenon and the Himalayan range hadn't witnessed this kind of snowfall this season, said the general manager of Himalaya Expeditions, Satish Neupane.

Mr. Potato

Professor Steven Chu: paint the world white to fight global warming

As a weapon against global warming, it sounds so simple and low-tech that it could not possibly work. But the idea of using millions of buckets of whitewash to avert climate catastrophe has won the backing of one of the world's most influential scientists.

Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by President Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white. A global initiative to change the colour of roofs, roads and pavements so that they reflect more sunlight and heat could play a big part in containing global warming, he said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of the St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium, for which The Times is media partner, Professor Chu said that this approach could have a vast impact. By lightening paved surfaces and roofs to the colour of cement, it would be possible to cut carbon emissions by as much as taking all the world's cars off the roads for 11 years, he said.

Comment: With eight years of global cooling, a quiet sun, recovering and expanding ice extent, increasing the albedo effect of the natural environment may only hasten the cooling.

Mr. Potato Head indeed.


Extreme cold temperatures cause death of 133 children under the age of five

Peruvian Child
© unknown

Climate change continues to wreck havoc in Peru's southern Altiplano, where the arrival of freezing temperatures since March - almost three months earlier than usual - have killed more than 133 children.

The extreme cold has claimed the lives of 133 children so far this year, Radio Radio Programas, or RPP, reported on Monday. Most of the deaths were registered in Puno, an important agricultural and livestock region located in southeastern Peru.


Cyclone Aila kills more than 165 people

Calcutta, India -- Cyclone Aila's swath of destruction in Bangladesh and India left scores of humans and about a dozen endangered Royal Bengal tigers dead.

The Bangladesh Daily Star reported Wednesday the storm, spawned in the Bay of Bengal, killed at least 121 people in Bangladesh after making landfall Monday. The official death count was 91, the newspaper reported.

Bizarro Earth

Western Iran - Earthquake Magnitude 4.7

© US Geological Survey

* Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 23:52:52 UTC
* Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 03:22:52 AM at epicenter

Location 34.078°N, 48.445°E

Depth 61.1 km (38.0 miles)



* 67 km (42 miles) N (8°) from Khorramabad, Iran

* 78 km (48 miles) S (189°) from Hamadan, Iran

* 116 km (72 miles) W (270°) from Arak, Iran

* 325 km (202 miles) WSW (238°) from TEHRAN, Iran

Alarm Clock

Extraordinary Abundance of Life in Oceans Past

Uxbridge, Canada, - Imagine large pods of mighty blue whales and orcas darkening the waters off Cornwall, England, while closer to shore blue sharks and thresher sharks chase herds of harbour porpoise and dolphins.

Pure fantasy? No, in fact that extraordinary abundance of marine life off the English coast was the norm for oceans around the world not so long ago, researchers have now documented.

And then humans began to mine the seas of anything worth eating.

Bizarro Earth

'Clean' Energy and Poisoned Water

In the musical "Urinetown," a severe drought leaves the dwindling supplies of clean water in the hands of a corporation called Urine Good Company. Urine Good Company makes a fortune selling the precious commodity and running public toilets. It pays off politicians to ward off regulation and inspection. It uses the mechanisms of state control to repress an increasingly desperate and impoverished population.
Truthdig gas drilling
© AP photo / Keith SrakocicA drilling rig used to bore thousands of feet into the earth to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale deep underground stands on a hill above a Pennsylvania farm.

The musical satire may turn out to be a prescient vision of the future. Corporations in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and upstate New York have launched a massive program to extract natural gas through a process that could, if it goes wrong, degrade the Delaware River watershed and the fresh water supplies that feed upstate communities, the metropolitan cities of New York, Philadelphia, Camden and Trenton, and many others on its way to the Delaware Bay.

"The potential environmental consequences are extreme," says Fritz Mayer, editor of The River Reporter in Narrowsburg, N.Y. His paper has been following the drilling in the Upper Delaware River Valley and he told me, "It could ruin the drinking supply for 8 million people in New York City."

Bizarro Earth

US: Four earthquakes in three days across East Tennessee

Knoxville - The U.S. Geological Survey confirms three earthquakes struck the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

USGS officials say the first was a 2.0 magnitude quake epicentered along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, about nine miles southeast of Tellico Plains in the Nantahal National Forest. It started just after 5:13 PM and was located in a fault measured to be 5.2 miles beneath a ridge near Elbow Creek.

The second quake occurred at 9:03 PM. USGS says it was a 2.7 magnitude quake and was epicentered about four miles southeast of Vonore, in an open field between Tomotley Road and the Little Tennessee River. The quake originated in a fault measured at a depth of exactly four miles underneath the epicenter.

The final quake occurred early Sunday morning at 2:24 AM. USGS says it had a magnitude of 1.1 and was epicentered four miles east of Sweetwater, in a wooded area near the intersections of Forner Chapel Road and Highway 322. The fault was located 11.2 miles beneath the epicenter.

Bizarro Earth

US: Magnitude 4.2 Earthquake rattles sea floor off Oregon Coast

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck off the Oregon Coast at 11 a.m. today.

The earthquake's epicenter was 189 miles west of Bandon, Ore., in the Blanco Fracture Zone that marks the junction of the Juan de Fuca plate and the Pacific Plate. It is a common area for earthquakes.