Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

5.2 earthquake shakes Zambales, Metro Manila

An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter Scale shook Iba, Zambales and Subic, Olongapo City Sunday morning.

The tremor, which occurred at 9:06 a.m., was also felt in Quezon City; Ortigas Ave., Pasig City, and Makati City, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

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Strong quake hits Macedonia near Greek border

Skopje - A strong earthquake struck southern Macedonia near the Greek border on Sunday night, damaging some houses, officials said. No casualties were immediately reported


Thieving Whale Caught on Video Gives Rare Clues about Hunting Strategy, Sound Production

sperm whale
© ScrippsSnapshots from the unique May 2006 sperm whale video off Sitka, Alaska.
Marine mammal videotaped stealing fish provides information about animal's physical features

Scripps Institution of Oceanography / University of California, San Diego
For decades scientists have been intrigued by the variety of sounds emitted by sperm whales, partly due to a popular theory that suggests that the sounds might contain information about the animals' size. But historically it has been extremely difficult to demonstrate that these curious clicking noises can reveal information about the physical characteristics of the massive marine mammals. Now, researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego are unlocking some of the mysteries of sperm whale sound production in collaboration with Jan Straley, assistant professor of marine biology at the University of Alaska Southeast, Sitka Campus, and fisherman Kendall Folkert of Sitka, Alaska.


Cyclonic storm Aila to make Bengal landfall in 24 hours

Deep depression over the Bay of Bengal has intensified into cyclonic storm Aila. In the next 24 hours, heavy rains and gale winds are likely to sweep over Bangladesh and West Bengal, according to the Meteorological Department.

The deep depression over west central and adjoining east central and north-west Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm and lay centred about 350 km south-southeast of Sagar Island. The system is likely to intensify further and move in a near northerly direction and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coast.

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6.1-magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand's Kermadec Islands

An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale struck the remote Kermadec Islands, north of New Zealand North Island on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake hit the New Zealand territory, 915 km north east of Auckland at 12:58 p.m. New Zealand local time (0058 GMT) at a depth of 12.5 km.

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 4.7 Central California

© US Geological Survey

* Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 22:58:32 UTC
* Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 03:58:32 PM at epicenter

Location 36.392°N, 117.840°W

Depth 0.1 km (~0.1 mile) (poorly constrained)



* 11 km (7 miles) SSE (165°) from Keeler, CA

* 18 km (12 miles) ENE (64°) from Cartago, CA

* 20 km (13 miles) NE (45°) from Olancha, CA

* 30 km (19 miles) SE (136°) from Lone Pine, CA

* 236 km (146 miles) W (276°) from Las Vegas, NV


Shellfish reefs are 'most imperilled sea habitat'

© Getty Images / GlowimagesAn American costal shellfish reef. These are at risk, because their importance as ecosystem engineers has been overlooked until now
Globally, 85 per cent of reefs have been lost. Destructive fishing practices, disease and coastal development threaten many of the survivors. What sounds like an apocalyptic vision of the future for the world's tropical corals is in fact a chilling assessment of the current state of reefs built in cooler waters by oysters and other bivalve shellfish.

According to a report from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), released this week at the International Marine Conservation Congress in Washington DC, shellfish reefs are the world's most imperilled marine habitats - faring worse than coral reefs and mangrove forests.

"Shellfish like oysters, cockles and mussels have been feeding people for millennia," says co-author Robert Brumbaugh, a member of TNC's global marine team based in Summerland Key, Florida. "But there is very little appreciation for their plight." Shellfish biologists hope that TNC's global survey will galvanise conservation efforts in a similar way to the 1998 report of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, which raised the alarm on tropical reefs.


Rubber plantations may be 'devastating'

© UnknownRubber plantations may have a "devastating" environmental impact in southeast Asia, scientists say.
The expansion of rubber plantations in southeast Asia could have a "devastating" environmental impact, scientists warned as they pressed for a substantial increase in forest preserves.

More than 500,000 hectares may have already been converted to rubber plantations in the uplands of China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.

And researchers predict the area of land dedicated to rubber and other farming systems could more than double or triple by 2050, replacing lands currently occupied by evergreen broadleaf trees and secondary vegetation growing in areas subjected to slash-and-burn farming.


Scientists find evidence of whale travel

© UnknownHumpback whales tagged off Australia's east coast also spend time feeding in Bass Strait and off NZ.
Australian scientists have found humpback whales tagged off the east coast travel more widely than previously thought.

The discovery is also at odds with the traditional understanding of the humpback whale's travel routes identified by the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The federal government hopes the research will help protect Southern Ocean whales.

Last October, scientists tagged 16 whales near Eden in NSW.

Their movements were tracked for six months over an area covering about 4,000 kilometres.


Tough birds make better singers

© FotosearchA Northern Mockingbird
A hostile environment and inconsistent weather may explain why some birds become better singers than others, and are also likely to have superior learning and mating skills, according to a new study.

The research is based on a large-scale study of mockingbirds in different habitats carried out by researchers at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Centre (NESCent) in Durham, North Carolina, the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, and McGill University.

"As environments become more variable or unpredictable, song displays become more elaborate," said Carlos Botero, a postdoctoral researcher at NESCent.