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Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills three, injures five in Russia's Volga republic

Three people, including two teenagers, were killed and five injured, when they were struck by lightning in the Russian Volga Republic of Bashkortostan, a local emergencies spokesman said on Thursday.


Giant Clams 'Secure For Another Generation' After Philippine Re-seeding

Re-seeding programmes on over 50 reefs are securing the survival of the giant clam for at least another generation, according to World Wildlife Fund-Philippines.

giant clam
©Kurt Domingo
The true giant clam (Tridacna gigas), 40 of which were transplanted last month to a new home in Batangas province, Philippines.

The clams, the world's largest bivalve mollusks and the star of lurid but mostly imaginary literary and cinematic depictions of trapped divers, can live for over a century. They have been known to exceed 1.4 metres in length and weigh in at over 260 kilograms.

Once common throughout Philippine reefs, excessive hunting for the food, pet and curio trade all but depleted the wild giant clam population by the mid-1980s, prompting the IUCN to classify them as vulnerable.

An attempt to restore natural clam populations is now being spearheaded by Dr. Suzanne Mingoa-Licuanan of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute in partnership with World Wildlife Fund-Philippines.


Tropical storm Fausto forms off Mexican coast, hurricane Elida strengthens

MEXICO CITY - Tropical storm Fausto formed off the Mexican resort city of Acapulco on Wednesday, while Elida strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane far away from Baja California's coast.

Neither storm was expected to threaten land. Fausto was moving west away from land at 26 km/h, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was located about 625 kilometres south of Acapulco with winds reaching 65 km/h.

Bizarro Earth

Icelandic Volcanoes Help Researchers Understand Effects Of Eruptions

For the first time, researchers have taken a detailed look at what lies beneath all of Iceland's volcanoes - and found a world far more complex than they ever imagined.

They mapped an elaborate maze of magma chambers - work that could one day help scientists better understand how earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in Iceland and elsewhere in the world.

Lake Öskjuvatn
Formed by an eruption from Askja in 1875, Lake Öskjuvatn is the deepest lake in Iceland at 735 feet (224 meters).

Knowing where magma chambers are located is a key first step to understanding the chemical composition of the molten rock that is flowing within them - and of the gases that are released when a volcano erupts, explained Daniel Kelley, doctoral student in earth sciences at Ohio State University.


Undersea Volcanic Rocks Offer Vast Repository For Greenhouse Gas

A group of scientists has used deep ocean-floor drilling and experiments to show that volcanic rocks off the West Coast and elsewhere might be used to securely imprison huge amounts of globe-warming carbon dioxide captured from power plants or other sources.

In particular, they say that natural chemical reactions under 78,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) of ocean floor off California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia could lock in as much as 150 years of U.S. CO2 production. The findings are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Deep-sea basalt region for CO2 burial
©Goldberg et al.
Deep-sea basalt region for CO2 burial. Red outline shows where water depth exceeds 2,700 meters and sediment thickness exceeds 200 meters; hatched areas show where sediment thickness exceeds 300 meters. Seamounts and areas near plate boundaries or continental shelf are excluded.

Interest in so-called carbon sequestration is growing worldwide. However, no large-scale projects are yet off the ground, and other geological settings could be problematic. For instance, the petroleum industry has been pumping CO2 into voids left by old oil wells on a small scale, but some fear that these might eventually leak, putting gas back into the air and possibly endangering people nearby.

Cloud Lightning

Storm Kalmaegi bears down on eastern Taiwan

Storm Kalmaegi has gained momentum as it approaches Taiwan, threatening the island's east, the Central Weather Bureau said Wednesday.

The edge of the storm may hit eastern Taiwan and unleash downpours in the east and north, an official at the bureau said.

"Ships sailing on the Bashih Channel and waters east of Taiwan must heighten their vigilance," the official said.

The storm was 370 kilometres (222 miles) southeast of Oluanpi, the island's southernmost tip, at 5:00 pm (0900 GMT).


Human society could 'learn much from bees'

Humans could learn much about health, public transport and peaceful living by observing the behaviour of bees, the leader of Britain's first bee-keeping research lab has claimed.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.1 - Southern Qinghai, China


* Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 22:58:19 UTC
* Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 06:58:19 AM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 33.162°N, 92.049°E
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 400 km (250 miles) NNE of Lhasa, Xizang (Tibet)

440 km (275 miles) SW of Golmud, Qinghai, China

530 km (330 miles) NE of Xigaze, Xizang (Tibet)

2295 km (1430 miles) WSW of BEIJING, Beijing, China


Canada: Moth outbreak threatens forests, scientist warns

The mountain pine beetle isn't the only problem British Columbia forest officials are concerned about in the Southern Interior.

Entomologist Lorraine MacLauchlan, who just came back from the field, says the area is in the midst of a severe outbreak of the tussock moth.


Over 100 Species Of Bats Found Within Several Acres Of Rainforest In Ecuador

Bats are a remarkable evolutionary success story representing the second largest group of mammals, outnumbered only by rodents in number of species. Now, researchers of the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin (Germany) and Boston University (U.S.A.) have discovered the place that harbours the highest number of bat species ever recorded. In a few ha* of rainforest in the Amazon basin of eastern Ecuador, the authors have found more than 100 species of bats.

Dr. Katja Rex and colleagues captured bats at several biodiversity hotspots in the New World tropics, in the lowland rainforest of Costa Rica, the slopes of the Andes and a site in the Amazon rainforest of Eastern Ecuador, at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station 1 located adjacent to the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve. During many months of strenuous nightly field work, exposed to rain and mosquitoes, the researchers captured bats, identified species and recorded the total number of each species they captured. Based on these numbers, they calculated the species richness and diversity present in each of these forests.