Earth ChangesS


Globe may be cooling on Global Warming

Australia, the land where sinks drain the other way, has alerted Americans that we see Earth's climate upside down: We're not warming. We're cooling.

"Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously." Dr. Phil Chapman wrote in The Australian on April 23. "All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead."


Flashback Aussie Finds Meteorite Crater on Google Earth

Sydney: A rare meteorite impact crater in remote Western Australia has been discovered by an Australian geologist using Google Earth.

The Hickman Crater, located in the Pilbara region around 1000 km northeast of Perth, was named for its discoverer, Arthur Hickman, who was using Google Earth to conduct research on channel ore deposits.

If confirmed, the Hickman Crater will be Australia's second largest preserved rim crater - one that has not eroded significantly from its original shape. The crater's rim, which is 80 per cent preserved, stands 30 m above its floor, and consists mainly of rhyolite, a rock similar to granite.

©Google Earth
The Hickman Crater as viewed from satellite

Bizarro Earth

Chile volcano blasts ash 20 miles high, forcing evacuations

Santiago, Chile - The long-dormant Chaiten volcano blasted ash some 20 miles (30 kilometers) into the Andean sky on Tuesday, forcing thousands to evacuate and fouling a huge stretch of the South American continent.

Bizarro Earth

First international aid reaches Myanmar after cyclone

Yangon, Myanmar - International aid began to trickle into Myanmar on Tuesday, but the stricken Irrawaddy delta, the nation's rice bowl where 22,000 people perished and twice as many are missing, remained cut off from the world.


Florida: Mysterious algae blooms worry biologists

florida algae
©Daivd Walters / Miami Herald Staff
Peter Frezza, a biologist with Audubon of Florida's Keys office, measures water clarity on the Twin Key banks. The photo was taken from just below the surface and reveals the water's green tinge as a result of the algae bloom in parts of Florida Bay.

Algae has turned Florida Bay's waters a murky green, threatening the ecosystem below. What's causing the sudden blooms isn't clear.

Only a day earlier, the heart of Florida Bay's world-renowned fishing ground was clear enough to count turtle grass blades six feet down. Now, Pete Frezza stared into water so thick with algae it looked an awful lot like pea soup.

Stick an arm in and you wouldn't see your hand.


Colossal squid goes under the knife in New Zealand

Colossal Squid
The colossal squid, which weighs half a tonne, is thought to be the largest ever recovered intact

The sight of an enormous, tentacled creature splayed out on an operating table may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but for scientists in New Zealand tomorrow it will just be another day at the office.

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa is about to begin experiments on one of the ocean's most enigmatic creatures: the colossal squid. Only dismembered or digested parts of the squid are ordinarily found, but this rare intact specimen was caught in Antarctic waters in February 2007.


17 Elephants Butchered for Ivory in African Park

Poachers from an array of factions have killed 17 elephants in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since mid-April, conservationists announced.

The killings of the first 14 animals were announced early last week, and an additional 3 were found Friday.

The rare animals were slaughtered in Virunga National Park, most likely to feed Asia's demand for ivory.

Virunga's ecosystem has come under increasing pressure from a bevy of military groups looking to exploit the natural resources in its jungles to fund their operations.

The Nairobi-based charity WildlifeDirect, which publicized the latest killings, said Rwandan and Mai Mai rebels, Congolese army forces, and even local villagers were all to blame.

Poachers hold a pair of harvested elephant tusks (top) on April 27, 2008. To claim the tusks, which are carved into ivory goods, poachers will butcher an elephant and leave the rest of its body to rot, as seen in an image of a slaughtered elephant (bottom) taken on April 20, 2008.

At least 17 elephants have been found butchered for their tusks since mid-April in Democratic Republic of the Congo's Virunga National Park, wildlife groups announced.

Arrow Up

The toll is rising: At least 15,000 killed by Myanmar cyclone

At least 15,000 people have died since the Nargis tropical cyclone hit Myanmar on Saturday, China's Xinhua news agency quoted official sources as saying Monday.

Earlier Monday, Myanmar's state television said the death toll was nearing 4,000, with around 3,000 people missing.

Authorities in Myanmar introduced a state of emergency in five regions as the cyclone struck, with wind speeds reaching some 190 km/h (118 mph). Most of those killed were in the low-lying Irrawaddy delta.

The majority of the Southeast Asian country's largest city, Yangon, is still without electricity, and its streets are filled with overturned cars, uprooted trees and other debris. Telephone and Internet communications have also been severely disrupted. Several towns around Yangon have also been flooded.


Myanmar believes cyclone killed at least 10,000: diplomat

Myanmar's military government has a provisional death toll of 10,000 from this weekend's devastating cyclone, with another 3,000 missing, a diplomat said on Monday after a briefing from Foreign Minister Nyan Win.

Better Earth

Quake pattern watched closely: How Reno temblors will affect faults at Lake Tahoe unclear

As earthquakes continue to shake Reno, two reports released this month give new insight into the likely characteristics of a temblor at Lake Tahoe.

A 4.2-magnitude quake shook western Reno at 4:33 a.m. Monday, the latest in a series of quakes that has rocked the Mogul area since February.

Monday's quake is considered an aftershock of a 4.7-magnitude quake that hit the area Friday, after which seismologists warned there was a slightly higher probability of a larger quake.