Earth ChangesS


Spanish minister says fires "strategically planned"

MADRID - A wave of forest fires sweeping through northwestern Spain appear to have been "strategically planned," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba has said as he visited the region.

On a visit to the Galician regional capital of Santiago de Compostela Rubalcaba said Friday many fires seemed to be "strategically planned with very evil intentions."


Typhoon kills over 100 in China

CANGNAN, China - The strongest typhoon to hit China in half a century killed more than 100 people, dozens of whom had taken shelter in a house that collapsed, Xinhua news agency said on Friday, and the toll appeared likely to rise.

Typhoon Saomai tore into Cangnan county in the eastern province of Zhejiang on Thursday after authorities had moved hundreds of thousands in the densely populated commercial province to safety.

By Friday evening, 104 people were confirmed dead and 190 were missing in Zhejiang and neighboring Fujian province, Xinhua said. Some 54,000 houses were destroyed.

State television put the direct economic loss at 11.3 billion yuan ($1.42 billion).


Strange holes in the ground discovered in Krasnoyarsk region (with pic)

Residents of Novoselovo district in the Krasnoyarsk region have come across a mysterious phenomenon in the field. They discovered several tunnels of unknown origin in an area located some 100 meters away from the highway connecting the cities of Krasnoyarsk and Abakan , in the vicinity of the village of Kurgany, Siberian News Agency reports.


Amsterdam rocked by 'record' earthquake

AMSTERDAM - An earthquake shook the north of the Netherlands early on Tuesday morning. Measuring 3.5 on the Richter Scale, it was equal in strength to the strongest earthquake on record in the northern Netherlands. This took place in Alkmaar five years ago.

Tuesday's quake in Groningen at around 7am was registered by all seismic stations in the country. It was centred on the town of Middelstum which lies in the middle of the gas fields in the province.


Spider Invasion Creeping Out Austrians

VIENNA, Austria -- An eight-legged invasion is giving some Austrians the creeps. The venomous yellow sack spider, whose painful bite can cause headache and nausea, has become the talk of the town since several people were bitten earlier this summer.

Reports of spider sightings have dominated local media, triggering hundreds of calls to a Vienna poison hotline and prompting the government to issue a plea for calm.


Vanuatu hit by earthquake; no damage reports

An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the open Richter scale struck 75 kilometres from the largest island of Vanuatu this morning.

The depth of the quake was nearly 150 kilometres.

There are no reports of damage.


Floods kill 150 people in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA - Floods killed about 150 people in eastern Ethiopia when heavy rains caused a river to burst its banks, sending a wall of water into a town that killed most of the victims as they slept, police said on Sunday.

"Floods from the overflowing Dechatu river hit Dire Dawa town in the middle of Saturday night while residents were sleeping," police inspector Benyam Fikru told Reuters.

"The death toll has now reached 150."

Cloud Lightning

Freak waves may be real cause of many ship sinkings

Freak ocean waves that rise to a height of 10-storey buildings may be sinking ships in accidents that are attributed to nothing more than poor weather.

Once dismissed as a nautical myth, freak or "rogue" waves have been recorded by shipping vessels and more accurately measured from oil and gas platforms at sea.

The waves arise by chance when others combine, leading to giant walls of water that momentarily tower above the rest of the ocean, at heights in excess of 30 metres.


Large earthquake sparks tsunami alert in Gorontalo

A huge undersea earthquake struck off Gorontalo coast Sunday, with a meteorology and geophysics official warning of the possibility of a tsunami hitting Sulawesi.

The head of the agency's earthquake center, Fauzi, said the 6.6-magnitude quake was centered at a depth of 62 kilometers under the sea, 90 km southeast of the city of Gorontalo.


Small Earthquake Shakes Western Riverside County

A small earthquake rattled the western edge of Riverside County on Sunday. The magnitude-3.6 temblor struck the area about 8:58 a.m. and was centered about 8 miles northwest of Lake Elsinore and 11 miles southeast of Corona, according to a preliminary report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

No damages or injuries were reported, a Riverside County sheriff's dispatcher said.