Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Chile Quake Similar to 2004 Indian Ocean Temblor

© AP PhotoResidents look at a collapsed building in Concepcion, Chile, after an 8.8-magnitude struck central Chile.
Scientists say the major earthquake that struck off the coast of Chile was a "megathrust" - similar to the 2004 Indian Ocean temblor that spawned a catastrophic tsunami.

Megathrust earthquakes occur in subduction zones where plates of the Earth's crust grind and dive. Saturday's jolt occurred when the Nazca plate dove beneath the South American plate, releasing tremendous energy.

The U.S. Geological Survey says 13 temblors of magnitude-7 or larger have hit coastal Chile since 1973.

The latest quake occurred about 140 miles north of the largest earthquake ever recorded.

Bizarro Earth

Quake-Triggered Tsunami Rushes Ashore in Hawaii

A tsunami triggered by the Chilean earthquake sent a surge of water ashore in Hawaii, California and islands in the South Pacific on Saturday as the waves continued onto Alaska and parts of Asia.

There were no immediate reports of widespread damage, injuries or deaths in the U.S. or in the Pacific islands, but a tsunami that swamped a village on an island off Chile killed at least five people and left 11 missing.

In Hawaii, water began pulling away from shore off Hilo Bay on the Big Island just before noon, exposing reefs and sending dark streaks of muddy, sandy water offshore. Waves later washed over Coconut Island, a small park off Hilo's coast.

The tsunami was causing a series of surges that were about 20 minutes apart, and the waves arrived later and smaller than originally predicted. The highest wave at Hilo measured 5.5 feet (1.7 meters) high, while Maui saw some as high as 2 meters (6.5 feet).

Bizarro Earth

Tsunami Waves Hit French Polynesia After Chile Quake

The first small waves of a tsunami caused by an earthquake in Chile reached French Polynesia on Saturday, authorities said.

Residents were asked to move away from the shores and seek high ground while schools were shut down and most roads closed.

The first waves hit Gambier Archipelago at 10:50 a.m EST and Tahiti at 12:50 p.m. EST but Tahiti's seismological center said the waves were only 36 centimeters high.

The tsunami is expected to hit Bora Bora at 1:15 p.m. EST, the French Polynesia High Commissioner said in a statement.

French Polynesia President Gaston Tong Sang sought to reassure residents saying the territory was used to cyclones and hurricanes.


Snowmageddon comes to Moscow: Russia hasn't seen this much snow in 40 years

The winters showing no signs of letting up in the Russian capital, where relentless snowfall has broken a record that's stood for almost 50 years. And as the white stuff continues to come down, Moscow's working to prevent the winter fairytale from turning into a nightmare.

Alarm Clock

Hawaii blasts sirens, warns of possible tsunami

Ewa Beach - A tsunami triggered by the Chilean earthquake raced across the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, threatening Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast as well as hundreds of islands from the bottom of the planet to the top.

Sirens blared in Hawaii to alert residents to the potential waves. Nine small planes equipped with loudspeakers flew along the shoreline, warning beachgoers. On several South Pacific islands hit by a tsunami last fall, police evacuated tens of thousands of coastal residents.

The first waves in Hawaii were expected to hit shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday (4 p.m. EST; 2100 GMT) and measure roughly 8 feet (2.5 meters) at Hilo. Most Pacific Rim nations did not immediately order evacuations, but advised people in low-lying areas to be on the lookout.

Bizarro Earth

Massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Chile

© Martin Bernetti/AFPA destroyed pharmacy in Vina del Mar
A massive earthquake has hit central Chile, killing at least 82 people, the interior minister says.

The 8.8 magnitude quake struck at 0634 GMT about 115km (70 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 325km south-west of the capital, Santiago.

President Michelle Bachelet declared a "state of catastrophe" in affected areas and appealed for calm.

Tsunami warnings have been issued for Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Central America and Pacific island nations.


US: 3rd major blizzard in less than a month wreaks havoc in Northeast

© David Boe/APPeople shovel snow off a sidewalk in front of businesses as pedestrians make their way during a snowstorm in the Brooklyn Borough of New York, Friday, Feb. 26
New York - A record-breaking winter storm slammed New York and much of the U.S. Northeast on Friday, forcing businesses, schools and transportation systems to shut down as nearly two feet of snow fell in the city.

Commuters struggled in the absence of suburban train and bus services into New York City, where the National Weather Service said more than 20 inches of snow had fallen so far with the storm set to become the third heaviest on record.

The heaviest storm to hit New York was in February 2006 when 26.9 inches blanketed the city. The latest storm took New York City's total snowfall for February to more than 36 inches, making it the snowiest month on record.

"Enough is enough -- I am tired of shoveling," said retired Ron Rigo, 62, as he tried to dig out his car in a Manhattan street. "It's the worst winter in recent years."


US: Florida freezing weather moving in

Tampa -- Arctic air will settled into the Bay area Thursday, setting the stage for a night of freezing temperatures for much of the region.

The high only made it to around 57 degrees, which is about 20 degrees below average for this time of year.

Small craft advisories are in effect.

The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for the entire Tampa Bay area, with the exception of Pinellas County. The Freeze Warning will be in effect from 4 a.m. until 8 a.m. Friday morning.

A Freeze Warning is issued when three or more hours of temperatures between 27 and 32 degrees are expected over a widespread area.


Flights cancelled as storm whacks Toronto area

© CBSPlows and salters were out on Friday trying to clear the highways and streets in Toronto.
On Thursday evening the strongest storm of what has been a relatively gentle winter for Canada's largest city blew into the region, causing traffic snarls, flight delays and generally unpleasant conditions.

More than 150 flights were cancelled or delayed at Pearson International Airport Friday as the tail end of a two-day snowstorm pounded the Greater Toronto Area.

Airport authorities are advising travellers to call ahead to see whether their flights have been grounded.

Parts of the region received between 10 and 15 centimetres of snow throughout the day, making roads slushy and slick.

Cloud Lightning

Stormy weather wreaks havoc across Egypt

© AFPA lightning illuminates the sky over Cairo.
Cairo - Four people were killed and more than 50 hurt as bad weather wreaked havoc across Egypt, pelting the capital with a freak hail storm and smashing a luxury liner into a pier, officials and media said Friday.

In the northern Mediterranean city of Alexandria, waves as high as a two-storey building pounded the coast, media reports said.

Thursday evening's hail storm in Cairo, the first in many years, caused mayhem in the capital, snarling traffic and bringing the sprawling city to a virtual standstill.

Cars crawled on the slippery roads as lightning periodically lit up the drenched streets.

The downpour followed a heat wave and caught many off guard.