Earth ChangesS


Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why

©Michael Durham/Getty Images
THREAT Healthy bats, like the one above, hibernate in winter.

Al Hicks was standing outside an old mine in the Adirondacks, the largest bat hibernaculum, or winter resting place, in New York State.

But bats dying from a mystery illness have been found in the snow in daylight hours.

It was broad daylight in the middle of winter, and bats flew out of the mine about one a minute. Some had fallen to the ground where they flailed around on the snow like tiny wind-broken umbrellas, using the thumbs at the top joint of their wings to gain their balance.

Alarm Clock

Shocking New Data on Earthquakes in Southern Nevada Released

A shocking new report shows what kind of damage a large earthquake would do to Las Vegas. It also shows that "the big one" could hit here in the next 50 years.

Right at Tropicana and Decatur is the closest active fault to the Las Vegas Strip. It runs north and south along Decatur. The new damage data may be shocking, but it can better prepare the buildings in our area.


Strong Earthquake Strikes Northern Chile

Chile 6.1 quake

A 6.1-magnitude quake has hit northern Chile close to the border with Bolivia, the US Geological Survey reports.

The tremor, whose epicentre was 145km (90 miles) east of the coastal city of Iquique, struck at a depth of more than 120km (74 miles), it adds.


Best of the Web: Death of the Bees: GMO Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America

'Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of [North}America's crops and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this pollination, you could kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize'.1


Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change

Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.

Bizarro Earth

Biofuels will speed climate change, chief scientist says

The UK's chief environment scientist has called for a delay to a policy demanding inclusion of biofuels into fuel at pumps across the UK.

Professor Robert Watson said ministers should await the results of their inquiry into biofuels' sustainability.

Some scientists think biofuels' carbon benefits may be currently outweighed by negative effects from their production.


4.1 earthquake at Yellowstone National Park

US Dept. of the Interior - National Park Service
©National Park Service
At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth's crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma "reservoir," release the pressure, and the volcano explodes. The huge amount of material released causes the volcano to collapse into a huge crater - a caldera.

Comment: The University of Utah, as a member of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), maintains a series of seismograph stations at Yellowstone National Park. Recent readings capturing a short series of quakes can be seen at their site.


Tanzania: 'Mountain of God' spews out its wrath after series of tremors

Oldonyo Lengai
Mt Oldonyo Lengai (file picture)

In the past the community living at the foot of Oldonyo Lengai defied government orders to evacuate after the mountain erupted.

They argued that they could not move out because they had lived there for generations and had grown used to the volcanic ash from "the mountain of God" in northern Tanzania. But nine months after it continued to emit smoke into the sky and spewing molten rocks on its slopes, many of the defiant people are now moving out without being asked to.


Hawaii: Volcano blast spews grit over 19 miles

©Charlene Meyers. Images of Hawaii
Photographer and national park volunteer Charlene Meyers
took this 72-second time exposure Tuesday night
of the glowing spot in Halemaumau Crater.

Big Island photographer Charlene Meyers must have been one of the last people to see the glowing red vent inside Halemaumau Crater before the unusual feature blew itself apart early Wednesday morning.


Texas: Why Was It Raining Mud?

Many of you called and email about what looked like mud falling from the sky late Tuesday afternoon. By sundown, everything was coated in dirt.

People weren't sure if it was pollution, but it was getting all over cars and windows.

"I don't know, I've never seen this before," said Magne Turoy, who is from Norway. "I'm used to rain, lots of rain, but I've never seen this before."