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SOTT Earth Changes Summary - August 2016: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

© Sott.net
While TV audiences were distracted by the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the farcical build-up to the US presidential election, the relentless pace of increasing extreme weather events around the world continued in August. Among the trends in environmental upheaval last month, we observed...
  • A record-breaking number of tornadoes in the US for August
  • Another '1-in-1,000-year flood event', this time in Louisiana
  • A destructive earthquake in central Italy
  • The fastest comet ever recorded
  • Lots more lightning deaths, including an entire herd of reindeer in southern Norway
  • Three massive sinkholes opening up to swallow (and kill) people in China
  • Intense storms hitting many world capitals, including record rainfalls in Macedonia and Moscow
  • Raging wildfires across the western Mediterranean and western US
These were just some of the signs in August 2016:

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Sinkhole cracks pavement across four-lane road in Torrance, California

A water main break Sunday caused a sinkhole, which closed a stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard in Torrance for about five hours.

Police were dispatched at 7 a.m. to Crenshaw Boulevard, between 168th and 170th streets, to provide traffic control as utility crews fill up sinkhole, according to a news release from the Torrance Police Department.

"There were cracks (in the pavement) across all [four] lanes of traffic," the release stated.

It was not immediately known if any water service was interrupted due to the water main brake.

Crenshaw Boulevard was closed between 168th and 170th streets at about 7:25 a.m. Police expected the big hole to be filled and traffic lanes re-opened by 12:30 p.m., police said.


Volcano erupts on French island of Réunion

© YouTube/RT (screen capture)
Piton de la Fournaise (Peak of the Furnace), one of the world's most active volcanos, erupts on Sunday on the French island of Réunion. This is the second time the volcano has erupted this year.

Piton de la Fournaise is classified as a shield volcano because of its low profile and multiple lava flows when it erupts. No one was injured in the eruption.


4 tornadoes strike Champaign County, Illinois

Four confirmed tornadoes touched down in Central Illinois Friday night, sweeping through Champaign County around 7 p.m., leveling at least one farm, and damaging buildings in small towns within the county.

The most powerful of the tornadoes was rated an EF-2 by the National Weather Service, reaching a peak wind speed of 125 miles per hour and leaving a 4.7 mile path of damage.

Significant damage is reported in the small towns of Homer — in between the city of Champaign and Danville — and Sidney south of Danville. A 116-year-old farmhouse was destroyed, and headstones in a cemetery were knocked over. The tornado threat bypassed the University of Illinois.

© National Weather Service
Path of tornado


Magnitude 5.3 earthquake rocks southeastern South Korea

© Dimas Ardian, Getty Images
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 jolted the country's southwestern region, South Korea's meteorological agency said Monday.

Busan Regional Meteorological Administration pinpointed the epicenter of the quake at 8 kilometers south of Gyeongju, some 371 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The quake was felt throughout Gyeongsang Province.

No damage was immediately reported, although most people in the region felt homes and buildings shake.

Cloud Precipitation

Flood waters cause chaos in Kingston, Jamaica

There was chaos along Marcus Garvey Drive and Spanish Town Road in Kingston yesterday as blocked drains resulted in severe flooding.

Several people were unable to leave their business places for more than an hour and motorists were left stranded.

It was reported that employees of the Wallenford Coffee Company sought refuge on the upper floor and stairway of the office as water inundated the ground floor.

Vehicles in the main car park were also flooded.

Communications Manager at the National Works Agency Stephen Shaw said a pile-up of garbage contributed to the flooding along Marcus Garvey Drive, where roadwork is also under way.

Shaw said last evening that work crews had been dispatched to the area to address the flooding problem.

Cloud Precipitation

133 killed, 395 missing, 107K displaced in North Korean flooding - UN

Map of North Korea showing the areas affected by severe flooding
Severe flooding in North Korea has led to the deaths of 133 people, with 395 reported missing, according to the UN. More than 100,000 have been forced to flee their homes.

Some 107,000 people have been displaced in the area along the Tumen River, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement, citing figures from Pyongyang.

The official KCNA news agency reported on Sunday that the flooding in the country's northeast has led to "great hardship." A labor campaign designed to bolster the nation's economy has been shifted to "direct all efforts to the construction of dwelling houses to provide flood-hit people with warm cradles and turn the flood-battered region into a fairyland in the era of the Workers' party within this year," the agency reported, quoting the country's Central Committee.

An address published in the country's official state media has called on all citizens to take part in the recovery work, TASS reported, stating that "all the human, material, and technical resources of the country have been mobilized."

Workers from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent are reportedly taking part in humanitarian efforts, distributing aid to those in the worst-hit areas.

Comment: Floods displace tens of thousands in North Korea

Bizarro Earth

'Crazy airglow' spotted over Maine national park

Not every green light in the sky is the aurora borealis. On Sept. 2nd, Mike Taylor was in the Acadia National Park of Maine when he witnessed an intense display of airglow:
© Mike Taylor Photography
Airglow in Acadia National Park.
"It was the craziest airglow I've ever seen," says Taylor. "I was with 3 other photographers and we all saw this with our naked eyes."

Airglow is not an aurora. It's a chemical reaction involving oxygen in the upper atmosphere driven in part by solar ultraviolet radiation and cosmic rays. Visibility waxes and wanes with conditions such as pressure and temperature in the rarified air more than 90 km above Earth's surface. Gravity waves traveling up from the planet below impress the verdant glow with a dramatic rippling structure.

Dark nights with a new or thin crescent Moon are the best times to catch a glimpse of airglow. Often, the glow is dim and pale to the naked eye, revealing its green color only to the lens of cameras set for Milky Way-length exposures. On rare occasions, such as Sept 2nd in the Acadia National Park, the human eye is more than enough. Browse the airglow photo gallery for more sightings.

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Massive sinkhole opens along historic Route 66 near Pacific, Missouri

There are many things that I couldn't tell from a hole in the ground.

The sinkhole along Historic Route 66 in Pacific, Missouri, is not one of them. It truly is a hole in the ground, a 70-foot by 50-foot hole — as of Friday afternoon — that was deep enough to swallow a two story building.

According to an engineer working for a company contracted by the city, the cause of the sinkhole was the collapse of a storm sewer pipe.

The 6- to 7-foot wide pipe, was installed in the undeveloped farm field back in the 1980's.

It was attached to the cement box culvert that ran under the highway at the time.

The engineer believes the connection joint failed and the pipe was crushed after years of deterioration.


USGS tells Kansans to prep for earthquakes like Californians

© twitter.com
5.8 earthquake strikes Oklahoma, felt in Kansas
Oklahoma's largest earthquake ever still has people talking. Saturday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake caused only minor damage in Kansas, but officials with the US Geological Survey say it's time for people in the region to start preparing for earthquakes like Californians. Items on your wall or shelves can be hazardous in an earthquake, but there are ways you can protect yourself and your belongings.

"It scared me this time," said Errica Weaver. The morning jolt felt across the region didn't skip Weaver's home. "I ran down the hallway and woke my husband up and I was like 'we're having another earthquake'," said Weaver. [T]he earthquake shook pictures off her wall, and caused drawers to slide out of her bedroom dresser. We took Weaver through the FEMA Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt, a guide to eliminate potential dangers in your home in the event of an earthquake.

FEMA recommends you securely fasten or relocate heavy pictures over beds and furniture. We checked Weaver's home and all wall hangings are in safe places. Another suggestion is to secure cabinets to wall studs, and use latches to keep cabinet doors from flying open during an earthquake. Weaver says that's something she'll have to fix in her own home.

FEMA also recommends strapping down TVs and other expensive or hazardous electronics. FEMA emphasizes making sure all heavy objects are secured inside your home. There are also steps you can take outside the home, such as making sure your house is anchored to its foundation.

Comment: The earthquake ties for Oklahoma's strongest earthquake on record, the first coming in November 2011. No major damage was immediately reported. An increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. State regulators have asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes in earthquake-prone regions of the state.

Some parts of Oklahoma now match northern California for the nation's most shake prone, and one Oklahoma region has a 1 in 8 chance of a damaging quake in 2016, with other parts closer to 1 in 20. An estimated 10 million people felt the earthquake across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, and Alabama.