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Wed, 07 Dec 2016
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Incredible drone footage captures giant cracks left by New Zealand earthquake (VIDEOS)

© GNS Science / YouTube
Following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck New Zealand's South Island last week, scientists sent a drone to examine the damage left in its wake along the Kekerengu and Papatea fault line ruptures.

The footage shows the extent of the damage caused, and is a sobering watch in light of the latest earthquakes that struck the country Tuesday. The North Island was hit with a 6.0-magnitude earthquake. The South Island also experienced a 5.3 quake a few hours later that may have been an aftershock from the previous week.

The Kekerengu Fault is one of several to have ruptured during the Kaikoura earthquake on the South Island. Scientists estimate the surface rupture to be about 30km (19 miles) long.

The videos were created by GNS Science, a geoscience research company. They sent a drone over both the Kekerengu Fault and the Papatea Fault in the northeast South Island with captivating results, highlighting the damage sustained as well as New Zealand's beautiful landscapes.

Comment: See also:

Bizarro Earth

Not just bees: Trees are dying off at an alarming rate

In the background of modern life, as people go on debating politics and working for a living, something dreadful is happening to the eco-systems which support us. Major disasters like the ongoing radioactive leak at Fukushima, the apocalyptic fires burning throughout Indonesia, even bee colony collapse disorder, seem to fall out of view in day-to-day life, as we seem to have lost our power and will to directly participate in the stewardship of planet earth.

A new crisis is now happening all around us affecting trees. It appears that millions, hundreds of millions even, of trees are dying in North America and around the world from a basket of reasons, promising to completely and permanently alter the landscape and environment around us.

Arrow Up

13-year-old escapes 20-foot-deep sinkhole in Lake Elsinore, California

Teenager nearly swallowed up by a sinkhole
A Southern California teen nearly swallowed up by a 20-foot-deep sinkhole in her front yard fought to crawl from the opening that caved in right under her Monday.

"All of a sudden I just fell down," 13-year-old Lake Elsinore resident Macayla Wittman said.

Surveillance video captured part of the struggle, with Macayla's legs visibly flailing as she fought to escape the well-like hole in her front yard on Pennsylvania street.

She was walking on her front yard when the ground gave way underneath her. But Macayla stopped her fall by grabbing onto the edge of the 3-foot-wide sinkhole.

Seconds later she climbed out shaken, but not hurt.


No milk today: Rampaging cow sending man spinning through the air filmed in Nigeria

The cow flipped the man into the air in front of a shocked crowd in Nigeria
This dramatic footage shows the horrifying moment a cow gored a man and flipped him into the air.

The video, filmed in Nigeria, showed a man trying to catch the long-horned cow with a rope on a pole, watched by a crowd.

However the cow evaded the rope and instead charged at a bystander.

As he sprinted away, the cow turned its attention to another man trying to run off.

In his desperate efforts to scramble to safety, he stumbled into a ditch and the cow stabbed him with its horns.


Another dolphin found dead along shoreline in Nova Scotia, Canada; the third in four days

Robert Lange of Pictou County snaps a photo of a dolphin that washed up along the shoreline in Big Island, N.S. on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016.
Another dead dolphin has washed up along the shoreline in Big Island, N.S. - the third in the last four days.

Robert Lange says he was driving home last week when he noticed a pod of dolphins splashing in the Merigomish Harbour.

"The dolphins were swimming very close to shore here and when I stopped and looked closer with the binoculars, there was a pod of maybe a dozen or more swimming very close together," said Lange. "The fins were all out of the water and the tide was very low with the supermoon."

Robert Lange of Pictou County snaps a photo of a dolphin that washed up along the shoreline in Big Island, N.S. on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016.

One of the animals died that night and another washed ashore the next morning.

The dolphins appear to be trapped by geography. At one end, Merigomish Harbour has a wide opening between Big Island and the Mainland, but it narrows significantly and closes at the other end.

"We assume that these ones were probably chasing a school of fish, and got up here and got out of the channel and into the shallow water and couldn't get back," said Lange.

Comment: See also: Two dolphins dead after stranding in Nova Scotia, Canada

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills boy and injures 4 others in Zimbabwe

A lightning bolt killed a 10-year-old boy and injured his three friends and a teacher in Binga last week. The boy and his friends were playing under a tree when it started raining in Tinde Village. Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident. "The boy was playing with three friends under a tree when it started raining. The boys were then struck by lightning including a teacher who was passing by and they all sustained injuries. They were ferried to hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead on arrival," she said.

Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the other three boys and the teacher were treated and discharged. "With the onset of the rainy season, members of the public are urged to take precautionary measures when it is about to rain, during or after.

"Please avoid taking shelter at isolated places or being the sole target at open spaces; avoiding contact with electrical gadgets and seeking shelter under isolated tall trees or other objects," said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.

Alarm Clock

Japan lifts tsunami advisories issued after 7.4 magnitude earthquake

Japanese broadcaster NHK World reported that people should evacuate immediately
Japan has lifted the tsunami advisories issued after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit its eastern coast.

The quake struck near Fukushima at about 06:00 local time (21:00 GMT Monday), triggering initial warnings of 3m (9.8ft) high waves. The waves which eventually hit the coast were much smaller.

Thousands were asked to evacuate the area and minor injuries were reported.

An earthquake and tsunami struck the area in 2011 killing 18,000 people.

That quake, one of the most powerful ever recorded, also caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, where a massive clean-up operation is still going on.

Officials have said there is no sign of damage to the plant this time.

The US Geological Survey initially put the magnitude at 7.3 but later downgraded this to 6.9, lower than the number given by the Japanese authorities.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said in its latest update that no tsunami damage is expected, although there may be slight changes to the sea level.

Solar Flares

6.0 earthquake shakes New Zealand's North Island

New Zealand has been hit by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake off North Island, USGS reports, just hours after Japan suffered a 7.4 magnitude jolt and a series of aftershocks off the Fukushima coast which unleashed tsunami waves.

The earthquake, initially estimated at magnitude 6.3, was registered at a depth of 37km (23 miles) and centered off the coast of North Island, some 123km (76 miles) from Palmerston North.

Bizarro Earth

7.3 Magnitude earthquake off Fukushima triggers tsunami warning

A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck Fukushima Prefecture in Japan, USGS reported. A three meter tsunami wave alert was issued for Fukushima, Nippon reported.

The quake struck 67km northeast of Iwaki, a city located in the southern part of the Hamadori coastal region of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

Comment: Update: Fukushima reactor cooling system stops following quake & tsunami
The cooling system of the third reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has stopped circulating water following a powerful 7.3 offshore earthquake. TEPCO said it managed to restart the system some 90 minutes after the failure.

The cooling system servicing the Unit 3 spent fuel pool was not able to circulate water to cool the nuclear fuel because of a broken pump, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

The temperature in the pool went up to 29 degrees Celsius. It takes up to seven days for temperatures to rise to 65 degrees Celsius, which is the upper operational limit, Japan's national nuclear agency said.

At such a pace, the cooling system failure posed no "immediate danger," although the agency admitted "gradual" rise in temperatures.

The exact cause of the cooling system stoppage is currently unknown. However, the system might have been "shaken" during the earthquake, according to nuclear agency officials, as reported by NHK. The station's storage pool currently contains 2,544 spent fuel rods. No cooling water leaks or any other "abnormalities" have been reported.

The first tsunami wave which hit the nuclear power plants was about one meter high, while the second was "not very high," according to TEPCO. There has been no "major physical damage" to the nuclear power plants, NHK reported.

Cloud Precipitation

Storm Angus: Flooding strikes south-west England

The flooded Whitchurch Lane in Bristol, pictured, was hit with more heavy rain during the course of the day
A swath of south-west Britain is coping with flooding and high winds as another block of torrential rain swept into Britain on the heels of Storm Angus.

The Met Office issued an amber warning - the second highest severe weather alert - for Devon and parts of Somerset, predicting that up to 30mm of rain could fall within an hour. It also released a yellow "be aware" warning for areas of northern England.

By early afternoon on Monday, there were 15 flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected and immediate action is required - in Devon, Somerset and Dorset. In addition, there were 89 flood alerts (flooding is possible, be prepared) across England and Wales.

Impacts were likely to include flooding of properties and parts of communities, the Met Office said, and significant disruption to travel, with a number of roads and rail services likely to be affected.

The Environment Agency said: "Across England and Wales localised impacts from river or surface water flooding are possible. Gales and large waves will affect the east Channel coast for a time overnight, giving the potential for soma localised spray and wave overtopping here."