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Sat, 01 Oct 2016
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Residents forced to flee after Mexico's 'Volcano of Fire' emits violent eruption of lava and ash

© webcamsdemexico / Instagram
Streams of lava and large plumes of ash emitted in a dramatic volcanic eruption has forced residents in the state of Colima, Mexico to leave their homes.

One of the most active volcanoes in Central America, the Colima volcano has been erupting slowly since early September.

More than 300 people were ordered on Friday to evacuate from two villages in the foothills of Volcan de Fuego, the 3,839-meter mountain which towers over the states of Jalisco and Colima.

A timelapse taken from a webcam observing the peak shows its most recent fiery outburst, raining molten rock and ash on the surrounding area.


Hurricane Matthew is strongest Atlantic storm in nine years; 260km/h (160mph) winds, due to hit Jamaica Monday

© Reuters
Jamaicans have been stocking up on supplies at supermarkets in advance of Hurricane Matthew's arrival
The most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic for nine years is moving towards Jamaica with wind speeds of up to 260km/h (160mph), strong enough to wreck houses.

Weather forecasters have upgraded Hurricane Matthew to category five, the highest on the scale of intensity.

Jamaican PM Andrew Holness has called an urgent meeting of parliament to discuss hurricane preparedness.

The storm is expected to make landfall by Monday.

Jamaica's palm-lined southern coast is expected to be hit first. The capital, Kingston, is located in the area, as is the country's only oil refinery.

Officials have warned the high winds could also batter the island's main tourist areas including Montego Bay in the north.

"The government is on high alert," Mr Holness' director of communications, Robert Morgan, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Comment: Hurricane Matthew batters southern Caribbean in rare shift


USGS: 5.3 magnitude earthquake strikes off Tonga's coast

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has occurred off the coast of Tonga in the South Pacific, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reports.

The quake occurred at 00:33 GMT on Saturday at a depth of 57.6 kilometers (about 36 miles), 246 kilometers (153 miles) south of Ohonua, the largest settlement on Tonga's 'Eua island, USGS said.

There appeared to be no tsunami threat following the earthquake and there were no immediate reports of any damages or casualties.


ExxonMobil sued for decades-long cover up of climate change's adverse affect

© Lee Celano / Reuters
Oil giant ExxonMobil is being sued for allegedly polluting a Massachusetts river and violating federal water laws. The suit also charges the company with knowing of climate change's adverse affect, but hiding it.

Last year it was revealed the company started to conceal its own findings as early as 1977 that fossil fuels cause global warming.

"Communities were put in danger and remain in danger, all to cut costs from one of the most profitable corporations in the world," said Bradley Campbell, president of the Conservative Law Foundation, in a released statement about the lawsuit filed on Thursday in the Massachusetts District Court.

Comment: ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change - seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm's own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.

See also: Revealed: Exxon knew of climate change in 1981 but it funded deniers for 27 more years


Recent earthquake swarm under California's Salton Sea could lead to massive earthquake on San Andreas fault

© U.S. Geological Survey
A view of the San Andreas fault in the Carrizo Plain. A valley is deeply eroded along the fault
The rumbling started Monday morning deep under the Salton Sea. A rapid succession of small earthquakes — three measuring above magnitude 4.0 — began rupturing near Bombay Beach, continuing for more than 24 hours. Before the swarm started to fade, more than 200 earthquakes had been recorded.

The temblors were not felt over a very large area, but they have garnered intense interest — and concern — among seismologists. It marked only the third time since earthquake sensors were installed there in 1932 that the area had seen such a swarm, and this one had more earthquakes than the events of 2001 and 2009.

The quakes occurred in one of California's most seismically complex areas. They hit in a seismic zone just south of where the mighty San Andreas fault ends. It is composed of a web of faults that scientists fear could one day wake up the nearby San Andreas from its long slumber.
© Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson
An image provided by Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson shows the earthquake swarms of 2001, 2009 and 2016 in the Salton Sea. Scientists worry that earthquakes near the southern end of the San Andreas fault could trigger a large earthquake on California's longest fault
The San Andreas fault's southernmost stretch has not ruptured since about 1680 — more than 330 years ago, scientists estimate. And a big earthquake happens on average in this area once every 150 or 200 years, so experts think the region is long overdue for a major quake.

Comment: Many experts believe the San Andreas fault is long overdue for a potentially catastrophic earthquake:


5 waterspouts photographed along St. Joseph Peninsula, Florida

Saturday morning got a bit crazy for visitors and residents along St. Joseph Peninsula and Black's Island.

A front coming through generated what first appeared to be five funnels over towering over the peninsula becoming a main funnel with a second alongside and finally one main waterspout over St. Joseph Bay, coming within a couple hundreds yards or so of Black's Island.

Thanks for Carol and Phil Dohmen for the photos.


Waterspout filmed off Johnson Beach, Florida

We catch a rare waterspout on video at Johnson Beach. The whole storm was quite a show, with bright lightning every few minutes.


South Australia hit by second destructive storm in 24 hours with winds of up to 140km/h

© Reuters
Police direct traffic in the central business district of Adelaide after severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia on Wednesday night. On Thursday night the state copped another belting.

Intense low-pressure system sweeps across state, causing heavy rain, flooding and major damage after emergency services tell Adelaide workers to go home

South Australia has copped another belting with a destructive storm lashing the state just 24 hours after super cell thunderstorms knocked out the state's entire power network.

The intense low pressure system raged across Adelaide and parts of South Australia late on Thursday. The storm packed winds of up to 140km/h, among the strongest the city has experienced, prompting an unprecedented warning from police for workers to head home early and stay home amid concerns emergency services might not be able to cope.

The winds brought down trees across a wide area, causing major damage, and ripped some mid-north buildings apart.

Heavy rain caused widespread flooding, from the Patawalonga River in Adelaide, through to the Barossa and Clare valleys, which copped 54mm of rain.

Comment: See also:

Cloud Lightning

Record rise in the numer of deaths due to lightning in 2016 for Bangladesh

© 123RF
Bangladesh has witnessed a record rise in the number of deaths from lightning strikes this year, and experts say it is linked to global warming and deforestation.

Until September 20, a total of 193 people were killed in lightning strikes, beating all previous annual figures that ranged from 51 to 136 between 2010 and 2015, according to the Department of Disaster Management.

The total death toll since 2010 is 828. However, the actual number of deaths from lightning strikes could be more as it had not been considered a natural disaster until recently and not recorded by the department, an official told The Daily Star.

The record of people getting injured in lightning strikes is not maintained either.

The government declared lightning as one of the natural disasters only earlier this year, said M Khalid Mahmood, director (planning and development) at the DDM.

The district administration, as per a standing order, provides Tk 20,000 to the families that have lost a member in lightning strike.

Comment: With these additional reports, here and here, the number of deaths for the year in Bangladesh now stands at 196 and it seems more than likely it will top over 200 by the end of 2016.

Cloud Lightning

Woman, daughter killed by lightning bolt in Rangpur, Bangladesh

© 123RF
An indigenous woman and her daughter were killed by a lightning strike at Kadirabad in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur early Friday.

The deceased were identified as Lakshmina Murmu, 55, and her daughter Selina Murmu, 20, of the area.

Officer-in-charge of Pirganj Police Station Rezaul Karim said a streak of thunderbolt struck the duo while they were sleeping at their house in the late night, leaving them dead on the spot; according to a news agency.

Source: TM