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Fri, 23 Feb 2018
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Mysterious enriched uranium particle detected in skies over Alaska's Aleutian Islands

Uranium particles detected
© Berliner Verlag / Global Look Press
Scientists have found a "highly unusual" particle enriched with uranium in the skies over Alaska's Aleutian Islands. The source of the substance, which is typically used in nuclear fuel and bombs, is still unclear.

The mysterious substance "containing a very small amount of enriched uranium" was found at an altitude of 7km (4.3 miles) above Alaska's Aleutian Islands, according to a report issued by the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.

It is the first time the group of US scientists has detected enriched uranium-235 in their 20-year study. They were making no special attempt to sample radioactive material, when they came across it during a routine flight to check atmospheric conditions in August 2016.

"During 20 years of aircraft sampling of millions of particles in the global atmosphere, we have rarely encountered a particle with a similarly high content of 238U [uranium-238] and never a particle with enriched 235U [uranium-235]," an abstract from the article says, with the full study to be published in April.

Cloud Precipitation

Hailstorms cause extensive damage to crops in 984 villages across Madhya Pradesh, India


Crop damage
As many as 984 villages in Madhya Pradesh were hit by recent hailstorms that caused extensive damage to crops, an official said today.

Villages in Sehore, Bhopal, Hoshangabad, Shivpuri, Ashoknagar, Raisen and other districts in the state were lashed by hailstorms between Sunday and Monday.

State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan yesterday held a meeting here and took a review of the post-hailstorm situation. He directed the officials to estimate the crop damage in a transparent manner, a public relations department official said.

During the meeting, Chouhan was informed that 984 villages were affected by hailstorms, he said.

Comment: See also this report from the state of Maharashtra: Unusual hailstorm kills 2 and damages crops in India


Man killed in dog attack in Owensboro, Kentucky

canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
Owensboro Police confirm a man was killed and a woman was injured in a dog attack Thursday evening.

Police say this happened at a home on Heritage Park Drive on the city's southwest side. We're told at least three dogs were living at the home, but, it is unclear how many were involved in the attack.

Police said one of the dogs tried to attack responding officers and was shot and killed.

Detectives are still trying to piece together what happened.

We will pass along updates as we learn more.


Extremely rare deep sea megamouth shark found on coast of Negros Oriental, Philippines

RARE SIGHT: The extremely rare megamouth shark washed ashore in Negros Oriental
The extremely rare megamouth shark washed ashore in Negros Oriental
Fishermen in remote village were fearing armageddon after a super-rare shark washed up on their shores

Locals spotted the stranded 15ft-long megamouth shark on the beach in Negros Oriental, Philippines.

There have only been a handful of sightings of the extremely rare species in the world and superstitious locals believe a dead creature being washed ashore is a sign of impending doom.

Villager Paulino Ocana said: "This is very bad luck. There is a sense that something very bad is coming.

"A big disaster could be coming and we're preparing for it."

Peter Ramirez, a fisherman who was among those who hauled ashore the shark, said: "The animal was dead.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain leaves 4 dead in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro flood streets
© Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil
Heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro flood streets across neighborhoods in the city
Heavy rain and high winds in Rio de Janeiro have left four people dead.

Overnight storms flooded roads, downed trees and damaged several homes. Several hospitals lost power and were forced to run on generators.

By Thursday evening, authorities had cordoned off more than 50 homes that had been severely damaged in the Alemao slum complex and another neighborhood.


Rare small earthquake rocks Beijing, China

4.3-magnitude quake struck near China's capital
© US Geological Survey
The 4.3-magnitude quake struck near China's capital
A rare small earthquake rattled the Chinese capital Beijing on Monday, the government said.

The 4.3-magnitude quake was centered in an area just south of the city in the neighboring province of Hebei.

The epicenter was in a county that is part of Hebei's Langfang city.

There were no immediate reports of any damage, and buildings in Beijing shook only slightly.

China is frequently hit by earthquakes, many of which are centered in the southwest of the country.

Blue Planet

The polar vortex just split into a double vortex - cold temps for Europe will persist

Polar vortex january 2018
© AER/Judah Cohen
Computer model simulation showing a split of the polar vortex into two pieces (blue areas), with an unusually mild area (red) in between.
The polar vortex, the notorious swirl of winds around a low pressure area in the upper atmosphere over the Arctic, has split in two. Since the polar vortex tends to be associated with some of the coldest air during the winter, the split - which is more like a temporary separation than a lasting divorce - means that ultra cold air is on the move.

A split in the polar vortex may sound like a complicated weather concept, but it has huge consequences for weather patterns from Canada to Eurasia. The latest split is likely to put Western Europe and much of Eurasia into the deep freeze for the rest of February, and will offer glimpses of hope for snow lovers along the U.S. East Coast.

Figuring out where the coldest air will go and how it will affect worldwide weather patterns for the next several weeks is a key task facing weather forecasters now.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rains cause widespread flooding across Jakarta, Indonesia

Motorists steer a stalled motorcycle to the median strip on Jl. Letjen Suprapto in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta
© kompas.com
Motorists steer a stalled motorcycle to the median strip on Jl. Letjen Suprapto in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta, which was flooded on Feb. 15. Prolonged heavy rains on Thursday morning saw flooding in several areas across the capital.
Heavy rains on Thursday morning caused mild to severe flooding across Jakarta that paralyzed traffic along several major streets in the capital.

According to the official Twitter account of the Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), at least six streets in Central Jakarta had been flooded since 10 a.m.

Floodwaters reached a height of 100 centimeters along an underpass in Kebon Kosong, Kemayoran.

Floods also hit Jl. Sukarjo Wiryopranoto, Jl. Letjen Suprapto, Jl. Agus Salim, Jl. Wahid Hasyim and Jl. Palbatu, with floodwaters reaching up to 40 centimeters.

Arrow Down

Three skiers killed by avalanche in the Pyrenees, France

Three skiers have been found dead in a resort in south-western France after being buried by an avalanche in an off-piste area, officials say.

The three French men, one aged 29 and two 38, had gone missing on Wednesday night in the Cauterets resort in the Pyrenees mountains.

On Tuesday, a 19-year-old skier died in an avalanche in the resort of Gavarnie, also in the Pyrenees.

Officials warn of the risks of going off-piste, where most accidents happen.

This year has seen heavy snowfall in the region and also across the Alps.

The bad weather reportedly continued in the Pyrenees and some lifts were closed.

Comment: Recently over a meter (3.5 feet) of snowfall in 3 days hit the Pyrenees.


59 dolphins strand themselves in Baja California Sur, Mexico, 21 die

Dead dolphins seen on a beach in Mexico on Tuesday

Dead dolphins seen on a beach in Mexico on Tuesday
On this Tuesday morning it was recorded the stranding of 59 dolphins, females and males, on the beach of El Saladito, 21 of which died before being able to be returned to the sea, says Hiram Rosales, collaborator of the Federal Attorney's Office Protection of the Environment (Profepa) and in turn of the Stranding Network of La Paz.

The specimens of gray color and white belly waved on a rocky beach called La Salinita, located in the north of La Paz Bay, capital of the state.

The research professor of the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS) said that 38 specimens were returned to the sea with the support of some 40 people, including collaborators of the Network and students of the UABCS.

He mentioned that a tourist informed the Network about the massive stranding of dolphins on the beach located near the port of Pichilingue, around eight in the morning, so they proceeded to rescue the marine mammals.