Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits the Bismarck Sea.

5.5 Earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.5 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

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In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical Depression Genevieve is located near latitude 12.9 north…longitude 149.0 west. The depression is moving toward the west near 7 mph…11 km/h …And this motion is expected to increase slightly through the next 48 hours.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm 11w (Halong) is located approximately 75 nm northwest of Navsta, Guam, and is tracking westward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

India – At least 15 people were killed after heavy rains triggered a landslide in Maharashtra’s Pune district, burying over 160 as rescuers searched for survivors and bodies in the massive debris of mud and rock. Racing against time and battling inclement weather. Emergency personnel have pulled out 15 bodies from the rubble and many injured survivors so far.

Germany – Summer storms bring flooding to parts of western Germany.

USA – A storm system that wreaked havoc across the eastern half of the U.S. spawned a tornado just north of Boston on Monday, causing extensive damage. Winds as high as 120 miles per hour roared through Revere Monday, uprooting hundreds of trees, ripping roofs off houses and flipping cars.

Global Warming

Arctic Ice Retreat Creates Giant Swells For The First Time

The Beaufort Sea in Arctic Ocean is usually frozen. The water is covered with ice most of the time. But researchers have recorded giant waves, as high as 16 feet, just north of Alaska. Swells of that size have stunned the scientists because they have the potential to break up Arctic ice much faster than expected. The North is changing, and it’s changing fast as the sea ice retreats due to global warming.

Jim Thomson of the University of Washington recorded the wave measurements with the help of sensors. The house-size waves were measured during a September 2012 storm. Thomson told The Washington Post that 16 feet swells were the average. The biggest single wave was about 29 feet.

Until recently, the Arctic Ocean remained ice-covered throughout the summer, so there were no waves to measure. But the area of open water is increasing. Thomson said the Arctic ice never retreated more than 100 miles during summer in the past. But in 2012, it retreated well over 1,000 miles. The expanded ice retreat leaves much of the Beaufort Sea ice-free by the end of summer.

Arctic ocean

Another Massive Hole Appears in Siberia

It’s uncertain yet what’s caused the sinkholes, but experts said global warming may play a part, when permafrost melts, gas is released, causing an underground explosion.

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Wildlife

Rare Pangolins May Be Eaten to Extinction

They’ve been described as walking artichokes and the most trafficked mammals in the world. Now, conservationists warn that pangolins, or scaly anteaters, could be eaten out of existence if illegal hunting and poaching continue . In the latest update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, all eight pangolin species were listed as “critically endangered,” “endangered” or “vulnerable.” Today (July 29), a group of scientists and conservationists tasked with studying pangolins for the IUCN issued an action plan outlining steps that should be taken to save the armoured, insect-eating creatures.

“In the 21st century, we really should not be eating species to extinction — there is simply no excuse for allowing this illegal trade to continue,” Jonathan Baillie, co-chair of the pangolin specialist group for the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission and conservation programs director at the Zoological Society of London, said in a statement.

Pangolins, native to Asia and Africa, are the world’s only mammals with true scales made of keratin. Despite international trade bans, pangolin meat and scales still fetch high prices on the black market. Demand is especially high in China and Vietnam, where pangolin parts are used in medicine and served as a culinary delicacy.

Last August, more than six tons of live pangolins were seized as they headed from Indonesia to Vietnam in a shipping container labeled as frozen fish, fins and fish bones. In April 2013, a Chinese fishing vessel was found carrying as many as 2,000 of the toothless creatures, after the vessel ran aground in the protected Tubbataha Reefs off the coast of the Philippines, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Following more than 2 months of calm, the volcano is probably about to enter a new eruptive phase, a special bulletin of Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute (IGPEN) informs. Following a steep increase in seismic activity last Sunday afternoon, a small ash emission occurred at 15h49 local time, producing a plume rising approx. 1 km and causing light ash fall.