Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the Galapagos Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Ascension Island.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Depression Eleven is located about 505 mi…810 km e of the Windward islands with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…w or 270 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm 28w (Trami), located approximately 866 nm southeast of Kedena AFB, Japan, is tracking west-northwestward at 12 knots.

NewsBytes:

South Carolina, USA – A new round of evacuations was ordered in South Carolina as the trillions of gallons of water dumped by Hurricane Florence meanders to the sea, raising river levels and threatening more destruction. With the crisis slowly moving to South Carolina, emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River. The National Weather Service said the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday, and shelters are open.

Global Warming

Melting Arctic Permafrost Releases Acid that Dissolves Rocks

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As temperatures rise in the Arctic, permafrost — permanently frozen ground — is defrosting at an alarming rate. But the permafrost isn’t the only thing in the Arctic that’s melting.

Exposed rock that was once covered in ice is dissolving, eaten away by acid. And the effects of this acid bath could have far-reaching impacts on global climate, according to a new study.

Icy permafrost is rich in minerals, which are released when the ice melts. The minerals then become vulnerable to chemical weathering, or the breakdown of rock through chemical reactions, scientists recently reported. They investigated areas once covered by permafrost in the western Canadian Arctic, finding evidence of weathering caused by sulfuric acid, produced by sulfide minerals that were released when the permafrost melted.

Another type of naturally occurring chemical erosion is caused by carbonic acid, and it also dissolves Arctic rock. But although carbonic-acid weathering locks carbon dioxide (CO2) in place, sulfuric-acid erosion releases CO2 into the atmosphere, and it does so in quantities that were not previously accounted for, researchers wrote in the study.

Hundreds of mummified penguins in Antarctica can tell us a lot about climate change

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New research has connected hundreds of mummified penguin carcasses to two disastrous weather events thought to be influenced by climate change.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, warns that these events might foreshadow what’s to come if the Earth continues to get hotter.

A team of Chinese and Australian researchers found the mummified Adélie penguins under a remarkably thick layer of sediment in Long Peninsula, East Antarctica, which usually has a dry climate.

Then, using radiocarbon dating, the scientists found that most of the mummified carcasses were from two specific incidents that affected breeding colonies from 750 and 200 years ago.

The two instances of unusually thick sediment were evidence to the researchers that a lot of water flowed over the area in a short amount of time.

Since penguin chicks do not develop waterproof feathers until a later stage of development, a particularly wet or snowy season would put them in danger of getting hypothermia and dying — which is why scientists believe they found the large number of dead chicks in the two breeding colonies.

The weather event they suspect to be the cause is called zonal wave 3 (ZW3), which produces near-shore ice and adds a lot of moisture to the atmosphere.

Research showed that this meteorological pattern became more frequent in the late 20th Century due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the world hasn’t done enough to curb our collective greenhouse gas emissions, researchers fear that ZW3’s will become more frequent than ever before and penguin populations will continue to face unfavorable conditions that will jeopardize the survival of the populations.

This particular breed of Antarctic penguins have seen a slough of catastrophic breeding seasons recently.

In 2017 all but two penguins from a colony of 40,000 died from starvation. Earlier that year, only two chicks from a colony of 18,000 breeding penguins survived. That same colony lost every chick in 2013.

Wildlife

Invading Crabs

An aggressive breed of green crab is invading Maine’s waters.

The crabs (Carcinus maenas) threaten blue mussels, soft-shell clams and the eelgrass beds off the state’s rocky coast. The crustaceans are also just plain nasty: Researchers who work with the crabs say that instead of hiding from threats, the critters rush forward, pincers waving.

The crabs, which measure about 5 inches (13 centimeters) long, belong to the same species that has long lived in Maine’s waters. But in the past few years, a genetically distinct population of this species has traveled south from Nova Scotia, Canada, according to research led by Markus Frederich, a professor of marine sciences at the University of New England. These non-native crabs chow down on marine animals that are important for Maine’s economy, including mussels and clams, and the invaders shred native eelgrass habitat as they hunt.

Green crabs probably arrived in North America in the 1800s in the ballast water of ships from Europe. In the past decade, Maine’s green crab population has exploded, a cycle probably linked to rising ocean temperatures, according to the marine resources department.

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Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Scientists observed the first-ever evidence of praying mantises hunting fish.

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A family on New Zealand’s North Island were enjoying an early morning walk on Pakiri Beach last week when they came across a monstrous, gooey blob with a gelatinous grape-colored center. The glob was an enormous lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata).

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Disease

Diptheria – India

Two Delhi, India government hospitals have reported a dozen diphtheria deaths in children over the past two weeks, according to a local media report. Eleven children have died in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital and one child died in the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Hospital.

Hepatitis A – Kentucky – USA

Kentucky state health officials have reported two additional hepatitis A (HAV) fatalities during the past two weeks, bringing the death toll to 14. Since the outbreak was declared last November, Kentucky has seen 1,701 cases in 72 percent of the state’s counties. Of this total, 952 cases required hospitalization.