Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits central Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

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Wildlife

Earth’s smallest rhino in Sumatra’s jungles

The Sumatran rhino, one of the rarest large mammals on earth, at the Rhino Sanctuary at Way Kambas National Park in eastern Sumatra. There are no more than 100 left on the entire planet.

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Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of all rhinos, and the only Asian variety with two horns. Unlike their better-known cousins in Africa, Sumatran rhinos are born covered in shaggy, reddish-brown fur, earning them the nickname “hairy rhino”. Their woolly covering fades to black or disappears almost entirely over their lifetimes, which span 35 to 40 years.

They once roamed the vast, dense forests of Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia but land-clearing and poaching have devastated their numbers. In 2015, the species was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia, leaving just tiny herds of two to five rhinos scattered across Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo.

In Sumatra there are also small clusters in the west and the island’s northern Leuser ecosystem — the last place on Earth where wild rhinos, orangutans, tigers and elephants roam together.

Sumatran rhinos are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. Females are only fertile for a small window each cycle, and need male contact to ovulate. Even then, intercourse does not guarantee conception. To make matters worse, Sumatran rhinos are solitary by nature and often clash upon interaction. In one hundred years the Sanctuary had just seven babies.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

A strong undersea earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Aceh province early on Wednesday, killing nearly 100 people and sparking a frantic rescue effort in the rubble of dozens of collapsed and damaged buildings. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 273 people were injured, about a quarter of them seriously. Some 245 buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed, mostly in Pidie Jaya, including 14 mosques and the remainder largely dwellings and shop houses. Roads also cracked and power poles toppled over. There is an urgent need for excavation equipment to move heavy debris and emergency supplies.

The US Geological Survey said the shallow 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck at 05:03 (22:03 GMT on Tuesday) was centred about 10km north of Reuleut, a town in northern Aceh, at a depth of 17km. It did not generate a tsunami.

For Acehnese, the quake was another terrifying reminder of their region’s vulnerability to natural disasters. More than 100 000 people died in Aceh after the December 26, 2004, earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami.

6.2 Earthquake hits Tobago, Trinidad-Tobago.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits the Volcano Islands off Japan.

5.7 Earthquake hits Jujuy, Argentina.

5.0 Earthquake hits southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Earthquake Cluster hits California, USA

A cluster of moderate earthquakes rocked Northern California on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. About 9:55 p.m. Wednesday, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake was reported about 20 miles east of Janesville, near the Nevada border. Within minutes, two more magnitude 4.4 quakes were reported around the same area in Lassen County. The epicenters were about 45 miles north of Reno and 10 miles south of Honey Lake. Early Thursday morning, a magnitude 3.4 earthquake was reported 19 miles from Janesville.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Pakistan.

5.3 Earthquake hits Pakistan.

5.1 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.1 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Myanmar-India Border.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Lombok, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of southern Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the west coast of northern Sumatra.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Gulf of California.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Fox Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Svalbard region.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico.

5.2 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Fox Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Ionian Sea.

Wildlife

Live Sumatran Rhino Captured in Indonesia

Humans have made contact with a Sumatran rhino in the Indonesian region of Borneo for the first time in 40 years.

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Japan whaling fleet returns from Antarctic hunt with 333 whales

Japan’s whaling fleet returned on Thursday from its Antarctic hunt after a year-long suspension with a take of more than 300 whales, including pregnant females.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that Japan’s whaling in the Southern Ocean should stop, prompting it to call off its hunt that season, although it said at the time it intended to resume later.

Japan then amended its plan for the next season to cut the number of minke whales it aimed to take by two-thirds from previous hunts.

Its fleet set out in December despite international criticism, including from important ally the United States.

The final ships of the four-vessel whaling fleet returned to Shimonoseki in southwestern Japan on Thursday, having achieved the goal of 333 minke whales, the Fisheries Agency said.

Of these, 103 were males and 230 were females, with 90 percent of the mature females pregnant.

Japan, which has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its culture, began what it calls “scientific whaling” in 1987, a year after an international whaling moratorium took effect.

The meat ends up on shop shelves, although most Japanese no longer eat it.

Japan intends to take nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years as part of its research programme and has repeatedly said that its ultimate goal is the resumption of commercial whaling.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.9 Earthquake hits southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia.

There were no reports of deaths or damage to buildings from Wednesday night’s 7.8 magnitude quake, which caused panic in the Sumatran island port of Padang as people tried to reach higher ground when a tsunami warning was issued. No tsunami occurred. Tsunami alerts were cancelled within two hours of the tremor.

5.6 Earthquake hits southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.6 Earthquake hits East Timor.

5.5 Earthquake hits East Timor.

5.4 Earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

5.3 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits near the coast of southern Peru.

5.2 Earthquake hits southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Japan – A snowstorm has claimed the life of one person in Obihiro city in Hokkaido, Japan. On Tuesday, at least 19 people were injured in traffic accidents in Hokkaido caused by low visibility amid the heavy snowfall. Hokkaido is expected to brace for its worst blizzard in years on Tuesday, and airlines and railways halted some operations.

Sumatra – Heavy rains since Friday (05/02) have caused severe landslides and flooding in several parts of West Sumatra, killing seven and forcing thousands to flee while also destroying key local infrastructure. The worst affected districts are Agam, South Solok, Lima Puluh Kota and Solok. On Monday, floods in various parts of the province reached up to one-and-a-half meters deep. At least 2,000 homes and 100 hectares of paddy fields in South Solok as well as 100 houses in Nagari Pangkalan subdistrict of Lima Puluh Kota were hit by the floods. In the latter subdistrict, one man was carried away by strong currents only to be found dead later on.

Peru – The authorities in Peru are sending the military to help areas affected by floods that have afflicted several parts of the country. Scientists blame El Niño, the warm ocean current, for the heavy rains that turned roads into rivers in Arequipa, setting cars adrift in the torrent. The southern province has been particularly badly hit; at least two people were reportedly killed. Local media reported that 3,000 people in the area had been left homeless, with 30,000 affected. The Andean nation has struggled for over a week to cope with violent weather that has also caused landslides and power cuts.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Oman – A landslide in Tawi Al Nisf in Samayil province in Oman has claimed the life of a worker on Monday afternoon when a truck was hit by the debris that crashed down from a mountainside.

Sumatra, Indonesia – Torrential rain has caused landslides in parts of West and North Sumatra, cutting off access and disrupting economic activity. He said the heavy rain that had drenched the region in the past three days had triggered floods and landslides in a number of locations in the regency. At least 500 homes were engulfed by over 50 centimetres of floodwater and eight homes were reportedly damaged by a landslide on Sunday morning.

Wildfires

Illicit Sumatran Fires Bring Another Season of Smoke

A thick shroud of haze blanketed a wide area of Southeast Asia, mainly from illegal fires ignited to clear land on Sumatra.

The annual arrival of the smoke is said to be more acute this year due to an exceptionally dry season, enhanced by El Niño in the tropical Pacific.

Indonesian police say they have detected 14 hot spots in South Sumatra, some of which are in areas owned by plantation companies.

Other blazes were observed burning in national parks.

The resulting smoke blew into nearby Singapore and Malaysia during early September, causing unhealthful air quality.

Officials have distributed face masks to people who have to work outdoors near the sources of the smoke, some of which is being generated by peat fires beneath the surface.

Wildfires – California, USA

Firefighters in Central California on Thursday say the state’s largest wildfire threatens to sweep through an ancient grove of Giant Sequoia trees considered to be a national treasure. Firefighters are clearing lines with bulldozers around the Grant Grove and putting up sprinklers. Although the trees can endure fire, some are stressed in the four-year drought and they’re not taking any chances because the fast-moving flames are about five miles from the grove. It is named for the towering General Grant tree that stands 268 feet tall. There are dozens of Sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada, and some trees are 3,000 years old.

Lightning strikes on July 31 sparked the wildfire in the Kings Canyon National Park east of Fresno. It has charred 172 square miles and is less than one-third contained.

A wildfire in Northern California that exploded in size has destroyed six homes in Amador County as evacuations remain in place Thursday, Cal Fire officials said. Two outbuildings were also destroyed. It is about 20 percent contained and has spread to nearby Calaveras County.

About 12,000 people are still without power amid a heat wave, as several facilities and power lines were damaged by the fast-moving blaze. Power could be restored Thursday night.

In Tuolumne County near Yosemite National Park, a firefighter was injured and a home was destroyed when two fires combined in the Cedar Ridge area, state fire spokeswoman Lisa Williams said Wednesday.

Nearby, a wildfire above Yosemite Valley grew to 500 acres, sending plumes of smoke visible throughout the park. Trails on the north rim of Yosemite Valley south of the Tioga Road and east of Yosemite Creek are closed. The causes of the fires are under investigation.