Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.7 Earthquake hits the Sea of Okhotsk.

5.6 Earthquake hits the Timor Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits eastern Uzbekistan.

5.3 Earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.2 Earthquake hits west of MacQuarrie Island.

5.1 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

Storms and Floods

Floods in Norway

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes in parts of Norway because of flooding caused by heavy rainfall aggravated by the spring melting of snow in the mountains, Norwegian media reported on Thursday.

Some 50 roads were also shut and two railway lines were closed because of the flooding and landslides.

Southeastern Norway has experienced several days of heavy rains.

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Tornado in South Cotabato, Philippines

A Tornado in South Cotabato, in the Philippines has destroyed eight houses affecting 33 families.

Flooding in Nawalparasi, Nepal

Floods swept away a road at Lokaha of Nawalparasi district. The Mahendra Highway, the national highway has been closed in this section.

Avalanche in Nepal

At least five mountaineers have been killed in an avalanche while returning from the peak of Mt Kanchenjunga in Nepal. Rescue helicopters have failed to locate them due to bad weather. Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world located in Nepal.

China colliery flood kills 9

At least nine miners are dead and one reported missing in coal mine flooding in Zhangqiu in Shandong Province of China. The coal mine flood occurred on May 23, 2013 but local authorities confirmed the news today. Colliery owner and others involved in the accident have been taken in custody. Chinese coal mines are notoriously unsafe.

Other News:

Washington Bridge Collapses

An interstate highway bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State collapsed Thursday evening (May 23), injuring three.

The bridge, located about 60 miles (nearly 100 kilometers) north of Seattle on I-5, collapsed after being struck by an 18-wheel truck carrying a drill rig, various news sources reported.

The bridge, which was built in 1955, was rated as functionally obsolete — basically old — and fracture critical. That designation means there was no redundancy built into the structure of the bridge, so that if any structural component was damaged, the bridge could not support itself. About 18,000 bridges in the United States are designated as functionally obsolete.

Bridge collapse

Wildlife

Pesticides Not Main Cause of Bee Disappearance: U.S.

Despite a push in Europe to restrict the use of three pesticides in an attempt to stop the disappearance of honeybees, a new U.S. report says there is no single factor contributing to the ongoing decline of the pollinating insects.

A report issued jointly by the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency blames so-called “colony collapse disorder” on a wide range of factors.

They include viral and bacterial infection, habitat loss, industrial farming practices, pesticides and a lack of genetic diversity.

The single biggest cause, according to the report, is varroatosis, a disease carried by the parasitic mite, varroa destructor.

Colony collapse syndrome has ravaged bee colonies across both the United States and Europe since at least 2006.

In any given year, as many as one-third of all bees in the nation bees are lost to the mysterious ailment.

This month, EU policy makers voted to impose temporary restrictions on the agricultural use of three neonicotinoids, a pesticide related to the stimulant nicotine.

As a relatively new form of pest-agent, neonicotinoids are pointed to by many environmental groups as the chief culprit behind colony collapse disorder.

Regulators in the United States are not considering adopting similar restrictions any time soon.

According to the recent report, though pesticides are considered to be one threat to bee health, with as many as 100 different chemicals present in any given colony, it is impossible to narrow the culprit to one class of compound.

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Monarch Swarms Wintering in New Zealand Trees

Nature lovers across New Zealand are reporting large numbers of overwintering monarch butterflies.

During the last southern summer, the butterflies failed to return to some areas after a tough and cold spell dampened their breeding grounds.

New Zealand monarchs don’t migrate long distances like their North American cousins.

Instead, they find their way to trees in well-sheltered areas where they rest during the winter months.

Breeding will start in the spring once the colourful creatures have rested up.

The Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust is asking residents to log any monarch sightings they may have on the group’s website, especially if the butterfly is tagged.

That allows the trust to generate a map showing the origin of the butterfly and the time it took to get to its destination.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Texas and California, USA

A major wildfire at Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas, an area that fires devastated in 2011, has been mostly contained and has caused no damage to structures.

Firefighters are making progress against a 1,500-acre wildfire burning in a remote area of eastern San Diego County.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): A swarm of shallow (3-6 km depth) earthquakes including several felt ones (magnitudes 2.9-3.5) occurred yesterday and today under the SE flank near Zafferana town. So far, no other unusual signs of activity have been reported, but the swarm could indicate something in the making, and the monitoring agency INGV is certainly following these events closely.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): Ash plumes rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude have been observed yesterday and today. The lava dome obviously continues to be active and regularly produces explosions and/or rock avalanches that cause ash plumes.

Lassen (California): A shallow magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred Fri, 24 May at 04:58 UTC km WNW of Greenville, California, about 50 km SE of Lassen volcano. Hundreds of aftershocks, some of them felt, have occurred. It is unlikely that the earthquake has any relation with the volcano. The status of Lassen volcano remains therefore at green.

Sangay (Ecuador): A possible ash emission occurred yesterday at 17:15 GMT, VAAC Washington reported. A pilot observed an ash plume at 25,000 ft (7.5 km) altitude drifting west from the volcano, but no ash could be detected on satellite data.