Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.9 Earthquake hits Fiji.

There was no immediate tsunami alert following the quake. There were no immediate reports of injury or building damage.

6.0 Earthquake his Easter Island.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.3 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.2 Earthquake hits Easter Island.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical Storm Vance is located about 580 mi…930 km SSW of Manzanillo Mexico maximum sustained winds…70 mph…110 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 295 degrees at 14 mph…22 km/h.

Hazards affecting land – none.

Tropical storm 20w (Nuri), located approximately 511 nm northwest of Yap, and is tracking northward at 07 knots.

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Wildlife

Giant Tortoise Rebounds From Near Extinction

The famed giant tortoise of the Galapagos Islands has been brought back from the verge of extinction after its population dropped to only 15 by the 1960s.

Captive breeding and conservation efforts have allowed that number to rebound to more than 1,000.

“The population is secure. It’s a rare example of how biologists and managers can collaborate to recover a species from the brink of extinction,” said James P. Gibbs, a biologist at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

He was lead author of a study that charted the growing success of the islands tortoises, published in the journal PLOS ONE.

But Gibbs cautions that the giant tortoise population is not likely to increase further on the island of Española until the landscape recovers from the damage inflicted by now-eradicated goats.

After the imported goats devoured all the grassy vegetation and were removed from the island, more shrubs and small trees have grown.

The report says the vegetation hinders both the growth of cactus, which is a vital piece of a tortoise’s diet, and the tortoises’ movement.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

A firefighter has been killed and at least two homes have been destroyed by Australian spring wildfires, officials said Saturday.

The 38-year-old volunteer firefighter was severely burned Friday while battling a blaze on a farm near the town of Nantawarra in South Australia. The fire was later contained.

At least two homes were razed by wildfires Saturday on the outskirts of the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, in New South Wales. Firefighters had battled to protect homes in Katoomba from flames fanned by winds of 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour.