Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hit Nepal.

5.0 Earthquake hits La Rioja, Argentina.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Super Typhoon 07w (Dolphin), located approximately 396 nm south-southwest of Iwo To, Japan, is tracking north-northwestward at 09 knots.

NewsBytes:

China – Mudslides and lightning in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have claimed lives of at least four people. At least two people died and nine others injured after a thunderbolt hit at a bus stop in Liuma village of Baise city. One person was struck by lightning in Guanyang county of Guilin city. On Friday morning, one person was killed and another five went missing in a mudslide in Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. Rain-triggered floods have affected about 60,500 people in 11 counties and districts in cities of Guilin and Liuzhou.

Kansas, USA – A line of severe storms swept through the Kansas City metro late Saturday night into Sunday morning and caused flash flooding in many areas.

Image Westport high water

Mysuru, India – One house collapsed in Ghousia Nagar while several low-lying areas across the city were flooded with rainwater on Saturday, as pre-monsoon rains continued to lash the region.

Wildlife

First Warm-Blooded Fish Found

The car-tire-size opah is striking enough thanks to its rotund, silver body. But now, researchers have discovered something surprising about this deep-sea dweller: It’s got warm blood.

That makes the opah (Lampris guttatus) the first warm-blooded fish every discovered. Most fish are ectotherms, meaning they require heat from the environment to stay toasty. The opah, as an endotherm, keeps its own temperature elevated even as it dives to chilly depths of 1,300 feet (396 meters) in temperate and tropical oceans around the world.

The opah, also known as the moonfish, has relatively small red fins decorating its large, round body, which can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. These fins, which flap rapidly as the fish swims, turn out to be important in generating body heat for the opah.

Researchers first suspected that something might be strange about the opah after analyzing a sample of the fish’s gill tissue. According to the new study, published May 14 in the journal Science, the blood vessels in the tissue are set up so that the vessels carrying cool, oxygenated blood from the gills to the body are in contact with the vessels carrying warm, deoxygenated blood from the body to the gills. As a result, the outgoing blood warms up the incoming blood, a process called counter-current heat exchange.

“There has never been anything like this seen in a fish’s gills before,” Wegner said in a statement. “This is a cool innovation by these animals that gives them a competitive edge. The concept of counter-current heat exchange was invented in fish long before [humans] thought of it.”

To confirm that these special gills helped the opah stay toasty, the researchers tagged a number of moonfish with temperature monitors and tracked the fish as they dove. The fish spend most of their time at least 150 feet (45 m) below the ocean surface. No matter how deep they dive, however, their body temperature stays about 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) warmer than the surrounding water. Fat deposits around the gills and muscles help insulate the fish, the researchers found.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Spain

Authorities in Spain say firefighters are combatting at least three wildfires as May temperatures hit a record high, reaching levels normally seen only in mid-summer.

Air traffic controllers said they were coordinating several planes deployed to fight a fire detected Saturday in the eastern Sierra Calderona hills.

Another six fire-fighting planes were dousing a wildfire in nearby Segobre, Spain’s Emergency Coordination Centre said.

Firefighters were also using helicopters to detect hotspots that might re-ignite a fire that broke out Thursday in eastern Pego.

Wildfires – British Columbia, Canada

Crews are responding to five new wildfires in British Columbia’s Central Interior, as a massive blaze continues to burn about 70 kilometres southwest of Prince George.

B.C.’s Wildfire Management Branch says all of the new fires were sparked by Friday’s lightning activity in the Cariboo region.

Meanwhile, the aggressive Little Bobtail Lake blaze has destroyed about 17,000 hectares since it was first discovered last Saturday.

Some 240 firefighters, 11 helicopters, eight air tankers and 23 pieces of heavy machinery have been brought in and 20 per cent of the fire has been contained.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Etna (Sicily, Italy): The eruption has almost ended. Tremor has descended back to low levels and lava effusion has almost completely ceased and stopped ca. 5 km from eruptive fissure . The most advanced flow front is slightly below 1700 m elevation just above Rocca Musarra.