Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 earthquake hits south of Alaska.

5.2 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.2 earthquake hits the western Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Azores.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 275 nm west-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking west-southwestward at 02 knots.

NewsBytes:

Zimbabwe – Thirty-eight miners are feared dead after water from a collapsed dam flooded two mines in Zimbabwe. While panning for gold, 34 miners went underground at Silver Moon Mine and four miners entered Cricket Mine in Battlefields near Kadoma Tuesday evening before both mines flooded. Heavy rains overnight Tuesday led to the collapse of the dam wall. An emergency was declared after the dam burst. The flooding from the collapsed dam flooded mine shafts, which the miners entered illegally.

South Africa – Bloemfontein in the Free State has been experiencing heavy rains for the past few days resulting in floods across the city.

Wildlife

Reindeer Cyclones Are Real

Vikings hunting reindeer in Norway were once confounded by “reindeer cyclones”; a threatened herd would literally run circles around the fierce hunters, making it nearly impossible to target a single animal.

Faced with this spinning reindeer stampede, any predator — wolf, bear or human — would have a very tough time targeting and overpowering a single reindeer, making this a formidable defense strategy.

 

Environment

Black Snow Is Falling from the Skies in Siberia

A pall of eerie black snow has covered several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass, which is home to 2.6 million people and one of the world’s largest coal fields.

According to the Guardian and the Siberian Times, the snow is tainted with toxic black coal dust that was released into the air from open coal pits and improperly maintained factories in the region. One coal plant official told the local media that a shield meant to prevent coal powder from escaping out of the factory had malfunctioned — however, toxic black snowfall seems to be a regular phenomena in the area and it isn’t necessarily tied to a single source.

Kuzbass (short for Kuznetsk Basin) is one of the largest coalfields in the world, spanning more than 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers). A 2015 report from Ecodefense found that the citizens of Kuzbass have an average life expectancy 3 to 4 years shorter than the Russian national average and have nearly twice the risk of contracting tuberculosis and childhood mental disorders.

Black snows like this one are a frequent winter feature in the region, the report found, and mitigation attempts have been… lacking. For instance, in December 2018, regional authorities were accused of trying to hide the toxic black stuff by literally painting over it with white pigment.