Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

5.2 earthquake hits Colombia.

5.2 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Anatahan region in the North Mariana Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Chiapas, Mexico.

5.0 earthquake hits Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Australia – Record rains and widespread flooding prompted evacuations along Australia’s east coast Saturday and filled Sydney’s main reservoir to overflowing for the first time in 30 years, officials said. Authorities warned of potentially “life-threatening” flash floods as the torrential rains pummeled a vast coastal region already soaked by an unusually wet summer. Police said hundreds of people had flocked to evacuation centres in areas north of Sydney in New South Wales state, and they expected many more to seek shelter as the rains moved south down the coast. Towns in the area have already seen record rainfall of more than 400 millimetres since Friday morning, the bureau said.

Global Warming

Melting Glaciers Contribute to Alaska Earthquakes

In a recently published research article, scientists with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute found that ice loss near Glacier Bay National Park has influenced the timing and location of earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater in the area during the past century.

Scientists have known for decades that melting glaciers have caused earthquakes in otherwise tectonically stable regions, such as Canada’s interior and Scandinavia. In Alaska, this pattern has been harder to detect, as earthquakes are common in the southern part of the state.

Alaska has some of the world’s largest glaciers, which can be thousands of feet thick and cover hundreds of square miles. The ice’s weight causes the land beneath it to sink, and, when a glacier melts, the ground springs back like a sponge. The disappearance of glaciers has also caused Southeast Alaska’s land to rise at about 1.5 inches per year.

When the earth rebounds following a glacier’s retreat, it does so much like bread rising in an oven, spreading in all directions. This effectively unclamps strike-slip faults, such as the Fairweather in Southeast Alaska, and makes it easier for the two sides to slip past one another.

Space Events

Large Asteroid to Pass Earth

The largest asteroid to sweep past Earth this year will make its closest approach on Sunday. But scientists have told people not to panic as it poses no threat to the planet.

The giant space rock that researchers call 2001 FO32 has a diameter of several hundred metres and will approach Earth at a distance of about two million kilometres (1.2 million miles), US space agency NASA said. That distance is more than five times as far as the Earth to the moon.

Wildlife

Harp seal Pups Struggle to Survive

Harp seal pups — with their beady eyes and soft, pillowy fur — are tremendously adorable. Yet new heartbreaking images show the pups in danger, stranded on beaches as sea ice failed to form after an unprecedentedly warm winter.

National Geographic traveled to Gulf of St. Lawrence, where a population of harp seals migrates south from the Canadian Arctic and Greenland to give birth on the sea ice every March.

Its team captured images of the pups struggling to climb onto ice chunks and stranded on dangerous, predator-filled beaches.

Global warming is thwarting ice formation, and sea ice cover in the gulf is at its lowest since 1969, according to NatGeo. Satellite images of the Gulf of St. Lawrence taken in 2008 are starkly different from this year’s. Normally, over 90,000 square miles of ice covers the cold body of water, but 2021 images appear to show the gulf ice-free.

As ice dissolves into slush, these pups are in danger of drowning, being crushed by large ice chunks or being eaten by predators.

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