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Topic 25 of 99: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape

Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (19:22) | Marcia (MarciaH)
Landslides, tsunami, sink holes, wildfires, and other things which are destructive but not foreseeable.
171 responses total.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 1 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (19:24) * 1 lines 
Wolf, this one is for you! Thanks for suggesting it!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 2 of 171: Wolf  (wolf) * Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (19:58) * 6 lines 
wow, you're very welcome! ohhhh, my very own geospring topic *grin*

anyway, i wanted to share something i learned on a national geographic discovery show about landslides. now, all you scientific types will already know this but i did not! when mt st helens erupted, it was being filmed. during this process, the geologists (or vulcanists) learned a new thing and put an old theory about landslides and their causes out the door. right before this volcano erupted, the earth moved downward, almost as if making room for st helens' belly to spew forth with all its energy. this
ad never before been documented and changed the theory about landslides being the result of a volcano rather than a precurser (sp?).

oh, and that half of a volcano in hawaii is gone, that was interesting too, i couldn't figure out how they knew that the volcano didn't cut itself in half!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 3 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (20:10) * 1 lines 
It's that cross-section that shows the internal plumbing which gives away the fact that half of it is missing. Next time write down what it sounds like - you were very good with Happy Easter in Hawaiian...go for the name of the volcano and I shall investigate. Not sure they are talking about a cone or an entire volcano!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 4 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (20:11) * 1 lines 
Love the name rolls nicely around on the tongue. *hugs*

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 5 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (20:14) * 6 lines 
I'm gonna borrow a post I put in Intro and put it here regarding the halving of Volcanoes:

Cinder cones fracture along the line of the fault zone which caused the cone in the first place. A whole lotta shaking going on will make coastal ones plunge into the sea entirely or just the seaward half. Leaves behind a most interesting
cross-section of how the cone was built of layers of cinder and spatter which held the cinders together. Some do blow themselves apart. Not much left to see of those. They are usually Phreatic ones which experience steam explosions and it just leaves the jagged rim of the base of the cone there. Unfortunately, Volcano is a big structure often used interchangeably with volcanic cone. One is a mountain and one is a small-to-large hill. Of course, when a new volcano is building, it begins that is
a possibility!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 6 of 171: Wolf  (wolf) * Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (20:20) * 1 lines 
see, i don't remember the name of it or which island it was on. paid attention cuz they said hawaii and i thought, hey, i know someone there! *grin*

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 7 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jan 25, 2000 (23:03) * 1 lines 
Yup! You do,indeed. I can look it up in my texts and other places which might have it. Of course, the Hawaiian Chain stretches some 1500 miles across the pacific, but it would have to be at this end to still look like a volcano. Let me do some checking when I am more awake tomorrow. I just might ask the kid, too!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 8 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Thu, Feb 10, 2000 (13:30) * 67 lines 
I think this is the right place to put this Marcia?


By Buchizya Mseteka

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 10 (Reuters) - At least 35 people
have died in flooding from torrential rains that have swamped
parts of southern Africa and cut major road links in the region,
television and radio stations reported on Thursday.

The South African emergency services said water levels were
rising in most rivers and advised people not to try to cross them.

"It is still raining in most areas and we have a problem with
fresh drinking water," said Captain Ronel Otto.

She said an 80-year-old woman died on Thursday when her
house collapsed on her in South Africa's Northern province.

Other officials said floods had cut off a road linking Botswana
to Zimbabwe and South Africa and links between Mozambique,
Swaziland and South Africa.

In Mozambique, government officials said four people died
when a bus was swept away by floods and overturned. The
main road link between Mozambique and South Africa was
also cut, leaving traders and tourists stranded.

South African radio reported that 800 trucks were stranded
on the Botswana side of the border by high waters.

South Africa, the regional economic powerhouse, is already
providing aid to Mozambique, where floods have isolated cities
and left more than 100,000 needing aid.

South African police said torrential rains across South Africa's
Northern, Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces left a trail of
death, destruction and despair, as dams overflowed, and rivers
broke their banks and swept away bridges and roads.

Local media said the death toll in the Northern and Mpumalanga
provinces - the worst affected - had risen to 31, scores were
missing and thousands were homeless.

The South African Weather Bureau forecast more rain and
thunderstorms through to next week, threatening further flooding
with most rivers already at their highest levels in 50 years.

The Star newspaper reported that damage to infrastructure in
Mpumalanga amounted to around 250 million rand ($39.4 million).

Business at the country's famed Kruger National Park has
been disrupted with the closure of several rest camps.

Scores of tourists were evacuated from the Park on Wednesday,
disrupting one of South Africa's lucrative hard currency earners.

for more current news, click on the link below

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 9 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Feb 10, 2000 (16:39) * 1 lines 
Good grief, Maggie! Near anyone you know? This is as good as any place else because this magnitude flood is just about Biblical, and it is gonna change the landscape for sure. Soil transportation, for one. Wonder when the Cholera outbreaks begin?! Thanks, but so sorry for the poor people affected.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 10 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (13:31) * 1 lines 
No, I don't know anyone there. But I am surprised that it didn't even get a mention on the BBC news. I haven't heard of any majorfloods in that area before.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 11 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (13:43) * 1 lines 
Interesting how blind to the third world the media can be - unless it is a slow news day! Shocking, actually!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 12 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (14:25) * 1 lines 
I check BBC monitoring quite often as they do have some wider view stuff on it. Usually the BBC's world coverage is quite good.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 13 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (14:28) * 111 lines 
This just came in:


In Mozambique as the Incomati, Umbeluzi and Sabie Rivers rose to their
highest levels ever recorded, a major international humanitarian relief
operation swung into action to bring relief to tens of thousands of flood
victims. In a statement, the Mozambique government said that it estimated
that it would need about US $15 million to fully rehabilitate flood-stricken
areas. It said that US $2.7 million was needed for the initial emergency

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) sent an
assessment team to assist the Resident Coordinator and the UN's World Food
Programme (WFP) in information gathering, reporting and appeal contribution
management. OCHA said that it had released US $30,000 from the OCHA
Emergency grant.

The United States embassy in Maputo said that it had given US $25,000 to
help support flood relief efforts. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Norway,
Kjell Magne Bondevik, announced this week a donation of US $100,000 to
support flood victims. Bondevik was in Mozambique for talks with President
Joaquim Chissano. The United Kingdom's Department of International
Development has pledged US $30,000 for emergency relief efforts.

The Belgian chapter of Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF-B) had already provided
doctors, medical supplies and water tanks to several sites in the capital
Maputo and Matola, about 45 km west of the capital. Neighbouring South
Africa, according to OCHA, provided two cargo helicopters to help rescue
people stranded by rising flood waters. South Africa is also providing
various non-food items such as tents, blankets and kitchen utensils. UNESCO
said that it would monitor the communications requirements to improve
information access to the affected populations.

In Maputo, about 100,000 people have been affected by the flooding. WFP
said, in its latest update that, about 20,000 people were being sheltered at
14 centres in the city. It said that 1,000 mt of food, enough to feed 70,000
people for one month, would be distributed. Authorities in Maputo had also
started rationing water after a treatment plant was flooded. WFP said that
it was also providing 54,655 people with food aid in other parts of the
Maputo Province. "Recent information indicates that these numbers should
increase by about 10 percent," the report said.

In Matola 25 km away, an estimated 100,000 people had been affected by the
floods. It said that 2,000 people were being housed at 11 sites in the city
and that "several cases of malaria had been reported at some of these

In Xai-Xai, the capital of the southern Gaza Province, 5,000 people had to
be resettled. WFP said that this number was likely to increase as the level
of the Limpopo River rose.

WFP said that 6,975 families in Sofala Province in the east had been
affected, with about 34,874 people having to be evacuated. It said that
there was no access to the south of the province and that the main road to
Maputo in the Chibabava district was also impassable.

In Inhambane Province to the east of the country, flooding from the Save
River had affected the Govuro district in the north of the province.


Meanwhile, Botswana received about three quarters of its annual rainfall in
recent days, severing the country's main road and rail arteries in what
police described this week as some of the worst floods experienced in the
past 30 years. Foreign Minister Mompati Merafhe said on state radio this
week that 5,100 homes had been destroyed by the floods.

The main route linking Gaborone with the north of the country, was washed
away near the town of Morwa, about 70 km north of the capital, while crops
in many areas were destroyed, officials said. In Kopong village, about 30 km
from Gaborone,
residents had been forced to seek refuge on rooftops after the Metsimotlhabe
river burst its banks.

Local radio broadcast warnings to the public to be alert for collapsing
infrastructure, and people were advised against attempting to cross fast
flowing rivers. Police and the country's emergency services were assisting
people rendered homeless.


In Swaziland, an estimated 10 rivers in the country had burst their banks.
At least two people had drowned since the rains began on Saturday afternoon.
Swazi Meteorological services said this week that between Sunday and Monday
an estimated 157 millimetres of rain had fallen in the country's capital,
Mbabane. The agriculture ministry's Food and Security Bulletin said the
continuing heavy rains were also threatening the country's maize supply
because fields were becoming water-logged.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs told IRIN this week that the
Mananga border post, between Swaziland and South Africa's Mpumalanga
Province, had been closed because of the heavy rains.

South Africa

In South Africa, at least 38 people are reported to have died and thousands
left homeless by the heavy rains. One of South Africa's most well known
tourist attractions the Kruger National Park, has been devastated and forced
to close its gates because of the rain. The damage to the Park is estimated
to be about US $11 million.

In the country's Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Northern Provinces officials said
this week that water levels in all dams were above 100 percent. Initial
estimates for damage to government infrastructure in the Northern Province
has been put at US $33 million.

An IRIN Focus report on the situation in the region can be viewed at:

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 14 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (15:20) * 1 lines 
I had no idea it was so widespread! How terrible! Thanks for finding the more complete story!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 15 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (15:52) * 1 lines 
Why nothing on the main news though? wierd.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 16 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (16:02) * 1 lines 
Indeed. Deaths yet? That usually gets attention if enough faceless and nameless people far away die. Sad, but true!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 17 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (16:05) * 1 lines 
Well they said 35 or so In S.Africa. The Mozambique situation semms pretty bad form the above report. I think N. Ireland has taken over tonight.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 18 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Feb 11, 2000 (18:30) * 28 lines
Botswana Appeals For Emergency Aid To Contain Floods
February 11, 2000

GABORONE, Botswana (PANA) - Botswana President Festus Mogae and Foreign Affairs Minister Mompati Merafhe Thursday appealed to the international community for emergency aid to deal with the effects of floods that have caused deaths and severely disrupted life in the country.

An official press release Friday said Mogae is likely to declare the crisis a national disaster if the situation gets worse.

The release added that Botswana's capacity to deal with the flooding and its effects is being exhausted fast.

To complicate matters, the rains are still falling and therefore there is need to seek international emergency assistance for greater efficacy in the fight to save lives and alleviate suffering, the release said.

All the rivers and dams in Botswana have completely over-flowed their banks, causing severe flooding.

The floods have submerged roads, bridges and caused permanent and mud houses to collapse, killing people in the process.

By Friday morning, three people had perished in the floods.

Reports from other parts of the country say that a number of schools have been closed. In Gaborone school children have been released from classes earlier than usual since the flooding started.

Residents of a number of submerged estates had to be given leave from their work places to enable them evacuate their houses.

Most affected has been Tlokweng, a populous residential area on the outskirts of Gaborone. The estate has been cut off
from the capital after a bridge over the Notwane River was submerged.

The capital, Gaborone, was still cut off from Francistown with the police monitoring the submerged bridge on the road to the second city Friday.
The army has been called in to help.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 19 of 171: Gi  (patas) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (10:15) * 3 lines 
Poor Mozambique... It is either draught or flood, and they starve to death anyway. Yet there are edenic places there, i am told, mostly in the islands.

OT: methinks I've just seen a "list of the more recent posts" when I was in browse/geo/all/new... Will go see again... Thank you, Master Programmer! :-)

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 20 of 171: World Builder  (MarciaH) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (10:53) * 2 lines 
Indeed, but he traded my wallpaper and buttons for the posting list. But, I forgive him anything and all will be well. It is good to see, is it not?!
Thank you, my dear prgramming wizard.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 21 of 171: World Builder  (MarciaH) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (10:54) * 1 lines 
(Or whomever it is - Kaylene?!) =P

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 22 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (13:06) * 1 lines 
Did you see the news on the cyclone that hit Mozambique on top of the recent flooding. There's another out in the Indian ocean at the moment, it's just been 'downgraded' to a tropical storm. However, because it's right on top of the last one it will just bring higher floods and added misery. The situation appears really desperate.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 23 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (13:57) * 2 lines 
I did not see about poor Mozambique, but I did see the storm on the weather map.
Avalances have killed many people in Europe. The mountainsides were scoured by last year's heavy rains and there was no vegetation left to hold back the snow.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 24 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (15:50) * 1 lines 
Oh, I forgot - there's a volcano erupting in the Philippines. Sorry, didn't catch the island name. They're doing mass evacuations.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 25 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (16:09) * 1 lines 
I'm on my way to my volcano sites...Thanks, Maggie!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 26 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (16:16) * 14 lines 
Mayon Volcano, Philippines

Location: 13.257N, 123.685E
Elevation: 8077.43 ft (2462 m)
Last Updated: February 23, 2000.

February 23, 2000
On 21 February, a wall of the Mayon crater collapsed and sent chunks of volcanic rock crashing down the side of the volcano. Brown ash spewed 1,300 feet into the air. More than 5,000 people remain on the slopes and are reluctant to leave their farms.

February 22, 2000
A 6-kilometer-radius around the crater of the Mayon Volcano has been declared a "no man's land." All residents in this
area have been ordered to evacuate. Fresh magma is slowly but steadily ascending in Mayon's plumbing system. An increase in S02 emissions and volcanic earthquakes indicate the possibility of a new eruption. A lava pile on the
summit has been observed since 12 February.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 27 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Feb 23, 2000 (22:09) * 33 lines 
Mayon, Philippines critical
Increasing SO2 emissions, the formation of a "lava pile" on its summit, and
increased volcanic earthquakes at the Philippine volcano Mayon in February
has led to increased alert levels and the possibility of a new eruption. It
is believed that magma is slowly ascending in its plumbing system. Mayon
has experienced several eruptions in the past year.

The area within a 6-kilometer-radius around the crater of Mayon Volcano has
been declared "no man's land" and all residents in the area have been
ordered to evacuate.
From: Philippine Headline News Online
Full article at: ("Hometown & Community News",Feb. 17)


Legazpi City, Feb. 16, 2000 - Government volcanologists raised yesterday
the alert level at Mayon Volcano in Albay from "alarming" to "critical"
following signs that hot molten rock was slowly but steadily rising to the

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said
Alert Level 3 means that "fresh magma (hot molten rock) is close to the
crater," but noted that an eruption "is likely only if the present trend of
relatively high volcanic unrest is sustained."

Phivolcs said a lava pile on the summit of Mayon Volcano has been observed
since Feb. 12, accompanied by an increase in sulfur dioxide emissions and
volcanic earthquakes.
see the URL above for the full article

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 28 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Feb 24, 2000 (20:02) * 65 lines 
Volcano Erupts in Philippines
By BULLIT MARQUEZ Associated Press Writer
AP News Report
Thursday February 24 1:21 PM ET

LEGAZPI, Philippines (AP) - A 1 1/2-mile-high volcano erupted Thursday,
spewing superheated ash into the air and sending streams of superhot,
bright orange lava down its slopes.

Thousands of nearby villagers, many jarred from sleep by rumblings before
the pre-dawn eruption, boarded army trucks to leave the area. Evacuees
crammed into school classrooms and some took refuge under trees in the
schoolyard. No injuries were reported.

The Mayon volcano's eruption began with lava gushing out of the crater,
accompanied by loud rumblings that some nearby residents compared to
thunder. Lava with temperatures that reached well above 1,000 degrees
cascaded 3 1/2 miles down the mountain's near-perfect conical slopes. Ash
rained as far as seven miles away.

Fourteen explosions were recorded by late afternoon, the Philippine
Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said. The fiercest sent ash flying
4 1/2 miles into the air and spread it across the sky, darkening some
villages and forcing cars to use their headlights at midday.

Officials warned that a more violent explosion could occur at any time.

The area is most vulnerable to lava, falling rocks and deadly pyroclastic
flows - superheated clouds of volcanic ash that travel up to 50 mph and can
instantly incinerate anything in their path.

Raymundo Punongbayan, director of the volcanology institute, urged
residents of villages up to 5 miles away along the mountain's southeastern
side to evacuate. As of noon Thursday, more than 18,000 people had left 18
villages, said Cedric Daep, head of the Albay provincial disaster
management office.

Judel Mirandilla - a 14-year-old student from the village of Bonga, which
lies in the path of possible pyroclastic and lava flows - said he was
roused from his sleep shortly after 1 a.m. by thunderous explosions and
flashes of light from the mountain.

``We became so scared we decided to leave. Other people were waking up our
neighbors to evacuate,'' he said.

Authorities canceled all flights to Legazpi, the airport closest to the
volcano, located about 215 miles southeast of Manila in Albay province.

The volcano's repeated explosions indicated that magna is still rising to
the dome and volcanic activity could continue for some time, said Juan
Cordon, a research specialist at the volcanology institute.

For about a week, the 8,118-foot mountain famous for its cone-like shape
has been emitting ash plumes and occasional flows of lava. The crater's
lava dome has swelled, releasing molten rocks the size of a room down its slopes.

The volcano has been showing signs of unrest since June, spewing ash-laden
smoke high in the sky several times last year. An explosion in September
forced more than 5,700 people to flee their homes.

On Feb. 1, 1814, Mayon's most violent eruption killed more than 1,200
people and buried an entire town in volcanic mud flows. Its last eruption
in February 1993 killed more than 70 villagers.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 29 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Feb 24, 2000 (20:09) * 12 lines 
I thought they were having floods...or was that another place in Africa?! And, I thought I had a bad day...!

Thirsty Monkeys Stone Herdsman to Death
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A group of thirsty monkeys stoned a herdsman to death
in drought-stricken northern Kenya as he watered his livestock, a newspaper
reported Thursday.
``In a clear sign of worsening drought, a herdsman was killed after riotous
monkeys stoned pastoralists at a watering point in Wajir district,'' the East
African Standard said.
A nurse in district said the man died from severe head injuries. Herdsmen in
Wajir usually tend cows and camels.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 30 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Feb 24, 2000 (20:53) * 0 lines 

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 31 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Feb 24, 2000 (20:55) * 44 lines 

Philippines volcano eruption warning
Authorities in the Philippines' Albay province have urged
villagers not to return to their homes near Mayon
Volcano, which was evacuated last month after signs of
possible eruption.

The 2,462m volcano, among the Philippines' most active, belched
steam seven kilometers into the air in June, and panicking residents fled to
emergency evacuation centers.

The volcano simmered down a day later but has been showing signs of
possible eruption in recent days.

Defence Secretary Orlando Mercado said a 7km area around the volcano is
a permanent danger zone. But around half of the 18,000 locals
within the zone refuse to leave while others return to work on farms and homes
during the day.

Fatal eruption

Lying 340km southeast of Manila, the crater attracts
many tourists because of its cone-shaped profile

According to volcanologists, Mayon's gas emissions are
increasing and there is a slight bulging of the volcano's
slope near the crater.

With unfelt tremors becoming increasingly frequent, experts
believe magma may be rising toward the crater.

Mayon last erupted in February 1993, killing at least 70 people.

Its most violent eruption occurred on 1 February, 1814,
killing more than 1,200 people and burying an entire
town in volcanic mudflows.

The Philippines lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", the
focus of much of the world's volcanic and tectonic
activity as continental plates on either side of the world
continue to shift.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 32 of 171: Ginny  (vibrown) * Fri, Feb 25, 2000 (11:48) * 3 lines 
Wow! Stunning pictures!

Weird about those monkeys in Nairobi! Talk about a bad day...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 33 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Feb 25, 2000 (12:16) * 4 lines 
Yup! I sent David a copy of that picture of the Mayon eruption, and he was impressed. It is amazing how difficult it was to find one on the net yeaterday. Today it is on the front page of our local newspaper!

And, just when I think my day has been too sordid to think about, monkeys stone a guy to death. Amazing stuff happens, huh?!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 34 of 171: Gi  (patas) * Fri, Feb 25, 2000 (14:20) * 2 lines 
(MarciaH)I thought they were having floods...or was that another place in Africa?!
Weren't the floods in South Africa and Mozambique? Further south than Nairobi, Kenya.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 35 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Feb 25, 2000 (14:49) * 2 lines 
Yes, the floods and drought were in widely separated parts of Africe (I was being facetious...a naughty habit of mine.) There is still terrible flooding ongoing in Mozambique. The BBC has articles which numb the mind daily. It seems that those with the least in the whole world continually have what little they have taken away by the whims of nature. And, if not nature, human greed!
It all seems so unfair.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 36 of 171: Mike Griggs  (mikeg) * Sat, Feb 26, 2000 (14:57) * 2 lines 
Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
One of those big flying rock things certainly changed things a bit for the dinosaurs, didn't it :-)

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 37 of 171: Mike Griggs  (mikeg) * Sat, Feb 26, 2000 (14:58) * 1 lines 
forgot to close my italic tag... :-)

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 38 of 171: Mike Griggs  (mikeg) * Sat, Feb 26, 2000 (14:58) * 1 lines 

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 39 of 171: Mike Griggs  (mikeg) * Sat, Feb 26, 2000 (14:59) * 2 lines 
is that better yet?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 40 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Feb 26, 2000 (21:49) * 5 lines 
it is now! I am glad I am not the only one goofing up the place and deleting my posts. *Hugs* Mike!

Yup! The dinosaurs had a really bad go of it and the wee little shrew-like mammals from which all mammals descended hid out of the way and survived. I'm not so sure it was a "good thing"...but that was out of out hands entirely.

That skinny little iridium layer told the entire story. They found it world-wide and at exactly at the right time in evolutionary history. Remarkable!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 41 of 171: Ginny  (vibrown) * Mon, Feb 28, 2000 (11:27) * 3 lines 
Iridium layer? Does that have to do with the theory that a huge meteor crashed to earth and eventually caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Is that still the going theory?

I reading about "periodic bombardment" in Sky & Telescope years ago, but haven't read much about it since. I don't remember if it mentioned iridium...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 42 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Feb 28, 2000 (12:14) * 3 lines 
Iridium is not found on Earth. The only way it could have gotten here is from extra-terrestrial (do NOT imply space ships) sources. That the impact pulverized the meteor is apparent from the world-wide distribution of this iridium, It must have circled the earth for years (along with masses of Earth material blasted out by the impact) blocking the sun, chilling the climate and causing plants to die. No food, cold temperatures and no sun to bask in to get the reptilian metabolism high enough to eat and digest food caused death. Conveniently, years of rain and settling out of the atmosphere of the obscuring dirt covered the remains. Rain compacted the deposits into fossil-forming rock. The rest is, as they say, history.

I know that is a bare-bones narration, but did I get it right, Mike?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 43 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Feb 28, 2000 (12:18) * 1 lines 
It was in the news a few years back because they think they found the impact crater off of the Yucatan Penninsula.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 44 of 171: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Mon, Feb 28, 2000 (15:41) * 1 lines 
Was that theory on the extinction of the dinosaurs the work of Walter and Luis Alvarez?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 45 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Feb 28, 2000 (16:37) * 1 lines 
It was, Indeed!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 46 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Feb 28, 2000 (16:39) * 1 lines 
Btw, it was neglegent of me not to mention the Alvarez father and son. Thank you for bringing it up!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 47 of 171: Ginny  (vibrown) * Mon, Feb 28, 2000 (23:56) * 1 lines 
Yes, thanks...I blanked out on their names! I read that article quite a few years ago; I think it was before the Yucatan crater was found.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 48 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Feb 29, 2000 (10:23) * 1 lines 
It was, and they made a documentary about it with the Alvarez's and it is shown from time to time on the Discovery and Learning Channels, also not including the Yucatan crater. It is still most fascinating...and entirely relevant.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 49 of 171: Ginny  (vibrown) * Tue, Feb 29, 2000 (11:07) * 8 lines 
From; there is a picture with it. Full story is supposed to be at, but I haven't located it yet.

Massive African Dust Storm Over the Atlantic

A huge sandstorm blowing off the northwest African desert has blanketed hundreds of thousands of square miles of the eastern Atlantic Ocean with a dense cloud of Saharan sand. The massive nature of this storm was first seen when it reached over 1000 miles into the Atlantic on Feb. 26 by NASA's Sea Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) spacecraft.

This image, captured yesterday, shows the dust and sand blowing north and east to the coast of Portugal. Recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey have linked the decline of the coral reefs in the Caribbean to the increasing frequency and intensity of Saharan Dust events.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 50 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Feb 29, 2000 (12:04) * 1 lines 
Thanks, Ginny! Going to post it in Atmospheric disturbances Geo 11.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 51 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Tue, Feb 29, 2000 (23:18) * 1 lines 
Hi, Anne Hale from Oz. The desert near Uluru is blooming with wonderful flowers and is green!!!! Lake Eyre a salt pan in the heart of northern South Australia is filling up and has not done so for years. Cyclone Steve has crossing into the Gulf of Carpenteria and is bearing down on communities and the city of Darwin - we have a low which is feared to be turning into a Cyclone off the North West Australian coast. Melbourne usually very wet during summer is going to have water restriction cause it has been so dry. Perth had nearly 100% humidity yesterday plus nearly 100degrees. Unheard of hear - its supposed to be dry heat. Flooding is nearly as bad as Mozambique but we have the facilities to rescue and clear up - but unfortunately can't help those poor people because our helicopters etc. are busy helping the flood stricken Queensland, News South Wales and the Northern Territory - also now North Western Australia is expecting flooding.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 52 of 171: Karen  (KarenR) * Tue, Feb 29, 2000 (23:32) * 2 lines 
The desert near Uluru is blooming with wonderful flowers and is green!!!!
That's Ayres Rock to us. Anne, that should be gorgeous. Am thinking how it would look with the red earth there. Wonder if there are pictures posted somewhere.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 53 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Feb 29, 2000 (23:44) * 2 lines 
Not yet, but if no one has posted by morning, I will hunt up some and do so!
Aloha Anne! What a pleasure to see you posting with such ease!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 54 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Thu, Mar  2, 2000 (22:47) * 3 lines 
Hi again Tropical Cyclone Steve is not now expected to reform and hit Darwin.
And Tropical Cyclone Norman is moving away from Western Australia.
Small earthquake in Port Lincoln today - almost unheard of.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 55 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Mar  2, 2000 (22:49) * 1 lines 
Good Heavens, Anne. Who has provoked the wrath of God?! Has your Big Wet dried to a Big Flower Garden for good for the year?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 56 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Mar  3, 2000 (14:14) * 2 lines 
Heard there's another cyclone (gloria?) forming ready to hit Mozambique.
What IS happening in Australia - I don't remember hearing about such things before - or is it just that I haven't heard in earlier years.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 57 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Mar  3, 2000 (14:28) * 1 lines 
I was wondering the same thing. Anne will be on later this afternoon (my dinner time is her breakfast time the next day!) We can always look at the weather maps but that doesn't explain why so many storms just that they exist.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 58 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Mar  3, 2000 (15:10) * 1 lines 
We had the el nino effect, wasn't there supposed to be a counter one that followed. Could this have anything to do with it?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 59 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Mar  3, 2000 (17:04) * 1 lines 
Yes! La Niña... Entirely possible, but then again it is theory to be replaced by the next darling of the environmentalists. Earth fluctuates and so does the Sun...there are many reasons for the weather changes and ice ages. They will always be with us and we will continue to talk about the weather...and guess!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 60 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Sat, Mar  4, 2000 (04:30) * 1 lines 
Tropical Cyclone Steve has now reformed for a third time in Western Australia and is travelling down the north western Australian coast. We now have two cyclones running down the coast. Worrying hey. Perth itself will have intensive heat caused by the northerly/northeasterly winds. Tuesday will be well over a hundred degrees - but if a trough forms we probably will finish up with heavy rain.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 61 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sat, Mar  4, 2000 (06:57) * 1 lines 
We're thinking of you! My mind boggles at the conditions. Is that centigrade or farenheit?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 62 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sat, Mar  4, 2000 (06:57) * 1 lines 
Ignore that - of course it must be farenheit. sorry, confused.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 63 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Mar  4, 2000 (12:18) * 1 lines 
Poor Anne...What incredibly bad weather you have had this season/year. Lie down with cool cloths on your face and turn on the fans. I cannot imagine living with such high temperatures anymore. Our extreme highs never reach 90°F

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 64 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sat, Mar  4, 2000 (12:23) * 1 lines 
Is the electricity still working? Do you have fans/air conditioners?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 65 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sat, Mar  4, 2000 (12:58) * 14 lines 
This just came in from UN.

ETHIOPIA: Raging forest fires continue

More than 30,000 hectares of land has been destroyed by raging fires which
broke out in Shakiso district, in Borena zone of Oromiya State, southeast
Ethiopia over three weeks ago. "The fire is still out of control,"
counsellor at the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi, Mengistu Ayalew, said on
Friday. "Help from the international community is yet to come." The fire
has caused the deaths of hundreds of animals at the National Park in the
Bale Mountains, destroyed forests, electricity poles, residential houses
and bee hives. "It is a catastrophe," he told IRIN.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 66 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Mar  4, 2000 (14:25) * 1 lines 
Good grief! Is there no end of suffering for that continent?! Thanks, Maggie.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 67 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Sun, Mar  5, 2000 (04:18) * 1 lines 
africa has been hit so hard and very little help too. We here have enough troubles and have not helped much although we have a fund set up. The cyclone is causing having and warning are up as far south as Port Hedland. Today was hot about 94 but from tomorrow, 96f, 100f, then 102f then a cool change down to 88f. Or if the cyclone doesn't move inland but continues down the coast I don't know what will happen - but it is nothing compared to Africa - difference between third world and the affluent countries - the government helps restore he farms and stock, sugar cane etc. for next year.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 68 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, Mar  5, 2000 (11:08) * 1 lines 
I think it is becoming more and more apparent that one or two or even a few fortunate first-world-countries cannot take care of the entire world. I am sure there many hungry, unhoused and ill people wandering the streets here as anywhere else, and we are not tending them, either. There are no easy solutions.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 69 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Mon, Mar  6, 2000 (02:18) * 1 lines 
You are right Marcia - our farmers are in dire straits they need help, there are homeless and refugees in terrible conditions. Our aboriginals are not well looked after - taken away from there native areas and live on the fringes of the city - their children steal cars, they rob and break into houses, then sent to prison or children's detention with very little done for their welfare - the parents are usually alcoholic and are thus unable to discipline them. Our prisons are mostly full of aboriginals and there is only 2% of our population. Thus it is difficult for funds to be sent to Africa when we can't even help our own.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 70 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Mar  6, 2000 (10:37) * 1 lines 
That is like our aboriginal populations in the US - AmerIndian on the mainland and Polynesian in Hawaii. When we imposed Christianity on the rest of the world, we forgot to practice it ourselves!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 71 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Mon, Mar  6, 2000 (20:36) * 1 lines 
The type of Christianity imposed was Victorian without any thought for the aboriginals and their understanding. Also as you said we forgot to practice it ourselves - some 50 years ago it was the practice in Western Australia to remove the aboriginal children from their mothers cause it was deemed they were not able to look after them properly - they are now called the lost generation -they were put into orphanages, foster homes and lots were abused, told their parents were dead etc. I know this doesnit seem a natural disaster but it does come under that heading. Anne H

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 72 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Mar  6, 2000 (20:46) * 2 lines 
I think it qualifies just fine as a natural disaster. How sad! Don't you wonder how so many generations of peoples survives without our interevention. Millennia, even, not just the recent centuries! Can't think of this too deeply or I'll get furious and have nothing to attack but my own innards.
Good to see you posting. D must have got it right ! Bravo!!!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 73 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Mon, Mar  6, 2000 (21:00) * 1 lines 
Yeah but only on the web - we can't send e-mail except on Yahoo. I get angry to because I knew two of the girls taken from their homes. Doreen who I know particularly well was the daughter of a chief. She now works for her people in the tribal areas. Wonderful good - she came good - she had a wonderful foster mother - so theres a good story.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 74 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Mar  6, 2000 (21:05) * 3 lines 
Did you get my response to your email?

It is good to know that true beauty can grow out of barren fields. Thank you for the bright spot in an otherwise terrible tale. My congratulations and gratitude to you and Doreen!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 75 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Thu, Mar  9, 2000 (14:49) * 29 lines 
from UN IRIN news service
ENVIRONMENT: Obasanjo appeals to UN to save Lake Chad

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has appealed to the United Nations
Development Programme and other international agencies for help in
reversing the gradual recession of Lake Chad.

In a speech delivered on Monday by Defence Minister Theophilus Danjuma in
Abuja at the opening of the 47th session of the Lake Chad Basin
Commission, he said it was imperative to halt the degradation of the lake,
once the world's sixth largest, 'The Guardian' newspaper of Lagos

"Your vision for the people of the Lake Chad basin must have at its core
the security and well-being of the suffering masses as well as the unity
of the member-nations," he said.

Members states of the commission, formed in 1964 to ensure optimal use of
the lake basin's water resources, are Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Chad, Niger and Nigeria. The commission is also supposed to coordinate the
planning and implementation of all regional projects of the lake basin,
review complaints and help settle disputes.

As a result of persistent drought since the 1960s, the lake has shrunk to
one-tenth of its size. A project has been launched to save it but the
commission lacks money. "Member countries, therefore, have to pay their
contributions on time," Obasanjo said.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 76 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Fri, Mar 24, 2000 (23:54) * 1 lines 
Mt. Etna erupting with some force. I wasn't sure where to put the info.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 77 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Mar 25, 2000 (14:58) * 1 lines 
For Mt Etna, I think I will continue the discussion in Geo 2 and post what I can find about it. Thanks, Anne!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 78 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Mar 30, 2000 (11:06) * 21 lines 
Yemen -- landslide

From: Martin Menzies

I have just talked with Mohamed Al'Kadasi and Abdulkarim Al'Subbary who are
at Royal Holloway for a Penrose Conference on Volcanic Rifted Margins. They
came in from Sana'a yesterday. They have no knowledge of any volcanic
eruption but they confirm that a landslide occurred at Saber, near Taiz on
one of the granite mountains. As a result Dr. Ismaiel Al-Ganad (Director
Geological Survey, Sana'a) ordered two geologists to visit Sabwer and to
report to him.

Professor Martin Adrian Menzies,
(Chairman/Head of Department & Professor of Geochemistry)
Department of Geology
Royal Holloway,
University of London,
Egham, Surrey TW20 OEX, England

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 79 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Apr 12, 2000 (13:25) * 20 lines 
Don't know where else to put this and it might not change the landscape, but it sure enough is a disaster:

Wednesday, April 12, 2000 - 7:39:05 AM HST
Accident reported on nuclear sub at Pearl Harbor

One worker is hospitalized after a pipe burst aboard the USS Olympia
By Gregg K. Kakesako - Star-Bulletin

One shipyard worker was injured during an accident on the nuclear attack submarine USS Olympia
this morning at Pearl Harbor.
The accident, which occurred at around 5:37 a.m., injured one civilian shipyard worker who was
taken to Tripler Army Medical Center. His condition was unknown.
The sub's nuclear reactor was not operating at the time and had been shut down for two weeks.
The shipyard worker was working on a pipe when it may have ruptured forcing the worker to back
into another object.
The explosion was caused by a leak from the propulsion plant to the ship's bilge.
The Olympia is a Los Angeles class attack submarine homeported at Pearl Harbor.
- - - will update this story as it develops.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 80 of 171:  (sprin5) * Tue, Apr 25, 2000 (08:13) * 1 lines 
I hope that liquid wasn't radioactive.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 81 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Apr 25, 2000 (12:33) * 1 lines 
No, it wasn't and the reactor was shut down at the time. Fortunately!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 82 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sat, May  6, 2000 (04:30) * 29 lines 
India's drought relief starts to get through

By Peter Popham in Jodhpur

29 April 2000

The Indian government's plan to relieve the worst drought for a century finally swung into action yesterday while thousands of people desperate with hunger and thirst fled the worst-afflicted regions.

In Jodhpur the first relief train arrived with 200 tankers of water which will be trucked to Rajasthan's parched countryside. The state authorities said 400,000 people had been hired for emergency work schemes. A trainload of fodder is expected today and ships carrying water were on their way to the coast of Gujarat.

But if the inhabitants of a village called Mokalashani get so much as a sniff of the water, the fodder or the work, they will be mighty surprised. It is a small place, with 500 or 600 people. It is not remote: Jodhpur, the second-biggest city in the state, which has plenty of water thanks to the Rajasthan Canal, is an hour away. But the people here are about as desperate as you can get.

Every village in western Rajasthan is a potential victim in time of drought, so the government built water tanks in most villages, hooked up to pipelines. Mokalashani has one too but the expert eye of my local companion spotted something wrong: the structure was disintegrating. Villagers confirmed it was a ruin. Built 10 years back, pipes fed it for a few days, then never again.

So what do you do? It is 43 degrees Centigrade in the shade and the most vital staple of life has gone. The answer is that you dust off the wisdom of the ancients. When these villages were established, settlers made a hedge againstdrought: in the beds of the seasonal ponds they dug wells, which they lined with stones for durability. But when the government waved its wand and shot pipelines out into the Rajasthan Desert, these practices fell into disuse.

Now, for want of alternatives, Mokalashani's women are rediscovering the wells, or bheri. But this year's drought is so bad that they too are almost dry. Many village women have given up and set off in search of better sources. Apart from being so depleted, the water in Mokalashani's bheri is not even potable. It is dirty and can only be used for watering animals and washing.

The only way to get drinking water is from water barons, who bore wells on their land or use intimidation to plunder common sources, then fill up tankers to sell. Near Jodhpur they charge 150 rupees (£2) a tanker but in Mokalashani it is 300 rupees.

One day soon, if the people of Mokalashani have not given up and fled, an official will arrive to set up a famine work programme. As subsistence farmers the villagers have no cash coming in but by working in such a programme for eight days they will be able to afford one tanker of drinking water, enough to last one family about a week.

But in Mokalashani no such scheme is operating. The only way to get cash is to mortgage land and house and sink into debt. In many poor, drought- prone parts of the Indian countryside a time of drought presents bigger and ruthless landowners with a perfect opportunity for expanding their land-holding when their poor neighbours, faced with the challenge of merely staying alive, are in no position to argue about the terms of a loan.

This helps explain why tens of thousands of poor farmers have abandoned the cattle they can no longer feed or water. They place a tilak, a red "third eye" spot, on the cow's forehead and thread a string round one ear to indicate that they yield the holy animal to any gaushala, cow sanctuary, which may take pity. But the normal end of such cows is as a heap of bones in a dusty field, picked over by dogs and vultures. Such remains can already be seen outside Mokalashani.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 83 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, May  6, 2000 (14:45) * 1 lines 
It boggles the mind that the Indian subcontinent can continue to be devastated by floods, drought and famine yet continues to increase their population alarmingly. Dontcha wonder if nature is not trying to tell them something?!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 84 of 171: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Sun, May  7, 2000 (12:23) * 1 lines 
It would seem so. The human population increase also spells trouble for India's animal population, most especially elephants and tigers.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 85 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, May  7, 2000 (12:33) * 1 lines 
Indeed! Strange and unfortunately, they were not considered an incarnation of someone - only cows. Will someone tell me why, please.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 86 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, May 24, 2000 (18:34) * 49 lines 
Lahars at San Cristobal volcano, Nicaragua
Just after the beginning of the rainy season a series of lahars took place
at San Cristobal volcano, Nicaragua. On the evening of Saturday, May 13,
several lahars have occurred at the volcano, after short but intense rains.

The largest lahar came down the southern flank of San Cristobal,following
an existing gully near hacienda Las Rojas and then following a dry river
near the village Valle Los Morenos. This lahar reached the Chinandega-Leon
highway below the Los Cabros bridge, nearly 15 km from the volcano. The
deposited material consisted partly of new volcanic ash that has
accumulated since the beginning of the ongoing eruption of San Cristobal in
November 1999.

Local inhabitants report that they heard a noise "like helicopters" when
the lahars occurred. INETER seismologists immediately detected the lahars
by means of the local seismic stations. The recordings from two stations
located south and southwest of San Cristobal suggest that the lahar
consisted of at least 5 separate events which occurred between 7:20 PM and
8:30 PM (local time). The largest lahar came down at 8:00 PM and reached
the area of Valle de Los Morenos, 7 km from the crater, at about 8:20 PM.
On Wednesday, May 17, after hours of intense rain, another strong lahar
occurred at 8:00 PM, at the same location.

The lahars caused no destruction and no injuries as they passed through
unpopulated area.

Local inhabitants living near San Cristobal well remember the 1998 Casita
volcano lahar disaster. For that reason, during the nights of heavy
rainfall, most locals preferred to stay in the emergency Civil Defense
shelters, which local authorities had prepared in advance on high ground.
Civil Defense and local authorities have maintained a yellow alert level
for San Cristobal area since the beginning of the rainy season.

INETER, in a report on the risks of lahars and landslides at San Cristobal
volcano published on April 25, had alerted Civil Defense and local
authorities to the possibility of strong lahars in the area due to the
deposition of large quantities of fresh volcanic ash, especially near the
crater region of San Cristobal.

San Cristobal volcano, is the highest volcano (1740 m) in the Nicaraguan
volcanic chain
The area south and southwest of the crater is densely populated. Casita
volcano, at 4 km distance from San Cristobal, was the place of a disastrous
landslide which destroyed two villages and killed more than 2,000 people on
October 30, 1998 (

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 87 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Jul 14, 2000 (05:31) * 7 lines 
Friday July 14, 9:30 AM

Tornado kills 11 people in east China, injures 500
BEIJING (Reuters) - A tornado killed 11 people, injured 500 and destroyed more than 4,000 houses in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

It said the tornado hit the cities of Yangzhou and Taizhou on Thursday afternoon, uprooting large trees and disrupting power supplies and telecommunications. The tornado ripped across fields of rice and cotton, causing more than four million yuan (320,000 pounds) in damage, Xinhua said.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 88 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, Jul 14, 2000 (05:34) * 20 lines 
Bombay landslide toll 67 and likely to rise
By Uday Khandeparkar

BOMBAY (Reuters) - Sixty-seven bodies have been pulled from under tonnes of sewage, mud and debris in a Bombay slum buried by a landslide, rescue officials said on Friday. The death toll is expected to rise.

The torrential rain that triggered Wednesday's tragedy has eased and rescue workers were guided by the stench of rotting flesh as they looked for victims among the crushed hovels on a hillside in the city's eastern suburbs.

Soldiers cordoned off the site at Azadnagar, a largely Moslem colony in the suburb of Ghatkopar, so that emergency workers using mechanical diggers could work unhindered by the thousands of people who live in surrounding slums.

The landslide is believed to have been triggered by the bursting of a swollen septic tank at the top of the hill. A tanker sprayed the hill with chemicals to prevent the spread of disease and mask the stink. "The workers are now being led by the stench in their search for bodies. They've just located one such area and are digging there," a newspaper photographer at the site said.

Building collapses and landslides are common in Bombay during the four-month monsoon season because a majority of the city's more than 12 million people live in shacks. The huts are typically made with bamboo, corrugated tin and plastic sheeting.

India's western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat and the southern state of Andhra Pradesh have been battered by heavy rains in the past week and the total death toll has risen to nearly 120. Maharashtra, of which Bombay is the capital, accounts for 90 of those deaths. In neighbouring Gujarat, where 30 people have died in the past few days, over 5,000 people were rescued from their flooded homes and the army was called in to help with the evacuation, a local government spokesman said on Friday.

The break in the weather comes after a weeklong spell of the heaviest rains since the four-month monsoon season began in June.

The city, paralysed for two days because of flooding on the streets and railway tracks, returned to normal on Friday.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 89 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 14, 2000 (12:40) * 1 lines 
As if Bombay did not have enough grief

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 90 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Aug  4, 2000 (20:58) * 7 lines 
These URLs were sent to me by my son - the contain most of the major fire fronts active a this time

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 91 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Aug  4, 2000 (21:40) * 66 lines 
Firefighters Lose Ground in Montana

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Two hundred Canadian firefighters and 500
additional Army troops will reinforce beleaguered crews battling
wildfires across the West, the head of the U.S. Forest Service said
Mike Dombeck said most of the Canadians will be assigned to Montana
while a second battalion of 500 Army troops from Fort Hood, Texas,
will undergo firefighting training and join 500 Army troops and 500
Marines already assigned to fires in Idaho.
Dombeck toured the Idaho and Montana fire lines Friday and promised
adequate resources for fire crews.
``We're really at the mercy of Mother Nature,'' the forest service chief
said. ``Unless we have a miraculous change in the weather, I think we
can look forward to several tough weeks ahead of us.''
In Montana, 15 major fires were burning on 100,000 acres. Hundreds
of homes were evacuated in the Bitterroot Valley, where heavy smoke
cut visibility to zero on stretches of highways.
In Nevada, a firefighting helicopter crashed near Elko, killing one crew
member and injuring three other people shortly after takeoff late
Thursday. One crew member remained in serious condition Friday; the
pilot and a fuel truck driver who ran to help were treated and released.
In all, nearly 62,000 wildfires have been reported across the nation this
year, scorching nearly 3.8 million acres. Assistant Interior Secretary
Sylvia Baca has called it the worst fire season in 50 years.
More than 60 large fires were burning Friday across more than 650,000
acres of the West, and forecasts called for continued dry, hot conditions
with the potential for lightning-packed thunderstorms.
Fire conditions were predicted at the worst possible level, known as
``red flag,'' Friday, with temperatures in the 90s and blustery winds. The
entire southwestern Montana zone raised its fire-danger rating to
``extreme'' on Thursday. It previously reached that level in 1994 and
1988, officials said.
Farther south, near Jackson, Wyo., a brief downpour Thursday slowed
a 3,100-acre wildfire, but 200 people were no closer to returning to their
homes, cabins and campsites in the Bridger-Teton National Forest on
The lack of rain in northwestern Wyoming is close to what it was in
1988, the year of the devastating Yellowstone National Park fires.
In central Idaho, nearly 600 soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, wrapped
up two days of firefighter training and streamed into already burned
areas to begin mopping up.
The soldiers' arrival freed up experienced firefighters to battled the
stubborn blaze that had ballooned to 17,000 acres by Friday. Six
Blackhawk helicopters joined the crew, dropping water and flame
retardant on hotspots.
Outside Reno, crews corralled a fire that damaged six homes even as
other lightning-sparked blazes flared up across northern Nevada - some
burning virtually unchecked.
Gary Zunino, northern regional manager for the Nevada Division of
Forestry, said the number of people and equipment to battle the flames
was dwindling.
``The fires are going to move fast and get big fast,'' he said.
``Everybody in the West is fighting for the same resources.''
Elsewhere, firefighters across Utah battled nearly 109,800 acres of
wildfires after a night of thunderstorms brought dozens of new fires to
the state.
On the Net:
National Fire Information Center:
Forest Service links:
Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior
written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinkshave been inserted by

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 92 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Aug  4, 2000 (21:41) * 1 lines 
Forest Service links:

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 93 of 171: anne hale  (ommin) * Sat, Aug  5, 2000 (02:46) * 1 lines 
Did you know there are firefighters coming over from Australia. Our thoughts go with you all in the Western Pacific. We have our quota of bush fires over here and can understand your fears.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 94 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Aug  5, 2000 (16:08) * 1 lines 
Yes, and Canadian troops have been sent to our aid, as well. It is now burning some very important archaeological places in Mesa Verde National Monument. Thanks for the Aussie aid!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 95 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Tue, Sep 12, 2000 (03:33) * 14 lines 
Four killed in worst Japan rains in century

NAGOYA, Japan (Reuters) - Flooding and landslides from Japan's worst torrential rains in at least a century have killed four people and prompted authorities to urge almost 400,000 to flee their homes in the nation's industrial heartland. Police said on Tuesday four people were still missing after rains triggered by typhoon Saomai lashed three prefectures in central Japan, halting high-speed bullet trains and traffic on the main highways into the industrial metropolis of Nagoya. Local authorities urged 200,000 households to evacuate to public facilities after heavy rains set off landslides and rivers burst their banks, flooding thousands of homes, and virtually cutting off Nagoya, a city of more than two million people. "Rain is likely to fall for another two days so people should remain on the alert," a Meteorological Agency official told a news conference on Tuesday morning. Some 460 military troops were sent to Aichi Prefecture, where Nagoya is located, and soldiers rescued 30 people stranded on the rooft
ps of flooded homes. More than 50,000 passengers were forced to spend Monday night on high-speed bullet trains stalled by the storms, which dumped as much as 60 cm (18 inches) of rain on the area. Thousands were stranded in train stations. The rainfall in the region, home to Japan's third-largest metropolitan area, was the highest on record for a 24-hour period since the local observatory began keeping records in 1891. "All I can do is ask the gods to send the floods away," said a woman in Nagoya. A 76-year-old man and his 73-year old wife were killed when their home was flattened by a landslide in the region's Komaki city. In Nagoya, a 53-year-old firefighter died after being washed into an irrigation channel, a police spokesman said. Twenty-nine people have been injured.

Saomai, packing winds of up to 162 kph (100 mph), was moving slowly toward Japan's southern island of Okinawa from the southeast and was expected to hit the island full force sometime in the evening.
Television cameras showed vast residential areas partly submerged in muddy water after the Shonai River broke through its banks near Nagoya. The Shin River, running parallel to the Shonai, also broke through a 100-metre (330 foot) stretch of its banks. An estimated 38,000 homes have been flooded. Residents clutching backpacks and plastic bags with a smattering of belongings waded through waist-deep water as they fled their homes. Some held onto ropes to avoid being swept away. "The road looked like a river of churning water last night although by this morning the water had resided a bit," said Nagoya housewife Nobuko Iijima. "There were dozens of abandoned cars blocking the road."

Rescue Efforts
Firefighters rescued about 50 people stranded on the second story of their homes by floods and orange-suited rescue workers lifted children and elderly from boats.

Japan has had more than its share of natural disasters this year. Three volcanoes have erupted in Japan this year including one on the northernmost island of Hokkaido in April and another on the tiny island of Miyakejima, 180 km (113 miles) south of Tokyo. Nearly all of Miyakejima's nearly 4,000 residents had been evacuated by early this month.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 96 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Thu, Sep 14, 2000 (09:36) * 26 lines 
Thursday September 14, 11:15 AM

Half a million at risk in huge Vietnam floods

LONG AN, Vietnam (Reuters) - Rising waters threaten to drive a further 500,000 people from their homes in the worst floods to hit Vietnam's Mekong Delta in decades, relief officials have said. The floods have already inundated at least 140,000 homes in the rice growing provinces of Long An, Dong Thap and An Giang bordering Cambodia and forced more than 50,000 people to seek refugee on higher ground, the International Red Cross said. "I think we are talking about a very grave situation at the moment," said John Geoghegan, head of a delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) visiting the stricken area to assess relief needs. The swelling floodwaters from the mighty Mekong River and its tributaries have already surged well above danger levels and turned vast areas of the provinces into inland seas. Reuters journalists travelling by boat with the Red Cross team to the worst-hit part of Long An province saw hundreds of low-lying bamboo and thatch homes flooded to th
ir rafters. Relief officials say nearly half the land area of the three provinces is submerged and water levels are above or approaching those in 1996, when floods killed 180 people. Geoghegan said water levels were forecast to rise another half-metre in coming days, endangering another half a million people in a worst case scenario.


"(They) have still been rising in the Mekong (river) in Cambodia. That head of water is going to be coming down this way in the next few days."

On Thursday, the IFRC appealed for $1.9 million (1.34 million pounds) to help victims in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, where it said 600,000 people had lost homes and farmland. It said the unusually widespread monsoon floods had affected millions across Southeast Asia and nearly 800,000 square km of land in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam had been flooded. The Red Cross said $300,000 (212,000 pounds) would go to Vietnam to help 100,000 people hit by tropical storm Wukong on Sunday and Geoghegan's assessment would clarify the Delta needs on Friday.

Prompt rescue efforts by thousands of soldiers and volunteers have held Vietnam's death toll to eight in the past week, but rapidly rising water levels threaten increasing numbers of people.

Geoghegan said the Delta had been better prepared than in 1996, with more dykes and canals built, but some dykes that have offered refuge to evacuees have begun to crumble. Some families had to be moved 25 km (15 miles) to the nearest high ground, he said, adding that evacuees would need several months' assistance after losing crops and food. "They're going to be sitting on the dykes until the end of November, because that's when water levels will reduce to their normal levels." The Dong Thap flood committee said some 28,000 people were already facing hunger and 57,000 less severe food shortages. It said 110,000 homes in the province had been flooded and more than 30,000 people evacuated. Geoghegan said that despite the risks, some villagers had been reluctant to leave their homes, fearing the loss of meagre possessions, increasing the risk of casualties.

Floods, landslides and typhoons have killed about 40 people in Vietnam this year. Floods and typhoons lash the country every year beginning from July, and last November typhoons and ensuing floods in the central coastal areas killed 730. Truong Van Tiep, vice chairman of Long An people's committee, said water levels were the highest recorded in the province in 73 years. "They have come earlier this year and have lasted longer," he said. The floods' impact on rice output has been slight as the Delta harvest was almost complete when they hit. Officials said 24,000 hectares (60,000 acres) of rice were lost in all three provinces and traders say stocks are plentiful.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 97 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sun, Sep 17, 2000 (04:16) * 31 lines 
Update on Vietnam situation:Sunday September 17, 9:15 AM

Flood-hit Vietnam villagers have no place to run

HONG NGU, Vietnam (Reuters) - Villagers swamped by the worst floods to hit Vietnam's Mekong Delta in decades face weeks of sodden uncertainty and fear as flood waters rise relentlessly around their fragile homes and crumbling dykes.
"We don't know what to do -- the water keeps rising and we have no where to run," said 51- year-old Vo Van Duc as he sat with his family on a bamboo floor just a few centimetres above the lapping waters in the Delta province of Dong Thap. Dong Thap, bordering Cambodia, has been one of the three worst hit provinces in what officials say are the worst floods to hit the low-lying rice-growing region in 40 years. Waters from the Mekong River have turned half the land of the rice-farming provinces into desolate inland seas. Only roof-tops of houses and occasional trees break the gloomy monotony.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimates more than half a million homes have been flooded, some up to the rafters and 150,000 people forced to flee to higher ground, many having had to abandon meagre possessions and rice reserves.

Phan Van Thuong, 66, worries his house will collapse, not least due to increased boat traffic since the floods hit. "My biggest fear is a that a big wave from the river will knock my house down," he said. "I have no idea what to do if water rises. We can't move because the floods are everywhere." Thuong's children have built him a crude wooden bridge from the front of his house to his bed. As he spoke, his 63-year-old wife Luong Thi Tac stepped onto the bed from water reaching above her knee. She is too frail to use the home-made bridge. "Hopefully the floods will recede in about a month," she said.

Rising waters from the Mekong River have also hit Cambodia hard with 94 people killed since July. Cambodia says the floods are its worst in 70 years and has sought help for an estimated 600,000 affected people.

Thailand said more than 85 percent of its rice crop in the main northeastern growing area had been damaged by floods.

The Red Cross says its could be late November before the waters recede. It says most of the flood victims are the poorest of the poor peasants and the longer the floods go on the risks of serious outbreaks of disease increases.

Dinh Cong Kham, of the local Red Cross, said the floods not only put villagers in immediate danger but also threatened their future livelihoods. They have made a living rearing fish and growing rice and fruits like mangoes and longans.
"Fruit trees have had their roots soaked for so long they're now ruined, " he said. "And it takes five years for them to become productive after planting."

In An Phu district of neighbouring An Giang province, authorities moved 300 people to a 300-metre long dyke six km (four miles) away. Their living conditions are cramped and squalid and they are short of food and fresh water. Tiny children compete for space with pigs and chickens. A sign reads: "Dumping human excrement is prohibited". Tran Nhan Ngoc was moved to the dyke with three members of her family. They are all hungry. "We have nothing to eat. The floods keep us trapped here waiting to die from hunger," she said from a three square-metre shelter where her sick husband lay on a bed, their only possession. "Before everything was submerged I could earn up to 3,000 dong (about 14 pence) a day going to the market to sell fish or vegetables, but now there's nothing." Tran Thanh Binh, deputy district chairman, said the floods were forecast to peak at the end of this month.

Water levels in An Giang's Tan Chau district, where the Mekong River enters Vietnam, were at 4.92 metres on Saturday, eight cm higher than the last serious floods to hit the Delta in 1996, which killed 217 people. They are forecast to hit the five metre mark on September 20.

Prompt rescue work by thousands of soldiers and volunteers and better flood defences than in 1996 have so far limited deaths from the latest floods to 19 in the past week -- most of them children. But some dykes not already breasted by the floods have started to crumble and landslides have occurred in some areas, threatening greater casualties. Le Minh Dung, deputy chairman of An Giang Red Cross, said it had been difficult to mobilise help for those worst affected. "The floods have been spreading in the province and everyone is now facing a tough time," he said.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 98 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Mon, Sep 18, 2000 (08:53) * 52 lines 
North Pole icecap melts as global warming increases
Sunday Times Aug 20, 2000
Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor

Big thaw hits the North Pole
THE North Pole is melting for the first time in 55m years. Researchers have found that the icecap at the top of the world has turned into a mile-wide patch of open ocean.

The melting of the pole last happened on such a scale when the Earth was going through a period of rapid warming. This year's meltdown has been linked with the greenhouse effect, where gases released by burning fossil fuels are trapping ever more heat in the atmosphere and so warming the Earth.

The melting was discovered by James McCarthy, an oceanographer and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is sponsored by the United Nations to advise governments on global warming. It coincides with official confirmation that the icecap covering Greenland is also disappearing.

Earlier research conducted by McCarthy has shown that the average summer thickness of ice at the North Pole was about 9ft. This year, however, he was able to take a ship directly to the pole and then had to float over it - because there was no ice to stand on. "It was totally unexpected," he said.

Researchers had warned that the polar icecap was shrinking by about 6% a year, but nobody had expected the North Pole to melt until global warming had become much more severe.

The meltdown could also counteract the Gulf Stream, which keeps Britain's climate two to three degrees warmer than countries at similar latitudes.

The Eocene period, 55m years ago, was the last time the world's climate grew rapidly warmer. Fossil evidence shows that it became warm enough for tropical vegetation and animals to flourish in the Arctic and Antarctic circles.

The news comes as the IPCC is drafting an important report on global warming for publication in January.

This weekend it emerged that the report will, for the first time, confirm that the Greenland icecap has not only started to melt but also will eventually disappear unless global warming can be halted.

Sir John Houghton, former head of the Meteorological Office and who now heads the IPCC's scientific panel, said the report would make it clear to governments that the world's climate was changing rapidly.

"We are confident that climate change is due to human activities," he said.

The news also anticipates the November reopening of negotiations in the Hague over ratifying the 1997 Kyoto climate change agreement.

Under the agreement, first world countries such as Britain and the United States of America have to reduce their greenhouse emissions sharply by 6%-8% by 2012.

Britain is likely to meet the target but, the report will say, most other countries will fail. America - the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide - is predicted to increase emissions by 15%.

There is also no agreement on reductions after 2012.

Houghton and his colleagues will tell governments that the world must slash greenhouse gas emissions to 60% of 1990 levels by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

If the reductions are left for another 50 years it could prove too late.

The Hadley Centre - the Meteorological Office's climate change unit - has warned of a "runaway" greenhouse effect where temperatures would reach a point at which it could no longer be stopped.

Tony Juniper, campaigns director for Friends of the Earth, said the melting of the North Pole showed how urgently action was needed.

"The melting polar ice is consistent with the predictions of scientists," he said. "It shows global warming is for real and governments must agree tougher pollution targets."

Dr Peter Wadhams, a specialist in sea ice at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, said it was wrong to suggest that the North Pole had never lost its ice.

"Polar ice is always moving and these gaps can open up anywhere, including the North Pole - but it is true that there are now many more of them," he said. "Our research shows the average thickness of the polar ice has reduced by 40% and its area is shrinking by 4% a year. By the end of this century it will have disappeared completely."

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 99 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Sep 21, 2000 (16:32) * 1 lines 
I posted this in Gaia (topic 4) and made note of the updating gif therein which shows how the ozone hole changes as the atmosphere changes.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 100 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Thu, Sep 21, 2000 (17:27) * 1 lines 
Oops! missed that....

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 101 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Sep 22, 2000 (00:47) * 1 lines 
Not a is a different article and maybe we will get a few more readers...*hugs*

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 102 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sat, Sep 23, 2000 (04:19) * 36 lines 
Floods spread in Mekong Delta

MEKONG DELTA, Vietnam (Reuters) - The worst floods for decades have spread to new provinces in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, where the death toll has risen to 75, mostly children, local officials said on Saturday.

More than half a million homes have been flooded in the Delta, many to the rafters, and at least 150,000 people forced to flee their homes to seek refuge on crumbling earthen dykes surrounded by waters five or more metres deep.

Although water levels in the three worst-hit provinces of Long And, Dong Thap and An Giang appeared to be stabilising, downstream areas have seen rises of 10 cm (four inches) a day.

A combination of high sea tides and flood waters from upstream provinces had affected Vinh Long, Kien Giang, Tien Giang and Can Tho provinces, officials from the Kien Giang and Vinh Long people's committees said.

Officials in Dong Thap, Long An and An Giang provinces said rises in water levels had slowed distinctly in the past two days in upstream districts bordering Cambodia.

The death toll this month from the floods rose to 75 with nine more deaths reported. They were in Long An, Kien Giang and Tien Giang. The vast majority of the dead have been children.

Meteorologists have warned month-end high tides in the South China Sea could prevent the floods draining away even though water levels have fallen.

And relief officials worry that when the immediate danger from the flood waters passes, it will be replaced by the threat of diseases like cholera and dengue, as it could be late November or early December before the waters fully recede.

The effect on Vietnam's rice output -- a key export industry -- has been limited as farmers managed to gather most of their summer-autumn crop before the worst floods hit.

However, most will not be able to plant a smaller third crop and Wednesday's Vietnam Economic Times quoted the Agriculture Ministry as saying 500,000 tonnes of unhusked rice would be lost.

On Friday, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific blamed deforestation for the floods that have affected millions and killed more than 200 people in Indochina and the Mekong Delta.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 103 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Sep 25, 2000 (01:10) * 1 lines 
Poor Vietnam. As if they have not had enough trouble in the 20th centurym now the Mekong delta is flooding. It is not as bad as the Pakistan and Bangladesh floods, but a disaster is all relative. It is always worse to those undergoing the misery and death. Thanks for posting the article.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 104 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sat, Oct 14, 2000 (18:00) * 27 lines 
Saturday October 14, 10:47 PM
Mudslide ravages Swiss village, three feared dead
Saturday October 14, 10:47 PM

GONDO, Switzerland (Reuters) - A mudslide destroyed a third of the small village of Gondo on the Swiss-Italian border on Saturday morning. Police said 18 people were missing but could not confirm reports that three had died. Some 100 people were evacuated, including a group of 40 who had sought refuge in a civil protection shelter and were unable to leave as the entrance was blocked with debris, local authorities said.

The landslide was caused when an earth dam above the lower part of the village, constructed after torrential rains threatened the town in 1993, gave way under the mass of water. The mayor of Gondo told Swiss television a wall of water and mud some 30 to 40 metres wide had taken just 10 seconds to cut a swath through the village just before 11 a.m., taking houses and possibly people with it down the mountain slope.

At a news conference in Sion, the capital of the canton of Valais, a police spokesman said 18 people were still missing. "We have so far not recovered any bodies and we do not know whether there are any dead," he said. Local customs officer Rolf Gruber had said earlier by mobile telephone from the village that there were at least three dead.

Gondo, home to some 140 people, lies 885 metres above sea level in a narrow valley between Brig in Switzerland and Domodossola in Italy, near the Simplon pass.

A statement from the Valais cantonal government said a third of the village had been badly damaged and some 10 houses and the historic Stockalper tower washed away. The inhabitants were evacuated to Domodossola and the village of Simplon-Dorf.

The rescue action, which was called off for fear of a possible avalanche, was to continue on Sunday with the help of the army. Heavy earth moving machines were due to be brought to the town over partially blocked roads.

Heavy rainfall since Friday had swollen the Doveria river, which runs along the village. The Swiss meteorological service said more rain had fallen in the past few days than in an average month of October. The high water levels have severed some road links and telephone lines in the area. Rail traffic through the Simplon tunnel was halted as a local station was under water.

In Locarno, Lake Maggiore broke its banks and the water level was still rising. Several mountain passes were closed to traffic.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 105 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Oct 14, 2000 (21:02) * 1 lines 
More mass wasting. I thought Britain had taken all of the rain out of those clouds. And, I thought we got all the rain...!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 106 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Oct 20, 2000 (19:33) * 32 lines 
Kentucky Hams Help in Coal Sludge Spill Disaster

Amateur Radio operators in eastern Kentucky are helping their
neighbors to cope with a lack of drinking water in the wake of a
coal sludge spill that has cut off water supplies. More than 200
million gallons of coal waste flooded waterways without warning
October 11 after a coal plant retention pond near Inez gave way.

The resulting pollution--described as being the consistency of wet
cement or molasses--has forced communities in the path of the spill
to close water intakes and rely on existing water supplies.

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service has not yet been activated, but
ARES remains on stand-by to provide emergency communication, if
needed. Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP, says the
Kentucky Division of Emergency Management has requested Amateur
Radio assistance in Martin County, where the spill originated.

In Lawrence County, Emergency Coordinator Fred Jones, WA4SWF, says
hams are helping to supplement communication among the different
agencies involved whose radios operate on a variety of different
frequencies. But Jones says the primary need has been making sure
affected residents have water to drink, cook, and bathe with.

Jones says officials are concerned there might not be enough water
to fight a fire. Another worry is that heavy rainfall could cause
widespread flooding.

Kentucky Gov Paul Patton declared a state of emergency Monday in a
large portion of northeastern Kentucky. Affected are the counties of
Boyd, Bracken, Carter, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin,
Mason, and Robertson.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 107 of 171: Rob Glennie  (AotearoaKiwi) * Thu, May 17, 2001 (02:58) * 7 lines 

Just remembered this about the island of Iwo Jima. Iwo is a large island volcano growing out of the caldera of a much larger volcano. It was the site of bloody fighting between American soldiers and the Japanese during 1945 in World War Two. The wreckage from the fighting is interesting in that the beach on which it rests is being progressively uplifted by magma moving into the large magma chamber underneath the volcano. The wreckage has been upraised 10 metres vertically since the American troops came ashore and one must assume given what is happening that the volcano is priming itself to blow. The cone of Mount Surabachi is 550 metres high and is surrounded by thick black sands from the
beach uplift.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 108 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, May 20, 2001 (23:18) * 1 lines 
I have a bit of sand and a bit of Mount Surabachi in my collection. It was brought back by USMC officers. By the way, the sand was so hot due to the closeness of the magma that they could not dig fox holes into it for safety. Thanks for that added bit of information on Iwo Jima that I had not heard. I truly appreciate it!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 109 of 171: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, May 21, 2001 (07:20) * 1 lines 
What's your collection like?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 110 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, May 22, 2001 (15:06) * 23 lines 
My collection used to be very vast and inclusive - until I moved to Hawaii and my mother sent me the "pretty ones" and tossed the rest into the driveway gravel. Some of my favorite ones (always obtained from public land not in parks or preserves or national forests)
A chunk of the original limestone facade of Canterbury Cathedral;
A hunk of the new dome growing in Mt St Helens collected by intrepid son; Obsidian from the Urals (and every other site I can get it from);
A flint nodule from Salisbury Plain showing a great hydration rind;
A piece of Massive Garnet transported from upstate New York by glaciers to my childhood back yard where I dug it out of the soil;
Purchased and gifted geodes of all sorts and sizes;
A chocolate and white 3 inch ammonite;
A pyrite bivalve;
Gem turquoise (amlst translucent in one place
Fire agate
Fire opal
Star diopside
Museum quality huge cubic pyrite
Three colors of Fluorite
Amber, tasvorite garnet, amethyst in many forms, jade in all colors, crystals from friends who have been luckier than I on their rock hunts, and so much more.

...and a whole bunch of other goodies many of which are displayed on a discarded but refurbished double tower with shelves rotating and illuminated display case. Perhaps I should post a picture of that, too. I have sacks of rocks I brough back from everywhere I go (usual proceedure is to frisk me before letting me pack my suitcases) - each specimen is scrubbed and disinfected just to make sure... Most of my collection is in the raw state but such that the gem quailty can be seen. My Imperial topaz is beautiful but was tumble polished.

This should haven been in the topic of rock hounding and collecting. I also have a TECKTITE. I need a moon rock (have guarded same but made me give it back), a gastrolith, a coprolite, and a meteorite... *sigh* even small ones would be nice...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 111 of 171: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Wed, May 23, 2001 (19:05) * 3 lines 
Maybe Rob will send you a rock from New Zealand, Marcia.

I think I did mention seeing the yellow topaz at the Museum of Natural History in New York that was the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. It had been cut and polished. I can't really imagine the size it was originally.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 112 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, May 24, 2001 (00:25) * 3 lines 
I used to live in that room and the dinosaur collections in the Museum of Natural History - well, just about. I remember seeing such huge aquamarine crystals there that they lay on the floor and were aboutr 20 feet long by about a foot or two in diameter - each single crystal! Seems like they could have let me have just a little bitty wee piece off the broken end...?!

Rob, if there is a jinx on your island rocks like on the Hawaiian ones, I'll let you off the hook. If not, want to exchange some samples?! Have one kind here. Igneous. Some pretty old and some still white hot fresh from the vent. Perhaps we are better off leaving well enough alone. I have returned rocks from Canada which turned out to be bad luck to someone who took home souvenirs from Hawaii. Not superstitious, but...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 113 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Fri, May 25, 2001 (15:48) * 1 lines 
(talking of rocks ...what happened to mine????)

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 114 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, May 26, 2001 (22:38) * 1 lines 
(I asked him when he was going to send it - he said he had already sent his package - will assemble another for you with just this in it - safer I think. Not scratching or poking through to other items!)

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 115 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Sun, May 27, 2001 (12:56) * 1 lines 
(thanks ..he was being a bit funny ...he did apologise! feeling sorry for myself tonite ..hey I gotta birfday coming up ......and so do you!!!!!)

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 116 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, May 28, 2001 (22:11) * 1 lines 
I'm not counting mine any longer. I was told to show up in Drool on my day... oh goodness. What are they doing to me this year. It all started with a Bridal shower I was chief menace for some years ago and it started a tradition...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 117 of 171: Rob Glennie  (AotearoaKiwi) * Tue, May 29, 2001 (05:07) * 18 lines 

Computer crashed last time (not your end of the line. We are having trouble on our end at the moment) I visited this conference so here goes.

My rocks include,

Taupo Ignimbrite
Allandale rhyolite (from Lyttelton volcano)
Taupo pumice (I think we still have some)
Mount St Helens ash (NOT ON OFFER)
numerous sedimentary and metamorphic rocks which I have not identified yet
Intend to get scoria from Auckland, granite from the West Coast, grey wacke (most of New Zealand is greywacke with a fascinating assortment of other stuff attached).

What is this about birthdays?? Am I missing something? My 21st is on December 2 2001.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 118 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, May 29, 2001 (19:29) * 3 lines 
Aha!!! Making note of Rob's Brithday! You share the same Birthdate as our great leader, Terry does. Watch out December 2nd. You'll see. Mine is in two days and Drool Conference always gets even with me. I'll let you know when and where to go when they do their thing.

Any fossils in that sedimentary rock? I collected a whole sack of ignimbrite from the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevadas last time I was in California. Nothing like bringing lava rock back to an island full of lava rock and little else. Ours is not MaFic though... YOu have no Hawaiian rocks in your collection? surely we must do soemthing about that. Have some lovely chuncks of the mantle (peridotite) from Mauna Kea... all sorts of pele's hair and pele's tears, and ....well, if it forms here, I have some! Unless you are superstitious... I have so many kinds of rocks - duplicates are waiting for a geologist to love them. Or are you specializing in strictly volcanis stuff? Please let me know. Have specimens from all over.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 119 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jun  1, 2001 (16:55) * 18 lines 
[geobullet] hazardwatch online-and Natural Disaster reminder

How prepared are you in the event of an emergency or natural disaster?

Join us for an education and fun weekend filled with exciting activities,
simulated rescues display, competitions, tours, lectures, demonstration,
documentaries emergency drills and floor talks.

All events are free


Rob, are these sessions well attended?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 120 of 171: Rob Glennie  (AotearoaKiwi) * Sun, Jun  3, 2001 (06:06) * 8 lines 

Probably not. New Zealand is just not willing to wake up and acknowledge that there is a problem with our preparedness. I would love to think that everyone will flock to Te Papa (our national museum)and go to the demonstrations but we have not really woken up to what you, me, Sandi, Hardin, Mazin, Storm, et al, know so well. The sad truth is the Wellington fault is 3km away at the base of the hills behind Parliament. The Wellington-Hutt is the faultline in at least 4 places. The Wairarapa Fault is another big mover. It's last earthquake was Mw 8.2 on the Richter scale. I hope Phoenix_Sapphire and Storm are not in Wellington because things are going to get VERY UGLY in an earthquake.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 121 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, Jun  3, 2001 (14:56) * 1 lines 
Rob, how likely is your flood plain to liquify during an earthquake? It was all I could imagine last night. Perhaps this jolt will have awakened some of the budget-cutters and ostrich-head-buriers on the budget committees. My best wishes for Storm and P_H join yours. You'd be amazed how many people here have never been the 30 miles to Kilauea from Hilo to see the volcano and to understand it. They'd rather pretend it does not exist and what happens, happens. It is very frustrating to work with people like that.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 122 of 171: Rob Glennie  (AotearoaKiwi) * Sun, Jun  3, 2001 (21:02) * 13 lines 
Hi all

Big problem. Phoenix is atop the Auckland volcanic zone amongst the 48 volcanoes that liberally scatter the city. Storm is in Hastings, not far from the epicentre of the big 1931 earthquake. That was Mw 7.9 and killed 256 civilians. Nearby Napier was destroyed and Hastings had severe damage + plus fires. It is the worst natural disaster to hit New Zealand to date and earthquakes of up 7.0 and possibly greater are still expected in the area.
As for me here is another problem. The liquefaction problem is only real in the coastal area around Banks Peninsula because there is a large drained swamp there and you know what? The 321,000 people of Christchurch live there today.


The Waimakariri is a problem. Huge volumes of gravel get moved down the river every year and a full time stone crusher plant is sited immediately behind the first stopbank to process the huge amount of material being dredged. The river is a play ground for fishermen jet boaties and others. It was narrowed near Belfast to 300 metres with the intention of forcing the river through at such speed the sediment would be deposited further down stream. It did not work and
the area from Coutts Island (Islands are areas where old flood channels have been shut of. They exist on the southern bank and are bounded by the South Branch to the south)upstream towards Macleans Island is now trapping sediment as fast as the stone crusher can process it. The Waimakariri has a maximum flow
estimated to be 4000-4500 cubic metres per second in flood and the biggest flood I can remember was hoofing along at about 1700 cumecs in 1995. A grandfather flood is anything over 2700 cumecs and the last one THAT big was in 1979 from memory. I was not alive then but have read extensively in the newspapers about it. Do you know what a braided river is? It is a multi-channeled river where none of the channels are permanent (always changing course within the stop banks)and the worlds two best examples are the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers in Canterbury.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 123 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, Jun  3, 2001 (23:56) * 4 lines 
Rob, I can let you create your great topic, or I can do it for you. Your choice. I can walk you through the creation process if you contact me on IM (have Yahoo IM up and running.) Or, I can do it for you. It is your choice!
Or email will do, as well.

The liquifaction problem struck me last night as the notice of your earthquake arrived in my email. I had all sorts of terrible visions of your predicament and was most relieved when you emailed me. Aukland is a disaster waiting to happen. I cannot imagine being so blind to the danger. I much prefer my gentle basaltic volcano which regularly tarnishes my silver things.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 124 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Jun  4, 2001 (14:04) * 1 lines 
Your new Topic is Geo 46. I have already posted a bit but will post a whole lot more in future. We seem to be surrounded by water! So do you, actully. Islands tend to be that way *hugs*

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 125 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Jul 11, 2001 (20:01) * 37 lines 
A little touch of Rob in the night, pilfered sans permission from

Auckland volcanic field - urban nightmare

60,000 years ago in what was then dense forest miles from anywhere in
the known(?) world, a low rumble is heard, followed by earthquakes. It
is nighttime over the soon-to-be-born Auckland volcanic field and the
rumblings signal the approach of magma. Nowadays seismometers in the
Waitakere and Hunua ranges would detect seismic unrest prior to the birth
of any volcano and relay it to the Auckland Regional Council where civil
defence staff would be monitoring it and signs of ground deformation
near the expected eruption site.
At dawn an explosion rips through the forest flinging rock, sediments,
ash, and vegetation before it. Further explosions add to the crater
that has formed as a column of ash and tephra climbs skyward. In some
cases it may be a phreato-magmatic eruption where the rising magma has made
contact with the cold seawater or river water and exploded (Pukaki
basin). After a while in the case of the explosion craters, explosions will
die as the magma supply is used up and the volcano will become extinct.
However many volcanoes went further than this and formed cinder cones
of lava and cinders thrown out during strombolian eruptions. Flows of
basaltic lava cemented these volcanoes to the map and accounted for a
large number of the 48 known volcanoes in the Auckland area which have a
total volume of about 4km3. Of all the volcanoes in the Auckland area, a
single large island volcano by the name Rangitoto completely dwarfs
everything that preceeded it. It's volume is about 2.3km3 and it was the
most recent. If Rangitoto is setting the standard for the next eruption
then it may be the biggest and come sooner than anyone would like to
Typically, depending on what sort of volcano is evolving, a range of
eruption styles may emerge. They include pyroclastic surges, airfall,
phreato-magmatic explosions, lava flows. Secondary problems/hazards may be
posed by lahars from ash being carried by rivers or during rain,
tsunamis if water gets into the vent and is thrown out and fire if the
eruption is on shore and damages property (a certainty).


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 126 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 13, 2001 (16:07) * 248 lines 
This comes from last February. Has anything much come of it, Rob? or are they waiting for you to finish at University?

Proposed network
The proposed upgrade of New Zealand’s geological
hazard monitoring network will lead to greatly
improved monitoring of geological hazards and
strengthen disaster management response,
Chairman of the Institute of Geological & Nuclear
Sciences Limited (GNS) Derek Milne said today.

Existing network
Dr Milne paid tribute to the Earthquake Commission
for taking a first substantial step toward providing
New Zealand with an upgraded and fit-for-purpose
hazard monitoring network. EQC will contribute $5
million a year for at least 10 years toward the
upgraded network, called GeoNet.

New Zealand is located dangerously on the boundary
of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates that are
grinding past and overriding each other. The several
decades of relative calm New Zealand has
experienced conceals the fact that we face significant
geological hazards, and the improved network will
help to lower the risks we live with.

" It is crucial for New Zealand’s long-term economic security to improve the
understanding of the geological hazards we face, and to use this
knowledge to help reduce economic and social damage resulting from a
major earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, or tsunami," Dr Milne said.

He said the existing network was old, sparse, and parts of it were regularly
failing. There was a partial upgrade in the 1980s, but these instruments
were now obsolete. GeoNet will take advantage of new technology and be
fully integrated with equipment to be used to monitor the Comprehensive
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

" GeoNet, which will be phased in steadily over several years, represents a
huge step forward in making New Zealand more resilient to the impact of
earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis," Dr Milne said.

" We hope that electricity, water, communications, and transport
companies, and local and regional councils will take advantage of, and
invest to supplement, the broad range of real-time geological hazard
information that this truly modern network will provide."

Dr Milne summarised the main benefits of GeoNet as:

Earthquake Emergency Response: When fully operational, it will
provide accurate details within minutes on the size and location of
an earthquake, and the severity of ground-shaking in different
locations. This information is crucial to organisations charged with
mobilising help or planning an emergency response, and for rapidly
evaluating the likelihood of damage to buildings and other key

Public information: A moderate to large earthquake causes alarm
and immediately raises the questions, " Where? What size? How
bad? Will there be more?" The upgrade will allow GNS to provide
more detailed information more quickly in the wake of an earthquake
or eruption.

Warning of volcanic eruptions: When fully in place, it will give
scientists an improved ability to detect early signs of volcanic unrest
and impending eruptions. This will allow valuable time to organise
effective community and business response.

Warning of tsunamis: The first warning that an offshore earthquake
may have generated a tsunami comes from seismic monitoring.
Tsunami detection and warning requires regional co-operation and
appropriate technology. The upgrade will enable New Zealand to
make a valuable contribution in the South Pacific.

Seismic hazard assessment: The upgrade will enable GNS to
develop better intelligence on the severity of ground-shaking that
can be expected in various parts of New Zealand. This information is
relevant to decisions about where to site roads, bridges, water, oil,
and gas pipelines and buildings that are better able to withstand

Earthquake engineering: Recordings of earthquake shaking in
buildings, bridges, roads, airports, oil and gas pipelines, dams and
other structures are an essential ingredient in safe, cost-effective
design and construction. The upgrade will provide improved
knowledge of how structures perform during earthquakes. This will
enable engineers to improve design and construction techniques.

Scientific research: The upgrade will enable scientists to pursue
new avenues of research that, internationally, are leading to a better
knowledge of geological hazards. It will also greatly strengthen
existing research.

Insurance and mitigation: Improved data from GeoNet, plus scientific
research, will contribute substantially to the knowledge of geological
hazard and risk throughout New Zealand. This knowledge is used to
assess potential losses from future hazard events and to adjust the
risk, and hence the cost of insurance cover. Greater knowledge will
also lead to smarter decisions about siting and design of buildings,
engineering lifelines, and structures.

Question and Answer

(Finance Minister Dr Michael Cullen has announced the beginning of a
multi-million dollar upgrade of New Zealand’s geological hazard monitoring
network. The Earthquake Commission is to contribute $5 million-a-year
toward the upgrade and operation of this network. The Institute of
Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS) will install and operate the
new equipment.)

Answers to questions 8 & 9 should be attributed to David Middleton,
General Manager of the Earthquake Commission. All other answers can be
attributed to Dr Robin Falconer, Hazards Group Manager, Institute of
Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS).

1. What is the "geological hazard monitoring network"?
Seismographs and other instruments for measuring earth movements over
varying time intervals at several hundred sites around New Zealand - a bit
like weather stations. The network was mostly installed by the former
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and is now operated by
the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS). A few sites
have been upgraded in recent years with new digital recording equipment
linked by satellite or telephone to GNS data centres in Wellington and
Wairakei. Data from these upgraded sites are available in near real time.

The remaining instruments are several decades old and most lack
communication links. This means that the data from the existing network
are of poor quality for modern research purposes and in general the data
are not available for analysis until several weeks after they were recorded.
So, during an emergency such as a large earthquake or the build up to a
volcanic eruption, scientists, territorial authorities, and civil defence staff
would have little appreciation of what is happening. In five to seven years,
when the rollout of new equipment is complete, scientists and emergency
managers will be able to access information from throughout New Zealand
at the click of a mouse.

2. What is wrong with the existing equipment?
Much of the equipment currently in use in New Zealand is several decades
old and is increasingly difficult to maintain. Equipment failures are
increasingly common. The existing instruments are unable to provide rapid
and reliable hazard information that would be needed during an emergency.
The information presently available from the network is inadequate for
scientists to pursue new avenues of research that, internationally, are
leading to a better knowledge and understanding of geological hazards.

3. What equipment is being bought?
Seismographs to accurately measure the magnitude and location of
earthquakes; Global positioning system (GPS) equipment to pin-point
earth deformation so that scientists can see where strain is building up in
the earth's crust; Seismic, chemical, and GPS equipment to provide early
detection of volcanic unrest in the North Island; Seismic recorders for
buildings, bridges and other structures to provide engineers with
information on how those structures perform in an earthquake. This will
lead to improved design and safer structures. Much of the equipment in the
network will be linked by satellite and radio to data centres in Wairakei and
Wellington. Currently only small parts of the network are linked by radio
and satellite.

4. Where is the equipment coming from?
Where possible, it is being sourced from New Zealand. Components are
also being imported from the United States and Britain.

5. How will this equipment compare to monitoring systems used by
other developed countries?
GeoNet will initially be modest by international standards, but consistent
with "best practice" in its design. The EQC commitment represents an
extremely important first step towards a major improvement on our existing

6. Will the equipment enable scientists to predict earthquakes and
volcanic eruptions?
It will give scientists an improved ability to detect early signs of volcanic
unrest or an approaching eruption at some volcanoes. Short-term
earthquake prediction is not currently possible, but scientists will be able
to use the new equipment to see where strain has accumulated or has
been released within the earth’s crust. The initial investment will provide a
backbone network that eventually will lead to comprehensive coverage of
New Zealand’s high hazard regions. When fully implemented, GeoNet will
greatly increase the ability of scientists to detect and interpret the changes
that precede earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It will also allow them to
reliably predict damage levels within minutes of a big earthquake. This
information will be extremely valuable, especially for those involved in
emergency response.

7. Will the upgraded network help save lives?
Yes. When fully operational, it will provide more precise, more
comprehensive and more rapid information on geological hazards. The
improved intelligence will enhance the ability to respond quickly and
effectively to a crisis. As well as helping to save lives and reducing
suffering, it will help communities to recover more quickly after a damaging
event by providing more information more rapidly than is possible at
present. Improved volcano surveillance is designed to give a longer lead
time before eruptions. This will enable improved civil defence
decision-making ahead of a volcanic crisis.

8. Why is the Earthquake Commission funding this project?
Funding this upgrade is consistent with EQC’s statutory role "to facilitate
research into matters relevant to natural disaster damage".

9. Will the outlay affect the Earthquake Commission’s ability to meet
disaster insurance claims?
No. EQC’s ability to indemnify insured property owners will remain

10. Is GNS confident the new network will perform in New Zealand
Yes. During the past three years GNS has trialled most of this equipment
in a pilot project. It has performed well and has matched expectations. The
upgrade will be a gradual scaling up of this pilot project.

11. How would the existing network of instruments perform if a big
earthquake struck today?
GNS is not able to guarantee the accuracy or robustness of its existing
equipment because of its age and because coverage of New Zealand is not
comprehensive. The upgrade will make a significant difference.

12. How long will it take for the fully upgraded network of
instruments to be in place?
The EQC commitment will allow for a gradual deployment of new
equipment over the next five to seven years. If GNS can attract additional
funding from other sources, it will enable a faster and more comprehensive
rollout. However, improvements in the network’s overall performance will
occur within three years.

13. Will the new instruments be spread evenly throughout the
country, or are particular areas being targeted?
National coverage will improve gradually as new instruments are deployed
throughout New Zealand. Some areas, such as Wellington and the central
North Island, will have a higher concentration of instruments.

14. What are the possible consequences of not upgrading this
hazard monitoring equipment?
Inability to obtain accurate information on the size and location of a large
earthquake for some hours after it occurs. Inability to detect early signs of
volcanic unrest. Inability to sustain New Zealand’s earth science and
geological hazard research capabilities. An unimproved network represents
an unnecessary and undesirable exposure to loss of life and property from
the geological hazards associated with living on a highly active plate

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 127 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 20, 2001 (15:20) * 49 lines 
This is Rob's splendid post on the world's most dangerous volcanoes:

If you were to ask me what would be the most dangerous volcano in the world, I would say it would be a showdown
between Fuji because of it's proximity to Tokyo, and Long Valley because of it's proximity to possibly the largest mass of
wealth in the world. Being a caldera volcano in a state as wealthy and as powerful as California should earn Long Valley all
manner of respect, especially if the event 630,000 years BP is setting the tone and pace for the next eruption.
Tokyo I would like to think is safer, as the Japanese are used to as a result of centuries of eruptions, and therefore know
and understand the hazards. Besides anyone who looks at a map of Tokyo and it's environs will know that the city is within
the striking distance of a lahar. I think that the US will have the greater problem, because most probably do not recognise
the devil that resides underneath the valley floor. Caldera's can rumble and grumble for literally decades or even centuries
before something (if anything)happens.
Long Valley has proven that it can erupt with catastrophic results, and the fact that 630,000 years have passed since that
last terrifying explosion of unimaginable proportions, does nothing for complacency whatsoever.

My list of the top 10 potential killers around the world is as follows: (based on eruption size, location, history, proximity to
human inhabitation).
Long Valley - last caldera eruption 600km3, history of HUGE eruptions interspersed with dome building, tourist resort,
most populous state of US.
Fuji - last blast bigger than MSH, rivers running through Tokyo drain from it's flanks, explosive eruptions interspersed with
mountain building, close to 30 million people.
Popocatapetl - currently active with potential for
larger eruptions, 45 miles from Mexico city on densely populated plain, composite eruptions of lava and ash along with
lahars, at least 20 million people nearby.
Vesuvius - dormant with long history of eruptions dating back to at least AD 79, less than 25 miles from Naples, explosive
eruptions with lahars and pyroclastic flows, 3 million people live nearby.
Yellowstone - dormant with history of HUGE eruptions, Yellowstone National Park, HUGE caldera
events with pyroclastic flows and probably lahars,
has capacity to cripple US economy.
Merapi - active, near Jakarta Indonesia, notorious for it's dome and pyroclastic flows with lahars also possible, 3 million
people nearby.
Auckland - dormant, Auckland New Zealand, volcanic
field with 48 known eruptions, 1.25 million people
Rainier - dormant, WA State US, lahar/debris avalanche potential is considered highest in US, at least 500,000 people in
Seattle/Tacoma at risk.
Unzen - dormant, SW Japan, lava dome notorious for
pyroclastic flows/debris avalanches, possibly 500,000 people at risk from tsunami.
Okataina - dormant, Rotorua New Zealand, caldera volcano with record of HUGE eruptions and massive ignimbrite flows,
200,000 people at risk.

Some that are deserving of the recognition have been left of the list while I examine their case.
Taupo was missed because it would take an extreme event to threaten everyone within the danger zone.
Toba and Tambora are dormant and I don't know enough about their habits except for their 74000 year and 1815
eruptions to add them, as well as Taal in the Philippines. Mayon could have been added but I did not know how close
Legaspi is.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 128 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 20, 2001 (16:42) * 4 lines 
For Rob. Is this what you had in mind for a cataclysm of mega-proportions? Earth, too, can look like a moon!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 129 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 20, 2001 (16:43) * 1 lines 
The little creature above can be just as deadly and less obvious...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 130 of 171: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Mon, Jul 30, 2001 (18:10) * 1 lines 
In the past few weeks I caught a special on one of the volcanoes that Rob mentions on his list. Vesuvius. The new data on the volcano isn't good. It seems to have a plug of rock stuck in its main vent. Also, the experts are of the opinion of it's not question of if Vesuvius again erupts but when Vesuvius will erupt again.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 131 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jul 31, 2001 (17:00) * 1 lines 
Yup! And all of Naples is spread around its feet along with the suburbs. It is a disaster waiting to happen. Vesuvius has buried cities great and small. What is another one in the Geological sense of things?!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 132 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Aug 20, 2001 (21:04) * 56 lines 

From: State EAS Program, California OES

SACRAMENTO - When the Creek Fire in Mariposa County broke through its
containment line Monday (August 20), 65 fire engines from across the
state were already staged nearby. They had been called in during the
previous night by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES),
part of the 290 engines dispatched statewide through California's
Fire and RescueMutual Aid System, coordinated by OES.

OES called in engines from as far south as San Diego and as
far north as Mt. Shasta to a staging area in the city of Madera. The
wildland and structure-protection engines had been trickling in since
1 a.m. to be on hand as needed. All 65 were, in fact, needed at 11
a.m., when winds picked up and sent the 4,000-acre Creek Fire in
Mariposa County through its containment line.

The Creek Fire moved north at about noon, leading to
evacuation orders affect 15-20 homes on Jackass Ridge Road and
additional houses on Harper Road. To the north, residents of
Groveland and Big Oak Flat were advised to evacuate as a precaution.
To assist the four communities, the American Red Cross opened a
shelter at the Coulterville Community Center in Mariposa County.

In all, OES has committed 90 of its own engines, 200 local
engines (cities, counties and special fire districts) and 11
California National Guard helicopters to fight four California
wildfires. Those fires are:

· Creek Fire in Mariposa and Tuolumne counties at 4,000 acres,
50% contained with 21 OES and local government engines. Since the
fire started 5 p.m. on Saturday, it has injured 3 and threatened 3000
· Ponderosa Fire in Placer County which is 2,440 acres and 50%
contained, with 80 OES and local engines. Since the fire started at 2
p.m., Friday, it has threatened 200 homes and led to at least 18
· Leonard Fire in Calaveras County, which is 3,000 acres, 10 %
contained, with 70 OES and local engines.
Since the fire started at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, no injuries,
300 homes threatened, evacuations in progress.
· Highway Fire in Fresno County which is 120 acres, 0%
contained, with 10 OES and local engines. Since the fire started at
6:45 p.m. on Sunday, threatening 12 homes and six outbuildings.

OES coordinates state-level emergency preparedness, response,

recovery and mitigation for a wide range of natural and human-caused
emergencies and disasters. As part of its responsibilities, OES
coordinates the state's Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System. Through
this 'neighbor helping neighbor' system, fire-fighting resources from

throughout the state can be called on to support local governments,
and work with other state and federal fire agencies.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 133 of 171: Lucille Oftedahl  (alyeska) * Mon, Aug 20, 2001 (22:52) * 2 lines 
It sounds like Washington is going to be blessed with heavy rains in the fire area.
I would imagine Californians are praying for the same.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 134 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Aug 21, 2001 (15:38) * 53 lines 
California is doing penance and rain dances - I just got this from my son:

From: Governor's Office of Emergency Services

SACRAMENTO--The Governor's Office of Emergency Services stepped up
its aggressive attack on Tuolumne County's Creek Fire Tuesday
morning, doubling the engines for a total of 205, with an additional
65 engines that just arrived to the scene from across the state at
about noon.
What has now been determined to be a human-caused fire, has grown
from 4,000 acres and 50% contained as of 7 p.m. on Monday to 10,265
acres and 0% contained by 6 a.m. today. The communities of Big Oak
Flat, Groveland and Smith Station, all located along Highway 120 in
Tuolumne County - have been added to the list of cities with
evacuation order. Three homes have been destroyed, and an additional
3,000 are threatened. There have been two injuries reported.
Evacuations are being made to the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora
and the Coulterville Community Center.
OES continues to manage the Mutual Aid System resources on four
Northern California Fires. In all, OES has committed 420 OES and
local government engines (including 86 OES engines) and 11 California
National Guard helicopters to fight four California wildfires.
Those fires are:
·Creek Fire in Mariposa and Tuolumne counties at 10,265 acres, 0%
contained with 270 OES and local government engines. Since the fire
started 5 p.m. on Saturday, it has injured 3 and threatened 3,000
·Ponderosa Fire in Placer County which is 2,750 acres and 90%
contained, with 75 OES and local engines. Since the fire started at 2
p.m., Friday, it has threatened 200 homes.
·Leonard Fire in Calaveras County, which is 3,155 acres, 20 %
contained, with 90 OES and local engines. Since the fire started at
2:15 p.m. on Friday, no injuries, 300 homes threatened, evacuations
in progress.
·Highway Fire in Fresno County, which is 1,000 acres, 0% contained,
with 5 local engines. Since the fire started at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday,
threatening 12 homes and six outbuildings. A Red Cross shelter has
been established in Dunlap.
OES-related resources committed include 320 local government fire
engines, which represent approximately 32% of all local government
engines available through the mutual aid system (there are approx.
1,000 total available). There are also 86 OES engines currently
committed to the fires, which represents 78% of all OES engines
(there are 110 fire engines total).
The OES Fire and Rescue Emergency Operations Center in Sacramento
remains activated to coordinate the response to the multiple
statewide fires 24-hours a day as needed. OES' Inland Region and
State Operations Center are activated in support of local government
EOC activations. Representatives from OES Executive, Law Enforcement,
Inland Region and California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection are co-located in the Fire EOC.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 135 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Aug 22, 2001 (17:39) * 115 lines 
It is worse today - it is in his county now!


SACRAMENTO - Today, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services
reports that it has pulled together the largest contingent of
firefighting resources in California history since the Malibu fires
of 1993.
State OES has deployed firefighters from within 51 of California's 58
counties to battle this month's wildfires (see attachment). The 1,500
firefighters make up the second largest mass of firefighters deployed
by OES to a single incident since the Southern California Fire Siege
of October 1993. That month, OES called out 810 engines to battle
193,814 acres. This month, OES has called out 368 engines to battle
more than 100,000 acres.
State OES pulls together local government and state fire fighting
resources through the California Fire & Rescue Mutual Aid System. The
neighbor-helping-neighbor system is designed to assist the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, federal wildland fire
agencies, and local departments. It is also designed to ensure that
additional resources are provided to local jurisdictions whenever
their resources are committed or insufficient for a fire.
Today, 160 fire fighters that OES dispatched to the Ponderosa Fire in
Placer County are returning to their homes in El Dorado, Contra
Costa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Yolo and Solano Counties.
In all, 368 local government and State OES engines deployed by OES
remain on four fires along with eight California National Guard
helicopters. Those fires are:
·Creek Fire in Mariposa and Tuolumne counties at 11,565 acres, 60%
contained with 211 OES and local government engines. Since the fire
started 5 p.m. on Saturday it has threatened 3,000 homes.
·North Fork in Madera County at 2,710 acres, 10% contained with 10
local government engines. Since that fire started on Monday, it has
destroyed two homes, and led to evacuation orders on 210 homes.
·Highway Fire in Fresno County (Sequoia National Forest), which is
1,275 acres, 0% contained, today, with 15 OES and local engines.
Since the fire started at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, it has destroyed three
homes, and four out buildings.
·Leonard Fire in Calaveras County, is 3,800 acres, 30 % contained,
with 90 OES and local engines. Since the fire started at 2:15 p.m. on
Friday, three structures have been destroyed: 1 home and two
outbuildings. Evacuations have been ordered for numerous communities.
The OES Fire and Rescue Emergency Operations Center in Sacramento
remains activated 24-hours a day to provide statewide coordination of
fire and rescue efforts. Representatives from OES Executive, Law
Enforcement, Inland Region and California Department of Forestry and
Fire Protection are co-located in the Fire EOC.

- OES -

The following is a list of counties from which city and county
firefighters have been deployed:

Los Angeles and Vicinity
Los Angeles County
Orange County
San Luis Obispo County
Santa Barbara County
Ventura County

San Francisco Bay Area/Northcoast
Alameda County
Contra Costa County
Humboldt County
Lake County
Marin County
Mendocino County
Monterey County
Napa County
San Benito County
San Francisco County
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County
Sonoma County

Northern California
Butte County
Colusa County
Lassen County
Plumas County
Shasta County
Sierra County
Siskiyou County
Sutter County
Tehama County
Trinity County
Yuba County

Sacramento Valley/Sierra Nevada
Amador County
Calaveras County
El Dorado County
Nevada County
Placer County
Sacramento County
San Joaquin County
Stanislaus County
Yolo County

Central Valley
Fresno County
Kings County
Kern County
Mariposa County
Merced County
Tulare County

San Diego/Inland Empire/Eastern Sierras
Imperial County
Inyo County
Mono County
Riverside County
San Bernardino County
San Diego County

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 136 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Sep  7, 2001 (17:15) * 48 lines 
From my son who says he can see the smoke but it is not currenly a threat:


From: Governor's Office of Emergency Services

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services has dispatched through
the State's Mutual Aid System the following resources:

Darby Fire and Poe Fire
·395 local government and Governor's OES fire engines, with 1,580
fire fighters from throughout California
·3 California National Guard helicopters
·15 law enforcement officers from the following departments arrived
this morning to coordinate evacuations and provide security in
evacuated areas at the Darby Fire through today.
o Modesto Police Department
o Sacramento Sheriff's Department
o Folsom Police Department
o Elk Grove Police Department
o Galt Police Department
o Citrus Heights Police Department

The OES' Fire & Rescue Emergency Operations Center is activated and
will deploy additional fire engines and other resources - through the
Mutual Aid System - as the need arises. Among those staffing the
center are emergency services coordinators and uniformed fire and law
enforcement personnel.

WHERE: Governor's Office of Emergency Services
Fire & Rescue Emergency Operations Center
2800 Meadowview Road
Sacramento, CA 95832

FIRE FACTS: The latest figures available as of 12 p.m. today (9/7/01)
The Poe Fire has burned 6,169 acres and is 5 % contained. Fighting
the fire are 260 mutual aid firefighters with 65 local and OES
engines. Two people injured. Fifteen homes, one commercial property
and seven outbuildings have been destroyed. Threatened structures
include: 400 homes, 450 outbuildings, and four commercial properties.

The Darby Fire in Calaveras County has burned approximately 2,228
acres and is 40 percent contained. Fighting the fire are 1,320 mutual
aid firefighters with 330 local and OES engines. Approximately 397
homes have been evacuated, none reported as destroyed.
REGULAR UPDATES: Please call for more information, as the situation
changes from moment to moment.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 137 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Dec 28, 2001 (14:39) * 63 lines 
Natural Disasters Kill 25,000 Worldwide in 2001

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Natural disasters caused at least
25,000 deaths worldwide in 2001, more than double the
previous year, the world's largest reinsurer said on Friday.

Putting total economic losses at $36 billion, Munich Re said
catastrophes related to extreme weather were a result of
continued global climate change.

It said the 2001 figures -- with 14,000 people killed in an
earthquake in India in January alone -- compared with 10,000
deaths the previous year and losses of around $30 billion.

Storms and floods dominated this year's statistics,
contributing more than two thirds to the 700 major disasters
and causing 91 percent of all insured natural disaster
losses, Munich Re said.

Total insured losses were at $11.5 billion compared with
$7.5 billion the previous year.

"Forest fires in Australia, floods in Brazil and in Turkey,
snow chaos in central and southern Europe and a typhoon in
Singapore, which was meteorologically seen as impossible,
are all indications for a link between climate changes and a
rise in weather catastrophes," the company said in a

Citing World Meteorological Organization (WMO) statistics,
the reinsurer said 2001 had been the second warmest year
since the beginning of systematic temperature recording 160
years ago.

Munich Re said the worst event in terms of the number of
deaths was an earthquake in the densely-populated
northwestern Gujarat region of India with 14,000 deaths
confirmed and many more feared dead.

It said it had counted 80 major earthquakes, burdening
economies with around $9-billion losses.

The worst weather-related disaster in 2001 was tropical
storm Allison, which caused losses of some $6 billion,
making it "the most expensive tropical storm in history."

Munich Re -- which faces $1.85 billion in claims resulting
from the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in
New York -- said losses from extreme natural disasters would
be even bigger than those arising from the attacks on the
United States.

"Clients, insurers and reinsurers have to take into account
the unthinkable. According to our estimates extreme losses
from natural disasters can be even higher than the insured
losses from September 11," Munich Re board member Wolf Otto
Bauer said in the statement.

Claims resulting from the attacks in the United States --
its biggest ever loss -- will push Munich Re's profits
sharply lower this year, but the company expects to remain

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 138 of 171: Maggie  (sociolingo) * Mon, Feb  4, 2002 (06:02) * 16 lines 
Mt Kilimanjaro Is Melting To Its Death
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
January 27, 2002

An astonishing development is changing one of Africa's most remarkable land marks beyond recognition. The ice cap on Mt Kilimanjaro, one of the few places in the world where ice and snow can be seen on the Equator, is expected to disappear in the next 12 years. Staff writer Mildred Ngesa and photographer Blasto Ogindo recently visited the mountain on a fact finding mission.

It was a warm and cloudy morning in the serenity of Moshi town. The beauty of Moshi, accentuated by the domineering presence of Mt Kilimanjaro, is an enduring joy to the visitor. No matter which side of Moshi you may be, waking up to the view of the magnificent mountain recalls a popular refrain in these parts: I woke up and kissed the Kilimanjaro good morning. Today, however, on the first morning of our assignment, there was no visible Kilimanjaro to kiss. Thick clouds had assembled above and around the giant mountain, forming a protective cover. "As the day unfolds, the mountain may be kind enough to peek through the clouds, a very beautiful sight," Nechi Limo, our guide, told us. True to his word, the mountain broke into view as dawn gave way to a bright new day. A few hours towards midday, Africa's highest mountain stood tall and proud in all its glory, with the twin peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi filling up the view. Sheets of snow from one of the peaks roll down the mountainside but soon disappear into cre
ices before reaching the base of the mountain. Unknown to many, the popular shiny ice cap on Kilimanjaro is actually on Kibo peak. Mawenzi peak does not have any snow or ice left, although years back it too wore a shiny ice cap. "Believe it or not, Mawenzi is now bare without any snow or ice on it. About 15 years ago, the ice cap was there. The same case applies to Mount Meru in Arusha which also had an ice cap once upon a time. Now, Mount Meru has no evidence of ice on it," says Philemon Ndesamburo, Moshi's Member of Parliament. Ndesamburo, who is also the shadow Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources in the opposition CHADEMA party, is one of the few Tanzanian leaders who can authoritatively talk about Mount Kilimanjaro's melting ice cap. A native of the old Moshi District located directly at the foot of the mountain, Ndesamburo says a lot of changes have taken place on the mountain since his childhood. "When I was a young boy in the village, we seldom saw the whole of Mt Kilimanjaro throughout the ye
r. Most of the time, the whole mountain was covered in snow and the ice cap was so thick that the whole mountain would be engulfed in dense clouds for months," he says. Today, it is possible to view the whole mountain on a daily basis. Because of the reduction of the ice and snow on the mountain, the cloud cover around it is not as thick and persistent as before. "Our government dismisses the melting of the ice cap as propaganda by the western media. If this is so, why can't the government do its own research then come up with a report on the exact situation at the mountain?" he challenges. Last year, American Professor Lonnie Thompson from Ohio State University went with a group of scientists to Moshi to find out more on the melting ice cap. The group intended to fly a balloon atop the mountain so as to acquire a least 50 tonnes of ice from the mountain to facilitate their research. "Surprisingly, the government stopped the researchers saying that the balloon flights would scare away animals. That was a pe
ty excuse," Ndesamburo says. Thompson and his colleagues, however, carried on with their research and established that the ice cap was melting fast. It is estimated that the whole cap will be completely gone in 12 years. "We have the results of Prof Thompson research. Eighty years ago, there was about 12.2 square kilometres of ice cap. By the year 2,000, there was only 2.2 square kilometres of ice cap left," the legislator says. These are the findings that prompted Prof Thompson to lead an international campaign in an effort to make scientists as well as environmentalists aware of this turn of events. Thompson research also confirms that Peru's Quelccaya's ice cap in the Southern Andes mountains has also shrunk by at least 20 per cent since 1963. More troubling, however, is Thompson observation that the rate of retreat for one of the main glaciers flowing out of the ice cap Qori Kalis has been 32 times greater in the last three years than it was in the period between 1963 and 1978. In his report, Thompson s
ates: "Officials worry that the loss of the ice cap atop Kilimanjaro will be devastating to the thriving trade that brings people to the mountain each year and fuels the country's economy." Ndesamburo concurs with these findings and adds that a number of seasonal rivers that used to flow from atop the mountain to the surrounding areas have dried up. "Moshi has a population of over 200,000 people most of whom are farmers. This is the area where the bulk of Tanzania's coffee is produced. Banana farming is also vibrant. However, with these rivers drying up, there is a big disaster waiting to happen," he says. A spot check around Marangu, Himo and various villages at the foot of the Kilimanjaro reveals a number of rivers have dried up. From the Mawenzi peak, rivers Una, Monjo and Ona are no longer reliable to the villages around it while rivers Karanga, Weruweru and Kikafau, flowing from the Kibo peak, have also dried up. Going further east towards the Rombo side of the mountain, the ice cap is completely gone.
Gone too is the giant river Ungwasi, a main source of water for the people of Rombo. Even more disturbing is the gradual disappearance of rain forests that are crucial to agriculture. "We have a major problem of de-forestation here. All the saw mills operating in this area should be closed down. The government knows about the destruction of forests. Sadly, those doing this are destroying rain forests which are crucial to our survival," Ndesamburo argues. We established that tree felling around Mount Kilimanjaro is rife. Also contributing to the degradation of the mountain are fires that ravage the place during the dry season. Some of these fires are accidentally started while others are arson attacks for various reasons. Global warming is also blamed for the melting of the ice cap. Ndesamburo says the warming is "due to excessive carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere from factories that use gas, oil and coal." The tragedy is that few Tanzanians truly understand what is happening to the ice cap and ho
it could affect their lives.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 139 of 171: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Tue, Feb  5, 2002 (17:46) * 1 lines 
Is this the result of deforestation in the area? Or is it theoricially tied to Global Warming?

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 140 of 171: Rob Glennie  (AotearoaKiwi) * Tue, Mar  5, 2002 (16:22) * 8 lines 
Hi all

My favourite (despite it costing the lives of 57 Americans)would have to be Mount St Helens on the morning of 18 May 1980. For eight weeks beforehand the volcano had been rocked by thousands of small earthquakes of which at least 2000 had a magnitude greater than 3.0. Small ash and steam eruptions had carved out a crater in the summit several hundred feet deep. But the worst threat the mountain posed did not originate from the crater. As rising magma inside the volcano made contact with the overlying plug it began seeking out paths of weakness in the rock. The WHOLE north flank of the mountain began to deform grotesquely. David Johnston, a USGS geochemist, was right in front of the bulge. In early May the monitoring USGS scientists said that the volcano's greatest threat was not from the crater, but they thought from the huge bulge that would grow to be a mile long and nearly 300 metres wide. Because of this and the general threat of an eruption an exclusion zone had been set up in the vicinity of the volca
o. But hundreds ignored the warnings and slipped in to get a closer look at the volcano and some went all the way to the crater 9600 feet above sea level. Geoscientists like David Johnston said they did so at their peril and that the exclusion zone was intended to be a margin of safety. A group of Spirit Lake property owners wanted to go back and collect belongings. One trip went on May 17 with the State Governor's approval and another one was scheduled for Sunday May 18.

Part 2 follows later.....


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 141 of 171: Curious Wolfie  (wolf) * Tue, Mar  5, 2002 (18:32) * 1 lines 
i remember this thing losing her top!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 142 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Mon, Jul 15, 2002 (23:22) * 9 lines 
Weather Forecast for Greece:
Temperature may hit 42C Tuesday 15/07/2002 18:04:05

Hot sunny weather is forecast in all parts of the country, with isolated storms likely in the northwest from early evening. Winds variable, light to moderate. In the west, temperatures will range from 22C to 38C; on the rest of the mainland from 23C to 41C or 42C; and in the southern islands from 24C to 39C. Temperatures in Athens between 25C and 41C; and in Thessaloniki from 24C to 39C


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 143 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Tue, Jul 16, 2002 (05:37) * 28 lines 
Colorado Rose Like a Phoenix After Asteroid Impact
A rainforest in Colorado sprung up relatively quickly after an asteroid impact took out the dinosaurs.

by Maggie McKee

When it comes to asteroid impacts on Earth, Nietzsche was apparently right: What doesn't kill you does make you stronger. Just a million years after the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs — and 75% of all other species — Colorado was lush and brimming with life, according to research published in the June 28 Science.

This is an artist's conception of an asteroid slamming into Earth. Elizabeth Rowan

With interstate traffic buzzing nearby, researchers and volunteers from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science have been digging at a site called Castle Rock, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Denver, for the past eight years. And they have hit pay dirt: thousands of fossilized leaves suggest that 64 million years ago the now-arid area was covered by a rainforest.

"It is arguably the oldest rainforest known," said paleobotanist Kirk Johnson, lead author of the study. "And its appearance after the asteroid suggests the asteroid had something to do with it."

The asteroid is thought to have hit the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico about 65 million years ago, leaving behind a 112-mile-wide (180-km-wide) crater discovered in 1991 and sending thick clouds of dust and sulfur into the atmosphere. This may have blocked life-sustaining sunlight from reaching Earth's surface, shrouding it in darkness as fires and possibly volcanoes, triggered by the impact, ravaged the landscape.

Recovery from this alien attack was thought to be arduous and long, with a bleak 10 million years of "depressed species diversity" seen in excavation sites in Montana and the Dakotas, Johnson said. But in Colorado, the recuperation time was slashed to just over a million years. "Recovery is almost the wrong word," said Johnson, "because the species weren't there before. When you wipe 75 percent of the slate clean, the remaining 25 percent fill 100 percent of the space." The hardship must have kicked evolution into high gear, allowing those 25 percent to diversify into all manner of life forms.

More than 100 plant species, most of them new to science, have been identified at Castle Rock. The large variety of flora, coupled with the fact that most leaves are large and have "drip tips," pointed to an ancient rainforest. But why would Colorado have flourished while Montana limped along with only a dozen or so species found from the same era?

"We're still casting around for explanations," said Johnson. "The fossil site is anomalously rich. One thing that makes it different is that Colorado had the Rockies. Maybe the mountains are helping species survive the impact and then providing them a diverse habitat to thrive in afterward."

Johnson and his co-author Beth Ellis, a museum volunteer and electrical engineer by day, are planning major excavations in Colorado this summer. In addition, Johnson will visit sites in Siberia, where fossilized plants from the time period, called the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, have also been found.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 144 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jul 16, 2002 (18:45) * 3 lines 
That is fascinating about the Colorado Meteorite. Thank you for posting it. There are three very ancient craters in the area where I am now and I am eager to see at least one of them even though there will not be much to see.

Lovely weather, John! It is very like what I am experiencing. Not much wind here,though. I miss the sea breezes!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 145 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Fri, Jul 19, 2002 (21:50) * 4 lines 
Hi Marcia and all,
There are three places near to you, which are stricken by meteorites the last 100 years. Did you know it?


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 146 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Jul 20, 2002 (21:06) * 1 lines 
I do know of three meteorite craters in this state. Iunderstood they were very ancient. Am I mistaken? I would like to see one. Appatenly they are very large. Don has seen one or two of them. We will try to get there if it is possible. John, what do you know of them? I am certain there is coverage about it on the web, but I lost all of my bookmarks. As I recall, there is a webist telling where all such things are state by state.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 147 of 171: Curious Wolfie  (wolf) * Sun, Jul 21, 2002 (12:06) * 1 lines 
there's a huge one in arizona but we didn't take the chance to see it (we were on the way here and were anxious)

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 148 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, Jul 21, 2002 (18:32) * 5 lines 
Been there but did not take anything but pictures. Meteor Crater in northern Arisona is one of the best preserved such features on Earth. It is in the high desert where hardly anything happes to alter the geology or geography.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 149 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Tue, Jul 23, 2002 (05:22) * 8 lines 
Did you know that meteorites have hit Kentucky?

Three sites in Kentucky bear the scars of ancient impacts by meteorites: the Jeptha Knob in Shelby County, a site near Versailles in Woodford County, and a site near Middlesboro in Bell County. A meteorite impact usually forms a roughly circular crater, called an astrobleme, and can crack the Earth's crust in a characteristic circular pattern. Astroblemes may show a "rebound structure" where a central core of rock has been brought up from deeper underground by the impact. The three Kentucky astroblemes represent the highly eroded cores of the astroblemes that were situated under the original craters; the crater walls eroded long ago. Each of these structures is characterized by a circular belt of arc-shaped faults cross cut by faults radiating outward from the central core of intensely broken rock. In the past, these structures were referred to as "cryptoexplosive" because their origin was uncertain.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 150 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Tue, Jul 23, 2002 (05:24) * 37 lines 
Building Blocks of Life Found in Two Meteorites
Bijal P. Trivedi
National Geographic Today
December 19, 2001

During a recent analysis of two meteorites scientists got a sweet surprise; they detected the presence of a sugar and many sugar-related compounds.

The sugar and sugar-like molecules, collectively called polyols, were found in the Murchison meteorite that fell in Murchison, Australia, in 1969 and the Murray meteor that fell in Kentucky in 1950—two meteorites that are rich in carbon.

Sugars play an essential role in living organisms. They are a component of both types of genetic material—RNA and DNA—they provide a source of energy, and they form an essential structural component of the membrane that surrounds every cell.

Previous studies have revealed that the meteorites also contain amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, and present in all life forms.

Some scientists have speculated that material from meteors may have provided some starting material for early life forms, possibly even jump-starting the origin of life itself.

The research is published in the December 20 issue of the journal Nature.

"We may never know what particular compounds were important for the very start of life, we weren't there to observe," says George Cooper, of NASA Ames Research Center in Mofett Field, California, who led the research.

The finding is important because it proves that two classes of biologically important compounds—sugars and amino acids—may have had extraterrestrial origins. These meteors were thought to be formed about 4.5 billion years ago—fairly early in the life of the solar system.

A commentary that accompanies Cooper's report suggests that starlight may have acted upon icy mixtures of water, ammonia, and carbon monoxide to form simple sugars such as those found on the Murchison meteorite.

Issues of contamination have muddied investigations to detect these substances from previous meteorite samples.

To address concerns that the polyols were not contaminants from Earth, Cooper and colleagues measured the quantities of these compounds and their atomic makeup.

The researchers found that the sugar-related compounds contain more heavy isotopes of both hydrogen and carbon than would be found if the compounds were formed on Earth through biological processes.

The team also found many compounds with molecular arrangements that are rare on Earth.

The incorporation of many heavy isotopes and the presence of rare polyols is a signature of extraterrestrial materials.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 151 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jul 23, 2002 (12:40) * 1 lines 
I really do want to see those meteor craters here in Kentucky and a few in Tennessee, as well. Don has seen most of these and they are so old and hidden by forests that it takes a very good imagination to know they are really there. I still want to see one... Or several.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 152 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Jul 24, 2002 (21:05) * 145 lines 
John found this and allows me to post it:

Asteroid threat: Ask Dr David Whitehouse

An asteroid discovered just weeks ago has become the
most threatening object yet detected in space.

A preliminary orbit suggests that 2002 NT7 is on an
impact course with Earth and could strike the planet on
1 February, 2019 - although the uncertainties are large.

Astronomers have given the object a rating on the
so-called Palermo technical scale of threat of 0.06,
making NT7 the first object to be given a positive value.

Although astronomers say the object definitely merits
attention, they expect more observations to show it is
not on an Earth-intersecting trajectory.

How much of a threat does the asteroid pose to Earth?
When will astronomers know more about the asteroid?

BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse
answered a selection of your questions on the asteroid
threat. His answers appear below.

Do we currently possess the technical ability to destroy
or divert this rock if, after more precise calculation, it
turns out to be pointed straight at us?
Julian Morrison, Banbury, England

Scientists have many ideas about how they could try to
deflect an asteroid such as exploding a nuclear device
to push it to one side, or putting a long-lasting rocket
engine of some sort on one side to give it a small but
constant push. They might even consider blowing it up
completely if they could be sure it would shatter into
really small pieces that would burn up in the Earth's
atmosphere. But it would be fair to say that no one
knows if these methods would work in principle.
However, with over a decade to do it, and with the
resources that mankind could muster - if it's survival at
stake then the incentive would be great.

Would the world be completely destroyed if the
asteroid hit?
Mathilda Lückner, Mariedal, Sweden

Not this one. 2002 NT7 is only 2 km across which at
impact velocity of 28 km per second would devastate a
medium-sized country. Something about 20 km in size
could devastate a continent whereas anything that
measures 200 km across would pack enough energy to
completely melt the Earth's surface rocks.

Assuming that further observations confirm that the
object will indeed strike the Earth on the 1st of
February 2019, what can realistically be done to
destroy or deflect the object given the number of
years we have before the impact?
Sasha Sharpley, Albufeira, Portugal

It is very unlikely that 2002 NT7 will strike the Earth.
More knowledge of its orbit is bound to confirm that it
will miss us by quite a long way. But if it didn't we would
have to act very quickly. After all the US managed to
put a man on the moon inside a decade, so we can do
such things when inspired to.

Do you know which continent of the earth would be
Trevisen, Johannesburg, South Africa

No, the prediction for the objects trajectory is not that

I have heard of other asteroids which were not
detected years earlier having 'near misses' with Earth.
Apparently, one nearly hit us a month or two ago.
Would you not consider a hit from an 'undetected'
asteroid a greater risk than one that may not strike for
years? Why are our sensors and telescopes not able to
detect all incoming objects of a certain size?
Nancy Beiman, Savannah USA

Asteroid experts say that at long last the problem of
surveying the sky for threatening objects is being
tackled but there are regions of the sky, from where an
object could threaten us, that remain under-surveyed. It
is true that given this scrutiny astronomers are finding
more objects that pass close by, and realising that
some objects went by unnoticed in the past. Experts say
this is a good thing as it means we are more aware of
what is moving around out there.

When will we receive confirmation of whether this
asteroid is on course to collide with us?
Kalle Eskelinen, Espoo, Finland

This asteroid will be easily visible for the next 18
months or so, so a precise orbit for it should only be a
few weeks away.

What do we know about the composition of this
asteroid? Do we know if it is a solid body, or a looser
collection of rocks held together by gravity? If it is on
course to strike the Earth, then I assume knowledge of
its composition will be crucial in devising any counter
measures. Can we investigate it with either ground or
space-based radar?
John Franklin, London, UK

You are right, knowledge of the density of the asteroid
is crucial. The space probe that landed on asteroid Eros
in 2000 showed that Eros's density was about the same
as that of the Earth's crust whereas asteroid Mathide
which the NEAR space probe passed in 1997 seems to
be a loose rubble pile. It would be easier to blow up a
rubble pile.

Assuming a close scrape rather than an impact occurs,
how close would it have to be for us to feel some
"peripheral" effects, and what would some of those
effects be?
Rob Billeaud, Duluth, Georgia, USA

A space rock just 2 km in size would only affect us if it
struck us or glanced through the atmosphere. Anything
else and it would have no affect.

Is there proof that an asteroid has made impact with
Earth in the past?
Joseph McLaughlin, Belfast Ireland

The evidence that the Earth's geological history has
been punctuated in the past by giant impacts that wiped
out a great deal of life and redirected evolution is
overwhelming. Unmistakable chemical traces have been
found at the geological layer of the time when the
dinosaurs were wiped out 67 million years ago.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 153 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Thu, Jul 25, 2002 (01:25) * 46 lines 
Great Barrier Reef suffers heat damage
By Phil Mercer
BBC correspondent in Sydney

Researchers in Australia have claimed that sea temperatures around the Great Barrier Reef are now so high that major damage has been caused to the world's biggest marine park.
The principal danger to the reef, according to scientists, is the bleaching of coral caused by unusually warm water.

A healthy reef
Photo: courtesy of the Australian Institute of Marine Science

The Australian Institute of Marine Science says that 2002 has been the hottest year on record for the reef, which stretches 2,000 kilometres (1243 miles) along Australia's east coast.

It has drawn up a heat map that has plotted the change in sea temperatures around the reef over the past 10 years.

The results are causing researchers concern.

Complex causes
They have discovered that significant bleaching of the reef has occurred, causing the coral to lose its energy-giving algae, turn white, and in some cases, die.

The map has allowed scientists to see where the problem areas are.

Warm weather is considered to be a factor, but the reasons are complex. The exact cause of bleaching is not known.

Solar radiation, extreme low tides, and reduced salinities are also believed to be additional triggers.

What is known is that excessive whitening of the coral can cause the reef to crumble.

Protecting the reef
The Australian Institute of Marine Science was established by the federal government 30 years ago to help protect aquatic environments around the country's vast coastline.

The institute also reports on the impact of humans on the Great Barrier Reef and those of natural disturbances, such as outbreaks of Crown of Thorn starfish and cyclones.

Coral is classified as an animal and is related to sea anemones and jelly-fish.

Reefs are made up of layers of coral skeletons cemented together by algae to form an extremely hard limestone structure.

The Great Barrier Reef is a complex of almost 3,000 separate reefs and is one of Australia's principal tourist destinations.

Last year the Australian Senate passed new laws in an effort to protect the area from negligent mariners and oil-spills following a series of shipping disasters.


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 154 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jul 26, 2002 (10:22) * 6 lines 
More about that collision-course-the-Earth Asteroid:

An asteroid with almost no chance of hitting Earth made big headlines this
week. Were we ever in danger? Read this story and find out.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 155 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Sun, Aug 11, 2002 (22:25) * 55 lines 
El Nino blamed for weather chaos

The weather phenomenon El Nino is being blamed by scientists for the freak weather conditions which have caused chaos and many deaths around the world.

More than 140 people have died in storms across Europe and Asia in the past few days.

But the US and parts of Southeast Asia are seeing their worst droughts in many years.

El Nino is a warming of water temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which has a knock-on effect on wind and rain.

When it last hit, four years ago, floods and drought devastated several developing countries in South America, Africa and East Asia.

Scientists in Australia say the effects of El Nino are already being felt there.

Although this year's cycle is not as strong as the last one, it is compounding Australia's existing drought, forcing crop forecasts to be slashed.

Rains have swept Europe in the past week, bringing misery to summer holiday-makers.
-On Russia's Black Sea coast, up to 58 people have been killed and 1,500 evacuated in torrential rains and flooding

-Seven people are reported killed in Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic as floods sweep across central and eastern Europe. Austria is suffering its worst floods in over a century.

-In the UK, firefighters have evacuated flooded homes along the north-east cost of England

-On the Italian holiday island of Capri, houses and a shopping centre have been engulfed in mud following torrential rains

-The Spanish region of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands have also been experiencing downpours.

Scientists warn that what happens in India is often a foretaste of conditions elsewhere.

The country has been experiencing extremes - some parts suffering under searing heat and droughts while others are being lashed by torrential rains.

Seven hundred people were killed in the rains, and millions left homeless across eastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Other parts of Asia are also affected.
-In the past days, torrential rains causing landslides and floods have killed 70 people in southern China. Overall, 900 people have been killed in rains so far this year.

-North and South Korea have also been affected. Fourteen people have been killed in the South, which reportedly saw two-fifths of its annual rainfall in a week.

-Vietnam is experiencing one of the worst droughts in 27 years - only 25% of the annual rice crop has successfully been planted and in some places the figure is as low as 3%. In parts of the north, however, there have been floods.

Hotting up
Elsewhere, one of the worst droughts in the last 50 years is affecting the United States, with 26 states suffering severe drought. The wheat harvest is expected to be the lowest in 30 years.

Fires have scorched the north-west, destroying 4.6m acres (1.9m hectares) of forest.

Southern Africa is already suffering from a severe drought which is causing the worst food crisis in the region for a decade.

Scientists say that as the planet continues to warm, these effects of El Nino will be felt more and more often.

Source: BBC NEWS (Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK)


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 156 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Tue, Aug 13, 2002 (21:42) * 57 lines 
Battered Prague hopes for respite
Tuesday, 13 August, 2002, 23:37 GMT 00:37 UK

Devastating flood waters in the Czech capital Prague have continued to climb - but officials believe the worst may now be over.

Water levels from the Vltava River were expected to rise slightly overnight, yet fears that the famous Old Town could be inundated by morning have started to subside.

Some 40,000 residents of Prague will nonetheless spend the night away from home, having finally caved in to the authorities order to evacuate.

The River Club is now in the river, rather than on the river bank (left)…
and only the roof of a restaurant next to the 14th Century Charles Bridge is now visible (right).

Thousands have also been forced from their homes in neighbouring Austria and Germany, where more than a dozen people have died in the extreme weather conditions in the past few days.

The bad weather is now expected to move eastward once more. Forecasters say more severe weather could hit the coast of Russia, where flash floods left nearly 60 people dead last week.

Prague's treasures
The floods have been described as the worst in more than a century in Prague, where a string of historic palaces and villas have been flooded. Parts of the medieval Mala Strana district have been totally submerged.

During the day volunteers rallied around landmarks, scrambling to fill hundreds of sandbags in a desperate bid to save the city's treasures.

Amid concerns that many people could be stranded without water and electricity, Prague's Mayor Igor Nemec had ordered 40,000 inhabitants to leave their homes.

Many were reluctant to leave, but Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla authorised rescue teams to use reasonable force to remove those refusing to abandon their homes.

The floods have already inundated southern parts of the Czech Republic. At least nine people have died, road and rail lines have been cut, and towns and cities swamped.

Animals in Prague zoo have also fallen victim to the floods.

Zoo director Petr Fejk told the Czech news agency CTK that they had been forced to kill an elephant and a hippotamus which could not be rescued from the rising waters.

Vienna threatened
The severe weather is threatening much of Europe.

In Austria seven people are known to have died in floods.

The River Danube - already swollen to record levels - burst its banks in the capital Vienna on Tuesday.

However, the situation eased in the city of Salzburg, which has already been declared a disaster zone.

Some of the bridges re-opened to traffic on Tuesday after the city was virtually cut in half a day earlier with 1,000 buildings partially or totally submerged.

In the province of Lower Austria, west of Vienna, the historic town of Ybbs An Der Donau has been engulfed, and several other small towns are threatened.

In Germany parts of Dresden and Munich were evacuated. A state of emergency has been declared in seven districts of Bavaria.

Among the dead was a 68-year-old woman who died while trying to clear her flooded basement in Dresden.

Further south in Romania, three people have been confirmed dead - including a mother and her baby killed when their house collapsed.

The Black Sea area of Russia has been particularly hard hit, with at least 58 deaths over the course of the weekend.

Source: BBC NEWS


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 157 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Aug 15, 2002 (16:28) * 6 lines 
Movement of Kilauea and Mauna Loa

While there is no real consensus on why Hawaiian volcanoes move, the fact is that they do move. One of two things can
happen when you apply enough force to move a volcano; neither is particulary good.

much more and graphics...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 158 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Aug 15, 2002 (16:34) * 8 lines 
Drought grips much of U.S.
August 15, 2002 Posted: 12:57 AM EDT (0457 GMT)

The parched bottom of Boyd Lake, north of Loveland, Colorado, is revealed on Saturday, August 3.

CAMP SPRINGS, Maryland (CNN) -- An extraordinary drought and near-record warm temperatures stretched across the United States in July, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 159 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Thu, Aug 15, 2002 (21:47) * 66 lines 
Flood misery as German rivers surge
(Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 23:38 GMT 00:38 UK)

Dresden is racing against time as waters rise

Big evacuations are under way in eastern Germany as water levels reach their highest levels in a century.
Tens of thousands of people have had to leave their homes, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says four million Germans have been affected by flooding.

In the historic city of Dresden, men, women and children piled sandbags on Thursday, in an effort to protect the city center.

Floodwaters in central Europe have already killed about 100 people from Russia to the Baltic, destroying billions of dollars worth of property, infrastructure and crops.

A second wave of water from the Czech Republic is expected to hit. Further evacuations are going to be needed.

In the Czech capital Prague, as well as Bavaria and Austria, the situation has eased as water levels have started to drop.

Moving artwork
The swollen River Elbe is surging towards Dresden, where the water level is rising at around 20 centimetres per hour and is already at its highest level in 100 years.

The floods are expected to peak in the city on Friday morning.

Officials say 3,000 of the city's 480,000 residents have been evacuated. Hundreds of hospital patients have been moved to other parts of Saxony.

The city's waterlogged station has been closed for days.

Many of the city's landmarks are under renewed threat.

"A second wave of water from the Czech Republic is expected to hit," German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said. "Further evacuations are going to be needed."

Mr Schroeder said more than four million people had been affected by the floods, which he called a national catastrophe.

In the city of Pirna, 20 kilometres (12 miles) south-east of Dresden, emergency services have begun evacuating 30,000 residents.

The authorities are building a tent city to accommodate them and military helicopters delivered bread to cut-off residents.

About 30,000 people have already been evacuated across Saxony. Nine flood victims have died in the state alone.

Further north, another 35,000 people are on standby to abandon their homes in the cities of Bitterfeld and Magdeburg, in the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt.

A big chemical complex in Bitterfeld came under threat on Thursday, after a river broke a levee - but officials say the plants are not at risk.

In Magdeburg, residents in three districts have been told they must leave their homes by Saturday and seek refuge elsewhere.

Schools in the city are being transformed into temporary shelters.

Meanwhile, waters have been receding in the Czech republic.

Prague's Old Town was spared when the Vltava river stopped just short of hastily-built flood defences on Wednesday but the Czech capital faces a clean-up bill of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Thousands of people are still unable to return home as electricity and sewerage supplies remain cut off, and the death toll has reached at least 11.

German towns are devastated as waters surge northwards

In neighbouring Slovakia, the capital, Bratislava, remains on high alert since the Danube river rose to almost 10 metres higher than normal - its highest level for a century.

A state of emergency is in force, people have been evacuated and the situation is being monitored by helicopter.

The river has already wrought havoc in Austria and southern Bavaria, where some cleaning-up efforts have already begun as the waters recede.

Seven people in Austria died in the floods.

Source: BBC NEWS

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 160 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Thu, Aug 15, 2002 (22:45) * 1 lines 
How sad. More of our heritage is disappearing in this strange weather.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 161 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Wed, Aug 21, 2002 (21:38) * 19 lines 
Natural disasters: Are we at the mercy of the elements?

Asia, Europe and Africa have all been hit by extreme weather conditions this year.
Southern Africa has suffered widespread drought while India, Bangladesh and Nepal and more recently parts of Europe have seen serious flooding cause severe damage and deaths in many areas.

At the Earth Summit in Johannesburg next week, environmentalists will call upon Western developed countries to clean up their act, arguing that much of the devastation has been caused by human impact on the planet.

The intensity and increasing frequency of climate disasters are creating a demand for preventative measures to be brought about to protect people and places.

But the poor countries which suffer most of the consequences can't afford these costly solutions.

What can we realistically do to protect ourselves from the forces of nature? Is it time for a new approach to disaster management? And who should pay for the damage caused by natural disasters?

Source: BBC NEWS Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 16:12 GMT


 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 162 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Wed, Aug 21, 2002 (22:46) * 2 lines 
This has been a concern and difficulty since time began. How can we save the whole world and not lose ourselves in the process. Once, populations were small enough for the possibility of a solution. Now, there are far too many people and the wealth so spread out, it is difficult to imagine any solution.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 163 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Aug 24, 2002 (16:59) * 11 lines 
MISSING LAKE - Emergency meeting after Lake Lagadas dries up

An emergency meeting was held yesterday in the town of Lagadas, 19 kilometers east of Thessaloniki,
following the complete disappearance, over the past few days, of the local Lake Lagadas, also known
as Koroneia. Local authorities, geologists, environmentalists and businessmen concluded that
evaporation was probably to blame for the lake’s drying up — despite recent heavy rainfall. Excessive
use of the lake’s waters by local farmers and industries had drawn its initial volume down by 90 percent
(some 36,000 cubic meters of water) over the past few years. Local authorities said they proposed to
press ahead with plans — made while there was still some water in Koroneia — to save the lake.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 164 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, Aug 25, 2002 (01:07) * 47 lines 
Scientists 'confirm meteorite impact on Earth 3.47bn years ago'

Geologists claim they've found evidence of the oldest known
meteorite impact on Earth - 3.47billion years ago.

The US scientists say analysis of rock samples from sites in
South Africa and Australia suggest the meteorite was about 12
miles wide.

Stanford professor Donald Rowe and Louisiana State
University geologist Gary Byerly admit they have yet to find
traces of the object itself, or the crater it produced.

Writing in the journal Science, Lowe says: "It would have taken
only a second or two for a meteor that size to pass through the
ocean and impact the rock beneath.

"That would generate enormous waves, kilometres high that
would spread out from the impact site, sweep across the
ocean and produce incredible tsunamis."

If the measurements are right, the meteorite would have been
twice as big as the one which contributed to the extinction of
dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Lowe and Byerly began collecting samples from South Africa's
greenstone belt and Australia's Pilbara block 20 years ago. The
sites include rocks that formed more than three billion years

They found both sites contained "spherules" - tiny particles that
are byproducts of meteorite collisions. The meteorite that led to
the demise of dinosaurs produced spherule deposits less than
2cms deep, but the beds in South Africa and Australia were 20
to 30cms thick.

Chemical analysis showed the rock contained high
concentrations of rare metals common in meteorites and
grains of a durable mineral called zircon. The zircon was found
to be 3.47 billion years old, give or take two million years.

As well as evidence of the meteorite impact, Lowe and Byerley
say three younger rock layers contained evidence of meteorite
collisions which may have caused the cracks, or tectonic
plates, which riddle the Earth's crust today.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 165 of 171: John Tsatsaragos  (tsatsvol) * Fri, Nov 15, 2002 (02:25) * 22 lines 
Impact 'showered debris over Britain'

By Helen Briggs
BBC News Online science reporter

Evidence has emerged of how Britain's history was shaped by an asteroid collision 214 million years ago.
Rock blasted out of the ground by an asteroid hitting the Earth has been found for the first time in the Southwest of England.

Canada still bears the scars of the explosion, which splattered hot rock and dust across the British Isles.

The space rock hit what is now Manicouagan, Quebec, opening up a 100-kilometre-wide (62-mile-wide) crater that can be seen by astronauts from space.

The Atlantic Ocean had not appeared at the time, so the two land masses (Europe and North America) were much closer than they are today.

The rock was found near Bristol by geologists at the University of Aberdeen.

Dr Gordon Walkden said: "We have found evidence of a massive shockwave carrying molten rock and dust that has left a thin layer of glass beads and shattered mineral grains across the ancient British land surface."

Source and complete document: BBC NEWS, Science/Nature

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 166 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Mon, Nov 18, 2002 (18:23) * 1 lines 
There are supposedly meteor impact craters in Kentucky and Tennessee, but it will be another lifetime before I see them, I imagine. Though one never knows...

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 167 of 171: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Mon, May 17, 2004 (08:15) * 17 lines 
Asteroid That Nearly Ended Life on Earth

Summary - (May 14, 2004) Approximately 250 million years ago, something nearly wiped out life on Earth; 90% of marine animals and 80% of land animals were snuffed out in the geologic blink of an eye. Researchers now believe they've found the culprit: an 8 to 11 km (5 to 7 mile) asteroid that stuck the Earth off the coast of Australia. The impact happened so long ago, there isn't a crater, but geologists have found several clues that lead to this spot, including deposits of "shocked quartz" which can only be formed in a violent event like an asteroid strike.

Full Story - An impact crater believed to be associated with the "Great Dying," the largest extinction event in the history of life on Earth, appears to be buried off the coast of Australia. NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the major research project headed by Luann Becker, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Science Express, the electronic publication of the journal Science, published a paper describing the crater today.

Most scientists agree a meteor impact, called Chicxulub, in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, accompanied the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But until now, the time of the Great Dying 250 million years ago, when 90 percent of marine and 80 percent of land life perished, lacked evidence and a location for a similar impact event. Becker and her team found extensive evidence of a 125-mile-wide crater, called Bedout, off the northwestern coast of Australia. They found clues matched up with the Great Dying, the period known as the end-Permian. This was the time period when the Earth was configured as one primary land mass called Pangea and a super ocean called Panthalassa.

During recent research in Antarctica, Becker and her team found meteoric fragments in a thin claystone "breccia" layer, pointing to an end-Permian event. The breccia contains the impact debris that resettled in a layer of sediment at end-Permian time. They also found "shocked quartz" in this area and in Australia. "Few Earthly circumstances have the power to disfigure quartz, even high temperatures and pressures deep inside the Earth's crust," explains Dr. Becker.

Quartz can be fractured by extreme volcanic activity, but only in one direction. Shocked quartz is fractured in several directions and is therefore believed to be a good tracer for the impact of a meteor. Becker discovered oil companies in the early 70's and 80's had drilled two cores into the Bedout structure in search of hydrocarbons. The cores sat untouched for decades. Becker and co-author Robert Poreda went to Australia to examine the cores held by the Geological Survey for Australia in Canberra. "The moment we saw the cores, we thought it looked like an impact breccia," Becker said. Becker's team found evidence of a melt layer formed by an impact in the cores.

In the paper, Becker documented how the Chicxulub cores were very similar to the Bedout cores. When the Australian cores were drilled, scientists did not know exactly what to look for in terms of evidence of impact craters. Co-author Mark Harrison, from the Australian National University in Canberra, determined a date on material obtained from one of the cores, which indicated an age close to the end-Permian era. While in Australia on a field trip and workshop about Bedout, funded by the NSF, co-author Kevin Pope found large shocked quartz grains in end-Permian sediments, which he thinks formed as a result of the Bedout impact. Seismic and gravity data on Bedout are also consistent with an impact crater.

The Bedout impact crater is also associated in time with extreme volcanism and the break-up of Pangea. "We think that mass extinctions may be defined by catastrophes like impact and volcanism occurring synchronously in time," Dr. Becker explains. "This is what happened 65 million years ago at Chicxulub but was largely dismissed by scientists as merely a coincidence. With the discovery of Bedout, I don't think we can call such catastrophes occurring together a coincidence anymore," Dr. Becker adds.

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 168 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Jun 25, 2004 (19:54) * 1 lines 
Great stuff, Cheryl !! The only place I was seeing meterite or asteroid collisions with earth was on religious channels - and they were not scientifically reliable. I appreciate this article you posted!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 169 of 171: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Sat, Jun 26, 2004 (12:56) * 1 lines 
Thanks Marcia. It's great to see you posting again. You were really missed!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 170 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jul  6, 2004 (19:27) * 3 lines 
I'll bet I was missed but not as much as I missed being here!

Natural thunderstorms are tearing up the trees (LARGE ones slamming into houses and garages) while the vast Ohio River remains high. In fact, two houses floated downstream last week. It was an amaxing sight!

 Topic 25 of 99 [Geo]: Natural Disasters: Drastic Changes in the Landscape
 Response 171 of 171: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Tue, Jul  6, 2004 (19:31) * 43 lines 

2004/07/01 04:39 M 6.2 AUCKLAND ISLANDS, N.Z. REGION Z= 10km 50.06S 162.88E

This information is provided by the USGS
National Earthquake Information Center.
(Address problems to:

These parameters are preliminary and subject to revision.

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake IN THE AUCKLAND ISLANDS, N.Z. REGION has occurred at:
50.06S 162.88E Depth 10km Thu Jul 1 04:39:40 2004 UTC

Time: Universal Time (UTC) Thu Jul 1 04:39:40 2004
Time Near Epicenter Thu Jul 1 15:39:40 2004
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) Thu Jul 1 00:39:40 2004
Central Daylight Time (CDT) Wed Jun 30 23:39:40 2004
Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) Wed Jun 30 22:39:40 2004
Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) Wed Jun 30 21:39:40 2004
Alaska Daylight Time (ADT) Wed Jun 30 20:39:40 2004
Hawaii Standard Time (HST) Wed Jun 30 18:39:40 2004

Location with respect to nearby cities:
230 km (145 miles) WNW of Auckland Island, New Zealand
575 km (355 miles) SW of Invercargill, New Zealand
1350 km (830 miles) SW of WELLINGTON, New Zealand
1980 km (1230 miles) SSE of CANBERRA, A.C.T., Australia

For maps, additional information, and subsequent updates,
please consult:

Flinn-Engdahl Region Number = 166

For the most significant earthquakes, information may also be
available from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program home page at and the USGS home page at .

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