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NATURE

Earthweek - A Diary of the Planet
earthquake
By Steve Newman - March 17 , 2000 - Click any icon

High TemperatureLow Temperature
Temperature
Extremes

quake
Earthquakes


Temperature Extremes
High TemperatureLow TemperatureHigh temperature extreme:
Kosti, Sudan +114 degrees.

Low temperature extreme:
South Pole, Antarctica -88 degrees.

(top)


Renewed Flooding
floodThe flood-ravaged country of Mozambique was struck by fresh inundations when the Messalo River in the northern province of Cabo Delgado burst its banks after a week of incessant rain.

The floods submerged at least four communities and made the main road to Tanzania impassable. Flooding and torrential rainfall during the past weeks have left Mozambique devastated and hundreds of thousands of its people homeless. Officials warned that the Massingir Dam on The Elephants River — a main tributary of the Limpopo River — was being forced to open its spillways due to the pressure of the floodwaters behind the dam. They said the discharges were certain to cause the Limpopo to flood once again and inundate the city of Chokwe which was devastated in the previous flooding.

(top)

Mega Iceberg
bergAn iceberg twice the size of the U.S. state of Delaware is breaking away from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica and will soon be afloat.

Scientists from the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center at the University of Wisconsin reported that images from polar-orbiting satellites show clearly defined fissures delineating the enormous piece that is about to be set adrift in the Ross Sea. The new iceberg will be 183 miles long by 22 miles wide. One of the scientists, Matthew Lazzara, said, “This is a very big iceberg, close to a record if not a new record.” He reported that the iceberg is much larger than the one that broke away last October, threatening shipping lanes off the lower tip of Argentina.

(top)

Earthquakes
quake A powerful magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Kaburuang Island in the Molucca Sea, cutting off telephone communication to the area.

Earth movements were also felt in Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, northwest Iran, southeastern Romania and southwestern Mexico.

(top)

Eruption
volcano Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills Volcano exploded with a thundering cloud of ash that soared 30,000-feet into the Caribbean sky. The eruption sent up incandescent rocks and triggered avalanches of fiery boulders down the mountain’s flanks. Boulders cascaded over the Belham Valley Bridge where Britain's Prince Andrew stood last week during his visit to the British island. The ash cloud also created thunder and lightning as it rose and forced air traffic controllers to divert aircraft around the island. Seismologists predicted last year that the volcano was ending four years of explosions, but the mountain began showing signs of new activity last November.

(top)

Congo Outbreak
manHealth officials in Congo confirmed that eleven cases of Marburg fever — a deadly hemorrhagic disease — have been diagnosed in a remote area of northeastern Congo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that it had also received the reports of the illness similar to Ebola virus, which also causes high body temperatures and bleeding. The new cases were discovered in the city of Durba, a rebel-held area about 400 miles northeast of Kisangani. WHO officials believe that the outbreak of the disease is associated with a gold mine in the area. Miners there frequently spend up to 48 hours at a time in the underground tunnels and often drink groundwater.

(top)

Jamacian Drought
drought The Caribbean island of Jamaica is battling a devastating drought that has left reservoirs dried up and crops wilted.

After the annual rainfall dropped to as much as a fourth of its normal levels in some areas, authorities have been forced to devise plans for trucking in water to parched farms. The National Drought Committee has requested the 2.5 million residents of the island to conserve water during the emergency. Water levels at Jamaica’s Hermitage Dam are at less than half of normal.

(top)

Drought Desperation
monkey At least eight monkeys were killed and 10 people left injured after a two-hour duel between starving Kenyans and thirsty monkeys in the Somali Desert.

The human population of the area has been forced to exist on relief food and water supplies for the past six months due to an ongoing drought. The Daily Nation reported that the battle took place at a small trading center on the northern border of Kenya when three water tankers arrived at the drought-stricken trading post. When the monkeys saw the water being drawn off the tankers, they attacked the people that had grouped there so ferociously that the humans were forced to flee as the primates quenched their thirst. Members of the group returned with axes and machetes and fought back the simians in a lengthy battle.

(top)


Additional Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency, U.S. Climate Analysis Center,
U.S. Earthquake Information Center and the World Meteorological Organization.
© 2000 Earth Environment Service, distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. flood temps temps monkey man berg volcano drought quake quake quake quake quake
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