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NATURE
Earthweek - A Diary of the Planet
Tropical Storm Hamish Deadly Hailstorm Quake Attacks Falcon Spy Largest Bacterium Eruption Earthquake Earthquake Earthquake Earthquake Earthquake Drought Blaze Earthquake Earthquake Eruption Earthquake Earthquake High Temperature Extreme Low Temperature Extreme Click on any icon for more information

By Steve Newman - April 23, 1999 - Click any icon

High Temperature Extreme
High temperatureTillaberi, Niger: 113 degrees Fahrenheit

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Low Temperature Extreme
Low temperatureVostok (Russia), Antarctica: -105 degrees Fahrenheit

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Eruptions
VolcanoA tourist inn and several utility installations were destroyed after lava flowing from the Mount Cameroon Volcano tore through a nearby community.
Government officials had earlier evacuated 300 people from the town of Bakingele to makeshift shelters. The volcano, located about 195 miles west of the capital Yaounde, began erupting March 27.

Two flights into the eastern Aleutian Islands were canceled and other planes were rerouted after a pilot spotted a steam and ash plume billowing from the Shishaldin Volcano. The restless volcano is about 700 miles southwest of Anchorage on Unimak Island, just off the end of the Alaska Peninsula. Shishaldin’s most recent eruption was in 1996.

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Deadly Hailstorm
HailstormOne person was killed and scores of others injured after a storm packing large hailstones swept across Sydney, Australia.

A fisherman was killed when he was struck by lightning during the tempest near Dolans Bay. The storm hit without warning, catching Australia’s largest city unprepared. Dozens of people were treated for cuts and lacerations after being struck by falling glass or hailstones, which witnesses described as being the size of golf balls and lemons. Total damage from the storm may exceed $250 million.

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Quake Attacks
LeopardA severe earthquake that devastated parts of northern India earlier this month drove a leopard out of its habitat and into populated areas where it has killed at least two people.

The victims died after being mauled by the big cat in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, according to the Press Trust of India. One woman barely escaped death when villagers scared the big cat away.

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Largest Bacterium
WaterThe largest bacterium ever identified has been found by researchers sampling ocean dredgings in the South Atlantic.

The microbe, discovered near Namibia, lives by absorbing sulfur and nitrates, and swells as the chemicals are stored inside its cell walls, researchers reported in the journal Science. The largest of the bacteria measures .03 inches, or about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. “They look like a thin string of pearls,” said the scientists, who named the new microbe Thiomargarita namibiensis, which means “Sulfur Pearl of Namibia.”

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Tropical Storm
Tropical StormTropical cyclone Hamish formed briefly over the open waters of the eastern Indian Ocean. The storm produced maximum winds of approximately 45 mph before losing force southwest of Sumatra.

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Fire Season
WildfireWildfires burning for nearly two weeks across parts of South Florida were considered contained after blackening more than 155,000 acres of wetlands in the Everglades.

Fire officials say the wildfires may have been started by a spark from the catalytic converter of a vehicle traveling near the main east-west highway known as “Alligator Alley.” The blazes have been the largest of at least 2,515 fires that have burned in drought-stricken Florida this year.

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Earthquakes
EarthquakeSeveral homes on Hawaii’s Big Island were damaged and residents were left without electricity after a magnitude 5.5 quake rocked the Wood Valley.

Earth movements were also felt in Australia’s southern Victoria State, New Zealand’s North Island, southwestern and eastern Japan, Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, southern Greece, the republic of Georgia, Southern California and Utah.

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Falcon Spy
FeatherA falcon that was suspected of spying for Pakistan was released after being imprisoned for six months in India. The bird was set free at a park near Jodhpur city in the western state of Rajasthan. It was captured last winter after being found fitted with a radio transmitter near the India-Pakistan border. Officials had turned the bird over to police after they found evidence it was involved in a Pakistani spying mission. The bird was later sent to the National Desert Park in Jaisalmer and then shifted to the zoo in the town of Jodhpur. The zoo was ready to free the bird in January but police held up the release, saying that further investigations were necessary
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Additional Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency, U.S. Climate Analysis Center, U.S. Earthquake Information Center and the World Meteorological Organization.

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