Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for October 10th, 2008

Smoke Detected at Japanese Nuke Plant

Posted by feww on October 10, 2008

Japan’s Nuclear Cowboys

Sensors detected smoke at Tokaimura nuclear complex about 120km northeast of Tokyo on Friday. Smoke was detected at a solid waste facility where metal waste is incinerated. The operator claimed there was no release of radioactivity.

The fuel reprocessing center in Tokaimura was the scene of an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction in September 1999 which killed two employees and contaminated about 700 people with radiation.

“Japan’s nuclear power program has a history of accidents and lax oversight. In August, liquid containing uranium splashed out of a container at a nuclear fuel plant southwest of Tokyo, exposing two people to radiation.” AP reported.

Engineers at Tokaimura plant triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Credit: New Scientist. Image may be subject to copyright.

Emergency response personnel at the site of the Tokaimura criticality accident, Japan, September 30, 1999. Source: The Encyclopedia of Earth.

Posted in BNFL, Chernobyl, enriched uranium, nuclear fuel | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canaries Dying in Coal Mine

Posted by feww on October 10, 2008

Numbers of birds worldwide are dwindling

Numbers of birds worldwide are dwindling, Birdlife International reported on Thursday, a telltale sign that Governments have failed to slow damage to nature by 2010, contrary to their 2002 undertaking [so what’s new?]

Hawaiian Crow (Corvus hawaiiensis). Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“Since the year 1500, we have lost over 150 bird species – an extinction rate far higher than the natural background. Today, one in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, with 190 species Critically Endangered, and Red List assessments show that things are getting worse. Particularly alarming are sharp declines in many formerly common and widespread species. This is a signal of wider environmental problems, and of the erosion of biodiversity as a whole.” Birdlife International

Three species are believed to have become extinct since 2000, the report says:

  • The Hawaiian crow
  • Spix’s macaw in Brazil
  • Poo-uli [also in Hawaii]

The critically endangered bird species include:

  • 83 percent of albatrosses
  • 60 percent of cranes
  • 28 percent of parrots
  • 24 percent of pheasants
  • 20 percent of pigeons

Po`o-uli (Melamprosops phaeosoma)
Source: USWFS/ Paul E. Baker

One of the most vital services provided by birds is controlling the populations of insect pests in farmland and forests. “Studies show that birds provide biological control services worth millions of dollars in farmlands and forests, and are encouraged in some plantations through the provision of nest-boxes.”

Indeed the use of nest-boxes not only for flycatchers but also for titmice is a fairly standard management tool in forests throughout Europe.

“Birds are a good indicator for the wider environment because we have such long records. People notice that there aren’t so many birds around, even ones that are common.” Alison Stattersfield, Birdlife International.

The Spix’s Macaw (Ara Spixii)
. The Dream: A photo montage of the last known Spix’s Macaw nest, located on the Gangorra Farm, and two Spix’s Macaws now residents of the captive breeding program at Lymington Foundation. Source: Spix’s Macaw Project

Numerous bird species have been driven extinct

Key messages and case studies

State of the world’s birds is a good report well worth browsing through!

Related Links:

Posted in Climate Change, Critically Endangered, migratory species, Species Extinction, Spix's Macaw, Waterbirds | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Volcano Watch No. 40

Posted by feww on October 10, 2008

1 – 7 October 2008

New Activity/Unrest:

Karangetang [Api Siau] Photo

Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi. The 1784-m-high stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. Karangetang is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts has also produced pyroclastic flows. Photo by Volcanological Survey of Indonesia. Caption and details: GVP.

Volcano: Karangetang [Api Siau]
Country: Indonesia
Region: Sangihe Islands (Indonesia)
Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
Last Known Eruption: 2008
Summit Elevation:
1784 m     5,853 feet
Latitude: 2.78°N     2°47’0″N
Longitude: 125.40°E     125°24’0″E

Ongoing Activity:

This Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program.

Posted in Ol Doinyo Lengai, stratovolcano, Tanzania, volcanic activity, volcanoes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »