Tuesday, April 8, 2014

EXTREME WEATHER: Mass Animal Die-Off - Lightning Kills More Than 60 Cows In Chile!

April 08, 2014 - CHILE - Ranchers in southern Chile say a series of lightning strikes has killed more than 60 of their dairy cows, costing the cattle owners thousands of dollars.

In this Monday, April 7, 2014 cell phone image provided by local station, Radio San Jose de Alcudia and downloaded
from its Facebook page, a herd of cattle carcasses skirt a tree on a ranch in Rio Bueno, Chile. Ranchers in southern
Chile say a series of lightning strikes spawned by storms has killed more than 60 of their dairy cows.
(AP Photo/Radio San Jose de Alcudia)

Storms on Sunday spawned the strikes in south-central Chile. Worst hit was a ranch in Los Rios owned by Cecil Fourt, who says 54 of his cows were killed by lightning and another one was blinded.

Another rancher, Claudio Toledo, says nine of his cows sheltering under a tree were struck and killed.

The El Austral newspaper reported Tuesday that workers were digging a deep pit to bury the cattle. - Yahoo.

DOOMSDAY: Scientist And Inventor James Lovelock Says Planet Earth Is DOOMED "Beyond Our Ability" - Suggest We Give Up Trying To Save The World From Climate Change And Retreat To "Climate-Controlled Cities"?!

April 08, 2014 - CLIMATE CHANGE - The scientist and inventor James Lovelock claims we should stop trying to save the planet from global warming and instead retreat to climate controlled cities.

James Lovelock, who first detected CFCs in the atmosphere and proposed the Gaia hypotheses
Photo: AFP/Getty/NASA

Saving the planet from climate change is ‘beyond our ability’ and we should stop wasting time trying to tackle global warming, a leading scientist has claimed

James Lovelock, who first detected CFCs in the atmosphere and proposed the Gaia hypotheses, claims society should retreat to ‘climate-controlled cities’ and give up on large expanses of land which will become inhabitable.

Lovelock, who has just published his latest book A Rough Ride To The Future, claims we should be ‘strengthening our defences and making a sustainable retreat.’

“We’re reaching an age in history where you can no longer predict the future with any hope of success.

“We should give up vainglorious attempts to save the world.

“Britain is no longer a world power and we need to leave such schemes to the USA, Japan or China. We should spend out efforts adapting Britain to fight climate change.”

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to say the world will need a ‘Plan B’ because it is unlikely countries will reduce carbon emissions in time.

In March the IPCC said that global warming would increase flooding, storm surges, droughts and heatwaves.

Violent conflicts and food shortages were also forecast to increase over coming decades due to rising temperatures, while a growing number of animal and marine species will face increased risk of extinction.

Scientists said that by taking immediate steps to reduce carbon emissions over the coming decades, there could be a reduction in potential consequences by the end of the century.

In his new book Lovelock writes: “We may have wasted valuable time, energy and resources by trying to grapple with climate change on a global scale.

“It sounds good to try to save the planet, but in reality we are not thinking of saving Gaia, we are thinking of saving Earth for us, or for our nation.

“The idea of ‘saving the planet’ is a foolish extravagance of romantic Northern ideologues and probably much beyond our ability.

“In a changing climate cities are most less vulnerable to external heat than our individuals. If most of us lived in cities, as it seems we soon will do, the regulation of the climate of these cities might be far easier, more economic and safer option in a hot climate than the regulation by geoengineering of the whole planet. “

He also claimed that life on Earth could move away from organic creatures towards computerised life-forms

“I think like all organisms on Earth our species has a limited lifespan,” he said.

“If we can somehow merge with our electronic creations in a larger scale endosymbiosis, it may provide a better next step in the evolution of humanity and Gaia.”

However Lovelock adds a cautionary warning. “I must admit an empathetic dread for some unfortunately future person whose body becomes connected to one of more of the ubiquitous social networks.

“I can imagine no punishment more severe than having my still comparatively clear mind overtaken by the spam of hucksters and the never-ceasing gossip of the Internet.” - Telegraph.

SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: 12-MONTH State Of Emergency In Buenos Aires - Argentina's Largest Province Overwhelmed By Crime And An Outbreak Of Lynching!

April 08, 2014 - ARGENTINA - The governor of Argentina's largest, richest and most populated province declared a 12-month state of emergency following an outbreak of lynching by furious citizens who feel defenceless and 'overwhelmed' by crime. The situation has become a major political issue with magistrates and the Church calling for restrain.

Scioli and his full cabinet make the announcement

“This is a fight to defend the most sacred, life” governor of Buenos Aires province Daniel Scioli said and called on “all political forces” to coordinate efforts in the battle against crime. Escorted by all of his cabinet ministers, Scioli held a press conference in the City of La Plata to declare a 12-month security emergency in the province which represents over 35% of the electorate registry.

“The emergency is the legal instrument we have to speed up the investments we need to do to face the kind of crime we are dealing with and the decisions we need to make,” Scioli told reporters and explained the anti-crime measures will involve an investment of 600 million pesos in security equipment through the Banco Provincia financing.

Among other measures, is the “immediate call” to retired agents from both the provincial police and penitentiary system to rejoin prevention actions aiming at a 5,000-member force.

The Scioli administration will be as well submitting several bills to the provincial legislature, such as a project to “limit prisoners’ release” in a process to be “oral and public” and another one that involves “effective prison terms” in cases of unauthorized weapon carrying.

The governor demanded MPs also a “quick treatment and sanction” of the bill that creates municipal police in the provincial districts.

An additional force 5.000 strong and tougher legislation has been promised

Furthermore, the governor announced the creation of 8 agencies with a capacity to host 1,000 prisoners and 4 penitentiaries.

Queried about what drove his decision to decree the security emergency, Scioli mentioned Friday’s shooting in the provincial locality of Bernal. “There were 50 gunshots in Bernal that could have ended up in a tragedy,” he said.

But even when Scioli he did not mention it, it was obvious that among his administration’s reasons to make the announcement are the lynching cases of alleged thieves in several provinces across the country, that have prompted deep social unrest and a strong debate among politicians over the past weeks, together with statements from the Catholic Church and from magistrates.

Magistrates are accused of being too lenient with criminals, but they argue that they need legislation and the situation has triggered the debate whether further stronger police powers and more strict sentencing is the solution to the challenge.

Governor Scioli who has a good standing in opinion polls is one of the several hopefuls for next year's presidential race to succeed President Cristina Fernandez. - MercoPress.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Beef Prices Hit ALL-TIME HIGH In The United States - Extreme Weather Has Thinned The Nation's Cattle Herds, Roiling The Beef Supply Chain From Rancher To Restaurant!

April 08, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Come grilling season, expect your sirloin steak to come with a hearty side of sticker shock.

Jerry Haines, general manager of R.C. Provision in Burbank, holds pastrami that's ready for shipping. The company,
which supplies Pink's, Langer's Delicatessen and other eateries, is struggling as beef prices have hit
a record high in the U.S. (Al Seib, Los Angeles Times / March 28, 2014)

Beef prices have reached all-time highs in the U.S. and aren't expected to come down any time soon.

Extreme weather has thinned the nation's beef cattle herds to levels last seen in 1951, when there were about half as many mouths to feed in America.

"We've seen strong prices before but nothing this extreme," said Dennis Smith, a commodities broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago. "This is really new territory."

The retail value of "all-fresh" USDA choice-grade beef jumped to a record $5.28 a pound in February, up from $4.91 the same time a year ago. The same grade of beef cost $3.97 as recently as 2008.

The swelling prices are roiling the beef supply chain from rancher to restaurant.

Norm Langer managed to go two years without raising prices at his famed Westlake delicatessen.

But last week, he reluctantly began printing new menus showing a 50-cent increase for sandwiches at his 67-year-old restaurant.

Langer accepts it's one of the perils of business when your bread and butter happens to be corned beef and pastrami. But he fears he may have to raise prices again, driving away customers.

"No beef, no delicatessen. That's the bottom line," Langer said after a typically frenetic lunch service. "Jewish delis aren't vegetarian, they're based on corned beef and pastrami. Things are beyond my control. With the price increase, I hope my customers are tolerant."

Langer said beef prices are the main reason his wholesale food costs have risen 45% in the last two years — much of it passed from his longtime supplier, R.C. Provision Inc.

The half-century-old Burbank company prepares corned beef, pastrami, roast beef and chili for L.A. icons such as Canter's Deli, Pink's Hot Dogs and Original Tommy's Hamburgers. All the restaurants have to do is heat it up or slice it to their liking.

It's been an increasingly difficult endeavor, with slaughterhouses driving up their prices for brisket and navel, an extra fatty portion of the belly crucial for making unctuous pastrami.

"For any profitability, you have to mark it up more and more," said the company's general manager, Jerry Haines, who has watched profit margins dwindle to about 1% from 5% in the last few years rather than hike prices enough to cover the increased costs.

Speaking last week at his company's plant scented with paprika and smoked beef, Haines said small businesses like his are struggling to secure enough red meat. Slaughterhouses, also known as packers, are more likely to reserve their reduced supplies for big customers like McDonald's.

There's more pressure to throw the special cuts needed to make deli meat into the grinder for hamburgers. What's left for Haines costs more. Brisket has more than tripled in price since 2008. Navel has more than doubled.

"This whole thing now is being driven by hamburger," said the gravelly voiced Haines, who keeps years of beef prices recorded on stacks of small sheets of paper. "You take all the McDonald's and Burger Kings across the United States; the amount of meat needed to make those hamburgers is forcing the value of other cuts of meat to go up."

The biggest fast-food chains aren't immune to the price pressure either. Experts say $1 value menus could soon be a thing of the past.

In October, McDonald's said its Dollar Menu of more than a decade would morph into a so-called Dollar Menu & More, which mixes $1, $2 and $5 items. Wendy's made a similar move last year.

Yum Brands Inc., which owns Taco Bell, said in December that it expects 4% price inflation for beef and other meats in 2014, though the company didn't indicate whether the costs would be passed on to consumers. - Chicago Tribune.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: United Nations World Health Organization Declares West Africa Ebola Outbreak Among "Most Challenging" Ever - Death Toll In Guinea Pass 100; 10 Fatalites In Liberia; With Suspected Cases In Mali And Sierra Leone!

April 08, 2014 - WEST AFRICA - West Africa's Ebola unprecedented outbreak is among the "most challenging" for health workers since the deadly disease emerged elsewhere in Africa four decades ago as the suspected death toll topped 100, the WHO said Tuesday.

A medical staff worker of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') medical aid organisation is
assisted with the disinfecting of his gloves at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014
(AFP Photo/Seyllou)

Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said the agency was concerned about the spread of the virus from its epicentre in the forests of southern Guinea.

"We have not had an Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa before," said Fukuda, whose agency has rushed scores of aid workers to the region to contain the epidemic.

"This is one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks we have ever faced," he said.

The most severe strains have had a 90 percent fatality rate, and there is no vaccine, cure or specific treatment.

The outbreak has sparked fear in Guinea, where a mob in the south of the country last week attacked international aid workers, who they blame for bringing the haemorrhagic fever.

"It's absolutely critical to get out as much accurate information as possible to communities and the countries affected, to reduce the rumours, so that people have facts to work with," Fukuda unedlined said.

"Ebola is clearly a severe disease. It's an infection with a high fatality rate. But it's also an infection that can be controlled," he said.

A map of Africa giving details of previous major Ebola outbreaks (AFP Photo/)

According to fresh WHO figures released Tuesday, there have been 157 suspected cases in Guinea, 101 of them fatal. Of those, 67 have been confirmed as Ebola victims by laboratory tests.

Twenty of the cases have been in the capital Conakry, a sprawling port city on Guinea's Atlantic coast and home to up between 1.5 million and two million people.

The WHO has not recommended any trade and travel restrictions for Guinea.

But other countries across west Africa have been bracing against the epidemic, with Senegal closing its border with Guinea.

"We have everything in place to take measures against Ebola. We have a well-oiled system, which we are perfecting daily," Senegal's Health Minister Eva Marie Coll Seck said Tuesday after visiting the port and airport in the capital, Dakar.

The disease is a particular concern for Senegal because it is a leading tourist destination in the region, with arrivals topping one million in 2011, according to the World Bank.

- 'Need to remain vigilant' -

In Liberia, there have been 21 cases, including 10 fatalities, of which five have been confirmed as Ebola.

There have also been two suspected cases in Sierra Leone, affecting people believed to have been infected in southern Guinea but who died over the border.

In Mali, there have been nine suspected cases, with tests so far showing two of them did not have the virus.

A suspected case in Ghana meanwhile turned out not to be Ebola.

"Obviously there is a risk that other countries might be affected, therefore we absolutely need to remain vigilant," said Stephane Hugonnet, a WHO medical officer who returned last weekend from Guinea Forestiere, the southern hotbed.

A Senegalese hygienist demonstrates how to protect oneself against the Ebola virus
on April 8, 2014 at Dakar airport (AFP Photo/Seyllou)

"Clearly in Guinea Forestiere the outbreak is not over. This is the epicentre of the outbreak, and as long as this is not controlled there, there may be cases being exported from Guinea Forestiere in the rest of the country and likely in other countries," he added.

Ebola was first recorded in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The largest-ever outbreak was in 2000-2001 in Uganda, with 425 cases, half of whom died, according to WHO data.

Until the Guinea outbreak, the last recorded Ebola cases had been in 2012 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 29 people died.

Ebola leads to haemorrhagic fever, causing muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

Senegal's health minister Awa Marie Coll Seck (2nd L) listens to Alioune Fall (R), chief doctor
of Dakar airport, as she visits the airport on April 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Seyllou)

The chances of survival increase if patients are kept hydrated and treated for secondary infections.

The virus can be transmitted to humans who handle sick or dead wild animals -- believed to be its original source -- and between humans through direct contact with another's blood, faeces or sweat.

Sexual contact, or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses, can also lead to infection.

Ebola's spread can be stemmed by identifying the sick and tracing those with whom they have had contact -- more than 600 people, according to Hugonnet -- and applying infection-control measures in homes and clinics.

"We fully expect to be engaged in this outbreak for another two, three, four months," said Fukuda. - Yahoo.

DISASTER PRECURSOR: Watch RARE Footage Of A LIVING OARFISH - The ELUSIVE Creature That Can Measure Up To 56 FEET Is Caught Swimming Off Mexico's Shore, Near The Gulf Of California; Is This A Warning From Mother Nature Of An Imminent Mega-Quake In California?! [VIDEO]

April 08, 2014 - GULF OF CALIFORNIA - Tales of sea serpents have haunted intrepid explorers and seasoned sailors for hundreds of years.

In awe: Oarfish, Regalecus glesne (pictured) are the world's longest bony fish but evidence of their existence deep
beneath the waves is only known about by a handful of videos and specimens of the dead creatures
that have washed up on beaches over the years.

And now a rare fish seldom seen by humans that has an incredibly long, undulating body, has been caught on camera.

Oarfish, Regalecus glesne, are the world’s longest bony fish but evidence of their existence deep beneath the waves is only known about by a handful of videos and drawings, as well as specimens of the dead creatures that have washed up on beaches over the years.

 Now a video has surfaced of a 15ft (4.5metre) long oarfish swimming in the shallows of Mexico’s Sea of Cortés crystal clear waters.

It was taken by experts on a trip organised by Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, PopSci reported.

Like a fish out of water?A video has surfaced of a 15ft (4.5metre) long oarfish, swimming effortlessly in the
shallows of Mexico's Sea of Cortés crystal clear waters - far from its usual environment of
deep waters thousands of metres below the waves

Regalecus glesne, is the world’s longest bony fish and can grow up to 56ft (17metres) long.

The oarfish is seldom seen by humans as it typically lives between 650ft and 3,000ft (198 metres and 914 metres) below the waves.

The one spotted in the Sea of Cortés, Mexico measured around 15ft (4.5metres) long.

When the creatures swim into shallow waters they tend to die soon afterwards as they only expose themselves in such a way when they are injured or dying.

The fish’s dorsal fin runs the entire length of its body, which one researcher has claimed can give off electric shocks.

Oarfish can be found in almost all temperate and tropical oceans but are rarely seen.

They are thought to be the ‘sea serpents’ described in old stories.

WATCH: Rare oarfish sighting


While the animal is not the largest specimen to be seen, there is little video footage available for living oarfish for scientists to study, as the creatures typically live between 650ft and 3,000ft (198 metres and 914 metres) below the waves where there is little light.

Oarfish can grow up to 56ft (17 metres) long and have a distinctive dorsal fin that sticks up out of the water in the video.

The creature’s swimming action sees it rhythmically undulating smoothly and historians think that the animal is probably the source of stories about sea serpents.

The video, which was taken by experts from Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, shows a 15ft long oarfish swimming
in shallow water close to humans in a canoe (pictured). The fish are seldom seen by humans.

Stuff of legend: The creature's swimming action sees it rhythmically undulating smoothly and historians think
that the animal might be the source of stories about sea serpents. This image of 'a great sea serpent' looks
like an oarfish and was found in Hungary Bay, Bermuda centuries ago.

Its dorsal fin begins just above the creature’s small eyes in a reddish crest and runs the entire length of its body.

Researchers from New Zealand have claimed that it can give off electric shocks when touched.

Oarfish can be found in most of the world’s temperate and tropical oceans, but are hardly ever seen.

They eat plankton and tiny shrimp, jellyfish and crustaceans and are themselves hunted by large oceanic carnivores. - Daily Mail.

MASS INSECT DIE-OFF: The Butterfly Extinction Effect - Do Monarchs' Woes Signal Broader Problems; Decline Could Seriously Hurt The Planet's Ecosystem!

April 08, 2014 - MEXICO - On a high mountain slope in central Mexico, a patch of fir trees looks dusted in orange and black. In fact, millions of monarch butterflies cloak the trees. The forest murmurs with the whir of their flapping wings.

Two Monarch butterflies feed on a Blazing Star plant at the USDA Forest Service's Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
on the site of the former Joliet Arsenal in Wilmington, Illinois, Friday, September 1, 2006.
George Thompson / Chicago Tribune/MCT

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/31/4030249/the-butterfly-effect-do-monarchs.html#storylink=cpy

Every year, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies, each so light that 50 together weigh barely an ounce, find their way on what may be the world's longest insect migration, traveling the length of North America to pass the winter in central Mexico.

Yet the great monarch migration is in peril, a victim of rampant herbicide use in faraway corn and soybean fields, extreme weather, a tiny microbial pathogen and deforestation. Monarch butterfly populations are plummeting. The dense colonies of butterflies on central Mexican peaks were far smaller this year than ever before.

Scientists say Mexico's monarch butterfly colonies, as many as several million butterflies in one acre, are on the cusp of disappearing. If the species were to vanish, one of the few creatures emblematic of all North America, a beloved insect with powerhouse stamina that even school kids can easily identify, would be gone.

"We see these things as so delicate. But if they migrate a distance of some 2,000 miles, from Canada all the way down to Mexico, they are pretty tough," said Craig Wilson, a scientist at Texas A&M University.

The distinctive orange-and-black monarch is enshrined as the state insect or butterfly of Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia. It's also the symbol of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which binds Mexico, the United States and Canada.

When President Barack Obama met with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Feb. 19 in Toluca, they agreed to establish a working group to ensure the conservation of the monarch butterfly.

Scientists who are studying the monarchs' decline cite many possible reasons, but they're focusing now on one major one: the decline in the United States of milkweed, a lowly broadleaf plant that's widely treated as a weed to be eradicated, doused with herbicides in farmlands and along highway shoulders. Milkweed is most common in the high-grass prairies of the Canadian and U.S. Midwest but its 70 varieties also grow along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Monarchs can't survive without milkweed.

Female monarchs lay eggs on milkweed. When they hatch, the larvae grow into caterpillars that feed on the milkweed's leaves. Those leaves contain a poison that inoculates the monarchs from their predators. The caterpillars then form chrysalises and emerge as butterflies.

Over the past decade, U.S. fields containing milkweed have declined sharply. Orley "Chip" Taylor, a monarch expert at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, calls the loss "massive."

"We've lost something like 24 million acres because of conversion of land to cropland. That's an area the size of Indiana," he said.

The advent of genetically modified corn and soybean varieties that can withstand herbicides has added to that loss. Now farmers employ glyphosate herbicides, such as Monsanto's Roundup, that kill weeds with a vengeance. It's had a huge impact on milkweed, which before could grow among crops or at the edges of fields.

"The crops survive but any weeds, including milkweed, don't," Wilson said.

WATCH: The monarch butterflies are starving for milkweed.


Faced with vast reductions in milkweed, the size of the colonies of monarchs escaping northern winters has shrunk radically in central Mexico.

Nearly two decades ago, in the winter of 1996-97, dense monarch colonies covered 44.9 acres of oyamel fir forest. In the 2013-14 winter, the colonies covered only 1.7 acres, a plunge of nearly 44 percent from the previous year. The trend seems inexorable, experts said.

"We must turn the tide for monarchs," said Omar Vidal, the president of WWF-Mexico, a branch of the Switzerland-based World Wide Fund for Nature.

Most monarchs live only a little more than a month. But one generation each year lives seven or eight months, long enough to migrate to central Mexico before winter sets in, where the butterflies settle into a semi-dormant state, often clustering around the same fir trees as their forebears, perhaps drawn by chemical cues. In the spring, the monarchs return to the north, where they lay eggs on milkweed and die, giving way to a new generation.

Other factors may be hurting the monarch population, including extreme conditions associated with climate change. A debilitating protozoan parasite, known in scientific shorthand as OE, also has exploded since 2002 and now affects 10 to 15 percent of monarchs, said Sonia Altizer, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who's studied monarchs for two decades.

While the dwindling monarch colonies worry scientists, who fear they may also be a warning of other environmental crises, in this region of Mexico the decline threatens people's livelihood. Butterfly tourism has grown since scientists first came across the dense winter colonies in 1975.Indigenous people had long known of the butterflies. The Purepecha people called the monarchs the "souls of the departed" because their arrival in early November coincided with festivals honoring the dead.

At the El Rosario gateway to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve here in eastern Michoacan state, decals of monarchs adorn taxis. Lodges cater to butterfly lovers. To the lament of locals, tourism has dropped, hit by organized crime in other parts of the state as well as the shrinking butterfly colonies.

"It's not what we expected," said Fernando Guzman Cruz, a member of the El Rosario ejido, or communal agricultural community, that protects the reserve.

Only 55,000 visitors came this season, he said, a "50 percent drop" from a year earlier. He blamed the decline on U.S. agricultural practices hurting the monarch population.

"We want you to stop killing the milkweed," he told a U.S. visitor.

For years, Mexico received much of the blame for dwindling monarch populations. Scientists pointed to rampant illegal logging of the high-altitude oyamel firs the monarch favor. The government took action.

"A year and a half ago, we saw that large-scale logging had been reduced to practically zero," said Vidal of WWF-Mexico. Mexico has done its part.

Now blame has shifted north to the shoulders of U.S. and Canadian farmers and their widespread use of herbicides that kill milkweed.

In the past two centuries, monarchs have spread around the globe to the Pacific Islands, Australia and even parts of Western Europe. So they may never vanish from the world. But they might stop their seasonal movement, going the way of Great Plains bison. Humanity would lose an awe-inspiring annual event if the monarch no longer moves to dense colonies in Mexico, said Taylor, the Kansas expert.

"It's just jaw-dropping," he said. "The sensation of hearing and seeing tens of thousands of cascading butterflies at once is not like any other experience on Earth."

Taylor has been instrumental in the Monarch Waystation program, which encourages people to recolonize areas as small as their yards with milkweed to serve as stopping points for migrating butterflies. More than 7,500 "Waystations" now exist, including 400 in Texas alone, and boosters urge federal and state governments to let milkweed grow undisturbed along highways rather than mow it down.

Despite decades of scientific study, mystery still surrounds the monarch, including how it migrates to the same fir patch colonized by earlier generations.

Some experts worry about a variation of "the butterfly effect," the concept coined by Edward Norton Lorenz, an American meteorologist and pioneer of chaos theory, who suggested that the flapping of a butterfly's wings could trigger a hurricane on the other side of the globe weeks later.

That theory of interdependence now seems turned on its head. The question today is: What occurs when the monarch stops flapping its wings?

"If monarchs are in trouble, and they are a really robust species, you can practically be assured that there are a number of species like pollinators and birds that also are in trouble because they rely on the same habitats as monarchs," Altizer said. - Miami Herald.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Beemageddon - Study Reveals That Half Of European Bumblebees In Decline, Quarter Face EXTINCTION!

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man" - Albert Einstein.

April 08, 2014 - GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS - Almost one-quarter of European crops’ vital pollinators – bumblebees – could die out in the coming years, as half of the species are declining, a new study says. Citing human factor and climate change, it warns of “serious implications” for agriculture.

Reuters / Stephen Ausmus

A preview of the recent European Commission-funded study, published on the website of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Wednesday, says it has some “bad news” for Europe’s bumblebees.

As much as 46 percent of the 68 bumblebee species living in Europe have a declining population and just 13 percent are increasing in numbers, the study shows. According to IUCN, 24 percent of those species are “threatened with extinction.”

The study, which contributes to the European Red List of pollinators and is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, stresses that three of the five “most important insect pollinators of European crops” are bumblebee species.

Bumblebees have for thousands of years played a “critical role” in agriculture as they help crops reproduce by transferring pollen from plant to plant. However, as agriculture and urban development have intensified in recent years and cultivated land has been changed, bumblebees have been hit by the loss of habitat and the loss of their preferred forage, as well as pollution and insecticides.

The population of critically endangered Bombus cullumanus, for example, has declined by more than 80 percent over the last decade alone, according to the study. Once widespread in Europe, the so-called Cullum’s Bumblebee now survives only “in a few scattered locations,” much due to the mass removing of its favorite clovers from farming practices.

A beef-up in agriculture has also been blamed by the study’s authors for the shrinking population of the endangered Bombus fragrans (Steppe Bumblebee), whose native habitat is being “destroyed” in Ukraine and parts of Russia.

Increasing temperatures and long periods of drought brought about by climate change are also responsible for “major changes” in the insects’ habitat. Those species living in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, like the Scandinavian tundra and Russia’s extreme north, are vulnerable to a dramatic decline, the study concludes.

‘22 billion euro a year’

Scientists have been “very concerned” with the findings of the study, Ana Nieto, European biodiversity officer of IUCN and the study’s coordinator, said, adding that “such a high proportion of threatened bumblebees can have serious implications for our food production.”

According to Simon Potts, coordinator of STEP, this shows an increasing threat to Europe’s “natural capital,” an essential part of which is “the contribution of bumblebees to food security and the maintenance of wider plant biodiversity.”

The study itself offers an even more striking assessment of this “capital.”

Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko

Together with other pollinators, bumblebees contribute “more than 22 billion euros [over US$30 billion] to European agriculture per year,” according to IUCN.

The EU’s top environment official, Janez Potocnik, said the EU has already banned or restricted the use of certain pesticides dangerous for pollinators, but their efforts “clearly need to be scaled up.”

Potocnik believes the solution lies in “mainstreaming of biodiversity into other policies” and in raising awareness about the benefits that bumblebees bring.

According to Nieto, the negative trends can be reversed by “protecting bumblebee species and habitats, restoring degraded ecosystems and promoting biodiversity-friendly agricultural practice.”

More precisely, such measures may include “increasing the margins and buffer strips around agricultural fields that are rich in flowers and wildlife and the preservation of grasslands.”

Calls for awareness of bumblebees’ plight come as the EU strategy to halt biodiversity loss remains under review. The previously approved plan, set by EU leaders in March 2010, must be “fully implemented,” IUCN has stressed. - RT.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Gone In Just Five Seconds - Young Mother Flees With Her Newborn Baby As Monster Sinkhole Swallows Up Their House In Eastern Kazakhstan! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

April 08, 2014 - KAZAKHSTAN - A young mother grabbed her newborn baby and fled after her home just seconds before it vanished into a massive hole.

The house sinks into the hole. Several homes including Ms Tatarnikova's ended up vanishing into the hole.

Anastasia Tatarnikov, 28, thought she was running from an earthquake, but according to emergency officials the massive sinkhole had appeared as a result of mining work in the city of Ridder in eastern Kazakhstan.

In total 120 homes have been listed as being at risk and 480 people have been evacuated.

Several homes including Ms Tatarnikova's have completely vanished into the hole.

A young mother grabbed her newborn baby and fled after her home just seconds before it vanished into a massive hole.

Anastasia Tatarnikov, 28, thought she was running from an earthquake, but according to emergency officials the
massive sinkhole had appeared as a result of mining work in the city of Ridder in eastern Kazakhstan.

'I was watching TV and then it started flickering and the lights started swinging. I opened the front door and saw a massive pit appearing in the ground,' she said.

'I ran back into the house and grabbed my son Kiril out of his cot and ran out through the back door. Seconds later the entire house disappeared into the hole.

'I still can't believe that I have lost everything. I don't have any of the official paperwork from my passport through to my son's hospital documents, with his toys and all our clothes. Everything is gone.'

Anastasia Tatarnikov with her son Kiril. The pair are now homeless.

The house in the city of Ridder as it starts to shake. 'I was watching TV and then it started flickering and the lights
started swinging. I opened the front door and saw a massive pit appearing in the ground,' she said.

Ms Tatarnikov's home begins to tip into the sink hole which has emerged next to her home.

The house is falls the last few metres into the sinkhole. So far managers of the Kazzinca mining company
that runs the nearby LLP Altyn Tau East mine have declined to comment on the disaster.

A cloud of dust covers the hole. 'I ran back into the house and grabbed my son Kiril out of his cot and ran
out through the back door. Seconds later the entire house disappeared into the hole,' she said.

'I still can't believe that I have lost everything. I don't have any of the official paperwork from my passport
through to my son's hospital documents, with his toys and all our clothes,' she said.

She said local officials had promised to help with rehousing and covering the loss of everything, but so far nothing had happened.

She said: 'I am really in shock about the whole thing.'

WATCH:  Mother and baby escape before giant sinkhole swallows their house.


So far managers of the Kazzinca mining company that runs the nearby LLP Altyn Tau East mine have declined to comment on the disaster.

The pit at the moment appears to have stabilised having grown to a width of 70 metres and with a depth of 30 metres.- Daily Mail.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: World Food Prices Jump Again In March - Mostly Due To Earth Changes!

April 08, 2014 - GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS - Global food prices rose to their highest in almost a year in March, led by unfavorable weather for crops and political tensions over Ukraine, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.


The Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) price index, which measures monthly price changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 212.8 points in March, up 4.8 points or 2.3 percent from February. The reading was the highest since May 2013.

While weather was the most important factor affecting crops, Russia's annexation of Crimea introduced fear into grain markets and the wheat market in particular, and risked damaging trade patterns, a FAO senior economist told Reuters.

"Political tensions of the sort we see today have the risk of taking us back to a Cold War situation, where countries make purchases of grain not only based on price differences offered but also because of political alliances," Abdolreza Abbassian said.

In March, FAO's cereal price index rose significantly for the second month in a row, jumping 5.2 percent to its highest value since August 2013 due to unfavorable weather in the south-central United States and Brazil, along with uncertainty over grain shipments from Ukraine.

The sugar price index saw the greatest percentage increase, rising 7.9 percent on the previous month due to drought in Brazil and reduced sugarcane output in Thailand.

Dairy was the only index to ease, the first fall in prices since November 2013, affected by reduced purchases by China and strong supplies in New Zealand, FAO said.

"Apart from dairy which probably had its peaks already and is now relaxing, prices, even if they don't rise further, will remain firm until we know a bit more about how the weather is going to influence the new crops," Abbassian said.

FAO raised its global cereals production forecasts to 2.521 billion metric tons in 2013, an increase of 6 million metric tons from its

previous forecasts, reflecting higher estimates for coarse grains and rice.

However, world wheat production was seen lower at 702 million metric tons in 2014, down 2 million metric tons from the previous forecast and 2 percent lower than last year's record harvest.

FAO estimated world cereals stocks to be 582.3 million metric tons at the close of crop seasons ending in 2014, an increase of 3.8 million metric tons from its previous forecast. - FOX Business.

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Thunderstorms, Tornado And Flash Flooding Swamps U.S. Southeast - Many Homes Damaged; Child Found Dead In Mississippi; 1 Dead In Georgia; Dozens Injured; More Stormy Weather Forecast For The Week! [PHOTOS+MAPS]

April 08, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Severe thunderstorms dumped heavy rains across the Southeast on Monday and caused flash flooding in central Alabama, where crews in small boats and military trucks had to rescue dozens of people from their homes and cars.

Firefighters rescue a family from their home, surrounded by floodwaters, in a mobile home park in Pelham, Ala.,
on Monday, April 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

In Mississippi, a 9-year-old girl was swept away and killed after the storms dropped nearly seven inches of rain over the last two days. A possible tornado in another part of the state damaged homes and hurt seven people, and a motorist in metro Atlanta was found dead after driving into a creek swollen with rainwater.

Strong winds downed trees, power lines and snarled rush hour commutes. National Weather Service forecasters in North Carolina say video indicates a tornado touched down near the town of Belhaven in the eastern part of the state. Authorities say a pickup truck was lifted off the highway, injuring a man and his son.

Heavy rain triggered major flash flooding in parts of the South Sunday night into Monday. Parts of northern Alabama were the hardest hit, including the Birmingham metro area, where there were evacuations and high-water rescues.

About two dozen residents of a mobile home park in Pelham had to be rescued from floodwaters that were nearly chest-high. Others were isolated in mobile homes that were on higher ground because the only entrance into the complex was flooded. Rescue workers also helped several people and pets from an apartment complex in Homewood, where water was up to the windows of some cars.

Dozens of cars had water up to their roofs. Rescue workers wearing life jackets waded through muddy water nearly to their chests to reach stranded residents. Hundreds of more people in mobile homes on higher ground were isolated because water covered the only entrance to the complex.

Alabama Power Co. reported about 14,000 homes and businesses without power Monday morning. That was down to about 3,200 by evening.

The National Weather Service says nearly 4.4 inches of rain fell at the Birmingham airport in 24 hours. In the southern Alabama town of Evergreen, a survey crew confirmed an EF0 tornado occurred Monday morning, uprooting trees and causing minor damage to the city hospital.

In Lilburn, northeast of Atlanta, witnesses saw a car go into a creek and go under. Gwinnett County firefighters with an inflatable boat later found the driver dead inside.

In metro Atlanta, heavy rains slowed cars on the interstates and traffic lights were knocked out. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport experiencing delays.

The first day of the Masters didn't last very long. Storms moved into the area just two hours after the gates opened at Augusta National for the first full day of practice. Players had to get off the golf course. Fans made a steady stream for the exit. A few hours later, the club said the forecast for even heavier rain meant the course would be off limits the rest of the day. It was the first time in 11 years that the Monday practice was a washout. The gates did not open in 2003 all day.

Recovery crews have found the body of a 9-year-old Yazoo City girl, who authorities say was swept away by flash flood waters.

Emergency Management Directory Joey Ward said Patrauna Hudson's body was located, retrieved and identified about 7 p.m. Monday. He says the child's mother positively identified her. He says the preliminary cause of death is drowning.

Her body was discovered in a drainage canal on 7th Street about 7 p.m., not far from where she lived and was last seen. Earlier, Ward said the girl's sister saw her being carried away by the current about 7 p.m. Sunday. A neighbor saw her wash into a culvert.

Here are more images of the flooding:

David Cowan uses a cooler to help Shannon Martin remove belongings from her flooded home in Pelham, Ala., on
Monday, April 7, 2014. Heavy rains sent a creek out of its banks and resulted in severe flooding
in parts of central Alabama. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
An abandoned vehicle sits submerged by floodwaters on a road in a mobile home park in Pelham, Ala.,
on Monday, April 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
Firefighter Rusty Murphy wades through flood waters in a mobile home park in Pelham, Ala., on Monday, April 7, 2014.
(AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

Flood waters cover a street in a mobile home park in Pelham, Ala. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
The radar at 4:15 a.m. CT Monday shows the heavy, persistent rain that led to Alabama's flooding nightmare.

An EF2 tornado hit Mississippi's Covington County early Monday morning, causing injuries and damage to homes.

Covington County Emergency Management Director Greg Sanford told News Mississippi that the tornado touched down north of Collins, a rural community of about 2,700 residents, in southern Mississippi, about 2 a.m. local time.

Here is the tell-tale sign of a tornado, a hook echo on the Doppler radar from yesterday's tornado near Pantego.

The National Weather Service survey crew determined the tornado was on the ground for 16 miles.

Sanford said damage and injuries were reported in the communities of Hot Coffee. Overall, eight people were injured in Covington County according to NWS.

Here are several images of the tornado damage, courtesy of social media:


The body of a 9-year-old Yazoo City girl, who authorities say was swept away by weekend flash flood waters, was recovered late Monday, authorities said.

Yazoo County Director of Emergency Management Joey Ward said Patrauna Hudson's body was located, retrieved and identified about 7 p.m. The child's mother positively identified her, he said.

The preliminary cause of death is drowning, he said.

"She did not know how to swim," Ward said earlier. "We're hoping she was trapped or caught by some of the debris and we can find her as soon as we can."

To the southeast, Jackson had one of its rainiest days on record Sunday. With 5.97 inches of rainfall recorded, Sunday was the eighth-rainiest calendar day on record, according to the NWS.

In Warren County, Sheriff Martin Pace said a dam on private property broke Sunday in the Bovina area off Interstate. 20. Pace said the water covered portions of Warriors Trail. He said no homes were in danger.

Southern Pines Electric Company reported that 1,100 customers were without power in Covington, Jasper, Smith, Jefferson Davis and Simpson counties.
Here is the severe weather forecast for the next several days.


  • Afternoon and evening thundershowers in the Lower Mississippi Valley may produce small hail, enough to cover the ground in some spots.
  • Isolated severe thunderstorms are possible in central and south Florida with a threat of strong winds and low chance of a tornado.
Weekend Outlook: 
  • Saturday: A cluster of strong t-storms is possible in parts of the Corn Belt (eastern Neb., Ia., southern Minn.)
  • Sunday: More widespread t-storms, possibly severe, in the southern and possibly central Plains, pushing east into the Lower Mississippi and, perhaps, Tennessee Valleys into Monday.

Many areas received 2-4 inches of rain since Sunday - here's a map of the rainfall totals.

- The Weather Channel.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Two Cars Trapped By Sinkhole In Detroit, Michigan; Giant Sinkhole Shuts Down Diagonal Road In Streetsboro, Ohio; Flint City Plans To Mend Large Sinkhole In Local Neighborhood, Michigan; And Sinkhole Shuts Down Roanoke City Roadway In Virginia! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

April 08, 2014 - UNITED STATES - The following stories constitutes some of the latest incidents of sinkholes across the United States.

Two Cars Trapped By Sinkhole In Detroit, Michigan

A fresh sinkhole in Detroit along McClellan and Felch streets, near Gratiot Avenue, trapped two vehicles Friday evening.

Davonte Reed says he thought he was driving over a drainage backup when his Ford Focus became abruptly stuck in the ground.

"It's - BOOM. I just leaned forward, my face hit the steering wheel, and it's just crazy," he says.

He says he called police who told he they couldn't provide assistance, and suggested he call a tow truck. While Reed was waiting to be towed, he called and alerted FOX 2 to his situation and we sent a crew to the scene.

The tow truck came and pulled out Reed's vehicle. But, shortly after, a second vehicle drove over the same spot and also got lodged in the sinkhole because no barricade had been placed.

That accident was caught on FOX 2 camera. The photographer was shooting the tow truck driving away from the scene, carrying the Ford Focus. In just a matter of seconds after the tow truck drove out of the shot, the Jeep drives into the sinkhole. The photographer unfortunately did not have time to warn the driver because the tow truck was blocking his line of sight, and when he realized what was happening it was too late.

WATCH: Detroit sinkhole swallow two cars.


"I think it's ridiculous. They should do something about that. That's a main street here - a lot of traffic," says Jesse Rutledge. His Jeep was the second vehicle to get stuck.

That area first saw problems a few months ago when a water main broke. It was repaired, but gave way causing the sinkhole.

Both men had to pay to get their cars towed. Reed hopes to be reimbursed but was told it was not the city's fault.

"Yeah, it's my fault for driving through. It's my fault for driving on the city street," Reed jokes.

Workers from the city's Water and Sewerage Department came to the scene after to assess the damage. Water was still bubbling up later Friday night, though, so a second crew will come out Saturday morning to get a handle on the problem. - MyFOXDetroit.

Giant Sinkhole Shuts Down Diagonal Road In Streetsboro, Ohio
A 12-foot wide sinkhole has closed Diagonal Road between S.R. 14 in Streetsboro and Overlook Drive in Twin Lakes
for four to six weeks. The hole was the result of a collapsed storm sewer line. On Friday, city employees
worked to support an exposed water line in the sinkhole.

Bob Gaetjens/Gateway News

A portion of Diagonal Road between S.R. 14 in Streetsboro and Overlook Drive in Twin Lakes could remain closed four to six weeks because of a sinkhole.

The road was closed at about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The sinkhole is on Diagonal Road between Pleasant Valley Road and Lake Royale Boulevard. Road closed signs are posted at S.R. 14 and Overlook Drive in Twin Lakes.

By about noon on Friday, the hole, which started as a 6- to 7-foot wide sinkhole, had eroded into a 12-foot wide chasm, according to Streetsboro Service Department Director Bill Miller. Portions of the shoulder of the road began falling into the hole, as well.

"Due to the questionable safe passage of motor vehicle traffic, the decision was immediately made to close the road to traffic," Mayor Glenn Broska wrote in a statement. "Barricades were erected as soon as possible and will remain in place until the culvert is repaired."

Miller encouraged traffic to use S.R. 14 and S.R. 43 as a detour.

"The storm sewer line is what gave way," Miller said. "And it's about 80 feet long, and it's going to need to be replaced."

A passing motorist notified Streetsboro police of the sinkhole.

Miller then discovered the 36-inch, cross-road culvert had collapsed. He said he's working with Joe Ciuni of GPD Group to determine the cost of replacing the culvert.

Streetsboro and Franklin Township residents and their visitors as well as city emergency vehicles should be able to access their homes, but other motorists should heed the road closures, city officials said.

A crew from the Streetsboro Service Department was on the scene Friday morning, working to protect an exposed and unsupported water line in the sinkhole.

Jerry Benci, one of the two city workers on hand, said he and Michael Sweet were working to protect the PVC water line from large rocks which could fall and pierce it. - Record Courier.

Flint City Plans To Mend Large Sinkhole In Local Neighborhood, Michigan

What started out as a small inconvenience, turned into a major problem for some residents in this Flint neighborhood.

Brittney Lewis and her sister say the growing sinkhole is just steps away from their Flint home near the intersection of Dupont and Bagley Streets.

"it's real big now, scary," Brittney said.

It was just a small divot less than a week ago...and now measures over six feet at its widest point. It's no wonder concerns are growing as fast as the sinkhole itself.

"I'm nervous about the kids running back and forth across the street and they might fall down. That's why I tell my little sister, just stay up here by the driveway and the cars," said Brittney.

The school busses. They mostly come down right there. It makes me nervous," said Sterlisha Alexander, who lives across the street from the sinkhole.

While some residents are worried, others have met the situation with a sense of humor and trust Flint will fix it.

"Michigan has brought a little bit of Florida to us and we have our own sinkhole. Flint's trying, but it's going to take some time," said Terry Schlosser who lives in the neighborhood of the sinkhole.

But it may not take as long as some probably think. The City of Flint already has plans in place to work on the hole, but it's not going to be cheap.

"This is probably one of the roughest winters we've experienced inside the city of flint. And we have yet to see what kind of damage has been done, but the damage is really financial damage because we have to come up with the resources to repair these types of things," said Sheldon Neeley, city councilman of the sixth ward. "Safety is a high priority and we're going to make sure all the resources are going to be available to make sure that safety is going to be maintained inside the city of Flint," Neeley told ABC12.

Crews are expected to be out here this week to assess the problem and determine how they will fix it. - ABC12.

Sinkhole Shuts Down Roanoke City Roadway In Virginia

With recent rainfall, a sinkhole has opened up on a Roanoke City roadway.

The sinkhole is about four feet in diameter and about one foot deep.

The sinkhole has closed a portion of Southern Hills Drive in the Southwest portion of the city.

The closure is between the 4200 and 4300 blocks, or from where Southern Hills Drive intersects Van Winkle and Griffin roads. Police say they are advising drivers to take alternate routes. - WSLS.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Rare Earthquake Strikes Southern France; Magnitude 5.0 Tremor Shook Homes 30 Miles From Nice! [MAPS+TECTONIC SUMMARY]

April 08, 2014 - FRANCE - An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 5.0 shook southern France today (April 7), according to France's National Seismic Monitoring Network.

Map of earthquake today (April 7, 2014) in southern France.
Credit: EMSC

The earthquake's epicenter was about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the resort city of Nice and 69 miles (111 km) from Monaco. The quake originated 7 miles (11 km) deep and struck at 9:27 p.m. local time (19:27 UTC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports.

The USGS automated earthquake detection network calculated a preliminary magnitude of 4.7 for the temblor.

There were no immediate reports of damage, according to Reuters.

Earthquakes in southern France primarily result from the ongoing collision between the African and European tectonic plates. The plates are crashing together at a rate of 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) per year.

USGS earthquake intensity map.

Earthquakes of this size are often felt across a wide area and may cause minor to moderate damage, such as cracked plaster. They can cause significant damage in areas with outdated building standards. But the damage caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. - Live Science.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Mediterranean Region and Vicinity.
The Mediterranean region is seismically active due to the northward convergence (4-10 mm/yr) of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary. This convergence began approximately 50 Ma and was associated with the closure of the Tethys Sea. The modern day remnant of the Tethys Sea is the Mediterranean Sea. The highest rates of seismicity in the Mediterranean region are found along the Hellenic subduction zone of southern Greece, along the North Anatolian Fault Zone of western Turkey and the Calabrian subduction zone of southern Italy.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Local high rates of convergence at the Hellenic subduction zone (35mm/yr) are associated with back-arc spreading throughout Greece and western Turkey above the subducting Mediterranean oceanic crust. Crustal normal faulting throughout this region is a manifestation of extensional tectonics associated with the back-arc spreading. The region of the Marmara Sea is a transition zone between this extensional regime, to the west, and the strike-slip regime of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, to the east. The North Anatolian Fault accommodates much of the right-lateral horizontal motion (23-24 mm/yr) between the Anatolian micro-plate and Eurasian plate as the Anatolian micro-plate is being pushed westward to further accommodate closure of the Mediterranean basin caused by the collision of the African and Arabian plates in southeastern Turkey. Subduction of the Mediterranean Sea floor beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea at the Calabrian subduction zone causes a significant zone of seismicity around Sicily and southern Italy. Active volcanoes are located above intermediate depth earthquakes in the Cyclades of the Aegean Sea and in southern Italy.

In the Mediterranean region there is a written record, several centuries long, documenting pre-instrumental seismicity (pre-20th century). Earthquakes have historically caused widespread damage across central and southern Greece, Cyprus, Sicily, Crete, the Nile Delta, Northern Libya, the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The 1903 M8.2 Kythera earthquake and the 1926 M7.8 Rhodes earthquakes are the largest instrumentally recorded Mediterranean earthquakes, both of which are associated with subduction zone tectonics. Between 1939 and 1999 a series of devastating M7+ strike-slip earthquakes propagated westward along the North Anatolian Fault Zone, beginning with the 1939 M7.8 Erzincan earthquake on the eastern end of the North Anatolian Fault system. The 1999 M7.6 Izmit earthquake, located on the westward end of the fault, struck one of Turkey's most densely populated and industrialized urban areas killing, more than 17,000 people. Although seismicity rates are comparatively low along the northern margin of the African continent, large destructive earthquakes have been recorded and reported from Morocco in the western Mediterranean, to the Dead Sea in the eastern Mediterranean. The 1980 M7.3 El Asnam earthquake was one of Africa's largest and most destructive earthquakes within the 20th century.

Large earthquakes throughout the Mediterranean region have also been known to produce significant and damaging tsunamis. One of the more prominent historical earthquakes within the region is the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755, whose magnitude has been estimated from non-instrumental data to be about 8.0. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake is thought to have occurred within or near the Azores-Gibraltar transform fault, which defines the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates off the west coast of Morocco and Portugal. The earthquake is notable for both a large death toll of approximately 60,000 people and for generating a tsunami that swept up the Portuguese coast inundating coastal villages and Lisbon. An earthquake of approximately M8.0 near Sicily in 1693 generated a large tsunami wave that destroyed numerous towns along Sicily's east coast. The M7.2 December 28, 1908 Messina earthquake is the deadliest documented European earthquake. The combination of severe ground shaking and a local tsunami caused an estimated 60,000 to 120,000 fatalities. - USGS.