• Two Kiwi goldfish survive without food for more than four months

    Workers returning to a downtown office in Christchurch, New Zealand, discover goldfish alive in their tank at the office; the goldfish have not been fed since the February floods forced the evacuation of the town; fish expert theorize that bacteria kept the water in the tank clean, and that the fish ate algae which grew on rocks in the tank

  • Japan halts shipments of radioactive beef

    The Japanese government is coming under fire for only halting shipments of contaminated cattle now, four months after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic energy station; authorities recently discovered that 637 cattle had been fed hay contaminated with radioactive cesium and then shipped from farms in northern prefectures including Fukushima

  • Virginia powerplant holds nuke disaster simulation

    On Tuesday, nuclear plant officials and emergency responders recently participated in an exercise to simulate an accident at the Surry atomic power plant in Virginia; Dominion Virginia Power, which operates the state’s four nuclear reactors, regularly holds exercises like these at the Surry plant, but following Japan’s nuclear disaster, the exercises have become even more important

  • Studying the Japan quake's impact on soil will improve building design

    The 11 March quake that hit Japan weakened subsurface materials by as much as 70 percent; that nonlinear response from the top layer of the Earth’s crust affected how the movement of faults deep beneath the surface was delivered to buildings, bridges, and other structures; understanding how the soil responds to powerful earthquakes could be important to engineers and architects designing future buildings to withstand the level of acceleration measured in this quake

  • Sensor network to provide early quake alerts

    Researchers from U.S. universities are collaborating to implement a new network of seismic sensors aimed at arming communities with early earthquake detection and warning capabilities; the sensors, no bigger than a Post-it note, are part of a new phase of the Quake-Catcher Network (QCN), a project gathering detailed data to help scientists understand the earthquake process and how to mitigate against its effects

  • U.S. West Coast is rapidly eroding, with pace to accelerate

    The stormy conditions of the 2009-10 El Nino winter eroded beaches from San Diego to Seattle to often unprecedented levels; the higher sea levels expected due to global warming, and potentially even stronger winter storms, will likely to contribute to increased rates of beach and bluff erosion along much of the U.S. West Coast

  • Method for early detection of tsunami found

    Researchers, for the first time, have recorded an airglow signature in the upper atmosphere produced by a tsunami; the signature, caused by the 11 March earthquake that devastated Japan, was observed in an airglow layer 250 kilometers above the Earth’s surface; it preceded the tsunami by one hour, suggesting that the technology could be used as an early-warning system in the future

  • Japan's prime minister pushes to end nuke program

    Japan could soon be following in the footsteps of Germany and shut down its nuclear energy plants; at a televised press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Naota Kan pushed to end Japan’s nuclear program; “Japan should aim for a society that does not depend on nuclear energy,” Kan said

  • Understanding deadly tornadoes

    Scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are analyzing radar data from 27 April 2011 — the day that saw of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history — then merging the information with detailed storm surveys and other data; they hope to learn more about how the storms formed, what made the storms so powerful and what might be done to make tornado warnings more effective

  • Volunteers help California build quake sensor network

    Thousands of residents across California are helping the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) build a dense network of seismic sensors across the state; as part of the Quake Catcher Network, Californians are being asked to place 6,000 seismic sensors in their homes to help geologists study earthquakes

  • Louisiana parish plans extreme weather alert system

    Emergency officials in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana are considering installing warning sirens that would alert residents of dangerous weather; officials hope to install sixty towers throughout the Parish; authorities are currently conducting feasibility studies to determine if installing the sirens is practical and a financial possibility

  • Trapped couple receives bill for stay in New Zealand hotel during quake

    A couple stuck in a Christchurch, New Zealand hotel after the 22 February 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the city, was shocked to discover they had been charged for their stay; a New Zealand man and his wife were trapped on the hotel’s twenty-second floor for hours and eventually were forced to escape after daringly crossing collapsed stair cases, smashing down doors, and crawling to the roof of a parking lot nearby

  • 45 percent of children in Fukushima exposed to thyroid radiation

    A survey revealed that 45 percent of children living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been exposed to thyroid radiation; following the nuclear disaster and the revelation that radiation was leaking from reactor no. 1, researchers tested more than 1,000 children from newborns to age fifteen in the Fukushima Prefecture; children were found to have been exposed to 0.04 microsievert per hour or less in most cases

  • Key to coping with disasters: neighbors

    A political scientist who had moved to New Orleans only weeks before Hurricane Katrina concluded that neighbors — and cooperation among neighbors — are more important for surviving, coping with, and recovering from disasters than ambulances and fire trucks and government aid; to make sure his observations were more than anecdotal, he visited disaster areas around the world, and his data show that his personal experiences reflect a larger truth

  • Disasters hit businesses hard, keeping many permanently closed

    Business owners across the United States are being urged to create emergency plans, so that they can continue operating in the wake of a natural disaster; according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, 25 percent of businesses hit by a natural disaster are unable to continue functioning