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SCIENCE FILE | Earthwatch: A Diary of the Planet

June 27, 1996

Tropical Cyclone

The second tropical cyclone to strike India this week smashed into the western state of Gujarat with winds up to 60 mph and killed more than 215 people. Six victims were buried alive by a mudslide near Bombay, and scores of buildings were swept into the Arabian Sea. More than 1,000 people were evacuated from the port of Una and surrounding areas. Scores of sailors were rescued from cargo ships that had run aground or were in danger of capsizing.

Tropical storm Arthur, first of the Atlantic hurricane season, moved along the East Coastof the United States, but did little damage.

Fearsome Floods

Yemen appealed for international assistance after massive floods. Entire villages were underwater, and 42 members of one family were killed. Damage was heaviest in Yemen's eastern provinces.

Gales lashed Sri Lanka, killed 10 people and left more than 10,000 others homeless. Most deaths were caused by falling trees or walls.

Flash floods killed at least 12 people in northwestern Pakistan and three villages were flooded in neighboring Afghanistan.

At least six people were killed during flash floods that swept central Morocco. Some of the victims were killed by lightning. The Algerian news agency APS reported major floods in the western province of Tlemcen this week, but gave few details.

More than four inches of rain left 1,200 people homeless in the Ghanaian port city of Sekondi- Takoradi. One man was killed while attempting to rescue a duck.

Volcanoes

New Zealand's Mt. Ruaphew volcano quieted after a spectacular Monday eruption, but scientists are prepared for more activity. Dense ash clouds had forced the closure of airports and disrupted international flights.

Italian scientists plan to explode dynamite around Mt. Vesuvius next week to develop a three- dimensional model of the volcano. Volcanologist Giovanni Ianacone said, "There is not the slightest chance it could trigger an eruption."

Earthquakes

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake jolted Indonesia's eastern islands but there were no casualties, and little damage. The quake was centered in eastern Timor.

Earth movements were also felt in the Aleutian Islands chain, the Kurlie Islands, New Zealand, Iran, Japan and Panama.

Amorous Amphibians

Mating frogs are keeping people in South Florida awake. "Rainfall makes them sing, and mate," said Bill Hutchins of the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center. Frogs only mate when floating, and heavy rainfall in Palm County has produced perfect conditions for frog love. Thousands of people have called wildlife experts to complain.

Additional sources: U.S. Climate Analysis Center, U.S. Earthquake Information Center and the World Meteorological Organization.

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