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Earthwatch: A Diary of the Planet

August 22, 1996

Earthquakes

One person was killed and at least 35 others were injured by a sharp quake that struck Turkey's northern Anatolian town of Amasya. One building collapsed and several others were damaged during the shaking. A swarm of earthquakes and tremors shook northeastern Japan for three days, the strongest injuring 10 people and damaging several homes, mainly in Miyagi and Kurikoma prefectures. Earth movements were also felt in Taiwan, western Sumatra, Sulawesi, the Greece-Albania border region, central Bolivia and Southern California.

Volcanoes

A volcano in the central Philippines that had been dormant for three years erupted without warning, killing two people who were climbing near the crater's edge. Several Belgian tourists who had climbed to the summit were injured by the brief eruption. Activity within Indonesia's Mount Merapi Volcano increased with flows of lava and further explosions of ash and smoke. Residents near the central Java mountain are on alert for possible evacuation should the eruptions become dangerous.

Banana Batteries

Fruits and vegetables such as bananas, oranges and eggplant are an excellent source of low-level electricity, and their wastes could even replace harmful chemicals in batteries, according to Indian scientists at Venkateswara University in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In one of their more successful experiments, a wall clock ran for four weeks with a battery made with banana peels that were crushed and placed in a container with electrodes. The researchers say further development could produce much longer lifetimes for the natural batteries.

Rat Scare

Tens of thousands of dead rats that have been caught in the nets of fishermen in India's northeast Assam state during recent days have raised fears of an impending outbreak of disease.

Residents are afraid to take drinking water from the Ranganadi River, so wells have been dug to provide a safe supply.

False Terrier

Kiev's Vseukrainskiye Vedomosti (All-Ukraine Gasette) reported a tale of mistaken identity that endangered a child and left his parents "thunderstruck." Victor R. returned from an unnamed foreign destination with what he thought was a bull terrier puppy for his wife and son as a gift.

At first, the animal ate normally and did not demand much attention. But the paper said that on the sixth day the parents were awakened by the screams of their 3-year-old whose ear was being chewed off by the animal. The child was treated for minor wounds, and a veterinarian informed the parents that their pet was actually a rare species of Pakistani rat, which in its early stage of development resembles a bull terrier puppy.

Addition Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency, U.S. Climate Analysis Center, U.S. Earthquake Information Center and the World Meteorological Organization.

Copyrighted 1996 Chronicle Features

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