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Science File / An exploration of issues and trends
affecting science, medicine and the environment | Earthwatch
/ A Diary of the Planet

Mediterranean Migration

July 09, 1998

A growing number of tropical fish species are making the Mediterranean Sea their permanent home because of global warming. The migration is attributed to a rise in water temperature of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit during the past 30 years, according to Icram, Italy's leading marine research center. The invading fish are coming from the Atlantic Ocean off Africa and the Red Sea, and are thriving in part because indigenous species have been weakened by overfishing and deteriorating environmental conditions. Italian Environment Minister Edo Ronchi described the arrival of the warm-water species as a worrisome indication of climate change.

Earthquakes

A devastating temblor killed at least 144 people and wrecked thousands of buildings when it struck southeastern Turkey on June 27. Subsequent fires destroyed many more homes, and scores of aftershocks rocked the region following the initial quake.

Nearly 60 houses were damaged when a moderate earthquake struck central Japan's Nagano Prefecture. Earth movements were also felt in southern Russia, Nepal, north-central Australia and south-central Alaska.

Enduring Storms

Several more rounds of severe storms, tornadoes and flash flooding struck many parts of the American Midwest and Northeast as weather patterns remain stalled across the U.S. Tornadoes and high winds in Iowa wrecked several homes and blew a train off the tracks. Severe floodingforced thousands from their homes in Ohio and West Virginia.

Mt. Etna Erupts

Sicily's Mt. Etna volcano erupted shortly after midnight July 1, shooting up "bombs" of lava nearly 4.5 feet in diameter on the eastern side of the mountain's main summit cone. The 30-minute eruption was visible for several miles but did not threaten any villages. Subsequent explosions of ash occurred from the northern vent area while slow lava flows poured out of the southeastern crater.

35,000 Flee Fires

Fresh wildfires in Florida sent 35,000 residents of Brevard and Volusia counties fleeing their homes. Officials evacuated Scottsmoor, Mims and other towns as the fires stretched for more than 20 miles to the west of the Kennedy Space Center. The fires moved so rapidly that they didn't burn all of the vegetation as they roared through. They were able to double back and burn the same area following a shift in the wind.

Monkey Repellent

After years of unsuccessful attempts to keep crop-eating monkeys out of Japanese fields, a Tokyo research team believes it may have finally found a way to prevent the damage caused by the marauding primates. Animal raids on crops were successfully prevented by shooting chili powder into the air, irritating the eyes and noses of monkeys that passed in front of sensors.

Additional Sources: U.S. Climate Analysis Center, U.S. Earthquake Information Center andthe World Meteorological Organization

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