Massive dust storm engulfs Phoenix
A MASSIVE dust storm has engulfed the southwestern US city of Phoenix, blotting out the sun and knocking down electricity poles, local media reported. The US National Weather Service confirmed that a "very large and historic dust storm" had moved through the area, without providing further details.
Photos and videos on several local news websites showed a mountain of dust drifting over the city. The storm had reportedly passed by by late that night.
This year unusually severe storms have battered the US, which is experiencing its deadliest tornado season in six decades and has also seen epic flooding along the Mississippi River and severe drought in the south.
New Zealand earthquake
The quake struck at 7.03am (NZT) at a depth of 20km, according to the US Geological Service. It was felt in Wellington and parts of the East Coast of the North Island.
It was originally reported to be magnitude 7.8 at a depth of 48km but USGS has revised it to magnitude 7.6.
The USGS said tsunamis had already struck the Kermadec Islands and Raoul Island this morning. The waves were 68cm and 84cm high before adding it had issued a tsunami warning for New Zealand, affecting East Cape, North Cape, Gisborne and Auckland.
Four quakes shake Melbourne
THE ground was shaking yesterday and overnight, with tremors from four earthquakes felt in Melbourne.
The first quake, with a magnitude of 4.4 hit at 11.32am yesterday, in Korumburra, which is about 120km away from the CBD.
The next came at 12.37pm, and was a lower 3.3, and another measuring 3.7 hit at 7.16pm.
This morning, one hit while most of Melbourne was asleep at 3.03am, and measured at 3.3 on the Richter scale
Feared Iceland volcano 'ready to erupt'
Experts say one of Iceland's most feared volcanoes looks ready to erupt, with measurements indicating magma movement, raising fears of a new ash cloud halting flights over Europe.
The Hekla volcano is close to the ash-spewing Eyjafjoell, which last year caused the world's biggest airspace shut down since World War II, affecting more than 100,000 flights and 8 million passengers.
The Iceland Civil Protection Authority says it is closely monitoring the situation.
"The movements around Hekla have been unusual in the last two to three days," University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson said.
'Perfect Storm' Coming for Global Economy in 2013: Roubini
Weakening economic conditions will come together in 2013 and create a "perfect storm" of global weakness, economist Nouriel Roubini told CNBC.
Known for his generally dour outlook that helped him see the financial crisis before it hit in 2008, Roubini said the US, European nations and others have become adept enough at forestalling their problems that a true crisis won't hit until 2013.
Roubini said the US, European nations and others have become adept enough at forestalling their problems that a true crisis won't hit until 2013.
But when it does, the effects are likely to be painful.
Below is a very good, reasonable review of "Comet Elenin" and what we may expect in the coming months:
Will Comet Elenin cause major earthquakes as it approaches earth?
There has been growing scientific debate about Comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin) as it approaches the Earth, and its significance as it comes as close as 0.23 Astronomic Units -about one quarter the distance between the Earth and the sun - on October 16, 2011.
At one end of the spectrum are NASA scientists claiming that Elenin is little more than a comet comprising icy space debris with negligible mass that will have little effect on the Earth. At the other end are some scientists and private researchers claiming that Elenin is a large planetary body, possibly a brown dwarf star, and its near approach will have calamitous effects.
The debate over Elenin's significance has been dramatically changed with the emergence of a Bosnian scientist who has released a remarkable paper tracking the relationship between planetary alignments and seismic (earthquake) activity on the Earth.
Dr Mensur Omerbashich claims that since 2006, comet Elenin has had a measurable impact on the Earth's seismic activity. If Dr Omerbashich is correct, then we can expect a rapid surge in seismic activity in terms of major earthquakes as Elenin approaches the Earth during the latter part of 2011.
Despite the paradox over Elenin's composition and influence, the scientific data points to it causing intense seismic activity as Elenin approaches and aligns with the Earth and other celestial bodies. The dates of September 26 and November 23, 2011 will be very important to watch in terms of high magnitude earthquakes as Elenin swings in a 90 degree arc through the inner solar system, and aligns with both the Earth and the sun.