Hundreds of Barrier Islands Newly Identified in Global Survey

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Image of Gurupi Islands, along the equatorial coast of Brazil. Long mangrove-covered fingers (dark green in image), up to 25 km long and less than 5 km wide, are tipped with curved, narrow, sandy barrier islands (white strips in photo) and separated by funnel-shaped river mouths. These islands change rapidly and some have eroded at rates of more than 50 feet per year.Photo source: ©© Maarten Danial

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Earth has 657 more barrier islands than previously thought, according to a new global survey by researchers from Duke University and Meredith College.

The researchers identified a total of 2,149 barrier islands worldwide using satellite images, topographical maps and navigational charts. The new total is significantly higher than the 1,492 islands identified in a 2001 survey conducted without the aid of publicly available satellite imagery.

All told, the 2,149 barrier islands measure 20,783 kilometers in length, are found along all continents except Antarctica and in all oceans, and make up roughly 10 percent of Earth’s continental shorelines. Seventy-four percent of the islands are found in the northern hemisphere.

Barrier islands help protect low-lying mainland coasts against erosion and storm damage, and can be important wildlife habitats. The nation with the most barrier islands is the United States, with 405, including those along the Alaskan Arctic shoreline…

Read Full Article, Journal of Coastal Research, Science Daily

Tsunami Warnings, Written in Stone

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“The Great Wave off Kanagawa”, color woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). First publication: between 1826 and 1833. Current location Library of Congress. Photo source: ©© Wikipedia

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The stone tablet has stood on this forested hillside since before they were born, but the villagers have faithfully obeyed the stark warning carved on its weathered face: “Do not build your homes below this point!”

Residents say this injunction from their ancestors kept their tiny village of 11 households safely out of reach of the deadly tsunami last month that wiped out hundreds of miles of Japanese coast and rose to record heights near here. The waves stopped just 300 feet below the stone, and the village beyond it.

“They knew the horrors of tsunamis, so they erected that stone to warn us,” said Tamishige Kimura, 64, the village leader of Aneyoshi.

Hundreds of these so-called tsunami stones, some more than six centuries old, dot the coast of Japan, standing in silent testimony to the past destruction that these lethal waves have frequented upon this earthquake-prone nation. But modern Japan, confident that advanced technology and higher seawalls would protect vulnerable areas, came to forget or ignore these ancient warnings, dooming it to repeat bitter experiences when the recent tsunami struck…

Read Full Article, By Martin Fackler, The New York Times

BP Oil Spill, One Year On: Forgetting the Lessons of Drilling in the Gulf

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BP oil spill. Photo source: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Emily F. Alley.

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Yet now, a year after the oil spill began, it’s still far from certain that deepwater drilling has become much safer, even as oil companies and conservatives in Congress agitate for new drilling permits. The industry has made some improvements – like keeping well-capping technology on hand, but critics say they’ve fallen far short of what needs to be done, while underpaid government regulators are still straining to properly oversee drilling…

Read Full Article, By Bryan Walsh, The Time

BP Oil Spill: How Bad Is Damage to Gulf One Year Later? Time

One Year Later, Oil Spill’s Impact on Gulf Not Fully Understood
Cornell University experts comment on the known and unknown impacts to wildlife, in the air, on the land and in the sea.

Environmentalists still face uphill battle on Gulf Coast, Los Angeles Time

Deepwater Horizon and the Gulf oil spill: some key questions answered

Concerns Over Sand Mining and Beaches Alterations, Chennai Coast, India

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Brick making is a common sight in rural Tamil Nadu around Chennai as the red clay is readily available and the demand for building materials ever growing. Structures like these dot the countryside as the bricks get slowly sold and removed. It is generally a tough livelihood done by the very poor at the margins and doesn’t provide them a very good life. It leaves the land pockmarked and unsuitable for later agriculture. But with the insatiable demand of the growing cities for bricks, sand and gravel, the mining and brick-making activities are not going to diminish any time soon. Captions and Photo source: ©© McKay Savage

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On the afternoon of January 20, K. Saravanan, a member of the Urur Kuppam fishermen’s panchayat and an RTI activist, spotted a road being paved using construction debris on the beach leading up to the Adyar basin. Now, mounds of sand dot the Adyar river mouth as the Public Works Department (PWD) gears up to mine sand from the Adyar and Cooum river basins, on North Marina Beach.

While officials claim that it is routine removal of sandbars from the river mouth, fishermen and local residents allege that it is sand theft and could result in adverse ecological impact.

Read Full Article, “Concerns Over Sand Mining and Road Construction on The Beach,” The Hindu

“Illegal road on Thiruvanmayur Beach, Chennai’s Coast” a NDTV Video

Law makers turn law breakers

Japan Quake Caused Surprisingly Severe Soil Collapse

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Post tsunami devastation, Japan 2011. Photograph courtesy © by Mark Edward Harris.
In geology, liquefaction refers to the process by which saturated, unconsolidated sediments, primarily sands and silts, temporarily lose strength and behave as a viscous liquid rather than as a solid. Ground failure caused by liquefaction is a major cause of earthquake damage and casualties.

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The scale of Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami wasn’t the only thing that surprised geologists.

The 9.0 earthquake in Japan, the fourth most powerful quake ever recorded, also caused an unusually severe and widespread shift in soil through liquefaction, a new study suggests.

Near coastlines, harbors and rivers, earthquakes can make the wet, sandy soil jiggle, turning it temporarily from a solid to a liquid state, a process known as liquefaction. Heavy sand and rock sinks, while water and lighter sand bubble to the surface. The slurry spreads, often toward the water, and the surface shifts.

Japan’s liquefaction occurred over hundreds of miles, surprising even experienced engineers who are accustomed to seeing disaster sites, including from the recent earthquakes in Chile and New Zealand…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Soil Liquefaction, Wikipedia

Asia Nuclear Reactors Face Tsunami Risk

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Guangdong nuclear power plant. (Guangdong, China). Captions and Photo source: ©© IAEA Imagebank

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The skeleton of what will soon be one of the world’s biggest nuclear plants is slowly taking shape along China’s southeastern coast, right on the doorstep of Hong Kong’s bustling metropolis. Three other facilities nearby are up and running or under construction.

Like Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant they lie within a few hundred miles of the type of fault known to unleash the largest tsunami-spawning earthquakes…

Read Full Article, AP

Why We Build Nuclear Power Station In Earthquake Zones

Turkish Nuclear Plans on Mediterranean Coast Causes Concerns

Third Nuclear Plant Discharge Destroys Reefs

Arctic’s Icy Coastlines Retreat as Planet Warms

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Antartica. Photo source: ©© Benjamin Dumas

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The coastline in Arctic regions reacts to climate change with increased erosion and retreats by half a metre per year on average. This means substantial changes for Arctic ecosystems near the coast and the population living there.

A consortium of more than thirty scientists from ten countries, including researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association and from the Helmholtz Centre in Geesthacht, comes to this conclusion in two studies published in Estuaries and Coasts…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Erosion Doubles Along Alaska’s Arctic Coast

State of the Arctic Coast, 2010 Report

Arctic’s Icy Coastlines Retreat as Planet Warms:LiveScience

Tristan da Cunha islanders rescue penguins threatened by oil slick

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Rockhopper Penguins. Photo source: ©© Liam Quinn

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One of the world’s most dramatic wildlife rescues is coming to a successful conclusion on Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. Thousands of endangered northern rockhopper penguins, which were caught in thick oil slicks, have been saved in a month-long operation involving virtually all of the islands’ 260 inhabitants.

The penguins were trapped in oil released by the freighter MV Oliva when it ran aground and broke up last month off Nightingale island, 20 miles from the main island of Tristan da Cunha…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Shipwreck Causes Oil Slick On South Atlantic Island, in Coastal Care

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

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