Environment

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Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown has made an emergency declaration after a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked northern California, causing dozens of injuries, damaged buildings and power outages. The quake struck at 3:20 a.m. PT, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

Iceland today raised an aviation alert level to reflect growing concern over underground rumblings at its Bardarbunga volcano in the central part of the island nation.

A sub-glacial eruption caused Icelandic authorities to raise the aviation alert level to red, indicating "significant emission of ash into the atmosphere," The Associated Press reports.

Air pollution is clogging the skies of our planet. Now one scientist thinks Earth may be just one of many polluted worlds — and that searching for extraterrestrial smog may actually be a good way to search for alien intelligence.

"People refer to 'little green men,' but ETs that are detected by this method should not be labeled as green," says Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University.

The idea of finding alien polluters may be a bit of a long shot, but Loeb says it's possible.

LitchfieldBZ / YouTube

The state of Connecticut has sold the historic former Litchfield County jail to a real estate investor for $130,000. 

Scott Smedley / Trinity College

Researchers at Trinity College are snapping pictures of animals at compost piles as part of an ongoing biology project. They've been getting lots of pictures, and they're now hoping a new group can help analyze them: veterans. 

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a milestone agreement today in the effort to bring high- speed passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick arrived in Greenfield onboard a train from North Adams to announce a tentative agreement to have the state purchase the rail line between East Northfield on the Vermont border and Springfield.  The 49-mile stretch is nearing the completion of a major restoration that will return passenger rail service to communities along the Connecticut River.

Sarah McAnulty / squidscientistas

For young scientists, finding money to support basic research can be difficult. Federal research budgets are shrinking, and grant applications can be a time sink, removing researchers from their lab or their graduate work.

Some young scientists are now forgoing traditional funding mechanisms, and turning to the power of the crowd.

The illegal trade in ivory from African elephants has tripled in the past 15 years, to the extent that biologists fear for the creatures' future existence.

Sean Phillips / U.S. Navy

The sub base in New London is hosting a meeting between the Navy and energy industry to exchange information about renewable energy, a mini-electric grid, and industry research. 

University of Connecticut

Residents of Deep River were awakened by an earthquake this week. The 2.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded at about 3:09 am Thursday morning. Residents said they heard a loud boom, and their houses briefly shook. No injuries or damage were reported.

According to the U.S. Geological survey, the earthquake's epicenter was located in the southwest section of Deep River, in an part of the state known for frequent seismic activity.

University of New Hampshire

Residents using outdoor wood burning furnaces to heat their homes and businesses could now be eligible for state money. A new program offers cash for the removal or replacement of old heating units.

Tomislav Zivkovic/iStock / Thinkstock

Some residents in southern Connecticut say they were awoken by their homes shaking, and the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed a minor earthquake.

NOAA

Streets are flooded in parts of Connecticut and nearly 1,700 power outages are reported as heavy rain moves across southern New England. 

The Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Overnight

Aug 12, 2014

The annual Perseid meteor shower will streak the sky Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The best time to watch is between 3 and 4 a.m., for all time zones across the world, NASA says.

"This year, light from a nearly full moon will make the meteors harder to see, but NASA says you can still expect around 30 to 40 per hour," reports NPR's Geoff Brumfiel.

Brumfiel spoke with Rhiannon Blaauw of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office for shower-watching tips:

A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA finds that Atlantic Cod cod stocks have reached the lowest level ever.

Russ Brown, with the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, says after researchers observed declining cod stocks in 2011, counts during the last fishing season showed cod populations continue to slide. 

Dennis Quinn / Connecticut Herpetology

If you’ve found yourself out hiking Connecticut’s trails this summer, you may have encountered a snake or two. Would you be able to tell the difference, though, between a non-poisonous water snake and a poisonous northern Copperhead?

Tammy Strobel / Flickr Creative Commons

I live in a small house on a street of big houses. And when I say big, some of the houses on my street are 7,000 and 8,000 square feet. A big house signifies an important person, right? The governor lives in a mansion. The Archbishop of Hartford lives down the street from him in a house that's even bigger.

Tropical Storm Iselle Makes Landfall On Hawaii

Aug 8, 2014

The National Weather Service says the eye of Tropical Storm Iselle has made landfall on Hawaii’s Big Island.

It is the first hurricane or tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years, and another hurricane is following in its path. Hurricane Julio, a Category 3 storm, is about 1,000 miles behind in the Pacific.

Iselle’s eye swept onto shore about 5 miles east of Pahala with winds at 60 mph at 2:30 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time.

Vuilnis bij Essent Milieu / Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff you throw away?

Chances are, you've watched it get hurled into the back of a garbage or recycling truck. But what happens after it leaves the curb? Well, the story of trash is a lot more fascinating and complex than you probably think. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A first-of-its-kind, large-scale, one day water-testing event took place Wednesday along the Connecticut River and its major tributaries. 

This post was updated at 5:06 a.m. ET Friday:

The National Weather Service has downgraded Hurricane Iselle to a tropical storm. Residents are still warned to take precautions. Strong winds have already knocked out power to parts of Hawaii's Big Island.

This post was updated at 8:45 p.m. ET.

At the moment, Hawaii is forecast to receive a direct hit from a hurricane for the first time in 22 years.

claumoho / Creative Commons

For 50 years, the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield has provided a hands-on look at the natural diversity of northwestern Connecticut. With workshops, educational programs -- even its own Nature Museum -- the center has been teaching visitors about the various species and habitats found on the surrounding land. 

A state-financed expansion of public transportation in western Massachusetts is being launched this month.

    The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will introduce seven new bus routes, including a much demanded cross-town bus in Springfield, and a new route between Amherst and Holyoke.   There will be more hours, mostly on the weekend, on 14 routes and buses will run more frequently on 15 routes.   PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes said ridership was up 2 percent last year.

Tomorrow morning, a European space probe will arrive at a comet with a tongue-twister of a name: Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Getting there has been proven even trickier than pronouncing it.

The Rosetta spacecraft began its journey way back in March of 2004.

First it swung past Earth to gather speed. Then it catapulted out to Mars, for a boost from that planet's gravity field. Then in 2007, it came back to Earth for another push — then back out to an asteroid, and back to Earth.

U.S. Army

A 20-person crew of firefighters from Connecticut is heading to California to help fight wildfires in the northern part of the state.

State officials hosted a ceremonial signing this afternoon in North Kingstown Town Beach for Rhode Island’s first comprehensive climate change bill. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law last month.

The governor noted Wickford Cove experienced a little tsunami last year. He said that’s just one reason why the General Assembly passed this bill into law: to better prepare the state for future extreme weather events.

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the University of Rhode Island published surprising findings of a deep sea octopus that guarded her eggs for 4-½ years. This is the longest brooding period ever recorded by any animal on the planet.

Mystic Aquarium

Researchers from Mystic Aquarium are set to release a snapping turtle into the wild that will be outfitted with a Crittercam. The release is scheduled for Monday afternoon at Rogers Lake in Old Lyme. 

Yale University

How do you give an eye exam to a creature that's been extinct for hundreds of millions of years? First, you need a fossil -- a really well-preserved fossil.

Tropical Storm Bertha Takes Aim At The Caribbean

Aug 1, 2014

Tropical Storm Bertha is moving northwest, taking aim at Puerto Rico and expected to skirt the Dominican Republic's coast.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, while the Dominican Republic has issued a tropical storm watch.

Luckily, forecasters with the Hurricane Center say upper level winds are not favorable for further strengthening, so maximum sustained winds should remain at about 50 mph.

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