The Mystery of Lake Erie's Toxic Algae
Published: 22 October 2014
In early August, Toledo, Ohio's water turned pea-soup green and undrinkable, but it appears that phosphorus, the most obvious culprit behind the huge bloom of toxic algae, wasn't acting alone. In fact, we don't know too much about what, exactly, is causing Lake Erie's water to turn toxic.
Toxin-producing cyanobacteria occurs naturally in Lake Erie, but it typically doesn't explode into huge blooms that are visible from space without a few key ingredients, the foremost among them is phosphorus. In the mid-1960s many lakes and rivers were turning green as cyanobacteria flourished on phosphates that entered the waterways in laundry detergents.
When the blue-green algae blooms and dies, it soaks up oxygen and chokes the life out of water. It not only looks gross and smells worse, but the EPA warns, “cyanotoxins in recreational water and drinking water may cause a wide range of symptoms in humans including fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, blisters, stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, mouth ulcers, and allergic reactions.”
Massive debris pile reveals risk of huge tsunamis in Hawaii
Published: 20 October 2014
Hawaii's evacuation maps are based in part on the 1946 tsunami, the most destructive tsunami in Hawaii's recent history. But new research shows that mammoth tsunamis, many times the size of the 1946 event, have struck the island in the past, and may again in the future. Credit: USGS
A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii's recorded history, has struck the islands, and that a similar disaster could happen again, new research finds. Scientists are reporting that a wall of water up to nine meters (30 feet) high surged onto Hawaiian shores about 500 years ago. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands triggered the mighty wave, which left behind up to nine shipping containers worth of ocean sediment in a sinkhole on the island of Kauai