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Napa, California's surprise fault line triggers earthquake study of the region

Napa fault lineWhen a magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit California's wine country this summer, scientists rushed to California Highway Patrol helicopters to survey the scene. The results were surprising.

The earthquake tore up to the surface, producing a 9-mile-long scar that sliced through vineyards, asphalt and even homes. A buried earthquake fault had awoken along a trail never before documented or mapped by scientists, stunning homeowners who found houses spun off their foundations and broken, with one side of the home higher than the other.

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Train Derailment Sends Coal Waste And Lentils Into Creek Near Canadian National Park

train derailment AlbertaA freight train carrying coal waste and lentils derailed in Alberta Friday, sending seven rail cars into a creek near Banff National Park.

Fifteen Canadian Pacific cars derailed in total, six of which were carrying fly ash — a product created during coal combustion and which, when combined with the bottom ash that tends to gather on the floor of a coal furnace is generally referred to as coal ash — and nine of which were carrying lentils.

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Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches

Pope on climate changeHe has been called the “superman pope”, and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba, the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vatican politics. But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change?

It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions.

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Experts Arrive To Help Barehanded Children Clean Up Massive Bangladeshi Oil Spill

Bangladesh children help clean massive oil spillThe children using their hands and utensils to clean up a massive oil spill in the world’s largest unbroken stand of mangrove forests are getting some backup. U.S. oil spill experts joined a U.N. team to respond to this ecologically devastating and hazardous oil spill in the lush, carbon-rich mangrove forests of Bangladesh’s renowned Sundarbans region, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sundarbans means “beautiful forest.”

In the early morning of December 9, foggy weather in the estuarine waters of the Sela River caused a cargo ship to ram the Southern Star 7, a tanker ship laden with between 66,000 and 92,000 of thick furnace oil bound for one of the nation’s oil-burning power plants. The tanker had dropped anchor because of the fog, and when the cargo ship ran into it, the collision was strong enough to kill the tanker’s captain and spill most of the thick, black, sludgy liquid cargo.

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Ten years after the Indian Ocean tsunami, survivors look back

ten years after thet tsunamiWeeping onlookers took part in beachside memorials and religious services across Asia on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami that left nearly a quarter of a million people dead in one of modern history's worst natural disasters.

The devastating Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami struck a dozen countries along the Indian Ocean rim, killing about 230,000 people. It eradicated entire coastal communities, decimated families and crashed over tourist-filled beaches the morning after Christmas. Survivors waded through a horror show of corpse-filled waters.

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EPA coal ash standards a setback for environmental groups

Coal ash rulingSix years ago, there was a massive spill of coal ash sludge in Tennessee. Three years later, tons of coal ash swept into Lake Michigan. Last February, there was another spill and gray sludge spewed into the Dan River in North Carolina.

With each disaster, environmentalists sounded alarms and called for the byproduct of burning coal to be treated as hazardous waste. On Friday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the first standards for the coal-burning waste, but they were hardly what environmental groups were hoping for.

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U.S. Seeks BP Fine of Up to $18 Billion for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

BP fine sought by USThe government wants BP Plc (BP/) to pay $16 billion to $18 billion in water-pollution fines for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history while seeking more than $1 billion from the co-owner of the blown-out well that caused the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The federal government said BP deserves the maximum fine, which BP said would be the biggest Clean Water Act penalty ever and called it a “gross outlier” compared to other cases.

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