THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Earthquake fautlines have been mapped out in New Zealand...

NIWA says if a large earthquake occurs it will probably be contained to one NZ island; fault lines through Cook Strait mapped out

Scientists hope research into the country's most active seismic risk area will help to better predict earthquakes.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has mapped out fault lines through Cook Strait for the first time. It has found no connections between the major faults running through the North and South Islands, meaning a large earthquake would probably be contained to one island.

Ocean Geology Scientist Dr Philip Barnes says the new fault maps will prove very helpful and give scientists a better idea of the potential locations of future earthquakes and when they might occur. Dr Barnes says the information can be used to predict how an earthquake on one fault might affect another fault.

© 2008 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The hump survives - humpback whales are safe from extinction...

The hump survives - humpback whales are safe from extinction...

Forty years ago it was feared by conservationists that humpback whales would become extinct within a few years, but hunting bans have saved them and others from extinction. Now that numbers have returned to such a degree they have been taken off the danger list.

The latest count stands at about 40,000 mature individuals and secures the humpback's future, for now at least.

Several other species of whale such as the blue whale, the world's biggest animal, and the set and southern right are also growing in numbers after similar scares, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world's largest conservation network reported.

However, the populations of some smaller species of whales and other cetaceans are still falling and there are fears that some may be close to extinction, the Union said.

The vaquita, a porpoise found in the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, is reportedly down to a mere 150 individuals and is the cetacean most likely to become extinct.

But the resurgence of the humpback has heartened conservationists. Whalers, particularly the Soviet Union's Antarctic whaling fleet had caused such devastation to the population and forced a halt to hunting in the 1960's.

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