"A powerful earthquake jolted China's Sichuan province Saturday near where a devastating quake struck five years ago," The Associated Press writes. According to CNN, early estimates put the death toll around 100. More than 1,000 other people were reportedly injured. Both figures could change substantially as more information comes in.
The new boom in natural gas from shale has changed the energy economy of the United States. But there's another giant reservoir of natural gas that lies under the ocean floor that, theoretically, could dwarf the shale boom.
No one had tapped this gas from the seabed until this week, when Japanese engineers pulled some up through a well from under the Pacific. The gas at issue here is called methane hydrate. Methane is natural gas; hydrate means there's water in it. In this case, the molecules of gas are trapped inside a sort of cage of water molecules.
Lack of water supply isn't just an issue in hot spots like Texas, Colorado and the Mississippi; it has also become a problem in the Northeast, where rivers are drying out in the summers and infrastructure developments are competing more for resources.
One of the area's biggest public universities, the University of Connecticut, needs more water. But plans to obtain it are generating controversy in a region where the availability of water is becoming more and more unpredictable.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency says an extremely strong earthquake rattled the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Saturday. The magnitude was 6.4. The U.S. Geological Survey's report puts the tremor at a higher magnitude of 6.9; the epicenter was very deep, about 65 miles below ground, near the city of Obihiro. That's about 120 miles east of Hokkaido's largest city, Sapporo.