We’ve written about how Alaska is the canary in the coal mine, since it’s the place where the effects of global warming are showing up first. Now there is a new disaster in that beautiful state: a huge volcano is about to erupt, preceded by many miniature earthquakes.

The Augustine volcano hasn’t erupted for a long time and it hasn’t shown signs of life for 20 years. In 1976 and 1986, it belched plumes of ash out over Anchorage. Now it looks like it’s ready to erupt. Augustine makes up an uninhabited volcanic island near Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city.

Small earthquakes precede a volcanic eruption, and seismometers recorded more than 170 of these last week.

Volcano experts have now listed Augustine as code yellow, which basically means “restless.” People living 50 miles across Cook Inlet report smelling the rotten-egg scent of sulfur in the air. Augustine island, which is about 170 miles from Anchorage, has increased in mass by about an inch, from molten rock rising to the surface.

If (or shall we say, when) Augustine blows, NOAA will be able to track the ash plume. To access this data, click here.

Like volcanoes, crop circles have been around for many years?but they’re still ignored by most of the US media. But those of us who love these magical designs look forward to the new crop circle calendar every year. And while supplies last (which won’t be long), you get a free 2005 calendar with every 2006 crop circle calendar you order. Get crop circle postcards too?they’re a great way to keep in touch with friends.

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