We woke up in the US to two major stories about the planet, one with a short-term effect and the other with a long-term effect.
The acute problem: a 7.1 mw earthquake in central California caused only minor damage and no fatalities because it happened in the middle of nowhere. But people reported feeling it from Phoenix to Sacramento:
Southern California was jolted by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake at 8:19 p.m. on Friday one day after the region was hit by a 6.4 quake, the USGS reports.
The epicenter was 10.5 miles away from Ridgecrest, Calif., and there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. According to the USGS, the quake was felt as far north as San Jose and as far south as parts of Mexico.
Thursday's quake struck at 10:33 a.m., and was the largest temblor to strike the region in 20 years, until Friday night. According to the USGS, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake is 11 times stronger than the 6.4 earthquake.
Meanwhile, parts of Alaska got up to 32°C Thursday, breaking records and (probably) allowing methane to leak from melting permafrost farther north:
At 5 p.m. local time Thursday, Anchorage reached 32°C for the first time in the state’s recorded history, topping the previous record set at Anchorage International Airport of 29°C on June 14, 1969.
Kenai and King Salmon, Alaska, both hit a new all-time high temperature record of 31.7°C, according to the National Weather Service. The previous high in Kenai was 30.6°C on June 26, 1953 and June 18, 1903. Palmer, Alaska, reached 31°C, matching its previous record of 31°C on May 27, 2011.
The state has been battling several wildfires, with a dense smoke advisory in effect until noon local time on Saturday for the interior Kenai Peninsula, including the cities of Kenai, Soldotna, Homer,and Cooper Landing, the National Weather Service said. Smoke from the Swan Lake fire will reduce visibility to a quarter mile or less at times, the weather service said, with the worst conditions taking place overnight through the morning hours.
Wildfires, particulates, subliming methane gas...yeah, even though the earthquake has gotten more press today, the heat in Alaska actually matters more.