WEST PALM BEACH
Officials: South Florida water table rose after Japan earthquake
The devastating earthquake that shook Japan caused a temporary jolt in groundwater levels throughout much of Florida, officials said. The South Florida Water Management District reports that a network of groundwater gauges registered a jump of up to 3 inches in the water table from Orlando to the Florida Keys about 34 minutes after the quake struck on March 11. The oscillations were observed for about two hours and then stabilized. "We were not expecting to see any indication of the geological events in Japan given the island's great distance from Florida," said Susan Sylvester, the water district's director of operations control and hydro data management department. Shimon Wdowinski, a University of Miami earthquake researcher, said the water table likely rose because of Florida's porous limestone, which allows water to easily flow beneath the earth's surface and respond to changes in pressure caused by a wave.
Groundwater levels changes were also seen in South Florida after the Haiti and Chile earthquakes. Wdowinski said a 20-foot rise was seen after a 9.2 earthquake in Alaska in 1964.
Authorities test substance in gulf
The Coast Guard says a miles-long patch of discolored goop floating in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be caused by river sediment.
The Coast Guard tested the patch Sunday and found only trace amounts of petroleum. The Coast Guard believes the discoloration is the result of sediments brought down the Mississippi River. The investigation began after reports came in Saturday of what appeared to be an oily sheen. The Coast Guard also said it was investigating separate reports of an oily substance washing up in Grand Isle and other areas nearby. The substance isn't believed to be from last year's massive BP oil spill, but it's being tested. Cleanup crews and booms are being deployed.
Libyan expatriates chant against Gadhafi
"One, two, three, four," they chanted. "No Gadhafi anymore."
A small group of protesters gathered at Lake Eola on Saturday to rally against Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
As reports of U.S. and allied assaults on Gadhafi's forces dominated news coverage Saturday, the group chanted and waved signs aimed at supporting the uprising half a world away.
It was the fifth time the group, including many Libyan expatriates, gathered at the lakefront to protest the regime.
But on Saturday, cautious optimism seemed to be the predominant mood.
Orlando Sentinel, Associated Press