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Malaysian plane search in 44th day, sea bed scans could end in days

By Byron Kaye and Matt Siegel SYDNEY/PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 entered its 44th day on Sunday as Australian search officials said a crucial series of sonar scans of the Indian Ocean floor could be completed within a week. The air, surface and underwater search is now focused on footage taken by a U.S. Navy deep sea drone, which has narrowed its target range to a tight 10-km (6.2-mile) circle of sea floor.

Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off Papua New Guinea late Saturday, the US Geological Survey said. A tsunami warning was issued for Papua and the Solomon Islands by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, but it later cancelled the alert. The quake struck 75 kilometres (47 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville island at a depth of 30 kilometres just before 11:30 pm (1330 GMT), USGS said. The seismologists said another 5.6-magnitude quake hit the same area around 20 minutes later at a depth of 69 kilometres.

Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off Papua New Guinea late Saturday night, the US Geological Survey said, with a tsunami warning issued. The quake hit 75 kilometres (47 miles) south-west of the town of Panguna on Bougainville island, USGS said, and came after a 6.6-magnitude tremor earlier Saturday. A tsunami warning was issued for Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, adding that it was "not known that a tsunami was generated".

The robot is ready - so when will deep sea mining start?

By Stephen Eisenhammer and Silvia Antonioli NEWCASTLE, England/LONDON (Reuters) - The world's first deep sea mining robot sits idle on a British factory floor, waiting to claw up high grade copper and gold from the seabed off Papua New Guinea (PNG) - when a wrangle over terms is solved. Beyond PNG, in international waters, regulation and royalty terms for mining the planet's subsea wealth have also yet to be finalized. The world waits for the judgment of a United Nations agency based in Jamaica.

Sub dives deeper in hunt for missing MH370

The mini-sub searching for missing flight MH370 dived on its fifth seabed mission Friday, officials said, testing the vehicle's recommended depth limits after failing to find any wreckage. With no results to show since the Boeing 777 carrying 239 people disappeared on March 8, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has set a one-week deadline to locate the plane which is believed to have crashed in a remote area of the Indian Ocean west of Perth.

Uncharted depths provide reality check for MH370 hunt

Hopes that Malaysia's missing jet might soon be found are yielding to the sobering realisation of the immense challenge of searching an uncharted seafloor at depths that push deep-sea technology to its limits. "I have compared it to sending a man to the moon. We know how to do it, but we can't just do it in three weeks," said Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales. Twice in two days, an advanced US Navy mini-submarine has had to abort its search of the remote Indian Ocean for wreckage from the Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8.

Cousteau's grandson to spend 31 days at undersea lab in Florida Keys

Miami, Apr 15 (EFE).- Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the late French aquanaut Jacques Cousteau, will take part in a 31-day mission this summer at the Aquarius undersea laboratory in the Florida Keys to study the effects of climate change, pollution and acidification on the oceans of the world. Florida International University, or FIU, which since 2013 has operated the world's only undersea research facility, located at a depth of 19.2 meters (40 feet) off Key West, said that scientists and students are joining Cousteau on "Mission 31."

Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Solomons, sparks tsunami warning

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A major earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, triggering a tsunami warning in the area, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.7 was shallow, only 12.4 miles below the seabed, and centered 73 miles south of Kira Kira in the Solomon Islands, which have been racked by a series of strong quakes in recent days.

Magnitude 7.7 quake strikes off Solomon Islands

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 struck off the Solomon Islands Sunday night, hours after a 7.6 tremor, the US Geological Survey said. A tsunami warning has been issued for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. bur/sm

Strong quake hits near Solomon Islands; tsunami warning cancelled

(Reuters) - A powerful magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands on Sunday morning, triggering a tsunami warning that was later cancelled, according to U.S. government agencies, and there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake was centered 100 km (60 miles) south of Kira Kira on the island of Makira at a depth of 29 km (18 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
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