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Geologists investigate ‘slow-moving landslide’ developing in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains

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A massive fissure that has mysteriously appeared on the flanks of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming is a slow-moving landslide possibly triggered by excessive precipitation combined with moisture from a nearby spring, a state geologist said on Friday.

The mass geologic movement in the remote area where no people or property are directly at risk came to light last week when commercial hunters in Wyoming discovered it and posted photographs and commentary on their firm’s Facebook page, sparking a flurry of online interest.

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The hunters from SNS Outfitters and Guides said in a posting that a device used to measure distance for hunting purposes suggested the fissure was 750 yards (meters) long and 50 yards (meters) wide.

“This giant crack in the earth appeared in the last two weeks on a ranch we hunt in the Bighorn Mountains. Everyone here is calling it ‘the gash’ It’s a really incredible site,” the hunters said in a posting last Friday.

Seth Wittke, division manager of the Wyoming State Geological Survey said the so-called “mass wasting event” was relatively large in size even for a state that has mapped tens of thousands of landslides in the past century.

“It’s a medium-to-large-sized event by Wyoming standards,” he said. Most of those happen in remote areas and do not directly threaten lives or property, he added.

Wittke said the significant shifting seen in the Bighorns south of the tiny community of Tensleep, Wyoming, was likely tied to moisture acting as a lubricant in the slumping of layers of rock and soil already weakened by a freeze-thaw cycle that routinely happens in winter and spring in the Rocky Mountains.

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Although the slide does not appear to pose any known imminent threats, it could cause harm if it were to catastrophically fail at a time people were in the vicinity, Wittke said.

“Each landslide is unique. You can’t say whether this one will be the one to fail but the potential does exist,” he said.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Sandra Maler)

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Trump denies there’s a ‘massive recession’ as 10 million or more people lose jobs

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During a Coronavirus Task Force briefing late Thursday following news that 10 million Americans filed jobless claims over just a two-week period last month, President Donald Trump downplayed the intensifying economic downturn as “an artificial closing” and insisted that businesses like restaurants will be “bigger and better” than before once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.

“It’s not like we have a massive recession or worse. It’s artificial because we turned it off,” Trump said, drawing a distinction that makes no difference to those who have lost their jobs—as well as employer-provided health insurance—or seen their hours drastically cut due to the crisis.

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German virus data offers ‘hope’ but curbs must stay, says Merkel

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Latest figures which show the spread of the coronavirus is slowing in Germany are a cause for "hope", Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, but warned that it was too early to relax restrictions on public life.

Germany has shut schools, banned public gatherings of more than two and imposed requirements for people to keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters (five feet).

The measures have helped to slow the spread of the virus, experts said.

"It's true that the latest figures, as high as they are, give us a little bit of hope, as the growth in new infections is slower than it was a few days ago," said Merkel in an official podcast.

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‘Why are you on TV?’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demolishes Laura Ingraham’s attempted mockery

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) shut down Fox News host Laura Ingraham's attempt to mock her claims on the coronavirus.

The New York Democrat, whose hometown is being ravaged by the COVID-19 outbreak, pointed out that deaths from the viral infection was disproportionately occurring in minority communities.

"COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities," the lawmaker tweeted. "Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions."

"Inequality is a comorbidity," she added. "COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations."

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