Thursday, February 28, 2013

**In and through community
lies the salvation of the world.**
M. Scott Peck

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/27/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Hundreds of quakes shake villages around smoking Peruvian volcano - Hundreds of small earthquakes have shaken the earth around the Sabancaya volcano in southern Peru over just a few days and the rumbling, along with plumes of smoke spewing up to 320 feet high, have put officials on alert to evacuate the area.
Peru's geological agency Ingemmet recorded some 536 quakes, about 20 an hour, on February 22 and 23 and periodic movement is ongoing. Thousands of people live in the valleys surrounding the volcano. Some have already started to leave the region because the UNUSUAL SEISMIC ACTIVITY has damaged their homes. About 80 homes were damaged by one temblor on February 22.
Sabancaya, active historically, was dormant for 200 years before erupting into activity several times in the 1980s and 1990s. No casualties were reported at that and the volcano has only experienced small eruptions since. The volcano has not had a significant eruption in nearly a decade. It sits atop the South America tectonic plate, which forces magma to the surface when it clashes with the neighboring Nazca plate. Ingemmet said the volcano has been releasing huge smoke trails intermittently since January 15 and current seismic activity is similar to that which accompanied an eruption in 1986.
Southern Peru is the home to more than a dozen volcanoes. Sabancaya is about 62 miles from the city of Arequipa, one of Peru's three largest cities, which was recently hit by heavy rains and flooding. About 1.2 million people live in that city.
The swarm consisted of 560 volcano-tectonic (rock fracture), 20 long-period (fluid flow), and 48 hybrid (mixed rock fracture and fluid flow) events. The swarm was accompanied by increased fumarolic activity at Sabancaya’s summit. Scientists estimate 2.7 million cubic meters of magma were injected beneath the volcano during the swarm. The Peruvian Civil Defense has called an orange alert for the volcano. It will be monitored 24 hours a day and will call the population to evacuate as soon as it is necessary. (2 videos, plus info on other volcanoes)

Costa Rica - Inspection shows Rincón de la Vieja Volcano still active. Rincón de la Vieja was active in May, July and September 2012. In July, authorities closed tourist access to the crater area. The volcano is one of five active volcanoes in Costa Rica, along with Poás, Irazú, Arenal and Turrialba.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Rusty was located approximately 65nm east of Port Hedland, Australia. Weakening - the eye has collapsed and the convection in the banding features continues to decrease. the final warning has been issued on this system. The system will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

Cyclone Rusty misses key Australia iron ore ports - Local officials at Port Hedland give all-clear advice. The major storm missed Australia's major iron ore port and crossed a sparsely populated stretch of the west coast. The Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement Thursday that Cyclone Rusty was weakening as it tracked inland.
The iron ore shipping hub Port Hedland escaped the brunt of the powerful cyclone that swept across the northwest Australian coastline on Thursday, with emergency officials lifting evacuation alerts as the storm veered east. A small clean-up is under way at Port Hedland, which had been expected to feel the full force of the cyclone, but came through relatively unscathed after the late change of course, with only tree branches littering roads and about 55 homes without power.

The death toll from tropical cyclone Haruna and heavy rains that have battered Madagascar has risen to 23 with 16 people missing, the national disaster management agency said on Tuesday.


Comet C/2013 might hit Mars in 2014 - Astronomers hold fears a comet is on a collision course with Mars. The comet, named C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), was spotted at the start of this year. Calculations put the closest approach of the comet at a distance of 109,200km from Mars in October 2014.
But there is still a chance the comet might collide with the red planet. It's too early to know if a collision will take place. ''The comet has only been observed for 74 days (so far), so it's difficult for astronomers to forecast precisely where the comet will be 20 months from now." Either way astronomers, professional and amateur alike, are bracing for a spectacular scene. ''Even if it doesn't impact, it will look pretty good from Earth, and spectacular from Mars, probably a magnitude -4 comet as seen from Mars' surface."

Meteor blast resonated around Earth - The meteor that exploded over the steppes of southwestern Russia sent a low-frequency rumble bouncing through the Earth, giving scientists new clues about the biggest cosmic intruder in a century.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Australia hit by early stages of Cyclone Rusty - Australia's north-west coast is being buffeted by high winds, hours before the powerful cyclone is expected to make landfall as a category four storm.
Weather experts say that the slow speed of Cyclone Rusty is likely to prompt extensive flooding. As much as 600mm of rain (24in) was being forecast over a 24-hour period. "We're talking Noah's Ark. We're expecting a phenomenal amount of rainfall." Cyclone Rusty was upgraded to a category four storm early on Wednesday, one notch short of the top category.
At its centre, it had intensified to a strength of 230km/h (143mph), with satellite data indicating the eye of the storm was 20 nautical miles wide. The arrival of Rusty north of the coastal town of Port Hedland has already closed the three main iron ore ports in the Pilbara region, the world's largest source of iron ore.
Weather experts says that destruction caused by Rusty is likely to get significantly worse As the storm becomes more ferocious, its strong winds have whipped up six-metre (20ft) waves. People in Port Hedland have been stocking up on essentials following warnings to take shelter. With storm surges expected, other low-lying areas have been evacuated. "We are likely to see communities impacted by dangerous and destructive winds for quite a considerable period of time because of the slow movement of the storm."
The cyclone had been almost stationary for many hours, hovering about 100km (60 miles) off the coast. The latest estimate from the bureau is that the worst of the storm will make landfall east of Port Hedland, about 1,300km (800 miles) north of Perth, on Wednesday evening. "We could see some gusts getting up to nearly 250km/h. Some rainfall totals may be as much as 600 millimetres in a 24-hour period." The equivalent of Perth's ENTIRE WINTER RAINFALL COULD FALL IN JUST THREE DAYS. (map)

**Most people have work that is too small for their spirits.**
Studs Terkel

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
2/26/13 -

Tochigi earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo - A 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit Tochigi Prefecture and its vicinity Monday, setting buildings in the capital swaying but causing no tsunami. No abnormalities were detected at nuclear power plants near the epicenter.

Earthquake Shake Test Clobbers NYC Brownstone - New York City's brick houses would fall apart if an earthquake the size of the one that struck in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011 hit near the metropolis, a recent earthquake simulation found.

Volcano Webcams

Sabancaya volcano (Peru) - Seismic swarm triggers eruption warning. A strong seismic swarm and increased fumarolic activity triggered an eruption warning for Sabancaya volcano (Arequipa, Peru) and the Civil Defense of the Regional Government of Arequipa raised the alert level to yellow.

Ash from Icelandic volcano vastly underestimated - Eyjafjallajokull, the Icelandic volcano that wreaked havoc on Europe's airways in 2010, released 100 TIMES MORE ASH THAN ORIGINALLY THOUGHT, scientists say.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Rusty was located approximately 70 nm north-northeast of Port Hedland, Australia and has been stationary over the past six hours.

Tropical Cyclone Eighteen was located approximately 215 nm south-southeast of Cocos Island, Australia. The final adviosry has been issued on this system.


Another massive green meteor fireball blazes over California - Hundreds of Californians reported seeing a bright light streak across the sky late Thursday. Authorities believe the sighting was a meteor. The incident comes a week after a sighting over the Bay Area, California.
About 50 people contacted the American Meteor Society on Thursday saying they saw a "green fireball" streaking across the sky. The sightings were reported in Ventura, Anaheim, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, Paso Robles, San Francisco and Santa Barbara. According to witnesses, the incident occurred at about 10:35 p.m., with most reporting having seen a "green fireball," while others described it as white with streaks of blue.
"I actually saw flames with a trail of glowing lime green attached to it. Very large in size. We are up toward the mountains." A photographer snapped a photo of the fireball with a 1-minute exposure "in Lancaster, Calif., facing southwest." Witnesses reported seeing the fireball as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Malibu, about 400 miles apart.
The sighting comes soon after a meteorite impact in Western Siberia that injured more than 1,000. Within 24 hours of the Russian incident, residents of Bay area in northern California reported seeing a fireball streaking across the sky. The Bay area meteor "described by witnesses as a 'fireball' was seen making its way through the San Francisco, California sky just after 8:00 p.m. local time. The meteor was also seen in Sacramento, and as far north as Fairfield and as far south as Gilroy."
The Russian meteorite was observed on the the same day, a 50-foot asteroid estimated to weigh 143,000 tons made a record close fly-by to Earth. Other fireball sightings were reported during the month in San Francisco and Florida. However, scientists have said the frequency is not abnormal. "Somewhere on the planet there is an object like that entering the planet at least once a day."
The latest meteor observed in California on Thursday was probably only about the size of a basketball. "What you are really seeing is a glowing column of gas. It's extremely visible because of the tremendous heat that is generated."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scientists link extreme weather to giant atmospheric waves - Extreme weather events have been on the rise in the last few decades, and man-made climate change may be causing them by interfering with global air-flow patterns, according to new research.
The Northern Hemisphere has taken a beating from extreme weather in recent years — the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Pakistan flood and the 2011 heat wave in the United States, for example. These events, in a general sense, are the result of the global movement of air. Giant waves of air in the atmosphere normally even out the climate, by bringing warm air north from the tropics and cold air south from the Arctic. But a new study suggests these colossal waves have gotten stuck in place during extreme weather events.
"What we found is that during several recent extreme weather events these planetary waves almost freeze in their tracks for weeks. So instead of bringing in cool air after having brought warm air in before, the heat just stays." How long these weather extremes last is critical, the researchers say. While two or three days of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) pose little threat, 20 days or more can lead to extreme heat stress, which can trigger deaths, forest fires and lost harvests.
The researchers created equations to model the motion of the massive air waves, determining what it takes to make the waves plough to a stop and build up. The team then used these models to crunch daily weather data from the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction. During extreme weather events, the waves were indeed trapped and amplified, the scientists found. They also saw a significant increase in the occurrence of these trapped waves.
Here's how the waves may be getting trapped: The burning of fossil fuels causes more warming in the Arctic than in other latitudes, because the loss of snow and ice means heat gets absorbed by the darker ground, not reflected (as it would by the white snow). This warming lessens the temperature difference between the Arctic and northern latitudes like Europe. Since these differences drive air flow, a smaller difference means less air movement. Also, land areas warm and cool more easily than oceans. The result is an unnatural pattern of air flow that prevents the air waves from circulating over land.
The study's results help explain the spike in summer weather extremes. Previous research had shown a link between climate change and extreme weather, but did not identify the mechanism. "This is quite a breakthrough, even though things are not at all simple - the suggested physical process increases the probability of weather extremes, but additional factors certainly play a role as well, including natural variability." The 32-year period studied provides a good explanation of past extreme weather events, the researchers say, but is too short to make predictions about how often such events may occur in the future.

**You have got to own your days and
name them, each of them, every one of them,
or else the years go right by and
none of them belong to you.**
Herb Gardner

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
2/25/13 -

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Rusty was located approximately 335 nm east-northeast of Learmonth, Australia.

Tropical Cyclone Eighteen was located approximately 180 nm southeast of Cocos Island, Australia.

Australian Port Evacuates as Cyclone Threatens Iron Ore Mines - The approach of Severe Tropical Cyclone Rusty toward the north-west Australian coast triggered orders for the evacuation of parts of Port Hedland, site of the world's biggest bulk export terminal.
Tropical Cyclone Rusty has intensified, it has an eye spanning 20 nautical miles, and is expected to unleash a significant storm surge in northern Western Australia. Authorities are warning residents in low lying areas to evacuate with a threat of flooding, high winds and a coastal tide. People in parts of Port Hedland have been told to leave now ahead of an expected storm surge as Tropical Cyclone Rusty takes aim at the Pilbara coast. Communities across WA's Pilbara region are bracing for wild weather.
"Rusty's intensity, size and slow movement is also likely to lead to a very dangerous storm tide as the cyclone centre nears the coast. Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark with damaging waves." The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has also warned the cyclone will bring more rainfall to the area than is expected for a tropical storm of this size.

Tropical Cyclone Haruna hits southwestern Madagascar - National disaster authorities and aid agencies are struggling to reach remote areas of Madagascar's southwestern coast where thousands of people are thought to have been made homeless by the cyclone. Ex-cyclone Haruna is expected to dissipate in the Southern Indian Ocean under increasing wind shear in the next day or two. Haruna is being blown apart several hundred miles away from La Reunion Island.


Australia - Gympie flood peak revised up. More businesses and some homes are now at risk in the southeast Queensland town of Gympie, with the flood peak revised up to 19 metres.


U. S. - 2nd round of heavy snow in Plains, Midwest; 2 dead. The nation's midsection again dealt with blizzard conditions Monday, closing highways, knocking out power to thousands in Texas and Oklahoma and even bringing hurricane-force winds to the Texas Panhandle.
Already under a deep snowpack from last week's storm, Kansas was preparing for another round of heavy snow Monday evening and overnight, prompting some to wonder what it could do for the drought. "Is it a drought-buster? Absolutely not. Will it bring short-term improvement? Yes." The storm is being blamed for two deaths on Monday. In northwest Kansas, a 21-year-old man's SUV hit an icy patch on Interstate 70 and overturned. And in the northwest town of Woodward, Okla., heavy snow caused a roof to collapse, killing one inside the home. Earlier on Monday, blizzard warnings extended from the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles into south-central Kansas.
Meanwhile to the east, lines of thunderstorms crossed Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, bringing heavy rain and an occasional tornado warning. As many as 10,000 people lost power in Oklahoma, as did thousands more in Texas. Colorado and New Mexico were the first to see the system Sunday night, with up to 2 feet falling in the foothills west of Denver. As it moved into the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles Monday, the storm ground travel to a halt, closing miles of interstates and state highways. The National Weather Service in Lubbock reported at one point that as many as 100 vehicles were at a standstill on Interstate 27.
Extremely strong winds whipped around at least a foot or more of snow in the Texas Panhandle, and a hurricane-force gust of 75 mph was recorded at the Amarillo airport. Amarillo recorded the biggest snowfall total in Texas — 19 inches, just short of the record of 19.3 — while Fritch was second with 16. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol closed all highways in the Panhandle and much of the state's northwest because of blizzard conditions. Several dozen motorists have reported being stranded or have abandoned their vehicles.
While the wintry precipitation is "a shot in the arm," the drought in the Plains and Midwest is far from over. 12 inches of snow is equivalent to about 1 inch of rain. "We would need 2-4 feet of snow to just erase the October to present deficits," in Kansas. Snow is more efficient than summer rain in replenishing soil moistures because rain tends to run off or evaporate during the summer months. But it can take months or years for pastures and rangeland to recover to the point where there is good forage there for livestock. "There is a lag coming out of drought where some of these impacts will linger on long after 'climatological drought' is gone. And there is always a sense of false security there."
The storm could be deadly for grazing cattle, with the wind pushing animals into a fenced corner where they could suffocate from the drifts. "This type of snow is a cattle-killer." Parts of Kansas are bracing for anywhere from 8 to 24 inches of snow as the system moves through the state overnight. Wichita figures to take another hit after last week's storm that dumped about a foot and a half of snow. Through the day Tuesday, the storm is forecast to spin toward the upper Midwest, bringing snow to Chicago and eventually Detroit before heading toward Buffalo, N.Y, and northern New England in the middle of the week.
Wheat farmers were hopeful that Oklahoma's third winter storm in the past week would help make a dent in a drought that has gripped the state since last summer.



- Dakota Specialty Milling has initiated a recall of a limited number of its specialty flours and grain blends in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration due to the possible presence of fragments of thin metal wire from a defective screen on one of its manufacturing lines at a milling facility.
- King Arthur Flour has initiated a recall of a limited number of its bags of flour due to the possible presence of small (7-9 mm) blue polyurethane balls that are used in the sifting process. The balls have a smooth surface and no sharp edges and are made from food grade material.
- Hy-Vee, Inc. issued a recall of certain bags of Hy-Vee dog food due to elevated levels of a chemical contaminant commonly found in corn.

Monday, February 25, 2013

**It is not death that a man should fear,
but he should fear never beginning to live.**
Marcus Aurelius

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/24/13 -

In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical Cyclone 16s (Haruna) was located approximately 360 nm south-southwest of La Reunion. The final warning has been issued on this system. The system will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

- Tropical Cyclone Rusty was located approximately 160 nm north of Port Hedland, Australia.

- Tropical Cyclone Eighteen was located approximately 120 nm southeast of Cocos Island, Australia.

Tropical Cyclone Rusty is forecast to strike Australia as a tropical cyclone at about 06:00 GMT on 26 February. Rusty has intensified to a Category Two storm packing 130km/h winds and has the potential to develop into a destructive cyclone. A Blue Alert has been issued for people in communities between Broome and Mardie, including Port Hedland. The cyclone could bring 600 millimetres of rain.


Australia - About 70 residents from a storm-ravaged town on the NSW south coast will be evacuated because of fears that strewn debris is contaminated by asbestos. More than 170 homes were damaged, including three which were destroyed, when a mini-cyclone ripped through the seaside town of Kiama on Sunday morning. Gale-force winds uprooted trees and stripped roofs, with fears much of the debris contains asbestos.
About 70 people lived in the asbestos exclusion zone created by debris from the leisure centre and a house that "blew up" on the edge of town. They will be evacuated on Monday. "They will have to stay out of there until the area has been cleared. We're very concerned and we've got major problems with the leisure centre which is largely built of asbestos materials." The asbestos hadn't posed a problem while it was wet but there were concerns the fibres could spread as the debris dried out. "Obviously we are seeing now the conditions are becoming sunnier ... and we are looking at a number of local evacuations. As soon as they commence the evacuations then we will bring in teams to do the clean-up."
Affected locals would have to keep away from their homes for two days. Another seven homes were expected to be deemed uninhabitable. "When you talk to the volunteers and the locals, everyone is saying it was AN EXTRAORDINARY EVENT NEVER SEEN BEFORE."
"It's just an extraordinary scene from the air - the swathe this storm or event took through this area. Seeing the roof of the fire station missing, seeing mature trees that look like they have been through a mixmaster, seeing blue tarpaulins along a defined corridor: this is an event that you associate with a tornado going through parts of America." A number of homes in Kiama and surrounding suburbs remained without power.
Swift-water rescue teams have saved 16 children after their bus was trapped by flash flooding in southern Brisbane in a huge storm dumping heavy rain on southeast Queensland. The bus became stranded between two parts of a road that were rapidly flooding on Monday morning. Three crews including swift-water technicians used inflatable boats to ferry the children to safety. The rescue is the only call for help to the DCS since a huge trough crossed the coast about 12.30am on Monday.
"People are heeding the safety messages - if it's flooded, forget it." The storm is expected to dump up to 200 millimetres of rain on parts of the state's southeast into the early hours of Tuesday. Torrential rain between Brisbane and Bundaberg may cause flash flooding over the next 24 hours. The Mary River, in southeast Queensland, has had about 40-60mm of rain in six hours. The town of Gympie is expecting a minor flood peak of six metres on Monday night. The Brisbane City Council has set up sandbag distribution points at four locations in the city as people prepare for heavier rain from Tuesday.

Greece - Rain of an INTENSITY NOT SEEN IN DECADES flooded roads in Athens, overturning parked cars and stranding dozens of motorists. More than six hours of solid rainfall starting at 5am flooded the streets of the capital, caused two rivers to break their bankds and paralyzed public transportation. Two electricty substations were deluged, prompting power cuts. Video (woman rescued from Athens floods)


Climate change could threaten, transform Long Island, New York - Scientists say the Long Island of the future will have shorter, wetter winters and oppressively hot summers, with seas rising and storm surges so strong they will threaten beaches, salt water marshes and infrastructure.

Siberian permafrost thaw warning sparked by cave data - Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5C could see permafrost thaw over a large area of Siberia. A study shows that more than a trillion tonnes of the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane could be released into the atmosphere as a result.
The evidence comes from analysis of stalactites and stalagmites in caves along the "permafrost frontier". This is where ground begins to be permanently frozen in layers that can be tens to hundreds of metres thick. Stalactites and stalagmites only grow when liquid rainwater and snowmelt drip into the caves. So these formations record 500,000 years of changing permafrost conditions - including warmer periods similar to the climate of today.
The records from a particularly warm period called Marine Isotopic Stage 11, which occurred around 400,000 years ago, suggest that warming of 1.5C compared to the present is enough to cause substantial thawing of permafrost - even in areas far north from its present-day southern limit. "As permafrost covers 24% of the land surface of the Northern Hemisphere, significant thawing could affect vast areas and release (billions of tonnes) of carbon. This has huge implications for ecosystems in the region, and for aspects of the human environment. For instance, natural gas facilities in the region, as well as power lines, roads, railways and buildings are all built on permafrost and are vulnerable to thawing. Such a thaw could damage this infrastructure with obvious economic implications."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Land movements dominate the webpage today.

**What is happiness
except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
2/23/13 -

2/22/13 -

5.8 Quake off Indonesia Causes Panic in East Timor - An undersea earthquake has rocked eastern Indonesia, causing panic among residents in neighboring East Timor. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

6.1 magnitude quake hits southwest Argentina - The quake on Friday struck a rural area near Suncho Corral, 100 kilometres southeast of the provincial capital, which is home to 400,000 people. A local official confirmed that the quake was not felt in the larger city, and that there were no reports of damage. The earthquake was within the limit of moderate to severe, but it was 672 kilometers deep, far underground.

Hong Kong feels another quake from Guangdong's shaky city, Heyuan - Thousands of Hongkongers on Friday called the Hong Kong Observatory after a magnitude 4.8 earthquake 180 kilometres away was felt in the city. Anxious residents reported by phone and online that they felt buildings shaking and objects swinging.

Landslides affect Solomons quake zone - The Solomon Islands Red Cross says several landslides have affected the Santa Cruz islands triggered by aftershocks from the magnitude 8 earthquake earlier this month.
There are many people still living under tarpaulins in the hills who come down to the markets on the coast during the day and return to sleep on higher ground. The immediate need for water, food and shelter are being met, but long-term solutions are now being developed as people try to get on with their lives. A water purification unit has been deployed to a village where the water source was destroyed by a landslide a week ago.
“You can see people starting to get back and pick up the pieces of their lives. Whether that means picking up pieces of timbers that were left over from their homes or starting to take their kids to school as the schools start to open back up again. But there’s a lot more work to do in those communities that have lost absolutely everything.” More disaster relief support will be needed.

New Zealand - Wairoa quake swarm. Wairoa was hit by a swarm of 15 earthquakes Friday overnight and into Saturday morning, the heaviest of which was felt strongly in Gisborne at 7.21am. The quake was felt in Gisborne as a short jolt, followed by a swaying motion.
The swarm started at 5.36pm Frirday with a shake measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale. “There were 14 more between then and one at 7.33am this morning, which measured 3.4." The heaviest shake at 7.21am, felt widely around this district, measured 4.8, at a depth of 67 kilometres. “It was felt so strongly onshore because of the depth. The quakes were all offshore, and centred in the same general area, between 25 and 40 kilometres south and south-east of Wairoa."
Apart from the biggest one, the others varied in depth between 15 and 22km. “They could continue for a day or so. It is a lot in a fairly short time span but we do get these swarms from time to time. It’s not uncommon in the East Coast region.” Tolaga Bay has seen the same quake activity at times over the past several months.
There were no reports of damage so far. “There was no fire alarm activity from any of the town’s alarmed buildings and that has happened when we’ve had quakes in the past." Several Wairoa people commented on their social media profiles about the “strong shake” jolting them awake from a weekend sleep-in. "We have had a few people going on line to report the swarm. Up until 10am we had received more than 250 ‘felt reports’ from people in the Wairoa area, further afield to Gisborne and Tokomaru Bay, some even in Opotiki, and other parts of Hawke’s Bay...It all relates to the shifting of the Pacific plate underneath the Australian plate off the east coast....It does not mean there is a big one coming."

"Geological event" rips road in Arizona - A 150-foot section of U.S. 89 south of Page that buckled and sunk four feet Wednesday might have been caused by a “geologic event,” according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The road collapsed at mile post 526 just 2.5 miles north of the intersection with U.S. 89A, about 25 miles south of Page, according to an ADOT spokesman. He said the incident was not related to the weather. The road was closed in both directions and there was no estimation when the highway would reopen. The detour is about 45 miles longer than the direct route. DPS reported a number of collisions within the collapse, but none appeared to be serious. No injuries were reported. No other information was immediately available.

Volcano Webcams

Etna - After ten months of what experts call a 'low simmer', Italy’s Etna volcano boiled over on February 19th, with three massive outbursts in 36 hours. Each outburst (paroxysm) featured 'emission of lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and an ash cloud.' NASA captured the first from a passing satellite - and revealed the picture that shows an eruption from above in unprecedented detail.
The snow-covered volcano burst into life again on Tuesday, spitting lava and smoke hundreds of feet into the air. However, residents in the island's second largest city Catania were not issued with danger warnings by volcanologists monitoring the area and it was business as usual for local airports. Europe's largest volcano is also one of the world's most active, and there were signs in January that another eruption was imminent. Etna, which stands nearly 11,000 feet high, likes to make itself known to the island on a regular basis and tunnels and ditches have been dug around the base of the volcano to try to protect communities. (photos)

Iceland - Krýsuvík Eruption Might Someday Wreak Havoc in Iceland. The volcanic system by Krýsuvík on Reykjanes peninsula in Southwest Iceland is closer to the capital than any other volcano and would likely have significant impact on the area in the case of an eruption: damage roads, hot and cold water pipes and electricity cables. This was stated in a lecture by geologists at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History last week.
The Krýsuvík volcanic system is characterized by a 50-kilometer long rift, stretching from Grindavík on Reykjanes, through Hafnarfjörður, Reykjavík and to the rural Mosfellssveit area outside Mosfellsbær. By the seashore in Grindavík the rift has a width of ten meters but narrows to two to four meters where it ends in Mosfellssveit. A narrow 30-kilometer volcanic vent follows the rift from Grindavík to Hafnarfjörður.
The last eruption in the Krýsuvík volcanic system was in the 12th century when lava flowed to the ocean both on the southern and northern coast of Reykjanes peninsula. The original Krýsuvík was filled with lava and a lava field created as a result of the eruption, Kapelluhraun, reaches Straumsvík by Hafnarfjörður. The eruption also caused changes to the fracture zone south of the capital region. The Krýsuvík volcanic system is observed closely but there are no indications of an imminent eruption.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone 16s (Haruna) was located approximately 395 nm southwest of La Reunion. Expected to track westward towards Mozambique while weakening.

Tropical Cyclone Seventeen was located approximately 225 nm north of Port Hedland, Australia.

Tropical cyclone Haruna and rains that lashed the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar have killed 10 people and affected nearly 3000. The cyclone struck on Friday morning in the region and left the island 24 hours later, having claimed six lives and hurt 17. Four other people were killed in torrential rain earlier in the week.
Heavy rains had pounded the island before strong gusts of wind reaching speeds of 200km/h. The cyclone destroyed around 70 per cent of the south-western city of Moromb. About 30 towns in the south of the country had been under threat of violent storms but only Morombe was severely affected. The category 2 cyclone was downgraded to a tropical storm after dissipating at sea at 0230 GMT (1330 AEDT) on Saturday. "This tropical disturbance is expected to bring a lot of rain in southern Madagascar in the coming two days."

Australia - A cyclone warning has been issued for people living in coastal areas of Western Australia between Wallal and Whim Creek. The Bureau of Meteorology has advised a tropical low is about 400km north of Port Hedland and 440km west north-west of Broome. It is moving south at 6km/h.
The low is likely to develop into a tropical cyclone late on Sunday or early on Monday as it moves towards the coast. While it is not expected to cause gales in coastal areas on Sunday, gales may occur on Monday. A cyclone watch is also in place from Broome to Wallal and from Whim Creek to Mardie. Conditions are forecast to intensify and there is a high risk the system will cross the coast as a severe tropical cyclone on Tuesday or Wednesday. Residents living in the Pilbara and Kimberley areas are advised to be prepared and keep updated with weather forecasts.


Australia - Seven campers have been airlifted to safety on the New South Wales south coast while properties around Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast have flooded, as waters continue to rise across the state. However, with the wild weather easing in places, the State Emergency Service is attempting to clean up some of the worst affected areas.
About 8am (AEDT) on Sunday seven people were rescued by a helicopter from their camping site alongside the Clyde River near Ulladulla after they were stranded by rising waters. It's one of almost 70 rescues carried out by the SES since the heavy rain and flooding began on Friday. On the mid-north coast, properties around Port Macquarie were flooding on Sunday morning as the Hastings River swelled to its expected peak of 1.8 metres.
Sydney felt the storm's force on Saturday night. Narellan in the city's southwest and Malabar in the southeast were smashed by torrential rain and 100km/h winds, which destroyed several homes. In Sydney's east, savage winds described by locals as "mini-tornadoes" damaged an RSL club and a primary school and tore part of the roof off Fox Studios.
"At the moment the weather seems to have subsided and it's the clean-up phase." Flood warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) remain in place for 15 river systems across the state. The Colo river northwest of Sydney was predicted to rise to 10.7m on Sunday, a "near major flood level". In total, about 19,000 people across NSW had been ordered to evacuate their homes. About 10,000 homes had lost power, mainly in Sydney's north and east and on the central coast.
Earlier on Sunday, the Macleay River near Kempsey on the NSW mid-north coast peaked at 7m, about 30 centimetres below expectations. Water was up to 1.2m deep in parts of the town, but its two main streets had not been flooded. Grafton, which almost went under three weeks ago, was spared again after the Clarence River peaked about 1.5m below the town's levee. Two people have died in the floods in the past two days. On Saturday afternoon, the body of a man was found in his submerged car on a flooded road at Mylneford, about 20km northwest of Grafton. On Friday, a 17-year-old boy died after he was swept into a drainpipe while collecting golf balls in waist-deep water in the town of Kew, near Port Macquarie.
Flood video

UK nightmare - There is no end in sight to the severe disruption a landslide has caused for Scunthorpe area rail passengers. The landslip, described as ONE OF THE WORST IN LIVING MEMORY, has twisted tracks in the area, disrupting train service to and from the region for untold months.
The disruption for passengers traveling between Scunthorpe and Doncaster has seen their journeys extended by up to an hour as they take buses to and from their destination. Work cannot begin repairing the track until the landslide stops moving – and officials at Network Rail say they have no idea when this will be. “Landslips themselves are not that uncommon and over the last year there have been quite a few because of the heavy rain that we have had. There have been a lot of landslips that have not been rail-related, but some railways have been affected. This one is certainly the worst in my recollection and you have to go back a long way to find anything of this nature. In 1953, there were floods along the east coast service near Newcastle, where bridges were washed away. I don't think I have seen anything like this in recent memory. I don't recall anything as serious as this. There is no end in sight."
Repairing the line will not be an easy task. "Until the ground stops moving, there is not much that Network Rail can do – their hands are tied. When it stops moving, it will take more than five minutes to rebuild four tracks of main railway. There are junctions that are involved which make it much more difficult.”

UNPRECEDENTED landslip in Spain - Heavy rains in recent weeks have caused a major landslide in Subiza that has devastated rural roads, farms and caused serious damage to two electrical towers that are at serious risk of falling.
The landslide is located on the southeast slope of Mount of Forgiveness, towards Bells, and therefore did not affect any house in this small town of Basin, about 190 inhabitants. The dimensions of the land mass, which dragged stones and vegetation as a result of heavy rainfall,are calculated at 800 meters long and 700 wide. “It is of immense dimensions, and quite tremendous. I’ve never seen one this big slide." Continuous rains, during January and February, along with the snowmelt, are behind this spectacular landslide, which began about three or four weeks ago.
As if it were a glacier, the tongue of land, rocks and vegetation has shifted gradually from the hillside, taking about six or seven fields of wheat and barley crops with it. It has also destroyed three rural roads; sometimes breaking them so dramatically that you could see a stretch perfectly, where 10 or 15 feet had moved. In addition, roads are covered by tons of earth in places, and have large and deep cracks. The council has sealed off many of these roads, making access totally impassable. The landslide also destroyed a cattle track that crossed the region.

Nightmarish cracks, splits land in Kashmir - At least 200 families of Yamrad Bala, 16 km from Handwara have been forced to migrate to other locations after cracks developed in the land around their houses. The cracks are widening constantly giving a nightmarish experience to the inhabitants.
Locals said that land was developing cracks, which were widening with each passing day. They expressed fear that their residential structures may collapse anytime and result in devastation of life and property. "The land is developing cracks and it appears that major soil erosion may wreak havoc to life and property." The village is located at a slope and a non-metallic road connects it with the Handwara town. Some families who muster courage to stay in their homes during nights said it was a nightmarish experience for them to spend nights amid increasing fear of widening of cracks.
Most of the families evacuated their houses and moved to safer location in nearby localities during nights. “Staying for nights here may prove disastrous because land is developing more cracks at different places. For past two days, we have been moving to other locations to spend nights and avoid any eventuality. The soil may have turned marshy after many years. If that is the case, then the entire village may be forced to migrate to other areas for rehabilitation."
A team from Soil Conservation Department visited the village. Officials of Soil Conservation Department collected the sample of soil and sent it for testing. "There is no need to panic and necessary measures will be taken for the safety of inhabitants of the village."

Giant sinkhole swallows rice field in China - Frozen rice fields in Sichuan province were swallowed up by a massive sinkhole Tuesday, with farmland collapsing into a pit ten metre across in the province’s Weiyuan county.
The cave-in occurred around 7pm on February 5, with an explosive sound heard by villagers 100 meters away, which some compared to the sound of firecrackers. No one was reported to have been killed or injured, but villagers will have to deal with the gaping holes in the middle of their land, while authorities monitor the area for further geologic instability.

Four children were among 17 people killed over the weekend in central Indonesia after heavy rains triggered floods and landslides. The children, aged between two and nine, died along with 13 adults when flooding and landslides hit the northern part of Sulawesi island early Sunday.
Heavy rains hit three areas, including the North Sulawesi provincial capital of Manado which saw water levels up to four meters (13 feet). Water, which inundated around 5,000 houses in Manado, had receded by Monday and residents had begun cleaning up their homes. A landslide which hit the city killed a six-year old boy. “He was taking a bath in the morning when a landslide suddenly struck his house."
Indonesia is regularly affected by deadly floods and landslides during its wet season, which lasts for around six months. Environmentalists blame logging and a failure to reforest denuded land for exacerbating flooding. Heavy rains caused flooding in the capital Jakarta in January that left 32 people dead and at its peak forced nearly 46,000 to flee their homes.

Mysterious bubbling reported by salt dome 50 miles from giant Louisiana sinkhole - Sheriff asking motorists to stay away.
Residents who live in Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish are worried active bubbling on the lake near their homes could be putting their lives in danger. The Department of Environmental Quality sent workers to the area to take samples of the mysterious bubbles on the lake surface. Residents claim the lake has bubbled in the past and captured pictures of it bubbling again Wednesday afternoon. A resident said this is the first time bubbling has continued into a second day.
Opponents of expanding the underground natural gas storage facility under Lake Peigneur asked state regulators on Wednesday to carefully review what they argue has the potential to become another disaster on the scale of the growing sinkhole in Assumption Parish. AGL Resources is proposing to scour out two new salt caverns for natural gas storage Residents cited a host of potential safety and environmental concerns and pointed to the continued bubbling at the lake. Bubbling also was reported at Bayou Corne before the sinkhole developed there last year.


Central Europe swept by powerful cyclone - Snow caused chaos on roads in Austria, with the situation particularly grave in the east. Heavy trucks cannot cope with the icy slopes; traffic jams stretch for many kilometers.
Every hour new accidents are recorded at police stations. Local officials urge drivers to put chains on the wheels. Cold weather and snow have also descended upon Croatia: frosts have hit resorts on the Adriatic coast, the seafronts and yachts are covered with snow and ice. Local services are toiling around the clock clearing streets. They have their work cut out for them: according to weather forecasts the cyclone has no intention of letting up on the Balkans.



- The Honest Kitchen is recalling five lots of its Verve, Zeal and Thrive pet food products produced between August and November 2012 and sold nationwide in the US and Canada via retail stores, mail order and online after August 2012 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
- Heartland Brands is voluntarily recalling two varieties of its granola cereals in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Israel and Trinidad, as a precaution due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh in an ingredient.
- Mondelēz Global LLC announced a nationwide recall in the United States, including Puerto Rico, of the belVita Breakfast Biscuit product, Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate varieties, following notification from a third-party supplier, due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh caused by a faulty screen at their facility.
- GoldCoast Salads, a Naples Florida firm, is recalling Blue Crab Spread, Maine Lobster Spread, Lobster and Shrimp Spread, and Smoked Salmon Spread that may be contaminated with Listeria.

Friday, February 22, 2013

**The evil that is in the world
almost always comes from ignorance,
and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence
if they lack understanding.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
2/21/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Gravity Makes Volcanoes Sag, Influencing Eruptions - The way gravity deforms volcanoes could help explain mysterious features seen in volcanoes on Mars, Earth and elsewhere, as well as potentially revealing risks that volcanoes pose to neighboring communities on Earth, a group of researchers says.
Gravity can make large volcanoes warp under their own weight in two ways: they can either spread outward on top of their "basement" of underlying rock or sag downward into that basement. The way volcanoes deform strongly influences the stability of their structures, and when and how they erupt. The researchers saw that a range of volcano spreading and sagging evolved, depending on the rigidity and strength of a volcano's basement compared to the size of the volcano it supported. Spreading occurred when the basement was rigid, as appears to be the case with the volcanic island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, while sagging happened when a volcano and its basement deformed together, as is the case with Elysium Mons on Mars.
Sagging and spreading can also happen at the same time, when a volcano and its basement deform separately. These interactions may explain features seen at Olympus Mons on Mars and with volcanoes on Hawaii, the largest volcanoes on Mars and Earth, respectively. Such activity may explain puzzling terraces seen jutting a bit like steps out fromthese structures' mid-to-upper flanks. Such research could help assess the hazards that different volcanoes pose. For instance, "a volcano that's more likely to spread than sag is at greater risk of suffering landslides or a full-blown flank collapse, and vice versa for a sagging volcano." These studies could also reveal likely sagging- or spreading-influenced sites of eruptions.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone 16s (Haruna) was located approximately 285 nm southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar - currently tracking over southern Madagascar.

Australia - Wild weather causes damage in Ballina. Roofs have come off homes and businesses as severe weather hits northern New South Wales.
The wild winds, surf and rain are forecast to hit the northern rivers, mid-north coast, Hunter and northern tablelands, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned. But a State Emergency Service spokeswoman said Ballina on the north coast had already experienced damage as a low pressure system edged to the coast near the Queensland and NSW border. "We had some really strong winds come through Ballina, peak gust of up to 110km/h. We've seen a lot of roofs come off buildings there. We had to evacuate the Ballina centre for the disabled because part of the roof has come off there. Part of the roof has come off the Commonwealth Bank in the CBD and lots of roofs have come off homes."
The SES said it is expecting a busy night. The severe weather warning for northern NSW remains and the situation is expected to get worse. "The low pressure system which was sitting about 300km off the coast at 7am is now about 100km offshore near the border of Queensland and NSW. That's been bringing a lot of rain and damaging to destructive wind gusts through that region. It's been very severe, the strongest wind gust I've recorded is 126km/h at Cape Town Byron. We're expecting for tonight for that low to cross the coast and we're expecting it to move inland on the Saturday to the northern tablelands and the northern slopes and planes."
More than 20,000 homes between Ocean Shores and Port Macquarie have lost power as a result of the storms. Winds up to 130km/h have been recorded along the coast. The worst hit areas are on the coast around Ballina and Byron Bay, Yamba and Maclean, and Coffs Harbour. Customers have been warned that they could be without electricity overnight, although Essential Energy says they are working to restore power wherever possible. In January, extreme weather across parts of Queensland and northern NSW left at least three people dead with a damage bill likely to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.


U.S. Midwest swaddled in blanket of snow - Powdery snow bombarded much of the nation's midsection Thursday, leaving as much as 17 inches in some places, shutting down airports, schools and state legislatures.
30 million people are in the path of the winter storm.
Near white out conditions, thunder snow and strong winds swept into the Midwest, bringing transportation to a halt in several states. And in the South, a wintry mix of rain, snow and sleet created dangerous icy conditions.
Lumbering coast to coast, a winter storm hammered the Great Plains on Thursday, and more than a dozen more states were forecast to be hit in coming days. Accidents were reported across the region, with one death: an Oklahoma teenager who was killed when his pickup truck skidded across a slushy road. By evening, more than 14 inches of snow had fallen on the ground in Wichita, Kansas, the second largest on record and THE MOST THE CITY HAS SEEN IN 50 YEARS. The Weather Channel said snow totals would be formidable: Up to a foot of snow for Omaha, Neb., 3 to 6 inches of snow and sleet for St. Louis, 8 to 12 inches of snow for Kansas City, Mo., and 3 to 6 inches of snow for Chicago.
Kansas and Missouri declared states of emergency as plows struggled to keep up with a system dumping as much as 3 inches of snow per hour, and a swath of the country from Ohio to Arkansas prepared for a coating of dangerous ice. “I do want to urge everybody in the state: If you don’t have to travel, don’t,” the Kansas Governor said. “Get out a board game, play with the kids, drink a cup of coffee.” United, Southwest Airlines, AirTran Airways, American Airlines and American Eagle said they had canceled hundreds of flights for Thursday and Friday, and Kansas City International Airport was closed altogether. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has already cancelled more 200 flights scheduled for Friday.
Snow will arrive in the Chicago metro area on Friday before traveling to the East Coast where it will develop into rain and sleet across the region and snow in the Boston area. Raymore, Mo., reported more than 10 inches of snow. Topeka, Kan., had 9.2 inches, the most in a day since January 1993. Alva, Okla., had more than a foot on the ground. Advisories for snow, ice, wind or rain were posted as far south as the Texas Panhandle, as far north as Minnesota and Wisconsin and as far east as the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Authorities closed a 90-mile stretch of Interstate 70, which forms a belt across Kansas and Missouri. The speed of the snowfall is “going to be overwhelming even the best snow-clearing capabilities that they have. If you don’t have anywhere to go, don’t. Please don’t.” The storm is vast: Earlier this week, it closed roads and stranded cars in California and dusted cactus tops in Southwest. At a delayed tournament in Arizona, pro golfers threw snowballs at each other and retreated to the clubhouse for hot chocolate.
The same weather system could dump snow on New England for the third weekend in a row, and a stretch of Georgia and the Florida Panhandle could be doused by 7 inches of rain. A wintry mix of snow and ice was likely to come in the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains, including parts of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, by Friday morning.


CDC midseason check finds scant flu vaccine effect for seniors - Flu shots only 9% effective for elderly. Influenza vaccine over the past few months has provided moderate protection overall but didn't have a significant impact on protecting seniors, a study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.


- Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO is voluntarily recalling All Products Manufactured at its Denver, Colorado Facility from April 20, 2012 thru September 19, 2012 due to possible Salmonella contamination. Kasel Industries is recalling dog treats - Boots & Barkley, BIXBI, Nature’s Deli, Colorado Naturals, Petco, and Best Bully Stick items.
Nutri-Vet, LLC. of Boise, ID is recalling its Nutri-Vet and NutriPet Chicken Jerky Products because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

**Barn's burnt down -
I can see the moon.**

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
2/20/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Lava continued to spew from Mount Etna in Sicily on Wednesday after an initial eruption from its south-eastern crater on Tuesday. Communities in the nearby town of Catania have not been afftected and no warnings of danger have been issued.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical Depression 02w (Crising) was located approximately 115 nm south-southwestward of Puerto Princesa, Philippines.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone 16s (Haruna) was located approximately 380 nm southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar - expected to track over southern Madagascar.

1 dead as tropical storm hit Mindanao - Tropical Storm 'Crising' Wreaking Havoc on The Philippines. On Feb. 19, a low pressure system designated as System 98W organized into a tropical depression and was renamed “02W". The tropical storm hit the southern Philippines Tuesday.
A flash flood caused by heavy downpour since Monday night due to tropical depression Crising left one dead in the town of New Bataan in Compostela Valley province. The flood waters in five villages are knee-deep and the lone fatality came from the village of Andap. A landslide in the village of Mambing damaged at least six hectares of lands, destroyed 33 houses, and roads. "There were no reported casualties so far. The 33 families affected by the landslides are safe."
In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, local officials are preparing for the onslaught of Crising in the region, calling on all residents to be on alert to achieve zero casualties. "All people leaving near the mountain slopes and in low lying areas to be alert for possible flash floods and undertake precautionary measures." As of 5 p.m., local time, Crising has made landfall over the southern tip of Davao Del Sur as it moves in a west northwest direction.
Philippines - Normally typhoon-free Mindanao suffers 3rd cyclone in 2013. Weather disturbances are usually UNHEARD OF in Mindanao, especially at this time of year. But THESE ARE NO LONGER ORDINARY TIMES. Three storms have already hit the country's south in 2013, including Tropical Depression Crising which made landfall over Davao del Sur at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Crising-induced flooding prompted evacuations in Davao. As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, at least one person was killed while two others were reported injured due to the weather disturbance. GMA News' resident meteorologist said that frequent weather disturbances in Mindanao, especially during the first few months of the year, are HIGHLY "UNUSUAL." Historically, cyclones only hit Mindanao once every 10 years on the average.
Two of the deadliest storms to strike the Philippines in the last two years, "Sendong" and "Pablo," barreled through Mindanao and AWAY FROM THE USUAL TYPHOON BELT of Samar, heading north to Luzon. Last year, the first three weather disturbances to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility - cyclones Ambo, Butchoy and Carina — all affected parts of Luzon. Auring and Bising were the first cyclones to hammer Mindanao this year.

Cyclone develops, but moves away from Mozambique - The cyclone, known as “16S” (Haruna), was about halfway between the Mozambican and Madagascan coasts at midnight on Monday.

Another cyclone brews off Western Australia coast - A severe weather system brewing off northern Australia is expected to develop into a tropical cyclone early next week. The system should become a tropical low over the next couple of days as it moves down the Western Australian coast, before strengthening into a cyclone around Monday or Tuesday.
It's currently a weak system off the Northern Territory. "Now by the end of this week we'd expect to have a significant low off the Kimberley coast, and by the end of the weekend there's a chance that could have turned into a cyclone, and if you're a betting person you would bet on that becoming a severe tropical cyclone and impacting the Pilbara." The next Tropical Cyclone to form in Australian waters will be called Rusty. Ironically, it could be heading straight for the iron ore rich Pilbara region.

Tonga lucky during Cyclone Season - Tonga has been lucky, and has so far enjoyed a largely uneventful 2012-13 South Pacific Cyclone Season, although there were cyclone alerts and gale warnings during January. As the end of February approaches, Tonga is unscathed from cyclones.


Big snowstorm could ease drought in central US - A powerful storm roaring into the Southwest Wednesday and central U.S. on Thursday, is bringing heavy snow and rain, strong winds, and the potential for severe weather — but also much-needed moisture for the drought-scorched Plains. The storm will stretch from central and southern California to the Rockies and Plains states over several days. Some areas are expecting 16 inches of snow.


Australia - Grampians on fresh fire alert. Farmers and residents are on high alert as an out of control bushfire, 25,000 hectares in size, continues to roar through Victoria’s west.



- Precautionary Recall Of Arnold, Brownberry, Earthgrains, Farm, Harmons, L’oven Fresh, Stroehmann and Sara Lee Multi-grain Breads and Sara Lee Thin Style Buns. BBU, Inc., the parent of the Bimbo Bakeries companies, has initiated a recall due to possible presence of flexible wire caused by a faulty screen at a third party flour mill.
- MKG Provisions Recalls Atlantic Smoked Salmon - consisting of several brands of products which have the potential to be contaminated with "Listeria monocytogenes."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strange animal behavior - A super-mega dolphin pod, which indulged in a feeding frenzy off the coast of San Diego over the weekend, is only the latest in a recent STRING OF ODD BEHAVIORS by large creatures of the sea.
Uncharacteristic feeding behavior from dolphins and whales is grabbing the attention of scientists – and the public – and so far is prompting more questions than answers about what's going on in the ocean depths. Blue whales, which usually hang out off Costa Rica this time of year, unexpectedly showed up in California's Monterey Bay over the past week, gorging on a sizable buffet of krill. Over the weekend, a huge population of short-beaked dolphins that stretched out over 35 miles indulged in a feeding frenzy off the coast of San Diego.
Last fall, sperm whales appeared uncharacteristically in Canada's Bay of Fundy. In December, rare right whales, calves in tow, showed up months earlier than usual to feed off Massachusetts' Cape Cod. Is all this unusual marine mammal activity a hint that some major disturbance is afoot in the oceans? These are the kinds of big questions that scientists are reluctant to answer quickly when dramatic events occur.
Take the recent reappearance of porpoises in San Francisco Bay, after a 65-year absence. “We like to study these long-term trends and really find out what is behind them,” says a member of Golden Gate Cetacean Research, a nonprofit organization set up to determine why porpoises suddenly returned to San Francisco after deserting the premises soon after World War II. Most researchers concur that the ocean's hungry giants will follow the food wherever it takes them. Indeed, record supply of other food favorites, such as squid and mackerel, off both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts is attracting the whales and dolphins.
On the Atlantic coast, scientists on Cape Cod and in Canada have noted that the ocean waters are warming, which could in turn affect the food supply for these big creatures. Warmer water speeds up growth rates of phytoplankton, the foundation of the food chain. That leads to more plankton, which are eaten by smaller fish who in turn are scooped up by the larger sea creatures.
But hard science is very hard to come by linking climate change to anecdotal moments such as the unexpected offshore mega-pods of dolphins and whales. “Clearly, something is going on, but what has changed about the feeding has not been thoroughly researched yet. All these events are part of all of us saying, ‘wow, we are observing something UNPRECEDENTED,' but we don’t know what it means yet....These are indicator species about the health of our oceans.” Most of the planet is made up of ocean life. “These species are the canaries in the mines of the most important life on our planet.”
[Site note - Yesterday a pair of ducks landed in my snow-covered yard and then procceeded to walk down the sidewalk and then on down the street. In February! I've lived in this house for 34 years and have never seen ducks around my house before in the winter. And it certainly is not unusually warm here; it is bitter cold and well below freezing.]

**When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.**
John Muir

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/19/13 -

4.9 Earthquake in China injures four people - A magnitude-4.9 earthquake shook the border of China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces Tuesday, injuring four. Qiaojia County officials said the earthquake destroyed 56 houses. The earthquake rattled Zhaotong prefecture at 10:46am and occurred roughly ten kilometers below the surface of the earth.

Volcano Webcams

Italy's Mount Etna sent lava and gas shooting toward the stars early Tuesday morning, the first big eruption for the volcano in 2013. The famous Sicilian volcano burst to life overnight, sending a fountain of fire into the air. The dramatic scene was captured in a video by Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.
Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, had emitted signs of an imminent paroxysm in recent weeks. On Jan. 22, lava and strong flashes in the volcano's New Southeast Crater were clearly visible from the Sicilian foothills; these often herald a new paroxysm: short, violent eruptive bursts. The tallest volcano in Europe, Mount Etna is almost constantly spewing gas or lava. Its Bocca Nuova crater also erupted earlier this year, from Jan. 10 to Jan. 20. In 2011, Etna's violent bursts were spotted from space.

Popocatepetl Volcano in Mexico Sparks Fresh UFO Alert - Three moving lights appeared in the sky around the active volcano. Black and white footage of the volcano outside Mexico city sparked the interest of UFO-spotters and was broadcast on Foro TV.
The footage has caused a stir on local television news. One flying object appears to dive into the red hot cauldron of the volcano. Speculation that the moving lights were really meteors from a shower of space rock were dismissed by ufologists. Popocatepetl has literally become a hotspot for UFO sightings, with some theories claiming the site might have a special significance for extraterrestrials. So popular is the volcano as an alleged intergalactic meeting point that a media firm has a camera permanently trained on the summit.
Last year, footage captured a cigar shaped object apparently entering the volcano. Expert analysis by the International Astronomical Union ruled out a meteorite, as well as the likelihood of it being a piece of debris falling back to earth after being spat out of the volcano. Extended study of the mystery footage concluded the cigar-shaped UFO was an elaborate hoax. (video)

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical Depression 02w was located approximately 25nm north of Zamboanga, Philippines.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone 16s (Haruna) was located approximately 375nm west-southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar - expected to track over southern Madagascar on Thursday.


Russian meteorite: hunt for debris, but was it a comet? Scientists say there are still many fragments to be found as debate starts over precise nature of celestial object.
The extraterrestrial origin of 53 rock fragments collected on the frozen surface of Lake Chebarkul was confirmed during analysis conducted by the Urals Federal University in the early hours of Monday. But this is just the start of the process of gathering the debris left by the large meteorite, which exploded on entering the earth's atmosphere and hit the ground in a series of fireballs on Friday. A member of the Russian Academy of Science's meteorite committee, has been put in charge of the scientific search operation. "There are a lot more fragments to be discovered in many other places … it's only a matter of time."
The search is being concentrated at the moment around a six-metre wide hole in Lake Chebarkul, about 50 miles from Chelyabinsk, discovered by locals shortly after the meteorite hit the ground. Military divers spent much of the weekend scouring the bottom of the lake, but were hampered by poor visibility and found nothing. Despite the failure of the divers, there was still likely to be a piece of meteorite in the lake of at least 50cm in diameter.
Local officials said on Sunday that the formal search was being abandoned, but scientists will continue the hunt. No one from the eight-strong scientific team has yet been able to examine the whole surface of the lake because of a cordon put in place by the authorities over the weekend. Analysis of the pieces recovered so far, none of which had a diameter greater than 1cm, suggests that 10% of the meteorite was made up of iron. Traces of sulphite and the mineral olivine were also present. "It was a stone meteorite that belongs to a class of ordinary chondrite meteorites."
Likely to be named Chebarkul after the lake where the first fragments were found, the meteorite is the biggest such object to hit the earth in more than 100 years. Within the academic community there appeared to be a difference of opinion on Monday as to the exact nature of the object, when some experts said it was conceivable that it was a comet that had struck southern Russia at 9.20am on Friday. "In Chelyabinsk we saw a type of comet in which there was almost no meteorite remaining," said a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Astronomy Institute. "It was mainly made up of a mass of ice, of which no trace is left."
The argument reflects the same debate that raged after the last big meteorite impact, the so-called Tunguska event in Siberia in 1908. For decades afterwards Russian scientists, trying to explain the absence of an obvious impact crater, argued over whether the blast was caused by a meteorite or a small comet. While the intellectual debate was beginning on Monday, the clean-up operation in Chelyabinsk was winding down. The shockwave caused by the meteorite shattered windows across the region and injured about 1,500. One woman was transferred to Moscow for treatment over the weekend and about 50 people remained in hospital. With night-time temperatures hovering around -20C, glass prices jumped as people rushed to replace broken panes.


UN urges hormone-disrupting chemical probe - Scientists have found mounting evidence of hormone-disrupting chemicals becoming a health risk.
Scientists suspect chemicals which disrupt the hormone system are linked to early breast development, poor semen quality, low birthweight in babies and other problems, but more research is needed. The UN Environment Program (UNEP) and World Health Organisation (WHO) said evidence was mounting that so-called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) become a health risk when they enter the environment, but key knowledge gaps remain.
"Close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormone receptors, hormone synthesis or hormone conversion. However, only a small fraction of these chemicals have been investigated in tests capable of identifying overt endocrine effects in intact organisms."
The report was commissioned against a backdrop of concern that EDCs - found in some pesticides, electronics, personal care products, cosmetics and food additives - are entering water supplies and the food chain through agricultural runoff, waste dumps and other sources.
In recent decades, scientists have observed a rise in endocrine-related disorders in humans and wildlife, including studied populations of deer, sea lions and sea otters. In some countries, up to 40 per cent of young men have low semen quality, which reduces their ability to father children. "Global rates of endocrine-related cancers - breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, testicular and thyroid - have been increasing over the past 40 to 50 years. There is a trend towards earlier onset of breast development in young girls in all countries where this has been studied. This is a risk factor for breast cancer."
Incidence of genital malformation in young boys, such as non-descending testes, has increased over time or levelled off "at unfavourably high rates." The emergence of these disorders over such a short time means that genetic factors can be ruled out. Laboratory studies back suspicions that EDCs are to blame. But there are big gaps in knowledge, especially grass-roots studies that compare incidence of these disorders and exposure to the chemicals. There could be other environmental causes, and age and nutrition could play a role.
In the quest for a fuller picture, the report called for more research and better international coordination on testing standards and urged governments, in the meantime, to be vigilant. "Worldwide, there has been a failure to adequately address the underlying environmental causes of trends in endocrine diseases and disorders....(The) disease risk due to EDCs may be significantly underestimated."

British man dies from novel coronavirus infection - One patient in a British family cluster of novel coronavirus (NCoV) infections, a 38-year-old man with an underlying medical condition, has died, and fresh details about a recently reported mild case have sparked new questions about how the virus is spreading and how big a threat it poses.


Nature's Variety has announced a recall of one batch of Instinct® Raw Organic Chicken Formula with a "Best if Used By" date of 10/04/13. This action is being taken because pieces of clear plastic may be found in some bags and could cause a potential choking risk to pets.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The shock wave from the meteor that exploded above Siberia last week somehow sheared the roof off a brick and steel factory building while leaving a nearby glass facade unscathed. In some high-rises in this city, every window blew out on the top floor; elsewhere, the windows on the ground floors suffered.
More ominously, reports came in to local news media over the weekend of stranger phenomena: behind unshattered apartment windows, glass jugs were said to explode into shards, dishes to crack, electronics to die. Balconies rattled. One man said a bottle broke right in his hand. One woman saw the flash, then heard explosions, then found the windows of her enclosed balcony blown in; her neighbor, with identical windows, escaped without property damage.
There seemed to be randomness in whose property was damaged. Scientists believe the space rock that tore through the atmosphere on Friday morning and blew apart here was the largest to have entered the atmosphere since 1908 and that it was UNUSUAL as well FOR THE SCALE OF ITS EFFECTS: more than 1,200 people injured and broad property damage. Indeed, the event is providing a first indication of the type of structural and infrastructural costs meteors can exact from a highly industrialized society. NASA scientists say a meteor of this size strikes the Earth about once every hundred years.
Shattered glass caused most of the damage and injuries here in Chelyabinsk, a sprawling industrial city of about a million people. What shattered the glass, scientists say, was both the explosion as the meteor fragmented and the waves of pressure created as it decelerated. Such low-frequency waves — called infrasound — are sometimes detected by cold-war era nuclear blast sensors in remote parts of the Pacific Ocean or Alaska.
. The waves can bounce off buildings and be stronger in some places than others; they can also resonate with glass, explaining why bottles and dishes might have shattered inside undamaged kitchens, as if crushed by the airy hand of the meteor itself. “A shock wave is like a ball. Throw a ball into a room and it will bounce from one wall to another.”
Russia has mobilized 24,000 emergency officials to inspect roads, railroads, hospitals, factories and military facilities. Most are undamaged, including 122 sites identified as particularly critical, including nuclear power plants, dams and chemical factories, and a space launching site called Strela. Also Sunday, Russia’s consumer safety inspection agency, Rospotrebnadzor, released a statement saying the water in Lake Chebarkul, where a hole in the ice appeared on Friday, was not radioactive.
It was unclear why the agency released this finding only Sunday, or whether the tests were conducted to assuage popular concerns or out of any real official uncertainty over what happened on Friday. In any case, the agency said a mobile laboratory quietly dispatched to the lake tested for but did not discover cesium 137 and strontium 90, isotopes created in nuclear explosions. Infrasound waves have not previously been studied in a cityscape. But the apparent randomness of the damage was consistent with the way such waves function.
“A shock wave can be coming from a particular direction, and if you face that direction you are more susceptible. One building might shadow another, or you may have a street that is optimally aligned to channel the wave, either in a fortunate or unfortunate way.” An infrasound wave “is very efficient at traveling long distances,” and “windows, structures or even glass jars susceptible to resonate at this frequency could be a factor to seemingly random damage at widely disparate locations.”
A similar, though smaller, explosion of a meteor over the Pacific Ocean occurred on Oct. 8, 2009, which also sent out low-frequency waves, though too remote to affect homes or industry. They were, though, registered by a network of infrasound sensors established to monitor compliance with the international ban on nuclear tests. The spokesman for the governor of Chelyabinsk region characterized the damage there as without a discernible pattern. “It is impossible to say more glass broke in one part of the city or another. Glass broke everywhere.”
The roof of the zinc factory that collapsed was reinforced with a lattice of steel beams and supported by concrete joists that are now broken, jutting upward with mangled re-bar protruding. Windows on a neighboring house blew in with such force that the frames went with them. Yet a few yards away on Sverdlovsky Street, the cosmos spared a seemingly vulnerable Hundai dealership, a three-story cube sheathed in glass, with glistening display models inside. Not a window broke.

**Art and revolt will die only with the last man.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
2/18/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Russia warns about volcano eruption - The Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences has issued an advisory to airlines, urging them to avoid flying over the Kamchatka mountains where four volcanoes have become more active. hese include Shiveluch, Karymsky, Kizimen, and Flat Tolbachik.
The ash from these volcanoes can cause fatal consequences. If the particles get caught in aircraft engines, a crash would be inevitable. At the moment Shiveluch volcano is throwing a column of ash to a height almost 4,500 meters above sea level, while Karymsky volcano is spewing ash at a height of about 2,700 meters above sea level. RAS assured that the volcanic activity for the local population was not serious.
The Kamchatka peninsula is a 1,250-kilometer peninsula in the Russian Far East. It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west. Immediately offshore along the Pacific coast of the peninsula runs the 10,500-meter deep Kuril-Kamchatka Trench.
Kamchatka volcano lava stops near research site - A lava flow from the erupting Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula has stopped less than three km away from a research site, the Kamchatka Volcano Observatory said on Monday.
"The lava flow that was approaching the Tolud research site has ceased its movement. It didn’t reach the base due to ground profile." During the eruption, which began on November 27, two fissures formed on the southern slope of the volcano. Lava from the upper fissure covered more than six km, while the flow effusing from the lower fissure covered more than 20 km.
A scientist based at the Tolud volcanologists' research site next to the volcano said last Wednesday that the lava flow was threatening the camp, but the Emergencies Ministry dismissed the report the following day. The Plosky Tolbachik volcano, located 343 kilometers (217 miles) from the region's capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, began erupting on November 27 for the first time in 36 years. Kamchatka is one of the most volcanically-active areas in the world with 29 active volcanos.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical Depression Two was located approximately 275 nm east-southeast of Zamboanga, Philippines.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Sixteen was located approximately 335 nm west of Antananarivo, Madagascar - expected to track over southern Madagascar.


Possible meteor shower sighting in South Florida - Some South Floridians reported seeing bright, flare-like objects disappear into the sky Sunday night, in what resembled a meteor shower.
The Coast Guard's command center starting receiving reports of a possible meteor shower at about 7:30 p.m. The Coast Guard could neither confirm nor deny whether it was, in fact, a meteor shower. The Coast Guard sent out a helicopter to check on a report of a flare but found nothing. There were no injuries and no boats in distress after the reported sightings. The Broward Sheriff's Office also reported receiving several calls from locals claiming there were "lights in the sky."

Meteorite could have devastated northern United Kingdom - Slight difference in time at which meteorite entered atmosphere could have resulted in widespread damage, say astronomers.
The region around Chelyabinsk hit by the meteorite impact is 55 degrees north, the same latitude as northern England. Had the meteorite's timing been only few hours different, it could have caused widespread damage in the British Isles, astronomers said. If a larger object, such as asteroid 2012 DA14 which grazed Earth later that day, had hit the planet, it would have obliterated any city it struck, they added.
These events have led several teams of scientists to propose schemes aimed at pinpointing asteroids or meteorites that could strike Earth and devastate regions. One is to be built by Hawaii University and is known as Atlas: Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System. It will consist of a series of eight telescopes, each fitted with powerful cameras, that would have sensitivity akin to detecting a match flame in New York City when viewed from San Francisco.
Atlas would give warnings of between one to three weeks of incoming meteorites. "That is enough time to evacuate the area of people, take measures to protect buildings and other infrastructure, and be alert to a tsunami danger generated by ocean impacts." News of the plans came as Russia revealed it was sending more than 9,000 workers to the region around Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains where Friday's meteorite crashed. More than 50 individuals were still in hospital on Saturday night.

Russia's Meteorite Explosion Was “Heard” Half-Way Around the World - The big meteorite exploded over Russia last Friday, and while the shock waves that shot across the Internet were definitely strong, the ones that shot through the atmosphere were pretty impressive too. The blast was loud enough for infrasound sensors as far as half-a-world away to hear.
A lot of this "noise" probably wasn't audible to our human ears, which bottom out at around 20 hertz. It's still detectable though and there are dozens of facilities around the globe that have sensors devoted to detecting sounds 20hz on down. Why? Mainly to keep an ear out for possible nuke testing, which generate similar (but distinguishably different) sounds in the same range.
It shouldn't be a surprise that, at about 20 times more powerful than the nuclear weapons used in World War II, the meteorite made some noise. 11 sensors, at stations as far away as Greenland and Africa, registered the bang. It wasn't exactly on par with the most powerful nukes ever tested, but being heard continents away is definitely an accomplishment.

What are the odds of a meteor and asteroid on the same day - 1 in 100 million. Friday was an EXTREMELY UNUSUAL DAY, astronomically speaking. Just as scientists were gearing up to witness an asteroid's closest ever approach to Earth in recorded history, the sizeable meteor exploded over Russia, causing thousands of injuries.

Russian meteor strike that injured 1200 people was US weapons test, claims a prominent Russian politician. In language echoing that of the Cold War, a nationalist Russian lawmaker said: "Those were not meteorites, it was Americans testing their new weapons."
"John Kerry wanted to warn (Russia’s Foreign Minister) Lavrov on Monday, he was looking for Lavrov, and Lavrov was on a trip. He meant to warn Lavrov about a provocation against Russia." According to the politician, who is perhaps more famous for fist-fights than physics, meteorites falling on Russia is an impossibility. Referring to outer space he said: "Nothing will ever fall out there, if something falls, it’s people doing that. People are the instigators of wars, the provocateurs.”
The statements, through strident are, however, unlikely to trouble democratic relations between Russia and the US. The politician is seen as a controversial and eccentric character because of his nationalist views. As well as previously being involved in fist fights in the Russian parliament, last month he was pelted with sour cabbage during a press conference by a woman who accused him of “Ukrainophobia". He had also previously been embroiled in a row with animal rights activists over the use of a donkey to pull a sleigh in a 30-second election video.
Contrary to his theories scientists have found more than 50 tiny fragments of the meteor. The meteorites plucked from the ice-covered Chebarkul Lake so far are less than a centimetre and had an iron content of about 10%. Locals saw a big meteorite fall into the lake on Friday, leaving a six-metre-wide hole in the ice. A meteorite up to two-feet across could eventually be found in the lake. The meteor, which was travelling at around 33,000 mph rained down over the Ural Mountains. Russian health officials raised the number of those injured from the meteor's arrival to nearly 1,500 people, with 46 of them still in hospital.