Tuesday, June 22,2010

Some powerful earthquakes can set off other big quakes on faults many miles away, with just a tiny nudge, because the faults have become synchronized over millennia, a new study suggests. Scientists already knew that big earthquakes can trigger other big quakes by transferring stress along a single fault, but they did not know about the synchrony. Here's how it works: When a fault ruptures in a large earthquake, the movement releases stresses that may have built up over hundreds or thousands of years and transfers some of that released stress to nearby faults. In order for that tiny added stress to trigger a large earthquake on a nearby fault, that fault had to already be very near its breaking point. For the two faults to have been simultaneously near their breaking points requires them to be synchronized in their seismic cycles. "All of a sudden bang, bang, bang, a whole bunch of faults break at the same time." That changes how future quake risk will be assessed. Seismologists had assumed that when a fault ruptures, the risk for another big quake generally goes down. "When a large earthquake happens, it may no longer mean that the immediate future risk is lower, but higher."
The researchers analyzed earthquake patterns as far back as 15,000 years and identified strings of related earthquakes. Their work explains how closely spaced faults that rupture every few thousand years might align themselves to rupture almost simultaneously. Southern California's Mojave Desert, the mountains of central Nevada and the south of Iceland each may have synchronized, or "phase locked," faults in their respective immediate vicinities.This hypothesis of synchronized faults could make it easier to assess some earthquake hazards by showing that faults moving at similar speeds, and within roughly 31 miles (50 km) of each other, may break at similar times, while faults moving at greatly different speeds, and located relatively far apart, will not.

**By nature, men are nearly alike;
by practice, they get to be wide apart. **

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/21/10 -

PHILIPPINES - Be ready for big quake, military told. The Defense Secretary has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to come up with a comprehensive plan for massive rescue operations should a magnitude-7 and stronger earthquake hit Metro Manila. He wants to see a copy of the draft plan before he steps down from office on June 30. Soldiers must be prepared to attend to 140,000 people seeking medical attention in the event of a massive earthquake in Metro Manila. Citing scientific forecasts, he said at least 30,000 people would die while over two million would be rendered homeless if a major earthquake rocks the metropolis. “This has already happened in other places in the world. It’s very important that we truly prepare for this disaster." Haiti, Chile, and China have suffered through magnitude-7 and better earthquakes in the recent past. The death tolls and amount of damage to property has been staggering.


JAPAN - An explosive eruption at Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture on Sunday afternoon was the 549th this year, A NEW ANNUAL RECORD. A second explosive eruption occurred later in the day, the 550th this year. Given that the volcano has erupted roughly twice as frequently since last year, the number of explosive eruptions could reach 1,000 this year.
The previous annual record of 548 explosive eruptions was recorded last year. The volcano released around 3 million tons of ash between January and April alone, more than the roughly 2.35 million tons released in the whole of last year. "While there is no ominous sign of a large-scale explosion, volcanic activity is expected to intensify. It is advised to watch out for large rocky ash falling in surrounding areas."

Tropical depression BLAS was 560 nmi WSW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Hurricane CELIA was 443 nmi SW of Acapulco, Mexico.

Celia has strengthened to a category 2 hurricane over the eastern Pacific Ocean. (satellite photo)

A tropical wave spawning a large area of thunderstorms in the eastern Caribbean Sea could develop into a tropical cyclone over the next couple of days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Monday. The NHC gave the system a medium 30 percent chance of developing, up from 20 percent earlier Monday. [today the chances are listed as 40%] "Although there is no evidence of a surface circulation ... this system is showing some signs of organization and environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development during the next couple of days."
The Center warned this system could produce locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds over portions of northern Venezuela, the Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti over the next day or so. Flooding would be especially damaging in Haiti, which is still trying to rebuild after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastated it last January. Over the next several days, most weather models project the system will march west-northwest across the Caribbean Sea toward the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico before possibly reaching the oil- and natural gas-rich Gulf of Mexico where BP Plc is trying to clean up its massive oil spill.


BANGLADESH - Over 150,000 people were left marooned after weeks of heavy rain in northeastern Bangladesh. Five weeks of heavy rain caused rivers to burst their banks and flood large areas of countryside and villages, as well as causing thousands of acres of crops to be ruined. The water level was still rising, causing major damage to crops and cutting off communication with many areas. Last week, at least 55 people were killed after the worst rains in decades triggered landslides and flash floods in the country's southeastern hill regions, with at least 12,000 people left homeless.

BRAZIL - Floods have engulfed two states in north-east Brazil, leaving about 1,000 people missing and forcing at least 100,000 to flee their homes. At least 38 people are known to have died so far in Alagoas and Pernambuco. The floods, brought on by nearly a week of rain, have washed away entire villages. Bodies are being washed up on beaches and riverbanks. More than 58,000 people were forced to leave their homes in Alagoas and more than 42,000 in Pernambuco. Aerial footage showed floodwater washing through the town. The town of Quebrangulo in Alagoas was reportedly 80% submerged, forcing thousands of residents to flee to higher ground. In Vitoria de Santo Antao, Pernambuco, a bridge was brought down. More than 1,000 miles of roads were washed away by the rains, hindering the delivery of aid to affected areas. In 2009, flooding killed at least 44 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the same region. (map & video)
CNN is reporting at least 42 people dead and more than 115,000 homeless or displaced. In Pernambuco state, 53 cities have declared a state of emergency. In Alagoas state, 22 cities have declared an emergency. More than 600 people have been reported missing in Alagoas. Emergency measures that have been taken include the construction of field hospitals. Pernambuco's Governor flew over the affected areas Monday and described the situation as "heart-breaking." "What we have seen since Friday is more than a horror film."

PHILIPPINES - Rampaging waters, spawned by heavy rains in surrounding hinterlands, has forced about 20,000 residents to evacuate to higher grounds on Sunday afternoon, the third mass evacuation in two months due to flooding. Evacuees came from 10 barangays crisscrossed by the Simuay River and its tributaries. Sultan Kudarat and Sultan Mastura lost some P20 million in infrastructure and properties. There was no rain in these two towns during the weekend but heavy downpour occurred in Northern Maguindanao.

MINNESOTA - State recovering after dozens of tornado touchdowns - "UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER". Three people died when as many as 40 twisters struck last week, leaving untold damage in their wake. Across an UNPRECEDENTED SWATH of storm-damaged Minnesota — from the far northwest reaches to the Iowa border — thousands of people on Friday began picking up the shattered pieces left behind by THE WORST ONE-DAY TALLY OF TORNADOES IN STATE HISTORY, eclipsing the record of 27 set in 1992. Up to 40 tornadoes struck last Thursday, injuring dozens, leaving countless homeless and wreaking an untold amount of damage. It was THE WORST ONE-DAY DEATH TOLL FROM TORNADOES SINCE 1998.
A climatologist called the geographic spread, number of tornadoes and number of deaths "a VERY UNUSUAL EVENT." It was A YEAR'S WORTH OF TORNADOES on one of Minnesota's MOST UNUSUAL nights of stormy weather. The tornadoes that ripped through the state Thursday night exceeded the number that strike the state in an average year. While officials caution that averaging tornado destruction from year to year is not a good way to spot trends, THE STORMS ARE HISTORIC IN QUANTITY AND SCOPE. The state usually doesn't see that many funnel clouds hit such a broad geographic area in a single day. "In the modern era, the number of tornadoes, the geographic spread and, certainly, the number of fatalities... all mean that this was a very unusual event." On average, Minnesota has fewer than 26 confirmed tornadoes a year. Since 1950, on average fewer than two people a year are killed by tornadoes in Minnesota. Thursday's powerful systems were fueled by strong southerly winds that brought very humid air into the state. That air interacted with higher altitude winds from the west, driven by the jet stream.


ARIZONA - The Schultz Fire has burned an estimated 8,800 acres of forest north of Flagstaff, Arizona, as of today, and it remains totally out of control. Evacuations are in effect in the vicinity, but no structures have yet been lost. (satellite photo)


New studies show low household transmission of H1N1 - Two new reports in the medical literature today suggest that secondary transmission of the pandemic H1N1 virus in households is low, which seems to confirm earlier reports that the virus is less contagious than past pandemic viruses and some seasonal flu viruses.

Indian state reopens H1N1 isolation wards - Citing the reemergence of pandemic flu and other viral diseases with the rainy season, Hyderabad, India health officials announced they would reopen H1N1 isolation wards in all 28 hospitals in the state. The government urged people to seek medical attention for persistent or severe flu symptoms.