Thursday, July 15, 2010

**There is a certain age when a woman must be beautiful to be loved,
and then there comes a time when she must be loved to be beautiful**
Fran├žoise Sagan


LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.0 BIO-BIO, CHILE
5.0 OFFSHORE O'HIGGINS, CHILE

Yesterday -
7/14/10 -
5.7 ARAUCANIA, CHILE
5.6 ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN IS.
6.6 BIO-BIO, CHILE
5.2 OFFSHORE BIO-BIO, CHILE

CHILE - Wednesday, Chile was hit by two strong quakes. The first one took place at 4:21 am and minutes later at 4:32 another one shook the Earth, scaring thousands of people in the vicinity of the quake’s center. One of the towns that was most alerted by the recent earthquakes was Tirua, where local media reported people were fleeing to higher ground among fears that a tsunami would devastate the area, like it happened in the strong earthquake on February.
The second earthquake was the stronger one with a magnitude of 6.5, and was centered 345 miles south of Santiago de Chile. The first earth movement registered a 5.3 magnitude. Still present in the mind of the Chileans is the devastating earthquake that hit the country on February 27, killing more than 500 people and leaving 200,000 others homeless.

VOLCANOES -

GUATEMALA - Minor explosions were reported Tuesday from Guatemala’s volcano Pacaya, located about 24 miles from Guatemala City. Five explosions of ash rose 160 feet into the air. Authorities are closely monitoring its activity. They expect the activity to increase and have placed a temporary ban on tourists hiking on the volcano. In May, Pacaya erupted leaving at least one journalist dead, and about 2,000 people had to evacuate. The blast released tons of sand and cost millions of dollars in damage. The volcano has been active with periodic eruptions since 1565.

TONGA - A huge 10,000 foot volcano on the ocean floor has been erupting for days near Tonga. Out of the water, smoke, steam, and ash have been blasting hundreds of feet into the sky and clouds. At this point currently the eruption isn't posing any threat to anyone living on the islands near by Tonga. No reports of significant fish or animal danger but scientists suspect that there is some small marginal loss of fish in the area.

INDONESIA - Scientists on a deep-sea expedition off Indonesia have discovered a towering volcano: It rises 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) from the ocean floor, yet remains far from sight at the water's surface. Researchers have mapped 2,400-sq.-miles (6,200 sq.-kilometers) of sea floor since setting off last month, an area equal to the size of the U.S. state of Delaware. They found one undersea volcano that rises more than 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in water 18,000-feet- (5,480-meters-) deep. "This is a huge undersea volcano, taller than all but three or four mountains in Indonesia." The expedition concludes on August 14.

NEW ZEALAND - Beneath the waters of Lake Taupo lies one of the world's biggest volcanoes and scientists say an eruption would be one of the most life threatening events New Zealand has ever faced. An eruption involving New Zealand's largest lake would dwarf the trouble caused by the 1995 Ruapehu eruption and lahar flows since then.
"Taupo on a global scale is a very large volcano. The crater is somewhere in the order of 15 and 20 kilometres in diameter, so it's right up there in the top ten globally for size." Other experts think it could even eclipse the worldwide disruption caused by the Icelandic volcano three months ago.
But scientists say that there will be plenty of warning signs before the big bang including more frequent earthquakes, hot springs around Taupo drying up and the lake could start bubbling. Scientists are always on alert, monitoring the lake 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "We know the volcano is still doing things, but it's not yet fully understood. It's something we're actually doing research on at the moment to see if it really is the volcano acting up a bit."
The Taupo volcanic zone is one of the most active in the world. There are 12 active volcnoes and at least 30 geothermal hot spots that stretch from Mount Ruapehu to White Island. "The eruptions we've seen so far not a big problem, if we had a massive eruption out of Taupo, I don't think aviation would be operating much at all." Taupo erupts every 900 years on average, and the last big bang was 1700 years ago. Scientists say it's not a matter of if, but when.

TROPICAL STORMS -
Tropical depression 06E was 372 nmi SSW of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Tropical storm CONSON was 278 nmi E of Da Nang, Vietnam.

CHINA may be facing THE WORST FLOODS IN 12 YEARS if rains continue to drench the Yangtze river region, as a major tropical storm threatens the southern coast. The situation along the nation's longest waterway was at a "critical point. If heavy rain hits the upper reaches of the river, the Yangtze River basin could suffer from flooding similar to 1998. And if you add the (imminent) landfall of Typhoon Conson, the situation along the Yangtze River basin is even less optimistic." China experienced massive deadly floods in 1998 in parts of the Yangtze River basin, which acts as an unofficial dividing line between the north and south of the country. The disaster killed 4150 people and forced over 18 million more out of their homes, causing economic losses of 255 billion yuan ($42.7 billion).
The nation's three worst floods in recent history - 1954, 1983 and 1998 - "all happened in July and August". 118 people have died in floods that have hit the southern half of China since the beginning of July, and another 47 are still missing. The downpours have also triggered deadly landslides that have swept entire villages away. A series of such disasters hit parts of southwestern and central China earlier this week, killing at least 41 people, but it was unclear whether the victims were included in the overall death toll. In the eastern province of Jiangxi, flash floods forced the evacuation of more than 30,000 people and water from three reservoirs spilled over into neighbouring areas.
Conson, which killed 23 people and left dozens missing in the Philippines, was due to hit China's southern shores Thursday. It had initially been downgraded from a typhoon to a tropical storm, but had gathered strength again and was now classed as a severe tropical storm. The storm is expected to bring winds that will trigger eight-metre waves.

The sixth tropical depression of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season formed off the western coast of Mexico on Wednesday afternoon, but the storm poses no threat to land. The depression formed just before 2 p.m. PDT (2100 GMT) and was located about 550 kilometers (340 miles) southwest of Manzanillo, a city in the Mexican state of Colima. Tropical depression Six-E is moving toward the west-northwest at a speed of approximately 20 kilometers (13 miles) per hour. “This general motion, accompanied by a gradual decrease in forward speed, is expected during the next 48 hours." Maximum sustained winds are currently near 55 kilometers (35 miles) per hour, with higher gusts. “Some slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and the depression could become a tropical storm on Thursday." As the depression is located far from any land, and is not expected to come close to any land, no watches or warnings have been issued. If the depression eventually does develop into a tropical storm, it will be given the name Estelle. It would be the fourth tropical storm of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season.

EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE -

RUSSIA - Scores of Russians have died in the past few weeks amid a heatwave that shows no sign of breaking. Many of the dead have drowned after taking a swim - often after having drunk too much vodka. For the past two weeks temperatures across much of western Russia have soared past 35C [95F], in THE HOTTEST AND LONGEST HEATWAVE IN DECADES. Russia is also suffering what is thought to be THE WORST DROUGHT IN MORE THAN 100 YEARS. There has been virtually no rain since winter and crops are shrivelling. "We've had 10mm of rain, scorching hot temperatures over 35C, which have just burnt all the crops up. Winter wheat crops are 50% of the yield, and spring crops, in some cases, are going to be virtually none."
A state of emergency has been imposed in 16 Russian regions, and the government is increasing loans to try to help farmers avoid bankruptcy. "It's a major calamity, the situation is extremely serious." In the centre of Moscow, teams of tanker trucks roam the streets spraying water to try to stop the asphalt from melting. At lakes and rivers around Moscow groups of revellers can be seen knocking back vodka and then plunging into the water. The result is predictable - 233 people have drowned in the last week alone. In one incident six schoolchildren drowned, because the summer camp employees looking after them were drunk. The heatwave is expected to last another week. By then Moscow may well have broken through its highest ever temperature of 36.6C.

GERMANY was braced for further tornados after tropical storms buffeted northern regions early Tuesday morning, killing three and injuring at least 11 people. After temperatures reached a RECORD 40 DEGREES in some regions, heavy winds ripped roofs off buildings in some regions while in others more than 25 litres of rain fell per square metre within an hour. The most spectacular weather was seen on Gilliland, where a fully fledged tornado ripped across Germany’s only high sea island, ripping up dunes and a campsite. Eleven islanders were injured by the tornado, which prompted the mayor to declare a state of emergency. “The tornado left behind a trail of utter destruction." Meteorologists were predicting further tornados by today at the latest, with a third wave at the weekend.
“The bad weather was accompanied with hurricane-like gusts of winds above 100km an hour." German energy companies said that the extreme temperatures had forced them to reduce capacity in many nuclear power plants. “Weather incidents caused by massive heat have increased in recent years." Insurance industry figures showed that extreme weather resulted in claims worth €2.9 billion; this year they are braced for claims of €4 billion plus. Storms and hail spread across Europe Tuesday to France, Poland and Switzerland. Meanwhile, dozens of German train passengers are to be compensated by the German rail company after faulty air conditioners resulted in compartment temperatures of more than 50 degrees [122F].

HEALTH THREATS -

Northern Hemisphere nations saw substantial H1N1 hospitalizations - Studies on the H1N1 pandemic in the Northern Hemisphere showed considerably high hospitalization, intensive care (ICU), and death rates. Among evaluated cases in 35 studies, researchers found hospitalization rates as high as 93.8%, ICU admission as high as 36.4%, and fatality rates as great as 38.5%. They also found "substantial percentages" of the elderly among the severely ill.