Sunday, November 7, 2010

INDONESIA - At least a hundred flights into Indonesia's capital Jakarta were cancelled after Merapi volcano unleashed its MOST POWERFUL ERUPTION IN A CENTURY, incinerating villagers as they fled a searing gas cloud. The number of people killed by Mount Merapi in the last two weeks has climbed to 138, as a tiny hospital at the foot of the mountain struggles to cope with survivors, some with burns on up to 95 per cent of their bodies. At least 94 of those died on Friday, Merapi's DEADLIEST DAY IN DECADES. More than 200 others were injured with burns, respiratory problems, broken bones and cuts, leaving the tiny hospital of Sardjito overwhelmed. Indonesia's most volatile mountain unleashed a surge of searing gas, rocks and debris on Friday that raced down its slopes at highway speeds, mowing down the slope-side village of Bronggang and leaving a trail of charred corpses in its path. It continued to rumble yesterday, at times spitting ash up to eight kilometres in the air, dusting windshields, rooftops and leaves on trees hundreds of kilometres to the west. Just days before US President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia, international carriers cancelled flights to Jakarta over concerns about the volcano, 450km away. The move was premature, as the dust wasn't causing problems either in the skies above the airport or on its runways. The airport handles about 1200 flights a day, and the airline decisions caused about 10 per cent of those to be cancelled. Conditions were also deteriorating at emergency shelters in the shadow of the volcano that are crammed with more than 200,000 people evacuated from the mountain.
The Indonesian government, meanwhile, has expanded a "danger zone" to a ring 20km from the peak, bringing it to the edge of the ancient royal capital of Yogyakarta, which has been put on its highest alert. The biggest threat is the Code River, which flows into the city of 400,000 from the 3000-metre mountain and could act as a conduit for deadly volcanic mudflows that form in heavy rains. Racing at speeds of 100km/h, the molten lava, rocks and other debris can destroy everything in their path. People living near the river's banks have been advised to stay away. "It's scary...The eruption just keeps going on." Merapi's latest round of eruptions began on October 26, followed by more than a dozen other powerful blasts and thousands of tremors. With each new eruption, scientists and officials have steadily pushed the villagers who live along Merapi's slopes farther from the crater. The latest eruption released 50 million cubic metres of volcanic material, making it "the biggest in at least a century" at Merapi and plumes of smoke continued to shoot up more than 10,000 metres.
Geologists Warning of Mega-Eruption of Merapi. The Merapi eruptions are becoming more violent – and the big bang could be just ahead. The Indonesian volcano has been spewing 800°C ash clouds for days. “Merapi is among the most dangerous volcanoes." The biggest known eruptions occurred in 1006, 1369, 1786, 1822, 1872 – destroying a large number of villages – and 1930 when 1300 people perished.
Investigations of the volcano have revealed that an UNPRECEDENTED Magma reservoir lurks underneath it.
A rough estimate indicates that there is three times more magma than what was ejected by the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 – the biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, which led to a cooling of the climate globally. Geoscientists aren’t sure what to make of this huge magma reservoir. They are hesitant to make predictions of catastrophe. Word of a ‘mega-eruption’ is making the rounds among scientists. But apparently they are avoiding the use of the word to avoid being labelled preachers of disasters. History shows, however, that volcanoes in Indonesia have a worrisome potential for catastrophic eruptions. (Great map of all of Indonesia's major volcanoes)

**I have experienced levitation. It’s totally effortless;
you’re surprised. But after a while the surprise wears off
and then it is not so interesting any more.**
Deepak Chopra

This morning -

Yesterday -
11/6/10 -

11/5/10 -

SERBIA - A series of aftershocks reaching 4.4 magnitude has rattled central Serbia, upsetting residents after an earthquake that killed two people and wounded 50. Friday a number of small tremors shook the town of Kraljevo and its surroundings throughout the night. The strongest tremor hit late Thursday. Kraljevo town authorities say the tremors sent people fleeing from their homes in panic. Many people spent the night in their cars. Several people were lightly injured. The area 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Belgrade was hit by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake early Wednesday. Some 4,000 houses have been reported damaged by the quake.


PHILIPPINES - A volcano in the Philippines has released a plume of steam and ash but scientists say an explosive eruption is not expected. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology says Saturday's activity at Bulusan volcano was caused by groundwater interacting with hot rocks and not rising magma. The cloud of steam and ash rose 1,980 feet (600 metres) and fell over areas as far as six miles (10 kilometres) from the mountain. The institute says there could be more hydrothermal disturbances and has warned people to keep away from a 2.5-mile (4-kilometre) permanent danger zone around Bulusan's summit. Bulusan is one of the country's 23 active volcanoes. It is located about 240 miles (380 kilometres) southeast of Manila.

ICELAND - There are no signs yet of the underground tremors that would signal an eruption at Grimsvotn. Grimsvotn lies under 650 feet (200 meters) of ice on the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland. In addition to 2004, it erupted in 1998 and 1996, causing flooding to a largely uninhabited plain around it. The flooding triggered by hot molten rock, or magma, from the volcano has been expanding a lake underneath the glacier, building pressure strong enough to send water pouring from under the ice cap.

NEW ZEALAND - North Islanders are being told to bone up on volcanoes. An eruption is coming, warns a volcanologist, and anyone living pretty much north of Wellington should be prepared. A group of volcano experts are advising local bodies, emergency services, government agencies and district health boards at a conference in Taupo this week, on how they can best prepare to cope with the aftermath of an eruption. The venue is deliberately fitting – the Taupo volcanic zone is the most productive volcanic system on Earth. Eruptions, when they happen, are big. It's not the lava or the possibility of lahar that Kiwis need worry about, but ash. "Lava flows and lahars are very damaging, but they tend to be local. We spend a lot of time talking about volcanic ash because worldwide it's the most disruptive and travels a long way."
Fortunately, New Zealand volcanologists are world leaders when it comes to understanding the impact of ash fallout and know how it affects water and electricity supply, waste water treatment plants, pasture and buildings. Expertise developed following the 1996 eruption of Mt Ruapehu, and this year Kiwi scientists were called in to advise on the likely impact of ash fallout following the eruption of Iceland's Mt Eyjafjallajokull, which closed airports across Europe. Also on the agenda of the Taupo conference is an insight into supervolcanoes, capable of pushing out 500 cubic kilometres of magma or more. "It's a number you can't fathom." And there have been at least two in the world in the past 350,000 years. New Zealand doesn't harbour any supervolcanoes but it does have its younger sibling, the caldera volcano. Taupo, Okataina and Rotorua are considered the most active though the Taupo volcanic area has seven or eight calderas that have been active in the last million years. (photo)

Just a RUMOR? - Possible eruption from the Oku Volcanic Field in Cameroon - There were a couple brief articles that an eruption has occurred near the border region of Cameroon and Nigeria - in the state of Benue, which is midway along of the eastern border of the two countries. The report claims that "vibrations on the earth overwhelmed the area" and that then there was a "a sudden eruption from six points on the mountainous terrain", which then "lava from the mountain cover[ed] wells, streams, trees and houses in the area". People in the vicinity had to flee, but one person died in the "eruption" and many buildings were damaged. Also, water supplies were contaminated by the lava - although the report says that it was "polluted by the heavy magma," which feels like a missed translation. Overall, this sounds like a basaltic lava flow or flows that came from previously unidentified vents - and the fact it was described as "six points" makes me think it could be a fissue eruption.
Figuring out exactly was is erupting is a little perplexing. First, there aren't any known active volcanoes in Nigeria near the state of Benue. The Oku Volcanic Field is a field of cinder cones and maars near the border with Nigeria, but in Cameroon. The field is part of a large Mt. Oku, which is a stratovolcano that is now cut by a caldera. There are no historical eruptions of the field, but it does host volcanic lakes like Lake Nyos and Monoun, both of which had catastrophic carbon dioxide releases in 1986 and 1984, respectively. These releases may have been a product of phreatic explosions that overturned the lake waters, but this has never been confirmed. If this eruption is, in fact, from the Oku Volcanic Field, it would be the first subaereal eruption there on record.
[There are only two or three sources showing this Benue info, one of them the Nigerian Sun News, which makes it a big headline on its first page. However there is not even a hint on this event on several other Nigerian media. Nigerian forums show a very skeptical reaction to it. No “neutral” source is showing if anything important is going either at Nyos or Nigeria-Cameroon border. In fact, it is more probable that someone is spreading rumours about that region.]
UPDATE: Some more strange news reports out of the region. One post says that the Nigerian government is making preparations for a collapse at Lake Nyos, but it mentions nothing about an eruption. Last week the National Emergency Management Agency reportedly sent an alert to residents of over 200 communities in Taraba State of impending danger of the possibility of being swept away by over 132 million cubic metres of flood water, which was expected to be released as a result of a possible breakage of Lake Nyos. According to the reports, it was estimated that 200 communities with an average number of 1,000 families per community and an average number of seven people per household in Taraba State might be sacked if the breakage occurred at the lake. The Federal Government on Friday said the imminent eruption of Lake Nyos into Nigeria was just a rumor.

-Cyclone JAL was 713 nmi WSW of Rangoon, Burma
-Hurricane Tomas was north of Cuba

HAITANS were mopping up the muddy wreckage left by Tomas, after the killer storm swept through the impoverished nation as a hurricane. Tomas appeared to have spared the flimsy tent camps that are home to over a million people. "We were very pleased to see that the impact was not nearly as bad as we had expected. Downgraded to a tropical storm after killing six people in floods and house collapses in Haiti, Tomas was spinning into the open Atlantic. Heavy rains and powerful winds continued to lash Haiti off and on for hours after the storm moved on, and flooding cut off some parts of the country, while authorities warned of a heightened risk of mudslides.
In the capital Port-au-Prince, people were up to their ankles in water, wading through mud as they carried potable water and other essential supplies to their cramped living quarters in the huge refugee camps that have grown around the city since the quake that killed 250,000 people. The flooding caused concern among health officials, and aid groups worried it may exacerbate a cholera epidemic in the northern part of the country that has already killed 442 people, with the disease contracted in part after people drank infected river water. The infected Artibonite River has flooded, "which is bad news because it has been particularly affected by cholera". The southern town of Leogane was completely under water up to three metres deep in parts. "We are going to have more victims because of the floods and mudslides, but we cannot yet reach the communities most affected."
But the canvas and tarpaulin shelters that hundreds of thousands of people call home appeared to have withstood the storm better than expected, thanks to pre-storm preparations including hastily dug drainage ditches and sandbag barriers. All coastal watches and warnings were discontinued but the massive cloud coverage threatened to dump up to five centimetres over portions of Puerto Rico and the Turks and Caicos Islands, even as winds and storm surges were expected to subside.

JAL - After hitting Andhra Pradesh and several parts of Tamil Nadu in India, the pacing cyclonic storm 'Jal' is expected to lash Chennai and other surroundings of the city with heavy rain by tonight. 'Jal' is expected to cross between Puducherry and Nellore coast. The rainfall could be over 25 cm in one or two places in and around Chennai. Storm surge of about 1 to 2 metres above the astronomical tide may inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chennai districts in the state.


Scientists find 'dramatic' damage to marine life near BP spill site in the Gulf of Mexico - Scientists have found evidence of "dramatic" damage to deep-sea coral near the site of the Gulf oil disaster, with one biologist describing it as a shocking find that "slapped you in the face.


Active sunspot 1121 has unleashed ONE OF THE BRIGHTEST X-RAY SOLAR FLARES IN YEARS, an M5.4-class eruption at 15:36 UT on Nov. 6th. Radiation from the flare created a wave of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere that altered the propagation of low-frequency radio waves. There was, however, no bright CME (plasma cloud) hurled in our direction, so the event is unlikely to produce auroras in the nights ahead. This is the third M-flare in as many days from this increasingly active sunspot. So far none of the eruptions has been squarely Earth-directed, but this could change in the days ahead as the sun's rotation turns the active region toward our planet. (photo)