Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ICELAND - Grimsvoetn volcano has shown signs it could be about to burst into life, just months after an eruption from Eyjafjoell volcano caused Europe's biggest air shutdown since World War II. "The water levels have tripled in (the river) Gigja since last night." The torrents of water flooding into the Gigja, on the Vatnajoekull glacier in eastern Iceland, comes from an icy lake in the crater of the Grimsvoetn volcano. Due to increased thermal temperatures, the lake and surrounding glacier area has melted, filling the crater to a point where it has spilled over and caused a so-called river-run, which in turn could easily set off an eruption.
In 2004, a similar flood from the Grimsvoetn lake was closely followed by an eruption. Grimsvoetn is considered Iceland's most active volcano. An eruption is unlikely to occur "until the water levels in Gigja have reached a maximum. I don't know when we can expect the levels to reach their highest point, but I suspect it will be in a few days."
Over the past 48 hours, the Meteorological Institute has also registered strong seismic activity in the area, and three moderate earthquakes ranging from 2.7 to 4.0 on the Richter scale. However, Icelandic authorities were unable to say whether an eruption at Grimsvotn would hit air traffic as hard as in April when the Eyjafjoell volcano erupted. "It is near impossible to say if Grimsvotn erupts, whether it will have an effect on air traffic at all. If it is an ash eruption, then it would affect air traffic, but only if it is a strong eruption with ash clouds reaching significant heights, it will also depend on wind, so at this point it is hard to guess." A geophysicist said that any eruption from Grimsvotn would be an ash eruption. "However, the scale of the eruption will be much smaller than the Eyjafjoell eruption and I do not think it would have the same effect on air travel as Eyjafjoell did."

**Politics is not the art of the possible,
it consists in choosing between the disastrous
and the unpalatable.**
John Kenneth Galbraith

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
11/1/10 -

NEVADA, CALIFORNIA - A small swarm of a dozen earthquakes struck above Topaz Lake near the Nevada-California border through Saturday night and into Sunday morning. The first shock hit at 6:02 p.m. and was estimated at a magnitude 4.3 on the Richter scale. Within the hour of the first temblor, seven quakes ranging in magnitude from 1.1 to 3 were measured near the first quake's epicenter. Two more aftershocks of 1.8 and 1.7magnitude occurred at 7:18 and 8:07 p.m. Smaller aftershocks of 1 were recorded at 11:09 and 11:34 p.m. The last aftershock was a 1.9 magnitude recorded at 2:09 a.m. The initial earthquake was felt as far away as San Jose and Modesto. There were no reports of damage as a result of the earthquake, which felt like a sharp jolt in western Carson Valley.


INDONESIA - Monitoring officials have raised alert levels at some of the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, with two under watch for possible eruption within two weeks and 19 showing increased activity — more than double the usual number on the watch list. Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 235 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanos because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the western and eastern Pacific. Scientists could not say for certain what was causing the increased volcanic activity, though two theorized the earth's tectonic plates could be realigning and one noted growing evidence that volcanos can affect one other.

RUSSIA - Two volcanoes that erupted on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, blanketing a town with dust and spreading ash clouds across the Pacific, have mostly stopped spewing ash and flights are no longer diverted. Eurasia’s highest active volcano, the Klyuchevskaya Sopka, was pumping out insignificant amounts of dust and the Shiveluch volcano, 70 kilometers northeast, had ceased all activity. Schools in the vicinity of the volcanoes remained closed Friday because of ash buildup. The powder had coated the nearby town of Ust-Kamchatsk, reducing visibility to only a few meters and turning buildings ghostly white.

-Cyclone ANGGREK was 1050 nmi S of George Town, Malaysia

-Tropical storm TOMAS was 177 nmi NNE of Maracaibo, Venezuela [Expected to re-strengthen and potentially become a hurricane again within 3 days.] Projected path map

Hurricane Tomas is blamed for 12 deaths in St. Lucia. Since downgraded to a tropical storm, Tomas battered St. Lucia on Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph (99 mph).

Alert for fresh cyclone formation in Bay of Bengal - The Bay of Bengal is being put under watch for cyclone formation as an existing depression in the Gulf of Thailand sails into South Andaman Sea where enabling conditions are building up. The tropical depression in the lower Gulf of Thailand was centred about 160 km east of the nearest Southern Thailand coast with sustained winds speeding up to 50 km/hr. The system has been moving in a northwest direction at a speed of 15 km/hr and is expected to make landfall over the southern provinces tonight.
The India Meteorological Department joined a number of international weather models in mounting the watch for the possible cyclone, materialising close on the heels of Super Cyclone Giri that hit the Myanmar coast last week. The brewing cyclone could be racing towards the Tamil Nadu-South Coastal Andhra Pradesh coast for a landfall, say consensus predictions. But the US Navy model saw the storm progressing west from the South Andaman Sea in a linear fashion and hitting Sri Lanka. The landfall could take place by the weekend and the weakened storm is expected to head north-northwest into Western Maharashtra, India, before being guided north-northeast by possible westerly winds into West Madhya Pradesh. A weather warning issued by the IMD said that isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and south Karnataka during the next two days. During the 24 hours ending Monday morning, widespread rainfall has occurred over coastal Orissa and coastal Andhra Pradesh.

GUATEMALA - Over 3000 ha (7400 acres) of forest in the northern department of Peten were seriously affected by tropical storm Richard, an ecological disaster in Guatemala. Thousands of trees were brought down in at least four forest concessions by the storm, less than a week ago. Richard, downgraded from hurricane status at landfall in neighboring Belize, caused considerable damage in the east of the multiple use zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, where there are important timber species such as cedar and mahogany


GERMANY - A giant pothole opened under a residential street in Germany yesterday, taking a car with it and leaving another car hanging over the edge. Miraculously, homes on sides of the street remained standing. The cause was unclear. Germany occasionally experiences potholes when ancient mines collapse or water creates cavities in areas of karst rock.
The slump, measuring 40m by 30m, hit Schmalkalden in Germany's central hill country, 120km north of Frankfurt. A resident phoned police at about 3am after hearing a loud noise. Residents were evacuated from 23 buildings. Nobody was injured. Six houses are still evacuated and earth is continuing to crumble from the rim of the crater. Emergency workers said the hole was increasing in size hour by hour. Police were checking claims by residents who remembered there had been a World War II air-raid bunker under the street. ( Photo gallery )