Tuesday, February 15, 2011

**If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?**
Author Unknown

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/14/11 -

Sixth Earthquake in Four Days Rattles Chile - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck offshore Chile on Monday -- the sixth tremor to strike the region in the past four days. The earthquake was located 45 miles (70 km) northwest of Cauquenes, Maule and 180 miles (290 km) southwest of Santiago. It hit at a depth of 15.8 miles (25.4km) at 12:40am local time. No tsunami warning was issued. Two quakes Sunday, measuring 6.0 and 5.8, had already hit the region, following close on the heels of two tremors Friday, measuring 6.3 and 6.8. All the tremors have occurred in the same area heavily damaged by an 8.8 magnitude quake nearly a year ago. That disaster resulted in more than 500 deaths and $30 billion in damage, and led to an inquiry over the lack of a timely tsunami warning.

OHIO - 2/10/11 - Frostquake? When the ground shook in parts of Western Ohio early Thursday, the Darke County EMA Web site received numerous reports of a possible earthquake. But there were no trace of an earthquake at the Ohio Seismic Center. But it was very cold -- 10 below zero in places -- and, coming on the tenth of February, the sun angle is high enough to begin thawing out the landscape, especially around buildings where ice and snow are melting faster from rooftops and from piles of old snow. As that water seeps into the soil and rock and then freezes rapidly in extreme cold, stress builds under surface and can cause expansion and a crack in the subsoil, resulting in a loud pop or bang. Expansion of building materials during the predawn hours when the air is coldest, along with moisture seepage, can also create funny noises in your house exterior late at night when you are sleeping or beginning to wake up. Frost quakes are RARE in Ohio but not uncommon in the northern states, where prolonged cold, snowy winters and sub-zero mid-February temperatures are more likely to occur. [Never heard of this happening in the ground in Minnesota. The buildings 'pop', but I don't know how snow melting on the surface of the ground would ever make it down into the still FROZEN subsoil. Anybody in northern states ever experienced this?]
OHIO - We heard a lot this week about a frost quake that rattled parts of the northern Miami Valley. The Darke County Sheriff's Department took a photo of a home damaged during the quake. The homeowner reported that immediately following the shaking, her window, which had just been replaced in July, developed several cracks, which you can see in the picture at the link.
INDIANA - 2/10/11 - Early morning 'boom' may have been frost quake. Many Hoosiers reported hearing a loud boom early Thursday morning. It was so loud in some areas, it woke many people up and even rattled some houses. Experts say the noise was probably something called "frost quakes." It happens when there is a sudden cracking in soil or rock which is caused by the freezing and expanding of water in the ground. Thursday was one of the coldest mornings of the year. In some areas, temperatures plunged below zero degrees and the wind chills were even colder. Unlike an earthquake where you feel it across hundreds or thousands of miles, frost quakes are really localized because it doesn't freeze very deep.


JAPAN - Japanese volcano may erupt for months. As lava fills the Shinmoedake volcano's crater, scientists predict that eruptions could go on for months. Ash has already disrupted flights and crops. Shinmoedake, on Japan's Kyushu Island, has been erupting off and on since Jan. 26, and its lava dome has grown dramatically. A photo from Feb. 4 shows the lava nearly filling the volcano's crater, which is about 2,300 feet wide. Scientists are predicting that eruptions could grow stronger and go on for months. The peak's last major eruption continued for a year and a half in 1716 and 1717. Ash from the volcano, although minor compared with what spewed from a peak in Iceland last year, has disrupted flights and buried fields of winter vegetables. There have been no deaths or serious injuries so far.

HAWAII - Lava lake at Halemaumau crater rising gradually, could spill out to crater floor. The lava lake at Kilauea's Halemaumau crater has been rising gradually in the last few months. Volcanologists don't know what the significance of the rise is. It's possible that the lava could spill out of the pit and on to the crater floor, though this might take months to happen. Seismologists are also watching an increased number of earthquakes in the upper east rift zone. The increase in seismicity somewhat resembled the prelude to a brief June 2007 eruption in a remote section of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But there have also been several similar seismic episodes when nothing happened. Kilauea is the world's longest continually erupting volcano. The east rift zone began erupting in 1983.

RUSSIA - With a summit that reaches 3,283 meters (10,771 feet), Shiveluch is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. At least 60 large eruptions of Shiveluch have occurred during the past 10,000 years, making it the most vigorous volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka volcanic arc.
On January 25, 2011, NASA’s Terra satellite detected a hot avalanche of volcanic debris — a pyroclastic flow — sliding down the south side of the volcano. This image shows the flow’s heat signature as measured in thermal infrared light. The white area at the lava dome is very hot, while the red areas on the edge of the flow are just warmer than the surrounding snow. The hot trail of material descending to the south forms a large distributed deposit, indicating a recent collapse of the lava dome and formation of a large debris avalanche. Shiveluch’s current eruptive period began in 1999. (satellite photo)


Ancient Britain was a peninsula until a tsunami flooded its land-links to Europe some 8,000 years ago. The coastline and landscape of what would become modern Britain began to emerge at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago. What had been a cold, dry tundra on the north-western edge of Europe grew warmer and wetter as the ice caps melted. The Irish Sea, North Sea and the Channel were all dry land, albeit land slowly being submerged as sea levels rose. But it wasn't until 6,100BC that Britain broke free of mainland Europe for good, during the Mesolithic period - the Middle Stone Age.
It is thought a landslide in Norway triggered one of the biggest tsunamis ever recorded on Earth, when a landlocked sea in the Norwegian trench burst its banks. The water struck the north-east of Britain with such force it travelled 40km inland, turning low-lying plains into what is now the North Sea, and marshlands to the south into the Channel. Britain became an island nation. "There are drowned forests off Dorset, Wales and the Isle of Wight. That's because back then, the Irish Sea, North Sea and the Channel were all dry land. When the great melt came, and the seas gradually rose by 300 feet, we were cut off from mainland Europe for good."
"The waves would have been maybe as much as 10m high. Anyone standing out on the mud flats at that time would have been dismembered. The speed [of the water] was just so great." Relics of these pre-island times are being recovered from under the sea off the Isle of Wight. Grooved timbers preserved by the saltwater are thought to be the remains of 8,000-year-old log boats, and point to the site once being a sizable boat-building yard.

Cyclone BINGIZA was 546 nmi NW of Saint Pierre, Reunion.

Tropical Cyclone Bingiza made landfall on Madagascar on Feb. 14. As of about noon Madagascar time on Feb. 14, Bingiza had maximum sustained winds of 98 mph (155 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 120 mph (195 kph).
Although Bingiza would weaken somewhat over land, the storm was expected to re-strengthen after passing over northern Madagascar, thanks to high sea surface temperatures. (satellite photo)

AUSTRALIA - A cyclone watch has been declared for a developing tropical low for areas in the Top End. The watch covers coastal areas from the Daly River mouth to Goulburn Island, including Darwin, Croker Island and the Tiwi Islands.
A tropical low overland is expected to move north or north-west into the Beagle Gulf and may develop into a tropical cyclone on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Strong wind gusts are expected in the next 24 to 48 hours and are already being recorded in some areas. About 237 millimetres of rain fell at Dum-in-Mirrie, near Darwin, in the 24 hours to 9am while 170 millimetres fell in the Darwin suburb of Marrara as the tropical low moved over the Top End. Roads were cut and several sets of traffic lights at major intersections were out this morning. Communities in outlying rural areas have been isolated by flood waters. (map)
Yasi victims face month without power - Australian authorities are hoping to restore power to the north Queensland coastal town of Mission Beach, otherwise known as Cyclone Yasi's ground zero, by the end of the month.


AUSTRALIA - The pain is easing and the pleasure is on its way for the thousands of farmers hit by flooding rains over summer, with winter crops forecast to be the largest in seven years. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences predicts a huge winter crop, with the 2010/11 national winter crop expected to reach 42.1 million tonnes. If the prediction is accurate, the harvest will be the largest since 2003/04. Last year's winter crop harvest finished just over one million tonnes below the original prediction because of the devastating affects of the La Nina weather system which rolled across eastern states last year. While La Nina remains present, it is predicted to fade out by about April. "Overall the recent heavy rainfall is expected to benefit crops through good soil moisture and increased water-storage levels. Overall, summer-crop production for 2010/11 is forecast to increase by 66 per cent to 4.8 million."


Earth 'in the crosshairs' of a solar explosion - A powerful solar flare, hurled into space when superhot gases erupted on the sun Sunday, might cause a display of the aurora borealis for parts of the northern United States overnight Monday night. The sun unleashed the solar flare from a sunspot region that was barely visible last week. Since then, it has grown in size to more than 62,000 miles across — nearly eight times the width of our Earth.
The flare was categorized by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado as a Class M6.6 and is the strongest solar flare observed in 2011. It could ramp up northern lights displays for skywatchers living in northern latitudes and graced with clear skies.
Such a flare, covering more than 1 billion square miles of the sun's surface (called the photosphere), was described as "moderate" in intensity. Class M flares are stronger than the weakest category (Class C). They are second only to the most intense Class X solar flares, which can cause disruptions to satellites and communications systems and pose a hazard to astronauts in space. NOAA's Prediction Center has forecast the possibility of additional solar flares from the same sunspot region over the next two or three days.
Solar flares appear to be caused by a sudden release of magnetic energy. The flare itself occurs in the solar atmosphere, generating a brilliant emission of visible light, as well as ultraviolet waves and powerful X-rays.
With major flares there is a disruption of radio communications shortly after the eruption. Indeed, Sunday's eruption produced a loud blast of radio waves that was heard in shortwave receivers around the dayside of our planet. But solar flares also can act as a type of explosion that sends streams of electrons and protons out into space. These electrons, protons and other particles are hurled out of the sun's magnetic field in a wave of electrified gas. As these electrons and protons come into contact with the Earth's magnetic field and stream toward the magnetic poles, the chance of a collision between these charged energy particles and the rarefied gases of the upper atmosphere increases dramatically, producing a disturbance, or "magnetic storm," in the Earth's magnetic field. Along with causing additional disruptions to radio communications, a magnetic storm might also prompt a view of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, across parts of the northern United States.
Sunday's solar flare occurred near the middle of the sun's disk, meaning that the resultant explosion of electrified particles could be "geoeffective," that is, directed toward the Earth. So, in essence, our planet was "in the crosshairs" of this solar explosion and would thus increase the chance that an auroral display might result. Ideally, the associated stream of particles could reach the Earth 37 hours after the flare's eruption. But this is only an approximation; the actual commencement of a possible magnetic storm could occur many hours earlier or later, so it would be best to check the sky periodically during the overnight hours to assess if any activity is actually taking place. The prospective zone of visibility can include the northern Rockies, northern Plains, the Great Lakes, northern portions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as all of New York State and New England. However, if the stream of electrified particles turns out to be less energetic, aurora visibility might be confined to places farther to the north, and nearer to the Canadian border. Conversely, if the particle stream turns out to be stronger than forecast, an aurora might sighted farther south into the central U.S.

Tyche, Giant Hidden Planet, May Exist In Our Solar System - We may have lost Pluto, but it looks like we might be getting Tyche. Scientists may soon be able to prove the existence of the gas giant, which could be four times the size of Jupiter, according to astrophysicists. Tyche will almost certainly be made up mostly of hydrogen and helium and will probably have an atmosphere much like Jupiter's, with colourful spots and bands and clouds. "You'd also expect it to have moons. All the outer planets have them."
So how could we have missed such a massive planet in our own solar system? Well, it's 15,000 times further from the sun than Earth. Tyche (if it does exist) lies in the Oort cloud, the outer shell of asteroids in our solar system. Despite what the scientists believe they will find in the data (which will be released in April and was collected by NASA Wise space telescope), there is at least one flaw in their theory. Theoretically, a planet of Tyche's size should seriously disturb comets in the inner Oort Cloud, but that effect is yet to have been observed. If its existence is finally confirmed, its Solar System planet status may not be guaranteed. The reason: Astronomers theorize that Tyche could be a planet born in another star system and captured by ours. The current name (which may change) is derived from the name of a Greek goddess that "governed the destiny of a city." If we've missed a planet in our own solar system for this long, what else are we missing?