Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not much new to report. Today I'll skip repeating the same dismal info I have been reporting for weeks (!) about the wildfires, flooding, ash cloud, nuclear meltdown and quake recovery, and start in again tomorrow with the regular situation reports. Rest up - we might still be tracking these same disasters in September!

**Do not rely on the good fortune that the enemy will not attack.
Rely on your own defensive capabilities.**
ancient Chinese saying

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/29/11 -

JAPAN - A 5.4 magnitude earthquake has hit central Japan, injuring several people and causing cracks in a 16th-century samurai castle listed as a national treasure. The quake hit at 8.16am local time today with the shallow focus located in Nagano prefecture, some 180km north-west of Tokyo. It was followed by smaller aftershocks. Television footage showed fallen concrete bricks and roof tiles in the area.

No current tropical storms.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My 'real life' obligations have once again prevented me from managing to get the webpage done, so there was no update on Tuesday.

Bushfire sparks nuclear radiation fears over weapons lab. A wildfire burning near the desert birthplace of the atomic bomb advanced on the Los Alamos laboratory and thousands of outdoor drums of plutonium-contaminated waste today as authorities stepped up efforts to protect the site and monitor the air for radiation. The wildfire continues to march through the mountains surrounding the northern New Mexico community.
The Las Conchas fire has charred more than 60,000 acres since starting in the Jemez Mountains on Sunday afternoon. The fire has forced evacuations as well as the closure of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Lab personnel are monitoring the air for radionuclides and particulate matter. The lab also has monitors that can be used to check for possible radiation contamination from the fire. The New Mexico Environment Department is monitoring the air for radioactive particles and tritium using low-volume air pumps. The state is also working with the Environmental Protection Agency and the lab to get additional ground-based monitors and an airborne monitor.

**An ant may well destroy a whole dam.**
Chinese Proverb

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/28/11 -

6/27/11 -

No current tropical storms.

Bay of Campeche System has 90% Chance of Becoming Cyclone - The system has a 90 percent chance of growing into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours, with heavy rain and wind for parts of eastern Mexico. “It is going to stay south and affect Mexico."


U.S. - More flooding woes along the Missouri, Souris rivers. Missouri River floodwaters lapped at a nuclear power plant north of Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday and have cracked more defenses downstream after weeks of sustained pressure on levees running hundreds of miles. And in Minot, North Dakota's fourth largest city, the roughly 12,000 displaced residents watched Souris River flooding slowly recede and began to look toward recovery.
Up and down the Missouri River from North Dakota to Missouri, residents on Tuesday said they were just plain tired -- tired of sandbags, tired of water, tired of worrying. Several inches of rain over the weekend caused storm sewer backups in Omaha and across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Some businesses and residents were forced out on the east side of Omaha temporarily. Federal officials said Tuesday they were adding blankets to bolster 2.1 miles of levee in Council Bluffs where they had found seepage or sand boils on a dozen sections.
At the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station north of Omaha, which has been shut since April for maintenance, officials expect to replace by the end of next week an inflatable barrier that deflated on Sunday sending a rush of water toward the plant. The breach temporarily interrupted some electrical power but emergency generators restored power later that day and there was no threat to sensitive facilities. Although the plant is surrounded by water, its flood defenses have nearly eight feet of space from current river levels, officials have said.
RECORD WATER RELEASES to relieve pressure on six reservoirs from Montana through South Dakota have strained flood defenses and the Missouri River continued to breach levees along the northern Missouri and Kansas border. About 300 or 400 people have been forced from homes in Winthrop, Missouri, and in nearby Lewis and Clark Village since Monday afternoon because of a 150-foot wide levee breach, said Bill Brinton, Buchanan County emergency management director. Water was nearly as high as the eaves Tuesday on some year-around and vacation homes at Sugar Lake due to the breach. High water closed the Amelia Earhart Bridge over the Missouri River connecting Missouri to Atchison, Kansas.
In Minot residents were meeting with federal officials and preparing to survey the damage to some 4,100 structures after the Souris River TOPPED A 130-YEAR -OLD RECORD BY NEARLY FOUR FEET. Only about 375 properties in flooded Minot neighborhoods were covered by flood insurance. It may be weeks before some of the most heavily inundated areas can be surveyed fully. The Souris River had receded on Tuesday by just over a foot from its weekend crest in Minot. It is forecast to stay above the 1881 record at Minot through the Fourth of July.


SPACE JUNK NARROWLY MISSES SPACE STATION: On June 28th, an unidentified piece of space junk came within ~250 meters of the ISS, forcing the crew to take shelter in a pair of docked Russian Soyuz spacecraft. They emerged about a half hour later after the object passed harmlessly by. This is the second time since March 2009 that the crew has had to take such precautions; it could happen even more frequently in future as the population of orbital debris continues to grow.

A newfound comet discovered by astronomers using a telescope in Hawaii will swing through the inner solar system in 2013, with some astronomers and skywatchers hoping for a cosmic spectacle when it arrives.
The comet is C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS), an object named after the asteroid-hunting Pan-STARRS 1 telescope that detected the icy wanderer during the overnight hours of June 5 and 6. Since the comet's discovery, hopes have risen that this "dirty snowball" presently heading sunward from the depths of the solar system could evolve into a memorable sight. Indeed, some forecasters have already suggested that comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) COULD BECOME THE CELESTIAL SIGHT OF THE DECADE. But right now, it's just too soon to know if that's the case.
When it was discovered in the constellation Libra, comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) was a 19th-magnitude object — so faint that only telescopes with sensitive electronic detectors could pick it up — some 759 million miles (1.2 billion kilometers) from the sun. The comet's closest approach to the sun will occur on April 17, 2013. At that time, the distance between comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) and the sun will have shrunk to 33.8 million miles (54.3 million km). Such an enormous change in solar distance would cause a typical comet to increase its intrinsic luminosity by about 14 magnitudes. Put another way, it could become about 300,000 times brighter. Furthermore, the comet's distance from Earth, which was 666 million miles (1.1 billion km) at its discovery, will shrink to 118 million miles (190 million km) at perihelion, meaning it could appear an additional four magnitudes brighter.
A spectacular PANSTARRS show is no guarantee.. At the moment, astronomers are not exactly sure about the details of PANSTARRS' orbit. That's because it is so far out in space and moving very slowly. So far, all of the orbital data for PANSTARRS point to it being a "new" comet, moving in a parabolic orbit. In other words, it may never have passed near the sun before. That's bad news, because we believe that such comets might be covered with very volatile materials such as frozen nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. These ices vaporize far from the sun, giving a distant comet a short-lived surge in brightness that can raise very unrealistic expectations. If, on the other hand, PANSTARRS is making a return loop around the sun, its highly volatile materials have already been shed, and what we’ll see in the months to come is the true underlying level of its activity.
If, for the moment, we take the latest computed orbit for PANSTARRS at face value, then don't expect to see the comet until after it rounds the sun. Prior to that, the comet will be too far south to be visible for most places north of the equator. Finally, during the first week of May 2013, the comet should begin to become evident around the break of dawn, rising low above the northeast horizon. Unfortunately, by then it will likely have faded considerably — just a dim naked-eye object that is better seen through binoculars. And if the comet develops any kind of tail at all, it will likely appear greatly foreshortened since it will be pointing almost directly away from the earth. With the passage of time, along with patience, we’ll eventually get a better handle as to how the comet will truly perform.


Sprout seeds suspected in French E coli cluster.

Sprouts eyed in US Salmonella outbreak.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A berm holding the flooded Missouri River back from a Nebraska nuclear power station collapsed early Sunday, but federal regulators said they were monitoring the situation and there was no danger. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station is 19 miles north of Omaha. Water now surrounds the auxiliary and containment buildings, which are designed to handle flooding up to 1,014 feet above sea level. The river is at 1,006.3 feet and isn't forecast to exceed 1,008 feet.
Some problems could start in the 1,010- to 1,012-foot range. And at 1,009 feet, if damage were to occur, OPPD would shift to the second-lowest of four alert classifications. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects flooding — based on current release rates and with normal to higher-than-normal rainfall — to peak between the current level and 1,008 feet.
The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station turned to diesel-powered generators Sunday after disconnecting from the main grid because of rising floodwaters. That move came after water surrounded several buildings when a temporary levee collapsed. OPPD officials said the switch was precautionary because of water leaking around the concrete berm surrounding the main transformers.The plant, about 19 miles north of Omaha, remains safe, Omaha Public Power District officials said Sunday afternoon.
Sunday's development offers even more evidence that the relentlessly rising Missouri River is testing the flood-worthiness of an American nuclear power plant like never before. The now-idle plant has become an island. And unlike other plants affected by high water, Fort Calhoun faces months of flooding. Plant operators later reconnected to off-site power once all safety checks had been completed.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is monitoring the Missouri River at the plant, which has been shut down since early April for refueling. The Fort Calhoun plant will remain surrounded at least through August as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues dumping unprecedented amounts of water from upstream dams.
The Aqua Dam provided supplemental flood protection and was not required under NRC regulations. “We put up the aqua-berm as additional protection. (The plant) is in the same situation it would have been in if the berm had not been added. We're still within NRC regulations.” The NRC says its inspectors were at the plant when the berm failed and have confirmed that the flooding has had no impact on the cooling of the idled reactor or the spent fuel pool. The NRC said there is a separate earthen berm to protect the electrical switchyard and a concrete barrier surrounding electrical transformers. Last week, the NRC augmented its inspection staff at Fort Calhoun. In addition to the two resident inspectors, three more inspectors and a branch chief were added to provide around-the-clock coverage of plant activities.
The generators have weeks of fuel on site. The generators are protected against flooding to 1,014 feet above sea level, which means they should be able to provide energy to the plant if the river rises 7.5 feet above its current level. At another location on the plant site, a temporary levee has been built around the storage area where casks containing older and cooler used nuclear fuel are kept. At some point above 1,014 feet, the Missouri River would overflow that berm. Also at 1,014, floodwater would incapacitate OPPD's backup generators if they were still being used to power the plant after the switchyard flooded. The utility has developed plans for tying directly into the transmission lines above the plant, if necessary. It also could shift to secondary backup generators, which are stationed about 22 feet above the worst-case design standard — at an elevation of 1,036 feet. Water would have to rise to 1,038.5 feet above sea level to reach the spent fuel pool, a water-filled pool that holds the plant's most recently used uranium fuel. If floodwater made it to the reactor, it couldn't get inside. That's because the reactor is itself a watertight vessel that holds nuclear fuel in its own deep pool of water. The Missouri would have to rise further still — more than 53 feet from its current level — to reach the top of the reactor. River levels at this height are nearly inconceivable: The river at Omaha would be some 50 feet higher than it is now.
Because the reactor went offline in April for routine maintenance, nuclear fission hadn't taken place for weeks when it became apparent that flooding would prevent restarting the plant. As a result, the reactor had cooled to about 80 degrees, whereas normally it would have been about 560 degrees. Should something catastrophic happen, OPPD would have more time to act because it would take longer for water in the reactor to heat to a dangerous level.
An aggressive federal inspection of Fort Calhoun in June 2009 uncovered problems with OPPD's flood preparedness. As a result, the utility was required to modernize its flood-fighting arsenal, including better and easier-to-install watertight doors and barriers, additional pumps and sandbagging equipment. OPPD had put the finishing touches on those protections and was preparing for what it hoped would be a final inspection this June when floodwaters arrived. NRC review uncovered a mistake in calculating the level of catastrophic flooding that could occur, an error that OPPD has acknowledged. According to the NRC review, OPPD was prepared for flooding up to a level of 1,009 feet above sea level — five feet below what the NRC required. Additionally, the federal agency said, OPPD's plans for protecting the plant to the required 1,014 feet were flawed and subject to failure. An NRC risk analysis released last year determined that under OPPD's now-discarded plans, flooding above 1,010 feet would have led to a 100 percent chance of a fuel damage if the emergency gasoline pumps didn't work. With the pumps in place, the NRC calculates that the pumping plan had a 97.5 percent chance of success of protecting the reactor core.
The Fort Calhoun plant isn't alone in battling the Missouri. Near Brownville, about 90 miles downstream, sandbags and other barriers have been installed to protect Cooper Nuclear Station from the rising waters. Based on current information from the Corps of Engineers, NPPD thinks Cooper will be able to operate throughout the summer. Cooper was built higher, off the flood plain, but over the past week the river has come within 6 inches to 18 inches of the level that would require a plant shutdown.
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center has said the odds favor a rainier-than-normal summer for the upper Missouri River basin, which could worsen flooding. However, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service said the river has gotten so wide from flooding that it rises more slowly after rainfall or dam releases.
Nebraska's two nuclear plants aren't being factored into the Army Corps of Engineers schedule of dam releases. “Flood-risk reduction is our priority right now. We are working closely with OPPD and NPPD, so I would never say that we wouldn't consider adjusting releases, but I can't imagine all the possible scenarios. Currently, there is just no flexibility in the system.”

**“If you dam a river it stagnates.
Running water is beautiful water.
So be a channel.**
English Proverb

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/26/11 -

NEW ZEALAND - Another earthquake in Christchurch could prove the most costly yet, with the city's insurance policies expiring on Thursday and no commercial insurers willing to touch Canterbury.



NEW MEXICO - 'Very, very big concern': 3500 acre wildfire nears Los Alamos lab. A wind-driven wildfire has forced the closure of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the evacuations of about 100 people in northern New Mexico early today.

Heatwave in South West France - This weekend saw the start of what could be record breaking temperatures covering the whole of the south west of France, including Midi-Pyrenees. With temperatures expected to reach 40°c in some parts and roads to the coast & lakes bumper to bumper with people trying to get to the water’s edge, it’s surprising that a Level 2 Heatwave plan hasn’t been declared.
After the devastating loss of life during the 2003 heatwave in France (over 15,000) a new plan was put in place to prevent the same recurring. This health plan is automatically set off on 1st June every year at Level 1. Each department controls its own alerts in case of high temperatures. In order for the alert to be raised to Level 2, temperatures must reach above 34°c for three consecutive days and 21°c during the night. If it continues for longer, Level 3 is announced. However, regardless of the level of alert, the fact remains that across the region it is incredibly hot.


Bolivia moves to end dependence on foreign seed firms - Bolivian President Evo Morales, has signed a new law which aims to ensure food security for his country. Under the plan, state-owned companies will be set up to produce seeds and fertilisers. The government aims to safeguard biodiversity and protect native foodstuffs, as well as ending dependence on foreign seed companies.
Early this year, there were violent protests across the country, sparked by food shortages and spiralling prices.
The recent rise in global food prices forced many Bolivians to abandon their indigenous staples, such as quinoa, in favour of cheaper, imported products. The government plans to invest $5bn (£3.1bn) over 10 years, with generous credits to small farmers, in order to bring about what it calls a food revolution to ensure Bolivians can feed themselves for generations to come. Bolivia is home to thousands of native varieties of crops, including potato and corn. The Morales government wants to improve genetic stock through natural selection. It rejects what it describes as an invasion of genetically-modified seeds, fearing they will contaminate indigenous species, and prove to be too expensive for small farmers to buy.
Bolivia has been far from immune to the recent volatility in food prices. Sugar prices doubled earlier this year. Some highland communities have taken to eating rice and pasta instead of their traditional crops, such as quinoa, because of price rises. In February, President Morales abandoned a public appearance in the mining city of Oruro, in the face of an angry protests over food shortages and price rises. There were violent demonstrations in a number of Bolivian cities.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show how US politicians and corporations were greedily slobbering over the potential pickings they could extract from Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake of January 2010. US officials were lining up to fleece the stricken country under the guise of helping to rebuild it. Along with details of how the US worked to help oust Aristide, the latest cables give a damning indictment of what is also known as 'disaster capitalism'. On February 1, 2010, a cable written by the US Ambassador under the heading “THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!” reads: “As Haiti digs out from the earthquake, different [US] companies are moving in to sell their concepts, products and services. President Preval met with Gen Wesley Clark Saturday [January 29] and received a sales presentation on a hurricane/earthquake resistant foam core house designed for low income residents.”
The cables show how a US 'disaster-recovery' firm AshBritt, Inc. proposed a national plan to rebuild all government buildings. Ashbritt was accused of double-billing for one contract by more than $700,000 following the 1999 Hurricane Wilma and was similarly accused of profiteering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The US coordinator for relief and reconstruction in Haiti left his post after just three months to subsequently land a $30,000-per-MONTH deal with AshBritt to help it land some $20 million in reconstruction deals on the island. He said, “It’s kind of the American way. Just because you’re trying to do business doesn’t mean you’re trying to be rapacious. There’s nothing insidious about that… It wasn’t worse than Iraq."

**Do unto others as you would have them do onto you.**

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/25/11 -

6/24/11 -

JAPAN - A new estimate of the rebuilding of infrastructure, housing and other facilities ravaged by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami has put the total cost at about $210 billion, not including damage from the nuclear crisis.


ALASKA - Glitches are being reported in Alaska's tsunami warning system after Thursday night's 7.3 earthquake in the Aleutian chain. Tsunami warning was delayed; Sirens activated after alert canceled. An unknown problem in the National Weather Service Emergency Alert System caused warning sirens for Homer to sound about an hour after the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for the Aleutian Islands from Unimak Pass to Amchitka Pass. The warning was issued after a 7.3 earthquake hit at 7:10 p.m. Thursday about 20 miles southeast of Amukta Pass west of Dutch Harbor. The rest of coastal Alaska, including Homer and Kachemak Bay, had only an information alert.
Hundreds of people on the Homer Spit and in low-lying areas evacuated after sirens went off about 8:15 p.m. Thursday night. "People were running down this boardwalk with clothes falling out of their luggage and heading for the high road. The cars were lined up all the way to Coal Point. People were honking and kind of panicking."
As happened March 10 with a similar siren warning after the Japanese earthquake, Homer was not in danger from a tsunami. By the time the sirens sounded, authorities knew that Homer would not be affected by a tsunami. Homer Police had received the warning through its federal emergency warning line and then that the warning was canceled. Police officers went to the Homer Spit and low-lying areas to notify people an evacuation was not needed.
Officials with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management and the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management also knew the tsunami warning center alert should have turned on a tone or radio signal from the National Weather Service on the Emergency Alert System. That tone automatically triggers tsunami sirens in the borough — even if borough communities aren't under an actual tsunami warning. The NWS alert radio issued a cancellation of the warning, but coincidentally the first warning alert then went through. "It was very peculiar."
Police heard two siren warnings, one with an order to evacuate and a second canceling the warning. Police got dozens of calls after the sirens went off. Officers said the first loudspeaker message came through clearly, but the second message was garbled. The borough sent out reverse-911 calls to all phone numbers with a message saying the siren alert was incorrect. Under the system set up by the National Weather Service Emergency Alert System, if any area in coastal Alaska gets a tsunami warning, the alert tone goes out and sirens in all coastal communities go off — even if, as happened Thursday and in March, Homer did not have an actual tsunami warning. The National Weather Service has said that it can't commit to a date when the system could change to alert coastal areas by region instead of statewide.
The alternative is for borough emergency managers to notify local emergency services dispatchers to trigger sirens locally. "We can reduce the possibility of false alarms by taking it off the radio system, but that increases the possibility of an error by putting it on the local dispatchers."
There is one reliable warning that a tsunami will affect an area. "One of the things that's very clear: If persons feel an earthquake that lasts more than 20 seconds they should evacuate low-lying areas — period. That's the most important notification you will receive — the ground violently shaking."
A small tsunami was generated by the earthquake, with a wave about 2 inches at Midway Island, 2.5 inches at Adak and 3.8 inches at Nikolski. The National Weather Service in Anchorage could not be reached to explain why the tone alert did not sound in a timely manner.


Rain from Tropical Storm Meari battered the Philippine capital and nearby provinces during the past two days, causing floods that prompted evacuations as dams overflowed.
Shanghai Municipality is bracing for high gales and torrential rains as tropical storm Meari swirls northward, battering the country's coastal areas.
Floods and heavy rain left six people dead or missing and grounded scores of flights in South Korea, officials said Sunday, warning the downpours were set to continue due to Tropical Storm Meari.

The Thailand Meteorological Department has warned people in the North and the Northeast of torrential rains during 24-26 June
as a result of Tropical Storm Haima in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Storm Haima wreaks havoc in North Vietnam. Contrary to previous predictions, tropical storm Haima landed in Thai Binh province yesterday evening. At least 10 people were killed, 14 were missing and hundreds of others were injured in some northern provinces.


NORTH DAKOTA - Minot suffering RECORD-BREAKING FLOODING. Minot built levees to try to fight back the river, but there's now six times more water coming than those levees were designed to hold back, an amount National Weather Service forecasters are calling "stupendous."


NEW MEXICO - The 5500 acre Pacheco Fire is expected to keep burning farther to the north throughout the weekend due to extreme weather conditions forecast for northern New Mexico the next few days.

Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling Italian Blend salad with Use-by Date of June 19, 2011,due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Newly-discovered asteroid 2011 MD will pass only 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) above Earth's surface )(0.05 lunar distances) on Monday, June 27, at about 9:30 am EDT. NASA analysts say there is no chance the space rock will strike Earth. Nevertheless, the encounter is so close that Earth's gravity will sharply alter the asteroid's trajectory: At closest approach, 2011 MD will pass in broad daylight over the southern Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Antarctica. As the asteroid recedes from Earth, it will pass through the zone of geosynchronous satellites. The chances of a collision with a satellite or manmade space junk are extremely small, athough not zero. Judging from the brightness of the asteroid, it measures only 5 to 20 meters in diameter. One would expect an object of this size to come this close to Earth about every 6 years on average. For a brief time, it will be bright enough to be seen even with a medium-sized backyard telescope. (trajectory map)

STORM WARNING: A fast-moving stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. The combined effect of this stream plus a CME expected to arrive today has prompted NOAA forecasters to declare a 30% to 35% chance of geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

Guy goes into a bar with a duck under his arm.
Bartender says, "Where'd you get the pig?"
Guy says, "This is a duck."
Bartender says, "I was talking to the duck."
Rodney Dangerfield

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/23/11 -

ALASKA - Magnitude-7.4 quake shakes Alaska, prompting tsunami warning. The tsunami warning was lifted about an hour after the quake struck at 6:10 pm Thursday (0310 GMT Friday) near the Fox Islands, about 1,700 kilometres south-west of Anchorage. It occurred at a depth of 63 kilometres. No damage or casualties were reported in the sparsely populated area. The West Coast and Alaska tsunami Warning Center said no tsunami was detected. [4.7 is the largest aftershock so far.]

JAPAN - The magnitude 6.7 aftershock that rocked Honshu on Thursday was the 75th aftershock of at least magnitude 6.0 following the devastating March earthquake.

NEW ZEALAND abandons 5100 quake homes - The New Zealand government told thousands of Christchurch home owners yesterday that the areas where they lived will be abandoned for several years while their homes are demolished. Christchurch, the country's second biggest city, was devastated by major earthquakes in September 2010 and again in February this year, and continues to be rocked by strong aftershocks which are causing more damage.


NEW ZEALAND - Unnamed officials have been quoted as saying continuing earthquake activity around Canterbury indicating a volcanic eruption is brewing has been "hushed up". Others say the water in Lyttelton Harbour has heated up as a consequence of volcanic activity, and in some parts the water is already too hot to touch. Some of the country's top earthquake and volcano experts are now determined to quash the gossip before it scares even more people. They say a Banks Peninsula eruption was "just not possible. There's no truth to this. There's no reason for it. We have said time and time again this is not possible."
The closest pool of magma to Canterbury is in the central North Island. The six million-year-old Banks Peninsula volcanic complex is extinct. The quakes can not reactivate the volcanic area because there is no hot magma there. "This is supported by all the data recorded by scientists since the main Darfield earthquake in September 2010. All the recorded signals - eg, ground-surface deformation from ground-based and satellite techniques, earthquake types - have been strictly tectonic in origin and due to movement along faults, and in no way related to volcanic activity. There is no magma any more at depth below Banks Peninsula. The closest magmatic systems are Taranaki-Ruapehu-Taupo, approximately 500 kilometres away. Magma residing less than 25km deep below these volcanoes just cannot travel horizontally for such distances. Magma is generally lighter than the surrounding rocks and much prefers going up than sideways. And in cases where it does, horizontal distances are tens of kilometres at best, not hundreds. So, in a nutshell, magma travelling from the North Island volcanoes to Banks Peninsula, or anywhere near the south of the North Island for that matter, is simply not possible."
Ground shaking has caused liquefaction and has also affected the permeability of the near-surface, leading to changes in the temperature of warm springs and discharge rates that were nothing to do with any volcanic activity. "In some areas, pre- existing cracks may have opened or closed, affecting the path of the groundwater to the surface. In areas where permeability increases, so may the flow of hot water to the surface. This can result in an increase in water discharge at the surface, or even new springs. In areas where permeability decreased due to the shaking, hot springs may have experienced a decrease in discharge or even dried out.
This phenomenon has been observed in many non- volcanic areas around the world after moderate to large earthquakes."



Tropical storm "Falcon" (Meari) will continue to bring heavy rains to Metro Manila and surrounding provinces until Saturday even as some areas still suffer from flooding. Some 50,000 people were in evacuation centres in the Philippines on Friday after fleeing their homes following days of torrential rains caused by Tropical Storm Meari.

Tropical storm Haima hit land in southern China's Guangdong province on Thursday, bringing heavy rain that was expected to move over flooded inland areas. Tropical storm Haima is forecast to hit the Vietnam-China border today, and will bring heavy rains to Vietnam's northern and north central regions.

Hurricane Beatriz weakened into a tropical storm and headed out to sea Tuesday after pounding Mexico's resort-studded Pacific coast with heavy rains and winds. A family of three died on Tuesday as hurricane Beatriz moved along the Pacific coast of Mexico before weakening. A teenager who attempted to cross a river remains missing.


German E coli outbreak kills 3 more, reaches 3,800 cases. 105 new cases of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) were announced and 3 new deaths in an outbreak linked to German sprouts, while the United States added a new case and is investigating whether a death in Arizona is linked to the 3,802-case outbreak.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

UPDATE - Alaska tsunami warning has been issued for a number of coastal communities in Alaska following a magnitude 7.4 earthquake late Thursday evening.

A Scary Report Card on the World's Oceans - You can eventually become inured to catastrophe. Every ecosystem is on the brink of collapse; every endangered species is just a few steps from extinction; every government decision to authorize an oil well or a coal mine is the one that will push carbon emissions over the edge. The language of environmentalism is the language of scarcity and loss, a constantly repeated message that we cannot continue living the way we are, or else. But while news of Earth's impending doom can sometimes seem exaggerated, there's one environmental disaster that never gets the coverage it really deserves: the state of the oceans. Most people know that wild fisheries are dwindling, and we might know that low-oxygen aquatic dead zones are blooming around the planet's most crowded coasts. But THE OCEANS APPEAR TO BE UNDERGOING FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES — many of them for the worse — THAT WE CAN BARELY UNDERSTAND, in part because we barely understand that vast blue territory that covers 70% of the globe.
That's the conclusion of a surprising new report issued by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), a global panel of marine experts that met this year to examine the latest science on ocean health. That health, they found, is not good. According to the authors, WE ARE "AT HIGH RISK FOR ENTERING A PHASE OF EXTINCTION OF MARINE SPECIES UNPRECEDENTED IN HUMAN HISTORY."
It's not just about overfishing or marine pollution or even climate change. It's all of those destructive factors working cumulatively and occurring much more rapidly than scientists had expected. "The findings are shocking. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children's and generations beyond that."
What's particularly scary is that while we can be sure we're changing the oceans, it's not so easy to measure the extent of the damage or predict how it will unfold, simply because observations are harder to make underwater than they are on land. (Human beings have explored just 5% of the total volume of the oceans so far.) It's not just a matter of taking bluefin tuna and other valuable species out of the oceans through industrial fishing. The more worrying changes are happening on a chemical level. The oceans have already absorbed more than 80% of the additional heat added to the climate system and about 33% of the carbon dioxide we've emitted into the atmosphere. That's slowed down climate change on land, but it's changing the pH levels of the water in ways that could have a bigger impact on sea life than a thousand factory-fishing boats.
The rate of carbon absorption right now is far greater than the rate seen some 55 million years ago. That was when the last globally significant extinction of marine species took place, when 50% of some groups of deep-sea animals were wiped out. We can try to restrict fishing, and we can work to protect sensitive coral reefs and other habitats for marine life. But if we can't figure out a way to curb global carbon emissions, we may alter the oceans beyond their ability to heal themselves — at least in ways that will support marine life as we know it.
Despite the scary IPSO reports — and scores of others like it that have been published in the past — the oceans seem likely to continue to get less attention than they need and deserve. Maybe that's because we're fundamentally land-based creatures. Anyone can see a clear-cut rain forest and know that something was lost, but on the surface, a living sea and a dead one look much the same. We used to think the oceans were far too vast for mere humans to affect — but we should know that's not the case any longer. Earth is often tougher than we think, but if we don't do something, we really do risk irrevocably altering the blue in our blue planet.

**A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth.
The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.
Even so, life is but an endless series
of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts.
And the consequences, whether good or bad,
of even the least of them are far-reaching.**

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/22/11 -

JAPAN - A magnitude-6.7 earthquake rattled northeast Japan on Thursday morning. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for the region after the quake, but canceled it about an hour later. The temblor struck the region of the Pacific where the magnitude-9.0 quake hit on March 11. Thursday's quake hit about 30 miles (47 kilometers) off the shore of Iwate prefecture at 6:51 a.m. (2151 GMT Wednesday). Much of the coast in the area is still heavily damaged from March's disasters. The quake, 19.9 miles (32 kilometers) deep, caused tremors across the northern half of the country, including Tokyo, which is about 325 miles (524 kilometers) to the southwest. It was followed by several smaller aftershocks.


CHILE - Experts have warned that a "cork" of lava could lead to another explosion at the Puyehue volcano. Seismic activity has declined, with two tremors of a magnitude of around 2.5 recorded every hour yesterday, compared with several hundred of a magnitude of four or five in the hours preceding the initial June 4 eruption. But Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining, which monitors volcanic activity, said today the volcano had to be kept on red alert because of the possibility of another explosion.
Geologists said a "cork" of lava, which emerged yesterday and was blocking even more lava from spewing forth, had the potential to create a huge build-up in pressure. If this continues, "an explosive event remains possible because the path the lava is taking is obstructed, or because the eruption dynamic has changed."
The travel misery continued for many today with Chile's national carrier suspending flights to both Temuco and Valdivia in the south and delaying services on several other routes. Several more southern Chilean cities, including Rininahue, Llifen, Futrono, Villarrica and Pucon, were hit yesterday by a cascade of fine ash.
And in Australia today, several thousand airline passengers continued to face numerous delays.
Meanwhile in southern Argentina's Patagonia, ranchers were becoming seriously concerned about up to 1.5 million sheep and other livestock now forced to graze on ash-covered pastures.
NASA AND NOAA Release Images of Recent Volcanic Eruption in Chile - Puyehue-Cordon Caulle is one of 2,085 volcanoes that have erupted in the last 450 years along the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire.
Puyehue-Cordon Caulle had been inactive for decades but erupted on June 4th. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have recently released a two week movie of images captured by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite of the eruption and its progress.
Initially, the ash cloud caused by the volcano was a staggering twenty miles high, stopping air traffic as far away as New Zealand and Australia. Now however, the ash cloud is only a few kilometers in height and is sputtering, giving experts hope that life will soon return to normal in austral Chile. Satellite images throughout the two weeks show the ash cloud reach 30 kilometers into the atmosphere and its slow but sure decline. The GOES-13 satellite has taken 445 images of the eruption, the film has a running time of 1 hour, 14 minutes.



Tropical Depression Haima, formerly known as 06W continues moving toward Hong Kong and NASA infrared satellite imagery shows strong rain-making thunderstorms in the southern quadrant of the storm. Rainfall is something that a rain-weary China doesn't need more of.


U.S. - An apparent tornado struck Wednesday night at Churchill Downs, the thoroughbred racetrack famed as home of the Kentucky Derby, damaging some barns, but no injuries were reported. The presumed twister touched down between 8 and 8:30 p.m. local time in the midst of several powerful thunderstorms moving through the greater Louisville, Kentucky, area.
Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses remained without power in the Midwest on Wednesday, a day after severe weather tore through the region and parts of the South. A slow-moving storm system drenched the central part of the nation, bringing large hail and winds of up to 100 miles per hour from Chicago to Dallas, grounding planes, stranding passengers and delaying commutes in Chicago.
About 220,000 customers in Chicago and its suburbs were without power Wednesday afternoon, down from 430,000. Many could remain so for at least another day. In Mount Prospect, a Chicago suburb, large trees snapped or were uprooted, and roofs were damaged. "This damage is consistent with straight line winds of 90 to 100 mph." Airlines operating at O'Hare International Airport canceled more than 250 flights due to the storms and some flights were delayed.
The severe weather hit hardest in Illinois, southeastern Wisconsin up into northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Tornado warnings were issued for parts of the Midwest ahead of Tuesday's storms. Early storm reports included four possible tornado sightings in Minnesota and Wisconsin and several reports of funnel clouds. Storm damage teams were in Blaine and Coon Rapids, Minnesota on Wednesday to assess the damage and determine if there were any tornadoes. As the storms tracked east, the threat for severe weather on Wednesday was expected to move into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Residents in Tennessee also felt the wrath of severe weather as thunderstorms and high winds rolled across the region on Tuesday striking most intensely in Knoxville. Thousands remained without power in that east Tennessee city on Wednesday.
Further south in Dallas more than 22,000 customers were without power after storms SHATTERED A RAIN RECORD SET IN 1926. [ 2.72 inches was recorded, including 2.16 inches between 3 and 4 am, more than twice the 1.07 inches that fell in 1926. The rain came close to the monthly average.] The severe weather is set to continue as high temperatures are expected to reach triple digits in Dallas and other areas of Texas and nearby states in the coming days. Areas in Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Vermont and New York remain at risk from flooding, and thunderstorms, hail, and strong wind are forecasted across the country.


A CME propelled toward Earth by the "solstice solar flare" of June 21st may be moving slower than originally thought. Analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab have downgraded the cloud's probable speed from 800 km/s to 650 km/s. Impact is now expected on June 24th at 0700 UT plus or minus 7 hours. A slower CME should deliver a weaker blow to Earth's magnetic field. Forecasters now predict a relatively mild G1-class (Kp=5) geomagnetic storm when the cloud arrives. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras during the early hours of June 24. The season favors observers in the southern hemisphere where solstice skies are winter-dark. (animated forecast model)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ha - the tornado on Tuesday missed me! Damage in suburbs north-east of me, but thankfully no deaths or serious injuries. Hoping the next round will be kind too.

These sources may have agendas, so take these two articles with a grain of salt? -
"Fukushima is the BIGGEST INDUSTRIAL CATASTROPHE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND" a former nuclear industry senior vice president says. He is a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, and says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed. "Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed. You probably have THE EQUIVALENT OF 20 NUCLEAR REACTOR CORES because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively."
TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel cores, but this has led to even greater problems, such as radiation being emitted into the air in steam and evaporated sea water - as well as generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water that has to be disposed of. "The problem is how to keep it cool. They are pouring in water and the question is what are they going to do with the waste that comes out of that system, because it is going to contain plutonium and uranium. Where do you put the water?" Even though the plant is now shut down, fission products such as uranium continue to generate heat, and therefore require cooling.
"The fuels are now a molten blob at the bottom of the reactor. TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water."
Independent scientists have been monitoring the locations of radioactive "hot spots" around Japan, and their findings are disconcerting. "We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl. The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl." TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record. Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station - AN AREA ROUGHLY 17 TIMES THE SIZE OF MANHATTAN - IS NOW LIKELY UNINHABITABLE.
In the US, two physicians have published an essay shedding light on a 35% SPIKE IN INFANT MORTALITY IN NORTHWEST U.S. CITIES that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, and may well be the result of fallout from the stricken nuclear plant. The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise, and the time frame of the report included the ten weeks immediately following the disaster.
Far more radiation has been released than has been reported. "They recalculated the amount of radiation released, but the news is really not talking about this. The new calculations show that within the first week of the accident, they released 2.3 times as much radiation as they thought they released in the first 80 days."
The exposed reactors and fuel cores are continuing to release microns of caesium, strontium, and plutonium isotopes. These are referred to as "hot particles". "We are discovering hot particles everywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo. Scientists are finding these everywhere. Over the last 90 days these hot particles have continued to fall and are being deposited in high concentrations. A lot of people are picking these up in car engine air filters."
Radioactive air filters from cars in Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo are now common, and sources are finding RADIOACTIVE AIR FILTERS IN THE GREATER SEATTLE AREA of the US as well. The hot particles on them can eventually lead to cancer. "These [hot particles] can cause cancer, but you can't measure them with a Geiger counter. Clearly people in Fukushima prefecture have breathed in a large amount of these particles. Clearly the upper West Coast of the US has people being affected. That area got hit pretty heavy in April." The units are still leaking radiation. "They are still emitting radioactive gases and an enormous amount of radioactive liquid. IT WILL BE AT LEAST A YEAR BEFORE IT STOPS BOILING, and until it stops boiling, it's going to be cranking out radioactive steam and liquids."
"Unit four is the most dangerous, it could topple. After the earthquake in Sumatra there was an 8.6 [aftershock] about 90 days later, so we are not out of the woods yet. And you're at a point where, if that happens, THERE IS NO SCIENCE FOR THIS, no one has ever imagined having hot nuclear fuel lying outside the fuel pool. They've not figured out how to cool units three and four...Units one through three have nuclear waste on the floor, the melted core, that has plutonium in it, and that has to be removed from the environment for HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS. Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it FOR INFINITY, and THAT TECHNOLOGY DOESN'T EXIST. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, THERE IS NO SOLUTION AVAILABLE NOW for picking that up from the floor." The creation of nuclear fission generates radioactive materials for which there is simply no knowledge informing us how to dispose of the radioactive waste safely. The expert believes it will take experts at least ten years to design and implement the plan. "So ten to 15 years from now maybe we can say the reactors have been dismantled, and in the meantime you wind up contaminating the water. We are already seeing Strontium [at] 250 times the allowable limits in the water table at Fukushima. Contaminated water tables are incredibly difficult to clean. So I think we will have a contaminated aquifer in the area of the Fukushima site for a long, long time to come...With Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now with Fukushima, you can pinpoint the exact day and time they started. But they NEVER END."

US orders news blackout over crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant - A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant located in Nebraska. According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a “no-fly ban” over the area.
Located about 20 minutes outside downtown Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant is owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) who on their website denies their plant is at a “Level 4” emergency by stating: “This terminology is not accurate, and is not how emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified.”
Russian atomic scientists in this FAAE report, however, say that this OPPD statement is an “outright falsehood” as all nuclear plants in the world operate under the guidelines of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) which clearly states the “events” occurring at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant do, indeed, put it in the “LEVEL 4” EMERGENCY CATEGORY of an “accident with local consequences” thus making this one of the worst nuclear accidents in US history. Though this report confirms independent readings in the United States of “negligible release of nuclear gasses” related to this accident it warns that by the Obama regimes censoring of this event for “political purposes” it risks a “serious blowback” from the American public should they gain knowledge of this being hidden from them.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chief blasted the Obama regime just days before the near meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant by declaring that “the policy of not enforcing most fire code violations at dozens of nuclear plants is “unacceptable” and has tied the hands of NRC inspectors.”

**The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom,
power without conscience.
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.**
Omar Bradley
(US General, commanded US ground forces
in Normandy invasion in World War II)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/21/11 -

NEW ZEALAND - 5.3 aftershock - Christchurch hit hard again. The quake struck shortly after 10.30pm, 10km west of Akaroa and at a depth of 12km. Power was cut for a short time to some suburbs including Ilam, Avonhead and Burnside but police said by midnight there had been no reports of serious damage.

CHINA - Magnitude-5.2 quake jolts Yunnan, 6 injured. A 5.2-magnitude earthquake hit Tengchong County near the city of Baoshan in Southwest China's Yunnan Province at 6:16 pm Monday. About 2000 rural households in the county were affected. Over 1000 local residents were forced to evacuate.


Lava has begun spilling from Chile's Puyehue volcano, 18 days after it first erupted, but there's no danger to nearby residents. But the ash cloud created by the eruption continues to wreak havoc on airlines around the world. "Viscous lava has flowed slowly westward in a channel roughly 50 metres wide and 100 metres long." Last week, it was said that the appearance of lava would signal "the end of the eruptive process" and would not put any of the local population in danger. Authorities had subsequently authorised the return of more than 4000 people to their homes. But today, they acknowledged that "eruptions continue" and that volcanic activity could "increase again." Puyehue had been dormant for a half century until June 4.
The ash cloud created by the eruption threatened to put an end to the tourist season at the Argentine skiing resort of Bariloche. Air traffic in the southern hemisphere was hit especially hard, initially paralysing airports in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, and later those in Australia and New Zealand.

CALIFORNIA - Possible volcanic eruption near Salton Sea in Imperial Valley could bring ash clouds to San Diego. Comments from the U.S. Geological Survey are sparking questions about a potential volcanic eruption in Imperial Valley that could bring clouds of ash to San Diego County. "Most definitely… Volcanic activity is possible," said a geologist. He was part of a research group that collected footage of muddy pits and volcanic gasses about 100 miles east on the southern end of the Salton Sea. The area is the home of four buttes that are several hundred feet tall.
The buttes are small volcanoes with an explosive past. Miles below them is a pool of magma that is 15 miles wide. About 8,000 years ago, the buttes erupted, causing magma to flow which cooled into obsidian rock.
The damage from those eruptions was limited to the surrounding area, but if a major earthquake hit along the San Andreas Fault, geologists said there could be trouble. "It really pumps energy into a freshly enlarged magma body. That would be a worst-case scenario."
Unstable magma may find a path to the surface, which would result in the buttes erupting, oozing lava and spewing ash. Ash clouds like those seen in Iceland last year is a remote possibility. "I would not anticipate an Iceland eruption, but we didn't anticipate Mount St. Helens either." Even if an ash cloud is small, it could still wreak havoc and alter flight plans. "The way the ash gets to San Diego is if we have Santa Ana winds." It is an unlikely scenario but one that is lurking beneath the surface.


Greater tsunami threat identified in Indonesia - The shape of the seabed where the 2004 Sumatra earthquake struck may indicate that the strength of the underlying rocks added to the size of the resulting tsunami, according to new research.
An international team found that slip on the fault during the earthquake reached much closer to the surface than expected, beneath an UNUSUAL plateau where the rocks are particularly strong.
The work has important implications for predicting the location and strength of tsunamis associated with future earthquakes, by looking closely at the geology of sediments near the surface. 'A key question is whether we can identify how a fault may behave during an earthquake from observations made at other times. In this case, differences in our measurements seem to match differences in the faulting.'
The earthquake struck just north of the Indonesian island of Simeulue west of Sumatra. It was caused by a massive movement of the Indo-Australian plate which is being pushed beneath the Sunda plate to the east. This is known as a subduction zone and in this case the plates meet at the Sunda Trench, around 300km west of Sumatra. The Sunda Trench is full of ancient sediment, some of which has washed out of the Ganges over millions of years, forming a massive accumulation of sedimentary rock called the Nicobar Fan. As the Indo-Australian plate is subducted, these sediments are scraped off to form what's called an accretionary prism. Usually an accretionary prism slopes consistently away from the trench, but here the seabed shallows steeply before flattening out, forming a plateau.
But farther south, at the site of a slightly smaller earthquake in 2005 that didn't reach up to the surface, the seabed has a more typical profile. 'We wanted to know whether the upward extent of the rupture might be diagnosed by the shape of the seabed around the Sunda Trench.' Subduction earthquakes are thought to start around 30km beneath the Earth's surface. Slip on the fault propagates upwards and generally dissipates as it reaches weaker rocks closer to the surface. So the sediment in the Sunda Trench should have slowed the upward and westward journey of the 2004 earthquake, meaning the tsunami was generated in the shallower water on the landward (east) side of the trench. But in fact the fault slip seems to have reached close to the trench, lifting large sections of the seabed in deeper water and producing a much larger tsunami.
To understand what might be behind this UNCHARACTERISTIC GEOLOGICAL BEHAVIOR, the research team looked at seismic images of the earth's crust around part of the 2004 rupture zone. They found that the sediments in the trench are 4-5km thick, and where they form a plateau in the accretionary prism the sediments allow seismic waves to travel much faster than you find at locations immediately to the south. This indicates that the rocks are stronger than would be expected. The researchers found no evidence for any 'splay faults' in the accretionary prism which would have helped dissipate the earthquake's power. So the depth and solidity of these overlying sediments seems to have played a part in the power of the devastating tsunami that the earthquake generated.
Assessments of earthquake hazard around the world should look closely at similar subduction zones, says the researchers' report. A plateau formed of strong sediments overlying an area of converging plates could represent a greater hazard for tsunami generation than previously known.



Tropical Depression "Falcon" may intensify into a tropical storm tonight. The arrival of the storm codenamed “Falcon” came a day after tropical depression “Egay” moved out of the country and left one dead with two missing in Luzon.

Hurricane lashed Mexican resorts - Hurricane Beatriz weakened to a tropical storm as it moved away from the east coast of Mexico. Beatriz had been threatening some of Mexico's most popular resorts and left tourists sheltering in hotels, but all warnings have now been cancelled.


U.S. - Thunderstorms and heavy winds pounded the upper Midwest Tuesday night, stranding Chicago commuter train riders for hours, forcing the cancelation of hundreds of flights, and temporarily delaying Vice President Joe Biden's return to Washington after a fundraiser. Hundreds of passengers at O'Hare were herded into a lower-level baggage claim area when the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch.
Heavy rainfall downed trees across the region and sent people attending an outdoor concert scurrying for cover. Commonwealth Edison was reporting power outages to more than 270,000 customers at the peak of the storm. Most of the outages were in Chicago's northern suburbs, where downed power lines had cut electricity to 151,000 customers.
Storms also damaged two hangars at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The airport hangars were pulled off their foundations by the winds Tuesday night, exposing the aircrafts inside. Three people inside were hurt, and one was taken to a hospital for a head cut. No tornadoes were immediately reported, but the National Weather Service issued several warnings and watches, saying conditions were favorable for funnel cloud formation.

Authorities have ordered the evacuation of some 12,000 people from the city of Minot, North Dakota, and surrounding areas because of expected RECORD FLOODING, officials said Tuesday. The swollen Souris River flows straight through the city and is expected to overwhelm area levees. Minot, located in the north central part of the state, is the fourth-largest city in North Dakota. The evacuation order covers between a quarter and a third of the city's population. Residents have until 6 p.m. CT Wednesday to leave their homes.
"We're going to become a pool. It's hard to really believe, but I have some real concerns...The current best estimate for when water will overtop the lowest dikes in the Minot area is sometime on Thursday afternoon. However, a Wednesday night or early Thursday timeframe cannot be ruled out as the dikes become more stressed due to rising water." The river at Minot, which currently stands at close to 1,555 feet above sea level, is forecast to rise to 1,559 feet on Friday or Saturday -- which would be a new record. The river hit 1,558 feet above sea level in 1881. The Souris River looks like a "U." It swoops in and out of North Dakota from Canada.


FLORIDA - Wildfire in Florida has claimed the lives of two forest rangers, as emergency services continue to battle more than 400 blazes across the state. The rangers had been trying contain a 12-acre (4.8-ha) blaze near the Georgia border, but the fire flared up and trapped them. Two others were injured trying to save them.
The news comes as responders continue to battle thousands of fires in regions of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. The fire in which the rangers died - the Blue Ribbon Fire in Florida's Hamilton County - was burning roughly 85 miles (136 km) north-east of the city of Tallahassee and had previously been considered contained.
"The wildfires have ravaged our state, burning more than 200,000 acres [since May 1], and now, they have taken the lives of two of our very own men." The deaths mark the first time anyone working for the Florida Division of Forestry has died from fighting a blaze since 2000, when a helicopter pilot crashed after dumping water on a wildfire near the town of Fort Myers. "The weather can change in Florida very quickly and that's what we experienced."
Meanwhile, a fast-moving fire in Grimes County in Texas destroyed about 35 homes on Tuesday, after burning more than 4,000 acres. The blaze was started when homeowners near the town of Stoneham lost control of a fire in their grill. The largest of the US wildfires is considered to be the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, which officials said on Tuesday had burned more than 525,000 acres and was 56% contained. Roughly 10,400 firefighters are involved in efforts to contain wildfires across the US, with more than 7,000 of them in Arizona and New Mexico.


Sunburst could be a big blow - The sun is nearing the peak of its activity cycle, "spitting out flares and plasma like a dragon". A spectacular eruption occurred on the surface of the sun on June 21st and it sent charged particles hurling toward Earth. The solar flare, which shot out of a huge bubble of superheated gas, was accompanied by a quake inside the sun equal to a 11.3-magnitude quake on Earth. Multiple flares erupted from the sun's surface. Major flares could knock some of the North American power grid offline. (video)
According to analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab, the CME left the sun traveling 800 km/s and it will reach Earth on June 23rd at 23:22 UT (plus or minus 7 hours). The expanding cloud is heading almost directly toward Earth. The impact is expected to trigger a G2-class (Kp=6) geomagnetic storm. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on June 23rd and 24. The season favors southern hemisphere observers, where solstice skies are winter-dark. (video)


Hong Kong worried over scarlet fever outbreak - Hong Kong health authorities are worried about a POTENTIAL EPIDEMIC of scarlet fever after the death of a five-year-old boy on Monday, the second child death suspected from the disease in a month.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I am being forced off the internet by the incoming series of severe storms from Nebraska.

After a spring of dangerous weather conditions, Monday took a turn for the UNUSUAL: In the U.S., a storm that prompted a tornado watch across Nebraska and Kansas also left 2-4 inches of snow in the Rocky Mountains. On the last day of spring, a winter storm advisory was posted Monday in the mountains of Colorado for areas above 10,000 feet until 6 p.m. local time, and at least three tornadoes were reported in Kansas. Officials said four people were injured, none seriously, when a twister destroyed three homes in Norton County, Kansas. The storms knocked over freight train cars and halted play at the College World Series in Nebraska.
Meanwhile, firefighters gained ground against wildfires in the Southwest. Much lighter winds Monday allowed aircraft to again attack several fires in Arizona and New Mexico. Air crews had been grounded for most of Sunday. Firefighting efforts have been dogged for days by hot, windy weather. Authorities in southern Arizona went through neighborhoods Monday to tally the damage from a wildfire that was pushed by fierce winds into a heavily populated area. Officials said the fire came off a mountain Sunday afternoon into the outskirts of Sierra Vista and forced about 3,000 residents of 1,700 homes to flee. The evacuations brought the total number to about 10,000 people from 4,300 homes forced out by the Monument fire. Meanwhile, the massive Wallow fire that has been burning in eastern Arizona for three weeks kept about 200 residents of Luna, N.M., under an evacuation order for a third day.
In southeast Nebraska, the bloated Missouri River rose to within 18 inches of forcing the shutdown of a nuclear power plant, stopped and ebbed slightly Monday, after several levees in northern Missouri failed to hold back the surging waterway. The river has to hit 902 feet above sea level at Brownville before officials will shut down the Cooper Nuclear Plant, which sits at 903 feet. Flooding is a concern all along the river because of the massive amount of water that the Army Corps of Engineers has released from six dams. Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are downstream of the dams.
Wild world weather, too - Chinese officials said Monday that more rains are predicted for parts of the country in the next several days after flooding killed dozens and forced thousands to flee their homes. The downpours brought floods to central regions. But they also helped end the worst drought in decades. The floods killed 175 people and left at least 86 missing. On Monday night, Tropical Storm Beatriz reached hurricane strength and began pounding Mexico's Pacific coast. Authorities closed the popular tourist ports of Acapulco and Manzanillo ahead of the hurricane's arrival. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Beatriz had sustained winds of about 75 m.p.h. and was expected to brush over Mexico's coast before heading back out to sea.

**Justice, being violated, destroys;
justice, being preserved, preserves:
therefore, justice must not be violated,
lest violated justice destroy us.**
Manusmriti, 1200 BC

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/20/11 -

HURRICANE 02E (Beatriz) was located off the coast of Mexico - Forecasted path map



Avalanches in Mexico as Beatriz brews - Beatriz threatened to turn into a hurricane Monday (it has become one) off Mexico's west coast as strong rains, fallen trees and avalanches were reported in five western Mexican states.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The great shift from farm to city - It is the little-noticed force behind the revolutions in the Arab world, the new protests in China and the economic booms in India, Turkey and South America. THE LARGEST POPULATION SHIFT IN HUMAN HISTORY, currently at its peak, is probably the most significant, and misunderstood, global event of our time. Never in human history have so many people changed their locations and lifestyles so quickly. It offers opportunity, or danger.
In Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, hundreds of millions of people are rapidly moving from rural areas, where they practiced peasant agriculture, to cities — a shift that makes itself felt in the rough-and-tumble transitional neighborhoods where rural migrants first land, both in their own countries and in places like the United States, where they are make up the largest group of immigrants. We need to pay attention to these neighborhoods, and to the huge demographic shift that is shaping them, for they are where either the next great economic opportunity or the next wave of violence and conflict will be born.
Each month, there are 5 million new city dwellers created through migration or birth in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. China alone has an estimated 200 million "floating" citizens with one foot in a village and the other in a city. If current trends continue as expected, between 2000 and 2030, the urban population of Asia and Africa will double, adding as many city dwellers in one generation as these continents have accumulated during their entire histories. Between now and 2050, the world's cities will add another 3.1 billion people. This will be matched by an almost as dramatic decline in rural population. The United Nations Population Division predicts that the population of the world's villages and rural areas will stop growing around eight years from now and that, by 2050, the rural population will have fallen by 600 million due to migration to cities and urban encroachment on villages.
This is the same shift that transformed Europe and North America from peasant to urban life in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. That transition gave us both the violent revolutions and teeming slums of that period, but it also triggered, in the West, the end of starvation as a mass phenomenon, a vast rise in living standards and the end of uncontrollable population growth.
The world has gone from being more than 70% peasant in 1950 to 50% urban today. By 2025, 60% of the world will live in cities; by 2050, more than 70%; and by century's end, the entire world will almost certainly be as urban as we are in the West.
These neighborhoods want to succeed. They can be the birthplace of a new middle class, as many of America's immigrant neighborhoods have been. But they can also spiral into violent failure and threaten entire countries when barriers are placed in the way of migrants' natural inclination to succeed. This is a population shift that will affect almost everyone, in every country. Never before have so many people reached for the bottom rung of urban success. Our challenge is to make sure there is a second rung waiting for the next wave of brave ex-villagers.

**Everything is backwards;
everything is upside down.
Doctors destroy health,
lawyers destroy justice,
universities destroy knowledge,
governments destroy freedom,
the major media destroy information,
and religions destroy spirituality.**
Michael Ellner

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -

Antarctic Region Hit By Series Of Moderate Earthquakes - A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck the South Sandwich Islands region, situated around 750km south east of South Georgia, in the South Atlantic early Sunday. It was the latest in a series of quakes to hit the Antarctic Region during the past 24 hours. The moderate quake struck at 9.37am GMT at a depth of 137km and was centred 69 km (42 miles) NNW of Visokoi Island and 330 km (205 miles) NNW of Bristol Island.
The last significant earthquake to be recorded in the South Sandwich Islands region occurred on 08 December 2010 when a magnitude 6.5 quake struck 85 km (55 miles) ENE of Visokoi Island. The unpopulated islands consist of a chain of eleven volcanic islands, connected by a low submarine ridge, bending in an arc around 400km long. They are an overseas dependency of the UK, but also claimed by Argentina. The 337km islands lie 750 km (470 miles) south east of South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean.
The Pacific–Antarctic Ridge (PAR) is a divergent tectonic plate boundary located on the seafloor of the South Pacific Ocean, separating the Pacific Plate from the Antarctic Plate. It is regarded as the southern section of the East Pacific Rise in some usages, generally south of the Challenger Fracture Zone and stretching to the Macquarie Triple Junction south of New Zealand. (quake map)

Scientists discover new California quake fault that could burst dam and drown thousands. A new earthquake-producing fault has been discovered in California - to the surprise of scientists who thought they had found all of the state’s seismic danger spots. The Polaris line, at only 22 miles long, is a dwarf compared to the San Andreas Fault, which stretches 800 miles and has triggered some of the world’s biggest tremors. But, worryingly, it could be powerful enough to cause an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale and flood a valley by smashing a dam. If it broke, the Martis Creek Dam has the potential to deluge the homes of 16,000 people in nearby Truckee and flood waters could travel 35 miles to Reno, Nevada, where 220,000 people live.
Experts already knew of two faults near the structure, which is one of 10 American dams classified as having ‘urgent and compelling’ safety concerns. But this latest discovery has dumbfounded geologists from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who found the fault using laser imaging technology known as LiDAR. ‘We weren't expecting it at all.' The most recent earthquake caused by the Polaris fault, named after a nearby former mining town, was 15,000 years ago. However, this is recent enough for it to be considered active.
The fault could produce an earthquake with up to a 6.5 to 6.9 magnitude. And because the fault connects to two others near the dam, the magnitude could be even higher if they ruptured at the same time. Due to the risk of a rupture from another fault that runs directly under Martis Creek Dam, the Corps, which owns the structure, already keep water levels as low as possible. But since the Polaris sits between the dam and its spillway, if the levels were higher than usual, a very big earthquake could potentially flood parts of gambling mecca Reno.
Although the find is a surprise, scientists believe there may be hundreds of unknown faults around the world. Throughout the east face of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, there are probably quite a few systems are undiscovered but responsible for a large portion of tectonic movement.
The largest recorded Californian tremor was the 1857 Fort Tejon, with an estimated magnitude of 8.0. It caused a 225-mile long rupture but did relatively little damage. The most destructive quake to date was the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale. More than 3,000 people died in the quake and subsequent fires. More recently, the 6.9-magnitude 1989 Loma Prieta tremor killed 63 people and left up to 12,000 homeless in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1994 the 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake hit the Greater Los Angeles area, killing 33 people and causing an estimated $20billion in damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.




Tropical Storm Beatriz forms in East Pacific - The National Hurricane Center in Miami is tracking Tropical Storm Beatriz, which formed Sunday in the Eastern Pacific off southwestern Mexico. Forecasters predicted it would be near hurricane strength by late today.


China floods: Millions affected by deadly downpours - More than FIVE MILLION people are now reported to have been affected by deadly floods in eastern China. Torrential rain is continuing, leaving large parts of Zhejiang and Hubei provinces under water. Nearly 1,000 businesses were being disrupted and crops destroyed, pushing up food prices. This month's FLOODING - THE WORST SINCE 1955 - has already left about 170 people dead or missing. The government has mobilised troops to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people. China's disaster alert has been raised to the highest level, four. Downpours earlier this week triggered landslides that buried houses and killed at least two people in Zhejiang and another two in Hubei.
The floods come after months of crop-destroying drought in the centre and north of the country. Some areas along the Yangtze River have suffered their WORST DROUGHT IN HALF A CENTURY. Despite the rain, officials have warned that the crop shortages and dislocation caused by drought will remain severe. Analysts say crop shortages in China could affect prices around the world.

U.S. - Homes were evacuated and roads closed in two counties in north-west Missouri today as the Missouri River again topped levees. Communities all along the river are preparing for a summer of high water after significant snow melt and UNUSUALLY heavy spring rains upstream. An unexpected two-foot (61cm) rise in the river over a 24-hour period led to water spilling over a levee in Atchison County early today, prompting evacuations in Watson, Phelps City and Langdon. One estimate suggested more than 500 residents had left their homes.
Meanwhile a hole in the side of a levee in Holt County continued to grow today, deluging the state park and recreational area of Big Lake, 125km north of Kansas City. The town of Big Lake, with a population of 159, was inundated today. "It's kind of like a ghost town."
A flooding alert was also issued today for a nuclear power plant in Columbus, south-east Nebraska, because of high river water. The "NOTIFICATION OF UNUSUAL EVENT" sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was expected as the river swells ABOVE RECORD LEVELS. The declaration was the least serious of four emergency notifications established by the federal commission, and the Cooper plant was still operating at full capacity. A meeting of political leaders, emergency officials and representatives of the US Army Corps of Engineers will occur in Missouri state capital Jefferson City toda to discuss this summer's potential flooding.

INDIA - Heavy rain threatens dykes. Incessant rain and strong wind have started threatening river embankments at various places in South and North 24-Parganas and East and West Midnapore. Embankments are already in a sorry state as they remain unrepaired since Cyclone Aila damaged considerable portions across the state in 2008.
There were reports of damage to embankments in Contai and Khejuri in East Midnapore, Gosaba and Basanti in South 24-Parganas and Sandeshkhali and Barirhat in North 24-Parganas. In Basirhat, Ichhamati breached an embankment while damage has been noticed along Rupnarayan in Kolaghat.tnnEngineers from the irrigation department rushed to all these areas. Cyclone Aila had damaged most of 778-km long embankments in the Sunderbans, some facing the sea, others along rivers. Permanent reconstruction of these embankments would take time and would involve acquisition of some land as well.
Rainfall between 65mm and 125mm was described as 'heavy' while Kolkata recorded more than 150mm rainfall on Friday. The irrigation department was in touch with authorities of DVC, Mayurakshi and Kangsabati dams so that there was no sudden release of water from these reservoirs. The department was also in touch with the Jharkhand government on Friday. "There is no such immediate possibility." Timely action by the irrigation department to open sluice gates and putting pumps into action perhaps saved the city from further inundation during the day. The sluice gates at Bagjola and Bantala were opened in the morning so that the accumulated water in the city could flow out. The pumping station at Chowbhaga was also put into operation to drain out water from the Panchanantala area.


U.S. - High winds force evacuations near Southwest fires. Authorities ordered more evacuations Sunday as crews battling a pair of wildfires in Arizona and one on the New Mexico line faced EXTREMELY high winds that drove flames across containment lines and toward populated areas.


Japan scientist discovers a way to create edible steaks from sewage containing human feces - Food shortage solution - synthesize food from human waste matter. A researcher has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.
The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The “meat” is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef.
"The meatpacking industry causes 18 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, mostly due to the release of methane from animals.” Livestock also consume huge amounts of resources and space in efforts to feed ourselves as well as the controversy over cruelty to animals. The recycled 'poop burger' would reduce waste and emissions. The scientists hope to price it the same as actual meat, but at the moment the excrement steaks are ten to twenty times the price they should be thanks to the cost of research. The researchers understand the psychological barriers that need to be surmounted knowing that your food is made from human feces. They hope that once the research is complete, people will be able to overlook that ugly detail in favor of perks like environmental responsibility, cost and the fact that the meat will have fewer calories.

Damages in the U.S. From This Year's 8 Extreme Weather Events Already Total $32 Billion - Through mid-June 2011, an UNPRECEDENTED eight extreme weather events have become billion-dollar disasters in the US.

Insurers count the cost of natural catastrophes in Australia - Short-term profitability has been crunched as more than $1 billion in claims was paid out to the victims of Cyclone Yasi and the devastating Queensland floods, and still more continue to come from the string of natural disasters that struck Queensland.

Disaster management conference to tackle fallout from natural disasters, including global food crisis - the 21st World Conference on Disaster Management is being held in Toronto - Sunday, June 19, through Wednesday.
The first six months of 2011 have brought image after image of human misery and ecological upheaval. Droughts, wildfires, twisters, floods, heat waves, extreme blizzards — just about every natural disaster you can imagine has hit just about every place on the planet. How to handle them, how to survive them, how to clean up and rebuild after them are among the many issues that will be on the agenda for nearly 1,500 government officials, scientists and businesspeople from 40 different countries. Top will be the expected world food crisis that all this extreme weather is already causing, driving harvests down and prices up to record levels.
“When the major networks become weather networks, and when other news becomes sort of secondary, we are facing disaster. When you have a lot of local disasters, droughts and floods and heat waves as we’re now having, reducing the food supply, then you have a global disaster...The U.S. is a good example. We have simultaneously some of the worst droughts and forest fires, on the southern plains, at the same time as we have some of the worst rain and flooding, on the northern plains. Soils are so wet we are having trouble getting the crops in. That extends into Canada, too, with getting the wheat planted this year. The USDA has already reduced the estimate of the wheat harvest in both the U.S. and Canada because of the late planting. We will probably never be faced with a food shortage (here). We will be faced with high food prices because we’re exporting so much product to Third World countries that it’s driving prices up.”
Here in North America, at least in the short term, this will probably mean a bump in the price of bread, a blip in the cost of beef. Our food budgets are about 10 to 15 per cent of our disposable income. But in most countries, where billions are living on the edge of starvation and spending up to 80 per cent of their income on food, it will mean conflict, famine, refugee crises and death.
Things can get worse, much worse. Many nations will simply collapse and there will be unimaginable political headaches. Which is why there will be more to the conference than food shortages. “In the past, obviously after 9/11, we focused heavily on terrorism and the London bombings. So there was a big terrorism aspect to the conference. Now we’re looking at natural disasters as a growing concern.”
Right now in some U.S. cities, there’s money to be made in adapting to climate change. They’re building more seawalls, levees and dams in an effort to head off floods, planting trees that are more suited to warmer rather than temperate climates, considering urban rooftop agriculture and preparing for pandemics caused by the migration of tropical diseases. But these are mere patch jobs on the inescapable tsunami of climate change disaster headed our way. “We have to take this seriously. We have to cut carbon emissions not 80% by 2050 but 80% by 2020. We now have to look at changing the system.”