Monday, July 4, 2011

Taking a couple of days off - No updates tomorrow through Thursday.

Changing weather costs US economy $485 billion a year - Routine weather changes cost the US economy $485 billion a year according
to new research which did not even take in wild weather events such as hurricane Katrina.

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This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
7/3/11 -

Clues to Japanese quake may lie off Costa Rica - Pieces of rock and seafloor from deep in the Pacific Ocean near Costa Rica may help explain why Japan's deadly magnitude-9.0 quake was so large. Nearly 1 mile of sediment cores (cylinders of earth drilled out from the ground) collected from the ocean floor off the coast of Costa Rica reveal detailed records of some 2 million years of tectonic activity along a nearby seismic plate boundary, where one tectonic plate dives beneath another, called a subduction zone. It was the rupture of a subduction zone that generated the Japan temblor.
More than 80 percent of global earthquakes above magnitude 8.0 occur along subduction zones. "It's critical to understand how subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis originate — especially in light of recent events in Japan. The results of this expedition will also help us learn more about our own such zone off the Pacific Northwest. We know that there are different factors that contribute to seismic activity. These include rock type and composition, temperature differences and how water moves within the Earth's crust. But what we don't fully understand is how these factors interact with one another and if one may be more important than another in leading up to different magnitudes of earthquakes."
The expedition is unique because it focuses on the properties of erosional convergent margins, where the overriding plate gets "consumed" by subduction processes. These plate boundaries are characterized by trenches with thin sediment covering less than 1,312 feet, fast convergence between the plates at rates greater than 3 inches a year, and increased seismicity. The recent Tohoku earthquake in Japan was generated in an erosive portion of a plate interface. Scientists say that they have found evidence for a strong subsidence, or sinking, near Costa Rica combined with a large volume of sediment discharged from the continent and accumulated in the last 2 million years.
The seismically active CRISP research area is the only one of its kind that is accessible to research drilling. However, this subduction zone is representative of 50 percent of global subduction zones, making scientific insights gleaned here relevant to Costa Ricans and others living in earthquake-prone regions all around the Pacific Ocean, including Japan.

CALIFORNIA - Big quake near Salton Sea may be long overdue. The southern end of the San Andreas Fault may be overdue for a large earthquake that could cause heavy damage to the Los Angeles area, scientists have concluded after studying a record of ancient quakes and flooding around the seismically active region.

NEW ZEALAND - Why Auckland's quake was news. Friday night's small earthquake in Auckland may have been small on the Richter Scale but it was still SOMETHING FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS. It was similar in force to about five aftershocks that hit Christchurch Friday but unlike Christchurch, Auckland not only RARELY has earthquakes, it RARELY feels them from surrounding regions either. In suburbs near the epicentre the tremor was felt as a 5 on the modified Mercalli intensity scale. The disastrous February 22 earthquake in Christchurch rated at 9 - "destructive".
Feeling an earthquake in Auckland is extremely rare. While every few years a small quake will give the city a brief jolt the majority of Aucklanders never feel a thing. So to feel an earthquake in Auckland can, in fact, be a once in a lifetime thing. It's for that reason that it made the headlines. Similar sized quakes have been known to make the headlines in Australia, England and Canada too - in areas that aren't used to them.
"I don't blame people in Christchurch for feeling like this belittles what they are going through." But again, Aucklanders are told time and time again that a volcanic eruption is something they should be prepared for - there was even a movie earlier this year depicting a dramatic volcanic eruption right in the CBD. The Herald has had a story that surfaces from time to time since February 22 about the 5000 buildings in Auckland at risk from collapse in an strong earthquake. Rangitoto Island only erupted around 600 years ago - and Maori witnessed it. In historical terms this is a newborn volcano. This city has as many as 50 volcanoes dotted across it.

No current tropical storms.

Warmer oceans may be cause of early storm arrival - Warmer sea temperatures in the Atlantic may be kicking off the hurricane season earlier and extending it, meteorologists say.


Texas faces subdued July Fourth due to drought - The state remains parched -- and though Tropical Storm Arlene came ashore in eastern Mexico on Thursday, the storm is unlikely to help the drought conditions. "There's a high-pressure system on top of us, steering rain events around the state."