Monday, September 12, 2011

A breath detector may find disaster victims - Scientists say they have devised sensors to detect breath and sweat that one day could locate survivors buried under buildings hit by an earthquake or a bomb blast. The sensors sniff out metabolites, the gassy by-products of breakdown mechanisms, which come from breathing, sweating and urinating. Dogs can be trained to detect these compounds, but are expensive to train, need frequent rest periods and both animal and trainer are exposed to danger during search operations. "A device could be used in the field without laboratory support. It could monitor signs of life for prolonged periods and be deployed in large numbers."
The tests sought to duplicate the conditions of a real disaster, in which eight volunteers spent five six-hour days in the simulation of a collapsed, glass-clad, reinforced-concrete building. The compounds secreted by the volunteers body interacted with materials in the debris, and changed with conditions such as humidity, heat, and wind strength and direction, making the detection process much more difficult. The sensors rapidly detected human-generated carbon dioxide and ammonia in plumes of air that wafted through gaps in the "rubble". The devices also picked up the scent of other volatile organic compounds cast off by human bodies, such as acetone and isoprene. Intriguingly, there was a marked decrease in ammonia levels when the participants were asleep, but researchers could not explain why.

**Simplicity is the key to brilliance.**
Bruce Lee

This morning -
None 5.0 or stronger.

Yesterday -
9/11/11 -


INDONESIA - Evacuation Plans Prepped as Mount Tambora Alert Level Is Raised, Mount Lokon Still a Concern. Provincial authorities raised the alert level of Mount Tambora to the second-highest available as observers noted an increase of volcanic activity in the volatile mountain, following a series of eruptions and tremors over the weekend. “On August 30, we recorded seven volcanic earthquakes and since Sept. 8 the frequency of the quakes rose substantially, to between 12 and 16 per day." A team of observers has been immediately deployed to Mount Tambora.
The volcano, which was the site of the world’s deadliest eruption on record, showed no apparent visual signs of any upcoming eruption, but data collected on mechanical instruments gave cause for concern. “We still hope Mount Tambora’s alert level will not increase further. We hope we can lower the status of the volcano. Let us all pray everything will return to normal." The heightened alert status meant an eight-kilometer exclusion zone was being imposed. “We fear there will be toxic gas as a direct result of the increased activity." There are four villages in the two subdistricts that are about eight kilometers from the crater.
Several organizations are on stand-by, including the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, the National Search and Rescue Agency, and the country’s Armed Forces, which have already deployed officials to several response stations in the two subdistricts. Two main evacuation routes for people in the four villages have also been identified.
The volcano’s April 10, 1815, eruption killed more than 90,000 people, including some who died from famine and disease in the aftermath of the event. It is estimated to have had a Volcanic Explosivity Index value of seven, the only such explosion since the Hatepe eruption in New Zealand in the year 180, and only the fifth in human history. Classified as a “SUPERCOLOSSAL EVENT,” Tambora’s 1815 eruption ejected immense amounts of volcanic dust into the upper atmosphere, significantly impacting the global climate for many years afterward. In Indonesia, the volcano’s roar could be heard more than 800 miles away.
Meanwhile, in North Sulawesi, Mount Lokon continues to be a concern, two months after it first erupted. From midnight to 6 a.m. on Sunday, Lokon erupted seven times, sending debris up to 350 meters from the edge of the crater. The observation post also recorded one tectonic quake and two volcanic quakes on Sunday morning. On Saturday, observers recorded more than 20 volcanic quakes. “The activity of Mount Lokon is still not yet back to normal." People there were still being warned against returning home.

HAWAII - Lava fills crater floor at Puu Oo. Activity within Kilauea volcano continued with typical dynamism Saturday as the lava lake at the summit rose and fell and the eruption at Puu Oo remained active with lava possibly overflowing the east rim of the crater. Eruptive activity continued at Kilauea’s summit vent with the lava lake’s levels rising slowly until midnight then rapidly deflating. At Puu Oo cone, a torrent of lava that broke out near the northeaster edge of the crater on Friday continued to fill the crater floor. The sbservatory noted that it is likely that some lava overtopped the east rim of the crater but this has not yet been confirmed. In the lower east rift zone, an earthquake of less than 1.5 magnitude was instrumentally detected. (photos)
Kilauea Volcano Crater Collapse Time-Lapse Video.

In the Atlantic -
-Tropical storm Maria was located about 115 mi (180 km) NNE of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wind gusts to tropical storm force are possible, especially over higher terrain, in the Virgin Islands...Puerto Rico...and the extreme northern Leeward Islands through today.

-Tropical depresion Nate was located about 30 mi (50 km) SSW of Tuxpan, Mexico. The government of Mexico has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning for the coast of Mexico.

In the Pacific -
Tropical depression 18w was located approximately 540 nm southeast of Kadena air base, Okinawa.

Seven of the 10 workers who went missing last week found alive after they evacuated an oil platform in Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Two of the workers were found dead and one was still missing. The survivors, meanwhile, were being airlifted to a hospital. The 10 workers - four liftboat crew members, three employees of the Texas-based company Geokinetics and three independent contractors - left the Trinity II platform on Thursday to escape bad weather caused by Tropical Storm Nate, which has since weakened to a tropical depression. The workers had boarded a liftboat and when the ship became disabled, they then boarded a life raft. Though rescue efforts were initially hampered by the inclement weather, maritime search teams had been scouring the waters between the Mexican-owned platform and the Tabasco coast.