Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Canary Island prepares for eruption - Minor earthquakes have been reported on El Hierro, indicating a slim chance that a volcano could erupt on the Spanish Canary Island, an expert said on Monday. About 8,000 tremors have been registered on El Hierro since July 19. More than 30 quakes occurred on Monday.
Most of the tremors so far have been too weak to be noticed by residents. The strongest, which registered at a magnitude of 3.4, was felt all over the island on Saturday. The seismic movements indicated that magmatic material was pressing towards the Earth's surface. There is ONLY ABOUT A 10% LIKELIHOOD that the seismic movements will lead to a volcanic eruption.
Even in that case, the eruption is expected to occur so slowly that it would leave the authorities time to evacuate residents. The authorities are informing the island's 10,000 residents about the possibility of an eruption and on what to do if that happened. El Hierro has not seen a volcanic eruption since 1793. The eruption lasted approximately one month and produced lava flows.
The Canary Islands Government has raised the alert level for the El Hierro volcano in the Canary Islands (Spain) to 'Yellow', the highest alert status since an UNPRECEDENTED earthquake swarm commenced July 19. The raising of the alert level does not indicate that an eruption is imminent. However, the number of volcanic earthquakes detected beneath El Hierro continues to increase.
The Canary Islands Government commenced an in-depth geological survey of El Hierro earlier this month in an effort to determine the source of an earthquake swarm. In excess of 6,750 earthquakes have been recorded up to Monday, 26 September 2011. More than 50 earthquakes were recorded between midnight and 6:00 a.m. GMT on Monday alone. The earth tremors have ranged between 1 and 3 magnitude. The vast majority of the tremors have been recorded in the northwest of the 278.5-square-kilometre island at El Golfo, the location of a massive landslide that created a 100-metre high tsunami almost 50,000 years ago.
An eruption on El Hierro would “not be a major surprise”. “It is the youngest of the Canary Islands. There is a ball of magma which is rising to the surface and it is stationed at the limit of the earth’s crust. At the moment we do not know if that ball of magna will break the crust and cause an eruption.”
During an eruption, the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja could slide into the ocean. This could then potentially generate a giant wave termed a “megatsunami” around 650–900 m high in the region of the islands. The wave would radiate out across the Atlantic and inundate the eastern seaboard of North America including the American, the Caribbean and northern coasts of South America some six to eight hours later. They estimate that the tsunami will have waves possibly 160 ft (49 m) or more high causing massive devastation along the coastlines. Modelling suggests that the tsunami could inundate up to 25 km (16 mi) inland – depending upon topography. (maps & photos)

**The superior man acts before he speaks,
and afterwards speaks according to his action.**

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/265/11 -

9/25/11 -

INDIA - Two quake-hit villages yet to be reached. A week after a devastating earthquake hit Sikkim, claiming 77 lives, the Herculean task of reconstruction has begun. Last Sunday's earthquake, which measured 6.8 in Richter scale, had triggered hundreds of landslides, blocking roads and cutting off villages. According to preliminary estimates, at least Rs 100 crore is required to restore road connectivity.
The army claimed it has accessed almost all the quake-hit villages, and that the task would be finished on Monday. But according to locals, two villages - Shipgyer and Saffu Salim-Pakyal - are yet to be reached. Bad weather hampered rescue and relief operations on Friday and Saturday, with helicopters carrying relief materials failing to take off. After the operations were resumed on Sunday afternoon, the army rescued 92 stranded people. By Sunday, special communication equipment, including satellite telephones, were also installed in 95% of the cut-off hamlets. The downpour over the last 48 hours had triggered 39 landslides and blocked parts of the National Highway 31A that connects Sikkim with the rest of the country. The road was blocked for seven hours at Singtam and was finally cleared in the noon. Landslides have also blocked parts of the 95-km North Sikkim road. There have been 54 major landslides in the 24-km stretch between Chunthang and Lachnung. On Sunday, the North Sikkim road was opened up to 1 km ahead of Toong, 21 km north of Mangan. But beyond that, the task is very difficult. A 14-km stretch between Toong and Chungthang has been washed away.
Sikkim quake survivors trek, crawl to safety - With rescue teams finding it difficult to reach far-flung quake-hit areas in Sikkim, hundreds of survivors are trekking out of their villages, crawling sometimes to negotiate dangerous stretches.
Hundreds of villagers from inaccessible higher areas of Lachung, Lachen and Chungthan have gathered in Tung after an arduous trek down and are being taken to safe places. “We panicked due to the fresh landslides triggered by rain at Lachen on Wednesday night, when huge boulders started hurtling down the hills...Next morning, we started trekking through extremely difficult terrains covered with debris." Some of the villagers had to crawl some distances since the wet soil could have caved in if they had walked on such stretches.
Labourers returning to Gangtok from the Teesta Stage III hydel project site at Chungthang in worst-hit North district on Friday claimed that 70 of their colleagues were still missing. A group of labourers belonging to the Euphoria company, one of the several companies engaged by the Teesta-Urja company, returned to Gangtok. They said there were around 5,000 people still at Chungthang, including labourers and project officials, and many bodies might still be trapped under debris. However, neither the North district administration nor the Teesta-Urja company has confirmed the labourers’ account. The labourers said nearly all houses at Chungthang were damaged and there was no clean water to drink.

Will there be more quakes in India? - yes - and no -
Even as the state is yet to recover from the devastating September 18 tremor, scientists say that more earthquakes in the seismic region are overdue. Geologists in Sikkim warn that another earthquake in the region might lead to topographical and morphological changes in the region and may even affect the course of Teesta, the major river flowing through this region. "Any earthquake particularly in the hilly region which is always considered topographically vulnerable, will experience a morphological and topographical change but the extent of change after this quake cannot be assessed right now. It will take some time...Though Teesta doesn’t fall in the seismological weak lineament, another earthquake in the region will lead to the increase of glacial lakes and it will definitely affect the course of the river. There are glacial lakes like Changekhempu and Zimo at Gurudambar lake which feeds Teesta. (In the event of an quake) these might start melting and increase in the flow of water will lead to flash floods and it might even to some extent change the course of the river. Moreover, there are many small glaciers in Lachenchu region which might start melting and we cannot also ignore the possibility of the creation of new glaciers but these are all subject to epicenter of the quakes and the intensity of it."
"If the acceleration is high at the epicenter of the earthquake, nothing will be stable and the glacial lake will bust. Unfortunately, a number of these lakes are located near seismic faults". Officials with Nepal’s National Seismological Centre said that at least half a dozen minor tremors are recorded in the Himalayas everyday.
"The main reason why we have not witnessed the busting of glacial lakes is because the region has not been hit by big earthquakes in recent times. And when the magnitude of the tremor is five or above we record many after shocks as well. We know that these activities are happening in the Himalayas but we cannot confirm whether they are happening in the nearby glacial lakes because there are hardly any seismic meters installed near the glacial lakes."
Quakes unlikely in Sikkim for next few years, says expert - Sikkim is unlikely to face any large earthquake over the next couple of years as vast energy has been released through last Sunday's tremors and aftershocks. Although the recent quake left scores dead and devastated vast areas in north Sikkim, the leading geologist says the damage would have been worse had its full fury been felt in the state's more populous south, where no building code is followed. "Though many people have died in Sikkim, I must say that Sikkim was lucky this time as the epicentre of the earthquake was the Sikkim-Nepal border. That is why the northern part faced the wrath and south Sikkim did not face much problem. It was quite a large earthquake and it also released a few aftershocks. So I can say that for at least the next couple of years there will be no such earthquake in Sikkim."
"I do not know from where reports are coming that Mangan is the epicentre. It is in the middle of Sikkim. Had Mangan been the epicentre, the whole of Bhutan and North Bengal up to Siliguri would have been in ruins." The main reason for earthquakes in India is the Indian plate going under the Eurasian plate. "It is going under at a rate 46 millimetres per year."

U.S. East Coast earthquake 'was certainly a wake-up call' - Geologists are gleaning rich trove of information on the RARE Eastern earthquake and working to find out whether more are on the way. A month after Virginia's second-largest earthquake, small aftershocks continue as geologists try to learn more about the tremor and whether more could be on the way. To date there have been hundreds of aftershocks - most of them imperceptible, detected only by seismic monitors. But others are still being felt near the epicenter, a few miles from Mineral in Louisa County.
Within hours after the magnitude-5.8 quake that struck at 1:51 p.m., on Aug. 23, geologists and seismologists rushed to Mineral to inspect the damage and to install additional monitors to record aftershocks. "This is the first large quake in the eastern part of the U.S. in modern times." The only stronger one was a magnitude-5.9 quake in the Giles area of Southwest Virginia, in 1897. Researchers want to know the area of the fault that ruptured to generate an earthquake of that size. One thing is already known: "This was a complex rupture, not a single slip. There were two main slips separated by six tenths of a second." There are two active earthquake areas in Virginia - one around Giles, and the other known as the Central Virginia Seismic Zone. Six ill-defined faults crisscross the zone between Charlottesville and Richmond. "By locating the aftershocks and doing studies of the main shock, we'll understand a lot more about how they rupture....These are not young faults. It's a reaction of old faults in a very different tectonic setting." But since Eastern rock tends to be very old and dense, the ground motion is felt much farther away, much like the ringing of a hammer on an anvil. The quake was felt from Georgia to Canada.
Aftershocks will probably continue for a while longer. "We're still in the period where things could happen. I'm not going to suggest anything bigger is coming, but can't rule out some more significant earthquakes in the not too distant future. A bigger one is possible, but not likely." So far, there have been more than 30 aftershocks of magnitude 2 or larger. One day last week there were three measuring 2, 2.1 and 2.6. "We really need the aftershock information. It's a critical component on how to estimate the hazard from future earthquakes, and how strong [the ground] is likely to shake." That's important for the development of building codes, for example.
The Aug. 23 jolt "was certainly a wake-up call, that's fair to say. Many business owners, government officials and citizens were not tuned in to the idea that there might be a strong earthquake." Still, scientifically the strength of the temblor was not a surprise. "We know that central Virginia is an area of increased seismic hazard," and the quake was not out of line with estimates of what could happen. "We do take into account that there could be larger earthquakes than this, and closer to an urban center. We were fairly lucky with this - not a single person died."

In the Atlantic -
Tropical storm Philippe was located about 715 mi. (1155 km) W of the Cape Verde Islands. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

In the Pacific -
-Category 3 Hurricane Hilary was located about 540 mi (870 km) SW of the southern tip of Baja California. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect. Swells generated by Hilary are affecting portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico and southern Baja California.

-Typhoon 20w was located approximately 125 nm north-northeast of Manila, Philippine.

-Tropical depression 21w (Haitang) was located approximately 25 nm east of Da Nang, Vietnam.

Typhoon Nesat slammed into the Philippines, killing a baby, as it brought heavy rain and strong wind that blew away roofs, uprooted small trees and toppled power lines.

Tropical Storm Haitang has weakened into a tropical depression and is expected to make landfall in Vietnam where a sailor has already died.

Tropical Storm Philippe had been expected to become a hurricane on Monday.


Tropical depression worsens flooding in Vietnam - As tropical depression Haitang in the East Sea was upgrading into a storm, central and southern Vietnam is suffering from more floods and heavy rain.


AUSTRALIA - Extreme to severe fire danger is forecast for many towns in western Queensland this week, with authorities urging residents to take notice.


SUBSIDING STORM: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth on Sept. 26th, strongly compressing our planet's magnetic field, exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparking a severe geomagnetic storm. The storm is subsiding now. Nevertheless, high-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field continues to reverberate from the CME impact.

SOLAR STATIC: Active sunspot 1302 has turned the sun into a shortwave radio transmitter. Shock waves rippling from the sunspot's exploding magnetic canopy are exciting plasma oscillations in the sun's atmosphere. The result: Bursts of static are issuing from the loudspeakers of shortwave radios on Earth. "Saturday was a super-strong solar day with near continuous flaring and radio sweeps."

STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY: Having already unleashed two X-flares since Sept. 22nd, sunspot AR1302 appears ready for more. The active region has a complex "beta-gamma-delta" magnetic field that harbors energy for strong M- and X-class eruptions. Flares from AR1302 will become increasingly geoeffective as the sunspot turns toward Earth in the days ahead.


CDC notes 72% rise in water-related outbreaks - Outbreaks linked to both recreational water and drinking water have increased substantially, according to two reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cryptosporidium contamination and groundwater problems pose special challenges.
In 2007 and 2008, 134 outbreaks linked to recreational water were reported, up from 78 in the previous 2-year period — a nearly 72% increase. The CDC said in the first report that this is THE MOST OUTBREAKS EVER REPORTED DURING A 2-YEAR PERIOD. Outbreaks frequently involved treated water and resulted in acute gastrointestinal illnesses. Reported from 38 states and Puerto Rico, they occurred in all months of the year, but more than half (61%) occurred during summer months. Recreational waterborne outbreaks resulted in at least 13,996 illnesses. Parasites were the top cause of these outbreaks, led by Cryptosporidium, which was responsible for nearly 83% of infections involving gastrointestinal symptoms. Eighteen recreational water outbreaks were caused by bacteria, five were linked to viruses (all norovirus), and nine were linked to toxins such as chlorine gas. Modifying swimming behavior, such as bathing with soap before entering the water, is a key component of reducing the number of Cryptosporidium outbreaks. Other types of disinfection systems, such as ultraviolet and ozone, can inactivate the parasite and are available for treating recreational water. The CDC report also noted the challenges of controlling pathogens in other settings, such as spas, interactive fountains, fill-and-drain pools, and temporary water slides.
Outbreaks involving drinking water rose 80% over the previous 2 years, according to the second CDC report, which put the total at 36 outbreaks from 23 states and Puerto Rico. Those outbreaks caused 4,128 illnesses and 3 deaths. More than half (21) were linked to bacterial contamination, and 13 were associated with groundwater. Drinking water outbreaks predominately occurred in the spring and fall. Gastrointestinal illnesses led the outbreak symptom list. Twelve outbreaks were related to Legionella contamination, of which 5 occurred in hospitals and 3 in nursing homes. The CDC said the large role of untreated or inadequately treated groundwater suggests that more efforts are needed to monitor and protect it from contamination. It suggested that full implementation of 2006 groundwater legislation over the next few years is expected to reduce the number of related outbreaks, similar to what occurred after surface water regulations took effect. Though the findings pointed to the need for better control and elimination of Legionella, the CDC said more than half of the outbreaks were from one state (New York), which could stem from differences in outbreak detection and reporting.