Wednesday, October 19, 2011

**Every spirit makes its house,
and we can make a shrewd guess from the house
as to the inhabitant.**
Ralph Waldo Emerson

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/18/11 -


WASHINGTON - Spate of quakes around Mount Rainier. Scientists in Washington state say there has been a spate of earthquakes around Mount Rainier in recent weeks but that it isn't a concern. Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network says the activity is normal. But scientists are watching the volcano a little closer because of two quakes recorded Friday. The first was a 3.4 magnitude quake that struck west of the mountain near Ashford. It was followed about an hour later with a 2.9 magnitude quake under the volcano. Data shows at least seven earthquakes in two weeks. There are frequently earthquakes around Rainier, averaging several each month, and recent activity shouldn't cause alarm.

No current tropical storms.


AUSTRALIA - North Queensland hit by WETTEST DAY IN 47 YEARS. Cairns was drenched yesterday in its wettest October day since 1964, and it will continue to get a soaking over the next few days. The tourist city recorded 112mm of rain on Tuesday in the 13 hours between 9am and 10pm. The record from 1964 saw 86.6mm fall in a day in October. "There will be much the same over the next 36 hours. The heavier falls will be between Innisfail and Cairns."
Mena Creek, near Innisfail, was hit with about 200mm in a 24-hour period. At 5.02am the Bureau of Meteorology issued a flood warning for coastal areas between Cooktown and Cardwell after heavy rains fell yesterday. The catchments expected to see fast river rises are Daintree, Mossman, Mulgrave/Russell, Johnstone, Tully and Upper Herbert. But for much of the rest of the state, the coming days will be mostly fine.


TEXAS - Dust storm magnitude startles even long-time residents. Lubbock has seen its share of dust storms over the years, but the wall of dirt that blew into the city Monday was BEYOND ANYTHING SEEN HERE FOR DECADES. “My wife and I have lived in Lubbock for 49 years and in West Texas for 52 years, and I have never seen a dust storm like this. I have seen pictures from the Dust Bowl Days in the 1930s, but I never thought I would see anything like this.” Residents were amazed to see the storm roll in as it did. “It looked like the end of the world.” Employees at the National Weather Service pulled out some pictures from the Dust Bowl era and compared them with some of the photographs taken Monday by local people. “They were dead ringers to some of them."
The weather service heard reports coming about the storm about an hour before it arrived in Lubbock, but meteorologists didn’t expect anything as intense as what arrived. The dust storm had started in the far southwest Texas panhandle along the leading edge of a cold front moving south toward Lubbock at about 55 mph. The dusty gales hit the north side of the city about 5:30 p.m. and took about 30 minutes to blow through Lubbock. It took about an hour after that for all the dirt to settle. In the height of the dust storm, visibility ranged from a quarter-mile to near-zero for 40 minutes at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. The storm stretched all the way to eastern New Mexico, and it continued its southward trek long after it left Lubbock. Shortly after 7:30 p.m. Monday, it was blowing its way through the Permian Basin. The cold front following the dust storm dropped temperatures from almost 90 degrees at the airport into the lower 60s. Winds were gusting as high as 60 to 65 miles per hour in Lubbock. The highest gust recorded in the region was 71 mph in Friona. (photos & witness stories)


Ancient meteorite blast resembled volcanic eruption - A billion years ago, a meteorite slammed into the Earth along the coast of what is now Scotland. A forensic investigation by a team of volcanologists has pieced together exactly how the debris from the impact devastated the surrounding region. The new research shows that some aspects of giant meteorite impacts may mimic the behavior of large volcanic eruptions.
Meteorite impacts are more common than most people realize, but what happens when the meteorite hits? Direct observation is understandably difficult, but researchers can pick through impact debris that hasn't eroded away and then forensically reconstruct these catastrophic events. The volcanologists say that an improved understanding of what happens when large objects hit the Earth will help us understand how such events affect life on the planet.
Volcanologists analyzed a layer of ejected debris from this huge meteorite impact and discovered that much of the debris moved across the ground as rapid, dense, ground-hugging currents of gas and debris, remarkably similar to the pyroclastic density currents — fast-traveling streams of hot ash and rock — that flow outward from explosive volcanoes. "In particular, the way that ash and dust stick together seems identical. Moist ash from explosive volcanoes sticks together in the atmosphere to fall out as millimeter-sized pellets. Where these drop back into a hot pyroclastic density current, they grow into larger layered structures, known as accretionary lapilli." The researchers studied the finely preserved deposit in northwest Scotland from the ancient impact. It shows both types of these 'volcanic' particles — pellets and lapilli — are produced. "This reveals that that the 33 feet layer, which has been traced for over 31 miles along the Scottish coast, was almost entirely emplaced as a devastating density current that sped outwards from the point of impact — just like a density current from a volcano. Only the uppermost few centimeters actually fell out through the atmosphere."