Earth’s surface has preserved distinctive clues of many massive supereruptions. Expansive layers of ash blanket large portions of many continents. And huge hollowed-out calderas – craters that can be as big as 60 miles (100 km) across left when a volcano collapses after emptying its entire magma chamber at once – serve as visceral reminders of past supereruptions in Indonesia, New Zealand, the United States, and Chile. The eruption of these prehistoric supervolcanoes has affected massive areas. The magma flow of Mount Toba in Sumutra, which erupted some 74,000 years ago in what was likely the largest eruption that has ever occurred, released a staggering 700 cubic miles (2,800 cubic km) of magma and left a thick layer of ash over all of South Asia. For comparison, the quantity of magma erupted from Indonesia’s Mount Krakatau in 1883, one of the largest eruptions in recorded history, was about 3 cubic miles (12 cubic km). That's pretty serious: 230+ Krakatoas in one go, equivalent to hundreds of Mount Saint Helenses, smearing entire continents with deadly burning cinders, stifling ash and liquid hot molten magma - followed doubtless by a disastrous global winter extended perhaps for lifetimes. And make no mistake, something of this sort is pretty well bound to happen sooner or later. Many millions of years could pass without a supereruption or many supervolcanoes could erupt in just a short period. The geological record does suggest supervolcanoes occur in clusters, but the clusters are not regular enough to serve as the basis for predictions of future eruptions. What really seems to annoy the NASA spokespersons is all the 2012 hysteria. The message seems to be, yes, there are loads of genuine doomsday menaces out there but they probably won't happen in 2012 rather than some other year - no matter what the Mayan calendar long count has to say on the matter (which is essentially "start another long count", for those who wish to know). However the space agency, in classic style, refuses to actually firmly say that there will not be a catastrophic mega-eruption next year. Scientists have no way of predicting with perfect accuracy whether a supervolcano will occur in a given century, decade, or year – and that includes 2012. But they do keep close tabs on volcanically active areas around the world, and so far there’s absolutely no sign of a supereruption looming anytime soon.
It has a song.
It has a sting.
Ah, too, it has a wing.**
LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.7 OFF COAST OF ECUADOR
5.2 SOUTHWESTERN SAKHA, RUSSIA
5.1 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.4 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU
Fear runs wild as Turkey is struck with third quake - Turkey was hit by another powerful 5.2-magnitude earthquake Tuesday morning. This is the nation's third major quake in a matter of weeks, not including the dozens of tremors and aftershocks the people in the Van area have experienced. This quake follows another 5.7-magnitude quake last week and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that killed over 600 people at the end of October. The string of violent disasters littered by tremors and aftershocks has thrown the citizens of eastern Turkey into a frenzy of fear.
International Mission Board reports that most people don't feel safe. Thousands are living in tents between damaged buildings. Many lost family and friends in the initial quake. Survivors sleep in tents in sub-freezing weather without proper clothing. These now-homeless people run the risk of developing bronchitis and other illnesses from the cold, as well as from the smoky fires lit inside the tents for warmth. Buildings continue to crumble, and relief workers are doing all they can to tend to physical needs. The emotional scars of fear surrounding these disasters need a great deal of tending as well.
TURKEY - Exodus from quake-hit Van as fresh tremor hits. Rental prices throughout eastern Turkey have been skyrocketing in response to demand driven by people seeking to escape Van after the province suffered two devastating earthquakes over the last month. “We have been searching for a house for five days along with other quake survivors from Van. Rental prices have appreciated at a rate of 30 percent. Rental prices range between 800 and 1,200 Turkish Liras on average. This situation needs to be alleviated." Quake survivors have been mainly relocating to the neighboring provinces of Diyarbakır and Bingöl following last week’s 5.7-magnitude earthquake. Some are taking refuge in their relatives’ homes, while others in better financial shape are choosing to look for rental opportunities.
"The tents are inadequate because they are not resistant to winter conditions. Turkey ought to accept international aid as this is urgently needed...I got a tent via my own means [after] the first quake. My sister was poisoned because of the stove I had lit up for heating and we could not find any hospital to treat her. We were then forced to retreat back home when the cold and the snow arrived and got caught in the second earthquake on the fourth floor with eight people in total. The roof collapsed on us and we barely made it out alive through the ruins. It is entirely a miracle that we are still alive." 70,000 people reportedly appealed to a community center within just two days to take advantage of temporary housing opportunities in the social facilities of public institutions in other provinces. The survivors will be allowed to reside in such facilities until June 12, 2012.
“The people of Van have experienced an irreversible trauma with the second quake. It seems unlikely that the people of Van will again return to the city after this temblor." It has already become apparent that children of school age were also going to run into problems.
TROPICAL STORMS -
No current tropical storms.
PHILIPPINES - 1 dead, 2 missing due to rain from potential cyclone. At least one person was killed while one was injured in a landslide in Aklan province in the wake of rain caused by a potential cyclone or
low-pressure area Wednesday.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
U.S. - At least four people died as a violent storm system swept through America's south-east, causing severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas. Three people were killed and another was reported missing in North Carolina on Wednesday night (local time) as the powerful weather system shifted states. The house of one victim who died was tossed across the road and found behind a neighbour's house. The dead man's wife was reported missing. Details of the other two deaths in North Carolina were not immediately reported. In Atlanta, a man died around 2pm when a tree fell on the front of his SUV during the height of Wednesday's storm, crushing the front of the vehicle.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service issued a new tornado watch for the region between Georgia and North Carolina that was to last until at least midnight. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through parts of Alabama and Georgia on Wednesday afternoon after raking Louisiana and Mississippi earlier in the day. Severe localised damage was reported throughout the southeast of the country and thousands were left without power as the storm downed power lines. The strong storm system was formed by the clashing with an UNUSUALLY warm and moist air mass.