LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.2 SOUTHEAST OF LOYALTY ISLANDS
CANARY ISLANDS - (8 so far) 2.5, 2.5, 3.1, 2.5, 3.1, 2.6, 2.9, 2.9
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.1 RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN
5.2 EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN 2
5.0 OFFSHORE BIO-BIO, CHILE
5.1 PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION
CANARY ISLANDS - (22 total ) 2.5, 3.2, 3.7, 3.3, 3.2, 2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 2.6, 3.8, 2.6, 2.6, 3.0, 3.0, 3.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.0, 2.5, 2.6, 3.6, 2.6
Geologist's Research Predicts Large Southern California Earthquake - The professor received a grant this year from the US Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Fund to study the fault history of the San Jacinto Fault Zone, which he said is one of the state's most seismically active areas and poses and threat to the Inland Empire. He believes such an event is due to happen anytime now.
“One of the main goals is to look for patterns — if there is a pattern, what is that pattern. So far, we’ve been able to document the timing of the last seven large earthquakes (larger than a 6.5 on the Richter scale), large enough to break the earth’s surface. “The timing between these last seven earthquakes has always been between 160 and 200 years. And so on average, there should be one large earthquake every 180 years … We estimate the last major earthquake was around 1800, so that was about 200 years ago, and if this pattern is consistent then we should be expecting another large earthquake.” Although the data isn’t conclusive enough to estimate the next large earthquake down to the exact year, he said the research helps him guess what areas of the state might be most impacted in the next large earthquake.
Even if a large earthquake, something greater than a 6.5 on the Richter scale, were to occur in Southern California, many people who live in this area have misconceptions about what such an event would mean.
“People sometimes ask me if a large earthquake could cause part of California to break off and fall into the ocean. It’s a myth — we are on a continent that is not floating, but solid rock all the way down. We could not be separated in one earthquake, although new waterways might be created.” Another misconception people have is that fault lines resemble large cracks in the earth’s surface. Actually, fault lines can be very difficult to see, and are not usually marked by large cracks - instead, researchers find fault lines by looking at rock or cliff formations which have side-to-side formations, or rivers and streams with s-shaped curves. “Most people have driven along a fault and not realized it. It can take years to find just the right sediment and excavate trenches and have a cross-sectional view of a fault.”
MYSTERY BOOMS -
SOUTH CAROLINA - 9/28/11 - Coastal boom goes unexplained. A loud boom shook the coastal Lowcountry Wednesday morning, felt from Mount Pleasant to West Ashley. And once again, no one could say what it caused it. Seismographs didn’t pick up any earthquake activity. The Charleston Air Force Base didn’t report any military aircraft loosing sonic booms. No commercial vessels responded to a U.S. Coast Guard message asking for reports if it had been felt offshore. The blast hit just before 10 a.m.
“It was a pretty good shake, a pretty loud boom. I said it was probably one of those big electricity pillars getting pummeled down.” Doors, windows and houses shook in Mount Pleasant and on Sullivan’s Island, according to Twitter reports. In West Ashley, someone posting on Twitter said it sounded like a gust of wind against the house. About the same time a large tree fell across Hut Road on John’s Island and a nearby resident reported an explosion. Small quakes and other booms are regular occurrences in the Lowcountry, where a series of faults converge underground. The last big shake was a temblor from the 5.8 Richter Scale quake in Virginia in August. In March, a succession of three loud booms that were widely believed to be the Seneca Guns shook the coast.
Unexplained booms have been reported along coasts around the world almost as long as people have lived there. The sound is so close to the blast of a cannon that folk legend in the East says it’s made by the guns of Seneca Indians, fired to get revenge on the settlers who displaced them. The booms have been speculated to be caused by gases released from the sea floor, undersea landslides along the Continental Shelf, the echoed sound of distant thunder, lightning-like electrical discharges that don’t cause lightning, even meteors crashing into the atmosphere at angles.
TENNESSEE - 9/20 - 9/22/11 - A series of loud, mysterious booms heard and felt by residents in the Lashbrooke neighborhood in Louisville over the last week remains a mystery. These strange sounds have been heard as early as 5:30 a.m. It’s not coming from a nearby quarry. The earliest a quarry would begin blasting would be around 10 a.m. “I can certainly assure you this: we would never, ever blast that early in the morning (5 a.m.). We usually try to do it around lunch time like everyone else.”
Last Tuesday morning at around 5:30 a.m., “we woke up at the same time to this ginormous boom. And our house was shaking.” They originally thought someone had crashed a vehicle into the house. When they went outside, they found several concerned neighbors also walking around and looking at the sky and the roofs of their houses in an attempt to identify what had happened. The sounds continued throughout the week at different times of the day and at varying degrees of strength. Last Thursday some 30 or 40 booms were felt — the most the neighborhood has yet experienced in one day. “You can hear it and the pictures on the walls are shaking, the blinds are shaking. I mean it shakes the house. We don’t have any cracks in the foundation.”
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office came out to investigate in the middle of last week and reportedly contacted the military to find out if they had been conducting any flights where the sound of a sonic boom might be the causing the problems. Deputies were told no operations were currently being carried out that would make such a disturbance. No earthquakes had been recorded in the area.
At times the booms were spread out over several hours, sometimes several minutes. They even drove off at least one resident for one night last week, though she returned later the next day. Several others in the neighborhood also talked about taking shelter elsewhere until the booms blow over. And, at least for now, the sounds do appear to be coming less frequently and with less intensity. This week the booms have been heard only once or twice a day and without the tremors which last week caused several homes to rattle. And this is the first time anyone’s heard of or experienced anything like this. “We’re all kinds of baffled. We don’t know what’s going on.”
Sicily's Mount Etna erupts once again - Plumes of ash and molten rock shot into the sky on Wednesday night as the volcano burst into life for the fifteenth time this year. Nearby Catania airport is often forced to close due to the clouds of ash spewed into the air by an eruption but strong winds prevented the ash from causing any disruption this time around. The spate of recent activity at Etna, Europe's tallest and most active volcano, has sparked concerns that a bigger eruption may be on the horizon. (video)
Nabro volcano (Eritrea/Ethiopia) : evidence of ongoing activity. Nabro is an Eritrean volcano with NO historic eruption record. Satellite imagery suggests that the eruption of Nabro Volcano, which began in June 2011, continues. The volcano is located on the edge of the Danakil Desert, a remote and sparsely populated area on the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and few eyewitness accounts of the eruption are available.
Orbiting instruments such as the Advanced Land Imager aboard Earth Observing-1 may be the only reliable way to monitor Nabro. The images on September 28 show heat from vents in Nabro’s central crater as a red glow. Another hotspot about 1,300 meters (4,600 feet) south of the vents reveals an active lava flow. A pale halo surrounding the vents indicates the presence of a tenuous volcanic plume. South of Nabro’s crater, the dark, nearly black areas are coated with ash so thick it completely covers the sparse vegetation. On either side of this region is a thinner layer of ash with some bright green vegetation poking through. (photos)
CHILE - The eruption at Puyehue-Cordon Caulle continues to produce ash falls in the border region of Chile and Argentina. The activity has subsided considerable since the June start of the eruption, with plumes only reaching 3-5 km / 0000-16000 feet.
TROPICAL STORMS -
In the Atlantic -
-Category 1 Hurricane Ophelia was located about 735 mi. (1185 km) SSE of Bermuda. Tropical storm force winds are possible in Bermuda starting late Saturday.
-Tropical storm Philippe was located about 1355 mi (2185 km) W of the Cape Verde Islands. Disorganized Philippe will be no threat to land during the next few days.
In the Pacific -
-Tropical storm Hilary was located about 700 mi (1125 km) W of the southern tip of Baja California.
-Tropical storm 20w (Nesat) was located approximately 100 nm east of Hanoi, Vietnam.
-Tropical Storm 22w (Nalgae) was located approximately 500 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines.
Typhoon Nesat moves to Vietnam after hitting China - Powerful typhoon Nesat which forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes on an island in southern China appeared to have caused little damage Friday and was sweeping away from the country toward Vietnam.
Tropical Storm Ophelia has now strengthened into a hurricane as it moves away from the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. Ophelia caused flooding and cut off communities on Dominica. About 1600 people were stranded on the island.
VIRGINIA - Roads damaged by Tropical Storm Lee still closed. Numerous secondary roads in the region damaged by Tropical Storm Lee earlier this month are still closed, the Virginia Department of Transportation reported. Some roads will be closed for months, others likely longer.
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES / CLIMATE CHANGE -
ENGLAND - Britons have basked in RECORD-BREAKING TEMPERATURES of 29C (84F) - hotter than the Bahamas - as forecasters predicted the mini-heatwave will last all weekend. The mercury peaked in the East Midlands, beating the previous September 29 high of 27.8C (82F), which was recorded in 1895. Forecasters had predicted record-breaking temperatures across London and the rest of the country.
SPACE WEATHER -
SOLAR WIND BLASTS MERCURY: At a NASA teleconference yesterday, researchers working with data from the Messenger spacecraft offered new evidence that gusts of solar wind are penetrating Mercury's magnetic field and eroding material off the planet's surface. The spacecraft has actually flown through plumes of ionized sodium scoured from the surface and escaping from weak points in Mercury's magnetosphere.
Another "scouring event" could be in the offing. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory observed two farside CMEs on Sept 29th, and one of them is heading for Mercury. It should hit Mercury on October 1st at 02:13 UT +/- 7 hours. Forewarned, mission scientists for the Messenger probe can be attentive to the CME's arrival and observe its effects on Mercury. According to the CME's forecast track, the cloud will hit Venus later the same day. The ability to forecast CME impacts on other planets is a new development in space weather forecasting made possible by NASA's deployment of spacecraft around the full circumference of the sun.
REVERBERATIONS: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 26th, sparking ONE OF THE STRONGEST MAGNETIC STORMS IN YEARS. At the peak of the Kp=8 disturbance, auroras were sighted around both poles and more than half a dozen US states. Magnetic reverberations continued for more than 48 hours. Sky watchers at the highest latitudes should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field remained unsettled on Sept. 29th.
NASA Reduces Estimate of Near-Earth Asteroids - New observations by a NASA space telescope that mapped the entire sky suggest that there are fewer potentially threatening asteroids in the solar system than previously thought. The latest survey found significantly fewer near-Earth asteroids in the mid-size range than previously estimated. The findings also indicate NASA has found more than 90 percent of the largest near-Earth asteroids, including those the size of the one thought to be responsible for the dinosaurs' extinction 65 million years ago. The asteroid-hunting portion of the mission, used the data to catalog more than 157,000 asteroids in the main belt and discovered more than 33,000 new ones. "It's like a population census, where you poll a small group of people to draw conclusions about the entire country."
The latest discovery tallies are roughly 19,500 mid-size near-Earth asteroids, down from an original estimate of 35,000 which suggests that the threat to Earth could be somewhat less than previously thought. But most of these mid-size asteroids remain to be discovered. More research also is needed to determine if fewer mid-size objects (between 330 and 3,300 feet wide) also mean fewer that might threaten the Earth. Meanwhile, the data reveal only a small decline in the estimated numbers for the largest near-Earth asteroids, which are 3,300 feet (one kilometer) and larger. Scientists now believe there are 981 large near-Earth asteroids about the size of a small mountain, compared with the earlier estimate of 1000, of which 911 have been located and are being tracked. None of the larger asteroids represents a threat to Earth in the next few centuries. It is believed that all near-Earth asteroids approximately six miles (10 kilometers) across, as big as the one thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs, have been found. "The risk of a really large asteroid impacting the Earth before we could find and warn of it has been substantially reduced," since NASA can keep tabs on the largest asteroids. We now know there are "somewhat fewer medium-sized asteroids ... but fewer does not mean none and there are still tens of thousands out there that we need to find."
HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS:
-Andrew Williamson Fresh Produce is voluntarily recalling one lot of organic grape tomatoes sold under the Limited Edition® and Fresh & Easy labels due to a possible health risk from Salmonella.