Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mexico: How quake-prone is the region? - Mexico earthquake history shows that the same faults that caused Tuesday's Mexico earthquake can produce even bigger events, like one that struck in 1985. The quake was centered some 31 miles north-northeast of the city of Ometepec, in a mountainous region dotted with villages. The rupture occurred at a depth of about 12 miles. Given the size of the quake, the population density, the types of buildings in the area, and factors affecting the intensity of shaking, analysts at the center said the quake had the potential to cause up to $100 million in damage and lead to as many as 100 fatalities.
So far, however, no deaths or injuries have been reported. But damage estimates are trickling out from the area. Officials in the town of Igualapa said that more than 800 homes have collapsed. In Ometepec, roughly half of the homes were heavily damaged. Shaking from the quake, initially estimated at magnitude 7.9, also was felt in Mexico City, some 200 miles away, sending residents into the streets. The quake was felt as far away as Guatemala City. Seismologists have traced the quake to a release of strain associated with a subduction zone that runs up the west coast of Central America and Mexico and stops short of the southern tip of Baja California. Here, the oceanic crust of the Cocos plate is sliding northeastward under the more buoyant rock of the North American plate – at a pace of some 60 millimeters a year. The action of the two plates, along with a tiny plate known as the Rivera plate at the northern end of the subduction zone, is responsible for a chain of volcanoes that have formed across the country mainly along a west-to-east line that runs near Mexico City to within about 70 miles of the country's Gulf coast. In 1985, a segment of the Cocos-North American subduction zone ruptured off of Acapulco, triggering a magnitude 8.1 quake that flattened apartment buildings in Mexico City, killing some 4,000 people.

**The man who is swimming against the stream
knows the strength of it.**
Woodrow Wilson

This morning -

Yesterday -
3/21/12 -


Wisconsin - 3/18/12, 3/19/12, 3/20/12 - After 3 nights, sleepless Wisconsin town longs for relief from mysterious loud booming noises. Sleepless families in a small Wisconsin town longed for quiet Wednesday after mysterious booming noises over the past few nights roused them from bed and sent residents into the street — sometimes still in pajamas. The strange disturbance sounds like distant thunder, fireworks or someone slamming a heavy door. At first, many people were amused or merely curious. But after three restless nights, aggravation is mounting. And some folks are considering leaving town until investigators determine the source of the racket. City officials are trying to record the mysterious booming sounds, but their attempts have so far come up empty. “My husband thought it was cool, but I don’t think so. This is not a joke. don’t know what it is, but I just want it to stop.”
The booming in Clintonville continued Monday and Tuesday nights and into Wednesday morning. There have been no reports of injury, despite some residents saying they could feel the ground roll beneath their feet. City officials say they have investigated every possible human cause. They checked water, sewer and gas lines, contacted the military about any exercises in the area, reviewed permits for mining explosives and inspected a dam next to city hall. They even tested methane levels at the landfill in case the gas was spontaneously exploding. “People in the area are certainly frustrated." The city is also investigating geological causes. Officials plan to bring in vibration-detection devices to try to determine the epicenter of any underground activity. Authorities set up audio and video equipment overnight but didn’t capture any evidence of shaking or booming despite at least one loud noise about 5 a.m. Wednesday.
About 300 people attended a public meeting Wednesday night in a local high school auditorium to get an update on the situation. One woman said the disturbance has left cracks in her basement walls and floor, and that they’re getting worse. She said her insurance company won’t pay for the damage until she knows what caused it.
A local scientist said nothing has surfaced that suggests townspeople should be afraid. But some people are worrying that a sinkhole might open up and swallow homes. That can happen in areas where the ground is rich with limestone and other rocks that can be dissolved by water, but the rock below Clintonville is mainly solid granite that’s largely impermeable. Water and granite could hold the key to the mystery. Granite has small cracks that water can fill, but if the underground water table falls especially low, water can seep out, leaving gaps that cause the rocks to settle and generate loud noises. “Maybe the very dry winter caused more water to be removed from the water table, either through pumping or natural flow."
A seismic station near Clintonville, a town of about 4,600 people about 40 miles west of Green Bay, has recorded UNUSUAL GROUND SHAKING since Sunday night. Scientists say such activity can be caused by mining and heavy truck traffic, but since there are no mines or major construction in the area, the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey will take a closer look at the data. “Everything people think it is has been ruled out. They just don’t have answers. At this point all I want is for it to stop.” (video)
Residents of the city 40 miles west of Green Bay reported hearing booms that sounded like distant thunder made their homes vibrate about 1:45 am, then again at 5:30 am and 7:15 am on Sunday.
The series of powerful booms rocked Clintonville for more than nine hours Monday morning and evening, rattling windows and residents' nerves.
The Clintonville booms intensified overnight - The unexplained booms, rattling, and shaking was felt for a second night in a row in Clintonville. Loud booms shook the city early Tuesday morning, and were reportedly more widespread. Clintonville police, shortly before 3 am Tuesday, said that it appears the area where the booms are being felt is getting bigger. Police also said the booms are intensifying. And that people's houses continue to shake.

Georgia - 3/10/12 - Loud booms go unsolved. Boom noises were reported in Ashland County on Saturday night, but authorities were unable to identify the source. Residents from Jeromesville to Savannah reported hearing loud sounds around 7 p.m. "Apparently some residents, mostly around Savannah, heard what they described as loud bangs, cannon fire and in some cases, explosions. We sent a couple of guys up to that area to check it out and nobody saw anything at all. There were no crashes, no fires, no reports of anyone being hurt. We even checked the fracking site where they were doing the drilling, and it was all quiet over there, too."

North Carolina - 2/28/12 - Big booms and shaking were felt along the North Carolina coast Tuesday that have some people worried. Now, folks are booming with big bang theories on what they say causes the mysterious rocking and rolling along the coast. Phone calls have poured in from across the Cape Fear reporting a loud boom strong enough to shake homes and scare pets. "Anything that can shake the houses, not just one or two houses, but a whole neighborhood and it can be heard from Southport to Bolivia and Sunset Harbor, it has to be something big."
Folks across the Cape Fear say the mysterious booms are back and this time they seem stronger than ever. People say they had different experiences depending on where they were at the time. "It's kind of freaky to me because I heard it but I didn't see anything." "I didn't hear the booms but I felt shaking twice." Everyone said this was not the first time they have experienced the unknown sound and shaking. Some folks even say they hear the booms every week. One thing is for sure, people say they want answers. Seismologist say nothing registered on the Richter Scale Tuesday in the area and the military says it was not responsible for the sounds or shaking.
Although scientists and authorities can't seem to pinpoint where the noise is coming from, residents have their own theories. "I know that there's an explanation and it has to be military." "The ocean, something with the ocean." "I think they're earthquakes, tremors." Some people said they were very concerned with the booms now that we're nearing the end of the Mayan calendar which some people believe marks the end of the world. They say the confusion surrounding the booms only builds up their theory that we're nearing the end of days.

The Case of the Unexplained California Sonic Boom in 2009 - It was around 9:15 p.m. on a Tuesday evening in March of 2009, when suddenly the residents in Orange County, California experienced a strange sort of rumbling that rattled the windows and shook doors. What made the rumbling particularly odd was the fact that witnesses reported their homes didn’t shake at all – only the doors and windows of their homes shook. In one specific account, one woman reported how she watched the bedroom doorknob rattling as though someone was trying to open the door – yet no one did. It spooked her greatly, because she was home alone with her 1 year old daughter. That witness said that she didn’t hear or feel anything – only her doorknob rattled as though from an invisible hand. Another witness said that the “whole house rumbled”, but in particular that it shook the front door of the house. Her dogs could sense the rumbling effect before it happened.
The effect was even picked up by seismic sensors, and staff at the USGS quickly recognized that whatever had caused the strange shaking effect up and down the coast of Orange County was definitely not an Earthquake. FOIA documents released by the U.S. Geological Survey revealed a fascinating email stream among scientists at the USGS, as they were analyzing the effects that took place not only at 9:15 P.M. on a Tuesday, but also later again at 9:15 A.M. the following day. The first the USGS heard about the event was from the media. 'Got a few calls last night from the media about ‘earthquakes’ felt in Orange County. We did not see any earthquakes, but we do see a prominent sonic boom at about 9:19 to 9:22 pm (depending on the exact location) last night in the area.” From this email, a conversation started regarding the analysis of the sonic boom, including where it made landfall and what direction it followed over land.
Reports from residents numbered in the hundreds. The seismologists were able to use the seismic data to track the path of the sonic boom. In the email stream, “it” – as they all were starting to call the craft – had reached land around Dana Point from the South-Southwest, and traveled Northeast over Anaheim and then Citrus – headed straight for Angeles National Forest, and of course Edwards Air Force Base far beyond.
Other people in the email stream commented about the fact that most of them didn’t feel any rumblings at all – like everyone would have in an earthquake – further solidifying the conclusion that the witnesses along the proposed flight path had felt a sonic boom. "It sounds like it would be helpful to put a note on the CISN page when sonic booms are felt across the region?” It was an innocent suggestion – one that was clearly offered with the public safety and interest in mind. However, other seismologists at the USGS had been down the same road before. It didn’t take long for the truth to come out regarding how the U.S. military attempts to stifle such information from reaching the public. The USGS had been chastised before for informing the public about detected sonic booms. “Sonic booms do register on seismic nets and can be evaluated back to a ground track, but this is not done routinely, so far as I know. Indeed, one of our Pasadena scientists some years back got chastised by military folks for publishing such a result. As if Aviation Leak didn’t get there ahead of us…” The USGS quickly jumped into theories of experimental aircraft out of Groom Lake, but also proposed the idea that meteors are also known to cause sonic booms as they enter the atmosphere. “Given Aviation Leak summaries of ‘donuts on a rope’ high-altitude trails left by something producing a very deep rumble rather than a boom … there is certainly a strong possibility of correlation with Groom Lake. This aircraft has been seen [the SR-71 Blackbird/Habu] in several locations in the southwest in the last decade and may be associated with call sign “Dark Star” overheard in Texas and the (probably planted) project name Aurora. Note that another source of sonics is large meteors, generally bollides (meteors that break up). I got a very good sample of that at the one and only shot I ever witnessed, in the hills above Calaveras Res many ages ago. Brilliant flash and persistant, scintilating trail several minutes before shot time and large boom a few seconds before shot time…”
Regardless what actually caused the massive sonic boom throughout Orange County, the USGS email stream unearthed by an FOIA request did reveal that at least seismologists at the USGS have a very unique perspective when it comes to tracking the affects of test flights with supersonic aircraft by the military, incoming meteors, or whatever else could potentially travel so quickly through the skies that it could cause such a mysterious sonic boom.

No current tropical storms.

Philippines - Potential cyclone approaches Palawan. A potential cyclone — a low-pressure area — moved towards Palawan before noon Wednesday, even as state weather forecasters warned of floods and landslides over the Bicol Region.


Massive flooding continues in parts of New Zealand where entire farms have been wiped out. Homeowners are doing their best trying to hold back the flood waters. The extend of the damage won't be known until the waters fully subside.

Lightning safety - Lightning can strike when skies are sunny, as far as ten miles away from rainfall and, in some extreme cases, from as far as 25 miles away.


Pakistan - Extreme weather conditions, 9 killed by avalanches in Chitral and Yasin. 4 females and a child died when an avalanche hit at Khot Wah area of Garamchishma during the dead of night while people were sleeping. Local volunteers, Chitral scouts and Chitral police have reached on the spot and started rescue activities. The main road of Garamchishma, Mastuj and upper chitral are closed due to snowfall and sliding and avalanches.
Recently extreme weather has engulfed the northern part of Pakistan. Earlier 4 people of one family were hit by an Avalanche in Qorqolty valley of Yasin in the Ghizar District. “The Avalanche was triggered by the heavy rain and it originated from the mountains of Matoi along Dadang Chhar. It has destroyed properties along the way and has crossed the Qorqolti River." The area is hit by avalanche almost every year. This year the residents were not lucky enough to get away from the calamity. Several avalanches have hit several parts of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral area and the weather continues to worsen.


Minnesota's Twin Cities to test mass delivery of emergency meds by mail - Mail carriers will deliver empty pill bottles to about 35,000 homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul on May 6, in the area's first test of a program to quickly provide antibiotics to the populace in the event of an anthrax attack or similar emergency. The carriers will make the Sunday deliveries to four zip codes, two in St. Paul, one in Minneapolis, and one in Minneapolis suburbs. "People will get an empty bottle, similar to what would be used in the real thing. There'll be an information sheet explaining what it's all about, that it's just a test to see how well it works. It'll have links and phone numbers for more information." The test is "Operation Medicine Delivery". "The purpose is to see how fast postal teams can deliver medicine to homes in an emergency. The May 6 event is only a test! We have no reason to believe a real emergency will happen that day — or that one is imminent."
The Twin Cities area is one of at least five large cities around the country that are working on federally funded programs to use the USPS to respond to a bioterrorist attack. Others are Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Louisville, Tennessee. The initiative has been in the works for several years, having been spurred primarily by the anthrax letter attacks of 2001. In the May 6 exercise, mail carriers, accompanied by law enforcement officers, will deliver the simulated medication packages only to residences, not to post office boxes or businesses. Those who receive the packages won't need to do anything, other than recycle the empty bottle.
Boston, Seattle, and Philadelphia have run limited exercises to test the concept in a preliminary way, but the Twin Cities drill differs in that it will involve a fully developed team of volunteers who have been trained and would be prepared to deliver medications in a real emergency. "This is the first metro area in the country to recruit a full complement of postal volunteers for this program, and set up a fully developed postal delivery system." More than 300 postal workers have been recruited and trained for the Twin Cities program. In a real emergency, health agencies would not attempt to use home delivery to get medications to all 3.2 million Twin Cities residents. Most people would get their supply by going to a special "medication center." Several centers would be set up, with locations listed on the MDH Web site. "Postal delivery might be used in some densely populated parts of town, to take pressure off the medication centers." The medicines will be free of charge.