Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Titanic Sunk by "Supermoon" and Celestial Alignment? - Strong gravitational pull might have sent icebergs on a collision course. Just weeks before the Titanic shipwreck's hundredth anniversary, scientists have a brand-new theory as to what might have helped spur the disaster. An ULTRARARE alignment of the sun, the full moon, and Earth may have set the April 14, 1912, tragedy in motion, according to a new report. R.M.S. Titanic went down on a moonless night, but the iceberg that sank the luxury liner may have been launched in part by a full moon that occurred three and a half months earlier. That full moon, on January 4, 1912, may have created UNUSUALLY strong tides that sent a flotilla of icebergs southward — just in time for Titanic's maiden voyage, said an astronomer. Even at the time, spring 1912 was considered an UNUSUALLY bad season for icebergs. But figuring out why this happened has been a mystery.
The iceberg boom was the result of a RARE combination of celestial phenomena, including a "supermoon": when the moon is full during its closest monthly approach to the Earth. During new and full moons, the sun, Earth, and the moon are arranged in a straight line, with the sun and moon intensifying each other's gravitational pull on the planet. The result: Low tides are lower than usual, and high tides are higher — a phenomenon called a spring tide. What's more, on the January 4, 1912, the full moon — and therefore the spring-tide alignment — ended just six minutes before the moon made an UNUSUALLY close swing by Earth.
It was the closest lunar approach, in fact, since A.D. 796, and Earth won't see its like again until 2257. That combination of a very close moon and the celestial alignment added up to an especially strong gravitational pull on the Earth and therefore very high tides.
High tides could have flexed the tongues of glaciers extending out to sea in Greenlandic fjords, cracking off a bumper crop of southbound icebergs. But icebergs don't travel that fast. By April 14 new ones formed in that manner wouldn't have gotten far enough to get in the Titanic's way. Rather, the tides may have affected older icebergs that had run aground in shallow waters off Labrador and Newfoundland in Canada. Often these icebergs are stranded until they melt enough to float again. But a high tide can refloat them. And the unusually strong spring tide created on January 4 could have refloated a great many of them at once, sending a swarm of icebergs southward and into Titanic's path.
It's an interesting theory, but not everyone is convinced. Another astronomer doubts the January 4, 1912, spring tide was especially powerful. Full and new moons coincide with the moon's closest monthly approach of Earth every few years, with little effect on iceberg creation he syas. Furthermore, in terms of tide-enhancing gravitational pull, it doesn't make much difference whether a spring-tide alignment occurs within six minutes or a couple days of the moon's closest approach, or perigee. "A full moon anytime during the day preceding or following the perigee will have very close to the same tidal force." Also, he said, the moon on January 4, 1912, came only about 4,000 miles (6,200 kilometers) closer than its average perigee. "The difference in tidal force between [the January 1912] perigee and an average perigee is only about 5 percent."
The report co-author doesn't dispute any of this. Rather, he said, it doesn't take a hugely stronger tide to refloat an iceberg. "Suppose you pull a rowboat to a beach" at high tide and leave the boat when it first runs aground. "It doesn't have to be much of a higher tide to refloat the rowboat." In addition, he said, "we have found several stories about RECORD TIDES ... around the world in January 1912."

**The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness
to sacrifice something today for future generations
whose words of thanks will not be heard.**
Gaylord Nelson

This morning -

Yesterday -
3/6/12 -


Italy- After twenty four days of being silent, Italy's Mt. Etna roared to life Sunday. Combining snow and fire, Mt. Etna's lava emissions are spectacular shooting more than 300 feet into the air. So far no flights have been canceled in the area.

Undersea Eruption Emergency Ends in Spanish Island - The authorities in the Canary Islands decreed on Tuesday the end of the emergency phase in the underwater volcano eruption area which started in October last year at El Hierro Island.

In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone 14s (Irina) was located approximately 500 nm east-southeast of Maputo, Mozambique.

Tropical Storm Irina has been "going loopy" in the Mozambique Channel over the last couple of days as it has been monitored by NASA satellites. Irina is making a cyclonic loop, something that a tropical cyclone does on occasion whenever there are a couple of weather systems that push it in different directions. Irina is currently parallel to the middle of South Africa, about 315 nautical miles south-southeast of Maputo, Mozambique, and moving toward the southeast. But the storm is expected to start curving toward the northeast and then the northwest as it continues making a loop that will take it back toward a landfall in extreme northeastern South Africa on March 9.
Weather systems in the area are pushing past Irina, acting as guides for the storm to follow and causing it to loop around. The last weather system that will turn it back to the north is a ridge or elongated area) of high pressure that's strengthening over South Africa and will turn Irina to the northwest.
There are several parks located near where landfall is currently forecast. Tembe Elephant Park and the Ndumo Game Reserve are located near the Mozambique border and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park is located to the south. These areas are likely to feel the strongest winds from Irina when it makes landfall. As Irina nears landfall by the end of the week, cold waters stirred up from below the surface are causing sea surface temperatures near the coast to cool, which will reduce any energy going into Irina as it nears the coast for landfall. Once Irina makes landfall, the forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning center expect Irina to dissipate quickly. Meanwhile residents of eastern South Africa, Swaziland and southeastern Mozambique can expect more clouds, showers, gusty winds and rough surf in coastal areas as Irina loops back toward land.

Australia - Cyclone threat easing in Queensland's southeast after day of heavy rain. The Sunshine Coast remained on a severe weather alert but forecasters say they are no longer entertaining the possibility of a freak cyclone developing over southern waters. The low pressure system that brought huge rainfall to the southeast - dumping most of it on the Sunshine Coast - was at 3am Tuesday around 90km east of Hervey Bay and moving in a north-north easterly direction. The most rainfall yesterday fell at Eumundi, which recorded 202mm of rain in the 24 hours from 9am.
There were no signs the low would develop into a tropical cyclone. "We're not really expecting that to develop into a tropical cyclone. There weren't many signs in the way of development last night." But the system is expected to bring gusty winds up to 90km/h across Fraser Island this morning as it leaves southern waters, bound for the Coral Sea. "It will gradually move north into the Coral Sea and weaken over the next few days...We're not expecting it to develop further."


Hawaii's governor has declared a disaster for two islands after three days of relentless rains caused flooding and a sewage spill on Kauai, where officials are dealing with tree-blocked roads, closed schools and dangerous surf. The declaration includes Oahu, where a brown water advisory was issued after two manholes overflowed and wastewater flowed into the ocean. There were also warnings of possible hail, lightning, rockslides and water-clogged roads. Kauai schoolchildren were kept home yesterday. A school was functioning as an emergency shelter, where 33 people spent the night Monday. State workers in Honolulu yesterday continued to remove floating rubbish from the debris trap at the entrance to the Ala Wai small boat harbour. Cleanup began Monday after the weekend rains washed large amounts of rubbish into the Ala Wai canal. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Kauai, Niihau, Oahu as well as the islands of Lanai, Maui and Molokai. It lifted a flash flood warning that had been in place for Kauai and Oahu.


Afghanistan avalanche kills 42 in Badakhshan. Many areas of Afghanistan have been experiencing harsh winter conditions. At least 42 people have been killed and many more are missing in an avalanche in Afghanistan's north-eastern Badakhshan province. One village near the Tajikistan border has been completely swept away. Badakhshan is one of the country's poorest and most remote regions. Parts of it are shut off by heavy snow for at least six months every year.
"There were 190 people living in the village - 39 people have been killed, six injured." Correspondents say the rescue effort has been hampered because all roads to and from the village are closed. Many more people in the village are missing or presumed dead. Three people had also died in a nearby district. About 60 people have been killed by snow in Badakhshan this year and homes and thousands of cattle have been lost.
Up to 4m (13ft) of snow is lying in some areas of the province and roads between the capital, Faizabad, and remote rural areas are impassable. "It has been a tragedy this year." Local officials said in January that the winter conditions were at an emergency level and appealed for help. They repeated their call on Tuesday, because dozens of homes remain at risk from further avalanches. They said that some food, medicine and blankets had arrived from Tajikistan, but it was not nearly enough. Afghanistan is suffering ONE OF ITS HARSHEST WINTERS IN MANY YEARS.