Friday, May 18, 2012

Mount St. Helens eruption anniversary today - People along the North Oregon coast and across the Northwest are remembering the violent eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980. The eruption shook the ground along the Oregon coast, sent ash falling into 11 states and killed 57 people.

**Don't own so much clutter that you will be
relieved to see your house catch fire.**
Wendell Berry

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
5/17/12 -

Quake shakes up east Texas - A 4.3-magnitude earthquake rattled eastern Texas early Thursday. The quake, at a depth of three miles, was centered near Timpson, about 155 miles east-southeast of Dallas. It struck at 3:12 a.m. (4:13 a.m. ET). At least one building in Timpson showed damage, with a number of bricks falling to the street below. One resident said that bricks from her chimney came crashing through her roof. "There was a loud rumbling noise and then there was a lot of crashing.". Her 52-inch, wall-mounted TV was crushed. One woman was injured when she fell out of bed and cut her arm. And the Shelby County sheriff's office had reports of broken windows from the temblor.
The quake was the second to hit the area in a week. A 3.9 quake shook Timpson May 10. Thursday morning's earthquake was the third-strongest in East Texas history, surpassed only by quakes in 1957 and 1964. A University of Texas scientist said it's possible the most recent quakes are related to energy production activity in the area. "There are some injection wells in the part of the country where these earthquakes occurred. If they were very close to an injection well, that would suggest they were." Injection wells are used in the disposal of dirty water from energy production. Injection wells should not be confused with fracking, a process which involves injecting water, sand and some chemicals deep into the earth to crack shale rock, which frees oil and gas. "Fracking almost never causes quakes."
Swarm of quakes possible in East Texas in near future - A geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake information Center said the two quakes in one week could indicate the area might see a swarm of quakes in the area over the next few weeks. Quakes strike areas where there are faults and there's an active fault system that runs through East Texas, stretching from Mount Enterprise along Texas Highway 84 to Timpson. It's called the Mount Enterprise Fault.
The fault is active and delivers low-level quakes, such as Thursday's, fairly regularly. The last one struck the area around 1994 and measured between 3.5 and 4 on the United States Geological Survey's equipment. USGS data shows there was a strong quake in the area in 1957 and then every few years there are small quakes that most people never realize have occurred. "These past two quakes have everyone a little uneasy right now. If we have another then it will really get people upset, because this is not something we are used to seeing like the folks out in California."

Volcano Webcams

Hawaii - Scientists are reporting a relatively high lava lake level at the Halema`uma`u crater vent over the past two days, following a summit inflation at Kilauea volcano.

Fastest Growing Volcano Spotted In New Zealand - Scientists have found a submarine volcano in New Zealand waters that has undergone THE FASTEST EPISODE OF COLLAPSE AND GROWTH EVER RECORDED AT A VOLCANO. The Monowai Cone, part of the Monowai Volcanic Centre, is a giant submarine volcano.

The 100th Anniversary Of Alaska's Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes - The state of Alaska is preparing for the centennial of massive volcanic eruptions that changed the global climate, spawned acid rain and buried the Ukak River Valley in June 1912.

Where the Ash from Iceland Volcano's Eruption Went - The huge eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano in spring 2010 spewed fine aerosol particles, sulfur-rich gases and ash, causing massive air travel disruptions across Europe. Researchers studying those emissions are now shedding light on how and where that ash traveled.
"The huge economic impact of this event shows the need to describe with precision how a volcanic plume spreads through the atmosphere." Scientists found that different types of particles spread over different regions at different times. For example, they found very fine sulfur-rich particles over Spain and Portugal in May 2010, toward the end of the eruption. Alternatively, ash particles that reached central Europe in April were more than 20 times larger than those fine particles. Ash, which is composed of the thicker particles, can cause severe damage to airplane engines. Fine particles, like those found over the Iberian Peninsula, are more dangerous to people on the ground because the particles are small enough to enter respiratory and circulation systems.
Together, the observations will help scientists develop and test models that predict where ash and other particles will travel after an eruption. "During the management of the crisis it became evident that there are still no precise models that provide real-time data for delimiting an affected airspace, for example." One team is developing a model known as Fall3d, which is especially important for air travel because it predicts the concentrations of aerosol particles on the ground and in the air at different times after an eruption. Researchers hope that fine-tuning this model will help airlines and transportation authorities make decisions in future eruptions.

In the Pacific -
Tropical Depression Aletta was located about 705 mi...1135 km SSW of the southern tip of Baja California.

Aletta has weakened to a tropical depression as it swirls far out over the Pacific. Aletta's maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 35 mph (55 kph) with additional weakening expected.
First Storm of Hurricane Season Breaks Records - Tropical Storm Aletta became the first named tropical cyclone of the 2012 season in the Western Hemisphere when it formed well to the west of Mexico’s Pacific coast. While a marginal and unnamed disturbance formed over Indonesia’s Banda Sea during the previous week, Aletta’s formation broke a 41-day streak in which there were no named tropical cyclones anywhere on Earth. That was THE LONGEST STRETCH WITHOUT SUCH A STORM FOR THE PLANET IN AT LEAST 70 YEARS.
The last time there were as many as 38 consecutive storm-less days was in 1944, when global weather monitoring was still in its infancy. Aletta was named just as the northeast Pacific hurricane season was beginning on May 15, making it only the third storm to have formed by that date since records began in 1949. The storm attained maximum sustained winds of only about 45 mph before encountering wind sheer and cooler waters to the north. Those influences caused the hurricane season opener to dissipate far from any land areas.


Extreme Heat, Low Humidity Threaten Wildfire-Ravaged Arizona - Persistent heat, very low humidity and gusty winds will cause an extreme fire threat across Arizona and other areas of the West through the end of the week with a building 'ridge' of high pressure.


SOLAR ECLIPSE THIS WEEKEND - On Sunday, May 20th, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, producing an annular solar eclipse visible across the Pacific side of Earth. The path of annularity, where the sun will appear to be a "ring of fire," stretches from China and Japan to the middle of North America. In the United States, the eclipse begins at 5:30 pm PDT and lasts for two hours. Around 6:30 pm PDT, the afternoon sun will become a luminous ring in places such as Medford, Oregon; Chico, California; Reno, Nevada; St. George, Utah; Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Lubbock, Texas. Outside the narrow center line, the eclipse will be partial. Observers almost everywhere west of the Mississippi will see a crescent-shaped sun as the Moon passes by off-center.
Because this is not a total eclipse, some portion of the sun will always be exposed. To prevent eye damage, use eclipse glasses, a safely-filtered telescope, or a solar projector to observe the eclipse. Or look on the ground beneath leafy trees for crescent-shaped sunbeams and rings of light.