Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tornado spins off from Tropical Storm Beryl remnants on North Carolina coast. The remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl spun off a tornado that destroyed three homes and damaged dozens of others near the North Carolina coast Wednesday as the system sped toward the Atlantic. Beryl was expected to gain strength even as it was losing its tropical characteristics.

**Rats and roaches live by competition
under the laws of supply and demand;
it is the privilege of human beings to live
under the laws of justice and mercy.**
Wendell Berry

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
5/30/12 -

Nevada - Scientists studying earthquake faults in the mountains west of Lake Tahoe say new, high-resolution imaging technology has helped uncover more substantial seismic hazards than previously thought to exist there. The steep, fault-formed range west of the lake could generate relatively strong earthquakes with magnitudes from 6.3 to 6.9, according to the study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.
The study also warns that temblors could trigger landslides along the whole Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone stretching from west of Truckee to the south end of Lake Tahoe - through the middle of Squaw Valley USA ski resort, Tahoma, Emerald Bay and Fallen Leaf Lake. "Although the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone has long been recognized as forming the tectonic boundary between the Sierra Nevada to the west, and the Basin and Range Province to the east, its level of activity and hence seismic hazard was not fully recognized because dense vegetation obscured the surface expressions of the faults." By dating of the moraines from the last two glaciations in the Tahoe Basin around 21,000 and 70,000 years ago, they were able to calculate the rates of displacement.

Italy - 5.8 quake kills 16, injures 350. The second quake in less than two weeks hit north-central Italy's Emilia-Romagna region north of Bologna, leveling homes and historic structures and leaving 14,000 homeless. Thousands are still homeless after the earlier, stronger quake. Industrial buildings in Mirandola were among those destroyed by the quake. Emilia Romagna is home to some of Italy's best-known brands, including the world's biggest pasta maker Barilla, high-performance Ferrari sports cars, and motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding. The quake was felt throughout northern Italy, including the financial capital Milan, where some buildings and schools were evacuated, and the lagoon city of Venice.
Italy quakes to cost insurers up to 700 million euros - The quake on May 20 and two severe aftershocks nine days later will cost the insurance industry between 300 million euros and 700 million euros.

China - A 4.8-magnitude earthquake that hit north China's Tangshan Monday morning was an aftershock of the devastating quake that rocked the city in 1976 said a researcher. The moderate earthquake has sent ripples across the north China plain, shaking buildings in Beijing but leaving no reports of damage or injuries.
The small earthquake managed to send tremors rippling through the Chinese Internet after the researcher claimed the temblor was an aftershock from an earthquake that struck more than three decades ago. The 1976 quake, which measured at least 7.8 on the Richter scale and was followed by a 7.1-magnitude aftershock less than a day later, is one of the deadliest and most controversial earthquakes in modern history. According to official figures, it killed around 240,000 people, though some have accused the government of trying to downplay the tragedy and argued that the actual death toll may have been much higher.
In commenting on the origins of Monday’s tremor, the researcher's intention may have been to calm nerves. “This quake is an aftershock of the Great 1976 Tangshan Earthquake. It was not very damaging. This area isn’t likely to produce damaging earthquakes. Residents of the city should please maintain their normal lives and productivity.” Whatever his aims, internet users were quick to dismiss the claim as bogus. “Earthquakes are also fond of time travel?” wrote one user. “This expert takes residents for three-year-old children!” wrote another user. “A major earthquake has aftershocks for a century?”
It would appear that our beleaguered expert is not alone among geologists in identifying aftershocks decades after the main event. In 2009, Science Daily cited a study by U.S. researchers who found that most of the earthquakes felt in the Midwest were in fact aftershocks of 7- or larger magnitude quakes that struck the region in 1811 and 1812. “Aftershocks happen after a big earthquake because the movement on the fault changed the forces in the earth that act on the fault itself and nearby. “Aftershocks go on until the fault recovers, which takes much longer in the middle of a continent.”
The main variable, the researchers found, was the speed at which the sides of a fault line move past each other. California’s San Andreas fault, for example, moves relatively quickly, meaning aftershocks peter out after 10 years. Tangshan, it should be noted, is located on the Bohai Sea, so it’s not clear whether the comparison with the American Midwest is really apt.
What is clear is that Chinese Internet users are little inclined to believe authorities when it comes to Tangshan and earthquakes. “Originally I didn’t think this was a big deal,” wrote one user. “But as soon as I saw an expert come out trying to maintain stability, I felt there was something to it…I’m going to recharge the batteries in my flashlight.”

No reports of damage after magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes northern Argentina - A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck northern Argentina in the early hours of Monday morning. The tremor hit at 2:07am local time 21 miles east-southeast of Suncho Corral in Santiago del Estero province.

Volcano Webcams

Colombian volcano spouts ash - A light spewing of ash on Tuesday amid renewed rumblings in the Nevado del Ruiz volcano prompted Colombian authorities to evacuate 500 people from beneath its flanks. A USGS geologist had just left Colombia this week after helping set up monitoring for the volcano. Colombian volcanologists reported that the likelihood of an eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano has increased and local authorities have raised the alert level from yellow to orange indicating an eruption was likely in the coming days or weeks, though not imminent. The volcano has been rumbling at high activity for several months.

No current tropical storms.

Philippines - An active low-pressure area east of the Visayas area is likely to intensify into a cyclone in the next 24 to 48 hours, state weather forecasters said before noon Thursday.

Two tropical storms have already popped up well before Friday's official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, but experts still predict a less active 2012 hurricane season than last year's 19 storms and seven hurricanes.