Thursday, June 21, 2012

**Love of fame is the last thing
even learned men can bear to be parted from.**

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/20/12 -

Australia - Victoria's 5.3 quake was the BIGGEST QUAKE FOR A CENTURY. Victoria's biggest earthquake in decades has cracked walls, thrown stock from supermarket shelves and sent tremors statewide, and its aftershocks could continue to rumble the state for the next fortnight, seismologists say. South-east Victoria has been rocked by more than 60 aftershocks after the quake hit near Moe in Gippsland. Millions felt the quake it when it struck just before 9pm (AEST), lasting up to 20 seconds in some areas.
The aftershocks from Tuesday night's 5.4 magnitude earthquake could surpass the original, according to seismologists and the history books. Tuesday's earthquake had an epicentre 15 kilometres south-west of Moe. It struck almost 43 years to the day since a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit the area on June 20, 1969. Two days later, a magnitude 5 earthquake rattled the small town of Boolarra.
"We could still have an aftershock of equal or larger magnitude. It may be that the rock from where the stress was released hasn't completely broken off yet." The aftershocks triggered by the earthquake - which were occurring at a rate of several an hour yesterday - are likely to continue for weeks or even months. But the majority measured one to two in magnitude.
The devastating Christchurch, New Zealand, 6.3 magnitude earthquake last February was related to a 7.1 magnitude quake which struck the South Island city in September 2010. "Certainly a large earthquake can trigger other earthquakes in the region." South-east Victoria is one of the most seismologically active parts of the country. While Australia sits on the static Australian plate, pressure builds from the Pacific Plate moving westwards at about 50 millimetres a year. The pressure builds until a weak spot gives way. "It's like a china plate with a crack in it … If you go and push it against the wall, it will break at that weak spot, which is what's happening here." The depth of Tuesday night's earthquake minimised damage. With an epicentre 15 kilometres beneath the surface, the quake south of Moe was never going to be as destructive as the 1989 Newcastle quake which was close to the surface and had an epicentre in the heart of town. (video & map)

Canada - British Columbia earthquake 'is a matter of when, not if'. The hospital that serves downtown Vancouver will be a crucial resource when the big earthquake comes - if it doesn’t fall down. “In terms of geological time, we’re overdue. It is a matter of when, not if. It’s like a time bomb waiting to go off but we don’t know what it’s set for. This is the place that people are going to go to in an earthquake. Our emergency plan has to have steps to it. The first step is you have to survive.”
A model was run predicting what would happen to St. Paul’s Hospital in the event of a magnitude-7 quake with an epicentre 15 kilometres away. “What it shows is that the building will wiggle like mad and practically tear itself apart. We just pray we get the new building up before it happens.” Last week, the Premier announced upgrades to St. Paul’s, including a new building. But details and a business plan won’t be ready for release until 2014, and no upgrade funding was attached to the announcement.
“No one can predict when, or if, an earthquake will occur and what exact impact an earthquake will have on buildings and services. The majority of in-patient beds at St Paul’s are not located in buildings in need of seismic upgrading.” It will take five years to finish upgrades once final approval is received. “We have to do something,” Maples says, “and the question is, how long can we wait to do it?” The original building of St. Paul’s, in the hospital’s central section, was completed in 1913 with little concern for seismic activity. That building houses the emergency department and “has virtually no lateral resistance."
The north and south wings, built in the ’30s, would meet 10 to 20 per cent of today’s standards of seismic resistance. Made of early reinforced concrete, the structures are “very brittle." Interior walls are covered in clay tiles. “They will shatter in an earthquake and be very dangerous." Throughout St. Paul’s, there is a “significant possibility of at least partial collapse."
The worst-case scenario of a heavily damaged St. Paul’s cut off from the outside by collapsing bridges into downtown Vancouver could occur, noting that California’s 1989 magnitude-7 Loma Prieta quake caused a viaduct, double-decker highway and a bridge to collapse. Should damage force closure of St. Paul’s emergency department, patients would be moved into prearranged locations, including schools. Hospital staff would bring all movable equipment to the patients. “That’s all we would be able to do." The claim that the 2012 budget contains $500 million that would fund the upgrade gives people “false hopes. There is no $500 million in this year’s budget." The Liberals kept putting off seismic upgrades to schools, and eventually cut the number of schools to upgrade. “The only thing this government is committed to is trying to increase its popularity in the polls. We are 10 months away from an election.”


New York - June 2012 - People Report Mysterious Booms And Shaking. Route 12 in the town of Alexandria looks normal, but residents say lately that hasn't been the case. "Boom, crack - and we wonder, what is this?" "It's like a mini-shotgun blast or something. It's very quick, but instead of being in the air around you, it's coming from the ground underneath you." Residents have heard the blasts and felt the shaking for the last two weeks. "Did you hear that one? Did you hear the one last night at 2:30? Did you feel the one at four o'clock?"
But here's the thing, seismology reports do not show any activity in the area over the last week and officials with Fort Drum say they aren't responsible for the shaking either. "Everybody has the same concern, they just want to know what exactly is happening." While they haven't been able to find a concrete answer, some residents do have a theory - that salt used by the Department of Transportation over the years has seeped into the ground, causing rocks underneath to shift and move. "Could that salt now be crusting, and as it crusts it swells and could possibly be lifting enormous rocks." Calls to the DOT haven't been returned. That means the search for the source of the shaking will continue.

In the Atlantic -
Tropical storm Chris was located about 635 mi [1025 km] SE of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Chris is heading toward cooler waters, and has probably has reached its peak intensity. Chris is forecast to become Post-tropical today or tonight. It poses no hazard to land.

In the Pacific -
Tropical depression 06w (Talim) was located approximately 100 nm northeast of Taipei, Taiwan.

Tropical Disturbance Heading Toward Gulf of Mexico - As of late Wednesday evening the National Hurricane Center was indicating that there is a 30% chance of tropical storm development within the next 48 hours.


U.S. - Minnesota - Seals swim to freedom after zoo floods. Heavy rains flooded a Minnesota zoo overnight, drowning several barnyard animals but allowing two seals to make a swimming escape and a polar bear to leave her exhibit area. A Duluth resident spotted one of the seals on a city street about 3.30am local time and called authorities. "That was our first clue that the zoo was flooding actually," said the director of guest services at the Lake Superior Zoo.
When zoo employees arrived at the scene of the seal spotting, they found both animals, named Vivienne and Feisty, and transported them safely back to the facility. As for Berlin, the polar bear managed to escape her exhibit area but "rumours that the polar bear was out and wandering Duluth" were not true. She did not get very far before the zookeepers found her and she was able to be tranquilised. She is also safe and secure and in her holding area." All the carnivores from the zoo have been accounted for. Those who died included the zoo's donkey, goats and sheep.
Duluth, NE Minnesota reeling from floods - Major flooding in northeastern Minnesota has closed roads, Duluth City Hall and the University of Minnesota campus, and has authorities recommending emergency travel only. Major flooding struck in and around Duluth on Wednesday after up to 10 inches of rain fell overnight across northeastern Minnesota, leaving neighborhoods isolated, zoo animals drowned and state parks closed. Steady, torrential rain kept up into Wednesday morning, June 20, closing Interstate 35 and a tunnel into downtown Duluth. Police said sinkholes and washouts made travel dangerous.
Residents of the far west Duluth neighborhood of Fond du Lac, near the rising St. Louis River, were asked to leave their homes. Seventy people arrived at shelters opened by the Red Cross. the governor declared a state of emergency and directed the Minnesota National Guard to help the region cope with the disaster. There were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries, though an 8-year-old boy was swept about six blocks under the streets through a culvert near Duluth. The boy suffered scrapes and bruises but was fine - a "miracle out of this whole disaster." Half of the Fond du Lac neighborhood was under evacuation and the town of Thomson was partially evacuated. The deluge closed I-35 downtown - a section that runs through a tunnel flooded - and cut off low-lying neighborhoods on the west end of town.
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