is implanted in the nature of man.**
LARGEST QUAKES -
Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)
This morning -
5.3 KURIL ISLANDS
5.0 KURIL ISLANDS
5.5 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN
5.4 SOUTH SANDWICH
Why 2012 Sumatra quake was a weird one - it was an 'earthquake in a maze'. Already a curiosity for its sheer size, the 8.6-magnitude earthquake that shook the seafloor west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on April 11 appears to have been even weirder than scientists thought.
A new study reveals the quake zigzagged along four faults, three of which are set perpendicular to each other. From above, the layout looks like a city street grid. "We call it an earthquake in a maze. We were very excited to see this because an earthquake this large, involving this complicated a fault system, does not happen very often. This may be the only one I will see in my lifetime."
The April Sumatra shaker was a strike-slip earthquake, in which two parts of the Earth's crust slide past each other horizontally. The quake was not only the 11th largest quake recorded by seismometers, it's also the largest strike-slip quake on the books. It's also one of the rare big intraplate earthquakes ; that is, it happened away from a plate boundary, where two plates of the Earth's crust meet and where most of the world's largest earthquakes occur.
The dense network of seismometers in Japan and Europe provided enough "ears" to track the slip-sliding faults deep beneath the Indian Ocean. The quake first proceeded along three connected faults. It started on a northwest-southeast fault, then turned almost 90 degrees to a northeast-southwest fault. This was followed by another 90-degree turn to another northwest-southeast fault. Finally, the fourth rupture stage involved jumping northward onto a separate, but parallel, northwest-southeast fault. Two hours later, an 8.2-magnitude aftershock started on the south end of the third northwest-southeast fault, and also jumped onto a perpendicular fault.
If that wasn't enough, yet another surprise awaited the researchers as they analyzed the seismic data: The quake took the toughest possible route available to it. Any earthquake opens space on one side of a fault, called extension, and closes space on the other side, called compression. Typically, ruptures that jump from fault to fault head for the extensional side, following the path of least resistance. "If you compress something, everything is solidified and it's more difficult to break it. On the extensional side, everything is looser and easier to break." Two of the Sumatra quake's torturous turns were into zones of compression, the researchers found. It's possible that water deep in the Earth altered rock in the Earth's mantle layer along the faults. This creates low friction and makes it easier for the rift to veer into the compressional field. The Sumatra quake and its aftershock were 15 miles (25 kilometers) deep, down in the mantle where rocks are less brittle.
Faults at right angles to each other are common in oceanic crust and also occur on continental crust, but researchers HAVE NEVER SEEN THEM CONNECTED IN A VERY LARGE EARTHQUAKE. Understanding the conditions that caused such a strange quake could help scientists predict whether this mechanism is possible elsewhere on the planet. The research has drawbacks because the imaging method can't resolve the earthquake's depth, nor the length each fault slipped. The Sumatra earthquake faults are in a diffuse deformation zone where the giant India-Australia oceanic plate is cleaving in two. "This process of breaking a huge oceanic plate apart is clearly something that's not happening in many other places. Our ability to quantify this earthquake offers important lessons about the stresses and processes by which plates break."
The future of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland depends not only on human efforts in Australia, but on events as far away as Tonga. A research team tracked the flow of volcanic debris, known as pumice, from the volcanic eruption in Tonga in August 2006. The debris made its way to Australia's eastern seaboard seven to eight months later. Aboard this debris was a host of stowaway marine life from thousands of kilometres away including tiny corals, crabs, and other reef dwellers.
This is a line of communication between Pacific reefs. "Importantly this research shows a connection to other reef systems as far away as Tonga, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia." This marine life become part of the reef and helps replenish it...This research proves that this marine life, when it arrives, can successfully colonise and grow." However, this tremendous migration from east to west could also bring a security threat. "On the downside you can get pests that travel on this debris as well, which can be detrimental to the health of the reef." But, as yet, no such threats have been recorded.
TROPICAL STORMS -
No current tropical storms.
Philippines - A low-pressure area (LPA) east of Luzon will possibly intensify into a tropical cyclone today. Models indicate the cyclone may affect the eastern part of Luzon, and may head for extreme Northern Luzon and Taiwan. The LPA is expected to bring scattered rains over the country and widespread rains in eastern section of Luzon.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
Krymsk flood in Russia caused by human actions? - Any cataclysm causes a great deal of rumors and the most controversial speculation. For example, victims of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988 sincerely believed that right before the shocks a silver plane appeared in the sky and something was dropped from it.
The events in and around Krymsk go far beyond the standard reactions of shocked people to a disaster. The city in the Krasnodar region, without exaggeration, has become a ground for testing political strategies. It is already clear that there are organized groups of manipulators using the emotions of the locals in their own interests. The rumors of draining water from the reservoir as the cause of the catastrophic floods that enveloped the city are easily explained. This is very similar to the silver airplane in the sky of Armenia that was witnessed by thousands in various parts of the country. The people were genuinely indignant when rescuers tried to appeal to their common sense.
It is more difficult to explain the emergence of a statement of a Krymsk resident on the morning after the flood (July 7) that said: "Yesterday at 21:53 Krymsk took the hit!" The woman, referring to her father who worked at Neverdjayevskaya power station, revealed the details of how the floodgates were opened and a catastrophic wave was directed at the city - "to save Novorossiysk."
Novorossiysk is separated from Krymsk by a mountain ridge, the Neverdjayevskaya station does not have locks that can be opened, the electricity supply to Krymsk was resumed on July 8-9, cellular communication was restored on the 9th, but these details have not been taken into account. The statement was very popular online, and was quoted by electronic and print media, the rumors have returned to the city endowed with many details and backed up by the authority of the media.
Today, despite all rebuttals, despite the fact that an independent group from Krymsk has circled Neverdjayevskaya dam reservoir on an airplane, the attempts to fully refute the belief of the people that a wave was directed at them intentionally, have failed. People started talking about other reservoirs in the region from which the water could go to town. They began to look for other causes of flooding, understanding that the "Novorossiysk" theory had failed. Other theories included "drained water from the site of Grushevka Rosneft", "tried to save Putin's dacha in Praskoveevka," etc.
Social networks played a significant role in spreading these rumors. Suffice it to say that bloggers are still looking for lies in the reports on the absence of locks at the Neverdjayevskaya station, saying: "We were lied to, locks must be there". It seems that if social networks existed in 1988, the man-made theory of the earthquake in Armenia would have become self-sustaining throughout the country. Yet, not everything has to do only with the specific network conspiracy. The events have obvious features of a planned political campaign, and for the first time in modern Russian history, it goes far beyond the blogosphere and some opposition media.
On July 9 unidentified vehicles in the streets were announcing to the local residents that the second wave of floods was coming. Allegedly, the dam at the reservoir Neverdjayevskaya broke down and another multi-meter wave of water was approaching the city. These "warnings" have generated a serious panic in the city, people rushed to the roofs of the houses, traffic jams emerged on the exits from Krymsk. Local authorities tried to calm the citizens down for hours, let the police cars on the streets urging people not to give in to provocations, explained that there was no second wave and the reservoir was fine.
"Provocateurs were not found. In a dilapidated, panic-ridden city, the search and identification of criminals has become a real problem. However, the mere appearance of such "warning vehicles" is remarkable. It means only one thing - there is an organized group of provocateurs in Krymsk seeking to undermine the situation, politicize the disaster, and direct anger and frustration of people in the direction advantageous for the manipulators. It is hardly likely that anyone really plans to raise a wave of protests in the small town in Kuban. Most likely, the spin doctors in Krymsk are training, testing the actions in crisis situations. The destroyed city was turned into testing grounds, which makes this situation even worse."
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE -
Severe drought continues to spread across much of the U.S. this summer. The latest figure from the National Climatic Data Center has 55 percent of the country in moderate to extreme drought conditions. Much of the southern Midwest is reporting the worst conditions.
Grain prices set records as US drought, food worries spread.
Worst drought in 50 years could last through October - Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center were unable to assure growers that there is an end to the drought in sight.
Video - Wildfires burn across southern Europe.
SPACE WEATHER -
ALMOST X-FLARE - Sunspot complex AR1520-1521 erupted again on July 19th, this time producing an M7-class solar flare that almost crossed the threshold into X-territory. The explosion produced a bright coronal mass ejection. The cloud should miss Earth. Although the explosion occured on the other side of the sun's western limb, our planet could feel some effects. The blast site is magnetically connected to Earth by backward-spiralling lines of magnetic force. Protons accelerated by the flare are being guided to us by those lines of magnetism, and a mild radiation storm is underway.
On the sun's SW limb, a magnificent row (or "arcade") of magnetic loops is towering over the limb. Magnetic arcades often form in the aftermath of significant explosions such as the one that occured during the early hours of July 19th.
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. On July 20, 2012 there were 1322 potentially hazardous asteroids. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
HEALTH THREATS -
US whooping cough epidemic could be worst in half century. The number of US whooping cough cases has risen to around 18,000.
RECALLS & ALERTS