Thursday, August 23, 2012

**If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.**
Milton Berle

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
8/22/12 -

Volcano Webcams

New Zealand - 500,000 people in lava's line of fire. New modelling has for the first time revealed which areas of volcano-rich Auckland would be obliterated by lava flows in an eruption - and a wide spread of major suburbs are in the firing line.

Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador spews lava and ash - Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano has been spewing lava, ash and pyroclastic material into the air in Tungurahua. The authorities are encouraging residents living near the volcano to evacuate due to increased activity of the volcano. (photos) Video

What Is the Fate of the Volcanic Pumice Rafts? - The NASA Earth Observatory has been doing an excellent job tracking the spread of the pumice from the Havre eruption in the Kermadec Islands. Currently the pumice is spread over an area of 270,000 km2 / 100,000 sq. miles of the Pacific Ocean and is continuing to spread. This pumice will likely stay afloat for months if not longer and eventually make landfall wherever the currents dictate – potentially as far off as South America.
Pumice rafts are not particularly uncommon, especially in areas of abundant submarine volcanism like the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The pumice rafts are like islands that move around the oceans so you might expect that oceanic organisms will take advantage of their newly created pieces of real estate. We don’t know what the fate of the Havre pumice right now, but a recent study details what happened to pumice from the 2006 Home Reef eruption in Tonga. This eruption produced a small island that might have been as high as 75 meters tall, but wave action quickly destroyed the “island” of fragmental volcanic material into a pumice raft.
Pumice is unique amongst rocks as it can float in water due to the presence of abundant and isolated bubbles in the volcanic material. Within 8 months of the eruption, some of these pumice clasts travelled over 5,000 km / 3,100 miles and many stayed afloat for almost two years after the initial Home Reef eruption. The number of pumice clasts from the Home Reef raft is greater than 2.5 trillion pieces of pumice. The pumice quickly became home to upwards of 80 different species of marine life over the course of its journey — in some cases, single pumice clasts were home to over 200 individuals of a single species of barnacle (this means that over 10 billion barnacles colonized the pumice raft). Some of these critters were permanent inhabitants (that is, they were attached) while others were mobile, so if the pumice landed on a beach, off onto the island a crab might scuttle.
By a year and a half after the pumice raft was erupted, some clasts had 3/4 of their surface covered. It could reach such an extreme that the biological hitchhikers would cause the pumice to sink or preferential float with one side facing up, creating microenvironments on a single pumice clast. Upwards of 1/3 of Home Reef pumice made the journey from Tonga to the Great Barrier Reef region off of Australia in only 7 months after the eruption. This means that the sealife attached to the pumice was brought to the reef, some ready to spawn and create new colonies of barnacles, corals, bryozoans and more. Other creatures were stranded on islands inbetween or sank before reaching the Great Barrier Reef and Australia. So, these volcanic events that have happened frequently in the recent geologic record all over the world may play an important role in how life colonized different parts of the world’s oceans. (map & satellite photo)

In the Atlantic -
- Tropical storm Isaac was located about 270 mi [440 km] SE of San Juan, Puerto Rico. A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Haiti. Interests in Cuba, Jamaica and elsewhere in the Bahamas should monitor the progress of Isaac. The center of Isaac should continue to move away from the Leeward Islands, pass to the south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today and approach the Dominican Republic tonight and Friday.
- Tropical depression 10 was located about 1045 mi [1685 km] W of the Cape Verde Islands. The depression is expected to become a tropical storm [Joyce] today. The forecast models have never shown much strengthening with this cyclone, and the forecast path keeps it out to sea.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon 16w (Bolaven) was located approximately 580 nm southeast of Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan.
- Typhoon 15w (Tembin) was located approximately 185 nm southeast of Taipei, Taiwan.

Tropical Storm Isaac churns into eastern Caribbean - The churning center of Tropical Storm Isaac spun over tiny islands at the eastern entrance to the Caribbean, where many seafront bars and restaurants stubbornly remained open Wednesday night as lightning and thunder crackled. The mayor of Tampa, Florida, says public safety will trump politics if Isaac threatens the city during the Republican National Convention next week. Tampa won't hesitate to pull the plug on the convention if Tropical Storm Isaac threatens the Tampa Bay area as a major storm. Isaac is forecast to become a hurricane as it moves on a track that would put it off the coast of Florida on Monday.

Typhoon 16W (Bolaven) - Okinawa remains in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. Bolaven could become the worst typhoon to hit the island in 13 years. Whether this typhoon continues to plow toward them or veers in one direction or another, this is not one to take lightly.

Typhoon Tembin wreaks havoc in the Philippines, sets sights on Taiwan. Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau has issued a sea warning for the ocean to the east of the storm. Warnings for areas on land are likely to come soon.

Friday 24 August is the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew - Hurricane Andrew was a destructive tropical cyclone that was, at the time, the costliest hurricane in United States history. It was the fourth tropical cyclone, first named storm, and first hurricane of the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season.


India - At least 20 people have been killed by heavy monsoon rains in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. The rains have disrupted normal life in the state capital, Jaipur, since Tuesday and flooded many areas. About 20,000 people living in the city have been forced to flee their homes due to flooding.
Earlier this month, at least 34 people died in northern Uttarakhand state after torrential rains triggered landslides and flash floods. Rajasthan's meteorological department said Jaipur was experiencing THE HEAVIEST RAINS SINCE 1981, causing flooding in low lying neighbourhoods and slum areas. At least 10 of the people killed in the state died in the city, some of them in house collapses. Many people have taken shelter on the rooftops of homes, and rescue workers from a local paramilitary force have been deployed to evacuate them. In June, at least 27 people died and one million people were forced to leave their homes by floods as rains lashed the north-eastern state of Assam.


Extreme U.S. weather expected to remain - As farmers from southern Michigan to California's Pacific coast struggled through the worst drought in half a century, scientists, lawmakers and officials argued over what's pushing the weather to such extremes.


A mysterious new disease has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV. The patients' immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. What triggers this isn't known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious. Most of the cases have been found in Thailand and Taiwan since 2004.
This is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn't spread the way AIDS does through a virus. It's still possible that an infection of some sort could trigger the disease, even though the disease itself doesn't seem to spread person-to-person. The disease develops around age 50 on average, but does not run in families, which makes it unlikely a single gene was responsible. Some patients have died of overwhelming infections, including some Asians now living in the US.
The virus that causes AIDS - HIV - destroys T-cells, key soldiers of the immune system that fight germs. The new disease doesn't affect those cells, but causes a different kind of damage. Most of those with the disease make substances called autoantibodies that block interferon-gamma, a chemical signal that helps the body clear infections. Blocking that signal leaves people like those with AIDS - vulnerable to viruses, fungal infections and parasites, but especially micobacteria, a group of germs similar to tuberculosis that can cause severe lung damage. Researchers are calling this new disease an "adult-onset" immunodeficiency syndrome because it develops later in life and they don't know why or how.
The fact nearly all the patients so far have been Asian or Asian-born people living elsewhere suggests genetic factors and something in the environment such as an infection may trigger the disease, researchers conclude. "We know there are many others out there," including many cases mistaken as tuberculosis in some countries.