Sunday, September 30, 2012

Typhoon Curve and the Northern US Cold Connection - Based on the future movement of Typhoon Jelawat and Tropical Storm Ewinar, cold air may plunge into part of the northern U.S. next week. meteorologists have observed for years that whether tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific curve away from Asia or plow inland over China determines whether or not cold air aims for portions of the Midwest and Northeast approximately 10 to 14 days later.
"When a typhoon or strong tropical storm curves to the northeast along the coast of Asia, the way the jet stream gets jumbled up in the process usually allows a batch of chilly air to plunge southward from Canada to the swath from the northern Rockies to the northeastern U.S." The jet stream is a zone of high speed winds at high levels of the atmosphere that often marks the path weather systems will take. The jet stream typically marks the boundary between cool air to its north and warm air to its south. In short, the way a tropical cyclone curves northeast of Japan amplifies the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean and North America.
Exactly how strongly the tropical system curves will determine the wavelength and position of jet stream ridges and troughs over the Pacific Ocean and North America. (A ridge is a northward bulge of warm in the jet stream; a trough is a southward dip of chilly air.) "In the case of Typhoon Sanba, which curved away from southeastern China around Sept. 14, 2012, but slammed Korea before heading north of Japan around Sept. 16, we had big ridge set up in the western and eastern Pacific with a trough in the middle of the Pacific and a trough over the Upper Midwest and Northeast U.S. during the latter part of September.
The situation in the Western Pacific now is a bit more complex in that we have two tropical cyclones, so we may not have a textbook case of how the push of cold air behaves a couple of weeks later. We do believe that as Jelawat curves northeastward across Japan and Ewinar curves east of Japan this weekend, a push of cold air will begin to drive southward next week over western Canada. From there, the cold push may get hung up over the North Central states or could drive more into the Great Lakes and Northeast next weekend into week two of October."
When tropical cyclones plow northwestward into mainland China and diminish, there is no direct connection in the weather a couple of weeks later for the northern U.S. Neither Jelawat nor Ewinar are forecast to reach westward into mainland China.

**If you keep saying things are going to be bad,
you have a chance of being a prophet.**
Isaac B. Singer

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/29/12 -

9/28/12 -

Japan's industry minister said the country must give up nuclear power plants as soon as possible because they pose too much risk in one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.

In the Atlantic -
- Category 1 Hurricane Nadine was located about 605 mi [970 km] WSW of the Azores. No threat to land.

In the East Pacific -
- Post-Tropical cyclone Norman was located about 130 mi [210 km] W of Los Mochis, Mexico. No watches or warnings. The last advisory has been issued for this system.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Jelawat was located approximately 350 nm southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. It will make landfall over southern Honshu, drag across the Kanto plain, and re-emerge in the Sea of Japan.
- Tropical storm Ewiniar was located approximately 475 nm east-northeast of Yokosuka, Japan. No threat to land. The final warning has been issued on this system.

Typhoon Jelawat - The powerful typhoon is heading to Tokyo after injuring dozens of people, causing blackouts and paralysing traffic in southern Japan. Jelawat is expected to hit the Tokyo region on Sunday evening. They warn of torrential rain and sudden wind gusts, urging Tokyo residents to stay indoors.
At noon (1300 AEST) on Sunday, the storm was packing winds of up to 144 kilometres an hour. The typhoon left more than 50 people with minor injuries on the southern island of Okinawa on Saturday. Thousands of homes were without electricity. Dozens of trains were suspended Sunday in coastal areas around Tokyo, and some 300 domestic flights were to be grounded throughout the day. Up to half a metre of rain is expected in central Japan through Monday.


Spain - A tornado has swept through a fairground in a Spanish town, knocking down a Ferris wheel and injuring 35 people, while the death toll from flooding in the same southern region of the country has risen to 10. Friday's tornado damaged several rides and cut electricity in the temporary fair set up in the main square of Gandia. 15 of the injured were seriously hurt, all of whom were treated on site.The fair in Valencia province was closed to the public at the time of a thunderstorm and all the injured were fair workers.
Just inland from the Mediterranean coastal town, five more victims of Friday's flash floods southwest of Gandia were found overnight. They included a middle-aged woman in the town of Lorca. Last summer, Lorca was hit by Spain's deadliest earthquakes in more than 50 years, leaving nine dead. The heavy downpours and resulting high waters claimed the lives of five people in the province of Murcia, three in Almeria and two in Malaga. A 52-year-old British woman was missing in Almeria as well as one homeless man. Five people originally declared missing had been found alive. Hundreds of citizens had to be evacuated throughout the region.
The flooding disrupted high-speed train service between Madrid and Valencia, and various regional lines, while bridges and roads were also made impassible.The heavy rains which started on Friday morning were expected to continue throughout Saturday, with the front moving north toward Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.


INCOMING SOLAR STORM CLOUD - Magnetic fields around sunspot 1577 erupted on Sept. 28th, hurling a coronal mass ejection (CME) almost directly toward Earth. The cloud raced away from the sun faster than 2.2 million mph. NOAA forecasters estimated a 50% chance of strong geomagnetic storms around the poles on Sept 30th when the cloud reaches Earth.


Vomiting virus hits thousands of German children - The number of children that have fallen ill with vomiting and diarrhea after eating food from school cafeterias and daycare centers has risen from about 4500 to 8400. Authorities in Berlin and the surrounding eastern German states reported the new gastroenteritis cases, while laboratory investigations to determine the exact cause of the outbreak were still under way.
Berlin's health department says the sicknesses are moderate and most children recover within two days without requiring to be taken to hospital. In Saxony state, at least 16 cases of norovirus, a mostly food- or water-borne illness, were proven. All facilities where the illness occurred likely received food from a single supplier.

A popular anti-anxiety drug has been linked with an increased risk of dementia in the elderly, according to new research. Patients over the age of 65 who start taking benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, have a 50 per cent increased chance of developing dementia within 15 years compared with people who had never used the drug, according to the study.
Researchers warned that "indiscriminate widespread use" of the drugs, which are also used to treat insomnia, should be cautioned against. The drug is widely used in many countries. In France 30 per cent of people over the age of 65 take benzodiazepines. Many administer the drug for long periods despite guidelines suggesting it should only be used for a few weeks.
"Benzodiazepines remain useful for the treatment of acute anxiety states and transient insomnia. However, increasing evidence shows that their use may induce adverse outcomes, mainly in elderly people, such as serious falls and fall related fractures. Our data add to the accumulating evidence that use of benzodiazepines is associated with increased risk of dementia, which, given the high and often chronic consumption of these drugs in many countries, would constitute a substantial public health concern. Therefore, physicians should carefully assess the expected benefits of the use of benzodiazepines in the light of these adverse effects and, whenever possible, limit prescription to a few weeks as recommended by the good practice guidelines. In particular, uncontrolled chronic use of benzodiazepines in elderly people should be cautioned against."

New 'Sars-like' not easily transmitted says WHO - A new respiratory illness - from the same family as the Sars virus - appears not to spread easily, experts at the World Health Organization say.

Friday, September 28, 2012

**You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.**
Wayne Gretzky

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
9/27/12 -

Spike in heart failures follows Japan's 2011 quake - Following the massive earthquake and tsunami of March, 2011, which devastated parts of eastern Japan, the number of heart failure cases spiked in Miyagi Prefecture and remained elevated for six weeks.

Volcano Webcams

Columbia - SotarĂ¡ volcano. From September 19-25 there were a total of 36 seismic events associated with fracturing of rock, of which 29 were characterized by low energy level. The remaining, higher energy level, were located mainly in an area between 1 and 2 km north of the volcano, at depths between 1 and 6 km and with local magnitudes around 0.1 degrees on the Richter scale. The network of electronic inclinometers for monitoring deformation showed stable behavior. Monitoring of surface activity at the volcano was done using the webcam installed at Cerro Crespo. When weather conditions allowed, it was possible to capture images of the volcano, in which no morphological changes were evident.

Number of Erupting Indonesian Volcanoes Rises to Five - Five active volcanoes in Indonesia are rumbling due to what the country’s volcano and disaster agency says is increased geophysical activity linked to recent earthquakes in the nearby Philippines. Mounts Soputan, Lokon and Karangetang are active in North Sulawesi province, while Mount Gamalama is showing signs of unrest on Ternate Island and Mount Marapi rumbles on Sumatra. All five volcanoes produced explosions within a week’s time that sent ash plumes soaring above the summits. The overnight blast from Mount Soputan was heard by residents nearly 30 miles away. So far, no nearby residents have been threatened by the blasts, and no evacuation orders have been issued. (photo)

China - Scientists keep a wary eye on hazardous Chinese volcano. Changbaishan, site of one of the largest volcanic events in 2,000 years, is acting up again. very hazardous volcano at the border of China and North Korea is growing more active, and might erupt in the next few decades, researchers studying the area say.
About 1,100 years ago, the Changbaishan volcano in northeastern China erupted, shooting superheated flows of ash and gas up to 30 miles (50 kilometers) away and blasting a 3-mile-wide (5 km) chunk off the tip of the volcano. The explosion, known as the Millennium eruption because it occurred close to the turn of the first millennium, was one of the largest volcanic events in the last 2,000 years.
Since the Millennium eruption, Changbaishan has seen three smaller eruptions, the most recent of which took place in 1903. Starting in 1999, driven by signs of resumed activity, scientists established the Changbaishan Volcano Observatory. Now, data collected over the past 12 years suggest that changes in seismic activity, ground deformation and gas emissions all spiked during a brief period of heightened activity from 2002 to 2006. This suggests the magma chamber beneath Changbaishan has awakened, researchers studying the volcano say.
The researchers saw the number of earthquakes increase dramatically during this burst of activity. From 1999 to 2002, and from 2006 to 2011, researchers detected seven earthquakes per month. However, from 2002 to 2006, this rate increased to 72 earthquakes per month, peaking in November 2003, which saw 243 events. Most of these quakes are tied to a region 3 miles beneath the volcanic crater that has risen slowly over the years, which suggests magma is creeping upward.
Gas emissions from hot springs near the volcano show rises in carbon dioxide, hydrogen, helium and nitrogen gases. The researchers say this could be related to outgassing from magma. The ground also expanded briefly and rapidly during the 2002-2006 period.
Although Changbaishan does not seem in danger of imminent eruption, the researchers say this unrest suggests an explosion could be expected in the next couple of decades. Changbaishan is at the most risk of eruption of the dozen or so volcanoes in mainland China, and potentially could have the most catastrophic effects of all of them. The researchers will focus on analyzing what hazardous effects an explosive outburst on the scale of the Millennium eruption might have in the future. "We need to upgrade our current monitoring system in order to be able to meet the need for the early warning system for Changbaishan." (photo)

In the Atlantic - - Tropical storm Nadine was located about 740 mi [1190 km] SSW of the Azores. No threat to land.

In the East Pacific -
- Post Tropical storm Miriam was located about 440 mi [705 km] W of the southern tip of Baja California. Swells generated by Miriam should begin to subside today, especially along the western coast of the southern and central Baja Peninsula. Swells will likely continue to impact the southern tip of Baja California due to another area of low pressure near the West Coast of Mainland Mexico.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Jelawat was located approximately 300 nm southwest of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Expected to make landfall in Honshu, Japan.
- Tropical storm Ewiniar - was located approximately 270 nm south-southeast of Tokyo, Japan. No threat to land.


After fast start to year, number of tornadoes in U.S. in 2012 drops to 400 below average - While the start of 2012 saw a number of deadly tornado outbreaks that seemed to portend a disastrous year to come, the number of tornadoes recorded since then has fallen to RECORD LOW LEVELSs. Data from the Storm Prediction Center shows the tornado count for the year is 400 twisters below average.
Mother Nature wasted no time unleashing her fury early in the year with a deadly tornado outbreak on January 22nd. As many as 39 tornadoes were reported that day, most in Alabama. Two people were killed and more than 100 injured. February closed out with two days of extraordinary severe weather in the nation’s heartland. Twisters struck 10 different states resulting in 39 fatalities.
The start of April saw tornadoes strike the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex followed by a major outbreak in the middle of the month. Kansas and Oklahoma bore the brunt of massive storms that dropped over 100 tornadoes and killed five. Since mid-spring however tornadoes have become relatively rare in the U.S.
Preliminary numbers show June with a count of around 100 twisters, close to the record low number for the month of 94. On average the month receives 270. July continued the tornado drought with only 24 preliminary tornado reports. This was far below the average of 150 for July and well below the QUIETEST JULY ON RECORD (42 in 1960). August recorded only 52 tornadoes and thus far September has seen 26.
To date the SPC puts the preliminary count of tornadoes in 2012 at 757. The actual count will be lower once duplicate reports are filtered out following analysis. This is as much as 400 fewer tornadoes to date than the long term average. Thus far there have been 68 fatalities attributed to twisters in 2012. Both of those numbers stand in stark contrast to last year’s extraordinary tornado season when 1,691 twisters were recorded and 553 people were killed.


Farmers' Almanac predicts a cold and snowy winter for U.S. Great Lakes, Northeast - After the contiguous United States recorded its fourth warmest winter and as many as 24 states recording below average precipitation, followed by a summer which was the third warmest on record, the Farmers' Almanac is predicting a return to winter for some, but not all this year. The latest and newly released edition of the Farmers' Almanac noted that "the climate this winter will render the nation divided".
According to them, the eastern two-thirds of the nation will be colder than normal while the western United States will be warmer than normal. Furthermore, the eastern two-thirds of the country will be wetter than average with Old Man Winter returning with a vengeance across the Great Lakes and Northeast regions. They are expecting most of the eastern states – as far south as the Gulf Coast – to see snowier than normal conditions and cooler temperatures and are pinpointing February 12–15 and March 20–23 as target dates for a major east coast storm event to take place.
As far as the western half of the United States, this winter will continue its hiatus for another year with areas west of the Continental Divide, particularly the Pacific Northwest, the desert Southwest, and the Pacific Coast experiencing mild and below-normal precipitation. The southern Plains, particularly Texas and Oklahoma will see a mild and wet winter. And for much of the drought-stricken prairie region, an average amount of winter precipitation will bring long awaited relief. ( map of winter predictions for the country)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

April Sumatra quakes signal Indian ocean seafloor break-up - The sequence of huge earthquakes that struck off the coast of Sumatra in April may signal the creation of a new tectonic plate boundary, say scientists. Analysis of the tremors - the biggest was a magnitude 8.7 - suggests major changes are taking place on the ocean floor that will eventually split the Indo-Australian plate in two. It is not something that will happen soon; it could take millions of years.
"This is a process that probably started eight to 10 million years ago, so you can imagine how much longer it will take until we get a classic boundary." Sumatra sits above the collision between the Indo-Australian plate and the Sunda plate. These vast segments of the Earth's rigid outer shell are converging on each other at a rate of about 5-10cm/yr. The elongated Indo-Australian, which comprises much of the Indian Ocean floor, dives under the Sunda, which carries the Indonesian island.
It is friction at their boundary - the sticking and unsticking, and the sudden release of stored energy - that is at the root of so many violent quakes, such as the magnitude 9.1 event on 26 December 2004 that set off a catastrophic tsunami.
But the 11 April 2012 tremors, although also immense in scale, did not have the same impact and generated no tsunami. This can be explained by the nature of the faulting: so-called strike-slip, where rock moves horizontally either side of the line of breakage, as opposed to vertically in tsunamigenic thrust faults.
The April tremors were also much further west, located directly on the Indo-Australian plate itself in an area of large-scale deformation and multiple faulting. It is evident that movement at the plate's ends is stressing the middle.
"Australia already moves with respect to India, and India already moves with respect to Australia. They are separated by a lot of faults. And if you look on Earth today, between plates you have only one fault. So, the process we are talking about is how we go from several faults to only one fault. That's the question - we don't know how long it takes to weaken one so that it localises all the deformation and the others stop being active. At the moment, a lot of faults in the Indian Ocean are active."
Seismic analysis indicates at least four faults were involved in the main 8.7 event, which lasted about 160 seconds. Three of the faults were parallel but offset from each other; the fourth was perpendicular to and crossed the first fault.
The 8.7 jolt "is probably the largest intraplate (within a single tectonic plate of Earth's crust) ever seismically recorded." The historic quake triggered other tremors around the world. This effect has been noted before, but the US Geological Surveyscientists were surprised by the delays involved. "For the vast majority of earthquakes, you can expect an aftershock zone not to really go beyond [1,000km]. But it's also known that very large mainshocks - like the Japanese event we had last year, the magnitude 9 event off north-east Japan - can trigger earthquakes around the world. Most of these triggered events are small and they occur instantly as the seismic waves from the large event are passing by. But this April 2012 earthquake triggered many larger and potentially damaging earthquakes around the world, and with a time delay of hours or up to several days. That EFFECTIVELY EXTENDED THE AFTERSHOCK ZONE TO THE ENTIRE GLOBE." (map)

**Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind,
but great actions speak to all mankind.**
Theodore Roosevelt

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
9/26/12 -

9/25/12 -

9/24/12 -

Volcano Webcams

Increase of eruptive activity at Mexico’s Popocatepetl Volcano - At least 26 eruptions accompanied by steam and gas, as well as a volcano tectonic quake were registered as a consequence of the Mexican volcano Popocatepetl activity, it was reported Tuesday. The eruptions were of low and medium intensity with no ash expulsion in any of them. The volcano tectonic quake was registered at 11.54 local time (16:54 GMT). The alert light of volcano activity remains yellow phase 2. The Popo is located at the center of the country, in the territorial limits of the Morelos, Puebla and Mexico states.

Marapi Volcano erupts with smoke on Sumatra - Mount Marapi volcano erupted on Wednesday on Indonesia's Sumatra island, spewing thick grey smoke up to 1.5 kilometres into the sky. The eruption is its strongest since August last year when its alert level was raised.

In the Atlantic - - Tropical storm Nadine was located about 640 mi [1030 km] SSW of the Azores. No threat to land.

In the East Pacific -
- Tropical storm Miriam was located about 385 mi [615 km] WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Swells generated by Miriam will continue to affect the south and west coasts of the southern and central Baja Peninsula today but will begin to gradually subside on Friday.

In the Western Pacific -
- Super Typhoon Jelawat was located approximately 430 nm south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Expected to make landfall in Honshu, Japan. All models now track across Japan and into the Sea of Japan, but historically storms are not able to cross Japan's mountainous geography.
- Tropical storm Ewiniar - was located approximately 345 nm south-southeast of Yokosuka, Japan. No threat to land.

Nadine is back - The storm that won't die: Nadine regenerates into tropical storm. Tropical Storm Nadine is back, like a nasty cold you just can't get rid of. Nadine had moved southeastwards over cool waters on Friday and Saturday, which robbed the storm of its heavy thunderstorms and tropical characteristics. But the stubborn weather system regenerated into a tropical storm in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean nearly two weeks after becoming a tropical storm in the central Atlantic back on September 11th.

Tropical Storm Miriam is fast weakening off Mexico's Baja California peninsula. Miriam had top sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) at 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday, down sharply.

NASA satellite images of Super Typhoon Jelawat and Tropical Storm Ewiniar.


UK floods: Homes at risk as misery continues. - Flooding misery is continuing as rising waters put thousands of people's homes at risk around the UK. The wet weather is still causing chaos in many communities, with roads, rail and buildings affected. A block of flats in Newburn, Newcastle, is said to be close to collapse and Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, was split in two after a bridge was closed. Homes and businesses in York city centre were also flooded after the River Ouse burst its banks.
Local people said the flooding could be the most severe in recent memory, however the Environment Agency said the river would not breach the city's flood defences. There are still nearly 60 flood warnings - indicating flooding is expected - and more than 100 flood alerts - meaning flooding is possible - in England and Wales, and three flood alerts in Scotland. In Wiltshire, an 11-year-old boy is in a "potentially life-threatening condition" after being struck by lightning. While in Newcastle, police branded looters "despicable" after a bicycle shop in a flood-hit community was raided while roads were blocked by water and silt.
A man has spoken of his escape from his car seconds before it was submerged by raging floodwater in Newburn, Newcastle. Aa small bridge partially collapsed in the village of Scorton, near Richmond. Train services remain subject to some disruption and delays in northern England and Wales. The North Sea foam that swept into Aberdeen during storms on Tuesday has cleared. London Road in Northwich town centre is closed amid fears the River Weaver will burst its banks. North Yorkshire firefighters evacuated about 20 homes in Dalton, near Thirsk.
The Newburn flats' foundations were badly damaged after heavy rain deluged the area. The flats have been evacuated. The Spencer Court flats are "extremely unstable" and they were waiting for a break in the weather so the damage could be assessed. "I have never seen anything like this in 33 years of civil engineering experience." Flooding is still causing problems for roads, rail and buildings, as THE MOST INTENSE SEPTEMBER STORM FOR 30 YEARS continues. The heaviest rush-hour showers were seen in south-west England, circulating around low pressure over Torbay. There are reports of nearly 20mm (0.75ins) of rain falling over the course of an hour in some areas.
The worst of the rainfall is over but the worry is that it was still running into river systems so there could be more flooding. Morpeth in Northumberland suffered flooding in 2008 and again during this storm but defences are not expected to start being built until next year. Residents are afraid every time it rains: "There's always panic in the town, we always check the weather. When you've been flooded, you always worry about when it rains. Four years is a long time. At least we might be able to rest easily at night when it's raining." "It's really tragic for this community because they actually have a flood scheme that is about to start which would protect a lot of homes in Morpeth."
Tuesday saw some places deluged in what was THEIR WETTEST SEPTEMBER DAY ON RECORD, with hundreds of homes being evacuated. Hundreds of people spent the night in temporary shelter and parts of many roads were closed. More than 300 properties have flooded across the country since the storm began on Sunday, including in Morpeth, Durham, Chester-le-Street and Stockton. (photos & video)


Ecuador - Forest fires devastating Ecuador have left five people dead and 73 injured, consuming more than 17,600 hectares of woodland and crops. The five deaths, including one of the firefighters, occurred in the provinces of Azuay, Bolivar, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Tungurahua, while most of the 73 injured were in Chimborazo and Pichincha. In all there have been 3069 forest fires since June 1, when a period of drought set in. The fires have wiped out 17,484 ha of woods and scrubland high in the Andes as well as 142 ha of crops, while another 31 ha of crops were affected but not completely destroyed. The province with the most blazes is Pichincha in the Andes region.


New coronavirus linked to two severe illnesses - Reports of a novel coronavirus linked to two severe illnesses with Saudi Arabian connections put the public health world on alert and conjured up memories of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), a coronavirus infection that killed close to 800 people in 2002 and 2003.

Peanut butter recalled after multistate Salmonella outbreak - Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter grows to 30 cases. A person in Nevada infected with Salmonella Bredeney who developed symptoms Sep 11 has increased the case count in the multistate outbreak linked to contaminated peanut butter to 30. The number of affected states also increased by 1, to 19. Hospitalizations remained at 4, with no deaths, and dates of illness onset range from Jun 11 to Sep 11. Sunland Inc. of Portales, N.M., recalled multiple peanut and almond butter products because of possible Salmonella contamination. Sunland supplied Trader Joe's with the Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter that the CDC linked to the outbreak. Illnesses that occurred after August 30, 2012 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. List of recalled nut products (pdf file)

Cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone tops 19,000 cases - The cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone that started in February has now topped 19,000 cases and has caused 274 deaths. The outbreak is UNUSUAL in that it began during the country's dry season. When the outbreak peaked in August during the rainy season, more than 2,000 cases were being reported per week. The WHO said having a cholera command center, detecting cases early, and disseminating safety messages have been crucial to outbreak-control efforts. The report also said poor sanitation in the country and low supplies of key treatments such as oral rehydration solution remain as top challenges.

Crazy, unexpected week - I won't be able to update the page until Thursday. Sorry for the lack of advance notice.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A fierce storm ripped across South America Wednesday - A storm packing 140-kilometre (87-mile) an hour winds tore across the heart of South America on Wednesday, killing five people in Paraguay and wreaking havoc in Argentina and Uruguay and Bolivia.
The Roque Alonso suburb of the Paraguayan capital Asuncion was devastated by the storm and widespread looting was reported in its aftermath. Four police cadets died and 15 were injured when the roof of their dormitory collapsed, and a 16-year-old boy died at a shopping centre when a water tank collapsed on him outside a pharmacy. "Roque Alonso has to be built all over again." Dozens of injured people flooded Asuncion hospitals and traffic was gridlocked in parts of the city. Nationwide, at least 5,000 homes were destroyed and more than 80 people injured in storm-related incidents. The storm also blew the roof off homes and barns in Neembucu, south of the capital and knocked out power in the town of Encarnacion for many hours.
The wind was less severe further south in Argentina and Uruguay, around 100 kilometres (62 mph) per hour, but strong gusts still ripped of roofs and toppled trees and power lines, plunging some regions into darkness. A woman and her daughter were killed when heavy rains swiftly washed out a road in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. And two people were killed in Uruguay when a suddenly rain-swollen creek swallowed their car. Ports also were locked down in Uruguay until early Thursday, and at least 462 people had to leave their homes. 140,000 customers lost power - more than 10 per cent of the country.
Spring cyclone paralyzes Uruguay's capital as residents are told to stay at home. An “extra-tropical” cyclone bashed from early Wednesday the River Plate with winds of over 150 kilometres forcing the Uruguayan government to close public buildings, suspend transport and recommend residents in the capital Montevideo and other locations along the coast to remain at home.
When the “southeast” wind and rain storm (which are quite normal this time of the year in the River Plate, but this INTENSITY WAS EXCEPTIONAL) was over in the early evening, authorities reported two people dead, tens injured including the President who was caught by a flying metal piece when helping neighbours next to his farm, and millions of dollars in losses. Windows in high rise buildings were broken spraying glass and other debris, hundreds of trees were toppled some of them crashed on homes and others fell on parked cars, including on an urban bus which called for the suspension of Montevideo’s transport system, while some highways and rapid traffic avenues were cut off because of flooding or the huge waves that rained across the city’s coastal promenade. Huge waves cover Montevideo’s rapid transit way next to the River Plate.
Ports and airports were closed for the following 24 hours but some yachts from the main marina in Montevideo were stranded on a nearby beach and a couple of them sunk. Fire brigades in the old part of Montevideo, which as a short peninsula is exposed to the full force of the wind, had to extend ropes in street corners and plazas to help people cross, when the evacuation of government buildings. A father and son drowned when they tried to cross a bridge and water dragged them with their vehicle, but most injuries were caused by flying or falling objects as happened with the President who only suffered a minor cut on the nose. “I was extremely lucky because it was part of a zinc metal sheet from a neighbour’s roof that was blown by a twister."
But not only the President was lucky: this is schools’ “spring week vacation” and most children were at home, the shopping malls and other public entertainments had already been closed because of the intensity of the wind and rainfall. The Fire Department and Police precincts received hundreds of calls requesting help or warning about toppled trees, flooded streets, fallen power lines and the collapse of other public services or the need to rescue people stranded. In mid-afternoon they sadi, "We are working at our maximum response capacity. Hopefully in a couple of hours the wind will begin to calm and the storm to abate”.
Wednesday morning the Uruguayan Meteorology Office announced a RED ALERT with ‘maximum risk” and recommended people to remain at home as winds reached 150 kilometres. Government House in a press conference insisted on people staying at home and adopting some minimum precautions like staying away from windows or taping glass panes. Meteorologists described the storm as an ‘extra-tropical’ cyclone, of extreme intensity and RARE, but not uncommon. In August 2005 the Uruguayan sea-line also suffered a similar low pressure front phenomenon but with wind spells of almost 200 kilometres in some places which flattened whole forests of trees.
“Whenever it has rained, at some point it has stopped” and the same is going to happen “with the wind blowing”. After the wind is over “we have to go out to collect the wood from the trees, rebuild the blown roofs and start again”. Nevertheless, the government hadn’t considered declaring a national emergency because of the damages, but “we still have to receive the information from the rest of the country and then we will have the full picture”. (photos)

No update on Monday this week.

**I don’t know the key to success,
but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.**
Bill Cosby

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
9/22/12 -

9/21/12 -

Vietnam - Quake-hit reservoir needs new checks. The Deputy Prime Minister has instructed that the Song Tranh 2 Hydro Power Plant, which was hit by an earthquake earlier this week, should not put its water reservoirs back into operation at this time despite assurances from professionals that it would be safe to do so.
Five tremors were reported to have hit the plant on Monday and Tuesday, causing panic among the local people and raising concern from experts. The decision not to re-open the reservoirs came after ameeting with scientists, experts and local authorities in Ha Noi. The final decision had been based on the unpredictability of the weather and geology should earthquakes strike again in the Bac Tra My District of the central province of Quang Nam, where the plant is located.
"This is the first ever case where a plant in the construction sector is facing a risk of natural disaster, so we need to consider the issue very carefully. Everything must be done to ensure the safety of the people and the plant." He urged relevant scientific agencies, ministries and sectors to hire foreign organisations and individuals to continue checking and evaluating the impact of the earthquakes on the plant, especially now that the flood season is ongoing. A final decision on the re-operation of the water reservoirs would only be made when an official and comprehensive evaluation was completed.
Reports delivered at the meeting said that the plant had been regularly checked by the Construction Ministry's State Authority for Construction Quality Inspection since 2007. Inspection work so far has confirmed that the plant was built correctly to the design and is safe from earthquakes that measured up to 5.5 on the Richter scale.

Louisiana - Thursday, Bayou Corne residents expressed fear of an explosion at a vulnerable oil and gas-related sinkhole in their community. Sinkhole area residents fear an explosion after 1,000s of quakeshave occurred and dangerously high levels of hydrocarbons filled the swampland area.
Since September 2010, there have been more than 3,700 oil industry accidents in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the non-government watchdog group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Thursday night, Bayou Corne and area residents gathered to share their fear of an explosion and gather information they say they are not getting from Unified Command, government officials representing seven government agencies involved in the disaster. The residents have been subjected to thousands of earthquakes and methane gas leaking in their community. The sinkhole is over half-full of hydrocarbons, possibly in the flammable range. There is no fire ban in the sinkhole area, as Assumption Parish officials have repeatedly advised.
The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources has required any of the seven industry operators in the salt dome below the area to flare or vent gas if it is leaking from their operation. The Louisiana sinkhole disaster has resulted in a state emergency declaration and mandatory evacuation. The White House has remained silent about the Assumption Parish oil and gas sinkhole emergency situation. "This needs to be a federal issue."

Volcano Webcams

Indonesia - Mount Lokon coughs again. On Friday, the volcano erupted with smoke, ash in north Indonesia. The Vulcanology and Disaster Mitigation Agency head said on Friday that despite the eruption, local people did not need to evacuate but should remain cautious over the next few days. “The eruption could be heard 5 kilometers away." The volcano is one of five on high alert in Indonesia. Three active volcanoes are in North Sulawesi and another one in North Maluku.

In the East Pacific -
- Tropical storm Miriam was located about 610 mi [980 km] SSE of the southern tip of Baja California. May eventually be a threat to land.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Jelawat was located approximately 485 nm ESE of Manila, Philippines. Models are starting to suggest a recurve scenario in the East China Sea towards southern Japan.

Tropical Storm Miriam has formed over the eastern Pacific, but it remains well offshore and does not pose a threat to land.

Wind conditions deterring Atlantic storms from threatening Florida. Florida, which hasn’t had a hurricane make landfall since 2005, just might escape this season without one coming ashore, a commercial weather site suggested this week. A pattern that developed over the central and eastern United States during early September will continue to act as a buffer against major tropical systems through the end of the month, and perhaps through the season.
Westerly winds in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere over the central and eastern parts of the country and nearby waters are bringing in streams of dry air that “are generally too disruptive for tropical storms or hurricanes to form in nearby coastal waters and tend to cause tropical systems coming from afar to avoid the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the U.S.,” senior meteorologist said Thursday. Tropical Storm Nadine, its winds down at 60 mph Friday, was the latest example. On Friday, it was about 3,400 miles northeast of South Florida, had been declared “subtropical,” and was expected to die in the far Atlantic.
AccuWeather stressed there’s still a chance for a tropical system either to move close to the coast or form near land. And late September and October are notorious for “backdoor” storms, such as Wilma in 2005, which tracked from the west and moved across the peninsula, hitting Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. It was the last hurricane to have struck Florida. And as South Florida learned last month, a storm’s center can come nowhere near a place while its fringes still do plenty of damage. Isaac was only a tropical storm, and its center was some 200 miles from South Florida, but its outer bands dropped as much as 18 inches across Palm Beach County, causing historic flooding.
The National Hurricane Center also warns there are no givens when it comes to tropical cyclones. “We’re at the peak of the hurricane season. We still have more than two months to go. We don’t want anyone letting their guard down.” This season has produced 14 named storms, with eight becoming hurricanes and one becoming a major storm, with top sustained winds of at least 115 mph. But North America really dealt only with Isaac, and it was only a Category 1 storm when it hit Louisiana in late August.
And Saturday’s date was the historical “median date” for South Florida; half of the hurricane landfalls are on either side. Also, of South Florida’s hurricane strikes reported since 1851, the most, 19, were in October, followed by 15 in September and 11 in August. (map)

Philippines - Public storm warning signals were hoisted over six provinces on Saturday as Tropical Storm “Lawin” (international name: Jelawat) intensified slightly as it moved slowly over the Philippine Sea. The weather bureau advised residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning Signal Nos. 1 and 2 against possible flash floods and landslides. “Likewise, those living in coastal areas under public storm warning Signal No. 2 were alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by the tropical storm."
Lawin is expected to bring heavy to intense rains, from 10 to 25 mm per hour, within its 600 km diameter. The Philippine Coast Guard advised fishing boats and other small seacraft not to venture out into the eastern seaboard of southern Luzon, the Visayas or Mindanao due to the big waves caused by strong to gale winds. In Tacloban City, more than 400 passengers were stranded in the ports of Allen town in Northern Samar and in San Ricardo town, Southern Leyte, after vessels were barred from sailing due to the storm.


Wildfire smoke over the Atlantic Ocean - In September, smoke from wildfires in the western United States blew eastward over the Atlantic Ocean.


Several meteors photographed in the United Kingdom - 9/22/12 - People from across the UK have reported seeing bright objects in the night sky. Coastguards in Northern Ireland took calls from people who saw the objects from Coleraine on the north coast, to Strangford Lough in the south east. The lights were seen as far north as Caithness in Scotland as well as in Wales and Norfolk in East Anglia.
Experts said the sightings could be satellite debris, burning up on entry to the atmosphere. The lights have also been reported in the Midlands, parts of north-east England and in Glasgow and Edinburgh. One person who watched the objects pass through the sky, said it appeared to be something "pretty large breaking up in the atmosphere. I've seen shooting stars and meteor showers before, but this was much larger and much more colourful." (photos)


Cheese-related Listeria outbreak reaches 15 cases. The number of cases in a multistate Listeria outbreak tied to imported ricotta salata cheese has grown to 15 with the addition of one case in Washington state. All 15 patients were hospitalized, and three died. Cases have occurred in 12 states and Washington, DC, with illness onset dates ranging from Mar 12 to Aug 30. The cheese distributor, Forever Cheese Inc. of Long Island City, N.Y., recalled one lot of Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese on Sep 10 and later expanded the recall to all lots. The distributor has stopped importing cheese from the Italian maker, Fattorie Chiarappa SRL.


Friday, September 21, 2012

**I am always doing that which I cannot do,
in order that I may learn how to do it.**
Pablo Picasso

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
9/20/12 -

Volcano Webcams

China's Changbaishan volcano showing signs of increased activity - Roughly 1,100 years ago, the Changbaishan volcano that lies along the border between northeastern China and North Korea erupted, sending pyroclastic flows dozens of kilometers and blasting a 5-kilometer (3-mile) wide chunk off of the tip of the stratovolcano.
The eruption was one of the largest volcanic events in the Common Era. In the subsequent period, there have been three smaller eruptions, the most recent of which took place in 1903. Starting in 1999, spurred by signs of resumed activity, scientists established the Changbaishan Volcano Observatory, a network to track changing gas compositions, seismic activity, and ground deformation. Reporting on the data collected over the past 12 years, these volcanic indices each leapt during a period of heightened activity from 2002 to 2006.
During this brief active period, earthquake occurrences increased dramatically. From 1999 to 2002, and from 2006 to 2011, they registered 7 earthquakes per month using 11 seismometers. From 2002 to 2006, this rate increased to 72 earthquakes per month, peaking in November 2003 with 243 events. Further, tracking the source of the earthquakes, the scientists tie the bulk of the events to a region located 5 kilometers (3 miles) beneath the volcanic caldera, a source that slowly crept upward throughout the study period, suggestive of an ongoing magmatic intrusion.
Gas composition measurements collected from hot springs near the volcano showed spikes in carbon dioxide, hydrogen, helium, and nitrogen gases, which the authors suggest could be related to magmatic outgassing. Ground deformation studies, too, show a brief period of rapid expansion. The authors suggest that though Changbaishan is likely not gearing up for an imminent eruption, one could be expected in the next couple of decades.

Indonesia - Three active volcanoes in North Sulawesi and another one in North Maluku are rumbling due to the impacts of the recent major earthquake in the Philippines, the head of the Vulcanology and Disaster Mitigation Agency said on Wednesday. “All four are on alert status now."
The three rumbling mountains in North Sulawesi are Mount Soputan in Southeast Minahasa, Mt. Lokon in Tomohon and Mt. Karangetang in the northern part of North Sulawesi, while Mt. Gamalama in Ternate Island grumbled in North Maluku. Ash spewed from Mt. Soputan has been blown by the wind to Bitung. The volcanic ash was released by a volcanic explosion early on Tuesday morning. “The explosion on the mountain took place until 2 a.m." The eruption could be heard up to 40 kilometers away. Observers now can not see or record earthquakes there as the explosions are incessant.
Residents of Bitung City, which is located 50 kilometers to the northeast of Mt. Soputan, reported volcanic ash in the area. The ash is not dangerous, but residents could protect their respiratory systems by using paper masks. The volcanic ash and incandescent materials could be seen up to a height of 1,500 meters. “There are incessant explosions. When the sky is clear, [the volcano’s] activities can be seen." Despite the increase in activity, his office would not recommend nearby residents to evacuate. “The residents live eight kilometers from the crater, so it is still safe."
A rise in volcanic activity was also noted at Mt. Karangetang. At Mt. Lokon, volcanic activities were accompanied by an explosion on Sunday. “There was also another explosion at Mt. Gamalama and nearby Ternatie was blanketed with ash. In order to prevent any possible injuries, his agency warned residents not to climb beyond 500 meters above the sea level on Mt. Karangetang. “This is what we can do as they have for years lived on the slopes of the mountain, where there is fertile soil."

Azerbaijan - Mud volcano weakens, no flame is observed in area. Lokbatan mud volcano erupted Thursday morning has weakened. The eruption process is being studied. The volcano was accompanied by a rumble at 05.00 and spewed flames at 09.00: “According to the preliminary observations, the eruption was powerful and mud spread across the area of more than 2 ha. The exact information will be announced after the measurements. But this eruption was more powerful than the eruption in 2010. At that time, the mud covered about 2 ha area.”
No flame is being observed in the area: “The volcano has already weakened. It is not likely to flame again, as it’s weakened.” The Lokbatan mud volcano is the most active [mud] volcano in Azerbaijan and in the world. Last time the volcano erupted in 2010. This is the 24th eruption of the volcano. Fortunately there aren’t any houses in the area, but there are oil wells. (photo)

India - Kalpakkam Nuclear plant sits near undersea volcano. Even as massive protests have stalled the commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear plant, activists have now raised concerns over the safety of another nuclear site in Tamil Nadu. The activists claim that there is documentary evidence that the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam near Chennai sits near an undersea volcano. They have demanded a thorough investigation of the hazard potential of the volcano by the Department of Atomic Energy.
Besides the two power plants in Kalpakkam, there are also a fast breeder test reactor, and a fuel reprocessing facility. There will also soon be a 500-MW prototype fast breeder. “Volcanic eruptions and submarine landslides have the potential to produce truly awesome tsunami waves,” say the authors, who point out that the site of the fast breeder reactor, then under construction, was flooded when a tsunami struck the coast in 2004.
The threat to a nuclear plant from a volcano is something that the International Atomic Energy Agency recognises. The agency’s safety guide, “Volcanic Hazards in Site Evaluation for Nuclear Installations” released in May 2011 asked member countries to safeguard reactors built without considering the effect of volcanoes situated in their vicinity. The IAEA guide also displayed a world map of volcanoes showing a submarine volcano off Puducherry on the eastern coast of India. But despite all these claims, the existence of this volcano has not been confirmed by the Geological Survey of India. Some leading geologists are also sceptical.

In the Atlantic -
- Tropical storm Nadine was located about 190 mi. [305 km] SSW of the Azores. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Azores.

In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Jelawat was located approximately 575 nm east of Manila, Philippines.

Tropical Storm Nadine hesitates again - Tropical Storm Nadine is centered about 170 miles south of Pico in the Azores. Tropical Storm Nadine has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and is moving east-southeast at 8 mph. A turn toward the southeast is expected today. Its minimum central pressure is 981 millibars or 28.97 inches. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Azores. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Nadine could become a post-tropical cyclone in a day or two.
Meanwhile, farther west in the Atlantic Ocean, shower and thunderstorm activity associated with a nontropical low pressure system about 600 miles east of Bermuda has changed little in organization. Conditions appear favorable for gradual development during the next day or so, before upper-level winds become less conducive on Saturday. This system has a high chance, 60 percent, of becoming a subtropical cyclone during the next 48 hours as it moves west-northwest at about 10 mph.

The disturbance in the Central Atlantic is being given a high chance of developing into a subtropical or tropical system over the next two days. Models indicate it will aim north, generally toward Newfoundland, Canada.

Britain - Fierce gales and torrential rain will lash Britain at the start of next week as the tail end of tropical storm Nadine arrives with a bang. Gusts of up to 80mph will bring the risk of structural damage while up to 3in of rain could trigger devastating floods. Forecasters said Hurricane Nadine, currently over the Atlantic, will cause a deep low pressure system to hit the UK on Sunday.
Although the main body of the storm will miss Britain, the “child of Nadine” is likely to trigger a “nasty spell of weather”. A swathe of warm air from the Mediterranean is gearing up to flood into the UK triggering the extreme weather. "We are expecting a low-pressure system will be swept into the UK making it very wet and windy from Sunday and next week is looking very unsettled. We could see up to 40mm (1.6in) of rain. The worst weather will be in the South. There is the potential for a very miserable day.” The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for rain on Sunday and Monday in the South and Southwest.

Tropical storm 'Lawin' [Jelawat] intensifies - Tropical storm "Lawin" continues to intensify as it remains over the East Philippine Sea. Lawin was spotted 600 kilometers (kms) east of Virac, Catanduanes.


Pakistan - Torrential rain caused widespread flooding in Pakistan in September. In southern Pakistan, where the borders of Punjab, Balochistan, and Sindh Provinces meet, a network of levees and canals diverts water from the Indus River to thirsty agricultural fields. Water is usually scarce in Pakistan, but heavy monsoon rains can overwhelm the country’s irrigation infrastructure, as they did in the summer of 2010.
Flood conditions returned ithis summer. The relatively pale blue color of the water in the Indus River suggests that it is carrying heavy loads of sediment, a common occurrence during floods. Apparent deep water covers large stretches of land, much of it along the edges of a human-built irrigation infrastructure. News reports from Pakistan described ongoing difficulties caused by torrential rains in September. Nearly 100,000 residents were displaced in Balochistan Province alone. Casualties in southern Punjab Province resulted from electric shocks and collapsed roofs. Authorities were trying to deliver tents, food, and clean drinking water to affected residents throughout the country.


Washington - "Exploding" wildfires prompt evacuations. The column of smoke rising from Washington's Table Mountain between Cle Elum and Ellensburg on Wednesday evening was reminiscent of the ash cloud from the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Firefighters expect the three in the area to merge into one - a fire described by one firefighter as a monster.
Teams spent the afternoon going from house to house. Those they could save get a green ribbon, those marked with a red one can't be safely defended and will be written off. Large plumes of ash are being carried in all directions, but the ash also carries sparks and at one point the fire was moving so fast it was jumping a mile ahead of itself. Eight-inch chunks of burning bark were falling miles away, into Mission Ridge.
Thick smoke from central Washington wildfires kept residents indoors in some communities Wednesday and forced schools to relocate weekend sporting events, as the advancing flames prompted more evacuations and the closure of a major highway. Thousands of firefighters are battling dozens of wildfires that were sparked by lightning earlier this month up and down the east slope of the Cascades. Some of the blazes are small and in remote areas, but hundreds of residents have been evacuated or warned to be ready to flee near fire large fire complexes burning in the region. (video)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Turkey - Fault lines point to Istanbul quake? - Istanbul lies 20 kilometers north of the North Anatolian Fault, the intersection of the Eurasian and Anatolian plates. An earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater has struck the city every century for the past 1,500 years. The last one was in 1894, so by some calculations the city is overdue.
Seismologists say earthquakes have historically been moving west along the fault line, slowly creeping toward Istanbul. After the 1999 earthquake in Kocaeli, city officials began to worry. Estimates of Istanbul’s population vary widely, from 12 to 19 million people, an exponential rise from only 2 million 50 years ago. For the past several decades, buildings across Turkey’s largest city have been constructed with little to no regulation. In Zeytinburnu, a district that makes up dozens of neighborhoods, officials estimate that 2,300 buildings, or about 15,000 apartments, would be destroyed in an earthquake. And Zeytinburnu is only one of Istanbul’s 39 districts. In all, civil engineers predict that some 2 million of Istanbul’s 3 million residential buildings are at risk.
During the mass migrations to Istanbul in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the government gave residents free license to expand their homes. Single story residences mushroomed into four or five story buildings on unstable foundations. Following Kocaeli quake, the city solicited engineers and universities to survey buildings and create a plan of what Istanbul could do to withstand an earthquake.
The original plan for Istanbul was known as the “Earthquake Master Plan.” The plan was well done, but when the government tried to implement it, everything stalled. “We tested a neighborhood, and we found that one of the buildings was in a bad situation. So [the government] must tell people that you cannot use that building as a home, you must go somewhere else. So if this is one building, it's okay. But if it's 3,000 buildings like Zeytinburnu … then it s a huge political problem.”
Depending who you speak to, a new disaster law will either save lives or infringe on the human rights of families in neighborhoods across the city. The law states that if the government judges a neighborhood to be at risk for an earthquake, or any other natural disaster, the owners must either rebuild according to new construction standards or sell their building to the government — at a price set by the government. The government has promised residents new, although smaller, apartments in the same neighborhood. The old, unsafe buildings will be bulldozed and the land resold. Activists worry that as the land and housing in high-risk areas increases in value, residents will be priced out to distant suburbs. The government would only need 70 percent of owners to agree to sell in order to secure a building. The law makes it illegal for dissenting owners to challenge the government’s decision in court; they can only battle over price.
“According to geological reports, 92 percent of land in Turkey is under earthquake risk. So, according to law the government can intervene all over Turkey. And opening up cases against implementation is against the law. You can only [argue] for the price, but your house will still be demolished.” This law mayl be used to clear out poor neighborhoods to make way for hotels and towering apartment buildings. Local governments have already begun to smooth the way for contractors to make their proposals.

**By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.**
Benjamin Franklin

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/19/12 -
None 5.0 or higher.

9/18/12 -

Volcano Webcams

Indonesia - Alert Levels Rising Along With Smoke and Ash From Marapi Volcano. With several volcanoes already displaying increasing activity, another one in West Sumatra belched thick ash and smoke on Tuesday as the government heightened its alert on possible eruptions.
The MOUNT MARAPI volcano in West Sumatra has been producing smoke and thick ash since last month, residents living near the volcano said. The smoke rose to nearly 200 meters above the crater at around 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday. However, that fog and low hanging clouds largely masked the crater and the rising column of smoke. Another resident from the same village said that “the smoke spewed by the mountain was black and white but was not clearly noticeable because of the fog.”
Since Aug. 3, 2011, the volcano has been repeatedly belching smoke and sulfur-smelling volcanic ash, sometimes up to 1,000 meters into the sky. Ash carried by the winds was reported to have fallen over several districts in the area, including Tanah Datar, Padang Pariaman and Padang Panjang. The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency has raised the status of the volcano to the caution level, or the first alert level above normal.
Marapi is one of several active volcanoes in West Sumatra. The volcano has shown increased activity in the past year, with occasional eruptions. Early this year, authorities established a three-kilometer exclusion zone around the crater after the alert status for the volcano was raised. Marapi, which should not be confused with Mount Merapi in Central Java, straddles the West Sumatran districts of Agam and Tanah Datar.
On Monday local people reported that MOUNT MERAPI in Central Java also showed increasing activity, with rumblings in the past week. Merapi last erupted in October 2010, spewing enormous amounts of ash. Pyroclastic flows, fast-moving currents of superheated gas and rock, killed more than 300 people along the heavily populated slopes and forced 350,000 to evacuate.
Meanwhile, with a small eruption still taking place on MOUNT LOKON in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, authorities there are maintaining alert status for the volcano and have banned all human activities within a 2.5-kilometer radius of the crater. The mountain erupted after dusk on Saturday, spewing superheated volcanic material up to 600 meters and ash up to 1,500 meters into the atmosphere.
MOUNT SOPUTAN, in North Sulawesi’s South Minahasa district, and Mount Karangetang in the Sitaro Islands district, across from the northernmost tip of Sulawesi, remained on a government-ordered standby alert status, just one rung below the most severe alert.
The volcanology office also announced on Monday that it had raised the alert level for MOUNT GAMALAMA, on Ternate Island in North Maluku province, to standby. Gamalama last erupted in December 2011, destroying more than 100 houses and leaving farmers devastated after blankets of ash smothered fruit trees and crops. Four villagers were confirmed dead in that eruption.
Indonesia - Eruption at Mount Soputan. As per reports, it has been revealed that Mount Soputan, which is in Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, erupted on Tuessday . It is considered to be one of the most active volcanoes of Indonesia. The eruption of the volcano has led to ash and smoke ejected up in the sky by nearly one and half kilometers.
A state volcanology official was of the view that the eruption took place on Tuesday. He further affirmed that nearby villages are safe, so they have not been thinking of taking the step of evacuating people from nearby villages. Local residents were of the view that they have seen that there was eruption going on the next day as well. One of the residents was of the view, “In the evenings, there are rumblings that are accompanied by the ground shaking”. Until now, no public information has been revealed by the authorities.
In July 2011 Mount Soputan last erupted and there were no casualties.
Indonesia - Lokon volcano eruption update. The volcano calmed down Monday after its strong eruption on Saturday, but small explosions, probably phreatic in nature, were still going on at Lokon's Tompaluan crater. "We recorded about 35 phreatic eruptions in the crater of Mount Lokon." Phreatic eruptions began on the morning of 16 Sep and ejected water, steam and small amounts of ash to a height of 350-400 m above the crater.
After the eruption on Saturday (15/9) at 18:53 pm, seismicity recorded from the crater of Mount Lokon has continued to be dominated by a large number (hundreds) ofshallow volcanic earthquakes. There is a "high potential of shallow volcanic explosions that produce ash and the presence of the quakes is evidence of energy (magma) supply." Lokon remains at warming level 3 (out of 4).

New Zealand - Tongariro remains restless. The Te Maari crater on Mt Tongariro is still restless, but no further volcanic activity has occurred since it erupted for the first time in more than 100 years. That eruption, on August 6, widened and deepened the crater, and reactivated vents which had been covered up in the 116 years since it last erupted in 1896.
Hot steam and adverse weather has prevented scientists from being able to get close to the crater to properly assess it, but they have recently been able to retrieve a GPS receiver, which was buried beneath 30 centimetres of ash and debris. They are hoping the receiver will be able to provide data on last month's eruption. The weeks leading up to the eruption were marked by a series of earthquakes in the area, but the Te Maari crater erupted with generally no warning on August 6, forcing people to evacuate their homes, and coated surrounding areas in ash.
Seismic activity has remained low in the six weeks since, but some small earthquakes have been recorded in the area. Gas levels have fluctuated, but indicate that the volcano is in a continuing state of unrest. Sulphur dioxide levels taken on September 13 and 18 were 980 and 540 tonnes per day respectively, compared to the 2100 tonnes recorded on August 9. Gas composition, in general, has reverted back to concentrations similar to those recorded prior to the onset of unrest in mid July.
GNS scientists have re assessed the three possible scenarios for the next month. The most likely scenario is that there would be no further eruptions, next most likely is that a similar eruption to the one last month would occur, and the scenario considered least likely is that a larger eruption would occur. Any further eruptions could occur with little or no warning.

Greek Island Santorini Sitting on Huge Inflating Volcanic Magma Ball - Santorini, the Greek island which receives thousands of tourists every summer, is sitting on a giant 'balloon of magma' which continues to inflate, according to a new study. Geologists discovered that the chamber of molten rock, which has been resting peacefully for the last 60 years beneath the volcanic island, has expanded from 10 to 20 million cubic metres between January 2011 to April 2012, and is now 15 times the size of London's Olympic Stadium.
The expansion has forced the island upwards by 14cm (5.5in) and caused several small earthquakes, sparking fears among the local population of a possible eruption. Most of Santorini's 10,000 inhabitants had already noticed something was going on beneath their foot. "During my field visits to Santorini in 2011, it became apparent that many of the locals were aware of a change in the behaviour of their volcano. The tour guides, who visit the volcano several times a day, would update me on changes in the amount of strong smelling gas being released from the summit, or changes in the colour of the water in some of the bays around the islands. On one particular day in April 2011, two guides told me they had felt an earthquake while they were on the volcano and that the motion of the ground had actually made them jump. Locals working in restaurants on the main island of Thera became aware of the increase in earthquake activity due to the vibration and clinking of glasses in their bars."
Santorini's volcano last erupted in 1950, while the last seismic activity was recorded in the archipelago 25 years ago. Its volcano was the site of one of the largest eruptions ever recorded in history, when the island was buried under several metres of pumice by the so-called Minoan eruption 3600 years ago. The eruption was so big that historians believe it could have led to the collapse of the ancient Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110km (68 miles) south of Santorini which was hit by a massive tsunami. Another theory suggests the eruption led to the myth of the sunken island of Atlantis.
However scientists said that the recent movements do not mean an eruption is about to happen - in fact the rate of earthquake activity has dropped off in the past few months.

Azerbaijan researches relation between activation of mud volcanoes and quakes - The Republican Seismological Service Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan is conducting work on installation of seismic telemetry stations in the Caspian Sea. It will allow identifying in what areas of the Caspian Sea an earthquake should be expected.
" We are also conducting research on how to define the relationship between the activation of mud volcanoes and earthquakes. Today, there is no precise definition whether a mud volcano causes an earthquake, or vice versa, but it is natural that mud volcanoes are also dangerous in their own way. In recent years, sharp activation of mud volcanoes has not been observed, but eruption was recorded on the Absheron Peninsula." Speaking of earthquakes, which have increased in recent days and years, an expert noted that the risk of earthquakes in Azerbaijan is not expected. "However, the subject of earthquakes is very unpredictable, and it all depends on the dynamics of the processes taking place in the bowels of the earth."

In the Atlantic -
- Tropical storm Nadine was located about 160 mi...255 km S of Flores in the Azores. A tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Azores Islands. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Nadine could become a Post-tropical cyclone during the next couple of days.


Western and central Africa flooding from July through September. Flooding had affected tens of thousands of people in western and central Africa by mid-September 2012. Flood conditions extended from Senegal eastward to Chad, and the affected region includes northern Cameroon. On September 17, CNN reported that heavy rainfall had persisted in this area FOR ALMOST A MONTH. Floods have claimed nearly 30 lives, and the death toll was expected to rise.
Images show Cameroon’s Far North Region in between Nigeria and Chad. The area pictured is just south of Lake Chad. One image shows flooded conditions on September 17, 2012. For compariosn, another image shows the same area a year earlier, on September 18, 2011. In September 2011, Lake Maga was the only significant body of water in the region. A year later, that lake was nearly engulfed in a much larger floodwater lake that spread across the border into Chad.
Flooding in northern Cameroon has displaced more than 4,000 people, and affected more than 26,000 residents in some way. Authorities worry about the spread of diseases such as cholera and malaria in the wake of the flooding. On September 16, authorities in northeastern Nigeria had recovered 25 corpses from the Benue River, and suspected the bodies had been carried to that region from severely flooded areas in Cameroon.

U.S. - Parts of the East Coast experienced strong storms Tuesday. The weather system bringing the winds and rain.was UNUSUAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. The system affected a large area, stretching from the Carolinas up into New England, and extending west into the Appalachians.
The system was produced in part by an UNUSUAL CONFIGURATION OF THE JET STREAM, which formed a dip or trough across the middle of the country, allowing Gulf of Mexico moisture to ferry up the East Coast "like a conveyor belt." The system was also characterized by strong surface winds, with even stronger winds at higher altitudes. This arrangement is known to produce tornadoes.


Australian Outback bushfire spawns amazing fire tornado - The most extreme example of a fire tornado occurred following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake in Japan. Fires burning north of Tokyo in Yokohama as a result of the temblor converged to create what was described as a 300 foot tall fire tornado.

'Planetary emergency' due to Arctic melt, experts warn - Experts warned of a "planetary emergency" due to the unforeseen global consequences of Arctic ice melt, including methane gas released from permafrost regions currently under ice.
Columbia University and the environmental activist group Greenpeace held separate events Wednesday to discuss US government data showing that the Arctic sea ice has shrunk to its smallest surface area since record-keeping began in 1979. Satellite images show the Arctic ice cap melted to 1.32 million square miles (3.4 million square kilometers) as of September 16, the predicted lowest point for the year. "Between 1979 and 2012, we have a decline of 13 percent per decade in the sea ice, accelerating from six percent between 1979 and 2000. If this trend continues we will not have sea ice by the end of this decade."
While these figures are worse than the early estimates they come as no surprise to scientists. "We are in a planetary emergency". There is a "gap between what is understood by scientific community and what is known by the public." Scientists say the earth's climate has been warming because carbon dioxide and other human-produced gases hinder the planet's reflection of the sun's heat back into space, creating a greenhouse effect. Environmentalists warn that a string of recent extreme weather events around the globe, including deadly typhoons, devastating floods and severe droughts, show urgent action on emission cuts is needed. The extreme weather include the drought and heat waves that struck the United States in the summer.
One consequence of the melt is the slow but continuous rise in the ocean level that threatens coastal areas. Another result is the likely release of large amounts of methane -- a greenhouse gas -- trapped in the permafrost under Greenland's ice cap, the remains of the region's organic plant and animal life that were trapped in sediment and later covered by ice sheets in the last Ice Age. Methane is 25 times more efficient at trapping solar heat than carbon dioxide, and the released gases could in turn add to global warming, which in turn would free up more locked-up carbon. "The implications are enormous and also mysterious."
The impact of the polar ice cap melt is hard to determine because "the Arctic is likely to respond rapidly and more severely than other part of the Earth. "The effects of human induced global change are more and more visible and larger impacts are expected for the future." Some see the Arctic melt as a business opportunity -- a chance to reach the oil and gas riches under the seabed, and a path for ships to shorten the distance between ports and saving time and fuel. Within the Arctic Circle there are some 90 million barrels of oil -- 13 percent of the planet's undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas. The new shipping lanes are dangerous to use because there are plenty of ice floes and little infrastructure for help in case of an accident -- which in turn increases the insurance costs.
Another consequence of global warming is that, as the oceans warm, more cold-water fish move north, "which means more fish will be taken out of their ecosystem." Indigenous communities depend on Arctic fishing and hunting for survival. "My people rely on that ocean and we're seeing dramatic changes. It's scary to think about our food supply."
Video story on RECORD LOW Arctic sea ice.

Arctic Cyclone Breaks Up Sea Ice - YouTube video. Watch how the winds of a large Arctic cyclone broke up the thinning sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean in early August 2012. The storm likely contributed to the ice cap's shrinking to the smallest recorded extent in the past three decades.

Tuesday, September 18 , 2012

No update on Wednesday this week.

**Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.**
Robert Brault

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/17/12 -

Vietnam - The 'most dangerous' earthquakes so far have hit at Song Tranh 2 hydro-power plant. On the morning of September 17, two earthquakes occurred in the region of Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant, with the shallowest level so far. The quakes are considered dangerous, with high surface devastating power. At 0h37 on September 17, the ground in Bac Tra My district of Quang Nam province suddenly emitted explosion. Houses were shaken so strongly that many people who were sleeping had to get up to run out of their houses. At almost 5am, another quake occurred after underground explosions. The two earthquakes lasted for more than 5 seconds, longer than the previous tremors. The consecutive earthquakes over the past week have affected 17 houses, two schools and a number of offices in the area. Two houses in Tra Doc commune were badly damaged, forcing the owners to leave their homes and live temporarily in the houses of their neighbors.
The Institute of Geophysics has confirmed that its seismic stations recorded an earthquake at nearly 5am this morning, with 2.7 Richter scales. The epicenter was about 22 km from the Song Tranh 2 Dam in Bac Tra My district. The second quake could be smaller than 2 Richter scales so the institute’s seismic stations could not record it. Most earthquakes occurred in the past week occurred on a fault zone in the northeast-southwest direction, near the Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant. The recent earthquake was only 2.7 Richter scales but it was the shallowest quake so far. A specialist from the Institute of Geophysics said that the less deep earthquakes are, the more dangerous they are and capable of surface devastation.
According to statistics of the Institute of Geophysics, from August 17 to September 17, its earthquake monitoring stations in Binh Dinh and Hue and the accelerators installed at Song Tranh 2 hydroelectric dam recorded 17 tremors. The two biggest quakes occurred at 8.46pm on September 3 with magnitude of 4.2 Richter scales and at 9.27am on September 7 with 4 Richter scales. The Chair of the Quang Nam Provincial People's Council, expressed his concern over the recent earthquakes in the region of Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant. He said that the government should consider carefully when allowing the Vietnam Electricity Group to store water in the Song Tranh 2 hydroelectric reservoirs. The local authorities are implementing a training program for local people who live close to the plant to respond to earthquakes. The local administration has also prepared evacuation plans in the worst cases.
"If it is found unsafe, Quang Nam province will ask the government to not allow EVN to store water in the Song Tranh 2 reservoir. The province will continue to bring this issue to the National Assembly session in October." The 2 Hydropower Project Management Board said there are nearly 600 electronic devices in the body of the dam, with a full range of functions such as: monitoring temperature, earthquake, thermal displacement slot, etc. to ensure safe operation of the dam. Last week, the Deputy Prime Minister asked EVN to regular inspect and report on the operation of the dam. EVN was also asked to provide the data from the monitoring devices inside the dam body to the People's Committee of Quang Nam province and Bac Tra My district and relevant agencies. The Deputy Prime Minister also asked the Ministry of Science and Technology to coordinate with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology to conduct surveys, research, assessment of earthquakes in Bac Tra My district, Quang Nam province.

Volcano Webcams

Two Indonesian Volcanoes awaken, rattling nerves - Two of Indonesia's most active volcanoes erupted on Saturday, prompting the government to issue warnings to populations living near the affected mountains. New eruptions started at Lokon in North Sulawesi and Gamalama at Ternate in North Maluku. Lokon generated a 1,500-meter high ash plume and violent strombolian (low-level) activity with some lava flow, while Gamalama produced a shower of ashes that covered the nearby city.
Lokon, located in North Sulawesi’s Tomohon area, erupted at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The explosion from the eruption shattered windows of the command post built to monitor the activities of the volcano. The agency issued warnings to local administrations to prepare precautionary measures, and called on people to remain alert. “The residents don’t have to be evacuated but they must not do any activities within the range of five kilometers from the volcano."
Meanwhile, the Gamalama spurt sent ashes into the air for about 15 minutes at 11 p.m., before the wind carried the ashes toward the North Maluku capital of Ternate. “The ashes came down on the city, decreasing visibility to only 50 meters." Officials set up four stations to help people in the event of a larger eruption. “Here also, we don’t see any need to evacuate people. But we will stay on high alert." Lokon has erupted several times previously, with an explosion in July 2011 forcing more than 5,200 people to be evacuated. The eruption created huge clouds of ash as high as 3,500 meters. Lokon’s last deadly eruption was in 1991, when a Swiss tourist was killed.
Last December, Gamalama erupted, resulting in four villagers being killed and dozens others being hospitalized. About 1,000 residents were forced to evacuate. The Indonesian archipelago has dozens of active volcanoes and straddles major tectonic fault lines. Earlier this month, there was volcanic activity at Lampung’s Anak Krakatau.

Spain's El Hierro Island Volcano starts erupting - Volcanic activity on Spain's El Hierro island has resumed far below the Earth's surface in a similar manner to last July, albeit slightly stronger, over the past three days more than 330 minor seismic movements have been registered. A peak of seismic activity is under way, a continuation of the volcanic process - a shifting of magma many kilometers (miles) under ground - that began in July 2011 which, although the main activity ended at the time with an undersea eruption, that did not mean that the overall activity had come to a definitive conclusion.
The IGN official said that at present it is not expected that the seismic movements that have been registered - which have occurred at depths of some 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) - exceed 3.2 on the Richter scale, a fairly low level. They could not specify how long this new round of activity would last, although they did say that seismic peaks like the current one would, in all likelihood, continue to occur. Therefore, the IGN is studying the idea of convening the scientific committee of the Civil Protection Plan for Volcanic Risk in the Canaries after this reactivation in the depths of the El Hierro volcano.
Officials with the regional government of the Canaries stated that experts had verified “an acceleration of released seismic energy accompanied by deformations” in underground structures. For the present, the largest movement registered so far was the one measured at 3.2 on the Richter scale, which was felt on Saturday for some 13 hours and 15 minutes by the residents of the municipality of El Pinar.

Philippines - Mayon and Taal volcanoes on alert level 1 Monday as volcanic earthquakes were detected in the last 24 hours, although no eruption was imminent, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said. Mayon Volcano's seismic network detected one volcanic earthquake during the past 24-hour observation period. Steaming activity and crater glow could not be observed due to thick clouds covering the volcano's summit the whole day. Meanwhile, one volcanic earthquake in Taal volcano in Batangas was also recorded during the 24-hour observation period. Phivolcs is closely monitoring the volcanoes.

In the Atlantic -
- Tropical storm Nadine was located about 490 mi. [790 km] WSW of the Azores. A tropical storm watch may be required for a portion of the Azores today.

In the East Pacific -
- Category 1 Hurricane Lane was located about 1180 mi. [1895 km] WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Lane should weaken into a tropical storm today and further weakening is expected on Wednesday. No threat to land.

Typhoon Sanba Reaches Vladivostok, Russia - Floods city streets. Over ten streets were flooded in Vladivostok as typhoon Sanba reached the Russian Far Eastern city bringing there one third of monthly rainfalls norm. The Sanba emerged on September 10 near the shores of Philippines and before reaching Vladivostok it battered Japan and two Koreas leaving dozens of people homeless and cutting electricity power supplies. The administration of Vladivostok and the local emergencies services did not report any casualties and damages, but said that the storm caused a mudslide in the city, which temporarily disrupted a train connection between two local stations. Schools and kindergartens in Vladivostok continue working as usually, but it is up to parents to decide whether to take their children there during the storm. According to meteorologists, heavy rains will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday in the region with wind gusts reaching 23-28 meters per second.
Powerful typhoon Sanba lashed North and South Korea with strong wind and heavy rain, killing two people in landslides, leaving hundreds of others homeless and triggering blackouts in the South, officials said Tuesday. In North Korea, rain drenched parts of the country, including the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, but did not reach the capital, Pyongyang, which was windy Monday but spared the heavy rains that lashed the South Korean capital.
Sanba, which battered southern South Korea around midday Monday, pushed northward and moved into eastern waters, where it weakened and lost energy on Tuesday morning. North Korea didn’t get a direct hit but was affected by the storm’s outer bands. More than 3,700 homes and shops in South Korea remained without power Tuesday but officials were expected to restore power later in the day. A woman died in a landslide in southeastern South Korea, and a man died in a separate landslide. Two people were injured and about 560 people were left homeless.
Before reaching South Korea, the storm hit Japan. One man drowned in high waves, about 67,000 homes in southwestern Japan lost power and some areas flooded. There were no immediate official reports from North Korea on whether the storm caused any damage there. Dozens there were killed in a typhoon last month, and the country suffered flooding and drought earlier in the year.


As water shifts, weather gets more extreme, scientist says. An earth scientist and engineer is mapping where the planet’s fresh water is going — and where it’s disappearing. “This, to me, is frightening stuff. This is really the first time we’ve been able to put this together on a map like this.”
The ongoing extreme drought in the U.S. Midwest, extreme flooding in Southeast Asia this summer and an Australian Dust Bowl of the past decade might all have a common cause: The world’s water is increasingly on the move, and some parts of the world are losing their fresh water as a result. “One of the most palpable impacts of global change may be changes to the water cycle. It stands to reason that we’ll be seeing more flooding and drought.”
In other words, as the planet continues to warm, the extra energy is pushing weather and climate engines to full throttle. The extremes – from drought to deluge – are getting more extreme, potentially impacting nearly every segment of society, including agriculture, water management, politics, even international conflict. Vast amounts of water typically move between the oceans and land in a yearly cycle. But the team, using a decade of data from a twin pair of satellites orbiting Earth, has found the balance of water between the two is swerving back and forth more and more wildly. Mid-latitude countries, including Mexico and the U.S., are seeing a loss in water, for example, while areas along the equator and near the North and South poles are getting more. “The implications, I think, are pretty staggering... you all well know, this variability is a huge challenge.”
The movement of water each year is so massive that it shifts the planet’s gravity. And the areas losing mass – and losing water – overlap with current droughts and heat waves. The clock is ticking. “The one thing that society wants … is a sustainable, secure, reliable water source. We don’t have the infrastructure to deal with what these maps are showing us. And that’s not something you can fix overnight.” One window into the potential trouble around the corner – as some people lose water and others gain it – is the relationship between India and Pakistan. The south Asian countries, which border each other, have fought over that border since they split in the 1940s. Both have stressed water supplies already. If supplies continue to shrink and humans do nothing, the two nations – both with nuclear weapons and nearly 1.5 billion people combined – could go to war for that water. “When you sit down and reflect on what it means, that is when the emotion comes in. It’s not just India, it’s not just Pakistan — it’s happening all over the world. It’s something that we need to think about and plan for the future.”

California - Triple-Digit Heat BREAKS RECORDS In Long Beach. The National Weather Service of Los Angeles released two notices of triple-digit record-breaking temperatures in Long Beach over the weekend. On Friday, a high of 104 degrees was recorded, breaking the old record of 96 set in 1979.