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)