Sunday, October 14, 2012

**When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’
I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’**
Sydney Harris

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/13/12 -

10/12/12 -

In three days, two earthquakes with magnitude 5-plus shake Costa Rica - A magnitude-5.2 tremor shook Costa Rica's Pacific coast, a couple days after a magnitude-5.3 quake rattled the same part of the country. In both cases, no damage or injuries were reported.

Volcano Webcams

Indonesia - East Nusa Tenggara Volcano Erupts, Two Others on Alert. Hundreds of villagers near Mount Rokatenda on Palue Island in Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara, were evacuated after the volcano erupted on Thursday. Two other volcanoes in the province are reportedly on alert as well.
Smoke was seen billowing from the top of Rokatenda, which is still spewing ash, causing panic among the island’s residents. Authorities say they have evacuated all the residents of Awa village, which is nearest to the volcano, and have told nearly 6,000 residents of four other nearby villages to move to safer locations. “We’re prohibiting people from being within a radius of 1.5 kilometers from the mountain."
“Mount Rokatenda’s activities have been continually increasing over the past few days. It has released [ash] and smoke, so we’ve evacuated people living near the mountain to safer places." What appeared to be a “huge fire” was seen on top of the volcano, and could be seen by the majority of people on the main Flores Island, south of Palue. Volcanic activities had been increasing since Oct. 2, with at least 31 related quakes since.
Rokatenda last erupted in 1985, spewing ash two kilometers away. In 1928, its eruption triggered a tsunami, believed to have killed nearly 300 people. Rokatenda was currently on Alert Level II status, “Waspada,” out of four statuses, with the fourth being the most dangerous. Two other volcanoes in the province, namely Mount Lewotolok in the district of Lembata and Mount Sirung in the subdistrict of Alor, are on the “Waspada” status as well.

Volcanic Eruptions Trigger Discovered - A repeating trigger for the largest types of volcanic eruptions on the Earth has been discovered. Explosive volcanic eruptions are caused by mixing magmas.
Meteorologists know mixing cold air and warm air triggers powerful thunderstorms. Now, geologists have discovered a similar phenomenon at work beneath one of Europe's most hazardous volcanoes. "There have been at least 8 enormous eruptions at the Las Cañadas volcanic caldera on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, over the last 700,000 years. “These catastrophic events have resulted in eruption columns of over 25km high and expelled widespread pyroclastic material over 130km. By comparison, even the smallest of these eruptions expelled over 25 times more material than the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.”
In new research it was found that mixing within the magma chamber that occurs well before the eruption, older cooler magma mixing with younger hotter magma, seems to be “the repeating trigger in large-scale eruptions...Stirring young hot magma into older, cooler magma appears to be a common event before these explosive eruptions.”
"The pyroclastic deposits suggest that the magma chamber empties itself during the eruption, and the chamber then collapses in on itself forming the caldera. “The Las Cañadas volcano is ... identified by the international community as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated area. Our findings will prove invaluable in future hazard and risk assessment on Tenerife and elsewhere. The scale of the eruptions we describe has the potential to cause devastation on the heavily populated island of Tenerife and major economic repercussions for the wider European community."

Japan - Continuing warning - Scientists fear Mt Fuji ready to explode. A Japanese scientist has warned Mount Fuji is due for a "big-scale explosive eruption" that could affect millions of people and cause billions of dollars worth of damage.
Last month a study found the magma chamber under the mountain has come under immense pressure, which could even trigger a volcanic eruption. The added pressure could have been caused by last year's earthquake, which was followed a few days later by another large tremor directly underneath Fuji. The head of Japan's volcanic eruption prediction panel says an eruption could cause chaos and carnage all the way to Tokyo.
"Mount Fuji has been resting for 300 years now, and this is ABNORMAL. It usually erupts in some form every 30 years. So the next eruption could be a big-scale explosive eruption." Ever since last year's massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake off Japan's north-east, the country's meteorological agency has been keeping a closer eye on Mount Fuji. Of even greater concern to the agency was a magnitude-6.2 quake right under the volcano a few days after the big one. "It's known that when a large earthquake happens, it can trigger a nearby volcano to erupt. That's what happened 300 years ago, when Fuji erupted just 40 days after a big quake."
If there is a large eruption, the government fears it could cause more than $30 billion in damage to public health and agriculture. Ash accumulations in some areas could be as high as 60 centimetres. Even Tokyo, 100 kilometres to the north-east, could be coated in volcanic ash. "Volcanic rocks will fall near the mountain. Tokyo will be covered in a few centimetres of ash. Yokohama will be under 10 centimetres. Trains will stop, planes won't fly and crops will fail. Millions will be affected." For the hundreds of thousands who live in the shadow of Fuji, an eruption is a constant worry.

In the Atlantic -
- Tropical storm Rafael was located about 25 mi [40 km] WSW of St. Martin. Rafael is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches, over the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands, Culebra and Vieques. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides especially in areas of mountainous terrain. Tropical storm conditions are possible over Puerto Rico today. Rafael could become a hurricane by late Monday.

In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm Paul was located approximately 660 mi [1065 km] SSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Most of the models show Paul losing strength on its approach to Baja.

In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon 22w (Prapiroon) was located approximately 325 nm south-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone 01s (Anais) was located approximately 395 nm southwest of Diego Garcia. It is the first tropical cyclone of southern Indian Ocean season.

Tropical Storm Rafael is bringing heavy rains to the lesser Antilles islands as it makes its way across the eastern Caribbean Sea, where tropical storm warnings have been issued for numerous Caribbean islands and heavy rains are expected to unleash floods on islands around the region. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, St. Maartin and Guadeloupe, among other places. The storm is expected to stay away from the U.S.


The U.S.'s WORST DROUGHT IN DECADES showed no signs of improvement last week in parts of the Midwest and Plains where the corn harvest is about two-thirds complete, clouding the prospects for the winter wheat crop.


GEOMAGNETIC STORM UNDERWAY - A G1-class geomagnetic storm was underway on Oct. 13th. Reports of bright auroras have been received from Scandinavia, Greenland, Canada and several northern-tier US states. Reported from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: "Never have I seen the auroras so bright, especially from within the city. They were astounding, with purple visible to the naked eye."
The ongoing storm was triggered by a knot of south-pointing magnetism from the sun. During the early hours of Oct. 13th, the knot bumped into Earth's magnetic field, opening a crack in our planet's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in to fuel the auroras. More auroras are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of strong polar geomagnetic storms today when a solar wind stream is expected to blow past Earth.
RADIO STORM ON JUPITER: Two nights ago, there was a storm on Jupiter -- a radio storm. An amateur radio astronomer recorded the event using a shortwave radio telescope located in New Mexico. Whooshing, crackling, and popping sounds emerged from his telescope's loudspeaker:
Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Now is a good time to listen to Jupiter's radio storms. The distance between Earth and Jupiter is decreasing as the giant planet approaches opposition on Dec. 3rd; the closer we come to Jupiter, the louder it gets.