Sunday, November 18, 2012

New Zealand - Scientists are warning there are heightened signs of volcanic activity at Mt Ruapehu and an eruption could be just weeks away. GNS Science experts say pressure is building up in the crater lake at the volcano and there is now a high risk of an eruption. Mt Ruapehu last erupted in 2007 and usually does not give any immediate warning that it is going to erupt. Pressure build-up was thought to have caused the 2007 eruption and a smaller eruption in 2006.

**I know for sure that what we dwell on
is who we become.**
Oprah Winfrey

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
11/17/12 -

11/16/12 -

New Virginia earthquake map reveals damage - Last year's 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit eastern Virginia caused a significant amount of damage to homes in the area, much of which was overlooked because it happened in a sparsely populated region.

Volcano Webcams

Chile calls off search for European hikers who disappeared in snowstorm on Patagonian volcano. A search for three European hikers who got lost in a snowstorm on a volcano in Patagonia ended Friday after a nine-day operation involving more than 500 people. High winds, rain and fog grounded two helicopters for much of the search. Bad weather meant they could hardly use thermal imaging cameras.
“In nine days of searching, we’ve only found minimal clues, and we can’t link them directly to these people. Based on available evidence and the technical evaluation of experts in this kind of rescue, we unfortunately have to call off this phase of the search." Local guides planned to keep looking on the Quetrupillan volcano for any sign. Area residents recalled that once a Japanese tourist wasn’t found on the snow-covered volcano for months, until summer heat finally exposed the body. Families of the hikers declined to comment on the end of the search.
The three men haven’t been heard from since a snowstorm hit Nov. 7 while they were hiking atop Quetrupillan, which is in Chile’s Villarica National Park. The search began the next day and grew to include hundreds of university students, police officers, troops and mountain rescue experts on both sides of Chile’s border with Argentina. The park’s volcanos are popular because paths lead right up to the craters at the top. But they can also be deadly when hikers aren’t prepared for sudden storms. Quetrupillan is covered with glaciers.

A sudden 6.5 quake in long-quiet Alaska region sets off alarms - The quake took place at 10:42 a.m. on Monday in Cordova, 165 miles south of Cape Yakataga in the Gulf of Alaska. While one or two locals felt a little shake, rattle and roll, the event went mostly unnoticed -- except at the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.
"Oh yeah, the alarms were going off. The seismometers are live, real-time feeds. The first alarm that goes off is a voice alarm. Then a beeping alarm. We knew within two minutes the location and magnitude." Because of the quake's location, more than 150 miles offshore, a tsunami was not expected and no watch, warning or advisory was issued by the center. However, this quake definitely caught the attention of geologists and emergency management specialists.
"This was a big quake, 6.5, and it took place on the edge of the Yakatat Block. The last time we have seen any significant activity in this area was in the 1980s. The northeast area of the Pacific Ocean has been a little quiet and ideally we'd like to see more activity in the range of 3-4 magnitude. This event definitely perked our ears up." Coincidentally, a team of 18 geologists, emergency management specialists and local responders from state and federal agencies and nine communities had just been in Cordova the prior week for a Tsunami Operations Workshop.
The Yakatat Block, is an area of the earth's crust along southcentral coast of Alaska. It converges with the Pacific plate along its southern edge, with the Fairweather Fault to the north and the Aleutian Megathrust to the west. The Yakatat Block has been quiet back to 1987. What is especially concerning is that after such a long period of inactivity, there is a lot of built up pressure and the likelihood is greater that there will be a significant quake with the potential to generate a tsunami -- similar to what happened in 1964.
The 9.2-magnitude great Alaska earthquake of 1964 is still the second highest recorded earthquake anywhere on the planet. Of the 132 deaths associated with the event, 122 were attributed to the Pacific-wide tsunami it generated.
It is not a question of "if", but when and knowing what to expect is the key to recovery preparedness. "There are the big myths. That a tsunami is a giant wall of water, that there is only one wave, that it is something you can surf -- or that it simply won't happen." The great wall of water is perhaps one of the most important myths for the team to debunk. "For Cordova and other Alaska coastal communities, the more likely scenario is a wave in the neighborhood of one meter. And that is a very destructive wave. It is really important for everyone to understand the severity of the small wave."
After the 2011 Japan quake, a tsunami hit in the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, 14 hours after the Japan earthquake. Police patrolled the waterfront asking the public to move away from the harbor area, but the public did not heed the request. Instead, people could be seen walking along the docks, lined along the shoreline with cameras and packed shoulder to shoulder along an elevated walkway waiting for the tsunami like the next big act at SeaWorld.
At first the docks start to roll gently, but in an instant the water silently charged through the harbor with speed and force, tossing boats up on docks and snapping floats into pieces as the crowd ooo's and ahh's. In that instance, the height of the wave never rose above the bank, but the destruction was evident. One very lucky man managed to ride out the wave standing on a dock surrounded by boats ripped from their slips. The speed and force of the wave's exit was impressive too. This leads to the second myth: there is only one wave. The third myth is that you should hop in your boat and ride it out.
"There were reflections from the Japan earthquake across the Pacific Ocean for seven days. There is a lot of energy behind a tsunami." Tsunami waves can travel across the open ocean at speeds well over 600 mph, as fast as a jet flies. Speed is influenced by the depth of the ocean. But the potential threat from a wave is higher as it reaches shore. In an area enclosed by land, such as Prince William Sound, the energy can reflect, reverberating and sloshing waves around as if confined in a bath tub.
The town of Cordova is considered a Tsunami Ready Community, with a designated evacuation plan and personnel trained in recovery preparedness. A weekly siren that goes off at noon can be heard all over town on Wednesdays telling the community that in a real emergency, they will be directed to safety. Additional sirens are in the plan for outlying neighborhoods and signs have been ordered telling people to move to higher ground in the event of a tsunami.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Three was located about 385 nm south of Kolkata, India.

A deep depression lying 500 km south-east of Chennai, India, has intensified into a cyclonic storm and is expected to cross the coast between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow, bringing in torrential rains in the region.


HUMONGOUS ERUPTION - A truly gigantic explosion happened on the sun Friday. On Nov. 16th, magnetic fields snaking halfway across the sun's southern hemisphere erupted in tandem, producing a prominence so big, it didn't fit inside the image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The sun unleashed the monster eruption of super-hot plasma in back-to-back solar storms captured on camera by a NASA spacecraft. The giant sun eruption, called a solar prominence, occurred at 1 a.m. EST (0600 GMT). The blast hurled a CME into space, but the cloud does not appear to be heading for Earth. A movie of the event shows magnetic fields in concerted motion across an expanse of solar "terrain" more than 700,000 km wide. Observations have shown that such wide-ranging eruptions are not uncommon on the sun - the great Global Eruption of August 2010 being the iconic example


Growing concerns over 'in the air' transmission of Ebola - Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species. In experiments, they demonstrated that the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between them.
The researchers say they believe that limited airborne transmission might be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa. They are concerned that pigs might be a natural host for the lethal infection. Ebola viruses cause fatal haemorrhagic fevers in humans and many other species of non human primates.
The infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids from a number of species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope. The fruit bat has long been considered the natural reservoir of the infection. But a growing body of experimental evidence suggests that pigs, both wild and domestic, could be a hidden source of Ebola Zaire - the most deadly form of the virus.
Now, researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country's Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species. In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical of ebola and were euthanised. One possibility is that the monkeys became infected by inhaling large aerosol droplets produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs.
The scientists say that their findings could explain why some pig farmers in the Philippines had antibodies in their system for the presence of a different version of the infection called Ebola Reston. The farmers had not been involved in slaughtering the pigs and had no known contact with contaminated tissues.
The transmission in the air is not similar to influenza or other infections. In most human outbreaks in Africa, "the reality is that they are contained and they remain local, if it was really an airborne virus like influenza is it would spread all over the place, and that's not happening." There have been anecdotal accounts of pigs dying at the start of human outbreaks.
If pigs do play a part, it could help contain the virus. "If they do play a role in human outbreaks it would be a very easy point to intervene. It would be easier to vaccinate pigs against Ebola than humans." Other experts in the field were concerned about the idea that Ebola was susceptible to being transmitted by air even if the distance the virus could travel was limited. "The thought of airborne transmission is pretty frightening."
At present, an outbreak of ebola in Uganda has killed at least two people near the capital Kampala. Last month, Uganda declared itself Ebola-free after an earlier outbreak of the disease killed at least sixteen people in the west of the country.