Sunday, November 25, 2012

**Great spirits have always encountered
violent opposition from mediocre minds.**
Albert Einstein

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.
Cluster of moderate quakes in DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE (54+ since late last night)

Yesterday -
11/24/12 -

11/23/12 -

11/22/12 -

Japan - A 4.9 earthquake shook eastern Japan on Saturday, swaying buildings in Tokyo at 5:59 p.m. (0859 GMT). No tsunami warning was issued.
Japan should be prepared for the possibility of a magnitude-10 earthquake - although the chances of a temblor that size are slim, a seismologist said. “But if we think of what could happen, with the maximum in mind, we can make a swift response.”
The world’s largest recorded earthquake was the magnitude-9.5 Valdivia earthquake off the coast of Chile in 1960, rupturing a 1,000-kilometer fault. A magnitude-10 earthquake would be 30 times more powerful than the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. A magnitude-10 quake is possible in theory if a large fault slips.
If a temblor of such a scale should strike, the underground rupture would continue for 20 minutes to an hour, meaning tsunami could hit coasts before the shaking subsides. If a 3,000-kilometer stretch from the Japan Trench to the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench along the Pacific Ring of Fire has a slip of 60 meters, that would constitute a magnitude-10 earthquake. The energy of a magnitude-11 quake, 30 times more powerful than a magnitude-10 temblor, would be equivalent to that of the asteroid impact that is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65.5 million years ago. Such a quake would cause a shift extending more than 20,000 kilometers. The seismologist concluded that consideration would not be needed for such an earthquake.

Iran - August quake disaster leaves 100,000 without shelter. As winter settles in a remote province of Iran, a pair of earthquakes that devastated the area in mid-August will likely claim new lives.

Volcano Webcams

New Zealand - Mt Ruapehu could erupt 'with little or no warning'. GNS says the risk of Mt Ruapehu erupting has not changed despite an eruption on nearby Mt Tongariro earlier this week. Samples taken from Ruapehu's crater lake this week show signs of unrest beneath the surface and scientists say it could erupt at any time.
Lingering ash from the volcanic eruption disrupted flights across parts of the North Island on Thursday, as scientists warned Mount Tongariro could blow again at any time. Volcano watchers driving along State Highway 46 for a look at Mount Tongariro are being advised to take extra care. The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists to avoid stopping on the highway. The sulphurous smell from the volcano has been noticed in Manawatu and Hawke's Bay.
The Taupo District Mayor has described the response to Mount Tongariro's eruption as a total overreaction. Following Wednesday afternoon's eruption, some flights over the Central Plateau were cancelled, a Civil Defence alert issued, and a three-kilometre exclusion zone set up. The Te Maari crater will continue to spew steam for months, if not years to come, and there's a high chance of another eruption. But predicting ongoing activity is not an exact science.


California - After 2011 devastation from the Japan quake, California port building a “tsunami-resistant" harbor. It doesn’t matter if the earth sways in Chile, Alaska or Japan, the formation of the sea floor along the U.S. West Coast generally aims any tsunami surges at the tiny California port town of Crescent City. Churning water rushes into the boat basin and then rushes out, lifting docks off their pilings, tearing boats loose and leaving the city’s main economic engine looking as if it has been bombed.
That’s what happened in March 2011, when the Japanese earthquake sparked a tsunami that sank 11 boats, damaged 47 others and destroyed two-thirds of the harbor’s docks. Port officials are hoping that tsunami is among the last of many that have forced major repairs in Crescent City, a tiny commercial fishing village on California’s rugged northern coast. Officials are spending $54 million to build the West Coast’s first harbor able to withstand the kind of tsunami expected to hit once every 50 years — the same kind that hit in 2011, when the highest surge in the boat basin measured 8.1 feet (2.5 meters) and currents were estimated at 22 feet (6.7 meters) per second.
Officials are building 244 new steel pilings that will be 30 inches (76 centimeters) in diameter and 70 feet (21 meters) long. Thirty feet (9 meters) or more will be sunk into bedrock. The dock nearest the entrance will be 16 feet (5 meters) long and 8 feet (2.4 meters) deep to dampen incoming waves. The pilings will extend 18 feet (5.5 meters) above the water so that surges 7 ½ feet (2.3 meters) up and 7 ½ feet down will not rip docks loose.
Crescent City was not the only West Coast port slammed by the tsunami, which was generated by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake in Japan. The waves ripped apart docks and sank boats in Santa Cruz, California, and did similar damage in Brookings, Oregon, just north of Crescent City. But their geographical location doesn’t make them as vulnerable to multiple tsunamis. “Normally, Crescent City takes the hit for all of us." Since a tidal gauge was installed in the boat basin in 1934, this small port has been hit by 34 tsunamis, large and small. It typically suffers the most damage and the highest waves on the West Coast.
The sea floor funnels surges into the mouth of Crescent City’s harbor, and the harbor’s configuration magnifies them, experts say. A wave generated by an earthquake in Alaska on Good Friday, 1964, killed 11 people and wiped out 29 city blocks. That was 10 years before the boat basin was even built. When the waves hit in 2011, the port was still repairing damages from a tsunami that hit in 2006.
The March 2011 tsunami was a wake-up call for communities up and down the West Coast. Many improved tsunami evacuation plans and held mock evacuations. But some experts say the West Coast is still not taking the threat seriously enough. “Many ports on the West Coast are in denial as to their tsunami hazard."

No tropical storms.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone 02s (Boldwin) was located approximately 430 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia. Does not threaten land.


Britain - Severe flood warnings are in place as saturated parts of the UK are hit by more heavy rain and strong winds. In some areas of Cornwall people have been told to leave their homes as floodwater and torrential rain caused "serious threats to life and property". The Environment Agency has more than 100 flood warnings and about 200 flood alerts in place in England and Wales. And the Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for heavy rain.
"Rest centres" have been set up for residents in the villages facing severe warnings. But river levels around Millbrook have dropped and a rest centre opened there has since been closed. Roads have been closed across the region due to flooding. Exmouth in Devon has been cut off, with the A376 closed by police The M5 is closed southbound, while the M48 is closed in both directions due to flooding. National Rail said there were delays due to flooding and a landslip. The replacement buses have been cancelled on some routes. Network Rail said trains were likely to be disrupted between Exeter, Taunton and Bristol Temple Meads until Monday.
A pub landlord in Polperro said there had been warnings but "nobody knew it would get this bad. I was actually in my house and I heard a roar, and just looked outside the window and that was the first bit of water that just, just came down the hill, like a river running straight down the road. We were given warnings from Floodline, and they just said like to take care, we were never given any firm warning that you had to evacuate and no one knew to expect it this bad." A body thought to be that of a man who fell into a canal in fog in Watford has been found.
The Met Office has been forecasting heavy rain and strong winds across all parts of the country over the weekend. The Environment Agency said strong winds would increase the risk of flash flooding as drainage channels were likely to become blocked with wind-blown debris. "The rain will spread north and east, increasing flood risk in north-east and north-west England on Sunday. The picture remains unsettled for the start of next week." The south west of England had seen between one and two inches of rain (25mm to 50mm) during Saturday evening, but the worst had passed. It would now be dry for a time with further showers into Sunday morning.
Strong winds of between 60mph and 70mph could also whip the south of England and East Anglia in the early hours of Sunday. The weather system bringing the weather will move into northern England and southern Scotland on Sunday. "The flood warnings are a legacy of the really heavy rain we've had already so far this week. The rivers have been doing what rivers do best, flowing down hill, taking all that excess water away, but they've not managed to clear the backlog. That's why we've got flood warnings in place right now."
"More rain is forecast over the next few days and it's very easy to leave one's cosy home and just get struck by water and not realise how dangerous it is." On Thursday, a man died in floods after he became trapped in his car under a bridge in Chew Stoke near Bath.


Extreme Weather Threatens US Transportation - Extreme weather is a growing threat to the nation's lifelines -- its roads, bridges, railways, airports and transit systems. That's leaving states and cities searching for ways to brace for more catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy that are straining the nation. The nation's lifelines are getting hammered by extreme weather beyond what their builders imagined. That's leaving states and cities trying to come to terms with a new normal.


Near-Earth Asteroid 2012 DA14 to narrowly miss Earth on February 15, 2013 - Discovered by the LaSagra observatory in southern Spain, the small asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within about 3.5 Earth radii of the Earth's surface on February 15, 2013. Although its size is not well determined, this near-Earth asteroid is thought to be about 57 meters in diameter. Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass inside the geosynchronous satellite ring, located about 35,800 km above the equator. Its orbit about the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth's surface than 3.2 Earth radii. On this date, the asteroid will travel rapidly from the southern evening sky into the northern morning sky with its closest Earth approach occurring about 19:26 UTC when it will achieve a magnitude of less than seven, which is somewhat fainter than naked eye visibility. About 4 minutes after its Earth close approach, there is a good chance it will pass into the Earth's shadow for about 18 minutes or so before reappearing from the eclipse. When traveling rapidly into the northern morning sky, 2012 DA14 will quickly fade in brightness. (projected path map)
Astronomers estimate that, when it’s closest to us, the asteroid will be about 21,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) away – much closer than Earth’s moon (about 240,000 miles away) – and closer even than some of our own orbiting satellites. Astronomers’ calculations of asteroid orbits can be trusted. After all, even decades ago, they knew enough about calculating orbits to send people to the moon and bring them safely back, and today we are able place our space vehicles in orbit around objects as small as asteroids. So 2012 DA14 won’t strike us in 2013. There was a remote possibility it might strike us in 2020, but that possibility has been ruled out also.
Earlier this year, when a collision between 2012 DA14 and Earth in 2020 was still possible, an astronomer clarified the risk - a 2020 collision between Earth and asteroid 2012 DA14 was only a “remote possibility... approximately one chance in 83,000, with additional remote possibilities beyond 2020. However, by far the most likely scenario is that additional observations, especially in 2013, will allow a dramatic reduction in the orbit uncertainties and the complete elimination of the 2020 impact possibility." It turned out they didn’t have to wait until 2013. By May, 2012, astronomers had ruled out even the remote possibility of a 2020 collision.
Still, 2012 DA14 and asteroids like it are sobering. Asteroid 2012 DA14 is a little guy, compared to some asteroids, although its size has not been pinned down precisely. If a space object 150 feet wide were to strike our planet, it wouldn’t be Earth-destroying. But it has been estimated that it would produce the equivalent of 2.4 megatons of TNT.
In 1908, in a remote part of Russia, an explosion killed reindeer and flattened trees. But no crater was ever found. Scientists now believe a small comet struck Earth. That event has been estimated at 3 to 20 megatons. So 2012 DA14 is in the same approximate realm as the Tunguska comet (which, actually, might have been an asteroid instead). It would not destroy Earth, but it could flatten a city. About 70% of our world is covered by oceans. That means the most likely landing spot of any incoming asteroid is in the water – not on a city or other populated area.
The orbit of 2012 DA14 is an inclined ellipse. In other words, it’s tilted sightly with respect to Earth’s orbit around the sun, and, like Earth’s orbit, it’s not circular but elliptical. The asteroid spends most of its time well away from our planet. However, the path of the rock does bring it somewhat close to the Earth twice per orbit, or about every six months. The last time it passed us was on February 16 [2012], when it was about 2.5 million km (1.5 million miles) away, equal to about 6 times the distance to the moon. That’s usually about the scale of these encounters — it misses us by quite a margin.
2012 DA14 will not hit us next year, or in 2020. However, it should be close enough to catch the attention of virtually everyone on Earth in February 2013, on what’s sure to be a media field day. On the day it passes, most of us won’t see it or be aware of its passage, in any way. The asteroid won’t alter the tides. It won’t cause volcanoes. It’ll just sweep closely past us – as millions of asteroids have done throughout Earth’s four-and-a-half-billion-year history.


A second person has died from a new respiratory coronavirus that so far has infected six people. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses ranging from the common cold to SARS - severe acute respiratory syndrome - virus. The new coronavirus has been linked to either Saudi Arabia or Qatar.
One man has been transferred to Britain for treatment. "Until more information is available, it is prudent to consider that the virus is likely more widely distributed than just the two countries which have identified cases." The coronavirus was first detected in September and is genetically distinct from SARS. "Investigations are ongoing in areas of epidemiology, clinical management and virology, to look into the likely source of infection, the route of exposure, and the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus. Close contacts of the recently confirmed cases are being identified and followed up,"