Friday, December 14, 2012

**We can perhaps remember, if only for a time,
that those who live with us are our brothers,
that they share with us the same short moment of life;
that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out
their lives in purpose and in happiness,
winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal,
can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn,
at least to look at those around us as fellow men,
and surely we can begin to work a little harder
to bind up the wounds among us and to become
in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.**
Robert F. Kennedy

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
12/13/12 -

Guatemala - The epicentre of the quake late on Thursday was offshore and some 35 kilometres southeast of the coastal town of Champerico and 151 kilometres west of Guatemala City.

Volcano Webcams

Scientists warn of unrest along New Zealand's North Island volcano belt - New Zealand's central North Island looks set for a period of volcanic activity after warnings issued on three volcanoes over the last two days.
On Wednesday, scientists at the government's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) announced they had noticed a "spiny lava dome" that had grown in a crater on White Island, a volcanic island off the east of the North Island, after an eruption on August 5. GNS Science raised the volcanic alert level to level two, indicating minor eruptive activity, and the aviation color code to orange, warning pilots that an eruption was underway with little or no ash emissions.
"The dome is probably 20 to 30 meters across and has spines sticking up. In more than 30 years I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT while visiting White Island. If you imagine a volcano is like a tube of toothpaste then a lava dome is like the congealed, dried toothpaste that has come out of the tube. It doesn't move like a lava flow, but grows from the inside as new magma comes up and pushes the already cooled magma upwards and outwards." Lava domes were common at some volcanoes, but HAD NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE AT WHITE ISLAND, where magma last reached the surface in 2000 during an explosive eruption that threw up molten rocks called volcanic bombs, rather than forming a dome. "Our concern is that lava dome growth can be accompanied by explosive eruptions and could impact people on the island. We need to see if the dome is continuing to grow. If it's not growing, then we will be less concerned."
Also Wednesday, GNS Science volcanologists warned they still believed Mount Ruapehu, in the central North Island, remained at a heightened level of unrest and that an eruption was more likely than normal. "Our analysis is still showing higher than normal temperatures beneath the crater lake. We think this reflects a partially sealed zone a few hundred meters beneath the lake, which might be causing a pressure build up behind it. That pressure would make an eruption more likely than normal. It doesn't mean that an eruption is inevitable.
"If the sealed zone fails suddenly an eruption could occur, probably with little or no warning. If it fails more gradually then the pressure would probably be released more slowly and the likelihood of an eruption would revert to normal." The crater lake was quiet and its temperature had remained relatively low at 20 to 25 degrees centigrade since March. Eruptions at Ruapehu in 1988, 2006 and 2007 were believed to have occurred as a result of sudden failure of a seal beneath the crater lake. Small earthquakes 3 to 5 km beneath the crater lake in late October and early November had stopped, but it was unclear whether they were related to the high temperatures estimated a few hundred meters beneath the lake. The volcanic alert level for Ruapehu remains at level one, indicating a departure from typical background surface activity, and the aviation color code at yellow, indicating signs of elevated unrest above known background levels.
On Tuesday, GNS Science warned that neighboring Mount Tongariro was still showing a substantial possibility of further eruptions after an eruption in August and two more last month. "After the second eruption in November we now have to consider the possibility that Tongariro might have entered an eruptive episode and this unrest could continue for several months. Within an episode Tongariro might quietly discharge steam most of the time, but occasionally have small eruptions with little or no warning. There was a similar episode of activity in the 1890s."
Tongariro had seen only minor seismic activity since November 21, but but there had been a very noticeable gas discharge in recent days. It is on volcanic alert level one and aviation color code yellow. The 80,000-hectare Tongariro National Park has more than 1 million visitors a year. Last month's eruption resulted in videos of panicked hikers fleeing from the plume of ash and steam. Tongariro's eruption on Aug. 6 was the first since 1897.

Russia - On Wednesday, KVERT reported strong (but now fluctuating amplitude) volcanic tremor at Plosky Tolbachik (Kamchatka Peninsula) again. The new unsteadiness in tremor amplitude may be the first sign of an ebbing magma supply. KVERT also reports relatively strong volcanic tremor eminating from nearby Klyuchevskoi Sopka. Small strombolian explosions are currently taking place at the summit of Klyuchevskoi. Volcanic tremor at Tolbachik remains strong enough to interfere with seismic monitoring at nearby Bezymianny volcano. The Bezymianny seismometers are overwhelmed with the seismic “noise” coming from Tolbachik to the extent that only relatively large local events (M2.5+) can be identified and located using Bezymianny seismograms. (photos & info on additional volcanoes)

More Mysterious Loud Booms Reported in Georgia - 12/12/12 - There have been widespread reports of the booms over 24 hours on Wednesday. The booms sound like "explosions or thunder". Officials still do not know the cause of the booms, but the reports are widespread, "coming from areas all over the CSRA".

In the South Indian Ocean -
Category 2 Tropical Cyclone Evan was located approximately 115 nm northwest of of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Cyclone Evan swept over Samoa on Thursday - The cyclone has caused widespread destruction on the Pacific island, cutting power, uprooting trees and triggering floods. At least three people, two of them children, were killed. In the capital, Apia, homes were flattened and the Vaisigano River burst its banks, washing away cars, trees and other debris. But fears the cyclone might hit Samoa a second time have receded.
"The best guess" was that the cyclone would not return. Power was off throughout the country. "Tanugamanono power plant is completely destroyed and we might not have power for at least two weeks." The cyclone was bigger than other tropical storms experienced in the region, and its strength was unexpected. "The unpredictable nature of this one has made it quite different. The forecast winds did not give any indication of how strong the impact was going to be." The cyclone generated winds of up to 165km/h (100 mph) as it hit Samoa.
Cyclone Evan to hit Fiji by Sunday - The tropical depression that was affecting Fiji earlier this week has been upgraded to Tropical cyclone Evan and could hit Fiji by as early as this Sunday. This has prompted calls for communities to be be prepared now.


With new rules, few U. S. public health labs will handle the riskiest agents. With tougher security requirements set to take effect next April, few state public health laboratories plan to maintain stocks of certain pathogens considered most tempting to bioterrorists.

Global study notes progress against infectious diseases - Infectious diseases are causing fewer deaths and illnesses worldwide than two decades ago, with fewer kids dying, but younger and middle-aged adults are bearing more of the overall medical burden.
The new 'Burden of Disease' study shows world's people living longer but with more disability - The health of most of the planet's population is rapidly coming to resemble that of the United States, where death in childhood is rare, too much food is a bigger problem than too little, and life is long and often darkened by disability.