Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scotland - Gale-force winds and UNUSUALLY HIGH TIDES have caused damage across areas of eastern and northern Scotland. Huge waves caused up to £500,000 damage to North Berwick harbour in East Lothian, as sea defences were swept away. A 15m section of the harbour wall collapsed in Lossiemouth in Moray.
Residents of a sheltered housing complex were evacuated after coastal flooding hit parts of Aberdeenshire. The storm that hit the town overnight between Friday and Saturday was THE WORST IN MORE THAN 100 YEARS. "This was a massive storm causing damage to sea walls that have stood for 150-odd years. The wind strength wasn't all that high, but THE SEA WAS ABSOLUTELY BEYOND UNDERSTANDING. In the harbour you have a 40ft sea container that was washed approximately 200m, took away some fencing, and went straight into the harbour. There were also sea defence boulders weighing up to 200 kilos washed 150m along the esplanade, so that gives you the size and some sort of scale of the energy of the whole thing."
High tides and severe weather led to 25 people being taken from sheltered complexes at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. They were taken to St Bridget's Hall in the town, where a rest centre was set up. A large sea container was swept into the harbour at North Berwick Further north at Peterhead, about 30 people were evacuated from properties in the Roanheads area. The town's RNLI lifeboat launched in what were described as "horrendous" conditions at 02:30 to rescue three people marooned on the east side of Peterhead harbour.
The high tide again reached Stonehaven at about 14:30 on Saturday, causing further coastal flooding. People evacuated from affected properties earlier in the day remained out of their homes, with most having been collected by friends or family and alternative accommodation has been found for others. However, the second bout of flooding was not expected to be as serious as the morning had been. Stonehaven was battered by huge waves It was also not expected to affect any properties which had not already been affected, although the situation was being closely monitored.
Elsewhere, a 15m section of the harbour wall collapsed in Lossiemouth. Police and council staff were at the scene and warned some flooding was possible at high tide. They also urged people to stay away from the area until it was made safe. The village of Kingston in Moray was said to have been completely cut off after its sea defences were breached. In Wick, on the far north coast, roads were closed and fishing boats were damaged in high winds. About 12 cars were moved from a car park when a strong surge breached a river bank, police said, and several roads were closed by debris thrown up by the waves.
Lorries were deluged by water in Wick Harbour during the heavy weather In the town. Huge waves caused part of the harbour wall at Balintore, near Tain in Ross-shire, to collapse, with two boys aged 12 and 14 suffering minor cuts after being thrown to the ground by the force of the water. "I've lived in Balintore all my life and I've never seen it this bad before. It's devastation. The wall should have been repaired long ago."
And storm force winds continued to batter Shetland throughout Saturday, with the road through Sandsayre in Sandwick flooded. The force of the waves combined with the high tide ripped up part of the beach and lifted some of the boats onto the road, and the nearby boat museum was flooded. The Scottish government has convened its Resilience Room in response to the storms. A crewman was killed when an oil support vessel was hit by severe gales. (photos)

**Few will have the greatness to bend history itself;
but each of us can work to change a small portion of events,
and in the total of all those acts
will be written the history of this generation.**
Robert F. Kennedy

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
12/15/12 -

12/14/12 -

Strong, relatively shallow earthquake strikes off California coast - A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck early Friday in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California and Mexico. The trembler centered about 88 miles off the southwest coast of California - near San Diego. People in cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego flooded police stations with phone calls. There were no reports of damage or injuries and no tsunami was generated.

2011 East Coast Earthquake Traced From Sky - Blobs of solidified magma may have helped control the direction of energy from the 2011 Virginia earthquake, according to early results from an airborne geologic survey conducted in July 2012.

Volcano Webcams

Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) - sudden strong explosion. A sudden strong ash explosion occurred at Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador Saturday at 14:35 local time. According to local reports, the eruption produced an ash plume rising to 6 km altitude and was visible from Ambato, Riobamba, Pelileo and Patate. The explosion followed an increase in seismicity over the past days.

Weird Underwater Volcano Discovered Near Baja - Scientists have discovered ONE OF THE WORLD'S WEIRDEST VOLCANOES on the seafloor near the tip of Baja, Mexico. The petite dome - about 165 feet tall (50 meters) and 4,000 feet long by 1,640 feet wide (1,200 m by 500 m) - lies along lies along the Alarcón Rise, a seafloor-spreading center. Tectonic forces are tearing the Earth's crust apart at the spreading center, creating a long rift where magma oozes toward the surface, cools and forms new ocean crust.
Circling the planet like baseball seams, seafloor-spreading centers (also called midocean ridges) produce copious amounts of basalt, a low-silica content lava rock that makes up the ocean crust. But samples from the newly discovered volcano are strangely rhyolite lava, and have the highest silica content (up to 77 percent) of any rocks collected from a midocean ridge.
"When we picked up the rocks and got them back on the ship, we immediately noticed that they were very low density, and they were very light, glassy and gray. They were not the usual dark, black, shiny basalts. So we immediately knew that something was unusual."
The volcano is primarily rhyolite and a silicic lava called dacite. "To find this along a midocean ridge is a total surprise."
A few ridges were composed of very strange, steeply dipping, lineated flows very different from the pillow-style appearance of deep-sea basalt. Of more concern is the evidence for explosive volcanism, which is typical of rhyolite volcanoes. "It's only 100 kilometers [60 miles] from land. When the sun is setting, you can see Cabo." Both the Baja Peninsula and mainland Mexico near Alarcón Rise have cities and luxury resorts. The Gulf of California is also home to endangered sea life.
Rhyolite lava carries more gas and volatiles (things that are likely to cause explosions) than basalt, and when magma meets water, it vaporizes instantly, driving an even more explosive eruption. "There's definitely explosive deposits there, and that is of extreme concern, given that the ridge is so close to land and the tsunami potential of a big explosion there. We don't know how explosive, and that is something we are definitely trying to figure out."
Rhyolites have been found on spreading centers, but only above hot spots, such as in Iceland and the Galapagos Islands. There is no hot spot under the Alarcón Rise. Rhyolite lava typically occurs only on continents, such as in Mount St. Helen's growing dome in Washington. One possible explanation for the bizarre composition of the Alarcón dome is that continental crust snuck into the molten rock below — the spreading center is young, and continental crust lies close by. But tests of different isotopes (versions of elements with differing numbers of neutrons in the cores) in the lava samples revealed no evidence of contamination by continental crust.
Another discarded idea was that a cold spot underlying the ridge cooled and crystallized the magma chamber that fed the volcano, leaving only a high-silica melt behind. The team's current hypothesis is that the magma source had a high concentration of volatiles like water, sulfur and chlorine, maybe from an influx of seawater. "It's a work in progress, but we have found some of the glassy volcanic debris surrounding this feature has water concentrations of up to eight percent, which is pretty unusual for a spreading center." The Alarcón Rise drifts apart at a relatively slow 2 inches (5 centimeters) a year.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Evan was located approximately 385 nm northeast of Nadi, Fiji.

Cyclone Evan - The category 4 tropical cyclone is bearing down on the Pacific island nation of Fiji and is expected to arrive in Fijian waters later on Sunday.
Evan is set to disrupt flights between Australia and Nadi. Air Pacific said most flights on Sunday will operate but flights on Monday have been cancelled or delayed until Tuesday. Cyclone Evan killed at least four people in Samoa as it ripped through houses, knocked down power poles and trees, and caused flooding. The cyclone is expected to pass just north of Fiji on Sunday with winds gusting up to 230km/h. It is intensifying and may increase from a category four to a category five cyclone some time between Saturday and Monday afternoon. Cyclone Evan was ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL STORMS IN 20 YEARS to hit Samoa and American Samoa.
People around the country are gearing up for Tropical Cyclone Evan with shoppers hitting shelves at supermarkets in a bid to secure provisions for what COULD BE ONE OF THE WORST NATURAL DISASTERS TO HIT FIJI.
A rush of people are stocking up on items such as candles, batteries and tinned food. They were also stocking up on provisions like rice and other goods as well. A local supermarket giant chain has extended its opening hours to allow customers a chance to get all their last-minute provisions for the weekend. Evan is expected to hit Fiji with winds of between 159 and 200 kilometres per hour, gusting up to 225 and 270 kilometres per hour.

Typhoon Bopha's death toll has now reached 1,020. With nearly 850 people still missing, the toll is likely to rise further. The storm struck the Philippines on 4 December, with the southern island of Mindanao worst affected. Many of those still unaccounted for are fishermen who went to sea before the storm hit. "The death toll will go higher. We found a lot of bodies yesterday, buried under fallen logs and debris."
The storm displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused severe damage to property and infrastructure. A large relief operation continues. More than 27,000 people remain in evacuation centres, with many more sheltering at the homes of friends and family. The Philippines is hit by several typhoons each year but they usually strike further to the north.


Reservoirs can make local flooding worse - Researchers say that large man-made reservoirs can increase the intensity of rainfall and could affect flood defences. The scientists found that rain patterns around bodies of water in Chile were much higher than in similar areas without them. This "lake effect" could overwhelm flood defences which are often built without taking it into account.
There is evidence that standing bodies like reservoirs and lakes can alter rain patterns by increasing the amount of water that evaporates. Some experts believe that you also get circulating air patterns in the atmosphere above the boundary between the water and the land and this can initiate thunderstorms and showers. The impact can be significant. One study showed that extreme precipitation increased by 4% per year after dams were built. The huge Three Gorges dam in China is believed to affect weather patterns up to 100km away.
"If you install a water reservoir that will change things totally and that will lead to flooding. Engineers get fired when there's flooding because they didn't do a good design, but in reality they did good work but someone else installed a water reservoir and the climate changed. The bigger the water body, the greater the effect."
"We have modified the weather patterns in such a way that we didn't anticipate before building these reservoirs, and yes in the global context it might have serious ramifications." Several studies have now pointed to the impact of reservoirs particularly in dry areas. "The physics says that it will happen, but I'm struggling a little to know how big an impact it is, and quite whether it is strong enough to change the design of flood defences." This area of research is controversial because changing the design of flood defences is very expensive. "In the US, they are very rigorous about taking climate change into account when talking about storm water management design, but this is new and should be taken into account too."


QUIET SUN, BUT NOT FOR LONG? - For the second week in a row, solar activity remains very low, but a new group of sunspots could be poised to break the quiet. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory observed the phalanx of dark cores emerging over the sun's southeastern limb on Dec. 15th. It is too soon to say whether these spots have potential for strong flares. We'll know more in a few days when they turn toward Earth, offering a clearer view of their magnetic architecture. Meanwhile, NOAA forecasters have boosted the odds of an M-class eruption to 10% on Dec. 16th.



Recalls due to possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes -
- Ocean Beauty Seafoods - “Nathan’s Brand Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon 3 oz” and “LASCCO Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon 4 oz”
- Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. of Salinas - 110 cases of Taylor Farms Hearts of Romaine 10 oz. bags.
- Freshway Foods - 6,671 pounds of Out-of-Date Sliced Apples that were packaged on November 12.
- The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company - Veggie Patch Ultimate Meatless Burger
- VEGGIE PATCH - Two Items - The Ultimate Meatless Burger and Falafel
- Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese - Various Cheeses

Pets -
- Claudia’s Canine Cuisine® Voluntarily Recalls it’s Dogcandy® Brand of Holiday Hound Cake (7.5 Oz.) and Blueberry Hound Cake (7.5 Oz) Manufactured for, Distributed, and Sold in Approximately 130 Petsmart Stores Because of The Possibility of Mold.
- Carolina Prime Pet Inc. Recall Of Priority Total Pet Care All Natural Bullstrips Because Of Possible Salmonella.
- Magnolia Bird Farm, Incorporated, of Anaheim, California - Raw and Roasted In-shell Peanuts and Magnolia Bird Farm Bird seed mixes that contain peanuts