Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chile officials monitor Copahue volcano - Activity at the Copahue volcano on the border of Chile and Argentina has authorities in both countries on alert.
The Copahue volcano in Argentina's Neuquen province and Chile's Biobio region began spewing ash and gas early on Saturday, but officials say it's still in an early eruption stage. The volcano's smoke plume led Argentine emergency officials to issue a yellow alert and constantly monitor its activity in case of a full eruption. Flights expected to pass by the area around the volcano have been warned. Officials say there's no need yet to evacuate people near the volcano, which is part of the Andes mountain chain. Many residents have already left the area as a precaution. Another volcano in southern Chile erupted last year, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the evacuation of more than 600 people.

**In order to understand the world,
one has to turn away from it on occasion.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
12/22/12 -

12/21/12 -

Japan - Probability of major quake in Kanto rises sharply. The government has upgraded the probability that a powerful earthquake - a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7, or stronger - will hit cities in the Kanto region within 30 years, with Mito at 62 percent and Chiba at 75 percent.

Volcano Webcams

Hawaiian Islands Are Dissolving And Will Disappear, Study Finds - New research has revealed that in addition to the well known forces of soil erosion, the Hawaiian Islands are experiencing significant erosion due to the groundwater under the islands working to dissolve the island from within. Specifically, the mountains on Oahu will eventually be completely leveled and end up as flat as Midway Island.
The effect that groundwater is having, dissolving the rock that makes up the Hawaiian Islands, is actually more significant than the forces of soil erosion. “We tried to figure out how fast the island is going away and what the influence of climate is on that rate. More material is dissolving from those islands than what is being carried off through erosion."
The future of the islands is also going to be influenced significantly by plate tectonics. Oahu is currently being slowly pushed northwest, and as it is, the mountains are being pushed upwards somewhat. “According to the researchers’ estimates, the net effect is that Oahu will continue to grow for as long as 1.5 million years. Beyond that, the force of groundwater will eventually triumph and the island will begin its descent to a low-lying topography.”
“The Hawaiian islands were (and continue to be) continuously formed from volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called a hotspot. As the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean moves to the northwest, the hot spot remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. Due to the hotspot’s location, the only active volcanoes are located around the southern half of the Big Island. The newest volcano, Lōihi Seamount, is located south of the Big Island’s coast.”
“The last volcanic eruption outside the Big Island occurred at Haleakalā on Maui before the late 18th century, though it could have been hundreds of years earlier. In 1790, Kīlauea exploded with the deadliest eruption (of the modern era) known to have occurred in what is now the United States. As many as 5,405 warriors and their families marching on Kīlauea were killed by that eruption.” “Slope instability of the volcanoes has generated damaging earthquakes with related tsunamis, particularly in 1868 and 1975. Steep cliffs have been caused by catastrophic debris avalanches on the submerged flanks of ocean island volcanos.” (photos)

In the North Arabian Sea -
Tropical Cyclone Four was located approximately 525 nm east-southeast of Cape Guardafui, Somalia. Landfall is expected to be along the northern Somalia coast. The limited numerical guidance is in good agreement up to landfall, after which, the models diverge with some indicating a recurvature back into the water and towards the Equator.

Philippines - A low-pressure area approaching from the east has a small chance of becoming a cyclone but nevertheless remains a threat to parts of Mindanao, may trigger landslides. "The latest numerical models suggest slow intensification within the next several days, in contrast to earlier models that showed that it might reach cyclone category before reaching the PAR."

Tail end of cyclone creeps towards North Island, New Zealand - A severe weather watch has been issued for much of the North Island, with the remains of tropical Cyclone Evan steadily tracking towards the North Island. Despite being downgraded to a "former" cyclone, Evan continues to move southwest towards New Zealand.
Evan's last act may be miserable Christmas - The northern parts of New Zealand can expect wet and windy weather over the next few days, including Christmas, thanks to a deep low - the remnants of former Cyclone Evan. The cyclone devastated parts of Samoa and Fiji earlier this week, killing 15 people and causing $160 million damage in Samoa. It inflicted severe damage on the French islands of Wallis and Futuna, and then Fiji.
Cyclone impact on Samoa as bad as 2009 tsunami - The economic impact of Cyclone Evan on Samoa will be at least as bad as the deadly tsunami that caused widespread damage in 2009, the International Monetary Fund says.
Samoa power generation troubled after Cyclone Evan - Samoa's power utility is negotiating to hire additional diesel generators because damage from Cyclone Evan cut power production by about 60 percent.


UK prepares for further flooding as downpours continue - Six severe flood warnings are in place for south west England. Rain-hit rivers in south-west England will struggle to cope with more rain, the Environment Agency has warned.
One severe flood warning remains in place in Cornwall, with over 200 flood warnings in force in England and Wales. Police have warned motorists not to use minor roads north of Barnstaple in Devon, and tents have been issued to residents in Lostwithiel, Cornwall. Further downpours on Christmas Eve may cause more flooding with the south-west badly hit, the BBC Weather Centre says.
Fire crews remained in the Cornish towns of Helston and Lostwithiel overnight to respond to any further flooding incidents. The River Cober, which broke its banks resulting in devastating flooding on Saturday, has started to recede. But the Environment Agency still has a severe flood warning in force in the Helston area. "There is nowhere in Cornwall that can really cope with the rain that's coming. Wherever the rain falls, the rivers will respond quickly. We have problems with 'flashy' rivers in Cornwall... where the rivers respond very rapidly with lots of run-off. We also have these problems with the catchments being so wet, that our bigger rivers... are also filling up and rising very rapidly".
The Environment Agency has said there is a heightened flood risk across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Bristol, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, West and East Sussex, south Wales, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and North Yorkshire. Scotland has 18 flood alerts and 24 flood warnings. mainly for Aberdeenshire and Tayside. Outbreaks of rain will be heaviest in Scotland on Sunday, with the rain returning to the south-west on Christmas Eve. "This rain will be falling on saturated surfaces and will continue to bring a risk of flooding."
Storm force winds for the Northern Isles and gales affecting Northern Ireland will transfer to parts of southern Scotland and northern England during Sunday morning. South-west England is at further risk of some flooding issues and disruption when the rain is due to return on Monday. In Lostwithiel, Cornish disaster relief agency Shelterbox, which was recently delivering aid to Syria, is providing tents to residents who have been forced to leave their homes.Further west in Devon, police have warning the public not to travel on minor roads north of Barnstaple, which are closed due to extensive flooding.
Residents in nearby Pilton may have to be evacuated if floodwater from the River Yeo reaches their homes. The River Caen in Braunton has also breached its banks for a second night. Rail company First Great Western has advised customers with non-essential journeys in the south-west not to attempt to travel on trains or replacement buses, due to flooding and poor road conditions.
Heavy rain has caused two landslides in Looe, Cornwall which have cut off the nearby the village of Hannafore. A woman was rescued from her car by passers-by after it was swept into a river in Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan. Flood barriers have been put up in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, as water in the River Carron continues to rise. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said its teams were distributing sandbags to protect properties and evacuate residents from houseboats at Velator Quay in Devon. In Exeter, a resident said that flood barriers had been put up near his house. "I've never seen them deployed here before and my neighbours, who have been here for 30 years, have never seen it either. I've never seen anything like the flooding we've had over the last month or so." (photos)


Russia’s COLDEST WINTER SINCE 1938 - Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia.
The Emergency Ministry has issued warnings in 15 regions, which have been put on high alert over possible disruptions of communication and power. In southeastern Russia’s Samara, the cold has broken down many heat pipelines, leaving hundreds of homes without heating, including an orphanage and a rest house. Many schools and kindergartens have been closed for almost a week. Across the country, heat pipelines have broken down due to the cold.
The cold spell, along with snowfalls, has disrupted flights all over the country, and led to huge traffic jams. In the southern city of Rostov-on-Don some highways were closed due to snowfalls over the past two days, triggering a traffic collapse. Over the weekend, meteorologists predict temperatures will plunge even lower in the Moscow region, hitting -25. The Russian capital is also expected to be swept with snow. Temperatures have been 7 degrees lower than the norm for five days already, which is considered an anomaly, according to the website. The cold spell in the Moscow region is expected to continue for at least three more days. Due to the high humidity, these freezing temperatures will feel even colder than they actually are, meteorologists explained.


Deadly Asteroid will not collide with Earth in 2040 - an asteroid about 140 meters long, or 460 feet, will not be on a collision course with Earth after all. Scientists say that if the asteroid, known as 2011 AG5, would have collided with our planet, it would have released an energy equaling that of 100 megatons of energy - a few thousands times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped in Japan in 1945.
"An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated," NASA said Friday. According to those results, scientists say the asteroid will miss the Earth by a mark of about 890,000 kilometers, or 553,000 miles.
Because the asteroid was so close to the sun, astronomers could only observe the massive space rock when it was dark -- which led to only a 30-minute window for astronomers to observe the asteroid before it got too bright. "The second effect is the turbulence of the atmosphere makes things fainter. We had to keep trying over and over until we got one of those nights when the atmosphere was calm."