Sunday, January 6, 2013

Quake measuring 7.5 strikes off Alaska - The quake occurred about 60 miles southwest of Port Alexander at a depth of about 6 miles at 0858 GMT. The U.S. Geological Survey downgraded the magnitude from an initial 7.7. The powerful earthquake sparked a tsunami warning for hundreds of miles of Alaskan and Canadian coastline, but the alert was canceled when no damaging waves were generated.

**When you pray; move your feet.**
African proverb

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
1/5/13 -

1/4/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Georgia - Caucasus - The eruption of an underwater volcano damaged undersea Poti-Novorossiysk-Sochi fiber-optic cable. Presumably the 160-kilometer-long cable is broken in four places. As reported on Friday by the owner firm's management, on the damaged part of the cable, which was lifted on the side of the Poti station, clearly visible traces of fire, molten polyethylene sheath, the protective shield is damaged. "I think that this should be the eruption of an underwater volcano." According to the CEO, the damage on the main optical fiber cable Poti-Novorossiysk-Sochi was recorded on December 23.

Kilauea Volcano - The 30-year-long constant eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is ITS LONGEST SINCE THE 15TH CENTURY and it has added 500 acres of land to the island.

El Hierro volcano, Canary Islands, Spain had a very seismic active 3 days (December 31, January 1 and January 2), but the earthquake swarm suddenly stopped again on January 3. Definitely less energy than the former 2 swarms. Interesting to know is that the hypocenter depth range was at 14 to 21 km in another location of the island than the other activity areas so far. (other 1/3/13 volcano info at link)

PBS TV show preview video - Life on Fire - Volcano Doctors. "Learn how volcanologists try to predict eruptions and protect those who live beneath the Earth's fire. Whether the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Chile, Italy or Iceland, each of these countries is home to active volcanoes that are a threat to the populations settled at their feet. Every day, lava, ash, gas, bombs and avalanches are likely to slide down the gaping mouths of the rock giants. To avoid disasters, volcanologists are asked to anticipate and warn. Around the world, these volcano doctors use their tools and knowledge to try to protect those who live beneath the Earth's fire." Premieres Wednesday, January 9, 10:00 - 11:00 p.m. ET.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm 01w (Sonamu) was located approximately 295 nm southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone 07s (Dumile) was located approximately 600 nm south-southeast of La Reunion. The final advisory has been issued on this system. The system will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

Tropical storm Sonamu is forecast to strike Malaysia at about 06:00 GMT on Tuesday, January 8. The National Security Council is on full alert as the tropical storm, blowing across the South China Sea from the Philippines, is forecast to hit the east coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.
Malaysia - Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang told to brace for another wave of floods. Flood-weary people in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang have been told to be prepared for another wave of floods as heavy rain is forecast for three days from Monday. The Meteorological Department forecasted heavy rain due to strong winds and the rough South China Sea. Heavy rain in the three states would cause flooding in low-lying areas and pose danger to those out at sea and along coastal areas.
"Therefore the public, especially fishermen are advised not to go out at sea and in the coastal areas." Residents in flood prone areas were also reminded to be mindful of heavy rain warning and advised to make early preparation in the face of possible flooding. The publicwere urged to always cooperate with the authorities if ordered to evacuate to avoid any untoward incidents. "The people are also advised to bring along important documents and basic personal needs while at flood relief centres."

New Potential Cyclone Looms In Mindanao, Philippines - After tropical storm “Auring” left the country on Friday, a new weather disturbance off Mindanao could develop into another tropical cyclone. Tropical storm Sonamu (local name "Auring") left one person dead and about a hundred families still in evacuation centers in western and southern Philippines.

Cyclone Dumile moving over open ocean - Cyclone Dumile is on a solo journey in a southeasterly direction over the open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean over the weekend. Dumile brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to the island of RĂ©union (population 800,000), located 435 miles (700 km) east of Madagascar, 100 miles (175 km) southwest of Mauritius. Dumile first formed as an area of disturbed weather on Dec. 30, 2012.(satellite image)


Sri Lanka - Mini-cyclone damages 31 houses. Thirty one houses were damaged in the Polonnaruwa District as a result of a mini- cyclone accompanied by heavy rains. The continuous rain experienced posed a threat of floods and people were warned to take precautions. The cyclone was experienced at around 2.30 pm Friday and damaged the roofs of many houses.


Thousands stuck in airport as China freezes - Thousands of angry passengers were stranded after heavy fog delayed flights at a Chinese airport, as the country was shivered through its COLDEST WEATHER IN ALMOST THREE DECADES.
Ten thousand passengers were stuck in Changshui International Airport in the southern Chinese city of Kunming on Saturday morning after thick fog grounded more than 280 flights. Angry passengers stranded at the airport for more than a day struggled with airline staff, damaging computer equipment belonging to an airline, while police broke up scuffles. "The passengers were really furious, they kept going to the service desk to ask for information, but didn't get any answers." Flights at the airport resumed on Saturday afternoon after the fog lifted.
China is suffering its coldest winter for 28 years,. Temperatures recorded over the country since November have averaged minus 3.8 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit), while northeast China saw average temperatures of minus 15.3 degrees Celsius, ITS COLDEST WINTER FOR 43 YEARS. Plunging temperatures trapped around 1000 ships in sea ice off eastern China's Shandong province this week, while snowfall delayed more than 140 flights in Beijing last month. In the northeastern city of Harbin temperatures in the city fell below minus 24 degrees Celsius. Temperatures in northern China are expected to pick up next week, although parts of south China will continue to experience snow.
China shivers with lows of minus 40C - The cold spell has killed at least two people. The coldest weather for 30 years has left about 260,000 people in need of emergency aid in northern China's Inner Mongolia region. The cold spell killed about 180,000 head of livestock, affecting some 770,000 people across Inner Mongolia since late December. More than 3,700 people were evacuated.
The average in the three northeastern provinces bordering Siberia hit a 43-year low of minus 15 degrees. Temperatures in parts of Inner Mongolia fell to minus 40 degrees last week and snow lay up to 50 centimetres deep in the Greater Hinggan Mountains. In Mongolia, an independent nation that borders Inner Mongolia, temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius were recorded. The Mongolian government said that snow up to 1.3 metres deep had covered more than 80 per cent of the country, cutting roads and endangering livestock in many areas.


Tasmanian bushfires may have claimed lives as search for missing begins - There are no confirmed deaths as a result of the bushfires on the Tasman Peninsula, but police and defence services personnel will begin searching for bodies today. A number of people remained missing.
"We're hoping very much along with everyone else that there won't be (any deaths), but we need to go through the process to confirm that there hasn't been. If you have a house or a shack that burns to the ground that there's quite a thorough examination that needs to happen to confirm that there is definitely no deceased person in there.'' More than 1000 people have been evacuated from the peninsula to Hobart via boat, with the final ferryload of 180 people departing Nubeena for the capital early this morning. Hundreds more have sought refuge with relatives and in evacuation centres across the region, including at the Port Arthur historic site.
The threat posed to communities by the Forcett bushfire was downgraded to watch and act, but the blaze continues to burn out of control, and has already done massive damage throughout the peninsula. The town of Dunalley was the worst hit, with around 65 homes and the town's school destroyed, while dozens more buildings were razed at Connellys Marsh, Eaglehawk Neck, Murdunna, Copping and Primrose Sands.
There was a "distinct possibility'' lives had been lost. "Until we actually complete the process of checking everywhere, we won't be able to confirm that there's been no deaths or serious injuries. It was a very dangerous situation on Friday, very fast moving fire. Certainly we've got concerns about people who haven't made contact with loved ones or friends, but they are very much our priority.''
A bushfire near Bicheno had destroyed between 10 and 15 homes, and burned around 7000 hectares. The Bicheno fire continues to burn out of control and the town's main access route, Coles Bay Road, was closed again after briefly reopening on Sunday morning. The TFS was hopeful of getting the fire under control within the next 48 hours. Crews were having trouble accessing parts of the Tasman Peninsula as they battled to bring the Forcett fire under control. "There is still some problems getting fire vehicles into the Tasman Peninsula to work more on protecting properties and protecting assets."
Recreational and commercial vessels were used to bring in thousands of meals and other essential supplies, and to evacuate people. A crew of 65 Victorian firefighters will arrive in Tasmania later today. Property losses on the Tasman Peninsula have been significant, with 30 per cent of the buildings in the small community of Dunalley destroyed, including the school and police station. At Connellys Marsh, 40 per cent of the buildings are gone, along with three houses at Copping and several at Primrose Sands. Twenty houses have been lost around Murdunna and there are reports of more at Eaglehawk Neck.
As stunned residents examined the damage, the human stories emerged from a day of horror. Some were cut off by the speed with the fires spread and fought alone to save their homes. Others were saved by neighbours or by the heroic efforts of fire crews or waterbombing aircraft turning up in the nick of time. Or luck. There were tears and trauma, but overwhelmingly a sense of optimism and community and gratitude that things weren't worse.
Friday's high winds and 42-degree RECORD TEMPERATURES matched conditions on the day of the state's 1967 bushfire disaster and it was very fortunate none had died. ''The conditions of yesterday were comparable with that terrible day and on that day we lost 2000 homes and 62 lives, so I think it speaks volumes for the really hard work that was done yesterday and our more advanced operational and warning systems that we are able to use." Thousands of people remain displaced, sheltering in refuges and or with family and friends, many not knowing if their homes had survived the fires.
Until every property has been checked, people would not be allowed to return to their homes. Yesterday afternoon fire affected areas on the Tasman Peninsula were declared a Serious Incident Site by police for public safety, security of evacuated homes and to preserve evidence. Workers have been working to remove power lines and trees from the Arthur Highway in an effort to allow the road to be reopened. ''We're hopeful of, if not opening the highway fully, at some point in the near future at least having some form of escorted access for people particularly coming off the Tasman peninsula during the day."
An estimated 2000 people sheltered at the community refuge centre at Nubeena amd 600 people at Port Arthur. On Friday night and throughout yesterday tourist cruise boats, ferries and private vessels picked up people stranded at Nubeena and took them to Hobart. A boat arrived at Dodges Ferry yesterday morning carrying 3000 meals, fuel, bottled water and ambulance and other health workers.
Power outages had occurred across the Tasman Peninsula. This was affecting communication between people in the area and their loved ones elsewhere. ''There are certainly many many residences and areas that do not have power and people with mobile phones some of them have found that their batteries would have run out and they have no capacity to (charge their phones)." As uncontrolled bushfires were still burning, preserving life was still the authorities' main focus. The fire at Bicheno is thought to have been started by a lighting strike and the fire at Lake Repulse was thought to have been started by a camp fire. The cause of the Forcett fire is being investigated, but so far there is not evidence that it was deliberately lit. (photos & video)
Australia - Firefighters warn of hotter conditions - Firefighters are urging NSW residents to prepare their homes against the threat of bushfires as about 70 blazes continue to burn across the state. Firefighters were trying to get as many under control as possible before conditions turned nasty on Tuesday. "We're doing what we can to get the majority of these contained prior to the bad fire weather coming through on Tuesday. There is forecast more lightning tonight, so that many prove problematic because it may give us new fires over the next 24 hours. We may not have the ability to contain some prior to that real warm, dry, hot weather coming through."
There could also be fires that had not been spotted yet, while the fire situation was "reasonably quiet" across the state. Blazes were burning near Griffith, Wagga Wagga, Albury and the Snowy Mountains region. Extreme fire conditions were predicted in many parts of the state on Tuesday. Residents should not to wait until "the last minute" to prepare their properties against bushfire threats. Total fire bans were currently in place in the southern and northern Riverina, and lower and upper Central West Plains.


INCREASING CHANCE OF FLARES - The sun is peppered with spots: There are now more than a dozen numbered active regions scattered around the solar disk. As the sunspot count increases so does the chance of flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of M-class eruptions and a 5% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.
The most active sunspot so far is emerging over the sun's northeastern limb. On Jan. 5th at 09:34 UT, the unnumbered region unleashed an M1.7-class eruption that sent a wave of ionization rippling through the upper atmosphere over Europe. The flare was too brief, however, to produce a significant CME. More flares appear to be in the offing.

Get set for asteroids, comets flyby by - Astronomers are gearing up for thrills this year when Earth gets buzzed by two rogue asteroids and two comets, including a wanderer last seen by the forerunners of mankind. Next week, the guardians who scour the heavens for dangerous space rocks will be closely tracking an asteroid called 99942 Apophis.
Named after the god of evil and darkness in Egyptian mythology, Apophis measures around 270 metres across, a mass able to deliver more energy than 25,000 Hiroshima bombs if it ever smashed into Earth. Apophis sparked some heart-stopping moments when it was first detected in 2004. Early calculations suggested a 2.7-per cent probability of a collision in 2029, the highest ever seen for an asteroid, but the risk was swiftly downgraded after more observations.
Even so, for April 13, 2036, "there is still a tiny chance of an impact", says NASA's fabled Jet Propulsion Laboratory which puts the risk at about one in 250,000. One of the big unknowns is the Yarkovsky effect, a phenomenon discovered by a Russian engineer at the start of the 20th century. A slowly rotating body that orbits close to the Sun experiences heating on one side of its body that then cools at "night" as it turns over. This alternate heating and cooling can cause a tiny momentum, depending on the body's spin and amount of area that warms. The question is whether, over time, the Yarkovsky effect is accelerating Apophis, thus skewing estimates for future approaches.
Seeking clues, NASA's deep-space radars at Goldstone, in California's Mojave desert, and at Arecibo in Puerto Rico will be scanning Apophis, which on January 9 will pass by at some 14.5 million kilometres. "Using new measurements of the asteroid's distance and line-of-sight velocity, we hope to reduce the orbital uncertainties and extend the interval over which we can compute the motion into the future. It's possible that the new measurements improve the orbit to the point that we can completely rule out an impact."
On February 15, a 57m asteroid, 2012 DA14, will skim the planet at just 34,500km. In other words, it will spookily fly by inside the orbit of geostationary satellites. "It's going to be THE CLOSEST PREDICTED FLYBY OF AN ASTEROID. Because it is coming so close, even amateur astronomers will be able to watch it as it moves against background stars, and it may be visible through binoculars."
Comets - seen by the superstitious as harbingers of great events - could make 2013 a memorable year, astronomers hope. Lonely travellers of the cosmos, comets comprise giant clumps of primeval ice and dust, formed in the infancy of the Solar System, which loop around the Sun at intervals that can vary from years to aeons. As they get closer to our star, solar heat warms the comet's surface, causing it to spew out gases and shed a dusty trail which becomes reflected as a "tail" in the Sun's rays. First up is Comet 2011 L4 (PANSTARRS). PANSTARRS could be at its brightest from March 8 to 12.
The biggest excitement is being reserved for Comet ISON. Right now, it is unclear how bright ISON will be, but by some calculations it could become visible to the naked eye by late November and maybe linger brilliantly for months, becoming a once-a-century event. ISON is an extraordinary beast, for it last returned to Earth 10 million years ago, or more. "It's a 'new comet', which comes from a region of the Solar System that's called the Oort Cloud, an extensive system that extends from around a thousand times the distance of the Earth to the Sun to around 100,000-200,000 times this distance."


2012 was worst year for whooping cough since 1955 - The United States just suffered its worst year for whooping cough in nearly six decades, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

US flu activity continues to rise sharply - Influenza activity continued its sharp rise through the last week of 2012.

FDA Proposes Extensive Food-Safety Rules - Federal regulators on Friday proposed new rules aimed at preventing food-related illnesses, requiring that fruit and vegetable farmers keep deadly bacteria out of their fields and subjecting processors to stricter safety monitoring.