Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bizarre fireball over California and Cuba after meteor - Hours after a meteor exploded over Russia and injured more than 1000 people, locals in California and Cuba witnessed UNUSUAL FLASHES OF LIGHT.
Residents in California reported seeing an unusual flash of light over the San Francisco Bay area that left many startled and thrilled. Based on reports, the light streaking in the Northern California sky was a sporadic meteor, or fireball, and not a major event. "Fireballs happen every single night, all around the world." Experts say smaller meteorites hit Earth five to 10 times a year but chances of a large meteor passing, such as the one that streaked over Chelyabinsk, Russia, are much rarer. Another meteor landed in the Bay Area in October and caused a loud sonic boom, a sound that could have been from the meteor travelling faster than the speed of sound. Another meteor that exploded April 22 was seen over a large part of Northern California and Nevada.
On Friday, the Chabot Space and Science Centre in Oakland also reported receiving calls describing what appeared to be a fireball flying west around 8pm local time. "This is a very common occurrence. What is uncommon is that it's so close to where people are living." Bay Area media outlets reported the fireball was reported seen from an area stretching from Gilroy, about 130 kilometres south of San Francisco, to Sacramento, about 145 kilometres to the northeast. One viewer said the object was bluish in colour and appeared to be heading straight to the ground. "I saw, like, a blue streak from the sky coming down. I thought it was fireworks, but I didn't hear any sounds."
The news of North America seeing lights comes as Cuba also apparently experienced a phenomenon similar to but smaller than the meteorite that hit Russia. Residents described a bright light in the sky and a loud explosion that shook windows and walls. There were no reports of any injuries or damage such as those caused by the Russia meteorite.
In a video from a state TV newscast posted on the website CubaSi late Friday, unidentified residents of the central city of Rodas, near Cienfuegos, said the explosion was impressive. "On Tuesday we left home to fish around five in the afternoon, and around 8:00 we saw a light in the heavens and then a big ball of fire, bigger than the sun. My home shook completely. I had never heard such a strange thing." All signs point to a meteorite. (photos & video)

**If there is a sin against life,
it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life
as in hoping for another life
and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/16/13 -

2/15/13 -

Quake cluster hits Pacific Ring of Fire - A number of quakes ranging from 5.0 to 6.2 on the Richter scale have struck the Pacific Ring of Fire. On Saturday, two quakes struck the Philippines and earthquakes also occurred in New Zealand, the Santa Cruz Islands, Kuril Islands, and Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. There were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties. The Ring of Fire is known for its seismic and volcanic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.

Volcano Webcams

Iceland - The world's most dangerous car park: New pictures reveal daredevil drivers flocking to Icelandic Volcano and leaving their vehicles in the path of flowing lava. Cars sit in the shadow of a volcano spilling 1200-degree-centigrade molten lava - at what could be the world's most dangerous car park.
Daredevil drivers parked their four-by-fours in the path of the thick liquid as it poured down the slopes of the Eyjafjallajvkull volcano in Iceland, which caused massive disruption across Europe when it last erupted in 2010, spewing ash high into the atmosphere. Fearless thrill-seekers even got out of their cars to take a closer look at the lavaflow - some standing just half a metre away from the deadly liquid.
The volcano has erupted relatively frequently since the last glacial period, most recently in 2010, where it caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe. 'Some people were standing about half meter from the lava with their cars parked nearby. Recent tracks from jeep tires in the snow were disappearing under the lava - but because it was moving so slow we were not actually noticing any movements. The noise was really memorable - it sounded like a powerful firework display.'
The way to Eyjafjallajkull volcano is covered under three feet of snow and ash, in Iceland, with thrill-seekers spending up to three hours travelling on treacherous surfaces. 'We decided to turn back, but on our way back down the glacier it was snowing so badly we could only see about three meters in front of the car - so it was very easy to get lost. At one point we lost the vehicle in front of us for around 20 minutes. We did not have GPS systems to tell us where to go so we were not in good place at all. 'Finally we found the other group and we continued back home." (photos)

Mudflows From Indonesian Volcano Pose Threats - One of Indonesia’s most dangerous volcanoes is posing a new threat, this time due to the tons of volcanic debris left over from a series of deadly eruptions in 2010. Heavy rains in recent days have mixed with tons of volcanic debris that spewed from central Java’s Mount Merapi several years ago, creating huge mudflows along a number of the mountain’s rivers. On Tuesday, one flow hit a group of sand miners on the banks of the Gendol River, killing one person, injuring another and sweeping away several trucks.
Merapi, about 25 kilometers north of the town of Yogyakarta, is Indonesia’s most seismically active volcano. Its eruption in 2010 released poisonous gases and blanketed the region, populated by millions of people, in a layer of fine ash. More than 300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. “The danger on Merapi right now is only related to rain [mixing with] all the material that erupted in 2010. An early warning system was developed for the threat of mudflows, but sand miners often pay little heed to the warning.” Hundreds of laborers work along the mountain’s rivers each day to gather sand for cement production. Many excavate by hand.
Merapi is one of more than 100 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits along a series of major fault lines dubbed “the ring of fire.” The United Nations cites Merapi as one of 16 volcanoes worldwide that pose especially serious threats because of their activity and vicinity to major population centers. The governor of Yogyakarta warned people to stay away from Merapi’s rivers after the death this week. “There’s no more forest on the upper parts of the mountain. Mudflows and boulders can roll down like they’re on a highway.”

No tropical storms.


Australia - Bushfire threatening Victorian town. A fast moving bushfire burning in the Grampians may reach the Victorian town of Mirranatwa.


Russia meteor blast produced equivalent of a 2.7 magnitude earthquake - The meteor explosion in the skies above Russia also walloped the Earth, triggering shaking as strong as an earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. Friday's early morning blast, centered on the Chelyabinsk region, sent massive tremors through the ground, which were recorded on seismic monitoring instruments around the world.
Initial reports pegged the explosion as similar to a magnitude 2.7 shaker, according a seismograph released by the USGS. For comparison, the 1908 Tunguska meteor blast's shock waves, which flattened 80 million trees in Siberia, produced the equivalent of an estimated 5.0 temblor. "When you have an explosion in the air, it shakes the ground, and we see it on the seismographs. It's not an earthquake, and it looks very different from the usual earthquake seismogram." Few meteor explosions have actually been recorded on seismographs, though.
An estimated 297 buildings suffered damage, including six hospitals and 12 schools, according to translations of updates by the Russian Emergency Ministry. Scientists think a meteoroid entered the atmosphere above Russia's southern Chelyabinsk region, where it exploded and broke up into fragments scattered across three regions of Russia and Kazakhstan. The Russian meteor's trail did not travel south to north as the asteroid 2013 DA14 did.
Scientists believe the Russian meteorite originated from the asteroid belt, a vast collection of debris orbiting between Mars and Jupiter that consists of leftover bits from the formation of the solar system. The asteroid probably traveled for a year before it burst into the atmosphere Friday. As yet, no fragments have been recovered, but experts believe the asteroid was rocky in nature, and not formed of dense iron and nickel.
The object that exploded over Russia was a “tiny asteroid” that measured roughly 45 feet across, weighed about 10 tons and traveled about 40,000 mph. The object vaporized roughly 15 miles above the surface of the Earth, causing a shock wave that triggered the global network of listening devices that was established to detect nuclear test explosions. The force of the explosion measured between 300 and 500 kilotons, equivalent to a modern nuclear bomb. “When you hear about injuries, those are undoubtedly due to the events of the shock striking the city and causing walls to collapse and glass to fly, not due to fragments striking the ground.”
The fact that the asteroid hit on the same day that the world was anticipating the close flyby of a larger asteroid, 2012 DA14, was an extraordinary coincidence. The smaller asteroid was traveling in a very different trajectory and much more quickly than DA14, indicating they were not related."
“The reason it wasn’t detected by telescopes on Earth is because it literally came out of the daylight sky and, as you know, telescopes can’t see things in the daytime." Scientists estimate that anywhere between 80 and 200 tons of space-borne debris hits Earth’s atmosphere every day. Most of those objects are the size of a grain of sand. Objects that contact the Earth’s surface are much rarer.
No Russian Meteor Fragments Found in Icy Lake - Russian authorities say divers have explored an icy lake in search of fragments of the huge meteor that exploded above the Ural Mountains, but found nothing. People in Russia's Chelyabinsk region panicked as the 10-ton meteor lit up the morning sky Friday and exploded with the force of at least 20 nuclear bombs.
The explosion unleashed a shock wave that blew out thousands of windows, damaged buildings and left more than 1,100 people injured. The Interior Ministry said most of the injuries were caused by flying glass. The regional governor said the damage is estimated at $33 million. The planetary science director at the U.S. space agency, NASA, says the event was an "exception.""Fireballs" of some kind happen on a daily basis, but most of them are not seen because they fall over the ocean or in remote areas. The Russian Academy of Sciences says the meteor entered Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kilometers per hour. (photos & video)