Thursday, March 28, 2013

A landslide thundered through a subdivision in Washington state's Whidbey Island north of Seattle on Wednesday, destroying one home and threatening more than 30 others. "It looks like a giant shovel pulled the hill down to the water. We heard a lot of rumbling and snapping of trees."
The landslide hit the Ledgewood Beach community about 50 miles north of Seattle at 4:15 a.m. local time, knocking one house off its foundation and destroying a road. Authorities rescued 12 residents from nearly 20 homes in the area that were cut off when a road was damaged by the landslide. Another 17 homes were evacuated because they were left unsafe or uninhabitable by the disaster. None one was injured.
The homes in the Ledgewood Beach area are a mix of year-round and vacation properties that sit high on a bluff overlooking the waters of the Puget Sound. A county geotechnical engineer was evaluating how long residents would be forced to stay out of their homes. "This is an area that has experienced a few landslides in the past." The area has not experienced recent heavy rains. (video)

**If there is this universal energy field that we're all
plugged in to, then we should see ourselves as a
sort of transmitter and receiver in this energy field.
The more clear we are about our purpose,
the better we transmit.
The more we become an open receiver, the more we
have all those important experiences that appear coincidental.**
Wynne Miller


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
Canary Islands quake cluster continues, and the magnitudes are higher than earlier in the week. Quakes so far today - 3.3, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.1, 3.4, 3.2, 3.1

Yesterday -
3/27/13 -
Canary Islands quake cluster continued. Largest quakes - 4.4, 4.1, 4.1

A strong earthquake struck central Taiwan on Wednesday, killing at least one person and injuring 19 as it damaged buildings on the quake-prone island. The 6.0 quake's depth was a relatively shallow 9 miles. Near the epicenter in Nantou County, a section of a ceiling fell from a government office and injured one worker. Occurring at a depth of 15.4 kilometers, the temblor centered in the same region as a 1999 quake which measured 7.3 and killed more than 2,000 people. Workers at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Aftershocks jolted central Taiwan in the hours after the midmorning earthquake that prompted an evacuation at major semiconductor factories and a brief halt in train service but left the island largely unscathed.

Jamaicans urged to prepare now for big quake in future - A seismic expert is urging authorities in Jamaica to prepare for another big earthquake on the island, where the seaside capital was destroyed by a temblor just over a century ago. It’s impossible for scientists to determine if a big quake will hit in days or decades, but a geophysics professor is urging the government and stakeholders to understand that the threat is real. He said that Jamaica will most likely be exposed to a quake with a magnitude of 7 or 7.5. Jamaica’s capital of Kingston was destroyed in a 1907 quake.

Japan - 15.5% quake insurance hike sought. Premium discounts will be expanded for highly quake-resistant housing to ease the impact of the premium increase. The industry argues the hike is needed to maintain the earthquake insurance system after reserves declined sharply due to the massive 2011 quake and tsunami.

Volcano Webcams

Nicaragua - San Cristobal Volcano. Nicaragua's National System for Mitigation and Response to Disasters (SINAPRED) is keeping a close eye on San Cristóbal Volcano after a series of four tremors reported last Sunday near the base of the volcano. [Yesterday it was reported that the Telica volcano is under close observation, due to increased micro earthquakes.]

Indonesia's Mount Lokon Eruption Puts City on Alert - Mount Lokon volcano in North Sulawesi has erupted spewing thick ash that has enveloped three neighbouring villages. A loud boom was heard on Monday, followed by lava shooting up to 2,000 metres into the air. Cars, trees and buildings are blanketed in a thick layer of ash. Indonesian authorities have placed Tomohon City on the third highest alert level. Officials have not advised residents to leave the area so far but villagers have been warned not to go within 2.5 kilometres of the crater. Volcanologists say the mountain has been erupting since July 2011. (video)

Iceland volcano's eruption fueled ocean blooms - The explosive volcanic eruption Iceland saw in 2010 may have disrupted life in the air above Europe, but it apparently enriched life in the Atlantic Ocean, researchers say. After nearly two centuries of dormancy, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted many times over the course of 10 weeks three years ago. These outbursts spewed a giant plume of ash that spread unusually far and stayed for an oddly long time in the atmosphere, forcing widespread flight cancellations for days.
A series of research cruises were in the Iceland Basin region of the North Atlantic Ocean both during and after the eruption. These allowed the researchers to measure iron concentrations at the ocean's surface before, during and after the eruption in areas directly influenced by the plume of iron-rich ash. "This was really the first time scientists have been under a volcanic plume at sea and could really look at the immediate effects of the ash falling into the ocean."
Iron is key to ocean life, helping spur the growth of single-celled organisms known as phytoplankton. Like plants, these organisms convert sunlight to chemical energy via photosynthesis and serve as the base of the food chain. In about a third of the global ocean, a scarcity of iron limits the abundance of life, so ash supplying this metal could spur booms in biological activity. Beneath the plume, the scientists found that peak dissolved iron levels were up to about 20 to 45 times higher after the plume than they had been before the ash came along. A model of ash dispersal rate that the researchers developed, along with measurements of iron dissolution, suggest that up to 220,000 square miles (570,000 square kilometers) of North Atlantic waters might have been seeded with up to about 100 metric tons of iron.
The researchers also saw that after the eruption, levels of another nutrient, nitrate, were nearly completely depleted in the central Iceland Basin. That finding suggests that when volcanic iron fertilized the waters, the resulting phytoplankton bloom sucked up other nutrients as well. Since phytoplankton use carbon dioxide just like plants do, volcanic ash falling on the ocean could reduce levels of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. However, the team estimated that the plume from Eyjafjallajökull only triggered a 10 to 20 percent rise in carbon dioxide uptake by phytoplankton in the Iceland Basin compared to other years. In order for volcanic iron to have larger effects on the atmosphere, phytoplankton must really flourish. For that to happen, the researchers suggest, ash emissions have to be much larger and longer in duration and must occur over a region high in nitrate.
The relatively modest effects that this volcanic iron apparently had on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels strike another blow against so-called geoengineering schemes that aim to reduce levels of greenhouse gases by adding large amounts of iron to the seas. "I'm not an advocate of dumping into the ocean to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide. It's not a very efficient process. You'd need so much iron to remove the man-made carbon dioxide emitted at the moment that it wouldn't be worth it."
In the future, researchers could investigate the effects of volcanic ash on the Southern Ocean, which is relatively rich in nitrate. "There, you might see more of an effect when you add extra iron via ash. However, you'd have to be lucky to be at sea when a volcano erupted there. Our cruise was scheduled three years in advance, and it was just pure luck we were in the Iceland Basin when Eyjafjallajökull erupted."


No current tropical storms.

Madagascar hit by 'severe' plague of locusts - A severe plague of locusts has infested about half of Madagascar, threatening crops and raising concerns about food shortages. Billions of the plant-devouring insects could cause hunger for 60% of the population.
It was THE WORST PLAGUE TO HIT THE ISLAND SINCE THE 1950's. "The last one was in the 1950s and it had a duration of 17 years so if nothing is done it can last for five to 10 years, depending on the conditions. "Currently, about half the country is infested by hoppers and flying swarms - each swarm made up of billions of plant-devouring insects. FAO estimates that about two-thirds of the island country will be affected by the locust plague by September 2013 if no action is taken."
Donors are needed to give more than $22m in emergency funding by June so that a full-scale spraying campaign can be launched to fight the plague. The plague threatens pasture for livestock and rice crops - the main staple in Madagascar. "Nearly 60% of the island's more than 22m people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger in a country that already had extremely high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition." An estimated 85% of people in Madagascar, which has a population of more than 22 million, live on less than a dollar a day.
The Locust Control Centre in Madagascar had treated 30,000 hectares of farmland since last October, but a cyclone in February made the situation worse. The cyclone not only damaged crops but created "optimal conditions for one more generation of locusts to breed".


Farmers battle extreme weather in UK - Extreme weather is testing farmers, who are having to work around the clock to look after the welfare of their animals. The National Farmers’ Union has said, despite the weather, farmers are continuing to deliver to keep Britain moving. The unseasonable snow and ice across the country has caused disruption for both homes and businesses and has left farmers to battle against the elements, to ensure their farms keep working and their animals are cared for.
“These are UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AND ARE TOTALLY OUT OF CHARACTER FOR THE TIME OF YEAR. It has put an extraordinary strain on the industry after what has been a torrid 12 months of extreme weather, compounded by the fact that many farmers’ sheep are lambing at the moment. Sheep are adapted to living outside, but it is unusual to be lambing in this weather and we do expect to see some losses in areas hardest-hit by the weather. I’ve talked to families where everyone is out all day and night just trying to get feed out there.”
Meanwhile, farmers in Ireland are facing similar, if not worse, conditions. However, the Ulster Farmers’ Union has praised the efforts of the many farmers who have battled throughout the weekend, despite persistent heavy-lying snow. It has been a very tough couple of days for many farming families. The bad weather has come at the worst time – lambing season – and the full scale of the picture will appear in the coming days, with concerns remaining about animal losses.


Arctic ice loss may drive extreme weather patterns - Several researchers say that warming conditions in the Arctic may be weakening jet stream currents and causing extreme weather systems to linger in northern mid-latitudes. Climate scientists have blamed melting sea ice for causing extreme winter in the North America and Europe during this winter. Thickness of the ice is also a concern among the environmental scientists.

Australia - Heatwaves are lasting longer and happening more often, with new research showing hottest temperatures during heatwaves are also rising. If the trend continues there's no doubt their recent hot summers will be far more common in future.
"Heatwaves have been increasing worldwide but the trend is even more marked across large parts of Australia, which has warmed faster than the global average. Not only are we seeing more heatwaves in Australia but trends are suggesting that the hottest temperatures recorded during heatwave events are rising faster than the overall average." The researchers defined heatwaves as three days or more when temperatures reach the top 10 per cent of the hottest ever recorded for specific times of the year.
They found hot weather in traditionally cold months is increasing faster than summer heatwaves. "This could have important impacts on agriculture, particularly for the production of winter crops." The number of heatwave days in a year has increased across much of north and central Queensland, Victoria and the southeast area of South Australia. The research found in many of these places the increase in the number of heatwave events corresponded to the increase in heatwave days.
However the number of individual heatwaves have barely changed in Victoria and South Australia, suggesting the heatwaves in those states are increasing in length, if not in number. Temperatures recorded on the hottest heatwave days are climbing in every state across the country with some regional exceptions in northern and central Australia. That trend has accelerated since 1971.


Novel coronavirus lab studies hint at wide tissue susceptibility - Experiments by Hong Kong researchers to gauge the susceptibility of several human and animal cell lines to novel coronavirus (NCoV) found signs that it can infect a broad range of tissues, which might shed light on the disease's seemingly high mortality rate.

- La Preferida, Inc. is recalling La Preferida Whole Pinto Beans 29 oz. (Water & Salt). The manufacturer’s preliminary inspection indicates 420 cans may not have been fully processed, which could result in product contamination by spoilage organisms or by pathogens, which could lead to illness if consumed.
- Jones Natural Chews Co of Rockford, IL is recalling 245 boxes of Woofers (beef patties) because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products.