Sunday, April 21, 2013

A powerful earthquake struck the steep hills of China's southwestern Sichuan province on Saturday, leaving at least 156 people dead and more than 5,500 injured, nearly five years after a devastating quake wreaked widespread damage across the region. Saturday's quake, while not as destructive as the one in 2008, toppled buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county. It was the country's worst quake in 3 years. Numerous aftershocks jolted the area.
The village of Longmen was hit particularly hard, with authorities saying nearly all the buildings there had been destroyed in a frightening minute-long shaking by the quake. "It was such a big quake that everyone was scared. We all fled for our lives." Rescuers turned the square outside the Lushan County Hospital into a triage centre, where medical personnel bandaged bleeding victims. Rescuers dynamited boulders that had fallen across roads to reach Longmen and other damaged areas lying farther up the mountain valleys.
The quake - measured by the China Earthquake Administration at magnitude 7.0 and by the US Geological Survey at 6.6 - struck the steep hills of Lushan county shortly after 8am (1000 AEST), when many people were at home, sleeping or having breakfast. People in their underwear and wrapped in blankets ran into the streets of Ya'an and even the provincial capital of Chengdu, 115km east of Lushan. The quake's shallow depth, less than 13km, likely magnified the impact.
Chengdu's airport shut down for about an hour before reopening, though many flights were cancelled or delayed, and its railway station halted dozens of scheduled train rides Saturday. Lushan reported the most deaths, 76, but there was concern that casualties in neighbouring Baoxing county might have been under-reported because of inaccessibility after roads were blocked and power and phone services cut off.
As the region went into the first night after the quake, rain started to fall, slowing rescue work. Forecasts called for more rain in the next several days, and the China Meteorological Administration warned of possible landslides and other geological disasters. Tens of thousands of people moved into tents or cars, unable to return home or too afraid to go back as aftershocks continued to jolt the region.
Lushan, where the quake struck, sits atop the Longmenshan fault. It was along that fault line that a devastating magnitude-7.9 quake struck on May 12, 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead in one of the worst natural disasters to strike China in recent decades. As in most natural disasters, the government mobilised thousands of soldiers and others - 7,000 people by Saturday afternoon - sending excavators and other heavy machinery as well as tents, blankets and other emergency supplies. Two soldiers died after the vehicle that they and more than a dozen others were in slipped off the road and rolled down a cliff.
With roads blocked for several hours after the quake, the military surveyed the disaster area by air. Aerial photos released by the military and shown on state television showed individual houses in ruins in Lushan and outlying villages flattened into rubble. The roofs of some taller buildings appeared to have slipped off, exposing the floors beneath them.

**People often say that motivation doesn’t last.
Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.**
Zig Ziglar


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
4/20/13 -

4/19/13 -
7.2 KURIL ISLANDS [The third 7.0+ quake this month - 7.0 Papua Indonesia on 4/6 and 7.8 Iran/Pakistan on 4/16]

The site of China's latest quake sits on the border of two tectonic plates which are constantly grinding against each other.

11,000 relocated after SW China quake - By Friday, more than 11,000 people had been evacuated to safe areas after a 5.0-magnitude quake hit Southwest China's Yunnan province on Wednesday.

Pakistan - Virtually inexistent road infrastructure and insurgents fears are holding back relief activities in the quake-ravaged Mashkail area of Balochistan, as the plight of the affected people in the border villages is feared to grow if supplies of essential items are not able to reach them. Pakistani earthquake victims burned tires at angry protests Friday, accusing the government of failing to provide adequate relief three days after their homes were destroyed or damaged. The 7.8-magnitude quake, which was centered in southeastern Iran on Tuesday, sent shockwaves that spread as far as Lahore and Karachi, though most of the damage took place in Balochistan's remote Mashkhel district.

Volcano Webcams


[Site note - I HIGHLY recommend the movie "The Impossible" - the amazing true story of a family of 5 who were caught in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Heartwarming without being cheesy, and a fantastic depiction of what it would be like to try to survive the waves. It blew me away. Bring kleenex!]

Earthquakes Are East Coast's Biggest Tsunami Threat - The U.S. East Coast's biggest tsunami threat lurks just offshore, according to research presented at the Seismological Society of America's annual meeting. Recent earthquake swarms off the Massachusetts coast highlight the threat of tsunamis from nearby earthquakes, rather than faraway islands.
The geologic setting of the quakes off the Northeast appears similar to that of a magnitude-7.3 earthquake that struck in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland in 1929. The resulting 32-foot (10 meters) tsunami swamped southern Newfoundland and triggered underwater landslides that severed transatlantic telephone cables. The 1929 Newfoundland quake was felt from Canada to New York, across hundreds of miles. If a similar temblor were to hit under the seafloor today, residents would have 10 to 15 minutes of warning before a tsunami would clobber the coast.
They have found small earthquakes, in the magnitude-2 and magntiude-3 range, offshore as far south as southern New Jersey. The offshore rumbles indicate the areas most likely to have large, damaging earthquakes in the future. That the offshore earthquakes mostly stop south of New Jersey is a surprise. Onshore, a powerful magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit Charleston, S.C., in 1886. Although it's only a guess, a scientist thinks the increased seismicity from New Jersey to Nova Scotia could be related to changes that have occurred since the last Ice Age.
For instance, the crust is flexing, now that its heavy load of ice and glacial lakes have disappeared. "As soon as you get away from the glaciers, you don't have seismicity, but it could be a coincidence." Researchers are also searching for signs of past tsunamis on the East Coast. A possible 2,400-year-old tsunami deposit has been found in New Hampshire.
Many emergency planners think the East Coast's biggest risk is from eruptions or underwater landslides at volcanic islands on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, such as the Canary Islands. "We have to consider the possibility that there could be a Grand Banks-style earthquake in these areas and a tsunami that could affect the Northeast coast."


No current tropical storms.

Earthquake sensors detected energy of Superstorm Sandy - Earthquake sensors located as far away as the Pacific Northwest detected the storm's energy as it surged toward the New York metropolitan region last year.


Tropical storm wreaks havoc over Dominica - A violent storm moving across Caribbean island Dominica on Friday has resulted in casualties as mudslides have destroyed roads and rivers have run amok. Reports have emerged that the island's football team has also been caught in the torrential rainfall.
Three footballers have been injured as they were travelling to Melville Hall Airport. They were reportedly involved in an incident which saw the road open up leaving a 40 foot drop. The severe rainfall has caused landslides in the localities of Bagatelle, Petite Savanne, Delices, Portsmouth and Capuchin. The storm and heavy rainfall are a result of a low pressure trough system moving across the region.

U.S. Midwestern river cities brace for floodwaters - The fast-rising Mississippi River was making travel difficult Saturday, both on the river and for those simply trying to get across it.
The Mississippi, Missouri and other Midwestern rivers in at least six states have surged since torrential rains drenched the region over the last few days. At least two deaths are blamed on flash flooding and a third was suspected, while crews in Indiana were searching for a man whose car was swept away. The National Weather Service predicted what it characterizes as "major" flooding on the Mississippi from the Quad Cities through just north of St. Louis this weekend, with similar projections further south into early next week. Some smaller rivers are expected to see RECORD FLOODING.
If crossing the Mississippi River was difficult, traveling it was essentially impossible. The water was moving too swiftly, prompting the Army Corps of Engineers to close most of the locks between the Quad Cities and near St. Louis. Barge traffic was at a standstill, slowing the movement of items such as coal, grain and other goods.
Volunteers pitched in to help hold back the bulging Mississippi River from Clarksville, Missouri. The murky river water was creeping dangerously close to the quaint downtown of antique stores and artist shops. Clarksville's flood stage is 25 feet. By Saturday afternoon, the river was at 34.2 feet and expected to rise another 2 feet by Sunday. "It came up fast - faster than normal."
Mississippi River levels vary greatly but are typically highest in the spring, so minor flooding is not uncommon. But when river levels exceed flood stage by several feet, serious problems can occur. Smaller rivers were swelling, too. In Illinois, heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar will shut down its East Peoria factory Sunday as the Illinois River approaches an expected 30-foot crest early next week. More than 200 people were evacuated along rivers in Indiana. The Wabash River in Tippecanoe County topped 14 feet above flood stage Saturday, the HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 1958.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, high water forced the evacuation of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel and an apartment building on Saturday. Two people have died due to flash flooding. A 64-year-old man's car was swept away and submerged Friday night after he tried to cross a flooded road north of Indianapolis. Authorities were searching for a second motorist in the same area, as officers heard someone yell and found a truck, but not the driver. On Thursday, a De Soto, Missouri., woman died while trying to cross a flooded road.


H7N9 mystery: Why does age profile tilt older? - One of the odd mysteries posed by the H7N9 influenza virus emerging in China is why most of the patients are on the older side; a fact that stands in sharp contrast to the pattern seen with that other deadly crossover avian virus, H5N1.
New cases move China's H7N9 total to 87 - Three provinces of China and the city of Shanghai reported five more H7N9 influenza infections, as researchers in Europe shared more clues about the behavior of the novel virus and the best way to detect it.

Merit Bird Company of Chatsworth, California is recalling some of their birdseed products because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.