Friday, July 12, 2013

Radioactive water from Japan's quake and tsunami ravaged Fukushima power plant is likely leaking into the Pacific Ocean, a problem long suspected by experts but denied by the plant's operator.
Hero Fukushima Boss Dies of Cancer - Masao Yoshida defied orders in effort to prevent nuclear disaster. The Fukushima nuclear plant manager hailed as a hero for defying orders and putting public safety ahead of the company's bottom line has died of cancer at the age of 58.
He stayed at the plant to try to stabilize it after the March 2011 quake and tsunami and prevented Japan's worst nuclear disaster from getting even worse by ignoring orders to cease pumping seawater into a damaged reactor at the plant he managed. Company officials didn't want to render the reactor unusable, but if Yoshida had obeyed orders, it COULD HAVE RESULTED IN A CHAIN REACTION causing a radiation leak big enough to force the evacuation of Tokyo.
In video footage of the plant's command room after the tsunami struck, Yoshida is seen offering to lead a "suicide mission" to cool another reactor. Yoshida apologized after the disaster for failing to invest in adequate tsunami walls. He retired in 2011 after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which was not believed to be the result of radiation exposure: He was a heavy smoker and the disease would normally take between five and 10 years to develop if it was the result of radiation.

**It hurts the most when you start pretending it doesn’t.**


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
7/11/13 -

Earthquakes can be triggered at the sites of waste water injection BY QUAKES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD, research suggests - A new study links large earthquakes around the world to tremors at US gas drilling sites where fracking is used.
The injection of wastewater from underground operations such as oil drilling is known to increase local seismic activity. Now a study in Science suggests that waves from the most distant temblors can cause quakes at waste water sites. Researchers suggest this can act as a kind of "stress meter" for the sites.
The notion of natural earthquake triggering is not new; in hydrothermal and volcanic areas, tremors can be triggered by large, distant earthquakes. But the new study suggests what is in effect a new category: natural triggering of seismic events primed by human activity. Injection of waste water from operations such as drilling, geothermal, or hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") is banned in the UK and many European countries, but it has become increasingly prevalent in the US. In the state of Texas alone, more than 7,000 such wells are in operation and the link between injection wells and even large seismic events is strengthening.
In March, researchers linked a 5.7-magnitude event in Oklahoma to waste water injection that had been going on for nearly two decades. "In some cases of induced earthquakes you drill a well, you start pumping, and a week or two later you start having earthquakes on a very nearby fault - we saw this in Arkansas in 2011, and a site in Ohio."
When compared with global records of larger earthquakes, a pattern became clear: there was a pronounced increase in earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater following large events elsewhere in the world, such as the February 2010 event in Chile or the March 2011 Tohoku event off Japan. "When you have a really big earthquake somewhere else on the planet, this sets up big seismic waves that spread out like ripples over the surface of the Earth. When these seismic waves pass faults that are already very near to failure, these seismic waves can give that additional push that sets off an earthquake."
These correlations of mid-size earthquakes with distant events could be used as a useful test of a site's integrity. "If you've had a quiet injection site in the past, you'd like to be able to know if that site has transitioned, reached some critical threshold where larger earthquakes are possible." Small to mid-size quakes could be used as a sign of the health of waste water wells "If you can use this method as a kind of stress meter to show where the stresses are building, that might be really useful for making policy decisions about whether to keep pumping there or whether to try a different site."
"This paper is a very interesting contribution as it proposes that mankind can artificially 'prime the faults' by injecting waste water over long periods under the ground. Mankind is essentially lubricating the faults enough so that they are eventually triggered by a distant, natural earthquake. Think of a hovercraft - the air pumped into the base of the craft means that even small forces allow the heavy vehicle to move - the physics is the same."

Volcano Webcams

Video - Eruption of Popocatepetl volcano, just east of Mexico City, has been spewing large clouds of ash and vapour into the sky.


In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon Soulik was located approximately 250 nm south-southwestward of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

Video - Taiwan bracing for Typhoon Soulik.


Video - Car swept away in Colorado mudslide.

Video - China worker rescued as factory is swept away.


Video - Dust storm rolling over Phoenix, Arizona.


Speedy tsunami seen on Sun's surface - Two satellites have seen "tsunami" spreading on the surface of the Sun after a release of matter into space called a coronal mass ejection (CME). These tsunami of heightened magnetic field and hot, ionised gas race across the Sun at about 400km per second.
Analysis of the chance sighting allowed the measurement of the magnetic field in "quiet" areas, away from the CME. Understanding this field may help predict how CMEs will affect the Earth. And thanks to data from Hinode, one of the two satellites, researchers may have cracked a 70-year-old mystery as to why the Sun's surrounding corona is so much hotter than its surface.
The Japanese satellite Hinode has been studying the Sun since 2006, joined in Earth orbit by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in 2010. Both satellites look at ultraviolet light from the Sun - colours we cannot see but that give hints as to both the chemical makeup and the extreme physical conditions at and near the Sun's roiling, turbulent surface.They finally spotted what are known as EIT waves after a CME. Like a tsunami emanating from the point of a seismic event, EIT waves are shock waves that carry magnetic fields and hot, ionised "plasma".
"These EIT waves are quite tricky - they're very random and they're relatively rare. We need to be in the right place at the right time; this has been a long time coming." The SDO satellite was able to capture the ultraviolet light emitted as the wave spread out. From that, the team was able to determine the wave's speed - some 400km per second - and its rough temperature, over a million degrees.
Meanwhile the Hinode satellite returned a high-resolution map of the density of the Sun's surface every 45 seconds. Using both data sets, the team was able to determine the strength of the magnetic field in the "quiet corona" - a tricky measurement of the Sun in its typical, quiescent state. "This tells us a lot about the nature of the Sun and what goes on in the atmosphere. These waves are quite important because they're associated with CMEs that fire plasma out into the heliosphere, toward the Earth."
These CMEs can bathe the Earth with fast-moving particles that can disrupt satellite communications or even knock out electrical power here on Earth - but solar scientists struggle to predict their eventual effects. "Generally we see them when there's a CME coming straight at us - but when it's coming straight at us then it's quite difficult to measure how fast it's coming at us or how strong it is. So by looking at these waves, we should be able to infer how powerful these CMEs are going to be." (video)


CDC experts say norovirus causes up to 21 million illnesses and 800 deaths a year.

Two H7N9 studies found signs of pandemic potential but limited airborne spread in animals.