Thursday, August 15, 2013

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LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 8/14/13 -

Indonesia - Mount Rokatenda is spewing hot ash and lava on the island of Palue, with all residents being evacuated. More than 500 Palue island residents who had earlier refused to leave the 3-kilometer (1.9-mile) exclusion zone around Mount Rokatenda have been evacuated to the neighboring island of Flores.
The bodies of two children who were among six people killed by lava as they slept early Saturday have not been recovered. "There is no more searching for the victims. The main activity now is evacuation. All of the residents in eight villages on Palue have to be moved gradually."
The eruptions were smaller Monday but the potential danger was high because the volcano continues to release hot gas clouds. Molten lava and ash have covered most of Palue, an island in East Nusa Tenggara province with only a 4-kilometer radius. "Mount Rokatenda remains on high alert. There has been no significant decline in activity."
About a quarter of the island's 12,000 people moved to Flores after the volcano began erupting last October and the government has agreed to build new houses for the displaced. Food and thousands of blankets have been sent to several temporary shelters. More than 3,500 displaced people remain in desperate need of sleeping mats, tents and clean water.
Indonesia - Volcano Eruption Victims Suffer Respiratory Illness. Hundreds of evacuees of the eruption of the Rokatenda volcano on Palue island, East Nusa Tenggara, are suffering from illnesses at three rescue centers, sparking claims the government has not provided enough assistance.
“It seems like the central government is not paying enough attention. Is it because it has received low media coverage and so the government has not been that serious in helping?” Up to 560 people have fallen ill with acute respiratory tract infections as of Wednesday.
Local medical teams on the field have been supported by medical teams from the Army and several nongovernmental organizations offering free medication at three evacuation points. The Sikka district had received plenty of aid, but evacuees in Ropa in the district of Ende and Mbay in the Nagekeo district still require treatment.
The local government has placed hundreds of evacuees at the former office building of the Sikka district head, where they could be better monitored by the aid teams as it was a more compact location. The governor met with victims and encouraged them to permanently leave their homes in Palue island for safety reasons. But in response to the proposal, refugees said the permanent move would be difficult because it would mean leaving behind their homes, livestock and farming areas, which were developed by their forefathers long ago.
On Wednesday, the Rokatenda volcano continued to send clouds of hot ash over Palue island. Two volcanic quakes occurred on Wednesday. The volcano has had a history of activity, with the most recent eruption before Saturday’s being in February.

Remote Alaska volcano again emitting low-level lava flow, small ash plume. The remote Veniaminof Volcano is again oozing lava into its ice-filled caldera, but the activity is no cause for alarm for nearby villagers, scientists said Wednesday.
Seismic activity and satellite imagery indicated Veniaminof Volcano began emitting a low-level lava flow Sunday, after about a week of quiet behavior. The volcano also produced an ash cloud of about 12,000 feet Monday, but it quickly dissipated. That was the highest of several plumes since the volcano began its eruption in June, and the first since the activity settled down earlier this month.
Protruding from the caldera ice is a "central cinder cone. That's where all the activity it taking place." The lava flows are not extensive, going down the side of the cone onto the ice on the caldera floor and not traveling much beyond the base of the cone. "This is, in no way, hazardous to anybody, any villages or anything."
Cloud cover has obscured the observatory's webcam at Veniaminof, about 480 miles southwest of Anchorage along the Aleutian chain. The closest community to the volcano is Perryville, an Alutiiq subsistence village of about 110 people. About three weeks ago, "It was really acting up. You could hear it rumbling, and you could see lava flows."
Veniaminof has erupted at least 12 times in the past 200 years. The most significant eruptions occurred between 1993 and 1995, when the volcano produced steam and ash and a small lava flow was extruded from a vent. The lava flow melted snow and ice, producing an oval-shaped ice pit. Eruptions were characterized by small explosions and brief bursts of ash that reached no more than 20,000 feet.

Vog [volcanic fog] from Ambrym Volcano in the Vanuatu archipelago. The volcano remains active in 2013.


In the Atlantic Ocean -
Tropical depression Five is located about 80 mi (30 km( SE of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, where a tropical storm warning has been issued. The depression is expected to become a tropical storm today.

In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon Utor is located approximately 157 nm westward of Hong Kong. Now weakening rapidly due to land interaction. The last advisory has been issued on this system.


Pakistan - A heavy rain that started at early in the morning caused miseries to the dwellers of Lahore as rainwater inundated the low-lying areas due to which as many as eight persons were killed and six others sustained severe injuries on Wednesday.
The rain was continued intermittently due to which several houses caved in and eight persons were buried under the debris. Underpasses were inundated with flash floods and traffic was in gridlock. Several motorcycles and vehicles broke down on roads, while several houses were also filled with rainwater due to which the dwellers were in dire difficulties. A house located In Sangpura at Swala Chowk caved in on account of which four persons were buried under debris. Meanwhile, a roof of a house collapsed due to intermittent rain in the area of Karak at Bannu.


Climate change drought caused the sudden collapse of flourishing Mediterranean civilisations over 3000 years ago, French archaeologists claim. Historians have blamed the simultaneous breakdown of societies in Egypt, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East on mysterious invaders known as the “Sea Peoples”. But research suggests a 300-year drought was responsible.
The researchers found evidence of a sustained drought and increasing salinity which wiped out woodlands, destroyed agriculture and silted up ports. This corroborated ancient “textual evidence” including cuneiform tablets and correspondence between kings. The records suggested a “drought-induced socioeconomic crisis” had precipitated the simultaneous collapse of Egypt’s New Kingdom, the Mycenaean culture in Greece, the Hittite civilisation in Turkey and the Canaanites to the south, 3200 years ago.
The paper says invasions were not the root cause of the collapse. Rather, the Sea Peoples were displaced by the same drought afflicting their more advanced counterparts. “This climate shift caused crop failures, dearth and famine, which precipitated or hastened socioeconomic crises and forced regional human migrations. The crisis was a complex but single event where political struggle, socioeconomic decline, climatically-induced food shortage, famines and flows of migrants intermingled.”
New advanced societies emerged when the drought ended 300 years later.
Other researchers have found related evidence of a climate shift in sea surface temperatures and a two degree Celsius drop around the same time in the northern hemisphere, which would have made the drought a cold wintry one. Just why these changes occurred remains a matter of debate.
Some scientists suggest they may have been caused by a period of increased solar activity, which shifted the jet stream in the North Atlantic and led to drought by cooling the oceans and decreasing rainfall. A similar climate event is believed to have happened in medieval times.
"The jury is still out on that one. If sea surface temperatures drop, then less water evaporates and less water precipitates over land. This period of cooler temperatures seems to be consistent with the Greek Dark Ages of about 400 years. If you can imagine this complex Greek civilization sitting on top of a bucket, then climate came and kicked it out from under them, and there was really nothing that they could have done. You have got cities full of people and now you can only feed half of them.."
"We have pieced together from Hittite texts and Egyptian texts an idea of the world that existed then but it was really an entire civilization, a state-run society with kings, vassals, serfs, armies that disappeared with very little trace at the end of the Late Bronze Age. It adds a tremendous amount of weight to the argument that what ended these civilizations was climate change."
It is still unclear why, if the temperature change was global, the Mediterranean responded so dramatically. "That is something I think it very important to understand because it is not inconceivable that it could happen again."

Climate change may be speeding growth of redwood and sequoia trees - Finally, some good news about the effects of climate change. It may have triggered a growth spurt in two of California's iconic tree species: coast redwoods and giant sequoia.