Friday, September 6, 2013

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**The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.**
William Shakespeare

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 9/5/13 -

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocks Guanacaste, Costa Rica - 44 km west of Sardinal, in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province at 6:29 a.m.Thursday, at a depth of 41.7km. It was described as three strong jolts over the course of about a minute. There are no reports of injuries or damage at this time. It marked one year to the day when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the Nicoya Peninsula, also in the province of Guanacaste, on September 5th, 2012. That quake occurred at 8:42 a.m. local time.

New Zealand - New quake faults found. New research has revealed that some of the West Coast is sandwiched between enormous offshore fault lines and the Alpine Fault. They are the type that generate tsunamis, which is bad news for coastal townships because it is unknown when they will rupture.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) scientists today released a report from a two-year mapping project for the West Coast Regional Council, which wanted to assess earthquake and tsunami risk for its coastal communities. The report identifies 10 active marine faults in a 320-kilometre stretch from Hokitika to Farewell Spit. That includes three new faults, informally named the Farewell, Elizabeth and Razorback faults, and divides the 250km-long Cape Foulwind Fault into five segments.
The faults run parallel to the coastline within 30km of land, some only a few kilometres offshore, and vary in length from 10km to the longest, Kongahu Fault, at 120km. The largest could generate major quakes of magnitude-6.5 to 7.8. National tsunami modelling, prompted by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, showed no marine faults off the West Coast so the new research fills in a huge gap in understanding seismic hazards.
The latest information will be used to update the country's seismic hazard work. While the faults were relatively large and capable of causing severe quakes, the good news was they had extremely long recurrence intervals so would only rupture once every 7500 to 30,000 years. "But we've got no idea when the last earthquake occurred on any of them. For all we know, that may be very close." They were compressional faults, which typically would lift the seabed when they ruptured.
Work on the recent quakes in Canterbury and Seddon showed all faults interacted with nearby faults, which meant marine faults off Hokitika could stir up the nearby Alpine Fault. The Alpine Fault is New Zealand's largest fault, which spans 600km from Fiordland to Marlborough and ruptures every 330 years on average. No marine faults were found south of Hokitika down to northern Fiordland and none were further out to sea than 30km.

Peru - An Ubinas volcano erupted in southern Peru on Tuesday, high in the Andes Mountains near the border with Chile. The Institute of Geophysics of Peru said the volcano has been active in the past few days and they think that some of the snow and water from the cold days may have seeped in the cracks of the volcano and caused ash to erupt.

+ Geophysicists have discovered what they say is the largest single volcano on Earth, Tamu Massif, a 650-kilometre-wide beast lurking beneath the waters of the northwest Pacific Ocean. It's size is equivalent to the state of New Mexico or the British Isles.
The megavolcano has been inactive for some 140 million years. But its very existence will help geophysicists to set limits on how much magma can be stored in Earth's crust and pour out onto the surface. It also shows that Earth can produce volcanoes on par with Olympus Mons on Mars, which, at 625 kilometres across, was until now the biggest volcano known in the Solar System. “I’m not sure anybody would have guessed that.”
Tamu Massif has been long known as one of three large mountains that make up an underwater range called the Shatsky Rise. The rise, about 1,500 kilometres east of Japan, formed near a junction where three plates of Earth’s crust once pulled apart. Shallow rock cores from Tamu had previously revealed that it was made of lava. But geologists thought that the mountain, which rises 4 kilometres from the sea floor, might have built up from several volcanoes erupting such that their lava merged into one pile. The islands of Hawaii and Iceland were built this way.
Research has shown that all of its lava flows dipped away from the volcano’s summit, implying a central magma vent. “From whatever angle you look at it, the lava flows appear to come from the centre of this thing." Over time, the lava coursed downhill and then solidified, building up a volcano with a long, low profile similar to that of a shield laid on the ground.
The world’s biggest active shield volcano, Mauna Loa on Hawaii, has an areal footprint just 15% of Tamu’s — but Mauna Loa is taller, rising 9 kilometres from sea floor to summit. Not all of Tamu may have come from a single magma vent. There could be separate sources, deeper than the seismic waves penetrated, that could have oozed out lava and inflated the mountain from below. Because ship time is at a premium, the study is one of the first to peer at the internal geometry of these massive underwater mountains. It is possible that other megavolcanoes are waiting to be discovered. “There may be bigger ones out there."


* In the Atlantic -
Remnants of Gabrielle are located about 30 mi (45 km) NNW of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. After a brief 12-hour life as a tropical storm, Gabrielle weakened to a tropical depression over Puerto Rico. The remnants of Gabrielle are expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with isolated maximum amounts of up to 8 inches possible in areas of mountainous terrain. The last advisory has been issued on this sytem.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Lorena is located approximately about 125 mi (200 km) W of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Baja California Sur. On the forecast track, the center of Lorena will approach the southern Baja California peninsula on Friday and then be near or over land by Saturday.


+ India - More than 170 people have died in monsoon floods in the eastern Indian state of Bihar since last week. More than 5.9 million people in 3,768 villages in 20 districts have been affected. This year's monsoon rainfall in Bihar is down 26% on last year. This has led to a curious situation: 18 districts are facing drought, while 20 districts are flooded because of heavy rain in neighbouring states. (slideshow)

Cyclone causes floods in Western Georgia - A cyclone which struck from the Baltic to Georgia caused floods in several areas in the west of the country. According to the monitoring service under the Ministry of Environment Protection of Georgia, the river burst its banks which led to flooding of some houses in the region of Adjara, as well as in the areas of Khelvachauri and Keda.
The level of water rose in rivers in the Samegrelo and Svaneti regions. There is a danger of flooding. Where the cyclone struck on the Black Sea coast of Georgia the heights of the waves reached two metres Wednesday night, but because of early intervention, neither people nor buildings located near the sea, were affected. In spite of this, there wa still the threat of storms and heavy rains on Thursday.
Despite heavy rains and wind, the infrastructure in the west and east of Georgia is not affected. Tbilisi is not affected by the strong wind and heavy rain. As the Georgian service for emergency situations reported, a few trees were felled by the wind in the city and did not cause significant damage to the capital. (photo)

+ Fog causes 100-car pile up on UK road - The pile-up on a bridge in heavy fog in England has left at least six people seriously injured and 200 suffering minor injuries in what witnesses described as "carnage". No one is believed to have died in the crash on the new Sheppey crossing bridge in Kent. It started around 7.15am local time and continued for 10 minutes as cars and lorries crashed into each other in visibility that was down to 20 metres.
There were reports of some motorists driving "like idiots" in the conditions before the crash that completely closed the A249 that goes over the bridge. The scene was full of buckled cars, lorries and even a car transporter as people waited at the side of the road to receive help from the emergency services. It was reported that people were trapped and a fleet of 30 ambulances and response vehicles went to the scene, with some casualties receiving treatment at the roadside.
"It's horrific. I've never seen anything like it in my life. All you could hear was cars crashing. We got out of our car and it was eerily quiet, with visibility down to just 20 yards." "There are no fatalities but ambulance crews are dealing with a large number of walking wounded casualties. Firefighters have used hydraulic cutting equipment to release five people from their vehicles."
There were collisions at the top of the bridge and at the foot of the approach to it. A lorry driver who saw the start of the accident used his truck to block the entrance to the bridge and stop more cars piling into the crash, a witness said. "He was going the other way and what he managed to do, which has probably saved lives, is he's gone down to the end of the carriageway, gone across the roundabout and actually blocked off the road so no more cars could actually enter the dual carriageway before the emergency services got there. Whoever that guy is I'd like to shake his hand because he's probably saved lives today."


+ California - Huge Yosemite wildfire started by hunter's campfire. The California wildfire that has burnt almost 371 sq miles (960 sq km) was ignited when a hunter's illegal campfire went out of control, investigators have said. The US Forest Service dismissed speculation the fire was started by illegal marijuana growers.
The blaze began on 17 August outside Yosemite National Park and is now 80% contained. No arrests have been made and the hunter's name is not being released. Further investigation continues. The Rim Fire is the fourth largest wildfire in California since 1932. It has burned more than 66,000 acres (27,000 ha) of world-famous Yosemite National Park and threatened to fill with ash a park reservoir that supplies water and hydro-electric power to San Francisco. 111 structures had been destroyed by the blaze. At one point, more than 4,000 structures were threatened and thousands were ordered to evacuate. Thousands of firefighters are still fighting the wildfire, but significant process has been made in the past week.


MERS - Blood tests indicate that many Middle East camels may have been exposed to MERS-CoV.

Chobani Greek yogurt - Stores were notified over the weekend to pull potentially spoiled product from its shelves. And it turns out the company knew about possible problems with tainted yogurt manufactured in its Idaho plant two or three weeks ago.
Customers have bombarded the Chobani Facebook page with complaints about bloated, puffy, fizzy and foamy yogurt containers, and one reported an exploding container. Several people reported that they had become ill after eating the yogurt. Said one person "I have been sick for a week and a half and couldn't figure out why. After reading the newspaper today, I know why. I still have 2 "puffy" containers in my fridge."
On Tuesday, Chobani said a type of mold common in dairy products may be to blame for the bloated packaging and bad-tasting yogurt. A message posted on the Chobani Facebook page on Aug. 31 states "There is nothing more important to us than the quality of our products. We're currently in the process of voluntarily removing and replacing some products from store shelves that did not meet our rigid quality standards." The recalled products have the code 16-012 and expiration dates from Sept. 11 to Oct. 7.
FDA notice


Interstellar Wind Changes Reveal Glimpse of Milky Way's Complexity - Shifting cosmic winds suggest that our solar system lives in a surprisingly complex and dynamic part of the Milky Way galaxy, a new study reports.
Scientists examining four decades' worth of data have discovered that the interstellar gas breezing through the solar system has shifted in direction by 6 degrees, a finding that could affect how we view not only the entire galaxy but the sun itself. "The shift in the wind is evidence that the sun lives in an evolving galactic environment."
Charged particles stream off the sun to form a huge invisible shellaround the solar system called the heliosphere. Outside of this shell lies the Local Interstellar Cloud (LIC), a haze of hydrogen and helium approximately 30 light-years across. The LIC is wispy, featuring just 0.016 atoms per cubic inch (0.264 per cubic centimeter) on average. LIC gas tends to be blocked by the heliosphere, but a thin stream makes it past the sun's magnetic field at the rate of 0.0009 atoms per cubic inch (0.015 atoms per cubic cm).
"Right now, the sun is moving through an interstellar cloud at a relative velocity of 52,000 miles per hour (23 kilometers per second). This motion allows neutral atoms from the cloud to flow through the heliosphere — the solar wind bubble — and create an interstellar 'wind.'" As the sun moves through it, it sweeps up neutral interstellar helium into a cone behind it.
Measurements by NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft showed that the wind has changed slightly over the past decade. A research team found that, over the course of 40 years, the wind had shifted by 6 degrees. What's causing this change in direction? It may be related to turbulence in the interstellar cloud around the solar system. "Winds on Earth are turbulent, and other data show that interstellar clouds are also turbulent. We find that the 6-degree change is comparable to the turbulent velocity of the surrounding cloud on [the] outside of the heliosphere."
Interstellar winds stream in from the direction of the constellation Scorpius, almost perpendicular to the sun's path through the galaxy. As the winds interact with the sun, they create a distinctive feature. "Helium is gravitationally focused to create a trail of helium known as the 'focusing cone' behind the sun as it moves through space." The dense cone makes the particles easier to study as they pack in behind Earth's star. The changing wind could have implications that go beyond understanding the region surrounding the solar system. It could also affect studies of the charged particles streaming off the sun. "When we try to understand the past and present heliosphere, we can no longer assume that the heliosphere changes only because of the solar wind. Now we have evidence that changes in the interstellar wind may be important."