Monday, September 23, 2013

UPDATE TUESDAY - + 7.7 Quake kills 45 in Pakistan, creates new island in sea. The major earthquake hit a remote part of western Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 45 people and prompting a new island to rise from the sea just off the country's southern coast. The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea. Television channels showed images of a stretch of rocky terrain rising above the sea level, with a crowd of bewildered people gathering on the shore to witness the RARE PHENOMENON.
Tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital of New Delhi, hundreds of miles to the east, where buildings shook, as well as the sprawling port city of Karachi in Pakistan. The United States Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude quake struck 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan's quake-prone province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran.
Officials said scores of mud houses were destroyed by aftershocks in the thinly populated mountainous area near the quake epicenter in Baluchistan, a huge barren province of deserts and rugged mountains. At least 30 percent of houses in the impoverished Awaran district had caved in. 25 people had been injured and the death toll was expected to increase as many people appeared to be trapped inside their collapsed homes. It was hard to assess the impact quickly because the locations were so remote.

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**If you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn't lead anywhere.**
Frank A. Clark

No summary on Tuesday this week.

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 9/22/13 -

RARE simultaneous swarms rock Yellowstone region - a VERY RARE TRIPLE SWARM of earthquakes rocked Yellowstone National Park. A geophysics professor says he has never seen even two swarms occur together before in all the 53 years that he has been monitoring seismic activity. Now, he he’s seen three.
The three swarms hit in the following areas: Lewis Lake, the Lower Geyser Basin and the northwest part of Norris Geyser Basin.
An earthquake swarm is an event where a sequence of earthquakes occurs in a limited geographic area over a short period of time. The triple swarm is “remarkable”. “How does one swarm relate to another? Can one swarm trigger another and vice versa?” No sure answers are available to those questions, however, because SIMULTANEOUS SWARMS HAVEN'T BEEN DETECTED BEFORE. He believes that at least two of the swarms are probably related to each other.
Earlier this month, on September 15, the largest earthquake to rock Yellowstone in over a year occurred about six miles north of the Old Faithful Geyser. Its magnitude was about 3.6 at its epicenter. The recent swarms of earthquakes began on September 10 and finished up on September 16.
Altogether, 130 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 0.6 to 3.6 occurred in the area, with most of them being located in the Lower Geyser Basin. The recent swarms produced four earthquakes which were significant enough in size to be felt. The first, which had a magnitude of 3.5, happened on September 13, about 17 miles northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana. The next two tremblors to be felt occurred early on the morning of September 15 with magnitudes of 3.2 and 3.4 respectively. These two occurred in rapid succession, with one being detected at 5:10 AM and the other at 5:11 AM. The quakes happened about 15 miles southeast of West Yellowstone. The largest earthquake recording during the swarm, a 3.6, was measured nearby about 4 1/2 hours later.
A strong enough earthquake (like the 7.3 quake that shook the Hebgen Lake area in 1959) has the potential to change the activity of the geysers in the area. And, in fact, the 1959 quake did. It caused nearly 300 features to erupt, including 160 where there were no previous records of geysers. None of the current earthquakes were powerful enough to create these types of changes, however.
The current swarms of earthquakes may, in fact, be related to the 1959 earthquake. “We think that much of the seismicity is still aftershocks from that event in 1959. It can go on for hundreds of years.” Usually only about half a dozen earthquakes occur each year in Yellowstone, so it is QUITE UNUSUAL for this level of swarm activity to rock the park.

Santiaguito volcano (Guatemala) - strong explosion and series of pyroclastic flows. Another violent eruption occurred at the lava dome Saturday morning (21 Sep) at 8:30 local time. Accompanied by explosions, the Caliente dome suddenly produced a series of major pyroclastic flows triggered by collapse of accumulated viscous lava at the southeastern rim rim and flank of the dome. The flows descended on all sides of the lava dome.
The explosions, accompanied by shock waves that could be heard in 20 km radius, produced an ash plume that rose to about 4.5 km altitude or about 2 km height above the crater. Significant (but smaller compared) ash plume rose from the pyroclastic flows. Ash fall occurred in Quetzaltenango, Santa María de Jesús, Zuníl and other areas downwind. There has been no recognized precursor to the eruption, illustrating that the activity of the lava dome is highly unpredictable and potentially extremely dangerous. A similar eruption occurred almost exactly one month ago.


* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Usagi is located approximately 66 nm east-northeast of Hong Kong. the final advisory has been issued on this system.

- Tropical storm Pabuk is located 60 nm south of Iwo To, Japan.

Quiet in the Atlantic - In the Gulf of Mexico, the tail end of a cold front off the coast of Texas has developed an area of concentrated heavy thunderstorms. This disturbance has some modest spin to it, thanks to absorbing Invest 95L on Saturday. However, wind shear is high, 20 - 30 knots, and this disturbance is not expected to develop. The disturbance is expected to bring 2 - 3" of rain to Florida later this week, and the Army Corps of Engineers has re-opened the flood gates on Lake Okeechobee to dump water out of the lake, in anticipation of the heavy rains. None the reliable models for tropical cyclone formation is predicting any Atlantic development during the coming five days.

+ Category 2 Usagi Hits China - Hong Kong Misses the Storm's Worst. Typhoon Usagi made landfall near Shanwei, China, about 90 miles east-northeast of Hong Kong, near 6 pm local time (6 am EDT) on Sunday. At landfall, Usagi was a powerful Category 2 typhoon with top sustained winds of 110 mph. Shanwei recorded a sea level pressure of about 941 mb at landfall. As of noon EDT, the top winds recorded at the Hong Hong Airport were sustained at 40 mph, with gusts to 53 mph.
Hong Kong's Cheung Chau Island recorded sustained winds of 54 mph, gusting to 76 mph. Since the typhoon made landfall well to the east of the city, Hong Kong was on the weaker (left) side of the storm, and missed Usagi's strongest winds and most significant storm surge. Hong Kong had a 0.7 meter (2.3') storm surge at the Kwai Chung measurement site. Shantou, located on the strong (right) side of the storm, experienced sustained winds of 49 mph, gusting to 67 mph.
Two people were killed by a falling tree in China near Usagi's landfall location, and the typhoon is also being blamed for two deaths in the Philippines and nine injuries in Taiwan. Satellite images show that Usagi is weakening quickly as it moves inland, and the storm should dissipate over China by Tuesday morning. [map, satellite photo and videos at link]
+ Typhoon Usagi veers from Hong Kong at last minute, hits southern China - The year's most powerful typhoon slammed into southern China on Sunday evening, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations, shutting down shipping and putting a nuclear power plant on alert after pummeling parts of the Philippines and Taiwan with heavy rains and fierce winds. Forecasters had warned earlier that it posed a "severe threat" to the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong.
Usagi was classified as a severe typhoon, packing sustained winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour, with gusts of up to 213 kph (132 mph). The storm was downgraded from a super typhoon on Saturday — with its sustained winds falling below 241 kilometers (150 miles) per hour — as it passed through the Luzon Strait separating the Philippines and Taiwan, likely sparing residents in both places from the most destructive winds near its eye.
In the Philippines, Usagi left at least two people dead and two others missing, while in Taiwan nine people were hurt by falling trees on Kinmen island off China's coast. The typhoon landed near the city of Shanwei in the Chinese province of Guangdong, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Hong Kong. A storm surge and heavy rains could cause flooding in low-lying areas. More than 1,200 residents were taken to temporary shelters. The typhoon wreaked havoc on airport schedules in Hong Kong, nearby Macau and mainland China, upsetting travel plans for many passengers who were returning home at the end of the three-day mid-autumn festival long weekend.
Hong Kong International Airport said 370 arriving and departing flights were canceled and another 64 delayed. Fujian province suspended shipping between mainland China and Taiwan. Authorities in Guangdong initiated an emergency response plan for the Daya Bay nuclear power station northeast of Hong Kong as Usagi approached, ordering four of six reactors to operate at a reduced load.
In Taiwan, more than 3,300 people were evacuated from flood-prone areas and mountainous regions. The storm also caused a landslide that buried a rail line on Taiwan's southeast coast, but rail services were restored by Sunday morning. Another landslide late Saturday in the southeastern hot springs resort village of Chihpen sent mud and rocks crashing through the ground floor of a resort spa, forcing the evacuation of frightened guests. The Chihpen River breached its levies upriver, turning the village's main street into a rock-strewn stream, flooding homes and damaging vehicles.
In the Philippines, a 50-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman drowned when a passenger boat capsized in rough waters off northeastern Aurora province. Two other people were missing in the incident, while the remaining nine passengers and crew were rescued. The typhoon set off landslides, flooded parts of six Philippine provinces and affected nearly 20,000 people, but disaster-response officials did not immediately report additional casualties.
UPDATE - At least 25 people died as Typhoon Usagi hit southern China, bringing winds of 180km/h (110mph), toppling trees and blowing cars off roads. Victims drowned or were hit by debris.
The storm has affected 3.5 million people on the Chinese mainland. Trains from Guangzhou to Beijing have been suspended and hundreds of flights from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong have been cancelled. The ferocity of the storm has abated as it progressed into southern China, but financial markets in Hong Kong were closed for part of Monday morning.
More than 80,000 people were moved to safety in Fujian province and the authorities have deployed at least 50,000 relief workers. Power supplies in many parts of the province and in Guangdong have been cut off. "It is the strongest typhoon I have ever encountered. [It was] so terrible, lucky we made preparations."

+ Newly formed Tropical Storm Pabuk is a threat to Japan, but likely to have no impact on Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau said Saturday. Pabuk strengthened from a tropical depression north of Guam on Saturday afternoon.

+ Mexico - piles of bodies, massive mudslides, orphaned children, and people living without food, water or basic supplies in small villages along Mexico’s Pacific coast. Officials report 97 deaths and more than 1 million people have been affected by the massive flooding caused by a series of storms including Tropical Storm Manuel.
In Hacienda de Cabañas in Guerrero-Mexico, located about 90 minutes north of Acapulco, water from a dam above the village flooded the area, destroying and damaging many homes and some residents stranded on rooftops. Then there was more rain, rising water and power outages. The government needs to release water from another dam up river.
Relatives in San Diego are trying to find a way to get supplies to the small community even if it means finding a helicopter company to airlift the resources. “We’re trying to get them food. They need diapers, they need toothpaste, they need the basic things, they need baby formula. Whatever was on the first floor of the houses, it was that fast, the stuff is gone...If the bridges are all out, there’s no way to do it by land." It has been frustrating trying to find a way to send a garage-full of supplies gathered from friends and neighbors. Part of the uncertainty includes finding a bank that will help them send money safely.