Tuesday, September 17, 2013

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**That some good can be derived from every event
is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best,
which it assuredly does not.**
James K. Feibleman

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 9/16/13 -

+Greece quakes - 2 moderate quakes, M 4.6 and 5.0, hit central Greece (Amfikleia region) Monday afternoon within minutes. Both were felt as far as Athens. This region was hit by a number of moderate quakes this summer, which damaged some hundred buildings. Today’s earthquakes caused fear among local residents. The mayor of Amfikleia reported damage to some old buildings. (link has map)

More than 100 earthquakes have shaken Yellowstone National Park since last Tuesday, with the strongest, a tremblor of 3.6 magnitude, felt Sunday. The quake occurred at 9:53:02 a.m. Sunday; the epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone's Lower Geyser Basin area, 8 miles north of Old Faithful, and 15 miles southeast of West Yellowstone.
The swarm began September 10 and has included quakes near Lewis Lake, the Lower Geyser Basin, and in an area northwest of Norris Geyser Basin. "A total of 130 earthquakes of magnitude 0.6 to 3.6 have occurred in these three areas, however, most have occurred near the Lower Geyser Basin. Notably, much of the seismicity in Yellowstone occurs as swarms. The University of Utah Seismograph Stations continues to monitor Yellowstone earthquakes and will provide additional information if the earthquake swarm activity increases."

+ Eruption of Mount Sinabung in Indonesia - Five people had to be hospitalized in the North Sumatra city of Kabanjahe after the eruption on Sunday. The five people suffered difficulty in breathing after inhaling volcanic ashes. Their condition, however, is not serious but they needed medical care.
Kabanjahe, which is located 22 kilometer away from the volcano is not as bad as Berastagi , a mountain resort city in the same Tanah Karo regency. All buildings and cars running or parked on the streets of Brastagi, which is only 10 kilometers from Mount Sinabung are blanketed with volcanic ashes. All people in Berastagi have to wear masks, and most shops and offices are closed. By Monday, 4,739 people have been evacuated to refugee camps , churches and mosques.
The volcano erupted on Sunday afternoon spewing volcanic matters including sulfuric rocks. Rains of hot sulfuric rocks as big as maize corns hit the village of Berastepu, in the sub-district of Simpang Empat for two hours. Sleeping villagers of Berastepu, which is only 3 kilometers from the volcano , were disturbed by rumbling noise at dawn before it erupted on Sunday afternoon. Many of the villagers were panicked and ran away to leave their houses and at daybreak, hundreds of people already crowded makeshift refugee camps and public places including churches and mosques.
There were a crowd of 800 families in the refugee camps, but there are tens of other people still in the village of Berastepu. "They refused to leave their houses and are worried about their livestock and crops." Sinabung is the tallest volcano in North Sumatra. With Mount Sibayak , they are the only remaining active volcanoes in North Sumatra. Last time Sinabung erupted before Sunday was in September, 2010.

Quebec may hold traces of meteor strike that helped cool Earth. U.S. geochemist thinks meteor that hit 13,000 years ago left crater behind. Somewhere under the forests, soil and bedrock of southern Quebec lie the ancient, undiscovered traces of an enormous meteor strike so catastrophic that it helped change the Earth's climate and alter human history.
At least, that's what a geochemist argues in a newly published paper, which could lead to an explanation of one of the most baffling episodes in our planet's history. "The whole idea is controversial. There's a correlation between a climate event and a meteor, but what is the cause? How did it all play out?"
Warming reversed in Younger Dryas period - A period about 13,000 years ago called the Younger Dryas, during which the Earth suddenly reversed a warming trend and cooled radically for more than a millennium. North American ice-age mammals from camels to ground sloths to sabre-tooth tigers became extinct. Ancient humans had to put away their mastodon spears and learn to survive on roots, berries and small game — and maybe even shift to agriculture.
"It was an abrupt event when the Earth (was starting) to warm up. Suddenly, the climate changes again to very, very cold conditions and remains so for 1,400 years and then goes back merrily to warming again." But why? Some scientists hypothesize that it was related to the collapse of a giant ice dam formed by receding glaciers, which released a huge flood of cold freshwater that disrupted ocean currents and reversed climate trends. Others suggest something else must have been at work as well — perhaps a series of major meteor strikes.
Remains that could be from meteors dating from the onset of the Dryas have been found. But — perhaps because most of North America was covered by ice at the time — no evidence of an actual impact has been discovered. Researchers began examining tiny, marble-like rocks found in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that date right from the start of the Dryas period. These "spherules" contained minerals that could only have been produced through extraordinary heat. "The only place where you can make these on the surface of the Earth is in a blast furnace. And not everywhere in a blast furnace — in the hottest part. Clearly, these objects were produced in an impact fireball."
The combination of isotopes they held closely matched those from areas in southern Quebec along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. What they'd discovered was evidence of a meteor strike so powerful it could punch through more than a kilometre of ice and still retain enough energy to generate temperatures upwards of 1,700 C, send a huge mushroom cloud into the sky and hurl rubble over a good chunk of the continent.
That, perhaps in conjunction with other strikes around the same time, could have been disruptive enough to contribute to the climatic hiccup of the Younger Dryas. Never mind that the actual crater hasn't been found. It may lie buried under thick beds of glacial till left behind as the ice finally retreated. Craters in the area are still being discovered, including one as recently as 2001 in Sept-Îles that has been dated to the start of the Younger Dryas.
Quebec is already the site of the Manicouagan impact crater, one of the oldest and largest craters found on Earth. It is from an impact that occurred 210 million years ago, and its round imprint is instantly recognizable on satellite maps of the province. The discovery doesn't prove meteors caused the Earth's sudden cooling. It does, however, suggest there was at least one major event affecting the atmosphere that occurred right around the same time. "(The Younger Dryas) is an interesting event. Some would say it's a freakish event. So, if it's a freak event, it could be related to some kind of meteorite, which does not happen every day."


* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical storm Humberto is located about 1210 mi (1945 km) WSW of the Azores. No threat to land.

- Tropical Depression Ingrid is located about 75 mi (125 km) W of La Pesca, Mexico. Expected to dissipate today.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Man-Yi is located approximately 169 nm south of Misawa, Japan. The final warning has been issued on this system.

- Tropical depression 17 is located approximately 585 nm south-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Japan.

+ Mexico storm toll climbs to 21 [Latest figures are 40+] - The death toll from heavy rains and landslides caused by Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid has risen to claim at least 21 lives in Mexico. The stormy conditions forced thousands to evacuate.
Manuel began to weaken as soon as it made landfall near the port of Manzanillo on Sunday afternoon, later downgraded to a tropical depression, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that its heavy rains still could cause flash floods and mudslides. The storm was expected to dissipate Monday.
In the southern coastal state of Guerrero, state authorities listed 18 deaths from landslides, drowning, a truck crash and a fallen wall, while authorities reported three deaths in Puebla, two in Oaxaca and one in Hidalgo. Puente said the federal government had 14 confirmed deaths in Guerrero, three in Hidalgo, three in Puebla and one in Oaxaca.
The rains caused some rivers to overflow in Guerrero, damaging hundreds of homes and disrupting communications for several hours. Manuel was expected to dump 10 to 15 inches of rain over parts of Guerrero and Michoacan state, with maximums of 25 inches possible in some isolated areas. Rains of 5 to 10 inches were possible in the states of Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit. Authorities said the rains would present a dangerous threat in mountains, where flash floods and mudslides were possible.
Ingrid also was expected to bring very heavy rains. It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph late Sunday and was centered about 110 miles northeast of the port city of Tampico as it moved west-northwest at 6 mph. A hurricane warning was in effect from Cabo Rojo to La Pesca. The hurricane center said Ingrid, the second hurricane of the Atlantic storm season, could reach the mainland by Monday morning, most likely along Tamaulipas state's lightly populated coast north of Tampico. Officials in Tamaulipas said 700 people had been evacuated from coastal communities.
Officials in the Gulf state of Veracruz began evacuating coastal residents Friday night, and civil protection authorities said more than 6,600 people had been moved to shelters or the homes of family and friends. More than 1,000 homes in Veracruz state had been affected by the storm to varying degrees, and 20 highways and 12 bridges had damage. A bridge collapsed near the northern Veracruz city of Misantla on Friday, cutting off the area from the state capital, Xalapa. A week ago, 13 people died in the state when a landslide buried their homes in heavy rains spawned by Tropical Depression Fernand.

+ Typhoon Man-yi brought heavy rain and wind to Japan Monday, raising concerns over the fragile cleanup at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The last thing cleanup workers at Fukushima need is a typhoon, but a typhoon is what they're getting. Workers already struggle to contain contaminated wastewater, and rain from Typhoon Man-yi adds to the complications at Fukushima.
On a typical day, workers have struggled to contain the 400 tons of contaminated water they pump out of the plant. "The typhoon has little chance of destabilizing the reactors, but it will certainly add more water to a site already crowded with hastily assembled steel storage tanks and relatively poor oversight."
As rain fell, workers pumped accumulating water from around those storage tanks into the Pacific Ocean in an effort to prevent flooding and radioactive contamination. That rainwater was untainted. But Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority said such a discharge could be subject to nuclear safety rules and was checking radiation levels. The company also added new walls around the storage tanks to prevent future leaks in the run-up to the typhoon. Workers weighed down cranes and other materials to minimize wind damage.
In one sense, the rainy weather could have a positive influence by further diluting radioactive water that is already flowing into the ocean. "In the USA we have standards which allow for the discharge of low level amounts of radioactive materials to sanitary sewers and drains. Dilution, although not the preferred method for dealing with contamination, is effective."
+ Radioactive water has been discharged to prevent the troubled Fukushima Nuclear complex from flooding in Japan. The year’s 18th typhoon shot through central and northeast Honshu on Monday, unleashing torrential rain and strong winds on much of the main island. At least three people dead and four missing. Evacuation orders for around 498,000 residents due to the risk of mudslides and flooding. Nearly 1,500 houses flooded. Precipitation in the 48 hours through Monday morning reached about 300 mm in parts of the cities of Kyoto and Otsu — more than they usually get for the entire month.
Typhoon Man-yi left at least three people dead and four missing before churning its way toward Hokkaido. Warning of “UNPRECEDENTED heavy rain,” the Meteorological Agency issued “special warnings” to Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga, using a new warning system launched last month for the first time. In Kyoto alone, some 268,000 residents were ordered to leave, including about 81,000 in Fukuchiyama.
Local police found the body of a 71-year-old woman after her house collapsed in a mudslide early Monday in Ritto, Shiga Prefecture. Another woman, 77, died after a mudslide wrecked her home in the town of Mihama, Fukui Prefecture. Two men remained missing after being swept away in rivers in Aichi and Fukushima, while the whereabouts of a 41-year-old woman and her 10-year-old daughter was unknown after their car was found abandoned on a road along a river in Tsu, Mie Prefecture.
70 people sustained light or serious injuries from the bad weather and nearly 1,500 houses were flooded. As of 9 p.m., Typhoon Man-yi had weakened to an extratropical cyclone off Hokkaido, where up to 150 mm of rain was projected to have fallen by late Tuesday afternoon. Transportation was snarled nationwide.


+ Colorado flood toll is now 7 - 1,253 are unaccounted for. Boulder residents got a welcome sight Monday morning: A little before 10 a.m., the sun poked through the clouds, clearing the way for a major rescue operation, with more than 1,000 people being deployed by air and on foot, to help evacuate the stranded and to search for the 1,253 still unaccounted for. Seven deaths are confirmed so far, but that number may rise, officials warn, as efforts intensify to find missing people.
Through Monday morning local time, hundreds of Colorado National Guardsmen and active-duty Army soldiers from the Fourth Infantry Division had rescued nearly 2,200 people and about 500 pets. Although operations were largely at a halt Sunday, because of heavy rain, rescuers saved 80 people through ground operations. By late Monday morning, Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters were crisscrossing the skies above Boulder, transporting stranded residents out of the mountains.
Among those air-lifted out over the weekend were 85 fifth-graders and 14 adults who had been stranded at an outdoor education center in Jamestown, one of the mountain towns hardest hit by the flooding and now unreachable by road. Evacuation by air became the best option after washed-out roads and bridges left thousands of people in the hills and canyons west of Boulder – many without electricity, or with flood-damaged homes – with no other quick way out.
Authorities are asking stranded residents to signal to passing helicopters by waving a light-colored cloth; placing a large, light-colored cloth or sheet on their roofs; waving flares; using mirrors to reflect sunlight; or lighting safe signal fires, and to have a “go bag” with essentials prepared to take with them.
Colorado flooding slideshow - 24 photos.
+ Map of Colorado rainfall totals - Rainfall totals are very high, and the rain just keeps falling, and are comparable to what is seen many times with a Hurricane. One inch of rainfall is equivalent to 10 – 12 inches of snow. For locations around Boulder that have received around 20″ of rain, this storm would have produced 16 to 20 feet of snow. Many places in Northern Colorado have gotten the amount of rain that they normally would receive IN A WHOLE YEAR over just the last three days.


Austria's vineyards are facing their fourth consecutive small harvest in 2013, thanks to a combination of hail, drought and poor weather during flowering.


+ Tunisia - Hit by likely meteor on Sunday in a rural desert area of the Tataouine governorate in southern Tunisia, not far from the filming location of the first Star Wars movie. Tataouine inspired the name of Luke Skywalker’s home planet in the Star Wars films, although series creator spelled it “Tatooine.”
Witnesses say that a bright object was seen falling from the sky at around 8 p.m. and then exploded on the ground. The streaking space object was reportedly visible from the city of Tataouine, the governorate’s capital. No injuries or damages have been reported from the rural, arid area.

Extreme space weather to blame for satellite malfunctions, say researchers. When your cable TV or internet stops working, it may not be your provider’s fault; space weather may be to blame. According to a new study by a team of MIT researchers, most of the 26 satellite glitches that occurred between 1996 and 2012 coincided with high-energy electron activity during declining phases of the solar cycle. The findings may help scientists and engineers better understand the effects of space weather and lead to improved satellite design.
Most satellites are designed to last up to 15 years and have layers of protective shielding to protect their sensitive electronic instruments from bombarding radiation. However, radiation can penetrate these layers over time, degrading a satellite’s components and performance. The buildup of charged particles can damage satellites’ amplifiers, which are used to strengthen and transmit signals back to Earth. They found that many amplifiers failed during times of high-energy solar activity.
“The hard part about satellites is that when something goes wrong, you don’t get it back to do analysis and figure out what happened." The research suggests that because space weather is much more dynamic than current models predict, some assumptions underlying space weather forecasting may have to be revised. Although today’s engineers take geomagnetic disturbances into account when designing satellites, the team found that most amplifier failures occurred during times of apparently-safe, low geomagnetic activity. " We really need to improve our method of quantifying and understanding the space environment, so we can better improve design.”