*Sorry for the late update, another snowstorm - 10 inches this time, but I think I finally solved the computer meltdown - a non-functioning cooling fan. We'll see - hopefully I'll be back to regular updates now.*
LARGEST QUAKES today -
5.0 KERMADEC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND
5.1 SOUTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE
5.2 OFFSHORE FALCON, VENEZUELA
5.1 LA RIOJA, ARGENTINA
Yesterday, 2/20/14 -
5.0 SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
5.0 GREENLAND SEA
5.2 SOUTH OF KERMADEC ISLANDS
5.1 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.2 SAKHALIN, RUSSIA
5.3 LARA, VENEZUELA
Under Active Volcanoes, Magma Sits in Cold Storage - Strike that iconic image of a tall, snow-capped volcano sitting atop a liquid pool of hot, molten magma. It turns out that many volcanoes prefer cold storage, a new study suggests. The findings come from a detailed study of crystals in lavas at Oregon's Mount Hood, from two different eruptions 220 years ago and about 1,500 years ago. These crystals formed inside the volcano's magma chamber, and provide a chronology and a temperature history.
The crystals were trapped beneath the volcano, at surprisingly cold temperatures, for as long as 100,000 years. The magma was so cold it was like a jar of old honey from the fridge — sticky and full of crystals. That means, most of the time, it was too sluggish to erupt. The researchers think that it took a hot kiss of fresh magma, rising from deep in Earth, to reheat the molten rock until it was thin enough to blast into the sky.
"This tells us that the standard state of magma for this system is that it can't be erupted. That means that having a magma that can erupt is a special condition. Our expectation is that there's a lot of volcanoes that behave this way." The results suggest that monitoring volcanoes for liquid magma could warn of coming eruptions. Not all kinds of volcanoes behave like Mount Hood — Hawaii, for instance, is built differently, atop a giant hot spot — but most of the world's most active volcanoes are in similar settings.
"If you can see a body of magma that has a high amount of liquid, perhaps this magma is getting ready to erupt or at least has some potential to erupt. It wouldn't be a slam-dunk guarantee." The liquid cut-off is about 50 percent crystals More crystals than that and the magma is too thick to squeeze out of fractures leading to the surface.
Mount Hood's chilly magma reservoir sits about 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 5 kilometers) beneath the surface. Its temperature is usually 1,380 degrees Fahrenheit (750 degrees Celsius), according to an analysis of the crystals. The magma stored under Mount Hood may quickly shift from cold to hot once newer, warmer molten rock arrives from lower levels, deeper in Earth's crust or mantle. "We can see chemical traces of new magma reacting [with the old], and the time to eruption was only days to weeks, maybe months."
Nigeria prepares for possible poisonous gas, flooding from volcanic eruption - The Federal Government of Nigeria said it has put in place measures to control the threat of poisonous gas and flooding that may likely occur as a result of eruption from the weak volcanic Lake Nyos located along the line of volcanic activities in Cameroun.
In anticipation of the environmental disaster that may accompany the breakdown of the lake Nyos in Cameroun which may push the poisonous water to States such as Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Kogi and Delta, the federal government has embarked on construction of buffer dam that would accommodate the poisonous water. The Dam is located between Kashimbila and Gomovo town on River Katsina Ala, Takum Local Government Taraba State close to the country’s border with Cameroun.
The Kashimbila multi purpose Dam has an Airstrip constructed to facilitate the evacuation of people who are leaving in the area to a safe place if the lake eventually breaks before the Dam is completed. The airstrip will serve as an added infrastructure to support economic activities in the Dam.
“The Idea of the Dam came about as a result of response by the Nigerian Government to the likely environmental challenges that we might encounter if the Lake Nyos in Cameroun breaks. The Lake is at a terrible stage and if it breaks, it would cause a lot of disaster to Nigerians, so the Nigerian Government is building this Dam to contain the excess water that would be released in the event of the lake eventually breaks down." The Dam is about 75 per cent completie.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Guito is located approximately 850 nm south-southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
Extreme weather in Ireland leaves farmers and fishermen on brink of ruin. Relentless bad weather has caused thousands of hectares of farmland to remain submerged under flood waters while hundreds of trawlers and their fishing crews have been unable to fish for several weeks.
Irish Farmers Association said the extreme weather since the start of the year, coupled with the start of the lambing and calving season, was making conditions for farm families around the country "very difficult". He warned that farmers' only sources of income – their farms – remain under water and beyond use. Saturated land means all livestock have to be housed for some time yet with an inevitable increase in workload and costs as a result.
But despite the hardships, consumers will not be paying higher prices because supplies of food coming to market were assured. And shops are getting supplies of fish from frozen stocks and from imports from Britain. Most fishermen have not been able to put to sea for the past eight weeks and are suffered "huge stress" with no income to meet mortgage repayments on homes and trawlers.
70% to 80% of trawlers have been forced to remain tied up in harbours for two months because of storms and ongoing gales."It's 15 years since we've suffered such a prolonged spell of storms of this magnitude. And it doesn't look like abating anytime soon. "Just like farmers, we are food producers too. Fishermen should have more access to compensation." Some fishermen are now considering bankruptcy.
There is no access to temporary social welfare payments for fishermen and many are becoming increasingly desperate. Compensation available for lobster and other inshore fishermen must be extended to trawlers unable to catch whitefish, they claim. In light of the "astonishing levels of damage" inflicted by Storm Darwin, the Government was urged to urgently re-visit their decision not to apply to the EU's Solidarity Fund for assistance in repairing wrecked infrastructure and businesses all over Ireland. The "utter destruction" of farm facilities and farmland in the worst affected areas must result in those farmers being included in any compensation package. They had enormous sympathy for the flood-hit people in towns and cities but many farming communities, particularly in the West, suffered huge destruction.
HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -
Severe snowstorm in Japan kills 19 Monday, wreaks havoc in transportation system. At least 19 people have died in snow-related incidents after the RECORD-BREAKING STORM, with the storm next battering the northern island of Hokkaido.
Many of the casualties were involved in car accidents, while others were crushed to death after roofs collapsed. More than 6,900 people were trapped in small communities cut off by snow-blocked roads and railway lines, while gasoline deliveries to some petrol stations were delayed due to impassable roads. In Yamanashi prefecture west of Tokyo, stores were facing a serious fresh food shortage. The Prime Minister was promising to send a government team to help the struggling area.
Toyota, Honda and Suzuki were forced to suspend operations at a total of nine of their factories in central and eastern Japan on Monday due to parts shortage and workers' absence following the heavy snow. The storm was moving towards northernmost Hokkaido, Japan's meteorological agency said, warning of heavy snow, blizzards and avalanches as well as HIGH WAVES along the northeastern coast, which was battered by a quake-sparked tsunami almost three years ago.
Despite around-the-clock clearing efforts, hundreds of cars on Monday remained stuck on some mountain roads, leaving drivers stranded. National Route 18 that runs through Gunma and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo was still partly closed, with cars stuck along several kilometers due to the heavy snow. Members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces have also stepped in to help.
'GLOBAL WEIRDNESS' / CLIMATE CHANGE -
El Nino coming this year? - We are seeing increasing evidence of an upcoming change in the Pacific Ocean base state that favors the development of a moderate-to-strong El Niño event this Spring/Summer. What does this mean for the U.S. this summer? It’s still a bit early to be certain, but typical conditions over the U.S. during strong El Niño’s favor a ridge over the West and a trough over the East. Therefore, you typically see warmer than average summers over the West Coast, and colder than average temperatures over eastern two thirds of the nation.
BOTTOM LINE: The Pacific Ocean is now in a state that could reconstruct the base state of the Pacific, favoring an El Niño to develop later this Spring. That being said, it’s not a locked in solution yet as we need to monitor the atmosphere for future westerly wind bursts to help push the Western Pacific Warm Pool along. (long article and maps at link)
HEALTH THREATS -
Stroke risk tied to cold weather, high humidity and big daily temperature swings.
RECALLS & ALERTS
Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook - with breaking news during the day.