Monday, April 21, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve
is the direct result of his own thoughts.**
James Allen

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 4/20/14 -

Fourth quake strikes off Papua New Guinea - The magnitude 6.1 earthquake Sunday follows a powerful magnitude 7.5 quake in the area on Saturday night, which sparked a tsunami warning.

Indonesia - Mt. Merapi spews smoke. Mount Merapi on the border of Central Java and Yogyakarta spewed smoke, causing light ash showers in a number of areas located within a 15-kilometer radius on the southeast, south, and southwest side of the volcano, on Sunday.
“Tremors were recorded for around 20 minutes at 4:21 a.m. local time on Sunday, and our observers began to hear thunder at 4:26 a.m." It was reported that ember was also seen at the top of the volcano. Seismologists asserted that, however, there was no lava flow during the volcanic activity. “The same thing happened after Mt.Merapi erupted in 2010. The smoke blowing this morning was also a single occurrence and was not followed by other seismic activities.”
The cause of the smoke blast could not yet be confirmed although a 5.6 Richter scale earthquake with an epicenter some 151 kilometers southwest of Gunung Kidul occurred on Friday. On Saturday, the BPPTKG also recorded Mt Merapi seismic activities in the form of tectonic quakes occurring four times during the period between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. “We are not able to yet conclude whether the smoke blowing this morning is directly related to the quakes."
The volcano’s status remained 'active-normal'. “There is no an increase of [volcanic activity] status. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the conditions of the volcano routinely." The BBPTKG urged people living near the volcano and hikers to stay vigilant.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Jack is located approximately 380 nm west-southwest of Cocos Islands, Australia.
Philippines - LPA threatens east Visayas; potential cyclone approaches Philippines Area of Responsibility. State weather agency PAGASA is now tracking two weather disturbances, including a low-pressure area that may trigger flash floods and landslides.

New Zealand - Thousands still without power. Power remains out to a number of homes in Auckland and on the South Island's West Coast, days after being stung by Cyclone Ita's tail.


Chile Quake, Jittery Bison: Is The Big One Coming? Some see signs that the world's tectonic plates are positioned in such a way to set off "the mother of all quakes."
A YouTube video blogger, pointing out that animals have much sharper senses than people, said last week that the bison in Yellowstone seemed to feel the presence of something violent and deadly. One bison after another trotted along the highway — a long string of the animals coming at the stream of car traffic entering Yellowstone National Park. Social networks were swirling with the theory that the bison sensed an outbreak of the Yellowstone supervolcano under which lies a vast magma chamber.
If an earthquake really happened there the results would be devastating for the entire planet. Just a few days before, a strong quake8.2 shook Chile. Are the world’s tectonic plates in a state of imbalance? Are we about to face the "mother of all quakes"?
Yellowstone geologists have denied that the bison run is linked to any anomalies in recorded seismic measurements. A spokeswoman for the park said that the animals' behavior was simply a reaction to spring weather — nothing threatening at all.
And yet there are continued reports that snakes, turtles, goats and rats know when volcanoes and earthquakes are about to erupt. There is no hard research data to confirm such knowledge. "Of course animals feel smaller preliminary tremors, just as people do," a seismologist says. "And animals can easily react nervously to such tremors."
Unfortunately preliminary tremors can only be distinguished from other tremors and recognized as such after an earthquake occurs, but there is no serious indication that animals are better prophets when it comes to earthquake prediction. In order not to depend on animal oracles, earthquake and volcano researchers in the geologically actives zones of the world have set up monitoring systems.
These do not make it possible to reliably predict activity, but they do enable experts to identify areas where tension is building and where possible eruptions may occur. Which is why the heavy quake in Chile two weeks earlier didn’t come as much of a surprise: Researchers didn’t need magic powers to see that coming.
"In the past six years, together with French and Chilean partners, we have set up 20 measuring stations in permanent operation in Chile." In field bunkers constructed 40 to 60 kilometers apart along the coast, measuring apparatus register the smallest quakes as well as shifts in the earth’s crust. "As the data had shown that in past years strong tensions had built up in the earth’s crust, we were banking mid-term on a larger quake." It was clear to researchers that a quake was coming up, and that all the measuring instruments needed to be ready. In this area, seismic activity has been on the rise for several months: In the second half of March alone, there were 23 magnitude 5.0 and higher earthquakes.
"The last major earthquake took place in 1877. Since then the plates have moved about 10 meters closer together. The tension that’s built up can only be freed by a major quake." The most recent earthquake in early April did release some pressure, but wasn’t enough to relieve the entire segment. A bigger quake will be needed because "the tension only got released in the middle part of the zone."
There was a break some 100 kilometers long, but two large segments to the north and south of Iquique are still intact. Also, hundreds of smaller quakes indicate that the space off the coast of Chile is not about to calm down — the remaining segments will probably require a quake well over 8.0 to break.
"In Chile, relatively little happened as a result of the last quake. That’s also due to the fact that the Chileans are very well informed about the dangers of earthquakes. Based on the previous series of quakes, the inhabitants in the vicinity of Iquique were fully aware of the dangers."
Inhabitants in other regions of the world also fear "The Big One." The west coasts of South, Central and North America, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Alaska among other regions are especially high-risk. In Europe, tectonic movements are a significant threat for Turkey, Italy and Greece. "Historical sources allow us to know relatively well when the last major quake took place in the different regions - which is why seismologists using this data can determine which regions are at risk." In other words: no need to rely on, nor worry too much about, nervous bison.


Big meteorite strikes in Russia - again! Unlike the celestial object that exploded over the town of Chelyabinsk last year, this recent one injured no one on the ground, say Murmansk emergency workers.
Video has emerged of a huge meteorite streaking through the sky near the northern Russian city of Murmansk. The moment was captured by many residents as the white-blue light of the meteorite moved through the sky in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The latest sighting comes after a large meteorite exploded over the town of Chelyabinsk last year, injuring some people and blowing out windows. Emergency services said in the latest incident that there were no injuries among anyone in the city of over 300,000 people. Some 500 meteorites reach Earth each year, though many are small and are not spotted.

Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook - with breaking news during the day.