Sunday, February 15, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**A nation of sheep creates a government of wolves.**
Edward R. Murrow

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 2/14/15 -

2/13/15 -

USGS says 'there was no quake in western Russia' - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said on Friday there was no earthquake in western Russia after earlier reporting on its website a magnitude 6.8 near the border with Belarus.
The agency's sensors mislocated an earthquake that was taking place elsewhere. The Russia earthquake appeared on the USGS website while a series of strong temblors were taking place in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, some 700 miles (1,100 km) south of Greenland.
It was earlier reported that the regin of Bryansk had been hit by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. It follows an earlier 3.7 magnitude quake close to the Russia –Xinjiang border at 7am Friday morning.

Huge quake overdue in central Himalayas, scientists warn - A massive earthquake is overdue in the Central Himalayan region due to years of accumulating stress. This was discovered by a team of scientists who, while digging in the region, unearthed a previous pulse of great earthquakes followed by a long hush under the layers of rock and soil within those mountains.
“Two great earthquakes occurred 700 years ago. Since then, no great earthquake has occurred. The region has been accumulating stress. This has to break. We looked at fault offsets of certain sedimentary formations. Then we used different techniques to find the age of dislocations.”
The excavation sites near Ramnagar in Central Himalaya suggest there have been successive occurrences of two great earthquakes in the region in the 13th and 14th centuries. Further work in the area is required to refine the results and tectonic models to understand the rupture segmentations along the arc. “All major cities in the region need to get ready for this major hazard, which is going to be economically and otherwise devastating, as the risk has increased multifold over the centuries due to population increase and expansion of built environment. An urgent action plan must be put in place for public awareness, enforcement of building codes and environmental laws.”

Hawaii - Possibility of Mauna Loa erupting? This sleeping giant which makes up half the Big Island might be waking up. "Looks like Mauna Loa is showing some signs of activity," said a volcanologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
He's noticing more earthquakes and changes to the surface called deformation. These are key items scientists monitor for an eruption."We are getting small numbers of earthquakes both on the west flank and the summit. And deformation wise, we are getting extension across the flank and across the summit." But, he says the size and amount of earthquakes is still far from the activity he saw before the 1984 Mauna Loa eruption.
"Now we might be getting somewhere between zero and eight or 10 a day. When we were expecting in '75 and '84, we were having five a day, then 20 a day then 50 to hundreds a day and stay fairly consistent over that time. Those seismicity is fairly sporadic and not persistent or consistent enough for us to forecast the next eruption of Mauna Loa."
Though scientists say no eruption is imminent, if Mauna Loa were to erupt, the hazard could be immediate. "South Kona is very vulnerable to fast moving lava flow some people only have a matter of a few hours to respond." In fact, the three 1950 flows on the southwest flank of Mauna Loa reached the ocean in less than a day. If the flow were on the Hilo side, such as the 1984 eruption, the flow rate would be slower. The amount of lava output from Mauna Loa trumps what we're currently seeing at Kilauea.
"Kilauea is putting out in the neighborhood of 100,000 cubic meters a day in this current lava flow. What Mauna Loa put out in 1984 was 1 million cubic meters per hour." There's also a big difference in speed. Kilauea, during the June 27th flow, covered 600 yards a day at its peak speed. Mauna Loa can cover roughly six miles a day.
A flow that fast could quickly cut off highways and major roadways. It would also mean thousands more would be at risk. The southwest flank of Mauna Loa has seen a boost in development since the last eruption with many building right on the old lava flows.
In Kona Paradise in South Kona, there's new half million to million dollar homes line the steep mountain side. Along with the ocean views, residents here can also see charred land from old lava flows. In fact, one homeowner built right on top of it.
According to the last us census report, the South Kona population grew from 8,500 to roughly 10,000 in 10 years. The Ka'u district has grown by 2,600 people with the boom mostly in Ocean View where the population doubled in just the last 10 years. Driving along Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, you can see new houses pop up along the mountain side with more on the way.
When Mauna Loa does erupt, it will allow volcanologists to test a new theory about the correlation of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. "When one volcano is very high or frequently erupting, the other one is very quiet and vice-versa. When Mauna Loa is erupting, Kileuea is quiet. Going back and looking at the long-term geological record it seems that is true."
Right now, Kilauea is stealing the show, but perhaps not for long. "If you look at the overall robustness of Kileuea's eruption, especially in the last year or so, it's looking like it's starting to dwindle and Mauna Loa showing signs of awakening. Time will tell whether or not my hypothesis is valid or not."


No current tropical storms.

Australia - Cyclone expected to form in far north Queensland, 500mm rain predicted. A cyclone is expected to form in far north Queensland this week as a monsoon trough near the Gulf of Carpentaria threatens to further develop in the next few days.
It is uncertain exactly where the cyclone could develop. “A cyclone could develop anywhere on the monsoon trough at the moment, there is a chance it could be in the Gulf of Carpentaria or in the north west Coral Sea." Lockhart River has received the most rainfall in the state, with 241mm falling in the last 24 hours causing rivers in the area to rise.
The Bureau expects the low to bring a further 500mm of rain in the coming days between Cape Tribulation and Cardwell. A flood warning for the Tully River has been issued, but more areas north of Cape Tribulation could possibly flood as well. “There has been very heavy rainfall in the Lockhart River area so the creeks up there will be very full."


Another storm blankets winter-weary New England - A Valentine’s Day storm bought snow and dangerously high winds to New England for the fourth time in less than a month, the latest blow to a region that has already seen more than 6 feet of snow in some areas.
A blizzard warning was in effect for coastal areas from Connecticut to Maine through Monday morning, promising 8 to 14 inches in southern New England up to 2 feet in Maine. A bone-chilling blast of cold will follow, with lows of minus 10 degrees forecast in some areas Sunday night.
Gusts could max out at 75 mph — hurricane territory — on Cape Cod. Officials warned of possible power outages, and north-facing or vulnerable coastal areas could suffer flooding and beach erosion, the National Weather Service said.
The bad weather spanned several states — winter storm warnings extended west into Michigan and Ohio, where whiteout conditions led to a pileup on the Ohio Turnpike that killed at least two people. Another crash involving several tractor-trailers was reported on Interstate 70 just west of Columbus, and a storm-related crash on the New York Thruway south of Buffalo killed one person.
In New England, transportation officials took many precautions. Boston’s Logan International Airport said more than 250 Sunday flights were already canceled, and none was scheduled Sunday morning. And the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority canceled all rail, bus and ferry service in the Boston area on Sunday. The governor urged motorists to stay off roads during the storm, but stopped short of an outright travel ban.
Crews have worked urgently to remove the massive amounts of snow that has clogged streets and triggered numerous roof collapses.
The upcoming Boston blizzard may be equivalent to category 2 hurricane - The powerful Valentine's Day storm is set to blast eastern New England this weekend with roaring, frigid winds, heavy snow and pounding surf.


Minnesota - Possible 'ice quake' on Brainerd-area lake after loud boom, tremor. Shortly after 7 p.m. Jan. 13, a woman was watching television at her Gull Lake home when she and her husband heard a loud boom and felt the earth move. "It was the deepest rumbling under the house. I've never been in an earthquake but that's how I imagine it would feel."
The sound was so pronounced, they immediately went outside thinking a home may have been destroyed in a gas explosion. Residents who live on a nearby lakeshore lot experienced the same noise and vibration along with several other neighbors, some more than one-half mile down the shore. It was not until this past weekend that they took a closer look along the shore and discovered damage to structures and the landscape. A sidewalk is pushed up and broken in several places and sand on a nearby beach is mounded up where it's normally flat. A boathouse next door appears to have shifted from its foundation and previously straight trees are protruding at odd angles.
"It just looked like a bomb went off underground." A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, checked the seismic records with U.S. Geological Survey for Jan. 13. No earth tremor or earthquake was recorded in the area. Although rare, earthquakes can occur in Minnesota. It's exceedingly unusual for a Minnesota earthquake, which tends to be weak, to damage structures.
Damage reports from the Brainerd area sounded like a frost or ice heave. As water in the ground freezes and expands, the result may include loud banging sounds and upheaval. A frost heave is able to damage sidewalks and can contribute to building damage. If it's big enough, it can shift the ground.
Temperature records were mild on Jan. 11-12 with highs nearing 20 degrees. In the 24 hours leading up to the boom, however, temperatures plummeted to 20 degrees below zero. The dramatic swing in temperature likely caused the lake to rapidly develop ice, which in turn can lead to stress cracks in the ice accompanied by loud sounds. A massive ice ridge, which is created by two sheets of ice colliding with one another, has formed a few hundred feet from the shore.
The damage to the shore probably happened in another event, when wind pushed lake ice up onto the shore. The above average temperatures at the end of January could have been enough to melt the lake ice, leaving no evidence of it having been there.
Another possibility is cryoseism, or an ice quake. In 2008, one of these quakes was reported on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin. University employees in buildings along the shore felt shaking and the event registered on a seismometer in the geology department. "Ice quakes, usually accompanied by loud cracking noises, are caused by large shifts in ice and are most commonly triggered by drastic temperature changes."
These events are rare and have the potential to cause damage, although whether this can explain the damage to the shoreline on Gull Lake is unclear. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) notes a pushing action of an ice sheet is a common cause of shoreline property damage, particularly in a year with little snow cover. As ice cracks develop, water rises in the opening and freezes, causing the ice sheet to expand.
"When rising air temperature warms the ice, the additional expansion exerts a tremendous thrust against the shore," the DNR reports. "Alternate warming and cooling of an ice sheet causes additional pushing action that possesses enough power to nudge masonry bridge piers out of plum and push houses off their foundations."
Ice pushing onto shore appears to be widespread this winter with numerous reports on area lakes. Lake ice has been inching closer to some North Long Lake homes since Christmas break. "We actually watched one day where it came up a good foot-and-a-half between the time we got up in the morning and went to work and came home. People have lost multiple trees. Some of these ice heaves are just feet off the front door and porch (of neighboring homes)."
Rocks that were once in the lake close to shore are now 10 feet into their yard. In the 13 years her family has lived on the lake, she has not seen heaving this drastic or early in the season. "Typically, it heaves out in the middle of the lake and there are ice ridges. This just moved the entire lake," noting her husband estimated some of the ridges to be about 8 feet high.