**Better to fight for something than live for nothing.**
George S. Patton
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or larger.
Yesterday, 8/8/15 -
5.0 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.1 FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.5 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
5.1 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.0 OFF COAST OF ECUADOR
5.1 OFF COAST OF ECUADOR
5.1 GULF OF CALIFORNIA
5.0 GULF OF CALIFORNIA
5.2 GULF OF CALIFORNIA
5.5 LAC KIVU REGION, CONGO
5.6 LAC KIVU REGION, CONGO
5.9 SOUTH OF FIJI ISLANDS
5.1 SOUTH OF AFRICA
5.2 NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.4 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.2 SOUTH OF BALI, INDONESIA
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.6 CHIAPAS, MEXICO
5.2 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.3 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
5.0 NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.2 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
5.3 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.1 PAGAN REG., N. MARIANA ISLANDS
5.0 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
5.1 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.0 SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA
5.3 NEAR EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA
5.6 NEAR EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA
5.1 SUMBAWA REGION, INDONESIA
5.0 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.4 EASTERN IRAN
5.0 FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.7 PACIFIC-ANTARCTIC RIDGE
5.4 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.4 KERMADEC ISLANDS
5.6 NEAR EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA
5.0 CENTRAL TURKEY
5.3 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
5.3 FOX ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.1 GUAM REGION
6.3 SOUTHERN ALASKA
5.8 PANAMA-COLOMBIA BORDER REGION
Nervous Burundians say quake portends all-out war - Already rattled by a political crisis that has claimed about 100 lives, many Burundians fear that this week's earthquake portends the return of the brutal civil war that rent the central African nation. Some recall that a similar quake preceded the 1993 assassination of Melchior Ndadaye - the country's first democratically elected president - an event which spawned a devastating 13-year civil war.
Nepal Quake Could Have Been Much Deadlier, Scientists Say - The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that shook Nepal in April killed some 9,000 people and injured 23,000 more, but the death toll in the valley of Kathmandu could have been much worse, researchers say. The quake shook in a way that spared many small buildings in the city but devastated those more than two stories high. "When I read the emails from USGS, I was originally prepared for [a] death toll of several hundred thousand." For comparison, a quake in Kashmir in 2005 had killed 85,000 people and was less intense.
The reason the shaking occurred in that way, the geologists say, is that the quake moved east rather than west, accelerating the ground at about 5.5 feet per second (1.6 meters per second). The shaking outside the Kathmandu valley, where the city itself lies, was at about one wave per second, or 1 Hertz, which caused the ground inside the valley to move in resonance at a lower frequency that did more damage to taller buildings. A person standing on the ground outside the city would feel the ground move fast enough that it feel like being on a boat on slow, 3-foot-tall (0.9 m) waves.
The frequency of shaking, measured in Hertz, that will damage a tall building can be roughly calculated by dividing the number of stories in the building by 10. This measurement is called the natural frequency, or the number of times per second something will vibrate without being pushed by outside forces. (Guitar strings, for example, have a natural frequency that makes the tone when you pluck them). "The smaller buildings will move as a solid body. The taller ones will not. A 10-story building would be very sensitive to a frequency of one Hertz."
When the April 25 quake struck Nepal, seismic monitors and GPS stations were located throughout the country and some were right on top of the earthquake's epicenter, which meant researchers could sift through an unprecedented amount of data. For the first time, scientists could get a close look at the anatomy of a temblor on a thrust fault, where one part of the Earth's crust is sliding over another part. Most big thrust fault locations are underwater, so they are typically harder to monitor.
The fault line in the Himalayas is the Main Central Thrust fault, which stretches all the way from Pakistan to the border between Tibet and India, north of Bangladesh. This kind of fault is different from the faults that cut through California, where two pieces of crust — the North American and the Pacific plates — slide against each other. In Nepal, the Indian plate is sliding underneath the Eurasian, which formed the Himalayas.
As the Indian plate thrusts under the Eurasian plate the latter crumples up, and the result is the tallest mountain range on Earth. But the plates don't slide past each other perfectly smoothly. Sometimes they catch and slip, and when they slip, this releases energy that triggers earthquakes.
In Nepal's case the epicenter of the April 25 quake was some 49.7 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Kathmandu. On the day of the quake, the built-up tension from two gargantuan slabs of rock was released. An 86-mile (140 km) stretch of the fault "unzipped," meaning the two plates moved past each other. This sent a pulse of energy east along the fault (nearly right under Kathmandu), moving about 2 miles (3.3 km) per second. The initial pulse of energy lasted only 6 seconds, but the quake shook the area for a whole minute."
Then, the seismic monitors picked up SOMETHING UNUSUAL. One of the monitors that showed its position via GPS was located on hard rock northwest of Kathmandu. During the quake, it moved south and in an east-west motion. On a graph it wasn't stepwise, but rather smooth. "That pulse came as surprise to me. The shape is quite smooth, not like a step but a longer tail." Ordinarily at the start of earthquakes, the ground moves side to side and up and down, shaking the way a bartender shakes a drink mixer. But in this case, the ground moved in one direction and then stopped, similar to a car hitting the brakes.
Meanwhile, the GPS monitor in the valley showed an oscillating motion, with a regular period of 3 to 4 seconds (about 0.33 to 0.25 Hertz). "The basin started to resonate for 50 seconds or so." The lower frequency would preferentially damage taller buildings.
The Nepal earthquake's UNUSUAL PULSE meant that the death toll from the quake was actually smaller than it would have been otherwise.
Kathmandu isn't out of the woods, though. The area was very lucky that the quake moved east rather than west. Had it gone west, the quake would have set off an area that hasn't moved much since an earthquake in 1505. This means there is a lot of pent-up energy in the rock, and when it releases, the quake will likely be big. "The ground has to move 10 meters [33 feet] if we were to release all that strain. That means we would have a quake of more than [magnitude] 8.5."
Such an earthquake is inevitable — it's only a matter of time. "Five hundred years is already a [long time]" between quakes in that area. I would be surprised if it's not in the coming century, and I expect to see it in my lifetime." In another study, researchers found the April quake in Nepal released only a fraction of the seismic energy of the underlying fault. That means there is potential for another huge earthquake in the future.
Studies of Nepal Quake Raise Concern About Skyscrapers - The findings raise some concern that a similar earthquake could pose unexpected danger to cities with skyscrapers.
India is colliding into the rest of Asia at a pace of up to two inches a year, pushing up the Himalaya Mountains. But the two tectonic plates have been stuck, not sliding smoothly. “Over the last 20 years, at the surface, the fault was completely locked." When the strain becomes too great, the fault breaks, setting off an earthquake. On April 25, the earthquake started northwest of Kathmandu and spread east at 1.7 miles per second, rupturing 87 miles of the fault.
The 12-mile-wide and 87-mile-long patch where the fault slipped broke smoothly, generating long-period waves and less of the higher frequencies that would have occurred had the ground fractured more jerkily. The rupture also did not reach the surface. What the scientists do not know is whether long-period shaking is common for earthquakes along the Himalayas, or whether similar faults elsewhere, usually quiet, could generate similar earthquakes. “There’s one in the Los Angeles area, for example. Five-second energy like this earthquake released would be especially damaging to 50-story buildings.”
Bohol quake triggers a phenomenon: Land rising from bottom of the sea - A strip of broad, flat reef covered with seagrass, corals and other marine organisms that used to lie on the seabed until exposed by the undersea upheaval caused by the quake.
Video - Molten lava erupts from the Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world's most active volcanoes on the French Indian Ocean Reunion Island.
TROPICAL STORMS -
* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Powerful Category 4 Hurricane Hilda is located about 1085 mi (1745 km) ESE of Honolulu Hawaii, with weakening expected today and Monday.
* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical Storm Soudelor is located approximately 148 nm west of Taipei, Taiwan. Soudelor has made landfall just south of Fuzhou. The system is expected to rapidly erode as it drags across rugged terrain.
- Tropical Storm Molave is located approximately 506 nm south of south of Yokosuka, Japan.
Typhoon threatens China after 8 dead, missing in Taiwan - Typhoon Soudelor barreled toward mainland China on Saturday after downing trees, traffic lights and power lines in Taiwan.
Soudelor Approaches Taiwan; All-Time Record Heat Returns to Germany - At 1745 GMT Friday (1:45 pm EDT), the Japan Meteorological Agency placed the center of Soudelor about 60 miles east-southeast of the east-central coast of Taiwan. Soudelor’s peak 10-minute sustained winds were 105 mph. Soudelor was moving west-northwest at about 11 mph on a track that would take it directly into the east-central coast of Taiwan around 8:00 am local time on Saturday morning (about 6:00 pm EDT Friday).
Soudelor is a powerful, well-structured cyclone with an expanding shield of heavy rain. Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles from the center, and gale-force winds covered an area some 450 miles in diameter. A peak gust of 123 mph was clocked on the Japanese island of Ishigakijima at 11:51 p.m. local time Friday (10:51 a.m. EDT).
Reintensification over the past day has been partially thwarted by intrusions of dry air at times. The typhoon also embarked on a second eyewall replacement cycle, following one earlier in the week. This time, a once-50-mile-wide eye contracted to about 20 miles in width and has been fragmenting, while a larger ring of convection morphed into an partial outer secondary eyewall. It can take 24-48 hours for an ERC to be completed, after which the newly restructured tropical cyclone has another chance to restrengthen.
Soudelor does not have enough time for that process to conclude before landfall. However, as it approaches the coast, Soudelor’s interaction with land will help increase low-level convergence into the storm’s center, and a slight bit of additional intensification could occur before Soudelor strikes the central Taiwan coast on Saturday morning local time. The strongest winds and heaviest rains will be on the north (right-hand) side of the eye, toward the northern third of Taiwan (including the city of Taipei).
Soudelor may be the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Taiwan in three years. The last Category 4 equivalent typhoon to landfall in Taiwan was Tembin in August 2012. In all, Taiwan has seen 18 Category 4 or stronger equivalent typhoon landfalls since 1958.
Torrential rain, already widespread across Taiwan, will continue through Saturday local time. Especially massive amounts of rain will fall where Soudelor slams into the north-south mountain range that spans most of Taiwan, and substantial local flooding and mudslides can be expected. Soudelor’s steady movement will help at least to some extent in keeping rainfall totals below the even more prodigious amounts that slower-moving systems such as 2009’s Typhoon Morakot can produce.
Morakot was only a Category 1 storm, but it moved in a leisurely cyclonic loop across northern Taiwan, prolonging the widespread intense rainfall. An almost unbelievable total of 2777 mm (109.33”) was reported at the mountainside resort of Alishan, far outstripping the previous record of 1736 mm (68.35”) set during Typhoon Herb in 1996. Morakot caused more than 450 deaths and some $3.3 billion US in damage.
On its relatively steady west-northwest track, Soudelor will strike the coast of China on Saturday night local time. The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) is calling for a landfall in Fujian Province, near the cities of Lianjiang and Longhai, which together have about 1.4 million residents. The CMA has launched a level-three emergency response, the second highest category in China’s four-tier system, to address the arrival of Soudelor. The passage over Taiwan’s mountains will markedly disrupt Soudelor so that its winds may be at or just below hurricane strength by the time it reaches China. However, the typhoon’s large envelope of rich moisture will produce heavy rains near the coast and for some distance inland, as the center recurves toward the Yangtze Valley.
Elsewhere in the tropics - Although there are no immediate threats on the scale of Soudelor, the Pacific remains active. Tropical Depression Molave, well east of Soudelor, should recurve before threatening Japan and is unlikely to reach hurricane strength. In the Northeast Pacific, Tropical Storm Hilda could reach hurricane strength over the weekend as it move west-northwest over open water. Hilda could approach Hawaii by later next week, although track models continue to diverge on Hilda’s ultimate trajectory, so it is far too soon to know if any real threat will emerge. On the heels of Hilda is Invest 93E, which appears to have little chance of major development on its westward track.
Super Typhoon Soudelor vaulted to Category 5 status on Monday making it the planet's sixth Category 5 storm of the year. Soudelor’s sustained winds were estimated at 180 mph. For the year thus far, Soudelor is Earth’s strongest tropical cyclone in terms of estimated wind speed. The Weather Channel’s Nick Wiltgen notes that Soudelor’s estimated central pressure of 900 mb is the lowest in a typhoon since last year’s Super Typhoon Vongfong, also 900 mb.
Elsewhere in the tropics - Moving into increasingly hostile conditions, Tropical Storm Guillermo continued its slow weakening trend on Monday. Guillermo’s sustained winds were reduced to 65 mph in the 3:00 pm EDT Monday advisory from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. As expected, westerly wind shear is ramping up along Guillermo’s track as the storm gains latitude, with vertical shear values likely to exceed 30 mph by Wednesday. With regular input from hurricane-hunter reconnaissance flights, computer models have nudged Guillermo’s west-northwest track a bit further away from the Hawaiian islands.
In the Atlantic, a large and healthy tropical wave was just coming off the African coast on Monday night, with some hints that it could develop into an invest-worthy system over the next several days.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
2 dead, 22 hurt in New Hampshire tent collapse - A man and a girl were killed and at least 22 people were injured Monday when a severe storm blew down a circus tent in northern New Hampshire.
Hailstorm damages Delta plane, forces emergency landing - The passengers and the photos of cracked windshields and a damaged nose cone tell the same story: Friday evening's Delta Flight 1889 was intense.
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES -
All global models remain in excellent agreement on the pattern evolution in the U.S. For much of the next 2 weeks (from August 3) temps will average 1° to 2° below normal from the Midwest and Ohio Valley on into interior New England, while above to much above normal readings will persist across the rest of the nation.
Fire Danger levels over the west – already at very high levels – could easily be exasperated during Week 2 as temps soar in many areas – including areas near the CA coast. With high pressure at the surface and aloft developing over the state – a period of downright warm weather is expected in many of the higher population centers from Anchorage northward to Fairbanks – with some record highs possible as well. But by the weekend, and especially next week – stronger disturbances are expected to begin impacting the state from west-to-east – with the warm temp anomalies easing down; with some below normal readings starting to show up in the western and northern regions as storminess returns.
Video - August 4 California fires. 'Rocky' fire rages over 90 square miles in California. Firefighters were still struggling to contain series of blazes in California, despite a slight drop in temperatures.
Iran city hits suffocating heat index of 165 degrees, NEAR WORLD RECORD. Wherever you live or happen to travel to, never complain about the heat and humidity again. In the city of Bandar Mahshahr (population of about 110,000 as of 2010), the air felt like a searing 165 degrees (74 Celsius) factoring in the humidity. Although there are no official records of heat indices, this is second highest level we have ever seen reported.
To achieve today’s astronomical heat index level of 165, Bandar Mahshahr’s actual air temperature registered 115 degrees (46 Celsius) with an astonishing dew point temperature of 90 (32 Celsius). This 165 reading, recorded at 4:30 p.m. local time Friday, comes one day after the heat index soared to 159 degrees (70 Celsius) in the same location.
Bandar Mahshahr sits adjacent to the Persian Gulf in southwest Iran where water temperatures are in the 90s. Such high temperatures lead to some of the most oppressive humidity levels in the world when winds blow off the sweltry water. Although there are no official records, 178 degrees (81 Celsius) is the highest known heat index ever attained. It was observed in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia on July 8, 2003. Dhahran, also on the Persian Gulf, registered an air temperature of 108 degrees (42 Celsius) and a dew point of 95 (35 Celsius), which computes to such an extreme heat index level.
This week’s extreme heat index values have occurred as a punishing heat wave has engulfed the Middle East. On Thursday, Baghdad soared to 122 degrees (50C) – though its dew point was a lowly 44 (7 Celsius) given its desert environs. That combination produced a heat index of 115 – the dry air taking a slight edge off the blistering temperatures.
A massive high pressure ridge or “heat dome” responsible for the excessive heat doesn’t look to budge for several days, at least. Iraq declared a 4-day heat holiday for temps over 120 degrees. The extreme heat over such a long duration is particularly taxing in this war-ravaged region. The government has urged residents to stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water, but for many of the more than 3 million Iraqis displaced by violent conflict, that poses a dilemma.
Chronic electricity and water cuts in Iraq and other conflict-ridden countries make heat waves like the present one even more unbearable – particularly for the more than 14 million people displaced by violence across the region. In the southern Iraqi city of Basrah earlier this month, protesters clashed with police as they demonstrated for better power services, leaving one person dead.
Unlike other countries in the region, Iraq lacks beaches and travel restrictions make it difficult for people to escape the sweltering heat, leaving many – even those fortunate enough to live in their homes – with limited options for cooling off. Some swim in rivers and irrigation canals, while others spend these days in air-conditioned shopping malls.
Hong Kong swelters on HOTTEST DAY IN HISTORY - due to the influence of the nearby typhoon. Hong Kong on Saturday recorded its hottest day since authorities began taking temperature readings 130 years ago. The daily maximum temperature hit 36.3 degrees Celsius
Europe again slathered with all-time record heat; Berlin has HOTTEST DAY ON RECORD. - Just one month after setting its all-time national heat record, Germany tied that mark on Friday at the same location, as yet another multiway heat wave swept across much of Europe. The town of Kitzingen reached 40.3°C (104.5°F) on Friday, the same national record it reached on July 5. More than 100 towns and cities in Germany either tied or broke their all- time record highs on Friday. Berlin's Kaniswall station hit 38.9°C (102.0°F) - the hottest temperature ever observed in the Berlin area, beating the old record of 38.6°C (101.5°F).
Record heat extended far across other parts of Europe on Friday. Friday’s high of 38.3C (100.9°F) at Genoa, Italy, topped the all-time airport record by a full 4°F. Records at the airport extend back to 1962; the previous reporting site for Genoa was located further inland, with a warmer microclimate. Even at that location, the previous Genoa record was 37.8°C (100.0°F) in July 1952. Continue to keep an eye on Europe this weekend, as several nationwide all-time records could be approached or toppled.
SPACE WEATHER -
'Spectacular' meteor showers to light up the sky - Overnight 8/12 - 8/13 is the peak. The Perseid meteor shower - an annual display of natural fireworks - should be particularly spectacular this year, with extra-dark skies expected to create optimal stargazing conditions.
HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS
Legionnaires' Death Toll in the Bronx Rises to Seven - New York City health officialsincreased to seven the death toll from an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the South Bronx, and said more than 80 people had been diagnosed with the bacterial infection.
Workout Supplements Lead To Eating Disorder - In a new study it is found men who use workout supplements in excess may run the risk of having eating disorders. It is said the protein powders and bars are responsible for the condition.
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