Monday, May 2, 2016

EXTREME WEATHER: Massive Sandstorm Sweeps Through China's Xinjiang, Qinghai - Dropping Visibility To Less Than 900 Meters! [VIDEO]


May 2, 2016 - CHINA - A major sandstorm has swept through China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, causing severe air pollution.

On Sunday, high winds whipped up the sandstorm in Xinjiang's Aksu Prefecture, dropping visibility to less than 900 meters.

The sandstorm has also disrupted road traffic and caused flight cancellations and delays.

In Korla County, the storm significantly slowed down traffic and caused residents to suffer breathing difficulties.

The local meteorological department said that the sandstorm is expected to last through Monday.

WATCH: Sandstorm, wildfire rage parts of northwest China.

Another sandstorm coupled with winds of up to 70 kilometers per hour also hit Golmud County in Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, disrupting traffic in several streets.

Local forecasters said that sandstorms and high winds are expected in multiple districts of the prefecture within the next 12 hours.

In recent years, China has seen extremely high levels of air pollution particularly in the northeast, the industrial heartland of the country.

Scientific studies attribute 1.4 million premature deaths per year to China's smog, or almost 4,000 per day.

- Press TV.


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Attacks On Humans And Disaster Precursors - Hyenas Attack Starving Women In Somali-Land as Drought Hits!

Hyenas attack starving women

May 2, 2016 - SOMALI-LAND - Women collapsing from hunger are being set upon by animals amid Somaliland's worst drought in living memory.

Starving women are being attacked by packs of hyenas in drought-hit Somaliland, an aid agency has warned.

People in the East African state say it is the worst drought in living memory,
caused by successive poor rainy seasons made worse by El Nino conditions in the Horn of Africa.

Adan Shariff Gabow, from charity Islamic Relief, said there are cases of women collapsing from hunger and being set upon by starving hyenas.

"They fell down, malnourished, and we understand they were then set on by the animals," he said.

The severe weather conditions have killed thousands of goats and cows, bringing the risk of wide-spread famine, aid workers said.

Even camels - which are more drought-resistant - are dying.

Malnourished mothers are unable to breastfeed their babies, and farmers are feeding cardboard boxes to their animals because there is no grass left for grazing.

The United Nations - which has launched a £72m appeal - said 1.7 million people need aid in Somaliland and neighbouring Puntland - both self-declared states in northern Somalia.

Islamic Relief spokeswoman Mary Griffin said there was a "terrible sense of deja vu" after a drought killed more than 250,000 people in southern Somalia in 2011.

Aid agencies were criticised then for responding too late.

Hany El-Banna, chairman of the Muslim Charities Forum, called on the world not to repeat the same mistake.

"We cannot wait like we did in 2011 when we acted too late," he said. "We need to deal with this today - if we don't this drought will turn into a famine."

Britain's shadow development secretary Diane Abbott, who recently visited the region, plans to raise the issue in parliament next week.

"I spoke to families who had 500 or more animals three months ago, and now are left with 20 or fewer," she said.

"For people who rely on their animals for meat, milk and trade, it's the equivalent of losing your entire life savings."

She said drought conditions that would normally strike every seven to 10 years are now becoming an annual occurrence.

Nimo Mohamed Abdi, a mother of three, described how she had lost all her livestock - more than 180 animals - in three months.

"We were living by the coast then and the animals died so quickly, one after another, that we could do nothing with their corpses but throw them into the sea," she said. - Sky News.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Western Indonesia - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

May 2, 2016 - INDONESIA - An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Lampung province of Sumatra Island on Monday, the meteorology and geophysics agency said here.

No immediate casualties were reported as of now, an official of the agency said.

USGS shakemap intensity.

The epicentre of the quake was determined at 23 km southwest Tanggamus town, Xinhua news agency quoted the official as saying.

Indonesia is prone to quake as it lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone so called "the Pacific Ring of Fire".

Seismotectonics of the Sumatra Region

The plate boundary southwest of Sumatra is part of a long tectonic collision zone that extends over 8000 km from Papua in the east to the Himalayan front in the west. The Sumatra-Andaman portion of the collision zone forms a subduction zone megathrust plate boundary, the Sunda-Java trench, which accommodates convergence between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates. This convergence is responsible for the intense seismicity and volcanism in Sumatra. The Sumatra Fault, a major transform structure that bisects Sumatra, accommodates the northwest-increasing lateral component of relative plate motion.

Relative plate motion between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates is rapid, decreasing from roughly 63 mm/year near the southern tip of Sumatra (Australia relative to Sunda) to 44 mm/year north of Andaman Islands (India relative to Sunda) and rotating counterclockwise to the northwest, so that relative motion near Jakarta is nearly trench-normal but becomes nearly trench-parallel near Myanmar. As a result of the rotation in relative motion along the strike of the arc and the interaction of multiple tectonic plates, several interrelated tectonic elements compose the Sumatra-Andaman plate boundary. Most strain accumulation and release occurs along the Sunda megathrust of the main subduction zone, where lithosphere of the subducting Indo-Australia plate is in contact with the overlying Sunda plate down to a depth of 60 km. Strain release associated with deformation within the subducting slab is evidenced by deeper earthquakes that extend to depths of less than 300 km on Sumatra and 150 km or less along the Andaman Islands. The increasingly oblique convergence between these two plates moving northwest along the arc is accommodated by crustal seismicity along a series of transform and normal faults. East of the Andaman Islands, back- arc spreading in the Andaman Sea produces a zone of distributed normal and strike-slip faulting. Similar to the Sumatran Fault, the Sagaing Fault near Myanmar also accommodates the strike-slip component of oblique plate motion. Plate-boundary related deformation is also not restricted to the subduction zone and overriding plate: the subducting Indo-Australian plate actually comprises two somewhat independent plates (India and Australia), with small amounts of motion relative to one another, that are joined along a broad, actively-deforming region producing seismicity up to several hundred kilometers west of the trench. This deformation is exemplified by the recent April 2012 earthquake sequence, which includes the April 11 M 8.6 and M 8.2 strike-slip events and their subsequent aftershocks.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Paleoseismic studies using coral reefs as a proxy for relative land level changes associated with earthquake displacement suggest that the Sunda arc has repeatedly ruptured during relatively large events in the past, with records extending as far back as the 10th century. In northern Simeulue Island, the southern terminus of the 2004 megathrust earthquake rupture area, a cluster of megathrust earthquakes occurred over a 56 year period between A.D. 1390 and 1455, resulting in uplift substantially greater than that caused by the 2004 event. Studies that look at large sheeted deposits of sand on land interpreted as the transport of debris from a tsunami wave also indicate that this region has experienced significant tsunamis in the past centuries, albeit infrequently.

Prior to 2004, the most recent megathrust earthquakes along the Sumatran-Andaman plate boundary were in 1797 (M 8.7-8.9), 1833 (M 8.9-9.1) and 1861 (M8.5). Since 2004, much of the Sunda megathrust between the northern Andaman Islands and Enggano Island, a distance of more than 2,000 km, has ruptured in a series of large subduction zone earthquakes - most rupturing the plate boundary south of Banda Aceh. The great M 9.1 earthquake of December 26, 2004, which produced a devastating tsunami, ruptured much of the boundary between Myanmar and Simeulue Island offshore Banda Aceh. Immediately to the south of the great 2004 earthquake, the M 8.6 Nias Island earthquake of March 28, 2005 ruptured a 400-km section between Simeulue and the Batu Islands. Farther south in the Mentawai islands, two earthquakes on September 12, 2007 of M 8.5 and M 7.9 occurred in the southern portion of the estimated 1797 and 1833 ruptures zone, which extends from approximately Enggano Island to the northern portion of Siberut Island. Smaller earthquakes have also been locally important: a M 7.6 rupture within the subducting plate caused considerable damage in Padang in 2009, and a M 7.8 rupture on October 25, 2010 occurred on the shallow portion of the megathrust to the west of the Mentawai Islands, and caused a substantial tsunami on the west coast of those islands.

In addition to the current seismic hazards along this portion of the Sunda arc, this region is also recognized as having one of the highest volcanic hazards in the world. One of the most dramatic eruptions in human history was the Krakatau eruption on August 26-27, 1883, a volcano just to the southeast of the island of Sumatra, which resulted in over 35, 000 casualties.

Subduction and seismicity along the plate boundary adjacent to Java is fundamentally different from that of the Sumatran-Andaman section. Relative motion along the Java arc is trench-normal (approximately 65-70 mm/year) and does not exhibit the same strain partitioning and back-arc strike- slip faulting that are observed along the Sumatra margin. Neither has the Java subduction zone hosted similar large magnitude megathrust events to those of its neighbor, at least in documented history. Although this region is not as seismically active as the Sumatra region, the Java arc has hosted low to intermediate-magnitude extensional earthquakes and deep-focus (300-700 km) events and exhibits a similar if not higher volcanic hazard. This arc has also hosted two large, shallow tsunami earthquakes in the recent past which resulted in high tsunami run-ups along the southern Java coast.

- USGS | Economic Times.


EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Increasing Magnetic Polar Migration - Unseasonal Severe Thunder And Lightning Storm Lashes Melbourne, Australia; And Lightning Strikes Kill Eight And Injure Two In Odisha, India!

The Bureau of Meteorology said the weather was unusual for this time of year.
David Mullins

May 2, 2016 - EARTH - Strong winds, thunderstorms, lightning storms and heavy rain lashed parts of Victoria, Australia overnight, with hundreds of residents calling the State Emergency Service (SES) for help. Lightning strike amidst heavy thunderstorms this afternoon claimed at least eight lives and injured two across various parts of Odisha.

Unseasonal severe thunder and lightning storm lashes Melbourne, Australia

The SES received more than 500 calls, mainly for downed trees and building damage in Warragul and Melbourne's east and south-east.

Most areas received between five and 15 millimetres of rain, but up to 40 millimetres fell in the state's north-east ranges.

Winds of about 100 kilometres per hour were recorded on the bay and in the state's south-west.

SES state duty officer Gerry Sheridan said the storm built up momentum as it moved across the bay.

"The hardest hit suburbs that we've had is Narre Warren, in the south-east suburbs, and places like Monash, Clayton, Mount Waverley and Chadstone," he said.

"As the storm cell moved across the bay, it built up a little bit of momentum. It's those populated areas — the usual suspects get hit again.

"Another location is Lilydale. We're seeing over 50 jobs out that way as well." esidents said Ashwood, in Melbourne's south-east, looked like it had been hit by a tornado.

"The whole street was covered in branches," local resident Lisa told the ABC.

"The power pole was down on one of the cars here and the SES arrived pretty much straight after that."

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Rod Dickson said the weather was unusual for this time of year.

"We had a fairly active cold front combined with an upper-level trough," he said.

"That produced quite widespread thunderstorm activity, which developed over the north-west late Saturday afternoon then extended into central parts of the state towards midnight.

"Typically we normally see severe thunderstorm activity during the afternoon during the warmer months."

The front was weakening as it moved east.

Mr Dickson said the thunderstorm activity had mostly passed.

Lightning strikes kill eight and injure two in Odisha, India

As per reports from Bhatakhamara village under Narla block of Kalahandi district, a father-daughter duo were killed because of lightning strike in the village. Besides, while another man died in that village, his wife has been grievously injured.
Further, another two deaths were reported from Ghantipada village of Kandhamal district.

Two more lost their lives and one was seriously injured in Jaleswar block of Balasore district after being struck by lightning.

The eighth news of death was reported from Baguda village under Patnagarh block of Bolangir district.

- ABC | Odisha Sun Times.