Wednesday, May 11, 2011

HELL OR HIGH WATER: Epic Flood Flows Into the Mississippi Delta!

The crest of the swollen Mississippi River has rolled past Memphis, Tennessee, and into the mostly poor, fertile Delta region. Floodwaters have already washed away crops, damaged hundreds of homes and closed casinos key to the area's economy. After weeks of storms and floods, Memphians awoke today to the highest river they'd seen in 74 years.
The Mississippi River has crested at Memphis, Tennessee this morning, reaching the 2nd highest level on record. The flood height of 47.79' was just below the all-time record height of 48.7' set in the great 1937 flood. Fortunately, the levees constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers are much taller and stronger than was the case 74 years ago, and the mainline Mississippi River levees are expected to hold back this record flood and prevent a multi-billion dollar flood disaster. However, flooding on tributaries feeding into the Mississippi is severe in many locations along the Mississippi, since the tremendous volume of water confined behind the levees is backing up into the tributaries. Downstream from Memphis, flood waters pouring in from the Arkansas River, Yazoo River, and other tributaries are expected to swell the Mississippi high enough to beat the all-time record at Vicksburg, Mississippi by 1.3' on May 19, by 6' at Natchez, Mississippi on May 21, and by 3.2' at Red River Landing on May 22. The Mississippi is forecast to crest at 19.5' in New Orleans on May 23. The levees in New Orleans protect the city for a flood of 20.0 feet, so it is a good bet that the Army Corps will fully open the Bonnet Carre' Spillway 28 miles upstream from New Orleans this week. The Bonnet Carre' Spillway was partially opened yesterday, and has the capacity to take 250,000 cubic feet per second of Mississippi River water into Lake Pontchartrain. This may not be enough to keep flood heights from rising dangerously close to the top of New Orleans' levees, and the Army Corps may elect to open the final relief valve they have at their disposal--the massive Morganza Spillway, 35 miles upstream from Baton Rouge. The Morganza Spillway has been opened only once in history, back in 1973. Rainfall amounts of at most 0.75 inches are expected over the Lower Mississippi River watershed over the next five days, which should prevent flood heights from rising above the current forecast. - Wunderground.

According to government officials, the Mississippi River flooding may swamp 3 million acres, an area almost the size of Connecticut, as high waters move south and threaten Louisiana.
Water levels were forecast to hold below 48 feet (14.6 meters) for a day in Memphis before the floods move south toward Louisiana and then empty into the Gulf of Mexico past New Orleans in about two weeks. They were at 47.7 feet in Memphis at 4:45 a.m. local time, compared with the record of 48.7 set in 1937, according to the National Weather Service. "Based on inundation maps we are looking at, about 3 million acres in Louisiana will be under water," Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said at a press conference in Baton Rouge yesterday. About 2,500 people inside the floodway may be affected, while backwater flooding may affect 22,500, he said. To relieve the threat to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may open the Morganza floodway. Opening it halfway would inundate a swath of central Louisiana along the Atchafalaya River with 5 feet to 20 feet of water. The decision to open the floodway may come as soon as May 14, Jindal said. "The trigger is 1.5 million cubic feet of water a second going past the Red River Landing," Jindal said. "We are at approximately 1.36 million right now."... Gasoline futures advanced yesterday amid concern that the flooding will disrupt fuel production and distribution. Futures rose 3.1 percent to $3.3797 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, adding to a 6.1 percent gain on May 9, the biggest since July 2009. The contract dropped 1.4 percent to $3.3316 as of 6:15 a.m. London time today. Crude prices slid 0.4 percent to $103.49 a barrel. The premium of June gasoline over crude on Nymex surged as much as $4.97 to $40.11 a barrel yesterday, the largest since at least 1990. It was at $36.63 a barrel today. Valero Energy Corp. was forced to reduce operations at its refinery in Memphis to between 80 percent and 85 percent of capacity because of the flooding, according to people familiar with refinery operations. Flooding limited movement of products in and out of the plant by barge, said the people, who declined to be identified because they aren't authorized to speak for the refinery... "The U.S. flooding issue, should it get worse, has the potential to throw the market another curve ball and drive prices higher just when the global economy can least afford it," Edward Meir, a New York-based senior commodity analyst at MF Global Inc., said in a note today. "On the other hand, if the floodwaters recede, we could see a violent downside correction setting in, particularly in gasoline." In Baton Rouge, the river was at 42.3 feet at 5 a.m. local time, the weather service said. Louisiana's the flood fight is being dictated by a series of benchmarks. When the river reaches 45 feet in Baton Rouge, riverboat casinos will start to shut down, Jindal said. When water levels get above 62.5 feet at Red River Landing, the Old River Lock will be closed to navigation, according to the Corps of Engineers. The Red River Landing, now at 60 feet, is 63 miles north of Baton Rouge, near where the Louisiana state line moves east from the river. The Morganza floodway is between the landing and Baton Rouge. The Mississippi, the largest river system in the country and the third-largest watershed in the world, drains 41 percent of the continental U.S., according to the Corps. - SFGate.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Dozens of Dead Seals off the Caspian Sea!

Ecologists in Kazakh are investigating the mass death of seals off the shore of the Caspian Sea.

Some 12-15 dead seals have washed up over the past week on the western Kazakh shore of the Caspian Sea, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports. Erik Utebaliev, a local resident, told RFE/RL he found 10-12 dead Caspian seals of all ages, from full-grown adults to pups, on May 3 and three more on May 8. Kirill Osin, director of the nongovernmental organization EKO Mangistau, told RFE/RL he and his colleagues planned to inspect the seals on May 10 and take tissue samples for analysis to try to determine whether they were poisoned. He said he had only seen photos of the dead animals and it was too early to speculate about the cause of death. Osin recalled that the local authorities attributed a mass death of seals in the region two years ago to a virus and inclement weather. He rejected that conclusion, noting that dead seals are found only in the vicinity of intensive exploitation of offshore oil deposits. Officials from Mangystau Oblast Governor Krymbek Kusherbaev's office told RFE/RL that he was attending the traditional Victory Day parade and was unavailable for comment. The first mass deaths of seals in Mangystau took place in 2000. Over 330 seals died in 2006, reportedly from a virus, then almost 1,000 in 2007 and over 350 in 2009. In March 2010, Kazakh Deputy Environment Protection Minister Eldana Sadbakasova told journalists that the seal population numbered some 8,000 but was rapidly falling due to intensive fishing that deprived the seals of their main source of food. The Caspian seal population is currently estimated to be around 100,000 -- less than 10 percent of what it was a century ago. The Caspian seal, which is spotted, is the Caspian's lone mammal species, and is not found anywhere else in the world. Among the smallest of the "true seals," most Caspian seals inhabit the southern Caspian Sea area from May to September. In the fall, they migrate northward to breed and bear pups. - RFERL.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Earthquakes Pummels Loyalty Islands!

Yesterday, I reported on the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit Loyalty Islands, in the South Pacific off the French territory of New Caledonia. Although the quake was later revised and downgraded to a 6.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the islands continue to feel the onslaught of the seismic tremors. At the time of writing, the USGS has detected 21 earthquakes since yesterday. The frequency of these earthquakes seems to be pointing towards maximum seismic strain release and greater activity between the Australian and the Pacific tectonic plates, since the South Pacific constitutes a boundary zone between the two.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: 31 Dead Dolphins in Southern Ukraine!

The cases of mass animal die-offs continue, as dozens of dead dolphins was found washed up along the coast of Southern Ukraine, yesterday.
Thirty one dolphins were found dead in the Crimean Peninsula in Southern Ukraine, the press office of the Emergencies Ministry in Crimea reported Tuesday. According to officials, the dead dolphins were scattered in an area of 2 km along the coastal zone. Experts said the probable cause of the mammalian deaths is getting into the fishing nets. The majority of the dolphins have visible wounds on their body, some of them have damaged or missing fins. Now the experts are conducting a thorough investigation into the death of these animals. After the investigation, they will give the results to the Island's environmental prosecutor's office. The dead dolphins belong to the sort of harbor porpoises, the smallest dolphins that live in the Crimean Peninsula coastal waters. They are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine and the International Red Book as endangered species. Harbor porpoises are protected by several international legal rules. - Xinhaunet.  

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Sinkholes Appears In Vietnam!

In what appears to be another cases of extreme land cracking, subsidence and sinking; massive sinkholes are suddenly appeared in Vietnam, providing more evidence of the ongoing geological upheaval taking place on planet Earth.

Have a look at these images and the translated reports that accompany them.

A rain of stones, in garden Le Van Thuong, Tri Thuan hamlet, Huong Vinh commune, Huong Khe district, Ha Tinh very deep hole to appear. Le Van Thuong said shocked, about 21h30 on 3 / 5 when the house he was watching television when he heard strange noises behind the garden. Not understand what happened, his family succumbed to 5-6 Australia Australia strong language like someone throwing stones into the well. Flashlight quickly run out, horror of seeing land adjacent to appear next to the kitchen is a deep hole and subsidence cloudy yellow water spray to cool. More terrifying, the land around the pit to miss OAM oap. Am 4 / 5, he often reported to the authorities to learn the job. At the site of the landslides are two large sinkholes, each hole has a diameter of nearly 8 meters deep, flooding more than 8 m long bamboo pole. Two pits are located to keep their crop garden, the kitchen is only about 3 - 5 meters. Cloudy and cool water in the lake is stunning in yellow. More ominously, the land in these two craters are continuing foot-and large cracks appeared more running around the pit area and other areas around 200m2. According to Mr. Phan Van Binh, deputy director of the Environmental Protection Department (Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Ha Tinh Province) is the phenomenon of irregular subsidence could not confirm the cause. Huong Vinh commune authorities are forced to relocate his family to Le Van Thuong from dangerous areas and fence around the garden is not plugged to a stranger on earth watching in order to avoid falling down pits.
- Xaluan.

A landslide reportedly hit Vinh Dai hamlet, Huong Vinh commune in the northern central province of Ha Tinh on May 3 night, creating two deep holes around 5 meters deep and 6 meters in diameter. Several cracks run around the two holes whose mouths measure up to 8 meters in diameter. Le Van Thuong, a local resident, said: “We heard a strange sound from our vegetable garden at 9:30 pm on May 3 when we were sleeping.” To our surprise, we saw a deep hole, just 4 meters away from our kitchen and immediately witnessed another landslide that resulted in the second hole. The yellow water inside the pits bubbles up,” Thuong added. Many curisousity seekers rushed to the scene after hearing his shout. Local authorities called on residents to help move his house 50 meters away from the holes just in case and have promptly instructed locals to fix the cracks and prevent possible landslides in the coming time. The cause of the incident so far remains unknown.

Animal Behavior: Precursors To An Imminent Disaster In America - Cicadas Suddenly Emerge In US South After 13 Years Underground?

The Cicada, Brood XIX, insect is expected to appear in record numbers during the spring of 2011 in the United States of America. In early May, they began to emerge from the ground near Nashville, Tennessee. Although, they are expected to hang around for a month, it is quite possible that they might be using their keen sense to avoid an imminent or pending disaster, given the fact that it has been scientifically proven that animals have been known to swarm, collect or move to different area from their usual gathering spot prior to a devastating disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami or floods.
Cicadas, the loud yet harmless insects, have begun rearing their unattractive heads across the southern U.S. after a 13-year lull spent underground. States like Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia are reporting the insects emerging in droves, and are preparing for that incessant buzzing that will soon fill the atmosphere as the male cicadas seek out mates in a clamorous event that last occurred in 1998. Meanwhile, scientists are bustling to study the enigmatic creatures, well aware they won't have another chance to do so until 2024. Nancy Hinkle, a professor of the department of entomology at the University of Georgia, told CVN News that these 13-year cicadas, also known as periodical cicadas, belong to Brood XIX in Georgia. There are other periodical cicadas in the U.S. that only appear every 17 years. While many people see the mysterious cicadas as a nuisance and some find them frightening, they are actually harmless creatures that don't bite or sting in any way. According to the Jackson Sun, the red-eyed cicadas can even be eaten, and in some countries "are considered delicacies because of the high amount of protein they provide." - Huffington Post.

It should be noted that Tennessee, along with Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi comprise the states that provides the greatest potentially threaten parts for earthquakes that occur in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a major seismic zone and a prolific source of earthquakes within a tectonic plate in the southern and midwestern United States, stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri. In a report filed in November 2008, The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that a serious earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone could result in "the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States," further predicting "widespread and catastrophic" damage across Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and particularly Tennessee, where a 7.7 magnitude quake or greater would cause damage to tens of thousands of structures affecting water distribution, transportation systems, and other vital infrastructure. The earthquake is expected to also result in many thousands of fatalities, with more than 4,000 of the fatalities expected in Memphis alone.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Major Wobble on Planet Earth?!

I have been looking at several images from different websites, since this morning and I am seriously wondering if planet Earth experienced a major wobble or a shifting of its figure axis, the imaginary line around which the world's mass is balanced, about 33 feet (10 meters) from the north-south axis?

Firstly, have a look at the magnetosphere simulation:

Heightened particle density and pressure. Could be the Sun? Let's check.
APPROACHING ACTIVE REGION: A sunspot located just behind the sun's eastern limb erupted during the waning hours of May 9th, hurling a spectacular coronal mass ejection into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed hot magnetic loops towering over the edge of the sun in the aftermath of the explosion. Earth was not in the line of fire this time, but the active region is approaching the Earthside of the sun, so future blasts could be
Relatively quiet, as it relates to Earth. However, the Astrotometry watch service of the Cosabio Virtual Institute did forecast that recent features observed on the solar corona may indicate the approach of a very strong seismic event centered between 4 degrees north latitude and 18 degrees south latitude.

This warning was provided on April 28th through to May 5th, but the shape and duration of these disturbances often extends beyond the earthquake watch period and recent seismic activity certainly proves that. Let's check with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Earthquakes are littered all over the globe and especially along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," with two major earthquakes over the last few days, today's 7.1 magnitude (later revised to 6.8) in Loyalty Islands and yesterday's 6.3 off the west of Macquarie Islands. This is also reflected on the Live Internet Seismic Server (LISS). Bands of seismic tremors can be seen in the spikes on the telemetry data.

Obviously something other than the usual shifting surface mass of melting glaciers or moving ocean currents, is at play here, as the planet seems to be wobbling off balance.

Following the March 11th mega-earthquake in Japan, high-precision GPS instruments had calculated that the quake had shifted parts of Japan by as much as 13 feet or 4 metres. Is it possible that the same type of lurching from fault plates is happening here, shifting Earth's overall mass distribution and creating a wobble effect?

If you look at the majority of the data from the LISS website, you would see that a majority of the spikes occurred at American stations. Is it possible that we are seeing precursors to a monumental event on the North American continent? A recent report in the Daily Mail, provides scientific proof that currently America and Europe are drifting apart, with a growing gap occurring between two tectonic plates in an area riddled with faults, valleys, volcanoes and hot springs.

Swimming through an area of extreme natural beauty, this diver surveys the underwater canyons on his either side. But this British scuba diver is actually between two tectonic plates. Alex Mustard, 36, dived 80ft into the crevice between the North American and Eurasian plates near Iceland to capture these spectacular photos. Mr Mustard snapped away as he and his dive partners swam through fresh water canyons Silfra, Nes and Nikulasargja, which are up to 200ft deep. He also took photos of the Arnarnes Strytur chimney, which forms a cloudy plume as 80C water is ejected from Earth's crust and hits the cool 4C seawater. Mr Mustard, from Southampton, said: 'The photos show diving in the unique underwater world of Iceland which, like on land, is formed by the volcanic landscape of the country. 'Many people visit Iceland to see these features on land but they also continue underwater. 'For a scuba diver these are spectacular places to visit - being able to fly through the clear water and explore the fault lines in three dimensions. 'I have dived all around the world and this is almost certainly the clearest water I have ever been in. 'Many people have an experience of vertigo from the sheer walls and clear water.'
The next couple of weeks should be very interesting, especially with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011) just a few days away and given its multiple-jurisdictional objectives to simulate the catastrophic nature of a major earthquake in the central United States region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). In addition, one can't help but wonder about the rationale behind the US Army Corps of Engineers' intentional Levee breach and flooding of the New Madrid Fault as a solution to the historic Mississippi floods. Could the blast or the massive amounts of water seeping into the fault line, trigger off a mega-earthquake? Is this just a coincidence?