Saturday, May 21, 2011

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.1 Quake Rattles Kermadec Islands, NZ!

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake Sunday struck the uninhabited Kermadec Islands in New Zealand, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake struck at 9:17 a.m. local time Sunday or 21:17:00 UTC, and was located at 30.775°S, 178.133°W. The depth of tremor was 19.8 kilometres (km) or 12.3 miles, the USGS said. The Kermadec Islands are 500 miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island. The epicentre was 107 miles from Raoul Island and 689 miles from Tonga.

MYSTERY: Symbols of an Alien Sky, Man-Made or Natural Phenomena - Mysterious Fiery Orange UFO is seen over Auckland, New Zealand?!

The following video was taken on May 14th, by a resident of Auckland in New Zealand, and it captures a fiery orange unidentified flying object (UFO) streaking across the evening skies. What was it?

EARTH CHANGES: 30 More Dead as Thunderstorm lashes India!

Several days ago, I told you about the fierce winds accompanied by swirling dust and thunderstorms that killed 56 people in northern India. The storm caused large-scale destruction with electricity poles and wires uprooted, while many mud-thatched homes were destroyed in a few districts. Today, the Times of India is reporting that there has been more deaths as a result of these freak thunderstorms.

Saturday morning thunderstorm left over 30 people dead in west and central parts of Uttar Pradesh. The storm lashed many parts of UP including Noida, Ghaziabad, Shahjahanpur, Badayun, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Lakhimpur Kheri and Lucknow. While 15 persons were reported to have died in Shahjahanpur in various accidents due to uprooting of trees and wall collapse during thunderstorm, 11 deaths were reported from Lakhimpur Kheri and five from Bdayun. The thunderstorm also hit the power supply at many places. Electricity poles were damaged and power lines were snapped. Traffic was also badly affected due to uprooting of trees. The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for the families who lost their kin. The thunderstorm followed by rains and hails has also damaged mango and wheat crops at many places. The death toll so far due to thunderstorms in UP has crossed 70-mark. The storms on Wednesday and Thursday had left nearly 50 people dead in different districts of east and central UP. The state MET department said that an upper air cyclonic circulation which was hovering over east UP till Friday has now also covered west UP. As a result, west UP and central parts of the states were lashed by thunderstorms. According to Met officials the weather will be clear by Monday. - Times of India.

EARTH CHANGES: Floods & Landslides cut off Sectors in Venezuela!

Flood waters washed out a main road in western Venezuela, putting a stop to all forms of traffic between the municipalities of Jauregui and Seboruco, in the southwestern state of Tachira. The continuous flooding in the South American nation has so far swamped and devastated nearly 300,000 acres of farmlands.

Carlos Díaz, an official of Táchira State Institute of Transport (IVT), reported on Friday that a massive section of Cristo de La Laja hill, between the towns of Seboruco and Jáuregui, collapsed and washed out the road into Grita River, thus deviating the water course. "The river hit Main Road 3, and about 980 feet of road collapsed. This cut off the sector. The landslide is creating a dam that poses a serious danger" for people living on the river bank, said Díaz... Agriculture and livestock production in South Lake Maracaibo, in the northwestern state of Zulia, has become increasingly precarious. Persistent rains in the past three months have led to floods that have ravaged some 296,500 acres of farmland in the area. In fact, as a result of floods, the production of plantains South Lake Maracaibo has plunged 70 percent so far this year. He also said that cattle have virtually no food to eat, because pastures are flooded. According to Iragorri, given humidity levels in the area, viral diseases have increased and the morbidity rate of cattle has also risen... The heavy rains that have hit several Venezuelan states over the past few hours wreaked havoc in the main thoroughfares in western Venezuela, while dozens of families were made homeless or were evacuated in the states of Lara, Carabobo, Falcón, Táchira and Mérida. Tareck El Aissami, the Minister of Interior and Justice, and Francisco Garcés, the Minister of Transport and Communications, met with the governor of the state of Táchira, César Pérez Vivas, an opposition leader, to coordinate actions to support the families evacuated from risk areas and to reopen the roads blocked by floods, rockfall and landslides. El Aissami said on Wednesday night in an interview with state-run TV Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) that 22 towns in the state of Táchira (western Venezuela) are isolated. He also said that 170 families in the town of Seboruco were at high risk and eight helicopters are ready to deliver food, fuel and water to people hit by heavy rains. Floods have also been reported in the states of Falcón (northwestern Venezuela); Carabobo and Lara (central Venezuela), as well as the western state of Zulia. - El Universal

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Tremors Rocks Papua New Guinea!

On Sunday, May 15th, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake strucked the Bougainville Region in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Since then, we have been witnessing heightened seismic activity in the region.

(Click on image for a larger view.)
Yesterday, a magnitude 5.8 hit at 19:43:15 UTC at 7.210°S, 146.891°E location. The quake was measured at a depth of 1 kilometre (km) or 0.6 mile. The epicentre was at a distance of 4 km or  33 miles southwest of Lae, New Guinea, PNG; 149 km or 92 miles northeast of Kerema, New Guinea, PNG; 252 km or 156 miles north of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; and 2337 km or 1452 miles northwest of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Today, an onslaught of seismic tremors in the same area.

(Click on image for a larger view.)
According to the Global Incident Map's worldwide earthquake report, 8 tremors was recorded back to back in Papua New Guinea, with a consistent magnitude of 5.0. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recorded these tremors at 09:53:54 UTC with a location of 7.265°S, 147.003°E. The epicentre was at 58 km or 36 miles south of Lae, New Guinea, PNG; 156 km or 96 miles northeast of Kerema, New Guinea, PNG; 245 km or 152 miles north of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; and 2328 km or 1446 miles northwest of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Malaysian Landslide Buries 30 Children?!

A landslide hit an orphanage in Hulu Langat, just south of the capital Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, following heavy downpours in area over the past few days. The bodies of two children have been pulled out, while others remain buried under the rubble.

Police say about 30 children were buried by a landslide that hit a Malaysian orphanage and two bodies have been recovered so far. A district police officer said firefighters and villagers pulled out six children who were critically injured and they were rushed to a hospital. The officer declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media. The officer said heavy rainfall had likely caused the landslide that hit the orphanage in central Selangor state Saturday afternoon. He said rain was still falling and hampering rescue work, which would last until nightfall. - Washington Post.

WATCH: Death toll rises in Malaysia landslide.

PLAGUE: Stink Bug Epidemic - Ruined Apple Harvest, $37m Damage?!

The United States of America has been plagued by the Stink Bug Epidemic that has caused 37 million dollars in damages and ruined one-fifth of the apple harvest.

Brown stink bugs are causing millions of dollars in crop damage, with the apple industry being hit the hardest. Growers in the mid-Atlantic region have reported the worst problems with about 18 per cent of the crop ruined. The industry has reported $37million in damage to apple growers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia this spring. The bug, a three-quarter-inch invader native to Asia, has a huge appetite and has no domestic natural predators. It is believed to have been brought first to the Allentown area of Pennsylvania in 1998. The bug began appearing in mid-Atlantic orchards in 2003-04 and exploded in number last year. They have now been seen in 33 states, including every one east of the Mississippi River and as far west as California, Oregon and Washington. Research entomologist Tracy Leskey, who works at the U.S. Agriculture Department's Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia, said: 'All that we do know for certain is that a tremendously large population went into overwintering in fall 2010. 'So, if they survived, there could be a very large population emerging.' Mark Seetin, the association's director of regulatory and industry affairs, called it the worst threat to farmers he's see in his 40 years in agriculture. America's biggest apple producer, Washington state, has yet to report serious so far. Aside from apples, the bug, named for the foul smell it gives off when crushed, will feed on nearly anything, including cherries, tomatoes, grapes, lima beans, soybeans, green peppers and peaches. It uses a needle-like mouth to pierce the skin of its host fruit or vegetable, leaving behind a spot that is disfigured and discolored. Stink bugs wiped out up to 40 per cent of Tom Haas's peaches last season at his Cherry Hill Orchards in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Mr Haas, the owner of the family-run orchard, said: 'This is the worst, probably, that I've dealt with in 25 years. The damage they do to fruit is horrendous.' - Daily Mail

EARTH CHANGES: Scientists - Earth's Core May Be Melting?!

In an unexpected discovery, scientists find regions of the Earth's inner core may be melting.
The inner core of the Earth may be melting, scientists now find. This melting could actually be linked to activity at the Earth's surface, the researchers said, and added that the discovery could help explain how the core generates the planet's magnetic field. The Earth's inner core is a ball of solid iron about 1,500 miles wide, about the same size as the moon. This ball is surrounded by an outer core made up mostly of liquid iron-nickel alloy, a highly viscous mantle layer and, topping it off, a solid crust that forms the surface of the planet. As the Earth cools from the inside out, the molten outer core is slowly freezing. This is leading the solid inner core to grow at a rate of about 1 millimeter per year. However, scientists now find that the inner core might be melting at the same time. "The standard view has been that the inner core is freezing all over and growing out progressively, but it appears that there are regions where the core is actually melting," said researcher Sebastian Rost, a seismologist at the University of Leeds in England. "The net flow of heat from core to mantle ensures that there's still overall freezing of outer core material and it's still growing over time, but by no means is this a uniform process." As the Earth's interior cools, relatively hot and cold matter churns around inside the planet, a process known as convection. The roiling of material in the core, coupled with the spinning of the Earth, is what generates the planet's magnetic field. Using computer models of convection in the outer core in conjunction with seismology data, the researchers found the flow of heat at the boundary of the core and mantle depended on the overlying mantle. At times, the nature of the mantle is enough to force heat from the mantle back onto the core, leading to melting in places. "Only a small fraction of the inner core's surface may be melting at any given time," researcher Jon Mound, a geophysicist at the University of Leeds, told OurAmazingPlanet. "However, given the size of the inner core, even if only 1 percent of the surface is melting, which is certainly possible, that corresponds to just under 200,000 square kilometers (77,000 square miles)." For instance, when it comes to large regions under Africa and the Pacific where the lowermost mantle is hotter than average, the outer core below those areas can become hot enough to start melting the inner core. On the other hand, beneath seismically active regions around the so-called "Ring of Fire"— a zone encircling the Pacific high in volcanic and earthquake activity — the cold remnants of oceanic plates sucked to the bottom of the mantle are drawing a lot of heat from the core, helping it freeze. These findings suggest "that the whole dynamics of the Earth's core are in some way linked to plate tectonics, which isn't at all obvious from surface observations," Mound said. This model could also explain seismic anomalies past research detected that have suggested there is a dense layer of liquid surrounding the inner core. "The localized melting theory could also explain other seismic observations — for example, why seismic waves from earthquakes travel faster through some parts of the core than others," Rost said. "The origins of Earth's magnetic field remain a mystery to scientists," Mound noted. "If our model is verified, it's a big step towards understanding how the inner core formed, which in turn helps us understand how the core generates the Earth's magnetic field." - MSNBC.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Honeybees dropping like flies in Okanagan?!

Bees are mysteriously dying in the Okanagan Country, a region located in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Honeybees are dropping like flies in the Okanagan, leaving bee keepers baffled. A number of bee farms are reporting they've lost a number of hives and according to Owner of Planet Bee Honey Farm, Ed Nowek, they have no explanation. "There's still a lot unexplained losses. It would be one thing to go in there and be like these because of A or these ones died because of B, but we go in there and we don't know what's causing it. It's pretty disconcerting." Nowek says both honeybees and native bees are dying off, and it could have something to do with the environment, pesticides, or even the weather. - Kelowna
You may have noticed there has been less buzzing around town lately. The long and cold winter has had a negative effect on the already declining bee population and Okanagan residents are the ones who will have to pay the price. Bob Chisholm, a long-time beekeeper in Kelowna and member of the B.C. Honey Producers Association, lost 150 hives this year. The hives are estimated to have been worth $45,000. He says the bee decline means there will be less honey production this year. It also means you may have to pay more for apples and cherries because there are fewer bees to pollinate crops. Ed Nowek of Planet Bee Honey Farm says the decline may be the fault of the bees’ immune systems, which may not be strong enough to deal with new viruses and increased exposure to insecticides and pesticides. To help slow down the decline of the bee population, limit the use of pesticides in your garden and try to limit their use to nighttime, which is when bees are least active. - Global Saskatoon

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Landslide at Snake River Canyon!

A massive landslide in the Snake River Canyon in Wyoming blocked Highway 26/89 with over 300 feet of dirt and could take 10 days or more to clear.

This is a photo of a landslide. But it's not a landslide that happened, it's a landslide in progress. Very, very slow progress. At Snake River Canyon, Wyoming, this flow of dirt is moving down a hillside and across a highway at a rate of 50 centimeters per hour, says Dave Petley on the American Geophysical Union's Landslide blog.  The Snake River Canyon landslide is slow enough that Wyoming Department of Transportation workers can climb around on it, as it's moving. In fact, they took a video of themselves doing this. When the film is sped up, you can see the landslide in action—and see that it is actually two separate landslides moving alongside each other! You also get a delightful sequence of fast-moving DOT workers that's just waiting to be paired with Yackety Sax. - Boing Boing.
It has been very noticeable in the last few weeks that western and central areas of the US and Canada are suffering a high incidence of landslides, mostly causing significant disruption to the road network and some property damage. The cause seems to be a combination of heavy rainfall and rapid melt of an unsually large snowpack. One notable example has occurred in the Snake River Canyon, near to Jackson in Wyoming, where a rather interesting landslide has been moving over the last few days. This is an area of known landslide hazard – indeed it is even highlighted in the USGS paper on landslides in the USA, and there are several reports about landslide issues in this area... The Wyoming DOT have suspended clearance operations until the movement ceases (a good call in my view as continued work whilst this is so wet and unstable will only destabilise more material upslope, and endanger those involved). Once clearance operation start they are expected to last about five days. - AGU.  
WATCH: Time lapse video of the slow-moving landslide in Wyoming.