Thursday, June 23, 2011

PLANETARY TREMORS: Harmonic Tremor Spike in Katla Volcano?!

According to, there was a new harmonic tremor in Katla volcano.

This harmonic tremor has two sources. Hydrothermal activity under the glacier, or magma moving deep inside Katla volcano (without creating many earthquakes in Katla volcano). It is unclear what is the case at the moment. This spikes are so far not related to glacier floods from Katla volcano. But that sometimes also happen without an eruption being involved. It is impossible to know what happens next. But it is also important to be aware of the fact that earthquake season is starting in Katla volcano. But that is normally from end of June to beginning of October (or when it starts to snow again in Iceland). So more earthquakes are going to be seen this summer also because of more SIL seismometers around Katla volcano.

Few days ago an earthquake swarm did start in Presthnjúkar volcano. This earthquake swarm is entirely tectonic in nature. There is nothing that suggests that this earthquake swarm is connected to magma movements inside Presthnjúkar volcano system. So far this earthquake swarm has been slow and small. But the largest earthquakes have gone up to ML3.3 in size according to the Icelandic Met Office.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Asteroid '2011 MD' To Barely Miss Earth Monday?!

An asteroid the size of a large house will zip within 8,000 miles of Earth at about midday on Monday. That's at least double the size of the asteroids that have previously been observed so close to Earth.

Called 2011 MD, the asteroid was discovered late on Wednesday by an automated asteroid-hunting telescope run by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory's LINEAR programme, which has already discovered more than 2,000 near-Earth objects. Within 24 hours, four other groups confirmed the discovery, according to the New Scientist website. The Minor Planet Center at Harvard University does not rate 2011 MD as potentially hazardous because its size - calculated from its brightness - is estimated to be betweein 24ft and 55ft. That would make an impressive explosion if it hit the atmosphere, but it wouldn't reach the ground. On its current pass, 2011 MD won't hit Earth's atmosphere. It will come inside the orbits of many communications and spy satellites, but will still be some 7,750 miles away from the International Space Station. However, reports that the encounter is close for Earth's gravity to 'sharply alter the asteroid's trajectory'.

Discoveries of small near-Earth asteroids have soared since the year 2000 with the growth of automated sky surveys following in the footsteps of LINEAR, which found its first asteroid in 1996. Statistics compiled by Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, show more than 8,000 known asteroids in near-Earth orbits. More than 7,000 of these are smaller than a mile across and almost 1,000 are smaller than 100ft. Asteroid counts are expected to soar further as the Pan-STARRS survey comes on line. So far, only one of its four planned 6ft telescopes has been completed, and it has only been fully operational for a year. Unfortunately 2011 MD won't put on much of a show for amateur astronomers, astronomy magazine Sky and Telescope reports. However, backyard astronomers with telescopes in New Zealand and Australia will be able to watch it in the night sky until half an hour earlier.
- Daily Mail.
WATCH: The Trajectory of Asteroid '2011' MD.

WATCH: A view of the solar system showing the locations of all the asteroids starting in 1980.

EPIDEMIC: Measles Outbreak - Cases Soar Across Europe By 550%?!

Measles rates in Britain are more than five times higher than last year prompting concerns that an epidemic is spreading across Europe.

There have been nearly 500 cases so far since January – mainly in children and university students – compared to the same period in 2010 when there were just 90 cases. The figure is more an increase of 550 per cent. Health officials believe the disease is being spread by families holidaying on the continent, particularly France, which is currently in the grip of a major epidemic. Cases have soared in Britain in recent despite the fact the numbers of children being given the MMR vaccine has also increased. Figures show that 90 per cent of toddlers have had the jab - the highest level since the MMR scandal of the late 1990s when a study claimed the vaccine caused autism.

The outbreak is believed to have started in France where there have been at least 7,000 cases so far this year. Across Europe there have so far been more than 11,000 cases. The latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show there were 496 confirmed cases in England and Wales between January and May. But this is likely to be an underestimate as many cases will not have been reported. The illness is highly infectious and will spread very quickly in schools, nurseries and university halls of residences if high numbers haven’t been vaccinated. Health officials believe that children are catching the disease in holiday clubs and campsites in Europe and then bringing it back to school.
- Daily Mail.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Nabro Eruption Creates New Landmass?!

There has been a monumental geological change taking place in Africa, following the eruption of the Nabro volcano in Eritrea, Ethiopia.

The eruption of the stratovolcano has created a new landmass, according to the director general of Mines at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Mr. Alem Kibreab. Mr. Alem said that the ash and lava emitted from the Southern Red Sea region volcano has created a new land mass measuring hundreds of square meters. The director general also disclosed that a team composed of geological and volcanic experts is conducting studies in the area. Meanwhile, according to reports, 7 people have died while 3 people have sustained injuries due to the eruption. The Ministry confirmed that inhabitants of the area have been moved to safer locations while at the same time they are being given basic provisions. Nabro began erupting on Sunday 12 June, 2011, the first ever recorded eruption of the stratovolcano.

The resultant ash plume, extending up to 15km into the air, led to some flight cancellations in neighbouring Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia. The ash cloud was carried as far away as Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkmenistan, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Egypt. A second eruption Thursday sent a massive ash plume westnorthwest over Sudan threatening to bring further disruption to air traffic in the east Africa region.  The volcano continued to emit smaller amounts of ash during the weekend, and during Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Part of the Afar Triangle, Nabro is one of many volcanic caldera complexes in the north easternmost part of the East African Rift valley region. The stratovolcano is located in the Danakil Depression, close to Eritrea’s border with Ethiopia and north of Djibouti, and has not erupted in at least 150 years. According to data, a similar volcanic eruption in Eritrea occurred in 1861, in Dubbi, Southern Denkel.

Nabro is the most prominent of 3 large volcanoes (Nabro, Dubbi, Mallahle) in the region, each containing a large summit caldera. Nabro comprises lava domes, lava flows, and two calderas, 8 and 5 km in diameter. The volcano is located along the Great Rift Valley, also known as the East African Rift. the divergent plate boundary extends from the Afar Triple Junction southward across eastern Africa, and is in the process of splitting the African Plate into two new separate plates, the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate. Seismic activity is frequent in Ethiopia In 1961 alone three thousand tremors were recorded from the centre of the Wollo province resulting in a 20km fissure being opened on the slopes of the Borkena graben.
- Irish Weather Online.

DELUGE: Unprecedented Flooding Sparks Terror In North Dakota!

Residents of Minot, North Dakota, fled their homes in panic today as devastating floods from the overflowing Souris River left entire neighbourhoods under water. More than 11,000 residents, almost a quarter of the population, have already been forced to flee as waters continue to rise towards historic levels - the biggest floods in the region in four decades. Sandbags have been placed around nuclear silos in an attempt to protect sites from flooding, as the Souris River is expected to hit nearly 1,563 feet this weekend.

And there were fresh fears today as Minot is also home to Minuteman III nuclear missile silos - which are situated directly in the flood's path. Soldiers and emergency workers piled sandbags and pumps at the sites today in a bid to protect the silos from flooding. Last night Curt Zimbelman, mayor of the town of 41,000, said: 'We could have a really catastrophic type of event here. We will - there is no doubt about it anymore. I think people have to understand if you were on the edge before you may not be on the edge now.' The warning was followed by an announcement saying: 'All residents must evacuate, Zones 1 through 9,' prompting the last of nearly 11,000 Minot residents to leave their homes for a second time in a month. Robyn Whitlow, 27, who was helping some residents move the last of their belongings, burst into tears when the sirens sounded just before 1pm. 'I feel so bad for everybody,' said Mrs Whitlow, a Minot resident who lives outside the evacuation zone.

The Souris River, which loops down from Canada through north central North Dakota, has been bloated by heavy spring snowmelt and rain on both sides of the border. The resulting deluge is expected to dwarf a historic flood of 1969, when the Souris reached 1,555.4ft above sea level, the Associated Press reports. The river is expected to hit nearly 1,563ft this weekend - eventually topping the historical record of 1,558 feet set in 1881. Mr Zimbelman warned on Wednesday morning that the river would top the levees earlier than expected and said residents still moving their belongings from the evacuation zone should 'do their last-minute thing and be prepared to move quickly.' The National Weather Service in Bismarck also issued a flash-flood warning along the Souris River from Burlington through Minot and Logan to Sawyer. Before the sirens sounded, Laura Nessler, a 50-year-old nurse, watched the water lap against a bridge on Broadway, the main north-south thoroughfare through Minot. The road was bumper-to-bumper with furniture-loaded pickup trucks and cars pulling U-Hauls trying to get out of town. Nessler pointed to a side street that had become inundated in the hour since she arrived. 'That didn't have any water when I got here, and now it's filling up,' Nessler said. Ashley Getchell, 25, was snapping some photos at Broadway Bridge to document the flood for her children aged three and one-and-a-half because she 'has no place else to go.' The stay-at-home mom had moved most of her belongings from her home at Holiday Village Trailer Park to a friend's house, but she didn't have enough time rescue anything else. 'I'm going to be losing my house,' she said calmly. 'I guess if anybody needed a reason to start over, this is it.' The mayor said the city has just been buying time, and he urged people to be safe as they leave. 'Be cautious and be courteous, I guess,' he told KXMC. 'Everybody's trying to do the same thing. If we work together, the result's probably going to be the best.' Further north near the U.S.-Canada border, a rapid rise of nearly four feet was observed on the Souris River in the Sherwood area, the National Weather Service said late Wednesday morning.

The area is the first point in North Dakota where water released from Canadian dams is observed. The weather service said flash flooding was expected in mainly rural areas of northwest Renville County, along with the hamlet of Greene. Renville County Emergency Manager Kristy Titus ordered a mandatory evacuation of Mouse River Park. About 10,000 Minot residents were evacuated earlier this month before the river hit 1,554.1 feet. They were later allowed to return to their homes, but told to be ready to leave again quickly. Nearly 500 North Dakota National Guard soldiers were in Minot to provide traffic control, and to help in the evacuation. Guard commander Dave Sprynczynatyk said he expected the impact of the impending flood among the worst he has seen in his 40-year career. 'What I see right now is probably the most devastating in terms of the number of people directly impacted and what will likely be the damage to homes as the water begins to overtop the levees and fill in behind,' he said.
- Daily Mail.
WATCH: More evacuations as North Dakota flood outlook worsens.

WATCH: North Dakota town braces for historic flood.