Monday, October 10, 2011

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteorite lands on home in Paris, France!

A meteorite chose the roof of a house belonging to a Mrs Comette in the southern suburbs of Paris to make its acquaintance with the planet Earth.

NASA artist's animation.
The astral surprise hit the roof of the home in Draveil while the Comettes themselves were on holiday. On returning they discovered the encounter after a water leak led them to the roof, reported newspaper France Soir. "We got the roofer out and he was amazed" said Martine Comette. "He said you'd have to be superman to break a roof tile like that. It must be a meteorite." The roofer was proved right when Alain Carion, a mineral scientist, authenticated the 88 gram meteorite. He described is as a "stone of black crusted rock which characterizes its passage through the atmosphere."

"This is super rare," he said. "There have been only 50 meteorite falls in France over the last four centuries." The scientist believes the egg-shaped meteorite came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The meteorite that hit the Comettes was small-fry compared to some of the largest ever discovered. The biggest meteorite is believed to be the Hoba, a 60-tonne boulder which fell in Namibia around 80,000 years ago. - The Local.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.1 Magnitude Quake Hits Southern Greece!

Map of Southern Greece 5.1 magnitude earthquake.
A seismic swarm seems to be developing in the Mediterranean region and the wider European continent, as the Real Time Seismicity Report of the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) showed heightened and escalating earthquakes in short time intervals. Today,  a magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck southern Greece at a depth of 15.3 km (9.5 miles). The quake hit at 19:07:03 UTC, Monday 10th October 2011 and was located at 37.255°N, 22.083°E.

Regional and local views of the tremor.
The epicentre was 25 km ( 16 miles) north from Kalamata, Greece; 113 km (70 miles) southeast of Patrai, Greece; 120 km (74 miles) southeast of Zakynthos, Greece; and 167 km (103 miles) southwest of Athens, Greece. No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

The following earthquake list from the EMSC, shows the swarm in southern Greece.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: 6 Volcanoes on High Alert in Indonesia!

Despite increasing activity at six volcanoes across Indonesia, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) says there is no need to evacuate residents for now.

BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday that the volcanoes on high alert were Mount Tambora in West Nusa Tenggara, Anak Ranakan in East Nusa Tenggara, Papandayan in West Java, Karangetang and Lokon in North Sulawesi, and Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait. “These volcanoes are on alert level III, which means all volcanic parameters show that activities could develop into an eruption or disaster,” he told The Jakarta Post via text message. He said that Anak Krakatau was producing five thousand tremors per day. A 2-kilometer exclusion zone has been set up around the volcano. Sutopo said the volcanoes were being monitored 24 hours a day. - The Jakarta Post.
Speaking of Krakatau,
The Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) reported that seismicity from Anak Krakatau in 2011, as late as 10 July, consisted of 20-30 volcanic-earthquake events per day and shallow events ranged from 120 to 135 events per day. Hundreds of events per day were detected during swarms. On 10 July, the seismic equipment was damaged by Krakatau's activity but was again operational in mid-September. During 18-30 September seismic events reached 4-5 events per minute. Visual observations in 2011 until 13 September indicated occasional explosive eruptions that would eject material and produce ash plumes. During 14-30 September fumarolic activity from the crater and in the fumarolic fields was visible. The Alert Level was increased to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) on 30 September based on an increase in seismic activity and widespread fumarolic activity.

Geologic Summary. Renowned Krakatau volcano lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 AD, resulted in a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this volcano formed Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes, and left only a remnant of Rakata volcano. The post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan, has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927. - Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report.

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Noise Phenomena - Swatara Township Asking Geological Experts to Investigate Explosionlike Shaking?!

It seems that the series of phenomena, involving a persistent and invasive vibration or noise, continues pervasively. Just what is it? Planetary tremors? Geological upheavals? Precursor to an imminent disaster? Motions and waves suggesting an imminent pole shift? Supernatural occurrences?  The latest case comes out of  Swatara Township, Pennsylvania where residents are asking geological experts to investigate explosion-like shaking.

Swatara Township officials have requested the assistance of the U.S. Geological Survey and other experts to investigate a shaking  -- that feels like explosions -- that people near the township building are reporting. There are no major construction projects, and the shaking seems to be located around the township building, according to officials. - Penn Live.
Several weeks ago, I highlighted a series of stories about this phenomena:

Windsor City, Canada.
It seemed as if the mysterious rumblings had subsided, according to Grete MaKenzie, but Sunday night through early Monday the low pitch humming came back with a vengeance. “It was the loudest it’s ever been,” she said about the inexplicable rumblings she and thousands of Windsorites have reported hearing in the past eight months. The 61-year-old said the noise woke her at home about 5:30 a.m. Monday in the 3000 block of Sandwich Street. “Last night it was really bad,” said MaKenzie. “We went outside and it was almost like it was vibrating your eardrums.” She said the noise comes and goes, but has been going on far too long. “We need to identify it," she said. - Windsor Star.
Louisville, Tennessee.
... Jim Millsaps, father of one of the co-owners of a new quarry on U.S. Highway 411 South, 411 Crushed Stone, said there are several state restrictions as far as blasting times. He said the earliest a quarry would begin blasting would be around 10 a.m. VanHoozier agreed. “I can certainly assure you this: we would never, ever blast that early in the morning (5 a.m.),” he said. “We usually try to do it around lunch time like everyone else.” An owner of the new quarry could not be reached for comment. Shane Asbury said he and his wife Laura were first awakened last Tuesday morning at around 5:30 a.m. by the sounds. “We woke up at the same time to this ginormous boom,” Asbury said. “And our house was shaking.” He explained that Laura originally thought someone had crashed a vehicle into the house. When Shane went outside, he found several concerned neighbors also walking around and looking at the sky and the roofs of their houses in an attempt to identify what had happened. The sounds continued throughout the week at different times of the day and at varying degrees of strength, Asbury said.  - The Daily Times.
Charleston, South Carolina.
 Seismographs at the College of Charleston didn’t pick up any earthquake activity. The Charleston Air Force Base didn’t report any military aircraft loosing sonic booms. No commercial vessels responded to a U.S. Coast Guard message asking for reports if it had been felt offshore. But the reverberation most likely came from the “Seneca Guns.” The “Guns” are a so-far-unexplained, offshore phenomenon felt along coasts around the world. The booms have been speculated to be caused by gases released from the sea floor, undersea landslides along the Continental Shelf, the echoed sound of distant thunder, lightning-like electrical discharges that don’t cause lightning, even meteors crashing into the atmosphere at angles. The blast hit just before 10 a.m. “It was a pretty good shake, a pretty loud boom,” said Mark Reamer, who felt it in his office near Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. - The State.
Lebanon, Missouri.

A loud, explosion-like sound that was heard across the majority of the county this morning has local officials scratching their heads. The boom, which occurred at about 9:30 a.m., shook windows in several Lebanon area locations and was heard as far away as Conway, Falcon and Marshfield, but scanner traffic indicated that an officer in the Sleeper area heard nothing. Laclede County Office of Emergency Management Director Jonathan Ayres told the Daily Record that his office, which is located across from the Laclede County Government Center on Adams Avenue, was shaken by the sound, but its exact cause may remain a mystery. "We have no clue," he said. "It could have been a sonic boom. Typically when that happens, we have a hard time getting the military to confirm or deny if that is what it was. It really didn't sound like a sonic boom in my office, but we just don't know what it was. We haven't had any reports of fires or anything that could be the result of an explosion. We are pretty much having to write it off as an unknown." - Lebanon Daily Record.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: THE GREAT DELUGE - Flooding In Thailand Kills 260, with 2.34 Million Affected in over 10,000 Villages!

"The water volume is extraordinary and is beyond expectations."

On Sunday, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Thailand, reported the rise in the death toll to 260 persons, and warned that the flooding situation is to continue in 30 different provinces, Xinhua reports. The flooding has affected approximately 2.34 million people in 10,130 villages, which have been hit by the flood waters. Officials warn that the flood could be heading towards the capital Bangkok.

Bangkok is bracing for the worst flooding it’s seen in decades as waters from the flooded central plains continue to rush in. Rising water levels on the Chao Phraya river and city canals have left some riverside restaurants, shops and homes submerged, while public piers are covered in makeshift platforms and sandbags to keep ferry passengers dry. For now, major city tourist areas such as Sukhumvit Road, Khao San Road and Silom are unaffected by the floods.

But media reports quoting Thai government officials say Bangkok will be hit particularly hard between October 20 and 24, as a high spring tide will prevent the Chao Phraya River from draining into the sea, leaving Bangkok and its surrounds fighting to keep waters from flooding the city. For a graph outlining the city’s flood risk areas, check out this Bangkok Post article. The United States Embassy in Thailand has also issued an emergency message to U.S. citizens via its website. More than 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July, according to Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. The worst-hit provinces are in Thailand’s Central Plains -- low-lying agricultural areas adjacent to major waterways such as the Chao Phraya river. - CNN.

Thailand's prime minister is warning that rising floodwaters that have wreaked havoc across the nation are now threatening the capital, Bangkok. The death toll from the worst monsoon rains in decades rose Saturday to 260. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the flooding - which has severed rail links with the north, shut dozens of highways and swamped ancient Buddhist temples in the city of Ayutthaya - has reached a crisis level. Bangkok has so far been spared serious damage, but many fear it could be inundated as large amounts of water flows from submerged northern rice fields toward the Gulf of Thailand. That critical runoff is expected to be impeded by high ocean tides in mid-October, and Tropical Storm Nalgae is also forecast to bring new rain in the days ahead. In a radio message Saturday, Yingluck said authorities are hoping to ease the crisis by installing up to 400 water pumps along the Chao Phraya River, which snakes through Bangkok, to help push water to the sea. Seven canals will also be dug on the outskirts of the city, she said. Yingluck said government agencies are struggling to cope because "the water volume is extraordinary and is beyond expectations. It is now going to have a direct impact on Bangkok," Yingluck said in a televised speech Friday. - MSNBC.
WATCH: Al Jazeera's report from last week.

DELUGE: Storm & Torrential Rains Swamps Western Turkey!

Scores of homes, commercial venues and hotels were flooded yesterday in Bodrum in the southwestern province of Muğla following torrential rains and furious storms that raged through much of western Turkey.

Some citizens accused officials of not taking enough measures in response to the downpour. “For years, we have been going through the same disaster, the same disgrace. No measures are taken. [We have] Polish tourists in our hotel. They were utterly nonplussed when they woke up in the morning and saw that the pool and lower floors were flooded with muddy waters,” said Taner Kalender, manager of the Kalender Hotel in Bodrum. Meteorology officials warned the current climactic conditions would continue until tomorrow with intermittent breaks and urged citizens to take the necessary measures.  Some 15.2 centimeters fell per square meter in Bodrum, with winds sometimes blowing at 65 kilometers per hour, causing material damage in some areas. Many homes, shops and hotels in the districts of Gümbet, Bitez, Konacık and Turgutreis were flooded, while some businesses on the Kumbahçe and Paşatarlası beaches were also affected by the downpour.

Meanwhile, the Aegean province of İzmir received the heaviest rains in the country today, according to reports. Within 24 hours, the province received about as much rain as it receives throughout the entire month of October. Firefighters were mobilized in the province to prevent flooding, particularly in the district of Konak, while numerous traffic accidents reportedly occurred in the city center due to the downpour. Cotton fields in the Aegean province of Aydın were also severely damaged by the showers, causing at least 7-8 million Turkish Liras in damages, according to Kemal Kocabaş, the head of the Söke Chamber of Commerce. A mere 10 percent of the cotton that was sown had been harvested so far, Kocabaş said, adding that rains this season not only adversely affect crop yields but the quality of the harvest as well.
- Hurriyet Daily News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.5 Quake Hits Southern East Pacific Rise!

Southern East Pacific Rise quake.
A magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck the Southern East Pacific Rise at a depth of 9.8 km (6.1 miles). The quake hit at 05:18:11 UTC,  Monday 10th October 2011 and was located at 25.437°S, 116.202°W.

Southern East Pacific Rise seismicity.
The epicentre was 701 km ( 435 miles) northwest of Hanga Roa, Easter Island; 1398 km (868 miles) east of Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands; 1921 km (1193 miles) southeast of Rikitea, Mangareva, French Polynesia; and 4470 km (2777 miles) west of Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile.

No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

EXTREME WEATHER: Worst of Winter 2011-2012 Aimed for Chicago!

The Long-Range Forecasting Team has Chicago right in the middle of where the worst of winter 2011-2012's snow and cold is expected to be.

"Last winter was nasty in Chicago. This winter could be just as bad," warned Expert Long-Range Meteorologist Bob Smerbeck. This will make it the fifth winter in a row with snowfall well above normal and temperatures well below average for the city. The last time there were this many back-to-back winters with snowfall well above normal was in the 1970s. Last year's winter was certainly rough. Most notable was the historic blizzard that hammered the city on the first two days of February, dumping more than 20 inches of snow in just 24 hours. The storm forced hundreds of people who became stuck on Lakeshore Drive to abandon their vehicles.

Paul Pastelok, Expert Long-Range Meteorologist and leader of the Long-Range Forecasting Team, said this winter will be similar to last year, in terms of both snow and cold. "The difference, though, is that last year, Chicago was hit with heavy snow later in the season. This year, it will be earlier," Pastelok explained. He added, "They had one big storm last year that brought their snowfall to well above average. This year, there could be several big ones." Bitter cold is also expected to come on strong early in the season during December. Temperatures are forecast to remain below normal into January, then perhaps trend a bit closer to average in February. - AccuWeather.