Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Major Landslide hits Enugu, Nigeria!

“We have not experienced this type of disaster in this area before..."

Over 20 communities in Awgu and Oji-River Local Government Areas of Enugu State have been thrown into serious difficulties, following a major landslide which cut off a portion of the Awgu-Achi-Oji River federal road.

The landslide on the road now under rehabilitation, reportedly occurred at Egu-Agbo Ifitte Mmaku end last Friday after a heavy rainfall. The rehabilitation project was awarded by the Federal Government last year as a constituency project of the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, and work had progressed steadily before the unfortunate disaster which has rendered the road impassable. A farmer at Mmaku, Mrs. Nwamaka Ekwe, told reporters who visited the area yesterday that the incident was like an earthquake, lamenting that economic activities in the area had been paralyzed by the disaster.

She said: “We have not experienced this type of disaster in this area before. The thing is just like an earthquake and it is very risky for anyone to attempt passing there. We have not been going to market because the road has been cut into two.” The middle-aged woman urged government to urgently intervene by repairing the damaged portion of the road, expressing fears that the situation could worsen with more rainfall. Also reacting, Mr. Sunday Chukwuobasi, a commercial motorcycle rider from Mmaku, said: “We are not happy about what happened to our road. For long, the people in government have been promising to construct a new road for us but nothing has happened all these years until the recent intervention by the deputy senate president. “The government should urgently come to our aid and alleviate our suffering.  Since the day this thing happened nobody could pass through here. - Vanguard NGR.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Scientific Research - Animals are 'Shrinking' due to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Patterns?!

Rising global temperatures and changes in weather patterns have knock-on effects which are already stunting the growth of a wide range of species.

The change could have a major impact on the expanding human population, with major food sources like fish likely to reduce in size and crops expected to grow smaller and less reliably than today. Species which are unable to adapt quickly enough are at risk of extinction as ecosystems shift dramatically, altering the balance of food and other resources needed for survival. Researchers argue that warmer and drier weather causes plants and animals to reach smaller sizes, while more variable rainfall levels raise the risk of failed crop years. Over the past century animals including toads, tortoises, blue tits, Soay sheep and red deer have all started to reduce in size, they said. Lower levels of sea ice have even resulted in polar bears getting smaller, according to a report in the Nature Climate Change journal. Dr David Bickford and Jennifer Sheridan of the National University of Singapore wrote: "The consequences of shrinkage are not yet fully understood, but could be far-reaching for biodiversity and humans alike. "Because recent climate change may be faster than past historical changes in climate, many organisms may not respond or adapt quickly enough. This implies that species may go extinct because of climate change."

One major issue is that not all plants and animals will shrink at the same rate, throwing finely balanced ecosystems out of kilter, the researchers said. Reduced food supplies are likely to mean that animals at the top of their food chains – including humans – will grow to smaller sizes, have fewer offspring, and be more vulnerable to disease, they added. Cold blooded animals, particularly amphibians, are at the highest risk because having a smaller size will put them at greater risk of drying up in warmer temperatures. During the past century global average temperatures have risen by almost 1C, and climate experts predict 7C of warming by 2100. A separate study of 1,700 plant, insect, bird and amphibian species has shown that 80 per cent are already moving 6.1km closer to the poles every ten years, and 87 per cent are breeding or flowering more than two days earlier each decade. Fossil evidence dating from the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million years ago, when temperatures rose by three to seven per cent and precipitation levels dropped 40 per cent – shows that invertebrates like beetles, bees and ants became 50 to 75 per cent smaller. Other species ranging from single-celled diatoms to squirrels and woodrats have also been shown to decrease in size during previous periods of global warming. Experimental research suggests that for every additional degree Celsius, a variety of plants lose between three and 17 per cent in size and fish shrink by six to 22 per cent. - Telegraph.

EARTH CHANGES: Gigantic Dust Storm Covers Texas South Plains?!

"I've never seen anything like it. It really scared me."

Winds gusting at more than 70 mph churned up a dust storm that roiled through the Texas South Plains during the Monday afternoon commute.

Dust kicked up by westerly breezes ahead of a strong cold front restricted visibility in Lubbock to about 5 miles all afternoon, said National Weather Service Lubbock meteorologist Matt Ziebell. That was nothing compared to the 8,000-foot-high rolling dust cloud that moved through the city just before 6 p.m., dropping visibility to between zero and less than a quarter of a mile, Ziebell said. North winds gusting as high as 74 mph had begun forming the dust cloud about 100 miles north of Lubbock around 4:30 p.m., he said. "It went from light to dark, just like that," said Lubbock convenience store clerk Alma Williams. "I've never seen anything like it. It really scared me."

She said customers who went outside to watch the dirt cloud said they hadn't seen anything like it, either, Lubbock city spokesman Jeff McKito said he was driving home from work when the dust hit. "It was pretty spectacular. Everything just turned black," he said. He said cars pulled over and stopped, "but you don't want to get out of the car in this situation," he said. FAA controllers at Lubbock International Airport had to evacuate the tower and direct air traffic from a backup center on the tower's ground floor, McKito said. Trees toppled, roofs lost shingles and a small cargo plane at the airport was overturned, he said. No injuries were reported from the dust cloud reminiscent of those shown in Dust Bowl photos from the late 1930s. The dust cloud was yet another byproduct of the persistent drought in West Texas, Ziebell said. The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Oct. 11 showed much of Texas, including the South Plains, were still experiencing "exceptional drought" -- the most severe category. In an Oct. 6 statement, the National Weather Service in Lubbock reported that there was a "high likelihood" that 2011 could be the driest on record across the South Plains. The wall of dust darkened skies and stopped traffic, while the winds caused widespread minor damage, downed power lines and toppled trees. - NBCDFW.
WATCH: Dust Storm rolls through Texas.

WATCH: Eye-witness capture.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Spate of Quakes Around Mount Rainier?!

Yesterday, I highlighted the story of the ongoing seismic swarm of more than 700 earthquakes that strucked near Sierra County in California. Now, it appears that another swarm is developing in the Mount Rainier area in Seattle, Washington.

Scientists in Washington state say there has been a spate of earthquakes around Mount Rainier in recent weeks but that it isn't a concern. Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network's Bill Steele says the activity is normal. But he says scientists are watching the volcano a closer because of two quakes recorded Friday. The first was a 3.4 magnitude quake that struck west of the mountain near Ashford. It was followed about an hour later with a 2.9 magnitude quake under the volcano. University of Washington emeritus professor Steve Malone says data shows at least seven earthquakes in two weeks. He says there are frequently earthquakes around Rainier, averaging several each month, and that recent activity shouldn't cause alarm. - Seattle Times.
According to Wikipedia, Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles and it is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit elevation of 14,411 feet (4,392 m). Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it is on the Decade Volcano list. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars that would threaten the whole Puyallup River valley.


In the following video report from ABC News, Jim Hanna, an executive of Starbucks, the international coffee and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington declares that it is evidentially possible that the brewed beverage could become extinct in the near future due to the detrimental and devastating effects of climate change.

If this seems to be far-fetch, outlandish or impossible, then have a look at one of my previous posts this week, where information coming out of the latest financial reports indicates that there is an immense shortage in the supply of peanuts, resulting in an exponential increase in the prices of peanut butter.

WATCH: Coffee to Disappear in Your Lifetime?

EARTH CHANGES: EXTREME WEATHER - Twin Disasters of Drought and Floods Hit U.S. Farmers Very Hard Just West of the Mississippi River!

"One side of the levee was flooded, and everything outside the spillway was burning up."

In a year when severe drought scorched the Southwest, a hurricane drowned crops in the East, and river flooding swamped farms in the Midwest, one of the worst places to be a farmer may be just west of the Mississippi River.

Not only have Arkansas and Louisiana experienced both drought and flooding, but in some cases, so have individual farmers in those states. The cost of the bad weather could reach $1 billion. Jerry Gill estimated he lost $100,000. Flooding submerged the 150 acres where he usually plants corn and soybeans about 150 miles northwest of Little Rock. Then the drought dried up the pastures his cattle graze. At one point, Gill resorted to running a hose from his house so the skinny animals would have enough to drink. "It's tough to grow anything when the temperature's 114," said Gill, 64, of Kibler. Flooding alone caused more than $500 million in losses in Arkansas, and tallies from the drought and other bouts of bad weather aren't available yet, the state's farm bureau said. In Louisiana, flooding and drought resulted in an estimated $440 million in losses and increased production costs, according to the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. The damage is significant given that the two states typically produce more than 60 percent of the nation's rice. Arkansas, the nation's leading rice grower, lost about 300,000 acres this year to flooding, mostly from rivers. That's about 10 percent of the total U.S. production, the farm bureau said.

All of the two states were declared primary agricultural disaster areas. The only other state designated as such was tiny Rhode Island, whose farmers were swamped by Tropical Storm Irene. In other states, some counties were declared primary disaster areas and then neighboring counties also got benefits. In a letter to Arkansas' governor, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted the state had been hit by one thing after the next, including "hail, high winds, flooding, widespread drought, and excessive heat." Louisiana suffered much of the same — plus Tropical Storm Lee. James Bingham knows about hard times. Water from the St. Francis floodway wiped out more than 1,200 of the 1,700 acres of rice, soybeans and corn he'd planted near Payneway, Ark., and in surrounding Poinsett County. He managed to salvage about 100 acres of rice and 400 acres of corn and then planted 2,300 acres of soybeans since it was too late to grow anything else. Temperatures soared into the 90s, and within weeks, he was struggling to keep his fields irrigated.

"This is the most expensive year I've had," he said. "All the extra watering we had to do, the replanting, the spraying (for insects), the increased fuel costs." Flooding from the White and Cache rivers ruined 700 acres of his rice and grain sorghum this spring. He saved about 200 acres of rice and replanted another 500 acres — plus soybeans. When the drought struck, the 37-year-old had to shell out for more water to keep his plants from withering in the relentless heat. He's harvesting his rice now and said it doesn't look like the effort was worth it. He's counting on the soybeans he'll harvest in the coming weeks to save him from some of his debt. "If we were depending upon our rice crop, we'd be in trouble," Rutledge said. Ted Glaser, 64, didn't do much better with corn and soybeans. He lost 1,000 acres in May when the Morganza spillway, which diverts water from the Mississippi River, flooded. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the spillway after snow melt and rain sent a torrent of water into the river. But elsewhere on his 3,300 acres near Oscar, La., Glaser fought drought and severe heat. "One side of the levee was flooded," he said. "And everything outside the spillway was burning up." Some soybeans never came up and "what came up burnt," he said. He figures he'll be lucky to get 35 bushels an acre this year, when he usually gets 60.  - MSNBC.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.3 Quake Strikes Papua New Guinea!

Map of 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Papua New Guinea.
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck the New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles). The quake hit at 05:05:04 UTC, Tuesday 18th October 2011 and was located at 5.886°S, 150.994°E.

Seismicity of the region.
The epicentre was 100 km ( 62 miles) southeast of Kimbe, New Britain, Papua New Guinea; 163 km (101 miles) northeast of Kandrian, New Britain, PNG; 576 km (357 miles) northeast of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; and 2401 km (1491 miles) north of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

Several hours earlier, the region experienced a 5.3 magnitude tremor at a depth of 47.2 km (29.3 miles), located at 5.929°S, 151.039°E, with an epicentre at 107 km ( 66 miles) southeast of Kimbe, New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

GLOBAL ALERT: Tracking Developments at the Canary Islands - Visible Spot Emerging at Second Eruption in La Restinga is Growing Rapidly! UPDATE: The Underground Volcano at El Hierro Spews Giant Bubbles! UPDATE: El Hierro Eruptions Continue, Possibly Forming New Island?!

"There is a gap of several kilometers of ejected magma from one side to the other."

Since the official confirmation of two volcanic eruptions off the coast of El Hierro, one located at 1.5 Miles (3 km) and the other at 2 Miles (5 km) off the coast of La Restinga, there seems to be some worrying developments.

There is now a visible spot off the coast of La Restinga where the second Eruption took place yesterday and it is growing rapidly, Since this morning the spot has doubled in size in a space of 3 hours. The director of the National Geographic Institute in the Canary Islands, Jose Maria Blanco and the head of the Geophysics Department, Carmen Lopez have confirmed that the Spots are the first real evidence that the eruptions have taken place.

Following the analysis of the situation, both scientists have taken water samples which will be analyzed to confirm the existence of magmatic gases, as well as samples from fish that have been found dead and black coral from the area of the eruption. Carmen Lopez stressed that at present we have a single eruption with two points of underwater emission which at this point do not require additional preventive measures to the population of El Hierro, However, you can not rule out other points but insisted that the tremor signal has stabilized. - Levante.
WATCH: New images of the spot of volcanic eruptions.

The scientist have also confirmed that dead fish have been found in the vicinity of the eruptions and have collected samples which are currently being analyzed to be able to get a clearer picture and understanding of these eruptions. Carmen Lopez from the National Geographic Institute explained that the initial eruption on Sunday was at a depth of 500 meters and felt no need for additional preventive measures or further evacuations. The Scientists will continue to gather samples from the ongoing eruptions and will closely monitor tremor signals and ground deformation as they know from past experience in the event of Teneguia Volcano , La Palma, they are aware that this type of eruptions and outbreak can occur simultaneously as it did on La Palma, in the past, when 3 eruptions happened simultaneously.

The Director General of Security and Emergency of the Canary Islands, Juan Manuel Santana explained that the area of La Restinga will currently stay on a RED alert level while the rest of the Island will remain on YELLOW as a precautionary measure. For its part, the director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, José María Blanco, said that with enough knowledge and instrumental, experts are facing on the island of El Hierro volcanic phenomena whose evolution for now is unknown. Following the meeting of the Scientific Committee of Pevolca attended by President of the Canary Islands, Paulino Rivero, White explained to reporters that the instruments with which have been able to predict two months before an eruption and prepare for it the population, but about their future performance agreed: "The truth is that we do not know." - 20 Minutes.
WATCH: Growing spots in the sea.

"There is a gap of several kilometers of ejected magma from one side to the other."  The Technical Centre for Scientific Research (CSIC) Ramon Ortiz said Valverde on Thursday released an update of what is happening of the coast of ​​La Restinga , they have discovered "there is a gap of several kilometers of magma leaving one side or the other "he said.  On the new spots that have appeared in the sea, Ortiz said that the spot seems to be nearing the coast of La Restinga and is associated with magma output from other parts of the fissure it takes days open ", he added,

CSIC scientist said he did not rule out any possibilities as to what might happen in the future, but predicted three possible scenarios "that an explosive eruption will happen off the coast, land of the island or in deep water," he said and admitted in terms of the crack, that "if you go into deeper water will not see anything, and that beyond the 500 m deep water pressure prevents the release all ·." At the time the magma rise more and had only 40 or 60 meters above water would be in the most dangerous time in which it already had many explosions, "said the scientist. - Diarioelhierro.
LISTEN: John Moore reveals to Bill Deagle, the "unprecedented and frenzied activities" surrounding the imminent eruptions and resulting tsunami from El Hierro and La Palma.

UPDATE: The Underground Volcano at El Hierro Spews Giant Bubbles!

The spewing of the underground volcano on El Hierro has forced Spain to close the island port.
Spanish authorities say activity by an underwater volcano has led them to close access to a port on El Hierro island. Ships have been ordered away from waters around La Restinga and aircraft have been banned from flying over the island's southern tip. The port's 600 residents were evacuated Tuesday after volcanic activity began. The regional government of the Canary Islands says scientists have detected airborne volcanic fragments called pyroclasts rising from the sea off La Restinga. The government said it awaited scientific reports on the danger posed by pyroclasts, but a research vessel that was collecting samples there has been ordered to desist. TV channel La Sexta reported Saturday that journalists also have been told to clear the area. - Sacramento Bee.
WATCH: Flyby images of growing spots off the coast of El Hierro.

Meanwhile, giant bubbles have been seen off the coast of El Hierro.
Villagers are mentioning “bubbles” coming up in the spotted area in the sea. We expect to receive detailed images from the bubbles as the many camera teams with their superior equipment will certainly be able to shoot detailed video from an event which can be seen by the naked eye. Ramon Ortiz, a technician from the CSIC (Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) is predicting that a new island is being formed at this moment and that the chance that it will happen now is evaluated as very probable, at least of the eruption process will continue a little longer. – The Earthquake Report.
WATCH: Giant bubbles near El Hierro.

UPDATE: El Hierro Eruptions Continue, Possibly Forming New Island?!

The eruption off the southern coast of El Hierro in the Canary Islands looks to be subsiding and from the sound of it, the focus of the activity is slowly migrating into shallower water. However, so far all the activity has remained submarine, producing an impressive discoloration of the ocean as tephra and volcanic gases are released from the vents. In the image, you can clearly see the plume of the eruption spreading westward from the main vent area, which is just off the southern tip of the island. It looks like the main fissure might be 2-3 km in length and is close to on strike with the rift axis for the main El Hierro edifice. Ramon Ortiz, coordinator of a government scientific team, said that if/when the eruption reaches shallower water, we should expect to see the surface water start to steam, followed by explosions of steam and magma and finally the emergence of an island... As for the residents of La Restiga and the southwestern coast of Hierro, the local government allowed them to return to their homes on Saturday, however on Monday, many residents are still wary of returning. It does seem like there is a lot of confusion amongst the residents of exactly what the nature of the eruption will be as many have voiced concerned about returning when the volcano is “about to explode”
. - WIRED.
According to Canaries News, several earthquakes have also been detected between Tenerife and Gran Canaria today.  See the report HERE.

The following video constitutes the latest images of the eruptive process on the island of El Hierro, taken this morning by helicopter Emergency and Rescue Group (GES) of the Canary Islands.

WATCH: El Hierro's continued eruption.