Friday, November 4, 2011

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Earthquakes Killed 780,000 in the Past Decade - 60 Per Cent of All Disaster-Related Deaths Worldwide!

Earthquakes claimed more than 780,000 lives in the past decade, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of all disaster-related deaths, according to a study published in The Lancet today.

"In addition to these deaths, earthquakes have directly affected another two billion people in this period," it added. The deadliest quake was the January 12 2010 7.0-magnitude event in Haiti which killed 316,000 people. This was followed by the December 26 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, generated by a 9.1-magnitude tremor, in which 227,000 people died. Third-ranked was the May 12 2008 7.9-magnitude quake in south-western China's Sichuan province, which inflicted a death toll of 87,500. The review study seeks to give emergency responders and policymakers a snapshot of the scale of earthquakes as a health priority, and to warn doctors about the kind of injuries they are likely to confront.

"Massive earthquakes can result in casualty rates ranging from one to eight per cent of the at-risk population," it said. "The reported ratios of death-to-injury vary, but across many studies seems to be about 1-to-3." The death toll unfurls in waves, starting with immediate fatalities from falling buildings, which is followed several hours later as people die from catastrophic injuries to internal organs, says the investigation. A third wave occurs in the days to weeks afterwards among people with sepsis and multiple organ failure. Among survivors, the main injuries are crush-related damage to the kidneys, liver and spleen, followed by spinal damage, bone fractures and lacerations.

Children are the most vulnerable group, accounting for between 25 and 53 per cent of earthquake patients. Beyond immediate search-and-rescue operations, care workers must deal with problems of infectious disease in crowded shelters. Contrary to popular perception, cadavers are not a risk unless there is an outbreak of cholera. In the longer term, earthquakes also exert a heavy impact on mental health, with high prevalence of depression. The study was conducted by Susan Bartels of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, Massachusetts, and Michael van Rooyen of the Brigham and Women's Hospital, also in Boston. The pair warned that the threat from earthquakes is set to intensify as the world's population grows and cities expand in vulnerable zones. Cities in seismic regions include Tokyo (32 million inhabitants), Mexico City (20 million), Los Angeles (15 million) and Istanbul (nine million), the authors noted. - Herald Sun.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Geophysical Anomalies - USGS Records More Than 600 Aftershocks Have Hit Virginia Since August Earthquake?!

“This earthquake was felt from Florida to Ontario in Canada, and as far west as the Mississippi River.”

There have been more than 600 aftershocks in Virginia since the rare East Coast earthquake that struck on Aug. 23, according to U.S. Geological Survey researchers.

“What we might be looking at is either a new fault or a previously undiscovered one deep within the geologic formations here,” wrote research geologist Mark Carter in a Wednesday night Twitter lecture titled “Did You Feel It? The Virginia Earthquake of August 23, 2011.”

Click HERE to read the whole lecture.

Not all of the aftershocks following the 5.8 magnitude quake have been strong enough to be recorded on the USGS “Latest Earthquakes” website. But there have been some 40 or more temblors of magnitude 2.0 or higher.

“This earthquake was felt from Florida to Ontario in Canada, and as far west as the Mississippi River,” wrote Mike Blanpied, associate program coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. Blanpied said the quake was the strongest in Virginia in 114 years, and left behind more than $100 million in damage, including to the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral in D.C. A school in Mineral, near the epicenter, was seriously damaged and the nearby North Anna Nuclear Power Plant remains offline as workers check for damage.

Blanpied said the Virginia quake is significant due to the East Coast’s lack of preparedness for such events, and because the shaking can be felt – and cause damage -- for such long distances. The survey received 150,000 responses to its online “Did You Feel It” questionnaire, the most it has ever received. “Earthquakes in the East are different. Underneath us is the middle of a tectonic plate, so it's been very quiet,” Blanpied wrote. “Our geology is very smooth and unfractured, so there's nothing to stop an earthquake from spreading.” Despite the damage, and the unnerving aftershocks, Carter wrote that it could have been much worse. “I'll leave you with a reminder that we really did dodge a bullet here. The fact that there were no casualties is amazing.” - Inside Nova.
WATCH: 'Once-in-a-century' quake rocks Virginia .

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Scientists Vigil at North Korea's Mount Doom!

According to the following report, scientists are currently holding a vigil at Mount Paektu, Mount Doom, in North Korea.

Historical records and ash layers indicate that Mount Paektu, a volcano that straddles the border between North Korea and China, explodes to life every 100 years or so, the last time in 1903. (Two-thirds of the mountain is in China, where it is called Changbai.) Around 1000 years ago, the volcano rained tephra—pumice and ash—across 33,000 square kilometers of northeast China and Korea, dumping 5 centimeters of ash as far away as Japan. Scientists are keeping a wary vigil. Because Changbai's silica-rich magma is viscous and gassy, allowing pressure to build, the next eruption should be explosive, researchers say. In recent months, Chinese researchers have observed geophysical anomalies, including elevated temperatures of hot springs and deflation of the caldera rim. But most concur that there is no evidence of magma rising toward the surface, which would signal an imminent eruption. - Science Mag.
According to Wikipedia, Mount Paektu, also known as Baekdu Mountain is a stratovolcano whose cone is truncated by a large caldera, about 5 km (3.1 mi) wide and 850 m (2,789 ft) deep, partially filled by the waters of Heaven Lake. The caldera was created by a major eruption in 969 AD (± 20 years). Volcanic ash from this eruption has been found as far away as the southern part of Hokkaidō, the northern island of Japan. The lake has a circumference of 12 to 14 kilometres (7.5-8.7 miles), with an average depth of 213 m (699 ft) and maximum depth of 384 m (1,260 ft). From mid-October to mid-June, the lake is typically covered with ice. In 2011, experts in North and South Korea met to discuss the potential for a significant eruption in the near future. The central section of the mountain rises about 3 mm every year, due to rising levels of magma below the central part of the mountain. Sixteen peaks exceeding 2,500 m (8,200 ft) line the caldera rim surrounding Heaven Lake. The highest peak, called Janggun Peak, is covered in snow about eight months of the year. The slope is relatively gentle until about 1,800 metres (5,905 ft). Water flows north out of the lake, and near the outlet there is a 70 metre (230 ft) waterfall. The mountain is the source of the Songhua, Tumen and Yalu rivers.