Monday, December 31, 2012

ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: Leading Astrophysicist Warns That Sun-Grazing Comets Could Trigger Electro- Magnetic Armageddon!

December 31, 2012 - SPACE - Large sun-grazing comets could bring on the sort of global electronics meltdown usually associated with electromagnetic pulse weapons or a full-scale nuclear exchange.  Or so says David Eichler, lead author of a forthcoming Astrophysical Journal Letters paper positing that a sun-grazing comet roughly the size of Hale-Bopp (with a nucleus some 30 kms in diameter), could trigger cosmic ray-generating shockwaves large enough to initiate a global electromagnetic Armageddon.

Comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp), (Photo credit: Wikipedia).
Eichler, an astrophysicist at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, argues that satellites that weren’t in protection mode would be wiped out along with most of the world’s electronics — everything from micro-circuitry on cell phones to full-scale power stations.  If such a comet were the size of Hale-Bopp, Eichler says, the resulting solar flare would by far be the largest ever observed.  The comet gets compressed and then explodes in the solar atmosphere which, in turn, creates shockwaves, says Eichler.  Eichler thinks that such a sun-grazing comet may have triggered a large solar flare and cosmic ray-generating shockwaves as recently as 775 A.D., as indicated by tree ring analysis pointing to a sudden 1.2 percent spike in atmospheric Carbon 14.  “I’m not saying that [event] couldn’t have been caused by a magnetic solar flare, but we’ve never seen a solar flare nearly that big,” said Eichler.  Although the motion of such a sun-grazer would be the source of the shockwaves’ energy, the actual particle acceleration would happen within the sun’s magnetic field, explains Eichler.  Traveling at a 1000 kms per second, the shockwaves would reach earth in about a day and a half. And the effects would likely be much worse than the 1859 Carrington Event, a solar superstorm that wreaked havoc on telegraph lines and caused the aurora borealis to be visible as far south as Texas.  “From the looks of the tree ring data, fortunately, such events don’t happen but once every several thousand years,” said Eichler. “But by my estimates such a comet event might be 30 times stronger than the Carrington Event.”  Such a sun-grazing event’s resulting volley of cosmic rays would be funneled in along earth’s magnetic poles where magnetic resistance is the least, Eichler explains.  When the shockwaves hit the earth’s magnetic field, it would be like the hammer of a piano hitting a string, says Eichler. It would vibrate. And when a magnetic field line vibrates, he says, it makes an electric field which excites current in wires.  “It can excite the current and burn out the circuit,” said Eichler. “That’s the danger of giant electromagnetic pulses; these huge electric fields hit tiny micro-circuitry designed to handle only small currents.”

Although not expected to be harmful to humans, such an event could be extremely devastating to our electronic grid and could quite possibly send us back into a new Stone Age, says Eichler.  As for predicting future sun-grazers?  Most sun-grazing comets are too small to even make a ripple on the solar surface.  A recent exception was Comet Lovejoy, a long period sun-grazing comet which in December 2011, was observed to unexpectedly survive its closest solar approach.  Eichler says it’s quite possible that a very large comet could graze the sun once every several thousand years. “If the Hale-Bopp-sized comet grazed the solar corona,” said Eichler, “then you’d get a much bigger solar flare than the Carrington Event. Hale-Bopp itself may become sun-grazing in the [distant] future.” But there is one positive. Astronomers should, in principle, get a few years notice if such a large potential sun-grazing comet comes around again.  However, with a few classified military exceptions, our electronics remain unprotected against such potential magnetospheric trauma, he says.  Today, the Carrington Event itself would be devastating, says Eichler, and it wasn’t particularly powerful or all that unusual on an astrophysical timescale.  After completing his research, Eichler says he is most surprised by the fact that we’re still here to tell the tale.  “I didn’t realize the solar system was such a dangerous place,” said Eichler. “Just the fact that we’ve gone as long as we have without worse things happening may be why we’re here.” - Forbes.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Up to 300 Birds Mysteriously Fall From The Sky In Seymour, Tennessee?!

December 31, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Residents and those passing by near Dogwood Hills subdivision on Boyd Creek Highway Sunday afternoon were met with an unusual scene. Dozens of dead birds littered the highway and surrounding fields after falling from the sky. Sgt. Robert Stoffle of the Sevier County Sheriff's Department said a call about the birds came in around 1:15 p.m.

Traffic passes by on Boyds Creek Highway Sunday, where dozens of birds fell from the sky. Officials from the
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is investigating. Image: Jason Davis.
What appears to be a starling lies in a field off of Boyds Creek Highway Sunday. It is one of dozens of birds that dropped dead from the sky on Sunday afternoon.  Image: Jason Davis.
He said a witness reported seeing the birds in flight before turning back around to see them on the ground. "It covered one lane of traffic," Stoffle said of the bodies of the birds. Estimates of the number of birds varied from between 30 and 60 up to 300. They appeared to be starlings.

Birds litter the roadway and fields next to Boyds
Creek Highway after dropping from the sky
Sunday afternoon.  Image: Jason Davis.

While the vast majority of the birds were dead by the time The Mountain Press photographer arrived, several were still alive, convulsing and flopping their wings on the ground. A count of the birds on the scene stopped at around 50, when not even half of the visible birds were tallied. Perhaps dozens more were scattered in a nearby field, which was flooded from the recent rainfall. As far as 60 yards from the main site of the birds, individual starlings were found.

A local resident, who didn't want to be named, said he was quite shocked to see the large group of dead and dying birds on the road. "I was (driving) to the house ... and I see a couple of kids standing in the road. I'm like, 'what are these kids doing in the road?' "When we get closer, next thing you know, there's birds everywhere and they were all dead. It was disgusting. It was really amazing.

That end-of-the-world was supposed to have been coming and stuff, so everybody was like, 'oh, no,'" he said, laughing. "When I first came upon it, when the kids were kicking them out of the road, there had to be 300 birds there, at least. It was crazy. There's some even in the field and the water and stuff, too, it's crazy.

Officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded and took two to three birds from the scene for testing, Stoffle said. A state highway department truck with a snow blade attachment scraped the birds from the highway onto the shoulder. - The Mountain Press.

MASS UFO SIGHTINGS: The Symbols of an Alien Sky, Man-Made or Natural Phenomena - The Latest UFO Sightings And Aerial Anomalies Around the World?

December 31, 2012 - WORLDWIDE UFOs - Here are several of the latest unidentified flying objects (UFOs) seen recently across the globe.

Moon - December, 2012.

Santiago, Chile - 12th of December, 2012.

Chicago, Illinois, United States - 19th of December, 2012.

Turin, Italy - 24th of December, 2012.

San Antonio, Texas, United States - 24th of December, 2012.

Tijuana, Mexico - 25th of December, 2012.

Chester, Pennsylvania, United States - 25th of December, 2012.

Thailand - 27th of December, 2012.

San Antonio, Texas, United States - 28th of December, 2012.

Worldwide - 2012.

GLOBAL SEISMIC UPTICK: Earthquakes - The Fuse That Ignites Volcanoes, Have Increased Worldwide!

December 31, 2012 - EARTH - Earthquakes and Volcanic eruptions have always been closely related. For instance, if you look at a map of quakes worldwide and compare it to a map of volcanoes, you’ll find that they match closely. Both earthquakes and volcanoes occur at the boundaries of tectonic plates, which make up the Earth’s surface. Earthquakes are caused by the release of pressure built up when the plates spread apart or move past each or under each other. In slightly more complicated ways, magma is generated at most plate boundaries, and this magma rises to the surface to form volcanoes. In recent weeks, earthquakes have exponentially increased in magnitude worldwide, worrying some researchers as they provide the fuse that ignites volcanoes.

The movement of magma within a volcano causes earthquakes, usually small ones. Earthquakes are also caused by adjustments to the flanks of volcanoes and the plates under volcanoes. For decades, a source of powerful earthquakes and volcanic activity on the Pacific Rim was shrouded in secrecy, as the Soviet government kept outsiders away from what is now referred to as the Russian Far East. In the last 20 years research has shown that the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands are a seismic and volcanic hotbed, with a potential to trigger tsunamis that pose a risk to the rest of the Pacific Basin. A magnitude 9 earthquake in that region in 1952 caused significant damage elsewhere on the Pacific Rim, and even less-powerful quakes have had effects throughout the Pacific Basin. “There’s not a large population in the Russian Far East, but it’s obviously important to the people who live there. Thousands of people were killed in tsunamis because of the earthquake in 1952. Earthquakes greater than magnitude 8 struck the central Kurils in 2006 and 2007, and both produced large local tsunamis, up to about 50 feet. Though the tsunamis that s_v23_lvsplashcrossed the Pacific were much smaller, the one from the 2006 quake did more than $10 million in damage at Crescent City, Calif.

In 2009, Sarychev Peak in the Kurils erupted spectacularly, disrupting air traffic over the North Pacific. Clearly, determining the frequency of such events is important to many people over a broad area, Bourgeois said. “Let’s say you decide to build a nuclear power plant in Crescent City. You have to consider local events, but you also have to consider non-local events, worst-case scenarios, which includes tsunamis coming across the Pacific,” she said. But that is only possible by understanding the nature of the hazards, and the historic record for earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in Kamchatka and the Kurils is relatively short. In addition, because the region was closed off from much of the world for decades, much of the information has started becoming available only recently. Much has been learned in the last 10 years in the examination of tsunami deposits and other evidence of prehistoric events, but more field work in the Kamchatka-Kurils subduction zone is required to get a clearer picture. For hazard analysis, you should just assume that a subduction zone can produce a magnitude 9 earthquake. So it is important to “pay attention to the prehistoric record” to know where, and how often, such major events occur. It has been noted that in the last 25 years research in the Cascadia subduction zone off the coast of Washington, Oregon, northern California and British Columbia has demonstrated that the historic record does not provide a good characterization of the hazard. It was once assumed the risks in the Northwest were small, but the research has shown that, before there were any written records, Cascadia produced at least one magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that struck Japan.

Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and the Komandorsky Islands, an extension of the Aleutians controlled by Russia, are another source of seismic and volcanic activity that need to be evaluated for their potential risk beyond what is known from the historical record. “The Aleutians are under-studied,” Bourgeois said. “The work in the Russian Far East is kind of a template for the Aleutians.” Ideally, a dedicated boat could ferry researchers to a number of islands in the Aleutian chain, similar to how Bourgeois and other scientists from the United States, Japan and Russia have carried out a detailed research project in the Kuril Islands in the last decade. Over the last couple of years researchers have gradually shifted from the decades old belief that asteroids killed the dinosaurs. As a former college history professor, I can confirm that almost all text books claim dinosaurs were killed 65-million-years ago by an asteroid slamming into the earth. Today, research suggests that tens of thousands of years of lava flow from the Deccan Traps, a volcanic region near Mumbai may have spewed poisonous levels of sulphur and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and caused the mass extinction through the resulting global warming and ocean acidification. The findings are the latest volley in an ongoing debate over whether an asteroid or volcanism killed off the dinosaurs in the mass die-off known as the K-T extinction, the ‘Live Science’ reported. Proponents of the old hypothesis argue that a giant meteorite impact at Chicxulub, Mexico, around 65 million years ago released toxic amounts of dust and gas into the atmosphere, blocking out the Sun to cause widespread cooling, choking the dinosaurs and poisoning sea life. The further point out that the meteorite impact may also have set off volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis.

In 2009, oil companies drilling off the Eastern coast of India uncovered eons-old lava-filled sediments buried nearly 3.3 kilometers below the ocean surface. They containedEarthquakes, The Fuse That Ignites Volcanoes, Have Increased Worldwide plentiful fossils from around the boundary between the Cretaceous-Tertiary periods, or K-T Boundary, when dinosaurs vanished. The sediments bore layers of lava that had travelled nearly 1,603 km from the Deccan Traps. The volcanic region, today, spans an area as big as France, but was nearly the area of Europe when it was active during the late Cretaceous period, said Adatte Thierry, a geologist from the University of Lausanne in France. The idea that volcanic eruption may have terminated life on earth for the dinosaur, simply wakes you up when you consider the true danger an eruption poses to civilization. It’s even more daunting when you grasp the fact that earthquakes are essentially the fuse that sets them off. In recent weeks, worldwide earthquake data indicates an increase in the magnitude and a significant increase in the frequency (magnitude greater than 5.5) of earthquakes. Current graphs clearly show an alarming worldwide trend of increasing earthquake strength and frequency. These results are in agreement with the USGS statistics page, which shows an increase in the frequency of stronger earthquakes (Magnitude greater than 5.0).

These trends also show that the depth of earthquakes has diminished, they occur closer to the Earth’s surface. Shallow earthquakes occur along fault lines and are due to the accumulation of stress. Earthquake waves can also propagate far enough to trigger other earthquakes; this may explain the noted increase in earthquakes. Certain scientists have stated that the increased frequency of earthquakes is due to the increased number of detection instruments installed worldwide. This would cause more sensitive earthquakes to be measured. However, these graphs show an increase in stronger earthquakes; it is also important to note that the earthquake Richter scale is base-10 logarithmic. The fact that the world’s population has increased doesn’t help, more people are affected by these events. There is increased media availability and attention. However, due to recent events, it is now easy to convince even the average person, that there are more and more strong earthquakes occurring worldwide: A Yellowstone National Park earthquake in Wyoming was felt in sections of Montana and Idaho. The Wyoming earthquake, which occurred on December 15, 2012 was centered in the northwest corner of the state. Though there were no reports of damage we must remember Yellowstone Caldera is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. Here’s the history lesson. Yellowstone lies over a hotspot of molten mantle rock that occasionally rises towards the surface. Over the past 18 million years, Yellowstone has generated a succession of violent eruptions; some of them have been classified as supereruptions.

Volcanic eruptions can empty their storage of magma so quickly that they can cause the superimposing land to collapse into a magma chamber, forming a geographic depression called a caldera. I’m talking about a lake the size of the state of Texas and perhaps that estimation is significantly under estimated. Yellowstone Caldera is called a Supervolcano because it’s able to produce extraordinarily huge volcanic explosions. Because of the volcanic and tectonic nature of the region, the Caldera experiences somewhere between 1000 and 2000 earthquakes a year. The last supereruption on the Yellowstone volcano occurred approximately 640,000 years ago. The event ejected more than 240 cubic miles of volcanic ash into the sky and across the plain. On Saturday December 15, 2012, shortly after 12:25 p.m. local time, a light earthquake stuck Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The quake, however, had nominal depth. Officials say the quake was only six miles below the earth’s surface. As a result, the quake could be felt across the region. USGS indicates that the quake erupted twenty-five miles south of Cooke City-Silver Gate, Montana. The quake was also forty-four miles southeast of Gardiner, Montana. Officials tell news the quake was forty-seven miles west of Cody, Wyoming and roughly two hundred eighty miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah. As I mentioned earlier, quakes visit the area frequently, without causing major alarm. Nevertheless, the Yellowstone Supervolcano is amongst the largest in recorded world history, thus it poses a threat of considerable proportions. Most researchers claim that if it erupted today, it would come close the obliterating the entire land area known as the United States. In addition, it would likely have an enormous consequences on world weather, agriculture and quality of life. There are an estimated 1,500 active volcanoes around the world, 50 to 60 erupt every year, spewing steam, ash, gas and lava. These reflectively, mild outburst don’t come close to the dangers Yellowstone present. The fact is, if it were ever to erupt, it would only take moments to end the life of everyone in close proximity. If you like in the USA, the idea of escaping its reach is borderline fantasy. In other words, it would be practically impossible. One can only hope that it doesn’t blow in our lifetime; but it is certain to erupt in someone’s lifetime. All it takes is a few well placed earthquakes for it to blow. Technology certainly has its hands full. - Guardian Express.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Jakarta In Indonesia Is Sinking As Water Supplies Dry Up!

December 31, 2012 - INDONESIA - Experts in Indonesia are preparing to build a huge wall to stop the ocean from swamping parts of Jakarta. Some suburbs in the capital already go underwater when there is a big tide but the problem is expected to get even worse. Jakarta is sinking by up to 10 centimetres a year and Indonesia's national disaster centre says with oceans rising, large parts of the city, including the airport, will be inundated by 2030.

Increasing sea levels caused some parts of north Jakarta to flood during a high tide in 2009 (Reuters: Supri Supri).
Flooding and high tides are already causing problems for some residents in the city of 10 million people. Kartoyo's roadside food stall is swimming in about 30 centimetres of water. "It has been easier," he said. "This kind of flood is manageable but hopefully it won't get higher." "The people here before, they couldn't even go to the market because of the flood and the children couldn't go to school." In 2009 the council built a small sea wall, but the ocean still pushes its way up through the drains and into homes. But while some suburbs still go under and the roads are rivers, residents across town have the opposite problem. Juriah lives next to a new development, one of the many pushing skywards as Indonesia's economy booms, but the water supply to her suburb has disappeared. "Because the development project next door sucks up all the water, the water stopped since the project started - about three months ago. That's what caused it I think," she said. "I use a small water pump, and no water flows. "In the beginning there was a little water but in the end it just stopped."

As developers suck up the watertable it dries out and the city slumps into the empty cavity. "From our observations, since the 1960s the ground water has declined around 30 metres," the head of water resources at Indonesia's energy and mineral resources ministry, Dodid Murdohardono, said. "The decline of ground water causes pressure in the groundwater lining and that's why Jakarta is sinking." Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, an expert hydrologist with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, says if the problem is not remedied, it could have massive consequences. "If this continues, the area will have permanent flooding will increase especially with the additional increase of sea level in Jakarta Bay or the Java Sea, which is around seven millimetres per year," he said. "If our efforts aren't fast enough compared to the causes, more than five million people could be affected." The city's given itself less than 20 years to sort it out. To curb the twin problems of the city sinking and the ground water drying up, the government's attempting to restrict the amount industries can take. "And in the next 30 years the government of Jakarta plans to build a giant dam around Jakarta Bay to anticipate the increased sea levels, tidal waves and land subsidence," Mr Nugroho said. "If the land sinking isn't resolved, then there will be widespread tidal waves that would cause more extensive flooding in Jakarta." - ABC Australia.

DELUGE: Floods Wreck Havoc In Kenya - Over 20 Dead; And More Than 10,000 Have Been Displaced!

December 31, 2012 - KENYA - The Kenya Red Cross estimates that more than 20 people have died in flood related incidences since the onset of short rains in mid October.

Over 10,000 families have been uprooted by the floods that have wrecked havoc across the country. The weatherman is urging those residing in vulnerable regions to move to safer grounds as the rains are expected to continue until late January. KTN's Angel Katusia with an update of the flood situation in the country. - KTN.

WATCH: Floods wreck havoc in Kenya.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Series of Moderate Earthquakes Strike Across The Globe!

December 31, 2012 - NEW ZEALAND - A series of three earthquakes rocked Taranaki early this morning.   The first, a severe, magnitude 5 earthquake struck at 3.11am and was centred 5km deep and 30 km north-west of Opunake, GeoNet reported.  A smaller, magnitude 3.2 quake, centred 5km and 20 km north-west of Opunake, then hit at 3:27am.  The third, a magnitude 4.3 quake centred 6km deep and 25 km north-west of Opunake, hit at 3.42am.

Series Of Earthquakes Rock Taranaki, New Zealand.
On their twitter page the Taranaki Civil Defence said there was no tsunami warning and it was unlikely the event would be severe enough to generate one.  "If there are aftershocks, remember to Drop, Cover, Hold," they tweeted.  "Well, that was a short, sharp welcome to the New Year! No reports of damage so far," they said.  People throughout Taranaki reported being woken up by the quakes and turned to twitter to share their account.  "All three earthquakes managed to wake me up when alarm clocks won't, can't sleep now due to fear of fourth," Sean Kelly said on twitter.  "Was about to go to bed and I heard the first one come. It shook the house from side to side and lasted about 30 seconds," William Johnston said.  In July 2012 a magnitude 7.0 quake centred 230km deep and 60km south of Opunake, was the largest to strike the Taranaki Bight area for 100-120 years. - Stuff.

Moderate 5.4 Earthquake Strikes Southern Taiwan.
A magnitude 5.4 earthquake jolted the Chiayi area in southern Taiwan early Monday, but there were no reports of casualties or damage, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).  The earthquake hit at 0:03 a.m., centered 49.1 kilometers east of Chiayi City Hall at a depth of 5.7 km, the CWB's Seismology Center said.  The epicenter of the shallow earthquake was close to the mountainous Taoyuan area of neighboring Kaohsiung City, the center said.  Although the quake caused strong tremors and woke up many Chiayi residents, no damage or casualties were reported, according to firefighting agencies in Chiayi City and County.  Three aftershocks were recorded at 0:17 a.m., 0.21 a.m. and 0:26 a.m., respectively, with magnitudes of between 3.2 and 4.4, the Seismology Center said.  Taiwan sits in an earthquake-prone area. More than 30 earthquakes rocked the island in June alone. The strongest one, measuring 6.5, occurred June 10. - Focus Taiwan.

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan Saturday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said, with the quake felt in the capital Kabul and parts of Pakistan.  The earthquake struck in the late evening at a depth of 115 kilometres (70 miles), some 140 kilometres north of Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad and 130 kilometres west of Chitral in neighbouring Pakistan.  There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage but shaking was felt in Kabul, 180 kilometres away, as well as in northwest Pakistan and the Pakistani capital Islamabad.  Northern Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.  Two quakes in June triggered landslides that killed at least 75 villagers. - Dawn.

5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Japan.
A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan today, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported.  The quake hit at depth of 40 kilometres at 11:59 pm (1459 GMT Saturday), about 123 kilometres east of the northern city of Sendai, the USGS said. There were no immediate reports of damage.  A powerful 7.3-magnitude undersea quake off the northeast coast earlier this month triggered a one-metre-high tsunami but no reports of fatalities.  In March last year a devastating earthquake and tsunami in the same area left some 19,000 people dead or missing and crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the world's worst atomic disaster in 25 years. - Economic Times.

1.3 Magnitude Earthquake Tremor Shakes Up Somerset, England.
An earth tremor shook part of Somerset yesterday.  The tremor, described as small, happened at 2.52am beneath Highbridge, in the north of the county. It was first reported by which said it was centred just to the west of Alstone.  The British Geological Survey, which monitors UK earthquakes, confirmed that the quake measured 1.3 on the Richter Scale. The last tremor in the area was in December 2006. It measured 1.6 on the Richter Scale.  Small tremors are not uncommon. A British Geological spokesman said: “There are actually about 200 in this country every year. Most go completely unnoticed by the public because they are so small.” - This Is Somerset.

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Peru's Tourist Region Of Cusco.
A magnitude 5.2 earthquake shook Peru's tourist region of Cusco, home to the Inca site Machu Picchu, though there were no immediate reports of damage, seismologists said Sunday.  The quake struck 129 kilometers (80 miles) east-northeast of the city of Cusco at 3:49 pm (2049 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey. It had a depth of 41.5 kilometers.  Peru's Geophysical Institute said it was the fourth and most powerful reported across the country on Sunday.  But the depth of the quake meant that it was nearly imperceptible for the 350,000 residents of the ancient Inca capital, local radio and television reported.  Peru is located in the Pacific "ring of fire," where about 85 percent of global seismic activity occurs each year. - ETN.

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Avalon, California.
A shallow magnitude 3.0 earthquake was reported Saturday evening 34 miles from Avalon, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:06 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of 0 miles.  According to the USGS, the epicenter was 36 miles from Camp Pendleton South, 37 miles from San Clemente, 40 miles from Oceanside and 48 miles from San Diego.  In the last 10 days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby. - LA Times.

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Petrolia, California.
A shallow magnitude 3.0 earthquake was reported Saturday evening nine miles from Petrolia , according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 11:01 p.m. Pacific time at a depth of 16.8 miles.  According to the USGS, the epicenter was 29 miles from Eureka and 189 miles from Sacramento.  In the past ten days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby.  - LA Times.

Earthquakes Plague Parts of Chile.
Residents of Cobquecura and neighboring towns Concepción, Lebu and Arauco played out their regular Wednesdays, hardly noticing that the earth beneath them was twitching an average of one earthquake per hour. The strongest tremor clocked in at 5.2 on the Richter Scale. Locals barely noticed. Residents of Biobío, accustomed to frequent small shakes, gawked at media crews, shouting, “Why are you making such a big deal? Nothing special has happened here!” They must not realize that Santiaguinos are still somewhat haunted by the memories of a devastating 8.8 magnitude quake that struck in February 2010. - ILC.

4.8 Magnitude Quake Hits France.
A 4.8-magnitude earthquake hit southwest France on early Monday, without reports of casualties, the French Central Earthquake Bureau reported.  The quake occurred at about 0:35 a.m. local time (2335 GMT on Sunday) in the area of Pau, with the epicenter being monitored at 43.18 degrees north latitude and 0.24 degrees east longitude, according to the earthquake bureau.  There have so far been no reports of casualties or property losses. - NZ Week.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Land Subsidence Across The Planet - Landslide Causes Mini-Tsunami On Chinese River; Three People Dead In Western Sumatra Area Landslide; 5 Dead, 20 Missing, Cars Buried In Huge Landslide In Southern Colombia!

December 30, 2012 - COLOMBIA - Rescue teams in Colombia have been searching for at least 25 people missing after a landslide cut off a road near the south-western city of Neiva. Five people were killed in the accident, which happened on Saturday. The Colombian authorities believe at least six cars are buried under tons of mud and rocks. Hundreds of fire-fighters, paramedics and army troops have been sent to help the rescue operation in Huila province. There are fears of a new landslide in the same area, along the road between the cities of Neiva and Florencia. Operations will be suspended if the mountain slope becomes unstable, the authorities said.

Rescue operations along the Neiva-Florencia road will be suspended if the mountain slope becomes unstable.
Several vehicles are trapped under the earth and rocks.
5 Dead, 20 Missing, Cars Buried In Recurrence Of Landslide In Southern Colombia.
One of the five victims was a heavy machine operator who was clearing the road from a previous landslide. "It is a very difficult situation as the landslide was very big," said National Rescue Director Cesar Uruena. "We will need many heavy machines to clear the road," Mr Uruena told RCN radio. Rescue operations were suspended on Saturday night due to safety concerns for the teams involved in the operation. Red Cross teams and police with sniffer dogs are searching for bodies or survivors, disaster relief official Jesus Gomez told the AFP news agency. - BBC.

WATCH: Raw - 20 Missing After Landslide in Colombia.

Landslide Causes Mini-Tsunami On Chinese River.
A van was hit by a wave of water created by a landslide Friday in central China's Hubei Province, leaving two people injured and damaging the Zhaojun Bridge, which temporarily suspended traffic. The van was driving down the middle of the Zhaojun Bridge at around 10:00 when strong wave pushed the van back about one meter. It was fortunate that no one on the van itself was injured, and that the two people crossing in the bridge were not injured seriously. "I was driving when I saw the rocks falling ahead. Then my van was pushed about one meter back by the splash. It was like the earthquake, and tsunami," said Liu Maoqing, the van's driver. The mountain of the landslide itself was 500 meters away from the Zhaojun Bridge, and the volume of the rocks that fell was more than 10,000 cubic meters. According to the reconnaissance by technical personnel of local Land and Resources Bureau, the landslide was caused by long-term physical weathering. The traffic on Zhaojun Bridge has resumed. - Emirates 24/7.

Three People Dead In West Sumatra Landslide.
Three people are dead after a landslide buried a house in a village in the West Sumatra district of South Solok on Tuesday morning. The landslide happened at 1:30 a.m., several hours after heavy rains hit the area. The victims were identified as 61-year-old Nurbaiti and her granddaughters Yosi Fitrani, 12, and Tri Yulia Nanda Sari, 8. Heavy rains also triggered a landslide and floods in there more West Sumatra districts - namely Pasaman, Agam and Tanah Datar, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported on Tuesday. "Luckily there no victims [in the three districts]," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. Sutopo added that at least 15 houses were flooded or buried by landslides, forcing 15 families in Pasaman to evacuate. - Jakarta Globe.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Pacific Northwest's Cascadia Subduction Zone - Deep Tremors May Foretell Major Earthquakes!

December 30, 2012 – UNITED STATES - Tiny tremors, smaller than earthquakes, are shaking the Cascadia subduction zone deep beneath the Pacific Northwest. The Cascadia subduction zone is where two of Earth’s tectonic plates meet in an epic collision and one haltingly slides below the other.
The Cascadia subduction zone: producer of massive earthquakes.
The Cascadia Fault stretches for almost 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) from Northern California up to Canada. The force required to shove a piece of ocean crust into Earth’s mantle can produce mega-earthquakes along the zone, as in Japan and Sumatra. But unlike its western Pacific cousins, the Cascadia subduction zone has not experienced a major earthquake since 1700, when an estimated 9.0-magnitude earthquake generated an enormous tsunami that killed trees in Puget Sound and traveled across the ocean to Japan. The slow-slip and tremors observed in the area are periodic, coming about every 15 months, said Stanford geophysics professor Paul Segall, and were first spotted in 2003. The slow-slip earthquakes creep along the fault at about 4 mph (6.4 kph), for two weeks at a time.

The tremors hum about 18 miles (30 km) below Earth’s surface, deeper than the zone where big earthquakes rupture. Some scientists think the tremors are evidence of the sinking tectonic plate slowly dropping into the Earth, which may “load” the shallower, locked zone of the fault. Segall’s group uses computational models of the region to determine whether the cumulative effects of many small events can trigger a major earthquake. The research simulates the slow-slip and tremors on a computer model of the subduction zone. Segall noted that the model needs refinement to better match actual observations on the subduction zone — the decade of intriguing seismic monitoring records that revealed the tremors. He hopes to possibly identify the signature of events that could trigger a large earthquake. “You have these small events every 15 months or so, and a magnitude-9 earthquake every 500 years. We need to known whether you want to raise an alert every time one of these small events happens,” Segall said in a statement. - MSNBC.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Across The World - Extreme Freezing Blizzard Pummels Inner Mongolia, China; Record-Breaking Snowfall Hits Rochester, New York; Icy Conditions Lead To Tour Bus Crash In Oregon Kiling Nine!

December 30, 2012 - CHINA - A freezing blizzard hits the Xilin Gol region of Inner Mongolia, leaving drivers stranded in sub-zero temperatures with visibility as low as ten metres. A freezing blizzard pummeled the Xilin Gol area of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Saturday morning, severely affecting road traffic.

Extreme Freezing Blizzard Pummels Inner Mongolia, China - Vehicles Stuck In Deep Snow.
On the No. 308 provincial highway, vehicles found themselves stuck in deep snow as severe blizzards lowered visibility from 200 metres to less than ten metres in just ten minutes. The blizzard started on Friday night and brought almost one metre of snow to the highway by the morning. Local traffic authorities have launched an emergency weather response plan and have been warning local residents to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities. According to meteorologists, local temperatures are expected to drop 10 to 13 degrees Celsius over the next two days in the central and eastern parts of Inner Mongolia. - The Telegraph.

WATCH: Severe overnight blizzard in China causes traffic delays.

Record-Breaking Snowfall Hits Rochester, New York.
Many of us who had to get out today had to do some digging first. Some say it was only a matter of time before Rochester was heavily hit with snow this winter.  "We saw it last night but I wasn't expecting it to be quite this bad this morning when I got out here," said Sara Granger of Rochester.  All this snow created a lot of work for Granger and Cruz, who spent nearly an hour just digging out.  "It took me almost a half hour just to dig from my door to here and now we just started on the car," said Cruz.  Neighbors on Comfort Street off South Avenue came together to help Jackie Fannin, who found herself stuck on the way to work.  "I'm supposed to be at work, I think, now," said Fannin, of Rochester.  Her street is just one of many side streets that went unplowed most of the morning.  "You can't really see our road," said Fannin.  For Tommy Johnson, even though the snow just arrived, it's already worn out its welcome.  "I'm glad to see the snow actually. Glad to see it, but not this much," said Johnson.  "It's better now than in May. That's the way it's supposed to be," said Tom Enders, of Rochester.  Enders spent the morning shoveling the old school way. He says he's trying not to overwork himself to get the job done.  "Pace yourself, just don't overheat yourself," said Enders.  When the snow hits, it's business as usual at the City's Operations Center. Norman Jones, the director, says this time with the record breaking snowfall, they had to use additional resources. - YNN.

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a multiple-fatality accident after a tour bus careened through a
guardrail along an icy highway and fell several hundred feet down a steep embankment, about 15
miles east of Pendleton, Ore., on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.
Icy Conditions Lead To Tour Bus Crash In Oregon - Nine Killed.
The stretch of rural Oregon interstate where a tour bus crashed through a guardrail and plummeted 100 feet down a steep embankment is so notorious that state transportation officials have published a specific advisory warning of its dangers.  Nine people were killed and more than two dozen injured when the charter bus veered out of control around 10:30 a.m. Sunday on snow- and ice-covered lanes of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon, according to the Oregon State Police.  The bus crashed near the start of a 7-mile section of road that winds down a hill. It came to rest at the bottom of a snowy slope, landing beaten and battered but upright with little or no debris visible around the crash site. The East Oregonian said it spoke with two South Korean passengers, ages 16 and 17. Both said through a translator that they were seated near the rear of the bus when it swerved a few times, hit the guardrail and flipped. They described breaking glass and seeing passengers pinned by their seats as the bus slid down the hill. Both said that they feared for their lives.
 - The Weather Channel.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Discovery Report For December 29-30 - Pacaya, Fuego, Popocatépetl, Santiaguito, San Cristobal, Concepcion, Arenal, Galeras, Nevado del Ruiz, Tungurahua, Copahue, Cerro Machin, Reventador, Plosky Tolbachik, Shiveluch and Heard Island!

December 30, 2012 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from the Volcano Discovery Group.

Pacaya volcano is waking up. A series of 3 small explosions occurred yesterday morning and generated small ash plumes rising 500 m. The explosions were probably phreatic, but along with the previous explosions 10 days ago they likely indicate that magma has started to rise within the volcano and might reach the surface soon again. Strombolian and/or lava flow effusion activity, Pacaya's typical activity, could thus resume in a relatively short time. In a press release, CONRED advised residents to remain calm and report observations of activity to authorities, not to spread rumors and put themselves at risk. Civil aviation was advised to be on watch (Pacaya is close to Guatemala Int. airport) in the event of increased explosive activity and have plans ready in case flights need to be diverted.

Activity at Fuego volcano has remained essentially unchanged with weak strombolian explosions (11 counted during 28-29 Dec) producing small ash plumes up to about 500 m high, and the continuing lava flow, about 500 m long on the upper southern slope.

The Santiaguito lava dome has been comparably calm with few or no explosive activity reported during the past days.

The number of small explosions and steam-ash emissions from Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico remains at moderate levels (1-2 per hour). Glow from the crater indicates that the slow magma supply to the crater continues.

Activity at at San Cristobal volcano in Nicaragua has calmed down, at least for now. Only few and weak new ash emissions occurred since the afternoon of 28 Dec, and current seismic activity is low.

At nearby Concepcion volcano, an increase in small volcanic quakes can be seen on recent seismograms.

Arenal volcano in Costa Rica showed some elevated internal activity on 29 Dec, but has been calm again today.

Mild ash explosions continue to occur sporadically at Galeras volcano in Colombia, such as recently seen on 29 Dec. For the month of December, this is the 6th time ash emissions were observed (although more could have occurred and gone unnoticed during times of bad weather). In comparison, there have been 2 emissions observed in November, 12 in October, and 5 in September.

An SO2 plume drifting from Nevado del Ruiz volcano shows ongoing intense degassing. INGEOMINAS reported occasional steam and ash venting. Small earthquakes and occasional low-level volcanic tremor pulses can be seen on the seismic recordings.

Seismic unrest with small deep (12-15 km) quakes continues at Cerro Machin volcano.

In Ecuador, activity at Tungurahua volcano has picked up again. During 29 Dec, the Instituto Geofísico (IG) reported 30 explosions over 24 hours of small to moderate size, sometimes accompanied by loud sounds and ejection of incandescent material. Ash plumes were reported reaching 25,000 ft (7.5 km) altitude. Numerous volcanic quakes and tremor pulses accompanied constant gas and ash emissions.

At Reventador volcano, sporadic small explosions and ash emissions continue, but at lower levels than during past months.

Visual and seismic activity have decreased at Copahue volcano in Chile. No more ash emissions or incandescence have been observed since 29 Dec. It is thought that the small eruption that had started on 22 Dec has ended. The small body of lava (a lava dome) that was emplaced inside the crater is now cooling. SERNAGEOMIN has lowered the alert level to yellow.

The lava flows from the southern fissure of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka continue to be alimented and KVERT reports that tremor is still strong (although much less than 1-2 weeks ago). The plume and visible glow from the eruption are smaller as well but still present.

MODIS satellite data continue to show a hot spot at Australia's Heard Island volcano. This indicates that some activity is probably present at this volcano.

Activity at Shiveluch has been relatively calm, but the slow extrusion of the lava dome inside the crater continues as incandescence and occasional explosions, but also occasional rockfalls and associated weak pyroclastic flows show. As our French colleagues from activolcans noticed, a small partial dome collapse occurred last night at 21h54 local time and produced a pyroclastic flow that traveled almost 1 km through the ravine at the base of the active dome. Webcam images also give evidence that from time to time lahars are generated in the same ravine.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Mysterious Lights Appear Over Trout Lake, B.C., Canada?!

December 30, 2012 - CANADA - It could have been space junk, a meteor shower or something else flying across Trout Lake earlier this week that caught the attention of several people. Dave Palangio was entertaining guests on Christmas Eve when he saw several yellowish-orange lights over top Trout Lake. His guests at his Lakeside Drive home saw them too.

© The Nugget, Canada.
"I said 'turn off the lights', then I grabbed my camera and shot through the living room glass," Palangio said. "It was really mysterious. The lights were travelling in a single file and then changed directions and went into a formation travelling east to west across Trout Lake," he said. "We kept our eyes on the skies, but there was nothing else." Palangio said it lasted about a minute and then the lights faded out. He said the lights came from the east around Redbridge, however Palangio said he couldn't tell how high they were." Palangio, a retired North Bay Nugget photographer, believes it was fallen space junk. "I suspect it was orbiting decay or a satellite breakup," he said Friday.

There could be several possible explanations, however Palangio is ruling out one possible cause. "It wasn't fireworks," he said, adding he has photographed fireworks displays numerous times and know what they sound and look like. "Fireworks usually explode and they didn't. There was no spark." Palangio said the lights resembled something similar to tracer bullets, but they were moving way too slowly. He reported the sighting to Canadian Forces Base North Bay and was asked to send the pictures he took. The pictures were also sent to Transport Canada for examination. Canadian Forces Base North Bay and Transport Canada didn't respond to The Nugget by press time. Meanwhile, Eric Blais is also wondering about the cause of several white light beams in the West Ferris area Thursday night. He said he was headed out on his balcony when he saw the beams. "They went from the sky to the ground and I know they weren't spotlights." - The Nugget.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Food Prices Expected To Soar Worldwide In 2013!

December 30, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Your grocery store receipt may look a bit higher after the first of the year, as food prices are expected to rise. Last summer's drought has had a domino effect on the food industry, and now many grocer's are expecting to see the prices of meat and dairy products go up in the new year.

This is US Dept of Commerce data from 6 years ago... the percentage changes were far higher in 2012,
and in 2013 they will be higher still... it's showtime!
Besides the expired farm bill that could double dairy prices, the cost of feed for livestock has risen, having an effect on prices. Both Oryana and Maxbauer Specialty Meat in Traverse City say they will try to curb costs for customers by providing discounts and deals, as well as advice on how to mix up your menu at home. 9 & 10's Meredith Barack and photojournalist Joel Deaner have more on how high they project prices may get. - 9&10 News.

WATCH: Food Prices Expected To Rise In U.S. In The New Year.

Food Prices Set To Soar In The United Kingdom.

Bread, potatoes, sausages, bacon and milk are all set to go up in 2013 due to dwindling supplies and rising production costs Shoppers will find it hard to swallow but prices for food basics will soar again next year. Bread, potatoes, sausages, bacon and milk are all set to go up due to dwindling supplies and rising production costs, the Sunday People has reported. In some cases wholesale prices for our trolley faves have DOUBLED in a year with output at a 30-year low. It is a major blow for hard-hit families who have already been clobbered with big rises to their supermarket bills. Economist Jonathan Davis warned: "If prices are rising for wholesalers there will doubtless be a knock-on effect for consumers." Morrisons chief Dalton Philips added: "2013 will be a little tougher than this year. We'll try to insulate customers where we can." Since the credit crunch hit in 2007, sausage prices have rocketed by 33 per cent, potatoes by 32 per cent, milk by 31 per cent and bread 29 per cent. - Mirror.

WATCH: USDA Economist Sees Higher Food Prices In 2013

Saturday, December 29, 2012

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Across The World - Record-Breaking Snowfall Across Canada, Heavy Snow In South Korea Breaks December Record, Coldest Winter In Decades For Russia !

December 29, 2012 - CANADA - The winter storm that dumped a record-breaking amount of snow on Montreal is now hitting Newfoundland, with Environment Canada saying northern and central parts of the province can expect 20 to 30 centimetres.  "Heavy snow and strong easterly winds over southwestern Newfoundland this morning will spread northeastward today," Environment Canada said.  By 2:30 p.m. local time, there were snowfall accumulations of 13 centimetres in Deer Lake, seven centimetres in Gander and less than a centimetre in St. John's, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Rodney Barney.

Montreal blanketed by more than 45 cm of snow from storm moving east. © CBC News.
Record-Breaking Storm Moves To Newfoundland.
Winter storm warnings are in effect in many parts of central and northern Newfoundland, with Environment Canada warning that "dangerous winter weather conditions" are expected in some areas.  The low-pressure system producing the storm is expected to move from southern Nova Scotia to near Cape Breton by Friday evening. The system will then track across eastern Newfoundland at night before moving to the northeast of the province on Saturday.  Strong easterly winds will accompany the system, with gusts reaching 100 km/h along Newfoundland's south and west coasts, and gusts to 150 km/h in the Wreckhouse area.  Wind speeds in Wreckhouse had reached a peak of 143 km/h by 2:30 p.m. local time, Barney said in a post on Twitter.  Eastern Newfoundland can expect snow turning to mixed precipitation, and then rain. - CBC News.

Atlantic Canada is bracing for more harsh winter weather set to
hit Saturday night. © CBC News.
Atlantic Canadians Brace For Second Winter Wallop.
With another blast of winter weather headed for Atlantic Canada, people are being urged to prepare for a lot of snow throughout the Maritimes and up to 140 km/h wind gusts in Newfoundland.  The storm is expected to start Saturday night in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I.  Nova Scotia may see 40 centimetres of snow by Sunday night in the province's north and the Annapolis Valley.  Meteorologist Andy Firth said the nor'easter would bring snow, blowing snow and rain to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as southern and eastern New Brunswick.  "This is a significant nor'easter storm," Firth said from Dartmouth, N.S., on Saturday. "We have warnings out for snowfall, blowing snow and storm surges."  Firth said parts of New Brunswick and P.E.I. would see around 15 to 30 centimetres of snow.  Flurries were expected to begin over the western Maritimes on Saturday evening, with heavy snow beginning around midnight and continuing until around noon Sunday. - CBC News.

Montreal's massive snow clearing operation will start on Friday morning. Claudine Nicol took this
photo of parked cars entombed in snow in Villeray on Thursday. © CBC News.
Record-Breaking Snowfall In Montreal - 47 Centimetres In Just One Day.
The City of Montreal said snow removal is going to take longer than expected following Thursday's record snowfall.  Michel Frenette, a spokesman for the city, said snow removal will take about nine days to accomplish.  The nine days also includes a break period for workers.  "We will stop operations on the evening of the 31st and come back 36 hours later on the morning of Jan. 2," said Frenette.  He said it is taking longer because snow blowers have to go over the same area multiple times to remove all of the snow.  Three thousand people are working to clear the snow. - CBC News.
A homeless woman has a charity meal distributed by volunteers in Russia's
southern city of Stavropol on Dec. 25, 2012. © Reuters.

Coldest Winter In Decades For Russia With Snow As Much As 5 Meters (1616½ Feet) Deep.
As temperatures plummet to -50 Celsius in some parts of Russia, thousands have been evacuated from their homes in the country's Far East and Siberia. More than 120 people have died from the severe cold -- at least seven in the last 24 hours.  Meteorologists say the country is experiencing one of its coldest winters in decades.  In the Far East region of Magadan, 300 kilometers of roads remain blocked by heavy snow. Plows and machines can not reach those roads to clear them. In some places, snow is as much as five meters deep.  Irina Bryarkina lives in the Tyva region of Siberia where temperatures have been -40 C for several days. It is so cold that many heating pipes have frozen and thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.  Bryarkina says the situation is not good. She says they've got nothing. It's good that there's lots of snow, she says, so that they can gather it and melt it for water. She goes on to say that temperatures insude her flat are below freezing too.  Emergency services in the area have evacuated many residents to local schools and hospitals.  Aria Dagbaldai says the shelters are a welcome relief. She says she has spent two nights in a school where conditions are good and warm and there is even warm food.  Temperatures are expected to warm in the next few days but not by much. Meanwhile, emergency workers say they are doing their best to fix the broken pipes and restore central heating in Tyva. - Chosun.

Soldiers are mobilized yesterday morning to remove snow from roads in front of tollgates near the Baekyang
Tunnel in Sasang District, Busan. As snow was not cleared in time, dangerous roads caused traffic jams during rush hour. Heavy snowfall is rarely seen in the southern port city. © NEWSIS.
Heavy Snow In South Korea Breaks December Record.
Yesterday's rush hour was a nightmare for a 47-year-old civil servant surnamed Roh who commutes from Gimhae to Changwon, South Gyeongsang, every day.  He left home at 6:15 a.m. and reached the Changwon Tunnel that connects the two cities in 10 minutes, but soon had to turn his car around as the tunnel was closed due to snow.  Roh then passed through Jangyu and Dongmasan IC (interchange) and finally arrived at his office in Changwon at 9:40 a.m.  It usually takes only 25 minutes if he takes the tunnel route, but it took 3 hours and 25 minutes.  On his way to the office, many vehicles were waiting for assistance after being damaged in car accidents due to the slippery roads.  "It doesn't snow much in Gimhae," Roh told the JoongAng Ilbo. "Not many drivers have tire chains. It was terrible to drive because many roads are icy due to the early morning snow."  The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said yesterday the Chungcheong and southern regions of the country, including Busan, Ulsan and South Gyeongsang, had heavy snow from 1 to 3 a.m.: 31 centimeters (12 inches) on Ulleung Island; 20 centimeters in Geoje, South Gyeongsang; 16 centimeters in Hapcheon; 14.6 centimeters in Jinju; 15.5 centimeters in Daegwanryeong; 12.4 centimeters in Daegu and 8.5 centimeters in Gumi as of press time. - Korea Joongang Daily.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Very Rare California Tornado Damages Greenhouses in Monterey Bay - The 7th Tornado To Hit The Area In The Last Decade!

December 29, 2012 - UNITED STATES - A small tornado in Santa Cruz County near Watsonville last Saturday lasted only three minutes but knocked down walls of some greenhouses and uprooted trees in its path, a spokesman for the National Weather Service said.

Damage from Saturday's tornado in Watsonville is seen. One of only 7 tornadoes to hit Bay Area counties
over the last decade.  © National Weather Service.
The tornado started as a waterspout on the surface of Monterey Bay at 6:59 a.m., crossed over Sunset State Beach and grew to 20 yards wide with winds reaching 75 mph as it swept east to inland areas, said Logan Johnson, a weather service spokesman in Monterey. The swirling winds crossed over a large farm, sent fiberglass and plastic sheeting flying off of the walls of some greenhouses and caused the metal support structure of one to cave in and damage crops growing inside, Johnson said. The twister also blew out fiberglass windows in two other greenhouses and propelled debris into a field 30 to 50 yards from the greenhouses, Johnson said.

The wind sent agricultural cloth in the air, wrapping it around a utility pole, and uprooted several trees on San Andreas Road before ending at 7:02 a.m. just over a mile from where the tornado started, Johnson said. The tornado, which took place about a mile south of the private Monterey Bay Academy Airport, came from the major storm front that hit the Bay Area last weekend, Johnson said. The 20-yard width of the whirlwind was "pretty small," Johnson said. "The largest and strongest tornados can be one quarter to a half mile wide." Tornadoes in the San Francisco Bay Area are fairly rare, but not without precedent, the most recent one occurring up north in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County in March 2011, Johnson said. The weather service has recorded seven tornadoes in Bay Area counties over the last decade, Johnson said. Kitayama Brothers Watsonville, at 481 San Andreas Road, the farm in the tornado's path, grows flowers in its greenhouses, including snapdragons, gerbera daisies and hydrangeas, according to Carolyn Do, branch manager of the firm's San Jose office. - Pleasonton Weekly.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Giant Sinkhole Opens Up At Busy Shanxi Intersection In China!

December 29, 2012 - CHINA - The sinkhole strikes again! While not as epic as the gaping Xi'an collapse in May, a road in Shanxi has imploded, damaging gas and infrastructure in the area. No one was hurt, and the only significant harm was caused to underground pipes. Shanxi should be glad not to have the bus-eating holes of Nanjing or pedestrian-assassins of Xi'an. - Shanghaiist.

© China Daily.
© China Daily.
© China Daily.

EXTREME WEATHER: Airplane Incidents - United Flight Skids Off Runway at Albany County Airport In New York, And Moscow Plane Crash Kills Five!

December 29, 2012 - RUSSIA - The fifth victim of Saturday plane crash near Moscow Vnukovo Airport has died, succumbing to her injuries. The horrible crash was captured by a dashboard camera in one of the cars on the highway.  The footage of the actual plane crash recorded by a dash-cam in one of the cars driving by appeared online overnight. The 30-second video shows the plane crashing into a road safety barrier and its debris hitting the car carrying the camera is placed and another car passing by. 

Plane wreckage on a highway near Moscow's Vnukovo airport December 29, 2012. (Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva).
Moscow Plane Crash - Death Toll Rises To Five.
The highway was not busy at the time of the crash so drivers managed to avoid a major accident. Yet the incident caused a massive traffic jam, hampering rescue teams and ambulances rushing to the scene, witnesses say.  Drivers who happened to be near the scene of the crash were trying to rescue those on board injured.  Eyewitness Nikita Kasperchik helped two men who had suffered many injuries, rescuing them from the debris.  “We tore off part of the plane, put it on the ground and put the guys on it. There were blankets scattered everywhere, so we covered them with blankets,” he told Rossiya-24 TV-channel.  Rescuers by chance also tried to organize victims` transportation to hospitals.  “We were looking for a car where we could place him [a crash victim], unfortunately, a passenger car would not fit him, so we stopped a minibus taxi… put the victim in it and took him to hospital,” another witness said.  The only people drivers could not help were the pilots, who were trapped in the cockpit. Witnesses tried to break the glass to reach to them, but it was too thick, so they had to wait for rescuers to arrive. - RT.

WATCH: Jet Tragedy - Tu-204 plane crash step by step.

© Albany County Airport.

United Flight Skids Off Runway at Albany County Airport In New York.
A spokesman for the Albany County Airport Authority says a regional jet skidded into a snow bank and became stuck, stranding passengers. No injuries were reported. The United flight was leaving the gate in Albany en route to Chicago Saturday when it slid off the paved road. The 65 passengers and crew were uninjured and were evacuated from the plane, put on a bus and sent back to the airport.

Airport authority spokesman Doug Myers says the accident didn't case any other airport delays. The plane was removed from the snow bank and will be inspected for any problems. Myers said the airline would determine what happened with the jet. It was snowing lightly at the airport Saturday. - CBS New York.

EXTREME WEATHER: "Powerful Cyclone" Bears Down On Gulf Of Alaska!

December 29, 2012 - ALASKA - The National Weather Service has issued a warning for warm, strong winds on Saturday night through Sunday afternoon as a strong storm system makes its way into the Gulf of Alaska.

A view of Dalzell Creek with Rainy Pass visible in the distance. USGS photo.
"A powerful cyclone across the North Pacific will move northward into South Central Alaska tonight through Sunday," The NWS Alaska reports on its Facebook page. "Along with unusually warm air, this system will support powerful Chinook winds through Turnagain Arm, Portage Valley, Anchorage, and the higher elevations near Anchorage."

Accompanying the winds will be unseasonably warm temperatures. A special weather statement said that any precipitation Sunday in the areas affected by this storm system likely won't be snow:

"This powerful storm is originating well to the south over the subtropics and is expected to bring unseasonably warm air with it," the statement said. "This should allow temperatures to rise near 50 degrees. This will allow the lion's share of precipitation to fall as rain."

Much of the Southcentral region had already seen warmer temperatures since Friday night, as high winds whipped through the Mat-Su Valley, eastern Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage, making a mess of streets previously frozen solid and topped with recent snows.

According to the NWS, winds could reach as high as 100 mph along Turnagain Arm, the Anchorage Hillside and Portage Valley. In Anchorage, gusts could hit up to 70 mph on Sunday afternoon. Portions of the Interior are also expected to see high winds. - Alaska Dispatch.

EXTREME WEATHER: More Electric Power Poles Burst Into Flames In Texas?!

December 29, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Thousands of people in the area are waking up without power.

Austin Energy says up to 50 pole fires sparked overnight due to dirt and moisture on equipment, causing power outages for about 4,000 customers.

Experts say the mist in the air Friday morning turned dust on electric poles to mud, which created the sparks.

There have also been reports of outages for Pedernales Electric customers. Officials ask those customers to call 888-883-3379 to report an outage.

Austin Energy says 16 crews are working to restore power in 32 locations. - KVUE.

Friday, December 28, 2012

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Most Stunning Phenomenon - Flickering "Fire Rainbows" Spotted In The Sky Over Arizona!

December 28, 2012 - UNITED STATES - Residents of Douglas in Arizona have been treated to a rare and stunning phenomenon - fire rainbows.  Caused when ice crystals splits sunlight into different colours, they cause the sky to flicker with colour.  Brandon Rios, who captured the amazing images with his father, said he was 'completely astonished' by the phenomenon.  

Fire rainbows, known by the proper name of circumhorizon arc, occur when the sun hits plate shaped ice
cystals in the clouds, causing the colours of sunlight to separate.
The colours appear to flicker in the sky and sunlight passes through the ice crystals.
'Although my father was the one to take the pictures I was with him at the time,' said Brandon after the pair spotted the rainbows over their home in Douglas, Arizona. 'He was going to get something that he left at work and when we came outside we were greeted by this beautiful sight.  'I was completely astonished to see a rainbow mixed in with the clouds.  'I didn't think something like this can exist.'

The flickering cloud rainbows form a variety of almost hypnotic shapes in the sky.
The phenomenon appears several times a year over the US, although is rare in Europe.
The clouds are seen several times a year in the US, although they are rare elsewhere in the world. Fire rainbows, known by the proper name of circumhorizon arc, occur when cirrus clouds are far enough up in the air to form plate-shaped ice crystals.  They are not actually rainbows, but a halo effect, although they are commonly referred to as fire rainbows.  When the sun is at the right angle it hits the top of these plates and splits into different colours that are viewable on the ground. - Daily Mail.