Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CELESTIAL CONVERGENCE: Scientific Evidence of Inexplicable Eccentricity in the Moon's Orbit - Cornell University Posits Interference From "Planet X/Nemesis/Nibiru" Object!

A recent analysis of a Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) data record spanning 38.7 yr revealed an anomalous increase of the eccentricity of the lunar orbit amounting to de/dt_meas = (9 +/- 3) 10^-12 yr^-1. The present-day models of the dissipative phenomena occurring in the interiors of both the Earth and the Moon are not able to explain it.

We examine several dynamical effects, not modeled in the data analysis, in the framework of long-range modified models of gravity and of the standard Newtonian/Einsteinian paradigm. It turns out that none of them can accommodate de/dt_meas. Many of them do not even induce long-term changes in e; other models do, instead, yield such an effect, but the resulting magnitudes are in disagreement with de/dt_meas.
In particular, the general relativistic gravitomagnetic acceleration of the Moon due to the Earth's angular momentum has the right order of magnitude, but the resulting Lense-Thirring secular effect for the eccentricity vanishes. A potentially viable Newtonian candidate would be a trans-Plutonian massive object (Planet X/Nemesis/Tyche) since it, actually, would affect e with a non-vanishing long-term variation.

On the other hand, the values for the physical and orbital parameters of such a hypothetical body required to obtain the right order of magnitude for de/dt are completely unrealistic. Moreover, they are in neat disagreement with both the most recent theoretical scenarios envisaging the existence of a distant, planetary-sized body and with the model-independent constraints on them dynamically inferred from planetary motions. Thus, the issue of finding a satisfactorily explanation for the anomalous behavior of the Moon's eccentricity remains open. - Cornell University Library.

POLE SHIFT: GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL - Scientists Find Sea Floor "Bridges" Across the Mariana Trench, the Deepest Place on Earth, Undersea Mountains Being "Pulled Into" the Earth's Crust!

Marine geophysicists from the University of New Hampshire have found huge 'bridges' across the Mariana Trench, which cross the trench about a mile above the bottom.

The bridges are created when undersea mountains are pulled into the earth's crust
- forming bridges across the trench where two tectonic plates collide,
said University of New Hampshire scientists.
The bridges are created when mountains on the sea floor are pulled into the earth's crust by enormous geological forces. The mountains, sticking up from the Pacific ocean plate, form 'bridges' as the the Pacific plate disappears into the earth's crust under the neighbouring Philippine plate. It wasn't common knowledge these bridges occurred at all,' said James Gardner, a University of New Hampshire scientist who found the structures. One of the bridges was detected in low resolution in the Eighties, but Gardner's team has made three more sightings, according to OurAmazingPlanet. Some of the bridges rise up to 6,600 feet above the trench, and are up to 47 miles long. The scientists used a multi-beam echo sounder to map the area. Gardner says that there might be life on the 'bridges' - adapted to harsh, freezing conditions and pressure up to eight tons per square inch.
Gardner's team mapped the sea floor in the Mariana trench with multi-beam echo sounders, and found
four bridges across the trench, created when mountains are being pulled into the earth's crust.
'I would certainly expect Dutton Ridge and the others to have different fauna and flora than the trench floor, because they stand about 2 kilometers [1.2 miles] higher,' Gardner said. 'But the extreme depth would make it hard to monitor the biology or seafloor currents in the area.' A 'hydrographic' ship from the U.S. Navy recently mapped the Marianas trench from north to south using a 'multibeam echosounder', a standard device for mapping the ocean floor. The ship, associated with CCOM, the Centre for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, mapped the whole of the Marianas Trench to a 100m resolution. 'The instrument allows you to map a swath of soundings along the line of travel of the ship,' said Dr Jim Gardner to the BBC. 'It's like mowing the grass.' The researchers are examining the process of how underwater mountains are 'pulled under' another tectonic plate. 'Our data shows they are getting really fractured,' said Dr Gardner, 'As soon as the Pacific Plate starts bending down, it cracks that old, old crust. It cracks right through the seamount. They get splintered and whittled away, then pulled under.' - Daily Mail.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - Iran Threatens Action If the United States Returns to the Persian Gulf, Plans to Close Off the Strait of Hormuz as Oil Prices Soars on Supply Threat!

Iran has warned the United States it will take action if an American warship returns to the Persian Gulf. It left the area when Iran started its 10-day naval war games, during which they successfully test-fired a number of different missiles. But Russia's defence ministry says that despite the latest military exercise, the Iranians don't have the technology to make intercontinental ballistic missiles. Meanwhile France is pushing for stricter sanctions as it says it's sure Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. It's urged EU countries to follow the U.S. in freezing Iranian central bank assets and imposing an embargo on oil exports. Tehran has been threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz - one of the world's most important oil routes - if the West stepped up sanctions.

Army chief Ataollah Salehi said the US had moved an aircraft carrier out of the Gulf because of Iran's recent naval exercises, and Iran would take action if the ship returned. "Iran will not repeat its warning...the enemy's carrier has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasise to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf," army chief Salehi said. "I advise, recommend and warn them over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once." However the Pentagon says it will keep sending US aircraft carriers into the region, despite the threat. "The deployment of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region will continue as it has for decades," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
The aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis leads a US Navy task force in the region. It is now in the Arabian Sea providing air support for the war in Afghanistan, according to a spokeswoman for the US 5th Fleet. The carrier left the Gulf on 27 December on a "preplanned, routine transit" through the Straight of Hormuz, she said. Over 40% of the world's traded oil flows through that narrow straight - which Iran threatened last month to shut if sanctions halted its oil exports. The statement from iran comes as new US and EU financial sanctions take a toll on the Iranian economy. The prospect of sanctions targeting the oil sector in a serious way for the first time has hit Iran's rial currency, which reached a record low today and has fallen by 40% against the dollar in the past month. - RTE.
Meanwhile, oil prices rose more than 3 percent on Tuesday as tension between Iran and the United States and Europe kept fears of potential supply disruptions in focus, while strong Chinese and U.S. data fueled optimism about the global economy at the start of 2012 trading.

Iran threatened to act if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Gulf, the most aggressive statement yet from Tehran after weeks of saber-rattling as new U.S. and European Union financial sanctions take a toll on the OPEC member's economy. "The supportive economic data and the geopolitical concerns are furthering the crude oil rally," said John Kilduff, partner at hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York. "The temperature is going up every day now on the Iran situation -- new sanctions, new missile launches, and saber rattling are all contributing," Kilduff added. China's big manufacturers narrowly avoided a contraction in December, but soothed fears of a slowdown. The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) complied for the National Bureau of Statistics rose to 50.3 in December from 49 in November. Oil prices added to gains and Wall Street stocks jumped 2 percent on data showing U.S. construction spending surged to a near 1-1/2 year peak in November and manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in six months in December, with new orders up also.

The euro rallied sharply while the dollar fell as the stronger-than-expected economic data whetted appetite for risk. Brent February crude rose $3.70 to $111.08 barrel by 12:40 p.m. EST (1740 GMT), having reached $111.58, highest intraday price since December 5. U.S. February crude rose $3.65 to $102.48 a barrel, having reached $102.88, highest since reaching $103.37 intraday on November 17. Brent posted a 13 percent rise in 2011, while U.S. crude was rose 8 percent for the year. Crude futures trading volumes were stronger after a couple of weeks of weak holiday-season volumes. During the noon hour in New York, Brent volume was nearly 2 percent above its 30-day average, with U.S. only 3 percent under its 30-day average. U.S. heating oil rose sharply, keeping pace with crude on a percentage basis, and U.S. gasoline futures also moved up as oil analysts and brokers eyed efforts by European refiner Petroplus (PPHN.S) to keep refineries open after the company was hit by a credit freeze. A pan-European group of unions has called on governments in Britain, France, Belgium and Switzerland to step in and support employment at Petroplus refineries threatened with closure. Workers at the Petroplus Petit Couronne refinery in France will meet union representatives from nearby refineries on Wednesday to decide whether to call for strike action after temporary shutdowns announced for three plants.

Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted army chief Ataollah Salehi as saying Iran would take action if a U.S. aircraft carrier returned to the Gulf. The Iranian semi-official Fars news agency quoted Salehi as recommending and warning the United States against the return of the carrier: "Iran will not repeat its warning. The escalating tensions between Iran and the West over its nuclear program were not the only potential threats to supply on investors radar. Nigeria's president declared a state of emergency in parts of the north affected by an Islamist insurgency and following a series of bombs set off across Nigeria on Christmas Day. Adding to the turmoil, authorities scrapping fuel subsidies on Sunday prompted unions in Nigeria to call for strikes and protests. Internal sectarian tensions in OPEC-member Iraq since the mid-December departure of U.S. troops has added to fears about disrupted oil supply, though Iraq's crude oil exports climbed to 2.145 million barrels per day in December, from 2.135 million bpd in November. - Reuters.
WATCH: Russia Today talks to James Corbett, editor of the Corbett Report website.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Sinkhole in Pennsylvania Swallows Up Part of an Allentown Neighborhood - Leaving Residents Nearly Homeless!

The large sinkhole that swallowed part of an Allentown neighborhood and evacuated dozens last week, continues to cause problems.

J.R.Rosado is one of many who used to live on the 300 block of North 10th Street. Now he, his wife, his three children and his dog, all live inside his parent's tiny apartment a few blocks away. "My wife sleeps on one side on the floor, then the kids and I sleep on the other side," said Rosado. The good news for Rosado, is that he and his family were renting their home. Geryl Hodge who lives just two doors down, owns hers. She recently found out from her insurance agent that her homeowner's policy doesn't cover sinkhole damage.

"It's not an event that is covered by our policy and basically they've been quoting the exclusions," said Hodge. She and her two children have been staying at a local hotel courtesy of the city but Allentown officials are only paying for the room through Tuesday night. Hodge says she can't afford to pay for the room herself and all the local shelters are full. On top of that, her home is so unstable that she can't go back to retrieve clothing and personal items. Despite all of that, little help is coming her way.

Since a water main break is the likely cause, the sinkhole is not considered a natural disaster so state and federal agencies are not getting involved. Now, with one day to go before being officially homeless, Hodge is considering hiring an attorney to find out who is responsible. "Why do we have to go that route? Why can't someone step up and take responsibility? It's been frustrating," said Hodge. As of right now, two of the homes on the block will likely need to be demolished, and a few more could suffer the same fate, including the Hodge family home. - 6ABC.
WATCH: Sinkhole leaves Allentown residents nearly homeless.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Positively Balmy - South Pole Records Warmest Temperature on Record!

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station during the long Antarctic night, with a new station
at far left, power plant in the center and the Aurora Australis dancing through the sky.
The South Pole recorded its highest temperature on record on Christmas Day, when temperatures reached 9.9F (-12.3C), according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC).

While calling the new record "warm" may be going a step too far, it is positively balmy compared to June 23, 1982, when the temperature at the South Pole site reached a record low of -117F (-82.8C).

In a brief statement, the SSEC said "the prior record high temperature at South Pole was recorded on 27 December, 1978," when the mercury hit a high of 7.5F (-13.6C).

The average temperature in December at the South Pole is -15.7F (-26.5C), the Weather Underground website reported.

Records have been kept at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole site since 1957. - FOX News.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "The Gateway to Hell" - Iceland's Super-Volcano Katla Threatens To Erupt!

Volcanic eruptions in Iceland are capable of affecting air traffic across Europe, as the Eyjafjallajokull volcano showed by grounding flights for a week in 2010.

Now, recent tremors around the much larger Katla volcano indicate that it may be nearing eruption as well. Experts are concerned that such an event could bring global travel disruptions and flooding from melted glaciers.

WATCH: Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips reports from southern Iceland.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Swarm and Liquefaction in New Zealand - Earthquake Woes Set to Intensify!

The recent swarm of large aftershocks which rocked Christchurch  and knocked out power to thousands of homes has not caused any new damage to the rattled city, however officials believe that the earthquake woes will intensify. In the 10 months after the 6.3 magnitude quake struck Christchurch in February, killing 181, there have been 5025 earthquakes and aftershocks of varying magnitudes.

More than 6500 properties were wiped off the map in Canterbury last year. On the back of a life-changing earthquake in September 2010, the future of several suburbs was uncertain heading into 2011. Bexley appeared beyond repair, Brooklands was in bad shape and other areas in the east and along the Avon and Heathcote rivers sustained significant land damage. Across the bridge in the Waimakariri District, the effects were just as severe in parts of Kaiapoi and the seaside settlements of Kairaki and Pines Beach. Their fates were sealed after big quakes struck in February and June. In somes cases, it took months to get definite answers, while thousands are still waiting to hear more than 15 months after the first shake. New terminology was added to the vernacular and became a popular conversation starter for Cantabrians.

Liquefaction, a subterranean threat largely known only to scientists and city planners, became a well-used word. Homeowners cursed the word as they shovelled sandy silt by the tonne up to four times.A government announcement on land in June categorised properties into three zones – red, orange and green. The red zone proved the death knell for large areas of Bexley, Avonside, Avondale, Burwood, Kaiapoi and Brooklands. Port Hills homes were zoned separately because of stability and rockfall problems and about 500 properties were deemed too dangerous to occupy. Sections of hillside land may also be too difficult or too expensive to repair. The Government offered to buy the land, and in some cases homes, on written-off properties. It is not known what will happen to the thousands of hectares after the houses are cleared. So far, more than 5230 red-zone property owners have received offers from the Government.

Of those, more than 750 have selected option one – selling their home and land to the Government – while more than 1800 have selected option two – selling only their land. The buyouts revealed winners and losers, with reports of equity losses of up to $150,000 on some properties. Many homeowners were happy to escape their broken houses; others were distraught at the prospect of abandoning their homes and communities, while some simply refuse to leave. Patience turned to frustration over a perceived lack information and action, which led to the creation of several powerful advocacy and action groups. The Canterbury Communities' Earthquake Recovery Network was formed from a collective of residents' groups, while the more outspoken Wider Earthquake Communities' Action Network organised a series of rallies and protests.

Another blow was dealt two days before Christmas when a swarm of quakes caused more liquefaction in the east. It capped a forgettable year for those waiting to move and created more woes in areas zoned green but which suffered fresh land damage. Heading into 2012, many issues are set to intensify. Insurance wrangles, rising land prices and land zoning will be among contentious points as significant strides are expected to be made towards the region's recovery. Of most concern is that about 3000 properties remain in limbo. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has said the orange and white zones are "high priority", and affected residents will be hoping for a belated Christmas present. - Stuff.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Sakurajima Continues Its Record-Breaking Activity - 996 Eruptions in 2011, the Most Since 1955!

Mount Sakurajima, an active volcano in southwestern Japan, explosively erupted 996 times in 2011, the most since record keeping began in 1955, the local meteorological observatory said Sunday.

At the 800-meter Showa crater, which erupted in June 2006 for the first time in 58 years, 994 eruptions were observed last year. Two eruptions were observed at the Minamidake vent, at about 1,000 meters elevation, the Kagoshima Meteorological Observatory said.

The observatory warned the volcano in the middle of Kagoshima Prefecture is becoming increasingly active. But eruptions at the Showa crater are relatively small and no signs of imminent large eruptions have been observed, it added. Mt. Sakurajima erupted 548 times in 2009 and 896 times in 2010, breaking the previous record of 474 times in 1985 for three consecutive years through 2011. The Japan Meteorological Agency defines an explosive eruption as one accompanied by an explosive release of gas, ash or rock. - MDN.
WATCH: Sakurajima erupts violently.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Bizarre and Extreme Weather Hits Australia - The Hottest New Year For More Than A Century, Authorities Warns of Bushfires and Grass Fires in Adelaide and Melbourne, Fears Lightning Could Spark Victoria Fires, Storms in Southern Australia,...!

Blackouts and fires have marked South Australia's first heatwave of the summer with Adelaide sweltering through its HOTTEST NEW YEAR FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY. The city was sweating after four days with the temperatures in the high-30s or hotter, including two days above 40C. The weather bureau says a cold front is expected to sweep across the state this evening, dropping the city's forecast temperature to a more manageable 25c.

People driving between Adelaide and Melbourne have been warned of grass fires which could trap them in their cars. Fire authorities have warned people driving between Adelaide and Melbourne to delay travel if possible because of the extreme fire danger. Temperatures are nudging 40 degrees in South Australia and Victoria today, with extreme fire risk warnings issued for large parts of the interstate border. Country Fire Authority deputy chief officer Steve Warrington said there was a high risk of grass fires which could travel quickly and trap people in their cars. "Today specifically, if you're driving from Adelaide to Melbourne, we'd be concerned for those people," he told The Australian Online. "I would prefer people weren't on those roads on a day like today, but I understand that's not practical. "If you're a holiday-maker from Melbourne... you probably haven't thought about it (the fire danger)." An extreme fire danger warning has been issued in Victoria's southwestern region, with a total fire ban declared there as well as in the Mallee, Wimmera, and Central districts. Most of South Australia is also facing severe fire conditions, with a total fire ban in 13 of the state's 15 districts.

The Adelaide metropolitan area is one of the regions spared but an extreme fire danger rating has been declared in the region surrounding the city, stretching from Gawler to Victor Harbor. The state's lower south east corner, including Mount Gambier and Naracoorte, is also facing extreme fire danger. Relief should arrive tomorrow with predicted thunderstorms and showers in South Australian and Victoria. In Adelaide, overnight temperatures hovered around 30, dropping no lower than 29.6 at 4.30am. Melbourne fared better with a low of 20 degrees at the same time. Victorian Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley urged people to take extra care amid the extreme fire conditions. "These couple of days are going to really dry the state out that will see us set the fire conditions for January and February," he told the ABC. "People just need to be really conscious about the weather conditions and where they are."

Sydney is forecast to reach 26 today and 28 tomorrow, ahead of a possible storm on Wednesday. Brisbane can expect 28 degrees today and tomorrow, while Perth will bask in 31-degree heat before reaching 36 on Wednesday. The extreme fire danger warning in southwestern Victoria includes the southern Grampians and the communities of Apollo Bay and Warrnambool, among others. A severe fire warning applies to the central district and Victoria's northwestern regions, and the rest of the state is rated for a very high or high fire danger. Mr Lapsley warned people who might be camping to ensure they met fire ban conditions. "There are lots of examples where fires have actually started from an old campfire," he said. - The Australian.
South Australia is sweltering with the hottest start to the year in more than a century as a hot air mass which can sear vegetation moves across the state and into Victoria. The weather system is dragging heat from central Australia with it and causing humidity to plummet. Weather conditions are so extreme that South Australia's power distributor cut electricity to some communities to prevent bushfires yesterday, and it has not ruled out doing the same again today. Yesterday's power cuts meant that South Australia's holiday haven towns on the state's southern coast sweated through the soaring temperatures without the comfort of power to provide some relief. ETSA Utilities (Electricity Trust of South Australia) has defended the decision to cut off power to Victor Harbour and surrounding areas. Spokesman Paul Roberts says ETSA has the legislative authority to cut power supplies when winds and heat combine to form a bushfire threat. "We take very seriously the decision to turn off power," he said. - Yahoo Australia.
Cool relief from Victoria's heat wave is on the way but authorities fear lightning strikes accompanying the change could spark more fires.

The warning comes as Melbourne endures another hot day, with the mercury tipped to hit 35 degrees and high fire danger in place across the state. In the past 24 hours, firefighters have battled about 100 fires statewide, including three significant ones. All fires are now under control but authorities fear lightning over the next 24 hours could start new blazes. The northern Victorian region is facing a day of severe weather and very high fire danger with the temperature expected to hit 41 degrees in Echuca, 40 in Shepparton and 37 in Bendigo. Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said a weather change would move through the state on Tuesday, with lightning storms that may spark fires. - Yahoo Australia.
WATCH: City Swelters.

EXTREME WEATHER: United Kingdom Met Office Warns - Severe Storms Set To Batter Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland! UPDATE: Heavy Winds Trash Houses, Roads, Trees and Planes Across the United Kingdom - Met Office Issues Red Weather Warning!

Fierce storms are set to batter Britain with winds of up to 85mph and heavy rain expected to cause traffic chaos as commuters return to work and school.

The latest round of unsettled weather will add more misery to the January blues as people return to work after the Christmas and New Year holidays. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across nearly every region of the UK and said that powerful gusts of wind could cause travel disruption during the morning rush hour. Transport minister Keith Brown said travellers should make the necessary preparations and follow police advice.

Forecasters have told those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to be prepared, while localised flooding and a marked drop in temperature is expected for parts of Wales and north west England. Scotland is braced for the harshest weather conditions, with the Met Office issuing warnings for both snow and wind. But it is unlikely that any area will escape higher winds than normal. "Overnight a deep area of low pressure will head in off the Atlantic and this will bring stormy conditions to the UK," said Sky weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar. "The rain looks to be very heavy in places with exceptionally high rainfall totals.

"The winds will strengthen with gales and damaging gusts. There will be a brief frost across eastern parts of the UK before the rain arrives. "On Tuesday, the storm will move through Scotland with gusts up to 75-80mph. Southern Scotland currently looks at highest risk, but this risk could extend a little further into Argyll, the Highlands and Aberdeenshire. "Further south, gusts will still be strong at around 55-60mph. "The rain will clear south eastwards with the risk of some hail, sleet and hill snow briefly. "Once this rain clears through there will be sunshine and showers for many areas, but the showers will be heavy at times and wintry over the hills in the north."

Weather experts predicted a marked drop in temperature on Monday, with the unusually mild conditions that prevailed over Christmas and the New Year making way for more seasonal mercury readings. Temperatures were expected to reach around 8C in London and could fall to as low as 4C on Monday night, compared with a high of 14C recorded on Sunday. Issuing a yellow warning for strong winds and heavy rain, the Met Office said: "A spell of wet and very windy weather will affect the UK during Tuesday. "The public should be aware of the possibility of disruption, including to travel, due to strong winds on Tuesday morning in most parts and during the afternoon across north-eastern Scotland. "A spell of heavy rain will also affect many regions, with a risk of localised flooding over parts of Wales and north-west England." - Sky News.
UPDATE: Heavy Winds Trash Houses, Roads, Trees and Planes Across the United Kingdom - Met Office Issues Red Weather Warning!

Heavy winds have caused widespread damage and disturbances across the United Kingdom, with gusts of almost 100mph in Scotland. At the Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey, a light aircraft was overturned while part of a grandstand roof was ripped off at Epsom Racecourse. In Tunbridge Wells, a man was killed when his van was crushed by an oak tree. An elderly couple had a narrow escape after a tree fell on their house in Chipstead, Kent, early in the morning. It only just missed the bedroom where they were sleeping. The Met Office issued a Red Weather Warning for the winds on Tuesday morning as the low pressure system tracked to the northeast.

WATCH: Storms wreak havoc across the UK.

WATCH: Winter storm blasts the UK.

WATCH: Fierce storms gather across UK.

WATCH: High winds force incoming plane to turn back at Aberdeen.

WATCH: Winds thrash houses, roads and planes across the UK.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Indonesia Sinking - Floods Affect 40,000 People Following the Collapse of Three River Levees in Central Java!

Some 40,000 people living in around 11,000 homes have been affected by floods in Central Java, following the collapse of three river levees, local media reported on Monday.

Levees in Ciapit, Bancang and Kabuyutan had apparently collapsed, resulting in flooding in dozens of villages in Brebes, Central Java, as reported by kompas.com. The news media also reported that a one-kilometer stretch of road in the regency connecting Semarang to Jakarta was also flooded, causing heavy congestion on Sunday, particularly from the Semarang area. Residents required logistic assistance and heavy equipment to repair the Kabuyutan river levee. Two other levees are also in need of repair. Indonesia is prone to heavy downpours and floods from November to April. - Phil STAR.

EXTREME WEATHER: Raging Wildfires Shutdown Chile's Torres del Paine National Park - Over 14,000 Acres Have Been Destroyed! UPDATE: Chile's President Declares 'Catastrophe Zones'!

Wildfires have forced the closure of Torres del Paine National Park in the Chilean Patagonia, a major tourist destination.

The blazes have consumed over 14,000 acres despite the efforts of 120 fire-fighters.

The national weather service predicted winds of up to 56 miles an hour on Friday hampering efforts to control the blaze.

In Santiago, Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said the fire was most likely started by a person.

"It's very uncommon that a fire starts in this area except for by human action," he said.

The park, which receives thousands of visitors every summer for hiking and camping, was forced to close to tourists on Friday.

Chile is sending another 67 fire-fighters and 50 soldiers as reinforcement while the country's Air Force is also providing a helicopter to join four planes already working in the area. - Telegraph.
WATCH: Wildfires in Chile.

UPDATE: Chile's President Declares 'Catastrophe Zones'!

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera has declared "catastrophe zones" in three regions devastated by wildfires that have killed one man, destroyed more than a hundred homes, and burned thousands of hectares of forest.

WATCH: Chile's president declares 'catastrophe zones'.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Official - 4 Ohio Fluid-Injection Wells Cannot Open in Wake of Earthquake, Ohio Geologist Says More Tremors Are Possible!

State leaders have ordered that four fluid-injection wells in eastern Ohio will be "indefinitely" prohibited from opening in the aftermath of heightened seismic activity in the area, an official said.

Officials have shut down fluid-injection wells in eastern Ohio in
the aftermath of heightened seismic activity in the area.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer had announced on Friday that one such well -- which injects "fluid deep underground into porous rock formations, such as sandstone or limestone, or into or below the shallow soil layer," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explains -- was closed after a series of small earthquakes in and around Youngstown. Then on Saturday, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck that released at least 40 times more energy than any of the previous 10 or more tremors that had rattled the region in 2011. Andy Ware, deputy director of Ohio's natural resources department, told CNN on Sunday that Zehringer and Gov. John Kasich subsequently ordered that four nearby injection well projects will not open in the coming weeks, as had previously been planned. They 'll be inoperational until a determination is made in an investigation of a possible link between the earthquakes and the fluid-injection wells, he added. "They will (not open) until we are satisfied that the process can be safely resumed," said Ware.

Such disposal wells act as a disposal for waste fluid that is a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. That technology involves injecting water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground at high pressure to crack the shale and allow the oil or gas to flow. Last Friday's order affecting the first well in Youngstown came six days after a magnitude 2.5 earthquake that struck that area around 1:24 a.m. on December 24. After Saturday's larger earthquake, scientists recommended that operations stop at all wells within a 5-mile radius of that original site. "We need to get more information," Ware said. The epicenter for Saturday's tremor was 5 miles northwest of Youngstown, 6 miles southeast of Warren and 55 miles east-southeast of Cleveland, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. According to the preliminary estimate, the earthquake struck 1.4 miles deep. There was a lot of shaking "and a rumbling sound," said Jimmy Hughes, a former Youngstown police chief running for sheriff of Mahoning County. "I could see the house move. ... It seemed like the ground was moving. "

Ohio is far from the edges of Earth's major tectonic plates, with the nearest ones in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the U.S. Geological Survey explains on its website. Still, there are many known faults in this region, with the federal agency noting that it is likely there are additional "smaller or deeply buried" ones that haven't been detected. While earthquakes are not unprecedented in the area, the rate of them in the past year has been unusual. That fact led Zehringer, the Ohio department head, to act late last week. "While conclusive evidence cannot link the seismic activity to the well, Zehringer has adopted an approach requiring prudence and caution regarding the site," the natural resources department said Friday in a press release, explaining its decision to shut the first well. Ben Lupo -- CEO of D&L Energy, an independent natural gas and oil exploration, production and marketing group that is affiliated with the first well that was closed -- recently told CNN affiliate WKBN that there's full cooperation with experts, though he expressed grave doubts that the injection wells were to blame for the quakes. "We have approximately 1,000 wells between Ohio and Pennsylvania and we've never had a problem ... with an earthquake or spill," Lupo said.

Dr. Won-Young Kim, one of the Columbia University experts asked by the state to examine possible connections between fracking and seismic activity, said that a problem could arise if fluid moves through the ground and affects "a weak fault, waiting to be triggered." He explained the underground waste "slowly migrates" and could cause issues miles away, adding that the danger could persist for some time as the fluid travels and seeps down toward the fault. "In my opinion, yes," the recent spate of earthquakes around Youngstown is related to a fluid-injection well, Kim stated -- though there has been no definitive determination, by the state or other authorities, indicating as much. There have been "moderately frequent" reports of earthquakes in northern Ohio since the first recorded one was reported in 1823, the federal agency noted. A 1986 tremor, measuring magnitude 4.8, caused some damage. Another in 1998 measured a 4.5 and was centered in northwest Pennsylvania. - CNN.
Meanwhile, an Ohio geologist is forecasting that more earthquakes are possible.

Rich Stottlemire of Girard said the cracks in his garage weren't there before Saturday's earthquake. "It's a very aggressive crack right through the foundation." There's more just outside of his front door. "It's kind of scary, it's actually the little things that you know people need to look at," he said. Seismologists determined the epicenter of the earthquake to be less than a tenth of a mile from D & L Energy's brine fluid injection well in Youngstown, which was voluntarily shut down Friday. This earthquake marked the 11th in the Valley since March, all of them within two miles of that well. "This idea that humans injecting fluids can cause earthquakes is not new," says Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, a professor of geology at Youngstown State University. He said it's happened in other parts of the country. "What happens is the water acts as a lubricant so they are pumping water down at about 9,000 feet, and it was working it's way down in and it wound up serving as a lubricant, which then reduced the friction and we had the earthquake. This isn't the first time. About 300 million years ago when the rocks at Mill Creek Park were deposited, it's thought that these ancient faults were activated then and now they're being reactivated today." Following Saturday's earthquake, Governor John Kasich issued a ban on all injection well operations within a five-mile radius of the Youngstown D & L well. That ban will remain in effect until O.D.N.R. can further assess the situation. We contacted the C.E.O. of D & L Energy to see if he wanted to comment. He told us he's personally meeting with O.D.N.R. officials later this week and will make a statement once he himself has more information. - WYTV.