Thursday, March 15, 2012

FIRE IN THE SKY: Mystery Fireball Lights up the Skies in Victoria and Tasmania, Australia!

A fiery meteor has lit up the sky over Victoria and Tasmania. The object, described as a glowing red fireball moving horizontally across the sky about 10.45pm (AEDT) on Sunday, was an unusual sight for this time of year, according to astronomer David Reneke.

Observers say the meteor was visible for about 20 seconds. Professor Reneke says he and his colleagues are at a loss to explain the timing and exact nature of the meteor. It may have been a slow-moving piece of rock that ignited or a piece of space junk, he said. "It's unprecedented, we don't seem to be in a meteor shower period at the moment," Professor Reneke said.

"(Fireballs) tend to be very slow moving and they travel more horizontally than vertically... if you ever see one, they stick in your mind for the rest of your life."  Professor Reneke says he has received dozens of reported sightings from across Victoria and Tasmania. Social network site Twitter was abuzz on Monday with reports of the meteor. The phenomenon comes after a fireball was reported in skies over the United Kingdom on Saturday, with police inundated with calls from concerned residents, The Guardian reports. It is impossible to be sure if the sighted meteors in the UK and Australia are the same, Professor Reneke says. - 9NEWS.

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

Here are several of the latest unidentified flying objects (UFOs) seen recently across the globe.

Santiago Air Base, Chile
- 4th of November, 2010.

Fort Myers Beach, Florida - March, 2012.

Murmansk, Russia - March, 2012.

Australia - 10th of March, 2012.

New York - 12th of March, 2012.

Belleview, Florida  - 11th of March, 2012.

Homestead, Florida - February, 2012.

Phoenix, Arizona - 13th of March, 1997.

Chelyabinsk, Russia  - February, 2012

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - New Activities and Unrest From March 7th to 13th!

The following constitutes the new activity and unrest report from the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program.

The Bezymianny volcano.
BEZYMIANNY Central Kamchatka (Russia) 55.978°N, 160.587°E; summit elev. 2882 m
KVERT reported that a strong explosive eruption from Bezymianny was detected by seismic instruments on 9 March. Ash plumes rose to altitudes of 3.5-5 km (11,500-16,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE. During the most intense phase of the eruption ash plumes from pyroclastic flows rose to an altitude of 8 km (26,200 ft) a.s.l. Satellite imagery showed the plume drifting 700 km NE. Ashfall was reported in Ust-Kamchatsk Village (120 km ENE). Later that day activity decreased significantly and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange. During 9-13 March strong gas-and-steam emissions were noted, a viscous lava flow effused onto the lava-dome flank, and a thermal anomaly continued to be detected in satellite imagery. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange on 14 March. Map

CLEVELAND Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that a small explosion from Cleveland was detected at 1905 on 7 March by distant seismic stations and infrasound arrays. Weather conditions prevented the detection of a possible eruption cloud in satellite images or by visual observation of the summit. Another small explosion was detected at 1605 on 9 March and again weather conditions prevented observations. No other activity was detected during 11-13 March. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange. No current seismic information was available because Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic network. Map

IJEN Eastern Java (Indonesia) 8.058°S, 114.242°E; summit elev. 2799 m
CVGHM raised the Alert Level for Ijen from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) on 12 March because of increased seismicity and visual observations. On 10 March scientists observed some plant damage around the crater lake and a 10-m-wide area of disrupted water on the crater-lake surface. Map

ILIAMNA Southwestern Alaska 60.032°N, 153.090°W; summit elev. 3053 m
AVO reported that earthquake activity had steadily increased at Iliamna during the past three months. On 9 March AVO increased the Alert Level to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow. The report noted that the current activity was characterized by numerous earthquakes that had varied in their number and magnitude over the past week. Map

LAMONGAN Eastern Java (Indonesia) 7.979°S, 113.342°E; summit elev. 1651 m
CVGHM reported that during 1 February-9 March diffuse white plumes rose at most 20 m above Lamongan. Seismicity increased on 23 February, then fluctuated in intensity through 7 March. Seismicity increased significantly on 8 March and tremor was recorded continuously the next day. CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 9 March. Residents and tourists were prohibited from going within a 1-km-radius of the active crater. Map

MARAPI Sumatra (Indonesia) 0.381°S, 100.473°E; summit elev. 2891 m
According to a news article from 5 March, several eruptions from Marapi produced ash plumes during the previous week. An ash plume rose 1 km above the crater on 4 March and drifted 10 km S. A representative from CVGHM noted that the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Map

NEVADO DEL RUIZ Colombia 4.895°N, 75.322°W; summit elev. 5321 m
INGEOMINAS reported a significant increase in seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz during 5-11 March. On 8 March scientists aboard an overflight observed a gas plume that rose 1.4 km above Arenas crater, originating from multiple emission sources and thermally anomalous areas within the crater. They noted ash deposits on the glacier, near the crater rim and on the E flank, likely from an explosion on 22 February. Later that day a small explosion detected by the seismic network produced an ash emission that was observed with a camera installed in La Piranha (NW). Increased sulfur dioxide emissions were also detected. Fieldwork revealed ash deposits at the headwaters of Gualí River, SW of Arenas crater. Map

TUNGURAHUA Ecuador 1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m
IG reported that, although visual observations of Tungurahua during 6-11 March were sometimes limited due to cloud cover, steam plumes were noted on 6 and 8 March, and a gas-and-ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater was observed on 7 March. Slight ashfall was reported in Choglontus (13 km WSW) on 7 March. An ash plume rose 1 km above the crater on 11 March and drifted SE. Lahars descended the Chacauco (NW) and Mapayacu (SW) drainages. The next day seismicity increased and an ash plume rose 2-3 km above the crater that drifted W and SW. During 12-13 March ashfall was reported in Choglontus and Manzano (8 km SW). Map
For the complete list of ongoing volcanic activity and additional geological summary, click HERE or select the specific volcano name below for additional details:

ONGOING ACTIVITY: Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Kizimen, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, Central Chile | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | Santa María, Guatemala | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Villarrica, Central Chile

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Highly Unusual Week-Long Heat Wave Across America - Warm Spells Breaks 138 Records, More on the Way!

It feels like May in March, and that means plenty of temperature records are being broken this week, including 138 sites across the  Midwest and Northeast on Tuesday. Dozens more areas were expected to set records on Wednesday, when temperatures in some places could be 35 degrees above normal.

Records set Tuesday included 85 degrees Fahrenheit in Russell, Kan., 5 degrees warmer than its previous record in 1997 for a March 13, the National Climatic Data Center reported. St. Louis, Mo., also set a new daily high at 83 degrees, 3 degrees more than in 2007 and the second straight day with a record. Even Burlington, Vt., got a piece of the action, posting 67 degrees -- 5 degrees higher than its previous record back in 1946. As for Wednesday, "readings may be as much as 35 degrees above normal," the National Weather Service said in an advisory. The service said the warm spell should last into the weekend, while expected at least 60 cities and towns to post new records on Wednesday. "It's almost like we skipped winter and now we're going to skip spring too," said Gino Izzi, a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Chicago office. Izzi said the weather pattern is a random but normal fluctuation. A jet stream moving north to south on the West Coast is pushing an opposite, seesaw effect in the rest of the nation. Atmospheric patterns, including the Pacific phenomenon known as La Nina, have kept cold air bottled up over Canada and contributed to the warmer winter in snow-accustomed parts of the continental U.S.
Tuesday's warm weather raised some concerns, including upping the risk of wildfires. The unusually warm, dry and windy conditions prompted six North Dakota counties to declare fire emergencies and institute burn bans. In Minnesota, golfers greeted the sunshine at the Eagle Valley Golf Course in suburban St. Paul as it opened Tuesday — weeks earlier than last year. "We're hoping this is a sign of good things to come," head golf pro Dan Moris said. In Chicago, the ice rink was empty at iconic Millennium Park. Nearby, new city residents Katie and Chris Anderson said they were surprised by the weather because of Chicago's legendary cold winters. "I was really nervous about moving here," Katie Anderson said. "We expected the worst," her husband added. In downtown Washington, D.C., most of the benches at a local park were filled with people enjoying the weather Tuesday. Taylor Jantz-Sell, a government employee, planned to do some reading. "This is my favorite time of year, watching the blossoms come out," she said, adding that she had seen daffodils and crocuses, and ran to work Tuesday morning because of the weather. "It's a sign of good things to come," she said. - MSNBC.
WATCH: Spring Fever, USA.

Read more HERE, as Jeff Masters of Weather Underground examines the exceptional weather, seen so early in the year in the United States.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia Government Prepares a Whopping 2.5 Billion Dollars in Anticipation of Volcanic Eruptions!

>Indonesia's East Java Provincial Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) head, Sudharmawan, has confirmed that Rp2.5 billion has been allocated to anticipate the eruption of Mt Semeru and Mt Lemongan in Lumajang as well as Mt Ijen at the border of Banyuwangi and Bondowoso regencies.

“The fund is ready to be cashed anytime,” he told Tempo yesterday.

The agency is also preparing personnel at the areas near the three mountains. At each site, 150 volunteers have been deployed since Monday.

Local residents near Mt Semeru and Mt Ijen have been attending training to anticipate the eruptions for the past year. BPBD Lumajang is also conducting similar training for people near Mt Lemongan.

According to Sudharmawan, the East Java BPBD has disaster documents in the three areas that outline management patterns before, during and after the eruption. The evacuation track, refuge sites and logistic preparations are also included in the document. - Tempo Interactive.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: White-Nose Fungus That Has Killed Nearly 7 Million Bats Reaches Alabama - Biologists Are Stunned!

A relentless disease that has killed nearly 7 million bats is now in Alabama, a cradle for millions of endangered gray bats. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced Wednesday that lab tests confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome, found on bats in the Russell Cave complex in Jackson County.

Map shows the extent of the pandemic.
The news dashed the hopes of some wildlife biologists who thought the cold-craving disease would never reach so far south. Six years have passed since the disease, linked to an aggressive fungus called Geomyces destructans, was first detected at Howes Cave near Albany, N.Y. In Northeast states, the mortality rate for some species of bats has stood at about 100 percent. Officials are worried that the common little brown bat, the northern long-eared bat and the tricolored bat will not survive. In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report saying up to 6.7 million bats had been killed by white-nose syndrome in about 12 states and four Canadian provinces. White-nose was detected in Alabama on March 2 and confirmed days later, officials said. Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia have a vast network of caves and a wide variety of bats. State wildlife biologist Keith Hudson called Alabama the Grand Central Station for the endangered gray bat. “The largest winter cave is here. The largest summer cave is here,” said Hudson, who studies bats for the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “If white-nose syndrome impacts gray bats as it has done other cave-dwelling bats, it will devastate the species.”

“Alabama marks the southernmost confirmation of the disease to date,” said Ann Froschauer, a national spokeswoman for Fish and Wildlife’s efforts to stop white-nose. “We had it in North Carolina and Tennessee prior to this. The response community has been sort of hoping the disease wasn’t going to progress the same way into the southeast and western direction.” Gray bats gather in huge concentrations, up to a million in a cave, Froschauer said. Unlike most bats, they remain in caves through the year.

Building development and other human activity greatly reduced their numbers, but recently the gray bat has made a comeback, Froschauer said. There was some talk of removing the bat from the endangered species list. “If you can imagine the disease getting into a site with a half-million or a million bats, that would really be devastating,” Froschauer said. “The impact on our agricultural area . . . may be . . . exponential . . . down the road, in terms of the economic services that these bats provide.”
Bats are a top nocturnal predator, eating night-flying insects that feed on agricultural crops. A pregnant female consumes her weight in bugs each night. A single colony of 150 brown bats can eat enough adult cucumber beetles to prevent the laying of eggs that would result in 33 million rootworm larvae, according to a study cited by Bat Conservation International. Bats probably save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion each year, or approximately $74 per acre for the average farmer, according to studies. No bats in Alabama have been found dead from the disease, but that outcome is feared. “We are very concerned about white-nose syndrome and its impact on Alabama bats,” Hudson said. “We will do everything practical to manage this, with the understanding that not a whole lot can be done.” Hudson said that although other biologists are surprised to see the disease in Alabama, he’s not. “I think all of us thought it was just a matter of time before it got here,” he said. - Washington Post.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL and the GREAT DELUGE: The Sinking of Indonesia - Widespread Floods and Landslides; Large Waves Reaching up to 7 Metres High!

Here are several stories out of Indonesia, largely ignored by the mainstream, of widespread flooding and landslides:

Beach Jepara district, Jepara, Central Java last week was hit by two high tides and strong winds make the fishermen around the fear of going to sea for fishing. High waves have swept over a week. Wave height varies 3 meters to 5 meters. "High waves, that are here to 3 m," said Hadi Sholikul, fishermen Mlonggo, Jepara, Wednesday (14/3). - Media Indonesia.
Fishermen in the southern coast of Tasikmalaya regency, West Java, the difficulty of going to sea due to high waves and strong winds since last week. As a result, the income of fishermen has fallen dramatically. "The waves in the ocean can reach a height of 4 meters. With 15 PK boats, it is impossible to conquer the waves as high as that," said Aman (29), fishermen from Pamayangsari, District Cipatujah, Tasikmalaya district, Thursday (03/15/2012). Safe to say, high waves and strong winds have occurred since last week. It is like completing a series of bad weather at sea since the beginning of 2012. - Kompas.
High waves in the ocean waters south of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) currently reaches seven meters and is very dangerous for the activity in the sea. Wave height was triggered by the movement of strong winds and occasional large-scale rotating with up to 100 degrees at speeds of 55 kilometers (km) per hour. Head of Meteorological Observation Station Class II Syaiful Hadi El Tari Kupang Kupang on Thursday (15/3), said it would be very disturbing wave of traffic to the boat and cruise ships in the area waters. "There is a recent development in the territorial waters of the ocean waves NTT. Currently reaches seven-meter high waves. This is very dangerous for the safety of shipping," he said via text message. Wave height is also triggered by the rains that occurred last week with moderate to heavy intensity that swept across the province. - Media Indonesia.
Rain and high winds that occurred four days later at the North Central Timor (TTU), Nusa Tenggara Timur caused flooding almost evenly distributed throughout the region. Access to the three villages directly adjacent to the district Oekusi, Timor Leste, respectively, Village Banain A, B and Banain C Banain closed. Because the two rivers that surround the three villages, never receding, consequently suspended the activities of citizens. Student elementary and secondary teachers and the village could not conduct their activities since the last three days. The absence of a bridge into the main causative factor. "The children have three days off to school and there are some teachers had not taught because of flooding in the two rivers, it's been three days are always full, not afraid to cross the flood swept away later. Things like this have long since to the present government has not made a bridge, "said Paul Kolo villagers Banain C, when the reporter contacted via cell phone, Thursday (03/15/2012). - Kompas.
Flash floods and landslides in the district of Kintamani, Bangli regency, Bali, on Tuesday (13/3), left four people dead. Statement was submitted Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of Information and Public Relations Data Center National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), the Gatranews, in Jakarta, Thursday (15/3). Floods caused by heavy rain the District Continuous Kintamani at 20:15 pm CDT. In addition, the rain also caused landslides in 14 points, 8 points among the total closing access roads and caused traffic jams. As a result of flooding, two people were missing, two people were injured, and 17 households displaced. Disaster site, exactly what happened in the village of Belandingan and dish. - Gatra.
NOTE: Special thanks to Stanislav of the Pole Shift NING for the collection of news articles.

HIGH STRANGENESS: Mysterious Hog Farm Explosions Stump Scientists?!

'We don't have any idea where it came from or how it got started.'

A strange new growth has emerged from the manure pits of midwestern hog farms. The results are literally explosive.

Since 2009, six farms have blown up after methane trapped in an unidentified, pit-topping foam caught a spark. In the afflicted region, the foam is found in roughly 1 in 4 hog farms. There’s nothing farmers can do except be very careful. Researchers aren’t even sure what the foam is. “This has all started in the last four or five years here. We don’t have any idea where it came from or how it got started,” said agricultural engineer Charles Clanton of the University of Minnesota. “Whatever has happened is new.” A gelatinous goop that resembles melted brown Nerf, the foam captures gases emitted by bacteria living in manure, which on industrial farms gathers in pits beneath barns that may contain several thousand animals. The pits are emptied each fall, after which waste builds up again, turning them into something like giant stomachs: dark, oxygen-starved percolators in which bacteria and single-celled organisms metabolize the muck.

Methane is a natural byproduct, and is typically dispersed by fans before it reaches explosive levels. But inside the foam’s bubbles, methane reaches levels of 60 to 70 percent, or more than four times what’s considered dangerous. The foam can reach depths of more than four feet. Disturb the bubbles, and enormous quantities of methane are released in a very short time. Add a spark — from, say, a bit of routine metal repair, as happened in a September 2011 accident that killed 1,500 hogs and injured a worker — and the barn will blow. If it’s easy to see what the foam causes, however, it’s much more difficult to understand what causes the foam. Among the possibilities are new bacterial communities that cause foam to form, or a change to the molecular structure of hog waste — a new foodstock, for example, or a pit-cleaning soap that makes the waste more frothy. Or it could be both factors, or neither. Scientists have so far been stumped by the foam’s patterns
. - WIRED.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mexico’s Popocatepetl Volcano Expels 9 Low-Intensity Exhalations!

The National Center for Disaster Prevention (Cenapred) reported that in the last hours, the volcano Popocatepetl has expelled nine low-intensity exhalations accompanied by emissions of water vapor and gas, and sometimes small amounts of ash.

The body of the Ministry of the Interior (Interior Ministry) reported that the monitoring parameters remain without important changes. He explained that at night, a glow was observed in the crater of the volcano and that for now; there has been a constant emission of steam and gas.

He said the advisory code remains yellow in color phase 2 and the likelihood of prevailing moderate exhalations, some with ash emissions, and sporadic bursts of low to moderate probability of emission of incandescent fragments could be expected within walking distance of the crater.

The Cenapred called for authorities to continue the safety radius of 12 kilometers around the volcano. Civil Protection has been urged to maintain preventive procedures in place, according to their operational plans and that people should keep advised to the latest news bulletins. - Cronica [Translated].

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake Rocks Yazd, Iran!

A 4.4 magnitude earthquake has struck Yazd, Iran on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 09:47:06 AM.

The tremor was located at 31.935°N, 55.834°E.

The epicenter was located approximately at distance of 138 km (85 miles) east of Yazd, Iran; 169 km (105 miles) north of Rafsanjan, Iran; 210 km (130 miles) southwest of Tabas, Iran; and 582 km (361 miles) southeast of Tehran, Iran.

There were no significant injuries or damage reported at this time.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Alert Raised to Yellow at the Lamongan Volcano in Indonesia - First Signs of Unrest in 110 Years!

A new volcano in Indonesia, Lamongan volcano in Eastern Java, is showing signs of unrest: weak steaming from its active crater and increasing earthquakes were reported by Indonesian scientists. The increase in earthquakes started on 23 February and seismicity increased again significantly on 8 March when tremor was recorded continuously the next day.

CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 9 March. Residents and tourists were prohibited from going within a 1-km-radius of the active crater. Lamongan is a small, relatively unknown stratovolcano east of the large Tengger massif (which contains the famous Bromo volcano). It was very active in the 19th century when it produced several lava flows, but has remained more or less silent during the past 110 years. - Volcano Discovery.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.4 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Patrai, Greece!

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has reported a 4.4 magnitude earthquake has struck Patrai, Greece on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 07:40:57 AM.

The tremor was located at 38.640°N, 21.304°E with a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles).

The epicenter was located approximately: 58 km (36 miles) northwest of Patrai, Greece; 100 km (62 miles) northeast of Zakynthos, Greece; 120 km (74 miles) southeast of Ioannina, Greece;  and 225 km (139 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece.

There were no significant injuries or damage reported at this time.