Friday, March 16, 2012

PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.6 Magnitude Earthquake Rumbles Haiti Again!

According to the United States Geological Survey, on March 7th at about 9:51:32 p.m. EDT, a 4.6-magnitude earthquake panicked southern Haiti.

The earthquake was centered 22 miles (37 kilometers) southeast of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince and was about 3 miles (4.9 kms) deep. After the devastating earthquake that left many Haitians traumatized on January 12, 2010, the rattle they felt from this year's earthquake caused some residents to run into the streets in fear that their homes would collapse again. Although the 7-magnitude earthquake killed 314,000 Haitians in 2010, there has been no immediate report of death and serious damages with this 4.6-magnitude earthquake. Marguerite Supre, an 82-year-old Haitian-born U.S. citizen said, "When I first became aware of this earthquake, I got scared and started to panic because of my daughter. I just wanted to know she was safe."

Her daughter Guerdy Ambroise has been in Haiti her whole life. She explained that during the 2010 earthquake she nearly lost her life. "After I felt my house shaking, I ran out into the street not knowing what was going on," said Amboise. After exiting the home, the roof crumbled right into the home. Her mother explained that if it weren't for her prayers and God's grace on behalf of her daughter, she would be dead right now. In this year's earthquake, Amboise immediately left her bed and ran into the street after feeling the rumble. "Because I did not want the roof to cave in again, I left my house as soon as I felt the shaking," said Amboise. Frantz Lamour, the pastor of Holy Church of Grace, a Haitian church in West Palm Beach, was visiting in Haiti while the earthquake happened. "I did not feel the earthquake because I was not in the area where it occurred. But my conference was in Port-au-Prince and most people were still in the tent city that was created from the earthquake in 2010." Although this year's earthquake did not cause any major damages or injuries, Haitians still fear the trauma of 2010's earthquake. Wyclef Jean the founder of the emergency relief charity Yele Haiti Foundation tweeted, "Checking on my people in Haiti after a 4.6 earthquake that just hit a while ago tweet me let me know you ok!" One of his followers retweeted him back saying that he felt it in Port-au-Prince. He then proceeded to say that people should pray, "Not again in Haiti no more earthquakes please God. " - Black PR Wire.


PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Sparks Mall Stampede in the Philippines - Causes Some Damage, Hurting 23 People!

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the southern Philippines on Friday, causing minor damage and a mall stampede that left at least 23 people injured, officials said. Most of the injured were sent home after being treated for minor cuts. Two people who were crushed remained in hospital for observation, said George Tremedal, a hospital doctor.

The quake was centered 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) off Dinagat Island near southeastern Surigao del Norte province, said Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology chief Renato Solidum. No tsunami alert was raised. "It was very strong. You could really feel it. You could see the vehicles moving. I could not control my body as it was moving," said Albert Lancin, a city health official.

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Matugas said 20 people had been hurt in a stampede at a mall packed with shoppers in the provincial capital, Surigao City.

Glass doors shattered and panicked shoppers surged out of the mall, which had only opened Friday. A teacher and two students suffered minor injuries when they were hit by a cable that broke in a public gymnasium, Matugas said.

The Office of Civil Defense said minor cracks were observed in the mall and gymnasium. Matugas said town mayors had been asked to alert village disaster brigades for possible aftershocks. The Philippines is located in the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. - Washington Post.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM & THE EURO ZONE CRISIS: Possible Volcanic Eruption in Greece Could Result in Default?

A volcano on the island of Santorini in Greece seems a bit restless, according to scientists studying the latest data. Monitoring stations on the island indicate the Santorini caldera is awake again and rapidly deforming, said Georgia Tech researcher Andrew Newman.

“After decades of little activity, a series of earthquakes and deformation began within the Santorini caldera in January of 2011,” Mr. Newman said. “Since then our instruments on the northern part of the island have moved laterally between five and nine centimeters. The volcano’s magma chamber is filling, and we are keeping a close eye on its activity,” he added. The volcano, if it should erupt, could possibly present Greeks with tsunamis, say experts. The chamber has expanded by nearly 500 million cubic feet since last January, and could force delays in cruise lines navigating the area. The amount of magma that has been pumped into the chamber is the equivalent of a sphere three football fields across. Scientist warn that the growing caldera could damage ports and disrupt ship traffic. Even if the volcano does not erupt, the shifting caldera could increase earthquake risk, and the island cliffs are vulnerable.

Unlike a 2010 volcano in Iceland that shut down flight between the U.S. and Europe, the Greek volcano would likely not cause widespread flight delays, saving European airlines from one extra headache. An eruption for the nation of Greece is the last thing the indebted nation would likely hope to face. Greek lawmakers are currently considering a number of austerity measures in an effort to meet conditions set by the International Monetary Fund and other institutions involved with providing financial aid for the nation. Greece’s second bailout package can make its debt sustainable, however Athens will have to stick firmly to agreed policies until 2030 and may need more money after 2014, according to lenders. In the event of a massive eruption, it remains unclear how Greek officials would handle the issue, considering funding for addressing the issue remain tightly attached to preconditions.

That said, after months of tortuous and tense negotiations, a second bailout for Greece finally became reality Wednesday when euro zone nations gave their formal approval to the plan and authorized the release of the first multibillion-euro loan installment. The approval paves the path for an extension in aid until further economic aid is necessary. More than 50,000 tourists a day flock to Santorini in the summer months (from May to October). It’s common to see as many as five cruise ships floating above the volcano. An eruption would likely result in a dip in tourism to the island, and to the nation in general. The BBC named the island the world’s best in 2011, citing its breathtaking, cliff side views and sunsets. Santorini is the site of one of the largest volcanic events in human history. The Minoan eruption, which occurred around 1650 B.C., buried the major port city of Akrotiri with more than 20 meters of ash and created Santorini’s famous, present-day cliffs. If a Santorini eruption did occur, Mr. Newman said, it would be nothing like the Minoan eruption of 1650 B.C. that birthed the myth of Atlantis. That eruption was a once-in-100,000-year event, and the expansion of the magma chamber happening now is only 1 percent of what would have gone on prior to the ancient blast.
- Slate.


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: "Inexplicable" Whale and Dolphin Strandings in Ireland On the Rise in 2012!

The rate of cetacean strandings on the Irish coast remains unusually high, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The group's Cetacean Stranding Scheme recorded 162 strandings in 2011 which, while numbers do vary from year to year, was 25-30 more than anticipated.   And already this year the numbers are up on last year's 'inexplicable' records for the first quarter. Some 21 strandings were reported to the IWDG in January alone - the highest ever number recorded for that month, well above the average of 13. February's figures are even more worrying, with 30 strandings reported this year compared to a five-year average of 11.4.

"As we are now well into 2012, it is clear that the numbers have not returned to what we could have considered to be more normal levels," said the group in a statement. There is as yet no explanation, whether a single cause or a number of factors, for what might be causing this significant rise in strandings of both live and dead animals, although one curious clue is "the number of carcasses which had washed ashore with tail fluke/fins apparently cut away".  In other IWDG news, the group recently announced the receipt of £2,000 (€2,400) core funding support from Scottish-based veterinary X-ray firm BCF Technology Ltd, which funds a number of charities through its BCF Foundation. - AFLOAT.


EARTH CHANGES: The Season of the Wind - Cyclone Lua Will Bring Destructive 200km/h Winds to Pilbara Coast!

Tropical Cyclone Lua has intensified to a powerful Category Three storm and is expected to lash the Pilbara coast with destructive winds in excess of 200km/h when it hits land tomorrow.

Tropical Cyclone Lua is heading for the Pilbara coast threatening gales in excess of 200km/h by Saturday.
Communities on the Pilbara and Kimberley coasts are on alert as the cyclone Lua, which currently has 195km/h gales at its centre, intensifies and moves towards land. Skywest has deferred several flights tomorrow due to safety concerns due to the cyclone.  "Skywest flights between Broome, Port Hedland and Denpasar have been reaccommodated due to adverse weather conditions caused by Cyclone Lua," the company said in a statement. International passengers scheduled on flight XR252 departing Denpasar, Bali on Saturday who have been unable to be contacted should be advised they have been re-accommodated to flight XR254 departing Denpasar at 1525 on Sunday and should contact the Skywest Customer Service Centre on 1300 00 66 88 for further details. "All other affected passengers with flights to and from Broome and Port Hedland have been contacted, and as at 5pm today, all other flights scheduled for Saturday 17 March across the Skywest network remain unaffected."

Heavy rain and destructive winds are expected to hit the region and surrounding areas by late Friday or early Saturday, the Bureau of Meteorology tropical cyclone warning centre says. Lua was upgraded to a category 3 system this afternoon as it continues to intensify. It is expected to cross the east Pilbara coast late Saturday morning or early afternoon. At 2pm Lua was estimated to be 460km north of Karratha and 455km north-northwest of Port Hedland moving east-southeast at 20km/h. A yellow alert has been issued to people in communities between Wallal and Whim Creek, including Port Hedland, South Hedland, Warralong, Yande Yarra and Marble Bar. The Bureau's Cyclone Warning said: "Gales are currently being experienced in offshore Pilbara waters and are expected to develop in coastal areas between Whim Creek and Bidyadanga late Friday night.

"Very destructive winds with wind gusts in excess of 200km/h are likely to develop in coastal areas near the centre of  the cyclone during Saturday. Gales are expected to extend to remaining coastal areas between Cape Leveque and Mardie and to inland eastern Pilbara areas during Saturday. Heavy rainfall is expected near the west Kimberley coast and in coastal and inland parts of the east Pilbara. During Saturday and Sunday areas of heavy rain are likely in the east Gascoyne and northern Goldfields. "Residents of Port Hedland and east to Bidyadanga are specifically warned of the very dangerous storm tide expected as the cyclone centre approaches the coast. "Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark with damaging waves and very dangerous flooding. Heavy surf conditions are also expected along the west Kimberley coast during Saturday.'' Remote Pardoo and Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park is in the path of the cyclone. - Perth Now.
WATCH: Forecast for Cyclone Lua.


DELUGE: The Australian Weather Anomalies Continue - More Riverina Residents Told to Evacuate as Flood Waters Rise!

The Murrumbidgee River is expected to flood yet another Riverina town over the weekend with about 1000 people preparing to flee the deluge. The State Emergency Service (SES) has issued an evacuation order for the NSW town of Hay and neighbouring village of Maude with the river's relentless surge forecast to breach the area's flood levee.

Major flooding is expected when the river peaks near 9.0 metres on Tuesday after reaching 8.9 metres on Sunday night - well above the height of the barrier. The SES says residents should leave their homes by midday tomorrow when the river level is expected to exceed 8.1m. "The river is rising at the moment and there will probably be impacts from today onwards," SES spokesman Dave Webber told AAP today. Residents should go and stay with family or friends outside of the evacuation areas, or alternatively attend an evacuation centre at the Deniliquin showground.

In the meantime, SES volunteers are continuing to operate on the ground preparing the area for inundation. "We have a forward command in the Hay area that's doing a lot of planning, we've got lots of volunteers on the ground doing doorknocks, making sure people are informed, and assisting them with the evacuations if required," Mr Webber said. Meanwhile, the SES is hoping to be able to sound the all clear for Darlington point, another town on the banks of the Murrumbidgee. An evacuation order remains in place there but engineers are currently assessing the area's levee. "We are hoping we can issue an all clear once the river gets below 7.2m, but until then the evacuation order is still current," Mr Webber said. "There's rainfall down there at the moment so it depends on how that impacts on the river height.
" - Herald Sun.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Code Orange Alert Level Issued as Karymsky Volcano in Russia Erupts Violently - Throws Ash Column to a Height of Two Miles!


The Karymsky volcano, erupting in Kamchatka, has been awarded the Code Orange threat to aviation, although all routes on the peninsula are stretched so that the planes do not appear in the action zone of active volcanoes.

The height of gases and ash that accompanies the eruption has reached three thousand one hundred meters above sea level. From the slopes of volcano lava precipitates. The volcano poses no danger to the localities.
The Karymsky hill, with a height of 1536 meters, is one of the most active volcanoes in Kamchatka. Its latest eruption began in January 1996 and continues today. - Voice of Russia [Translated].


KVERT reported that during 2-9 March seismic activity from Karymsky continued to be detected and indicated that possible ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3.4 km (11,000 ft) a.s.l. on 3 March. Satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly on the volcano on 2 March. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geologic Summary.
Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed about 7,600-7,700 radiocarbon years ago. Construction of the Karymsky stratovolcano began about 2,000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2,300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been Vulcanian or Vulcanian-Strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions has originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, which is located immediately S of Karymsky volcano and erupted simultaneously with Karymsky in 1996
. - Global Volcanism Program.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: The Washington Monument May be Sinking - Due to the Effects From the August 23, 2011 Earthquake!

The Washington Monument, which is slated for repairs after it was damaged in an earthquake last year, appears to be sinking, according to preliminary data collected by the National Geodetic Survey.

Multiple cracks in the middle of the Washington Monument, from last year's 5.8 magnitude earthquake.
NGS surveyors and the National Park Service are investigating whether the August 23, 2011, earthquake caused the 555-foot stone obelisk to sink or shift. "Our initial observations show a difference of around 2 millimeters at several of the survey markers in the vicinity of the monument," Chief Geodetic Surveyor Dave Doyle told CNN. The Washington Monument was last surveyed in 2009. Since its completion in 1884, data shows it has sunk nearly 2 inches. The monument, the tallest structure in the nation's capital, has been closed since the magnitude 5.8 quake struck the mid-Atlantic region near Richmond, Virginia. The earthquake may be responsible for the monument to have sunk 1 millimeter, while the other millimeter may be a result of normal settling, according to Doyle. "It will still take some time to apply the proper corrections for atmospheric conditions ... to this data and perform a full analysis once the entire survey is completed -- hopefully by the end of next week," Doyle said.
The National Geodetic Survey is expanding the scope of its study to determine whether other national monuments are slipping back into the swampland upon which the nation's capital was built. "The survey plans are being expanded to include observations around the tidal basin to the Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, as well as other areas along the National Mall, including the Smithsonian Institution's Castle building, the U.S. Capitol, and eastward to Union Station," an NGS statement said. Experts are still trying to figure out the best way to address damage found both inside and along the exterior of the Washington Monument, including whether an outside scaffold will be needed. Last fall, structural engineers documenting the impact of the earthquake used a system of ropes and slings to scale all four faces of the structure from top to bottom. David Rubenstein, co-founder of the investment firm The Carlyle Group, has donated $7.5 million toward the repair project. With Rubenstein's donation and congressional funds that were approved in December, Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes said in January there was enough money to begin the repairs. The project should start this summer or early fall, and should take about a year, Hayes said. - CNN.

EXTREME WEATHER: Season of the Winds - More Than 110 Homes Damaged as Tornado Touches Down in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Michigan!

A tornado ripped through a rural Michigan community Thursday, damaging or demolishing many homes, downing trees and power lines, sparking fires and flooding roads.

A dispatcher with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department told Reuters that "there are homes leveled" in Dexter, which is located northwest of Ann Arbor. The Detroit Free Press linked to a YouTube video of a twister. Sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson told The Associated Press that 105 homes were significantly damaged in Dexter and the surrounding area, and 13 were destroyed. Officials said around 200 people were displaced and a temporary shelter was opened at a nearby middle school. Police and fire crews were going door to door to check for any victims. Thunderstorm watches and warnings were in effect for several counties in southeast Michigan, said ClickOnDetroit, the website for NBC station WDIV. There were multiple reports of funnel clouds and two reports of touchdowns in Monroe County, Emergency Management Director Mark Hammond said. There, a funnel cloud moved across the expressway and badly damaged one home and turned over several vehicles. In Washtenaw County, where Dexter is located, the tornado started as a thunderstorm watch, which turned into a thunderstorm warning, then a tornado warning – a series of warnings that extended for an hour and a half. Marc Breckenridge, director of Emergency Management for Washtenaw County, told weather.com that there were no initial reports of injuries. "We've got public safety crews out right now being very thorough to make sure that everyone is accounted for," he added. 

Emergency management officials told NBC News that the county is a "storm-ready community" that has invested in an outdoor weather alarm and that takes storm preparation seriously. Thunderstorms also produced softball-sized hail near Flint, Michigan, weather.com reported. "We've had several large hail reports," meteorologist Amos Dodson added. Forecasters also issued a severe storm watch on Thursday afternoon for parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, warning of possible large hail, wind gusts of up to 70 miles an hour and dangerous lightning in a region raked by deadly tornadoes less than two weeks ago. In Chicago, the official temperature at O'Hare International Airport on Thursday afternoon was 79 degrees, 5 degrees above the previous record for the day, and Indianapolis topped out at 80 degrees, 3 degrees above the old record. Dave Samuhel, a meteorologist at Accuweather.com said the warm air covering much of the country's midsection was helping fuel the storms the Weather Service warned about on Thursday. "It's just so warm that we're seeing thunderstorms pop up like popcorn the way you see it in the summertime," he said. Accuweather.com said the unseasonably warm weather west of the Plains would continue into next week and spread further east into places like New York City, where residents were experiencing a more typical spring day on Thursday as winds out of the northeast kept daytime highs in the 40s
. - MSNBC.
WATCH: Eye-witness capture of the tornado


WATCH: Overhead view of the damage.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon: World's Largest Electronic Payment System to Cut Off Iranian Banks From World Payment System!

The world's largest electronic payment system says it will cut off Iranian banks blacklisted by the European Union, another step in the West's effort to further diminish Tehran's ability to finance its nuclear program.

The Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, said it would comply with an EU order to disconnect designated Iranian financial companies from its messaging system on Saturday at 1600 UTC. Thursday's move follows a decision by the European Council, which represents EU member states, to tighten asset freezes on entities associated with Iran's nuclear activities, which Western powers say aims to produce atomic weapons. Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Swift is a secure private network used by nearly every bank around the world to send payment messages that lead to the transfer of money across international borders. Its chief executive, Lazaro Campos, described the move as "extraordinary and unprecedented." There was no immediate reaction from the Iranian government or the banks involved. Expelling the designated Iranian banks from Swift will shut down Tehran's major conduit for doing business with the rest of the world. The West hopes that will pressure Iran into curbing its nuclear program.

The U.S. Treasury Department welcomed the EU step and Swift's "prompt" response, saying it would further isolate Iran's financial institutions. A senior Treasury official, David Cohen, said "today's action reinforces the isolation of designated Iranian banks from the international financial sector." The U.S. has designated 23 Iranian banks, many of which are also targeted by the EU. But U.S. lawmakers pushing for tougher sanctions on Iran said Swift needs to eradicate all Iranian financial institutions from its network, not just those blacklisted by the West. Nineteen banks and 25 affiliated institutions from Iran made a total of two million cross-border payments using Swift in 2010. They included banks the United States accuses of financing Iran's nuclear program or terrorism - Mellat, Post, Saderat and Sepah. Swift facilitates not only large bank-to-bank transfers, but small ones as well. Many Iranians, including opponents of the current government, live abroad and send small amounts of money to their families in Iran on a regular basis. Such transfers would be blocked. Thursday's step comes ahead of renewed talks on Iran's nuclear program expected next month between Tehran and six major powers. - VOA.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Mystery "Boom" Heard and Felt Across Georgia Region?!

WSAV is looking into reports of a "boom" felt across the Georgia region this morning. We checked with the Chatham Emergency Management Agency and the US Geological Survey. Neither report any tremors in the area.

The National Weather Service says there was no weather related activity in the area. As far as military bases, Hunter, Ft. Stewart and Beaufort Marine Corp Air Station all say it didn't have anything to do with them. However, the Air National Guard says anytime military jets are training off the coast they can cause a sonic boom. And GEMA confirms that they've talked to the military and they do have some reports of training exercises going on.
Here's what some of you had to say on Facebook:  "Malinda Naquin  I'm in Richmond Hill and it sounded like it does when a hard storm is starting up, the roof kind of 'popped' and then the windows rattled. But, it was sunny so I figured it was a sonic boom. We hear Ft. Stewart all the time now, again, but usually that is lower in tone than this was."  "Teresa Gocial too many people from all around felt it, scared the crap outta me shook my house like something slammed into it..nothing like what I normally feel from Ft. Stewart"  "Dee Southworth Hear it and felt it on St. Simons. I thought one of our large live oaks fell near the house. We did more digging and found something called the Seneca Guns.

Here's what the USGS says about the phenomenom: "Earthquake "booms" have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast. Of course, most "booms" that people hear or experience are actually some type of cultural noise, such as some type of explosion, a large vehicle going by, or sometimes a sonic boom, but there have been many reports of "booms" that cannot be explained by man-made sources. No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these "booms" are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby. As it turns out....there are many factors that contribute to the "sound' that an earthquake makes. To begin to understand these factors we have to understand the different types of waves, the speed they travel through the earth, and the speed that sound travels through the air."
- WSAV.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: White Cliffs of Dover Suffer Large Collapse!

Thousands of tons of chalk from the famous White Cliffs of Dover have collapsed into the sea following a huge rockfall.   Tons of cliff-face sheared off near an area known as Crab Bay, but no-one was injured, the coastguard said. The collapse may have been caused by rain over the winter months being absorbed into the chalk and freezing.

The collapse may have been caused by rain over the winter months being absorbed into the chalk and freezing here. It then may have caused cracks which slowly grew over time before huge chunks fell into the sea. Dover Coastguard said a full survey has yet to be carried out to determine the exact amount and length of cliff that crumbled on Friday. A spokesman said: 'We can see the start of it from where we are based but then it goes round the corner. 'It appears that it crumbled from the top at high water so there was no-one down below at the time. It was quite a substantial fall. 'No-one was injured but it does serve as a reminder that if people are walking along the cliff-top or underneath, that the cliff can crumble away.  'Over the years and around the country, including along the coast at Beachy Head in East Sussex, cliffs can fall after water expands when there has been freezing conditions.' The Kent landmark, popularised by Dame Vera Lynn's wartime song, has suffered large rockfalls before, most significantly in January last year.

One local, Will Harding, 22, said: 'I don't think about the drop too much when I'm up there. But when you see it like that it makes you wonder how safe it really is.' Sam Wydymus, 40, co-owner of the nearby Coastguard pub, said the collapse had exposed a new all white section of the cliff which was not covered in moss.  He added: 'We didn't hear anything when it fell but it was big enough for people round here to be talking about it. The last major cliff-fall was in January last year when every emergency service turned up. 'That happened during the day and was quite scary, with people screaming on the beach saying it had fallen. When the cliff does fall, it is quite muted and sounds like a lorry going down the hill. 'There isn't any physical warning beforehand. When it happens, it just happens.' A spokeswoman for the National Trust - which looks after parts of the chalk grassland in the area - said the cliff-fall happened between Langdon Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse. She said: 'To alert walkers, the National Trust has sited several warning signs at several starting points of the walkways on to the cliffs.' - Daily Mail.
WATCH: Large collapse of the White Cliffs of Dover.




FIRE IN THE SKY: Third Fireball Explodes Over Norway This Month?!

Before the dust from the previous meteor had settled down, a new meteor illuminated the night sky over the eastern part of Norway. Tonight's fireball was observed at 00.09.30 on the 14th of March, and was visible for just under 6 seconds, Steinar Midtskogen told Dagbladet.

The astronomy enthusiast had erected a camera that surveys the sky from Voksenlia in Holmenkollåsen. It is so far not possible to determine whether the object burnt up in the atmosphere or if parts of it reached the ground in the form of meteorites.  This one was weaker than the one we saw on March 1st. Whether it produced any meteorite downfall is too early to tell but it is definitely a candidate that should be followed up, according to Midtskogen. More data and searching of footage is needed before it is possible to say anything about its trajectory. Seen from Oslo the meteor was visible in the southwest, possibly over southern parts of Buskerud or Telemark. This is the third large meteor over eastern Norway that has been caught on tape in the last few weeks. In addition to the meteor in the beginning of March, people driving to work in the morning rush-hour saw a similar sight on the 3d of February. Earlier this week it also became known that a meteorite probably went through a roof in Rodeløkka in Oslo. - Dagbladet Nyheter.
A woman out walking her dog on the large grassy hilltop plateau known as Ekebergsletta in Oslo found the second meteorite in as many days in Norway's capital on Tuesday. She said it was better that winning the local lottery.

"I laid awake several hours last night and thought about how lucky I was," Liv Kibsgaard told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday. Her brother, who is a geologist, advised her to be careful with the meteorite, wrap it up "and don't tell anyone right away."  Kibsgaard's discovery of a 700-gram meteorite lying on the grass at Ekeberg followed the discovery of a 585-gram meteorite on Sunday that had crashed through the roof of a cabin in Oslo's Rodeløkka district. Astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard had predicted on Monday that more meteorites could likely be found as well, and he's been proven correct. "There are still probably more pieces lying around waiting to be found, because we can see on these stones that pieces have fallen off as they traveled through the atmosphere," Ødegaard said. "It's just to keep your eyes open. Now there are stones from outer space in Oslo and Akershus." - Nordic Labour Journal.
A Norwegian family was flabbergasted to find that what appeared to be a piece of a meteorite had crashed through the roof of their allotment garden hut in the middle of Oslo, media reported Monday.

The rock weighing 585 grammes (one pound, four ounces), which split in two, probably detached from a meteorite observed over Norway on March 1, experts said, and had landed on the empty hut in the Thomassen family's allotment in a working-class neighbourhood of the Norwegian capital. Astrophysicist Knut Joergen Roed Oedegaard and his wife Anne Mette Sannes, a meteorite enthusiast, identified the object as a breccia, or a rock composed of broken fragments of minerals or rock. - Agence France-Presse.
WATCH: Third fireball over Norway.



CELESTIAL CONVERGENCE: Comet SWAN - Kreutz Sungrazer Evaporates Into The Sun!

The Sungrazing Comet SWAN, discovered last week by SOHO's SWAN instrument, did not survive its plunge into sun, rapidly evaporating as it hits the stellar object.

COMET, DELETED: Sungrazing Comet SWAN, which dove into the sun's atmosphere during the late hours of March 14th, apparently did not survive. In the following 10 hour movie, Comet SWAN enters the solar corona but does not exit again. Comet SWAN was a Kreutz sungrazer, a fragment of the same ancient comet that produced sungrazing Comet Lovejoy in Dec. 2011. Comet Lovejoy famously survived its brush with the sun and put on a flamboyant show after it emerged from the solar fire.

Much depends on the comet's orbit. "We still don't know how close Comet SWAN will come to the stellar surface," says comet expert Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC. "I don't think this comet will make it. We have seen Kreutz comets almost as big as this one that have certainly not [survived]. So the odds are stacked against it." While Comet SWAN was cut from the same cloth, it was a smaller fragment that has completely evaporated.
The CME emerging from the sun's northwestern limb near the end of the movie was not caused by this tiny comet's impact. It is just another eruption of active sunspot 1429.  - Space Weather.
WATCH: Comet SWAN's plunge into the sun.


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursor - "Thousands Upon Thousands" of Jellyfish Invading Australian Gold Coast!

Thousands of jellyfish are invading the canals behind MacIntosh Island in Surfers Paradise.

In a sight that has locals and tourists amazed, the stingers have floated into the waterway, behind Macintosh Island at Surfers Paradise, from the ocean.  "I've never seen anything like it," said Steve Williams, who manages the Capricorn One highrise overlooking the canal.  "There are thousands upon thousands of them that seem to come in every day on the incoming tide and the water has been thick with them .

Many of our guests are from overseas and they're loving it.  "It's a bit of a phenomenon and quite spectacular."  Sea World marine sciences director Trevor Long said it was unusual to see so many jellyfish in the Nerang River.  "It's likely the water is very warm and rich in nutrients which could be luring them into what is quite a nice environment for them," he said.  "There's no need for panic - they won't harm anyone and will get in and out of the river themselves on the incoming and outgoing tides." - Courier Mail.


WEATHER ANOMALIES: Record-Breaking Warm Weather Advances Beginning of Growing Season!

Recent abnormally warm weather has resulted in a very early start to the growing season across the Great Lakes Region and much of the central and eastern USA. The trend towards warmer than normal conditions is not new, with above normal mean temperatures observed across Michigan during much of the period back to the middle of last November. The winter of 2011-2012 (December through February) was the fourth mildest on record.

Projected weather conditions at approximately 5,000 feet above sea level, 8 p.m. on Monday March 19, 2012.
Color contours depict temperature (°C) while winds are expressed in arrow/vector form on grid points in white
(direction of arrow indicates direction, length of arrow depicts velocity). Solid white lines depict general
pressure pattern and air flow.
The prolonged warm spell is the result of a very persistent jet stream configuration across North America that generally prevented cold, arctic-origin air masses from moving out of their high-latitude source regions southward into the central and eastern USA. This left the area under the influence of relatively mild Pacific-origin air masses. The current jet stream pattern, with deep troughing across the western USA and ridging across the east has accentuated the pattern. The result is record-breaking warmth brought northward from the Gulf States on southerly winds.

Looking like a record-breaking March
Characterizing the current warm spell as highly unusual is an understatement, both due to the magnitude of the warmth (recent high temperatures have exceeded 70ºF over many areas of the state) and due to its length. For climatological comparison, normal high temperatures during the third week of March range from the mid-30s far north to the middle to upper 40s south with lows from the mid-teens north to the upper 20s south. Thus, recent temperatures have been running in the range of 20 to 30°F or more above normal. Short- and medium-range forecast guidance strongly suggests a general continuation of the current pattern with warmer and possibly wetter than normal weather likely through the end of the month. A map depicting forecast conditions across North America early next week is given in Figure 1. The upper air trough over western sections of the country, ridging across the Midwest and east, and strong southerly flow all suggest maximum temperatures into the 60s and 70s statewide through at least the middle of next week. Use of the latest forecast information suggests at least the potential for mean temperatures this March to exceed the existing record (1945 in most locations) for warmest on record in the state.

Base 50ºF growing degree accumulations during the ten warmest Marches on record at Benton Harbor, Mich., plus the current month are shown in Figure 2. A projection of accumulations through the end of March 2012 data was obtained with temperature forecasts from latest short- and medium-range National Weather Service forecast guidance, including the assumption that mean temperatures during the last week of the month averaged 10ºF above normal. With these assumptions, the GDD total by the end of the month exceeds 200 units as well as the old historical record of 146 set in 1945 and the normal value of 45. The abnormal warmth already has or will shortly bring most perennial crops and vegetation out of their protective dormant states. Given that this is taking place at least two full weeks or more ahead of normal, and that the relative susceptibility of plant tissue to frost and cold damage generally increases with increasing growth stage, there is an overall elevated risk of cold injury this spring season. - Cattle Network.


WEATHER ANOMALIES: Unseasonal Climate Changes - Early Spring is Bad News For Butterflies!

Butterflies in the Rocky Mountains are likely taking a hit from climate change, according to new research. Lab experiments suggest that Mormon fritillaries, dainty butterflies with gold, orange and brown-flecked wings, are dying off in Colorado's Rockies because earlier snowmelts are killing off the wild flowers they feed on.

A Mormon Fritillary butterfly feeding on an aspen fleabane daisy, a main nectar source.
Long-term data gathered by the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory reveal that snowmelts are occurring earlier in the year, and wildflower and butterfly populations are declining. Now, a group of scientists says they have found a connection among the observed trends. Early, springlike weather may be pleasant for humans, but the mild temperatures can have serious consequences for other organisms. The balmy weather can trick plants into thinking spring has actually arrived, so they begin to bud - only to be killed off by subsequent freezing weather. And when the plants die off, butterflies don't have as much access to nectar, their required food source. And when female butterflies don't eat as much nectar, they don't lay as many eggs, according to laboratory work. The effect is then compounded by an early spring the following year. Mormon fritillaries lay their eggs on plants in the late summer, and die soon after. The eggs are left to overwinter on plants, and caterpillars hatch when summer returns. Yet if warm weather debuts too quickly, the caterpillars are vulnerable in the same way as their plant hosts - a sudden freeze can kill them off.

The combined effects of two consecutive early springs explained four-fifths of the observed changes in the butterflies' numbers, according to a paper published online this week in the journal Ecology Letters. "One climate parameter can have multiple effects on an organism's population growth," Carol Boggs, the study's lead researcher and Stanford University biology professor, said in a statement. "This was previously not recognized for species such as butterflies that live for only one year." Biologists who study monarch butterflies' incredible migrations have found that extreme weather takes a huge toll on the iconic butterflies. Hot, dry conditions in Texas can have negative effects that reach across several monarch generations.  "Long-term studies such as ours are important to understanding the 'ecology of place,' and the effects of weather and possible climate change on population numbers," said David Inouye, a co-author on the paper and a biologist at the University of Maryland. - Our Amazing Planet.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Cleveland Volcano Explodes For the Third Time This Week - Small Ash Eruptions and Growing Lava Dome!

Cleveland Volcano has exploded for the third time in just over a week. 

The latest eruption of the Aleutian volcano Tuesday afternoon was relatively small, according to a release from the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Scientists at the Observatory weren’t able detect an ash cloud associated with this event or either of the other two.  There’s no real-time monitoring equipment on Cleveland. None of the recent eruptions have interrupted air travel in the region. Cleveland’s last major eruption in 2001 sent ash clouds as high as 39,000 feet.  The volcano is on uninhabited Island, about 160 miles west of Unalaska. - Alaska Public.

Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands has had a few small explosive ash eruptions, the last one on 14 March, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports. The lava dome in the summit crater continues to grow slowly and more eruptions are likely. AVO writes: "As long as the volcano remains active, additional explosions are likely. Some may produce ash clouds exceeding 20,000 feet above sea level. These clouds may go undetected in satellite imagery for hours. If a large ash-producing event occurs, seismic, infrasound, or volcanic lightning would likely be detected by local and regional monitoring networks. There is no real-time seismic monitoring network on Cleveland volcano." - Volcano Discovery.


EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Dust Storm Sweeps Through Washington State - Causing a Car Pile-Up, Shutting Down a Major Highway!

A severe dust storm sweeps through Washington state, causing five vehicles to crash on a major road 160 miles south-east of Seattle. State officials closed the road for five hours. One man was taken to hospital for treatment, according to Washington state police.  - Guardian.
WATCH: Scenes of the car pile-up during the dust storm.