Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious Booms Return to Clintonville and They’re Much Louder; USGS Cover-Up?!

Dozens of reports overnight puts the U.S. Geological Survey's ‘earthquake’ explanation in doubt. Police in Clintonville, Wisconsin were flooded with dozens of calls from concerned residents last night after the town was again rattled by a series of booms louder than anything reported to date, despite official assurances that previous reports of the noise were caused by a minor earthquake.

“Clintonville police say they received about 65 calls Tuesday night, from people reporting three or four loud booms. Officials say the calls came in from 10:35 until 11:40 p.m,” reports Fox 11. According to authorities, the booms shook the same part of the town that was hit by a series of similar jolts over the last ten days, but last night residents said they were even louder. The booms occurred closer together and one lasted for a full 30 seconds, according to reports. City officials contacted the USGS in an effort to find answers. “As of now, there is no confirmation by the USGS of any new seismic activity,” reports WBAY, Clintonville City Administrator Lisa Kuss again blamed earthquakes for the booms, despite the fact that seismic events are extremely rare in Wisconsin.

The booms were first reported on the night of Sunday 18th of March and continued for several nights before apparently abating. City officials had hoped to bring closure to the mystery after the US Geological Survey reported that the town had suffered a minor 1.5 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday last week. However, residents reacted with skepticism, noting that the booms occurred before the earthquake and were also felt 80 miles away in a different town, a fact that contradicts the USGS’ assertion that “the 1.5 magnitude quake would have likely only been felt within a few blocks around its epicenter.”
The fact that the booms are continuing to rattle the town will only increase suspicions that the earthquake explanation was merely a cover story for something else. Experts also expressed doubt at the official explanation, with Wisconsin-Madison geophysics professor Clifford Thurber suggesting the booms are originating from only about 100 feet below ground, ruling out the earthquake theory. Speculation as to the true source of the booms has raged. Explanations vary between everything from secret military tunneling to carbon sequestration, which has been known to cause artificial earthquakes in the past. Earthquakes in Wisconsin are extremely rare. The largest took place in 1947 immediately south of Milwaukee, but its magnitude was not recorded. The quake shook buildings but was relatively minor and caused no injuries. For the same area of the town of Clintonville to be hit by two separate earthquakes in the space of a week is virtually impossible, unless the cause is man-made. - Info Wars.
WATCH: The "Booms" Return.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: West Antarctic Ice Shelves Tearing Apart at the Seams - Widespread Rifting and Retreating of the Ice-Shelf Margins?!

The most extensive record yet of the evolution of the shelves in the eastern Amundsen Sea Embayment in shows that their margins, where they grip onto rocky bay walls or slower ice masses, are fracturing and retreating inland. As that grip continues to loosen, these already-thinning ice shelves will be even less able to hold back grounded ice upstream, according to glaciologists at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics (UTIG).

These are rifts along the northern shear margin of Pine Island Glacier (upper right).
Reporting in the , the UTIG team found that the extent of ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea Embayment changed substantially between the beginning of the record in 1972 and late 2011. These changes were especially rapid during the past decade. The affected ice shelves include the floating extensions of the rapidly thinning Thwaites and Glaciers. "Typically, the leading edge of an ice shelf moves forward steadily over time, retreating episodically when an iceberg calves off, but that is not what happened along the shear margins," says Joseph MacGregor, research scientist associate and lead author of the study. An iceberg is said to calve when it breaks off and floats out to sea. "Anyone can examine this region in Earth and see a snapshot of the same we used, but only through examination of the whole satellite record is it possible to distinguish long-term change from cyclical calving," says MacGregor.

The shear margins that bound these ice shelves laterally are now heavily rifted, resembling a cracked mirror in until the detached icebergs finally drift out to the open sea. The calving front then retreats along these disintegrating margins. The pattern of marginal rifting and retreat is hypothesized to be a symptom, rather than a trigger, of the recent glacier acceleration in this region, but this pattern could generate additional acceleration.  "As a glacier goes afloat, becoming an ice shelf, its flow is resisted partly by the margins, which are the bay walls or the seams where two merge," explains Ginny Catania, assistant professor at UTIG and co-author of the study. "An accelerating glacier can tear away from its margins, creating rifts that negate the margins' resistance to ice flow and causing additional acceleration." The UTIG team found that the largest relative glacier accelerations occurred within and upstream of the increasingly rifted margins.The observed style of slow-but-steady disintegration along ice-shelf margins has been neglected in most computer models of this critical region of West Antarctica, partly because it involves fracture, but also because no comprehensive record of this pattern existed. The authors conclude that several rifts present in the ice shelves suggest that they are poised to shrink further. - PHYSORG.
WATCH: Antarctic Ice Shelf Tearing Apart at the Seams.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Experts Baffled by Mysterious Sea Turtle Deaths in Gulfport, Mississippi?!

More than 40 dead sea turtles have washed up on the beaches of Gulfport, Mississippi in recent weeks.

There are a number of factors that could be affecting the sea turtles.
A recent rash of sea turtle deaths on the beaches of Gulfport, Mississippi has left local marine experts baffled and concerned. Moby Solangi, Director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), believes the deaths could be the result of several factors.
"You can't rule anything out, but there are a number of things we have to look at," he says. Sea turtles are extremely sensitive to water temperatures, and unseasonably warm weather may have prompted the turtles to return to the region sooner than they should have.
The IMMS team has been hard at work searching for answers. Solangi says the institute will continue to monitor the numbers, which could drop again. He said they won't know how much damage is done until later in the summer. - The Weather Network.

EXTREME WEATHER: The New Normal - Snow, Drought, Mudslides and Tornadoes Start Off 2012!

Following on the heels of a year that sustained 12 record-breaking $1 billion disasters in the United States, the early months of 2012 continued the extreme weather pattern.

Melody Zollman, left, hugs sister Michelle Browning in what is left of
Zollman's home after a tornado in Henryville, Indiana.
Texas Drought At the end of 2011, most of Texas was in the hold of a severe drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that as of Dec. 27, 2011, more than 84 percent of Texas was considered to be facing severe drought conditions with more than 67 percent facing extreme drought. Rain for some areas of Texas have improved conditions in 2012, but many areas are still facing serious drought issues. As of March 20, the U.S. Drought Monitor has classified more than 56 percent of Texas as being in a severe drought and 36.5 percent of Texas is considered to be in an extreme drought. The people of Texas can only wait and see if there will be an improvement to the drought conditions in the remaining months of this year. California Mudslides A storm system off the coast of California brought snow and rain to many areas during the weekend of March 17-18, 2012. Five mud/rockslides were triggered. "An unusually cold storm dumped up to 2 feet of snow in the highest mountains of Southern California including the Big Bear Ski Resort," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Andy Mussoline. "The lower elevations got heavy rain that combined with scars from previous wildfires may have prompted mudslides." Rock and mudslides occurred on March 17 in Kern, Mariposa, Riverside and San Diego counties. On March 18, there were reports of several rock and mudslides in San Bernardino County. AccuWeather's Violeta Yas has more on the mudslides and road closures in this video report.
Ohio Valley Tornadoes Sixty-one tornadoes from March 2, 2012, have been confirmed by the National Weather Service, including two EF-4s and nine EF-3s. The tornadoes tore destructive paths through 11 states. Before the storm system producing the tornadoes ended, at least 39 people were killed and more than 104 injuries were reported. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged by the tornadoes. Tornadoes have been confirmed in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The EF-4's packing winds of 166-200 mph occurred in Kentucky and Indiana. Indiana was one state that was suffered severe damages from the tornadoes. The town of Henryville was impacted by the EF-4 tornado that nearly leveled every building. Neighboring Maryville was hit by an EF-3 tornado that caused major damage in the town. There were 13 fatalities reported in Indiana. NOAA reported that the tornado in southern Indiana was the strongest to hit the state since May 28, 1996. In the town of West Liberty in Kentucky the EF-3 tornado reportedly damaged at least 8,000 buildings. There were at least five reported fatalities. At least 19 deaths were caused by the tornadoes in Kentucky on March 2. The EF-4 was confirmed in Grant and Kenton counties by the NWS.

Arizona, Oregon and Washington State Snow While the winter was unseasonably warm for much of the U.S., states on the West Coast received some record snowfall in 2012. Flagstaff, Ariz., set a daily snowfall record of 19.5 inches on March 19. There have been 26 inches of snow so far in Flagstaff for March. Portland, Ore., reported 1.5 inches of snowfall between March 17-18. While not a lot of snow, the snowfall is unusual for Portland. "The precipitation came down as rain during the day on the 17th then switched over to snow," said Meteorologist Evan Duffey. "The snow continued overnight before switching back to rain during the day on the 18th." Normal snowfall for the month of March in Portland is only a half of an inch. Seattle, Wash., had snowfall every day between Jan.14-19. Nearly 7 inches of snow fell in the downtown area on the 18th. "South of Seattle on Jan. 18, more than a foot of snow fell from Olympia down through Toledo, Wash.," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. "Centralia recorded 17 inches of snow on Jan. 18 and had a six-day snowfall total of 27.6 inches." - AccuWeather.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Uturuncu Volcano in Bolivia - A New Supervolcano Awakening?

Much media attention has recently been given to speculations about a a "new supervolcano", Uturuncu, a dormant stratovolcano in SW Bolivia, where signs of unrest have been detected by deformation and seismic measurements.

Small holes, known as fumaroles, release extremely hot sulfuric gases into the air near the Uturuncu volcano
in Bolivia. Measurements show the volcano in the Andes has been growing more than half an inch a year
or 20 years — an unprecedented rate, researchers say.
According to scientists around geologist Dr. Shan de Silva from Oregon State University, the ground beneath the volcano is inflating and the magma chamber might be filling. Along with thousands of microquakes, this could indicate a future eruption. A study published in 2008 revealed that between 1992 and 2006, geodetic satellite measurements recorded an ongoing 70 km wide deformation field with a central uplift rate of 1 to 2 cm/yr. This uplift, could be explained by an average magma influx of 1 cubic meters per second from a source at 17-30 km depth into a shallow reservoir. Sediment and stratigraphic studies suggest that the uplift might actually have started at the time, which would mean that the volcano has just started to be at unrest. Persistent seismic activity adds to indications of a possible future awakening of the volcano, which has last erupted 270,000 years ago. The study revealed that there are on average 2.6 earthquakes per hour, with a maximum of 14 per hour, recorded at about 4 km depth below the center of the uplift, 4 km SW of the volcano's summit.

In their paper, Sparks et al (2008) write: "The current unrest, together with geophysical anomalies and 270 ka of dormancy, indicate that the magmatic system is in a prolonged period of intrusion. Such circumstances might eventually lead to eruption of large volumes of intruded magma with potential for caldera formation." In fact, there are some other calderas near Uturuncu, showing that the magmatic systems here have been able to produce large explosive eruptions in the past, which confirms such potential for future eruptions. And if such an eruption is large enough, on the magnitude referred to as super-volcano eruptions, and releases tens to thousands of cubic km of magma, it would have catastrophic effects. However, such scenario needs to be taken with caution. The likelyhood of a supervolcano eruption from Uturuncu in a near future, in our lifetime is probably more than very remote. It is not even known with certainty whether the volcano will erupt at all again, nor whether what is causing the current changes is actually caused by rising magma, nor is it really well understood how supervolcanoes behave; a possibility is that magma cools underneath the volcano and continues to form a plutonic body. If indeed an eruption is to be expected at Uturuncu, it seems unlikely it is going to be in a near future: after 270,000 years, it could as well take and wait a few more 1000 years, until it is ready. - Volcano Discovery.

EXTREME WEATHER: High Wildfire Risk on the Plains - Colorado Wildfire Kills 2, Destroys 5 Homes, Forces Evacuation of 900 Homes!

A lack of precipitation, warmth and increasing winds will elevate the wildfire danger over portions of the Plains into tonight.A storm, also bringing the risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, was tracking along the United States/Canada border.

The storm was creating a strong wind flow and warmth on its southern side. Dry grass and brush in the region, combined with the strong winds would greatly fan the flames of any fires. People are urged to use extreme caution with outdoor power equipment and using open flames in the region. Do not throw burning cigarettes out the car window. Do not park vehicles over tall brush as the hot exhaust can ignite the brush beneath. The weather pattern will deliver much less wind is in store for the entire region later tonight and Wednesday. However, local conditions, especially near existing fires, can cause problematic breezes.
Lower North Fork Wildfire
As of the midday hours this afternoon, the Lower North Fork Fire was raging out of control in Colorado and had consumed at least 4,500 acres of the foothills of the Front Range. The fire in Jefferson County has claimed at least two lives and has forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes about 20 miles southwest of Denver. Over a dozen structures have been destroyed in the blaze. According to the Denver Post, the fire was the result of a smoldering controlled burn set by the Colorado Forest Service last week. Strong winds on Monday, gusting past 50 mph, helped to reignite the fire. Winds in the area were significantly less than Monday, but were still causing problems and were expected to greatly drop off tonight. Much stronger winds existed farther to the east over the Plains today.
- AccuWeather.

WATCH: Devastating Colorado fire.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Turrialba Volcano in Costa Rica Erupts Two Large Gas and Steam Emissions!

Two large steam and gas emissions were spotted Tuesday morning atop the Turrialba Volcano in the province of Cartago, east of San José, authorities from the National Seismological Network (RSN) at the University of Costa Rica said.

National Seismological Network experts will visit the volcano this Thursday.
Turrialba residents said the two gas columns measure nearly 1 km in height and are moving towards the north face of the volcano. “These gases are mostly water vapor, 90 percent, and the rest are volcanic gases,” Raúl Mora Amador, the RSN’s lead volcanologist explained. One of the gas trails comes from the main crater, and the other rises from the east wall of the volcano, he added.

RSN geologists this Wednesday will conduct a flyover sponsored by the National Emergency Commission to perform regular measurements of temperature and observe changes at the top. On Thursday, RSN experts will visit the zone. Access to the Turrialba Volcano National Park has been closed to visitors since last January, when spewing gas and ash alarmed locals and tourists.
- Tico Times.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Two Earthquakes Rocks Erongo, Namibia!

Two earthquakes, instead of the one reported in the media yesterday, shook the Erongo Region on Saturday, according to the Directorate of Geological Survey.

The first earthquake, measuring 4.5 on the Richter Scale, took place at 06h45, while a second one measuring 3.8 occurred at 15h20. According to the National Seismological Network, both earthquakes' epicentres were about 58 kilometres south of Khorixas. Five seismic stations in Namibia, namely at Kamanjab, Windhoek, Tsumeb, Gobabis and Ariamsvlei, picked up the tremors, while two stations in Zimbabwe also recorded the events. "Faults can be seen close to the epicentre. These faults are responsible for the earthquake," the Geological Survey report read.
According to the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), an earthquake registering 4.2 on the Richter Scale struck northern Algeria about an hour after the first quake at Khorixas. According to people living near Khorixas and Uis, tremors are felt about once every six months, although Saturday's was stronger than usual. The biggest earthquake to hit Namibia in recorded history was the 2009 quake which registered 5.6. Its epicentre was also near Khorixas. - All Africa.

EXTREME WEATHER: Lightning Strike During a Heavy Storm Kills 4 in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest!

Four members of the same Brazilian family were killed by a lightning strike during a heavy storm in the Amazon region.

Brazil’s national space institute known as Inpe tracks lightning strikes in Brazil. It says in a Monday statement that one 30-year-old man and three girls died after lightning hit a tree they were standing under in Para state. They had been in the jungle picking fruit.

The newspaper O Liberal reports the man who died was the uncle of two sisters who were killed. The girls were 7- and 9-years-old, and a 13-year-old girl in the group also died. It was not clear how she was related to the others. Calls to police weren’t answered. Inpe says Brazil has more lightning strikes than any other nation. They register nearly 58 million strikes per year.
- Washington Post.