Sunday, April 1, 2012

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Strombolian Activity Continues at the New Southeast Crater on Mount Etna - 23rd Paroxysm; Eruption of Tall Lava Fountains and Explosions of Incandescent Materials! UPDATE: Mount Etna Spews Fiery Lava in Spectacular Eruption!

What already had been becoming evident late last night, the 23rd paroxysm of Etna's New SE crater occurred early during the second half of the night to 1st April.

Strombolian explosions and weak ash emissions from the New SE crater.
Update So 01 Apr 10:19
The climax of the eruption with tall lava fountains took place at around 3 am and was relatively short, as during the previous eruption. Lava flowed into the Valle del Bove and the southeastern sector of the Etna and the surroundings received ash fall. It is interesting to note that interval since the previous eruption, 14 days, was exactly the same as the previous interval. This suggests that once again, a certain rhythm might have established itself, and if that is true, the next paroxysm should be expected around 15 April...

Update Sat 31 Mar 22:41
Strombolian activity continues at the new Southeast Crater crater observed since the late morning. Explosions throw incandescent material tens of meters beyond the crater edge and, in some cases, bombs fall on the flanks of the cinder cone. During the late afternoon and evening explosions followed one another with an average rate of 20-30 events per hour. The real-time seismic tremor signal shows no substantial changes in amplitude. The tremor signal has started to rise sharply, which could mean that the 23rd paroxysm is about to occur. The next hours will show. After a temporary decrease, tremor has again started to rise and on the webcam, strombolian activity can be seen. Perhaps this time, this IS the start of the next paroxysm? Tremor and activity visible on the webcam are increasing. One would now bet that the paroxysm is going to occur during the night. - Volcano Discovery.
UPDATE: Mount Etna Spews Fiery Lava in Spectacular Eruption!
Europe's tallest and most active volcano, Mount Etna, has erupted for the fifth time in 2012, spewing hot lava and ash in the early hours of Sunday. The lava, which could be seen moving down the mountain's side just after 4am local time, continued to spew until around 5.30 am, according to local news reports. Ash from the eruption landed on the villages at the foot of the volcano; however no damage was reported and nearby airports remained open. - ITN.
WATCH: Etna's spectacular eruption.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Pocono Residents in Pennsylvania, Hear Mysterious Loud Sonic-like Boom That Shook Homes?!

Strong thunderstorms hit the Poconos Friday night, moving through shortly after 10 p.m. and continuing for at least a half hour, but the weather event that had folks talking was a loud sonic-like boom that shook houses at about 10:15 p.m. Gilda Spiotta of Long Pond said, "The shaking last night lasted unusually long. Didn't sound like thunder, didn't feel like thunder, was wondering if something happened on 380/80; tanker accident."

Another Long Pond resident, Lorene R. Allman-Mars: "My son was at the back door letting the dogs out and he reported that he saw a large flash of light fill the sky toward/above the FedEx distribution site on 940, then he heard a loud boom. It didn't look like lightning, it looked like a bomb blew up in the air. I was on the second floor of the house; I didn't see anything but I heard the boom and felt it shake the house. I actually felt it under my feet. The floors shook; I have never felt lightning shake the house like that before and we've been up here 20 years!"  Some readers suggested an earthquake or an explosion, but said that definitely was no routine thunder.  Meteorologist and Pocono weather expert Ben Gelber offered this explanation: "One possibility is that thunderstorms in our chilly environment near the surface tonight, associated with an inversion of warm air aloft, sound much louder." He added, "The sound waves are refracted back to the surface and reverberate in ways that we normally do not experience as they bounce between the surface and the inversion near the base of the clouds." Other residents commented from across the Poconos:  "My kids and I heard the sound in Saw Creek," said Winnie Michaluk. "Our windows rattled and our dogs were barking like crazy."

Russo Albuja of Tobyhanna said, "I was driving along 196 on my way home from work when I felt the BOOM. It was so extreme, my car shook and on my left hand side on an empty field - all I saw was this HUGE flash of light coming from where the airport location would be at. Afterwards, I heard nothing. Kinda scared me that I rushed home and locked my doors." Katee McCarthy said, "Felt it here in the Tannersville area. Quite scary." As of 11 p.m., she reported lightning and sleet in the area. Tim Aziz said, "Just heard something at 10:35 in East Stroudsburg, the whole house vibrated! Yes I heard the boom, but thought it was just thunder!" said Pete Howey of Snydersville. That was the same reaction of Rosalie Ems, who said, "We heard it; just thought it was thunder rolling in with cold air against the warm air?" Some more comments from our readers: Elisabeth Foster Marshall: "Yes we did, here in Snydersville. My husband said right after "what the hell was that?!" he thought it was the furnace exploding...." Jessica Gomez of Albrightsville: "We definitely heard it and felt it! It shook the whole house. What was it?" Samantha Chevalier of Effort: "I definitely heard a loud noise and then my whole house shook, my dogs went crazy, and I smiled. I love thunder and lightning!" Pamela Dunbar: "We live in Bushkill by Timothy Lake Resort, and we heard the boom. My granddaughter came out of her room and said, 'Was that thunder?' It sounded like a bunch of huge trucks barreling down the road." James Arnold: "We live in Tobyhanna and we felt it, too. We thought it was a storm starting and shut down all our electronics. Our whole house vibrated."

Jennifer Knarr of Milford chimed in: "My husband and I were in bed watching tv when we heard this rumbling noise we thought it was thunder but it lasted a while he even got up to look outside no storms at that time here. We live in Milford on top of a mountain, sounded like a bunch of semi trucks going down our quiet street!" Laura Bush: "Yes, I felt it here in Sciota. I immediately texted my kids in their rooms, 'What the heck was that.' One said, 'I don't know, earthquake?'" JudyAnn Porter: " I live in Pocono Farms Country Club and my family and I were sitting watching TV and felt a loud bang and the house shook. We thought it was a earthquake. We got our supplies together but heard nothing else after that. Someone mentioned thunder, but thunder doesn't shake houses. Scary." Phillip Mangat: "Yeah around 10:35 I thought another meth lab went boom!!!" Jill Nobles: "It sure felt like an explosion or an earthquake to me. I am up near Wooddale, by Analomink on the top of the mountain. At 10:12-ish, my whole house shook. It knocked things off of the counters, rattled things hanging on my walls, and shook my whole house violently. We didn't sustain any damage, but the noise and the shaking were crazy. The sound was like an explosion, or a freight train in my bedroom. Not thunder." And another from Long Pond "I live in Emerald Lakes and at about 10:15p.m. I heard a loud noise and the house shook for about 5 seconds and my lights dimmed a little bit.
" - Pocono Record.

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.

Alaska - 29th of March, 2012.

Tucson, Arizona - 31st of March, 2012.

Las Vegas, Nevada - 30th of March, 2012.

Hialeah, Florida -10th of March, 2012.

Las Vegas, Nevada - 22nd of March, 2012.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Summer in March - Chicago Heat Wave Shatters Records!

This month will be the warmest March on record both in Chicago and statewide by the time it comes to a close at midnight Saturday, shattering temperature records that stood for decades, weather experts said Friday.

The average daily temperature in Illinois through Thursday was 54.7 degrees, more than three degrees higher than the previous statewide record of 51.6 degrees set in 1946, said Jim Angel, the state's climatologist. In Chicago, the average daily temperature through Thursday was 54 degrees, topping the old mark of 48.6 degrees set in 1945. Eight days reached at least 80 degrees in Chicago this month, according to the National Weather Service. Before this year, the city had only recorded 10 days in March since the early 1870s when temperatures reached 80 degrees, according to the weather service.

"To have as many (80-degree days) as we did is just unbelievable and historic and unprecedented," said Richard Castro, a weather service meteorologist. "Summer in March is basically what we had." Despite this month's record-breaking temperatures, there's no guarantee that this summer will be a scorcher, Angel and Castro said. Data for the summers that followed the previous 10 warmest months of March in Illinois show that temperatures during those summers were about normal, Angel said. And though April is expected to be slightly warmer than usual, it probably will be more in line with the fickle weather that is typical of spring in northern Illinois, Castro said. "It would be hard to have something as extreme as March," he said. "I'd say the odds favor above normal (temperatures), but not as far above normal." - Chicago Tribune.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Solar System Disturbance Continues - April Fools' Day Asteroid Buzzed Earth Today; Another to Flyby on April 4th; No Joke!

An asteroid the size of a passenger jet will zoom close by Earth on Sunday (April 1) just in time for April Fools' Day, but it has no chance of hitting the Earth, NASA says. The asteroid 2012 EG5 will be closer than the moon when it passes Earth at 5:32 a.m. EDT (0932 GMT). The space rock is about 150 feet wide (46 meters), according to a NASA update.

Orbit of asteroid 2012 EG5 (in blue) during its April Fool's Day flyby of Earth on April 1, 2012.
"Asteroid 2012 EG5 will safely pass Earth on April 1," scientists with NASA's Asteroid Watch program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., wrote in a Twitter statement. The space rock may be visiting Earth on April Fools' Day, but its flyby is no prank. The asteroid will creep within 143,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach, which is just over half the distance between Earth and the moon's orbit. The moon typically circles the Earth at a distance of 238,000 miles (382,900 km). Asteroid 2012 EG5 is the third relatively small asteroid to buzz the Earth in seven days. Two smaller asteroids passed near Earth on Monday (March 26).

Early Monday, the bus-size asteroid 2012 FP35 came within 96,000 miles (154,000 km) of Earth. It was followed a few hours later by asteroid 2012 FS35, which is the size of a car and passed Earth at a range of 36,000 miles (58,000 km). Like asteroid 2012 EG5, those two smaller space rocks on Monday posed no risk of hitting Earth. Those space rocks were so small they would not survive the trip through Earth's atmosphere, even if they were aimed at our planet, Asteroid Watch researchers said. Asteroid 2012 EG5 was discovered on March 13 by astronomers searching for near-Earth space rocks. Another space rock, the asteroid 2012 FA57, was discovered on March 28 and will fly by Earth on April 4 when it passes at a range just beyond the orbit of the moon. Scientists with NASA's Near-Earth Object Program at JPL and other teams of astronomers regularly monitor the sky for larger, potentially dangerous asteroids to determine if they pose an impact threat to Earth
. - SPACE.

DELUGE: Severe Flooding, Thunderstorms and Heavy Rains Force 7,000 Evacuations in Fiji - Conditions Set to Worsen!

Nearly 7000 people have been displaced in flood-stricken Fiji, with conditions set to worsen. 

Two people have died in the floods, which have damaged homes and forced nearly 7000 people into evacuation centres. Fiji officials are considering declaring a state of emergency.  A severe flooding warning remained in place with heavy rain and squally thunderstorms forecast to hit the island group on Sunday, the Fiji Village website reported.  Heavy rain continued in Nadi, which was under about 1.8m of water, with levels still rising.  The town of Ba was similarly inundated.  On Sunday morning there were 6800 evacuees in 56 evacuation centres in Fiji's Western Division, the website reported. 

The Rewa River was also rising to dangerous levels, though conditions had eased in Tavua. Sign up for your free 2 month trial  Nadi Airport was open to departing flights but all inbound Air Pacific flights had been cancelled on Sunday.  A 20-year-old man died after he was washed away by strong currents in Ba on Saturday.  His death followed that of a 29-year-old father of two who died when his family's van was swept away.  Heavy rains from Wednesday caused rivers to burst their banks in the west of the main island Viti Levu.  Water levels were higher than those experienced during a six-day deluge in January which claimed 11 lives, meteorologists said. - Herald Sun.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Strange Days - Sprite Season Begins Three Months Early?!

The first sprites of summer are starting to appear in the skies of North America. The strange thing is, summer is almost three months away. "Sprite season is beginning early this year," says Thomas Ashcraft, who photographed these specimens on March 30th from his observatory in New Mexico:

"At precisely two minutes and twenty-six seconds after midnight March 30, 2012 there was an incredibly powerful bolt of lightning in the vicinity of Woodward, Oklahoma that spawned these red sprites," says Ashcraft. "I could see them from two states away!" He also recorded VLF and shortwave radio emissions from the cluster, which you can hear as the soundtrack to this video.

Sprites are electrical discharges that come out of the top of thunderclouds, opposite ordinary lightning bolts which plunge toward Earth. Sprites can tower as high as 90 km above ground. That makes them a form of space weather as they overlap the zone of auroras, meteors, and noctilucent clouds.
Because they are associated with lightning, sprites are most often seen in summer months, "but in the past few days sprites have been reported in Texas (particularly near the Mexican border) as well as here in New Mexico," notes Ashcraft. So if there's lightning where you live, be alert for sprites. - Space Weather.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Western Australia Beaches Closed After Fatal Shark Attack - Fourth Attack in Seven Months?!

Western Australian authorities have spotted a shark in the same area where 33-year-old Peter Kurmann was attacked and killed.

Police say Mr Kurmann, from the town of Vasse, near Busselton, had anchored his boat about 1.7 kilometres off Stratham Beach and was diving for crayfish with his brother when he was attacked just after 9:00am (AWST).  The shark is believed to be a four-metre great white, and a patrol plane has spotted a similar sized shark south of the attack site, about 600 metres offshore.  Tony Cappelluti from the Department of Fisheries says a boat has gone to the area.  "We will attempt to take it. Whether we destroy it is an issue that'll be decided at the time by the relevant people able to give that order," he said. 

Mr Kurmann's body was brought to shore two hours after the attack, along with the boat he and his brother had been using.  His brother, Gian, says his family has lost a son, a brother, a husband and a wonderful father.  It is the fourth fatal shark in Western Australia in seven months.  Bodyboarder Kyle Burden, 21, was killed in Bunker Bay in September, while 64-year-old Bryn Martin disappeared off Perth's Cottesloe Beach in October. It is presumed he was taken by a shark.  Less than two weeks after that, 32-year-old George Wainwright was killed by a shark off Rottnest Island.  The deaths prompted the WA Government to spend millions of dollars on initiatives aimed at preventing further attacks. - ABC News.

DELUGE: At Least Six Dead in Rain-Ravaged Haiti - Homes Collapsed and Carried Away in Mudslides!

AT least six people, including a child, were killed in Port-au-Prince when their homes collapsed during heavy rain that has ravaged Haiti for several days.

The victims were members of two families living in a neighbourhood erected on a hill in the Petionville suburb of the capital.  Nadia Lochard of Haiti's Civil Protection Office said today that three women, two men and a girl had died "when their homes collapsed as they were carried away in a mudslide".  "It was difficult to find their bodies buried under much mud," she told AFP. 

Three more bodies were found in another area of Port-au-Prince but the authorities could not confirm whether they had been killed by the rain.  Several neighbourhoods of the capital were flooded and streets were heavily damaged following the rain, which is still hitting Haiti. Sign up for your free 2 month trial  The humanitarian community launched a plea for urgent help to obtain funds for the needy still living in often squalid camps in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake.  More than 500,000 Haitians still live in camps for the displaced. - Herald Sun.