Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Disturbance Escalates - 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes East of the South Sandwich Islands; 3rd Large Tremor Today!

A moderately large 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck east of the South Sandwich Islands on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 19:03:55. The tremor was located at 59.099°S, 16.693°W with a depth of 1 km (~0.6 mile). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) indicated that this was poorly constrained.

The epicentre was 2677 km (1663 miles) southeast (124°) from Stanley, Falkland Islands; and 3328 km (2068 miles) southeast (123°) from Punta Arenas, Chile.

This is is one of the strongest quakes to ever hit the region and the third 6.0 and over magnitude tremor today. Earlier today a 6.7 rocked offshore Valparaiso, Chile; and then a 7.0 struck Eastern New Guinea Region, Papua New Guinea. The South Sandwich Islands quake also represents the 12th 6.0 and over magnitude earthquake over the last week. A truly amazing and unprecedented statistic. We are definitely experiencing an escalation in the global seismic disturbance.

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.

Vatican City, Italy - 15th of April, 2012.

St. Petersburg, Russia - 22nd of March, 2012.

Ontario and Quebec, Canada - 5th and 21st of November 21, 2011.

United States - Triangular UFO sightings from 2004 to 2008.

Russia - 13th of April, 2012.

Raciborz, Poland - 6th of March, 2012.

Italy, Australia, South Korea and the United States - UFOs seen from planes, February to April, 2012.

Bulgaria - 19th of March, 2012.

Voskresensk, Russia - 15th of April, 2010.

ALERT: Planetary Tremors - New Zealand General Practitioners Are Being Urged to Prepare For a Major Disaster!

Family doctors are being urged to be prepared for mass casualties should a disaster cripple Wellington.  Under Capital & Coast District Health Board mass casualty guidelines, GPs are advised to open their surgeries to ease the pressure on Wellington Hospital if a major disaster, such as an earthquake, strikes.

Scenes from the earthquake devastation in New Zealand in 2011.
Thirty surgeries in the region were supplied with kits to deal with major incidents, and medical staff were being told to help others once they have ensured their family is safe, clinical adviser of primary and integrated care Adrian Gilliland said. "You can't function properly as a health professional if you're not confident that your family is safe."  He was speaking to more than 170 doctors on Saturday at the Wakefield Health GP conference in Wellington on Capital & Coast's disaster preparation. 

The Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 highlighted the need for GPs to treat patients with minor injuries, stress and anxiety, Dr Gilliland said. "We're expecting people to go to the surgery they would normally attend. The majority of victims [would] have minor injuries, the seriously injured should be brought to the hospital."  Pharmacies should also stay open where possible to ensure people can replace prescription medicines.  Medical centre staff are advised to offer assistance at Wellington Hospital, which is expected to be overwhelmed.  The guidelines also alert GPs to the various risks which could spark mass casualties, such as acts of terrorism or transport accidents. 

The overall risk of terrorism was low, but Wellington faced a "slightly higher risk" of attack than other parts of the country because of the range of targets in the city, including Parliament and embassies.  Hundreds of people could be injured in a ferry, train or plane accident, compared to thousands if an earthquake hits. There was a 90 per cent chance of a magnitude-7 earthquake occurring within 100 kilometres of Wellington in the next 50 years, the guidelines say. - Stuff.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Unusual Global Temperatures - North America Swelters in March Heat!

First they called it the year without a winter. Then springtime began to feel more like summer for most of North America. March 2012 saw thousands of daily temperature records fall in the contiguous United States (often called the “lower 48”), and the entire month was the warmest March in a temperature record that dates back to 1895.

The map above shows global temperature anomalies for March 2012, based on an ongoing analysis by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. It shows changes from the norm for each region, not absolute temperatures. That is, the map depicts how much temperatures rose above or below the average March temperatures for that area compared to the base period of 1951-1980. For the month, the eastern two-thirds of the United States, as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba, saw temperatures in the GISS map approaching as much as 10 degrees Celisius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal (deepest reds on the map). Temperatures were similarly extreme in the Arctic Ocean around Svalbard, the Barents Sea, and the Kara Sea. Far eastern Siberia, Alaska, and northwestern North America were significantly colder, while much of Europe and western Russia were warmer than normal (following a much colder February).

According to an analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average March temperature was 10.6 degrees C (51.1 degrees F) for the 48 contiguous states, which was 4.8 degrees C (8.6 degrees F) above the 20th century average for March. “Of the more than 1,400 months that have passed since the U.S. record began,” NOAA climatologists wrote, “only one month (January 2006) has seen a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.” East of the Rocky Mountains, 25 states had their warmest March on record; 15 more states were in their top ten warmest. More than 15,000 temperature records were broken—evenly split between daytime highs and nighttime highs—and there were 21 instances where nighttime low temperatures were warmer than the former daytime records. You can view and download global temperature anomaly images (updated monthly) on NASA Earth Observations. To see the trends in global temperatures over the past 130 years, visit World of Change: Global Temperatures - Earth Observatory.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Rumblings Continue at Alaska's Cleveland Volcano - Series of Low-Level Eruptions!

Two small explosions shook Cleveland Volcano on Friday. Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory say the explosions didn’t produce detectable ash clouds. They’re just the latest in a series of low-level eruptions at the volcano.

There’s no real-time monitoring network on Cleveland, but scientists have been able to detect the eruptions using a network of distant air pressure gauges and seismic stations. Satellite images show slightly elevated surface temperatures in Cleveland’s crater, but the Observatory says there’s no sign of a new lava dome. The most recent dome was destroyed in an explosion two weeks ago. 

The Observatory warns that unrest will likely continue at the volcano, with the possibility of sudden explosions accompanied by ash clouds exceeding 20,000 feet. Cleveland lies on a major international flight path and the aviation alert level for the volcano is at orange. - KUCB.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - India Plans Test of Missile Capable of Reaching China and Europe!

India plans the maiden test flight this week of its longest-range nuclear-capable missile, which can travel more than 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), military officials said.

Agni IV missile is on display during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2012.
The Agni V rocket could be launched between Wednesday and Friday, said Ravi Gupta, the spokesman for the country's Defense Research and Development Organization.  "It's the most advanced missile so far," he said.  In November, India successfully tested the fourth version of Agni, meaning "fire" in Hindi, with a range of 3,500 km. Built years earlier, Agni I could travel 700 km, according to Indian defense authorities.  India says that it pursues no aggressive designs and that its military program is based on building a credible minimum deterrent with a "no-first-use" policy. 

"Our missiles are purely for deterrence," said Gupta.  The flight of Agni V would be a significant move to demonstrate India's technological competence, said Uday Bhaskar, a strategic expert.  But the home-grown missile, he said, would undergo several tests more before it becomes fully operational.  "Yet, the first test of Agni V will enhance India's technological profile," he said.  A successful experiment, Bhaskar said, would bring India closer to the group of nations capable of building intercontinental missiles. Currently, the five permanent member nations of the U.N. Security Council are thought to have developed such technology, he said. - CNN.

ALERT: More American Urban Warfare Drills – Military Blackhawks Buzz Downtown Chicago!

Chicago seems to be the newest city selected by the military to perform urban warfare training. Late last night, calls started flooding into police departments and newsrooms throughout Chicago as concerned residents reported Blackhawk Helicopters with heavily armed military hovering outside their windows.

Just like the Urban Drills that were performed in L.A. a couple months ago, concerned citizens reported seeing Blackhawks and A/MH-6 Little Birds flying extremely low throughout the downtown Chicago area.  At least three of those Blackhawks were filmed flying in formation with heavily armed special forces by local news crews in Chicago.

Residents report that the choppers buzzed though office and residential building for several hours last night. This morning the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications put out a statement calling last nights drills a  “routine training exercise.” They announced that Chicago was the site of a week long military training drill that is designed to improve the military’s ability to operate in urban environments. - Off Grid Survival.
WATCH: Urban warfare drills over downtown Chicago.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong and Deep 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Papua New Guinea!

A 7.0-magnitude quake struck off the northeast of Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, but there was no tsunami warning issued.

The quake hit at 5.13pm AEST, 141km north of the country's second largest city of Lae and 443km from the capital Port Moresby at a depth of 201km, it said.  "A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement.  Quakes of such magnitude are common in impoverished Papua New Guinea, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a hot spot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates. 

Last month, the country was hit by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake but while the tremor was widely felt it was too deep to cause much damage.  Earlier in March, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the New Britain region of the country, with no damage or injuries reported. A giant tsunami in 1998, caused by an undersea earthquake, killed more than 2,000 people near Aitape, on the country's northwest coast. - The Australian.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: WIRED Eruption Update For April 16, 2012 - Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy, Alaska and Iceland!

Rounding up some volcano-related news from around the world, courtesy of Erik Klemetti and WIRED:

The double steam plume at the summit of Turrialba in Costa Rica, seen on April 15, 2012.
Webcam capture by Erik Klemetti.

Costa Rica:
We’ve talked about rumbling at Rincón de la Vieja earlier this year and it looks like the volcano continues to rumble. Rincón de la Vieja experienced another small phreatic (steam-driven) eruption over the weekend that produced a small plume (impressive nevertheless if you’re up close). Costa Rican authorities have closed entrance to the national park in which the volcano sits. Meanwhile, Turrialba has continues to see elevated activity as well, with a “double plume” (see above) from the summit crater.

Etna continues to wow the crowd with its paroxysms and the latest was no exception. The mix of volcanic activity and snow at the summit seems to be making for some more explosive activity, producing pyroclastic density currents that aren’t pyroclastic flows (see below), but look a lot like them. Dr. Boris Behncke described them as “not typical pyroclastic flows (that is, dry and hot) – these are very wet and less hot (though presumably still deadly) and probably at their base they are rather lahars (mudflows)“. The phenomena is not well understood – heck, it doesn’t even have a proper name that I know of – but have been observed in Kamchatka and likely occurred at Lassen Peak during its last eruption. AP video of the eruption shows this explosivity, including the impressive fire fountains from the crater.

Etna seen erupting on April 12, 2012 showing the pyroclastic density current likely generated by the
explosive interaction of volcanic tephra and snow. Webcam capture by Eruptions reader Renato Rio

Cleveland volcano has yet to settle down. In fact, over the weekend the volcano had two small explosive eruptions, likely related to the summit dome. However, neither explosion produced a noticeable ash plume on satellite passes. The volcano remains at Orange/Watch status.

Popocatépetl also continues to keep government officials concerned as the volcano located near Mexico City had one of its largest explosions of the year. Ash was dusted over 30 communities near the volcano (sometimes as thin as 7 cm) and a plume as tall as ~2 km / 6,500 feet was produced during the largest explosions. The summit region is also showing strong incandescence, suggesting new magma is at or very near the surface. An 12-km exclusion zone has been established by CENAPRED around the restless volcano as well.

No, there hasn’t been a new eruption to scare everyone, but this weekend marked the second anniversary of the phreatomagmatic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull that brought Europe to a grinding halt. Volcan01010 has a nice post about how the 2011 eruption of Grímsvötn was actually significantly larger in terms of mean eruption rate as compared to our friend Eyjafjallajökull. I’ve also seen a lot of more positive news about Icelandic magmatism – specifically Iceland abundant geothermal energy. The United Kingdom and Iceland are in talks to lay cables to transmit electricity from Iceland to the British Isles to help power the nation (specifically, roughly 1/3 of the country). Eventually the cables may stretch to Scandinavia and other parts of mainland Europe.

Read more HERE.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Russia's Shiveluch Volcano Unleashes its Most Powerful Eruption of 2012 - Spewing Ash Over 31,000 Feet!

Russia's northernmost active volcano, Shiveluch, is churning out ash to a height of 9,500 meters (over 31,000 feet) in the country's Far East, local scientists reported on Tuesday.

The 3,283-meter (10,771-foot) Shiveluch volcano increased activity in May 2009.
The 3,283-meter (10,771-foot) Shiveluch volcano increased activity in May 2009 and has been periodically spewing ash from three to ten kilometers.  “A powerful eruption of ashes took place 05.59 a.m. local time [17:59 GMT on Monday], a source at the Far Eastern Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.  The official said the column of ashes could be clearly seen from a distance of 40 kilometers spreading to the east.  “It is the most powerful eruption this year,” the expert said. 

According to scientists, the volcanic activity over the past two-three years has significantly altered the contour of the volcano with the crater increasing in size by 50% and the slopes becoming far steeper than before.  Although the current eruption poses no immediate threat to nearby settlements, the ensuing ash fallouts could be hazardous to health and the environment.  The clouds of volcanic ash could also pose threat to air traffic because the tiny particles cause problems with aircraft engine turbines.  So far, local authorities issued no warnings to air traffic in the area.  There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 29 of them active.RIA Novosti.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.7 Magnitude Quake Rocks Offshore Valparaiso in Chile - Shaking Buildings Violently, Rattling Residents!

A strong earthquake struck offshore Valparaiso, early Tuesday morning while Prime Minister Stephen Harper was visiting.  The quake left highrise buildings in the Chilean capital swaying back and forth.

The quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey measured at a magnitude of 6.7, struck 48 kilometres north-northeast of the main port of Valparaiso, and 116 kilometres northwest of the capital Santiago at a depth of 25.9 kilometres.  “The Prime Minister and his wife were at the hotel when the earthquake happened,” said Andrew MacDougall, Harper’s director of communications.  “All members of the Canadian delegation, including the Prime Minister and his wife Laureen, are just fine.”  The earthquake struck at about 12:50 a.m.  The tremors in Santiago lasted about 30 seconds.

A contingent of Canadian media travelling with the Prime Minister were staying at a separate hotel from Harper. Most reporters had just returned to their hotel rooms after a lengthy day of covering the Prime Minister’s visit to the city. Suddenly, the hotel shook violently and there was a loud rumble. Then, the building swayed back and forth.  There was no initial word on the extent of damage in the city.  State emergency office ONEMI said a stretch of coastline was being evacuated as a precaution, but there was no tsunami alert.  “We have no reports of any damage or injuries so far,” a spokesman for ONEMI told Reuters. Local media said basic services like power and telecommunications continued to operate normally  The USGS initially said the quake was a magnitude 6.6.  Chile is prone to earthquakes, and was hammered by a massive tremor in early 2010 which ravaged the south-center of the country, devastating industries and triggering tsunamis, which killed hundreds of people. - National Post.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking Ecuador's Sanjay Volcano - Growing Lava Dome, Lava Flows and Ash Explosions!

During an over-flight on 13 April, an explosion from Sangay volcano was observed at 08:25 local time.

View of the upper SE flank of Sangay volcano and thermal image showing the various vents at the dome
emitting lava flows that form several branches and reach the base of the summit cone.
It generated an ash and steam column of 2 km above the summit crater. A new vent was detected; both on visible and thermal images, located next to the active dome on the SE flank (Ñuñurqu). The activity in this area has intensified since October, when the last aerial survey had taken place.

Extensive lava flows are descending on the SE flank of the dome and reaching the base of the cone. Strong fumarolic activity was seen on the SE flank of the dome and on the S flank of the central crater. - Volcano Discovery.