Thursday, April 19, 2012

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking Worldwide Volcanic Activities - From The Volcano Discovery Reports; Kīlauea, Popocatépetl, Reventador and Mount Lamington!

The following constitutes the new activity and unrest report from the Volcano Discovery.

     HVO's IR of Kilauea's coastal plain on April 13, 2012.
Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai`i: High lava levels, flows advance on coast.
Lava levels in Kīlauea's newest crater, the Overlook Vent within Halema‘uma‘u, have reached their highest point of 70m / 230ft below the 1974 crater floor, matching conditions in March 2011 just prior to the 5-day Kamoamoa fissure eruption.  Glow from the edge of Kīlauea caldera has been strong over the past month, except on exceptionally rainy nights! Speaking of the volcano's summit, it has been swelling significantly over the past 6 months - a total increase of 6cm / 2.4in across the caldera! This is not as fast as the previous 12 months, but still notable!  Meanwhile, lava flows on the coast persist and are less than 1.4km / 0.9mi from reaching the ocean, but don't seem to be in a hurry to get there. The flows are still quite active, but spreading out across the plain rather than focusing in one direction. They are still accessible and the hike (with proper access across private land) is getting shorter! At some point soon, there may be the chance to safely see an ocean entry, that is if nothing else changes in the meantime... stay tuned!  Check out the new webcam compilation page, featuring near-real-time data streams from the USGS-HVO for Kilauea HERE.

Reventador Volcano, Ecuador: Steaming and ash emission.
Reventador continues to be mildly active with ongoing weak to moderate steam and ash emissions. The Instituto Geofísico reports a 2 km high column of steam and ash rising from Reventador volcano on 18 April. The ash cloud moved to the NW. IG characterizes the actual activity level (visual and seismic activity) of Reventador "moderate". No major changes have been observed at the volcano in recent days.

Popocatépetl Volcano, Mexico: Major increase in volcanic activity.
The weekly Smithsonian/USGS volcanic activity report summarizes the recent increase of Popocatépetl volcano as follows: During 11-15 April steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl occasionally contained ash; emissions contained a substantial amount of ash on 12 April. Seismicity increased on 13 April and at 2220 an explosion ejected incandescent blocks that landed on the NE flank as far as 500 m away from the crater rim. A larger explosion at 2236 ejected incandescent blocks that landed even further away on all flanks; an ash plume rose 2 km above the crater and drifted ENE. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juarez (10-12 km SE), where the explosion was also heard. On 14 April gas-and-steam plumes that contained small amounts of ash drifted SW. Multiple emissions occurred with increased incandescence from the crater. Ejected incandescent blocks landed back in the crater or on the flanks 500-800 m from the rim. Gas-and-ash plumes drifted ESE. Ashfall was reported in multiple towns, including Puebla (50 km to the E), San Pedro Benito Juarez, Santiago Xalitzintla (15 km NE), Tianguismanalco, and Atlixco (25 km SE). On 15 April an ash plume rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted E. Gas-and-ash emissions rose 1 km above the crater on 16 April and were accompanied by ejected incandescent fragments that were deposited on the flanks, especially to the N and NE. Later that day ash plumes rose 2 km above the crater and drifted E. Ashfall was again reported in Puebla. CENAPRED increased the Alert Level at the volcano from Yellow Phase Two to Yellow Phase Three. During 16-17 April incandescence extended 300 m above the crater and gas-and-steam emissions were constant. Gas-and-ash plumes rose from the crater on 17 April.

Mt Lamington Volcano, Papua New Guinea: Uncertain report about smoke and ash emission.
According to setyoufreenews.com, Mt Lamington volcano in New Guinea is showing some signs of becoming active. According to the brief news, locals from the community of Popendetta reported "smoke and ash emission on March 25". No original source or other reports could be located so far to confirm new activity. Mt Lamington volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano with a 560 m high summit lava dome that grew during 1951-56, following a brutal reawakening with a major explosive eruption in 1951, which produced lava flows and devastating pyroclastic flows, and killed about 3-4000 people.

EXTREME WEATHER: War of Words Erupts - Drought Sparks Water Fight Between Texas and Mexico!

Melted snow providing water for irrigation had barely begun burbling down a bone-dry Rio Grande toward a thin 4-mile-wide strip of farmland straddling the U.S.-Mexico border when a war of words erupted.  Mexico wanted a traditional early release from reservoirs so spring planting wouldn't be delayed. Texas farmers, fearing a historic drought could tighten its grip again this summer, wanted to delay the release for a couple of months to ensure enough water was left to help crops survive the hottest, driest part of the year. 

In this Aug 3, 2011 photo, Texas State Park police officer Thomas Bigham walks across the cracked
lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake, in San Angelo, Texas.
Dividing the Rio Grande's waters is a complicated annual undertaking governed by arcane agreements and imperfect calculations. When there's plenty of water it flows smoothly, but with farmers on both sides of the border confronting severe drought - officials expect to have about one-third of the water of a normal year - Texas officials quickly lashed out an international commission's decision to release the water, accusing it of putting Mexico's water needs ahead of drought-stricken Texas farmers in the El Paso Valley. Mexico is guaranteed a fraction of the water from Rocky Mountain snows that drain into two New Mexico reservoirs. Once released, the water flows down the Rio Grande toward Texas, where it's diverted to Texas and Mexican farmers by dams. Local irrigation districts move the water through canals to farmers' fields.  With water expected to be scarce this year, two irrigation districts in New Mexico and Texas - which receive most of the water - decided in February to take their first deliveries in May rather than in March as they typically do. The idea was to delay the irrigation season in an effort to stretch what little water would be available to the end of the growing season.  But this posed a problem for Mexican farmers who need water to get their cotton started in late March and April. Mexico asked the International Boundary and Water Commission, a binational body charged with applying the treaties governing the river and boundary, to take its share in March.

The IBWC ordered the water released, and Texas farmers accepted it, although under protest.  It's more efficient to move a lot of water than a little, especially when the riverbed has been a sandy sponge for months. Irrigation districts estimate twice as much water will be lost to seepage than delivered to Mexico in this release, and those losses come out of the U.S. share, not Mexico's.  "The March delivery request is very normal for Mexico," IBWC spokeswoman Sally Spener said. "What caused the concern was that in an ideal world everybody would take the deliveries at the same time because that's a more efficient way of moving water."  Farmers in West Texas are trying to make the best of the situation, planting more now to take advantage of the early release but knowing it might mean they run out of water before the end of the growing season.  "It's a mixed blessing," said Kevin Ivey, who grows cotton, pecans and other crops near El Paso. "I'm getting water on the alfalfa where I need it. However it's going to affect our total allotment by the end of the year."  The IBWC's U.S. commissioner said he followed a 1906 agreement when siding with Mexico in March. But a letter issued this month by Texas agriculture and environmental officials said the decision violates terms of the deal and "results in the protection of Mexico's citizens at the expense of U.S. citizens."  Jesus Armando Reta Mar, delegate for Mexico's agriculture secretariat in the Juarez Valley, just across the border from El Paso, was aware of Texas' unhappiness with the IBWC's recent decision, but said his farmers had no choice as they face the country's worst drought since the government began tracking rainfall in 1941.  Mexico requires its farmers to have their cotton established by May 15, so they must plant earlier, he said. With fewer wells than their U.S. neighbors, they depend more on the river water. And, they must irrigate at planting to get the cotton to germinate. Later, they can shut off water for a time without harming the plants. 

Across the border, the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 supplies water to thousands of farmers on more than 69,000 acres, creating an oasis of cotton, pecan orchards and row crops that ends abruptly at the desert.  "By delaying to May, we were hoping that we could do a continuous release and we could deliver water to our water users throughout the hot months, which would be the middle of May, June, July and August," said Jesus Reyes, the district's general manager. "The way it is now, we're not sure how long our water will last now."  The new plan is to irrigate in April, shut off the spigot for May and start again in June, Reyes said.  In 2004, Texas farmers and ranchers farther downstream sued Mexico for $500 million, arguing that their southern neighbor had shorted them on Rio Grande water from 1992 to 2002. That case stalled in 2008 when a tribunal operating under the North American Free Trade Agreement decided it did not have jurisdiction.  Mark Grijalva, who grows cotton and pecans between Clint and Fabens southeast of El Paso, said he decided to plant more cotton to take advantage of the early water release and just hopes it will survive.  He planted 45 percent of his 950 acres, rather than the 30 percent he had planned, but it's still far less than during the last drought in 2003, when he planted 80 percent.  "I'm still going to be conservative," the 48-year-old Grijalva said. "You just try to be efficient and hope we don't run out of water by the end of August." - The Weather Channel.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - New Activities and Unrest From April 11th - 17th!

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


CLEVELAND Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that elevated surface temperatures were observed over Cleveland in satellite imagery during 11-12 April. Two explosions were detected on 13 April by distant seismic stations and infrasound arrays. Neither of these explosions produced an ash cloud that could be detected in satellite images. There was no evidence of explosive activity or eruption of lava in the summit crater during 14-17 April. No seismic information was available because Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic network. Map

POPOCATEPETL México 19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m
CENAPRED reported that during 11-15 April steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl occasionally contained ash; emissions contained a substantial amount of ash on 12 April. Seismicity increased on 13 April and at 2220 an explosion ejected incandescent blocks that landed on the NE flank as far as 500 m away from the crater rim. A larger explosion at 2236 ejected incandescent blocks that landed even further away on all flanks; an ash plume rose 2 km above the crater and drifted ENE. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juarez (10-12 km SE), where the explosion was also heard. On 14 April gas-and-steam plumes that contained small amounts of ash drifted SW. Multiple emissions occurred with increased incandescence from the crater. Ejected incandescent blocks landed back in the crater or on the flanks 500-800 m from the rim. Gas-and-ash plumes drifted ESE. Ashfall was reported in multiple towns, including Puebla (50 km to the E), San Pedro Benito Juarez, Santiago Xalitzintla (15 km NE), Tianguismanalco, and Atlixco (25 km SE).
On 15 April an ash plume rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted E. Gas-and-ash emissions rose 1 km above the crater on 16 April and were accompanied by ejected incandescent fragments that were deposited on the flanks, especially to the N and NE. Later that day ash plumes rose 2 km above the crater and drifted E. Ashfall was again reported in Puebla. CENAPRED increased the Alert Level at the volcano from Yellow Phase Two to Yellow Phase Three. During 16-17 April incandescence extended 300 m above the crater and gas-and-steam emissions were constant. Gas-and-ash plumes rose from the crater on 17 April. Map

RINCON DE LA VIEJA Costa Rica 10.830°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m
OVSICORI-UNA reported that a small phreatic eruption occurred within and around the hot acidic lake of Rincon de la Vieja at 1400 on 14 April. Observers from nearby communities N of the volcano reported some sediment deposition along the outer N flanks of the main active crater and a white steam plume rising to a considerable height above the crater. Map


For the complete list of ongoing volcanic activity and additional geological summary, click HERE or select the specific volcano name below for additional details:

ONGOING ACTIVITY:  Etna, Sicily (Italy) | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Pagan, Mariana Islands | Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, Central Chile | Sakura-jima, Kyushu | Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Tungurahua, Ecuador | Villarrica, Central Chile

BP OIL SPILL DISASTER: Mutated and Deformed Sea Life - Shrimp Without Eyes, Crabs Without Claws,...?!

Al Jazeera just published a thoroughly disturbing report on the deformed fish and shellfish that are being pulled from the Gulf in the wake of the BP oil spill. Shrimp without eyes or even eye sockets, snapper with large pink growths, undersized and misshapen crabs--the fishermen in the Gulf that Al Jazeera talked to have never seen anything like it.

Deformed Gulf Shrimps On the left is a Gulf shrimp with growths, while on the
right are a group of shrimps without either eyes or eye sockets
An excerpt from the report:

Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs "with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they've been dead for a week".  Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills. 
"We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills." It's not incredibly surprising to see deformities in the wake of the oil spill--we knew (and know) very little about dispersants in general and about Corexit, the dispersant used by BP, in particular. A nonprofit environmental law firm called Earthjustice actually had to sue to obtain the precise formula of the material, and even then, that group claims that there is nowhere near enough data to know what effects the dispersant will have on the Gulf.

According to Earthjustice's review, at least 13 of the 57 chemicals in Corexit are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic life. Phosphorus, for example, may have helped microbes readily break down the oil, but phosphorus also happens to be toxic to fish. What's not clear is what's actually causing these deformities--is it the oil, the dispersant, or both?  We do know, disturbingly, that the oil entered the food chain. That may be part of the problem here--shrimp and crabs are bottom-feeders, and snapper, according to Wikipedia, also commonly feast on crustaceans like sea lice and crabs (though not shrimp). Check out Al Jazeera for more. - POPSCI.

WATCH:
Al Jazeera discusses the BP oil spill, the mutations and the repercussions for the Gulf.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Increasing Global Supply Disruptions - Due Largely to Impact From Adverse Natural Disasters!

Resilinc Corp., the leading provider of multi-tier supply chain resiliency solutions, today announced that it is seeing increased impact and continuous potential disruptions to global supply chains in 2012 based on the first quarter and the results from 2011. In the last quarter alone, several major earthquakes struck Indonesia and Mexico, a powerful storm hit Japan, a tornado shut down an airplane structural components assembly plant in Renton, Washington, and labor strikes disrupted operations in Spain as well as at the Impala platinum mine in South Africa.

The aftermath of a destructive tornado that struck the American Midwest earlier this year.
These events have disrupted global supply chains for many companies, resulting in raw material shortages, price increases or production interruptions, and causing companies to pay premiums for acquiring parts and moving freight, according to Resilinc.  The Resilinc solution is designed to proactively improve supply chain visibility, deliver sophisticated risk analytics and implement robust strategies to mitigate the risk of supply chain disruptions. In the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake, tsunami and subsequent power outages, for example, many Japanese suppliers were disrupted. To monitor and respond to this disaster, the procurement and supply chain team at Flextronics Milpitas needed a solution to enable rapid coordination and response. They piloted the Resilinc solution during the Japanese crisis response and it proved to be critically important in facilitating coordination and streamlining of the operational information needed for crisis response and recovery.  Subsequently, in July 2011, Thailand began to experience heavy flooding in the northern agricultural provinces. When floodwaters breached the barriers protecting the Rojana Industrial Park, Resilinc sent an event notification to the key users at Flextronics Milpitas about the developments in Thailand.

The notification identified not only suppliers in the impact zone but also the parts built there and the products that were potentially disrupted. As a result, the team was able to avoid a major disruption as well as any material financial impact.  In a recent publication by ChainLink Research, Tim Griffin, general manager for Flextronics Milpitas, says: "We find ourselves in the position of being supply chain operators for our customers. We build and ship our OEM customers' products, and work with suppliers to procure materials. Resilinc's solution enables us to proactively collect critical supplier information and share resiliency insights and analytics with our customers. With multiple tiers working together, we can make decisions quickly and respond faster and more effectively when disruptions occur."(1)  "The next generation of supply chain innovation will be driven on the resiliency front, as global events continuously impact the top and bottom lines," said Bindiya Vakil, president of Resilinc. "We believe supply chain visibility and global event monitoring provide the foundation needed to achieve the new resiliency-optimized supply chain paradigm." - Sys-Con Media.


PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: China Reports Bird Flu Outbreak – 95,000 Chickens Culled!

Agricultural authorities in northwest China have culled about 95,000 chickens after an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus, state press reported on Wednesday.

The outbreak in Touying township of the Ningxia region was discovered on Friday last week after over 23,000 chickens began showing symptoms, Xinhua news agency said, citing the Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry said the “epidemic is now under control”, the report said, while work teams have been sent to the area to step up prevention measures.

China is considered one of the nations most at risk of bird flu epidemics because it has the world’s biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans. In January, a man in southwest China’s Guizhou province died after contracting the bird flu virus, the second such fatality reported in China this year, health authorities said.
- Khaleej Times.


EARTH CHANGES: Spectacular Icebergs Float Thousands of Miles - Within Feet of Amazed Sightseers!

Thrilled spectators didn’t have to travel far to fulfill a dream of seeing some stunning icebergs - two came to them.

Grounded: Sightseers line the shore for a glimpse of the annual phenomenon of the shifting
icebergs passing near St. John's, Newfoundland, and Labrador.
These enormous chunks of ice broke of an arctic ice shelf hundreds of miles away as Spring temperatures begin to rise. They floated across the ocean before becoming grounded a few feet off shore in a narrow section of waters near St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.  Technology and radar to spot large icebergs may have inproved since the Titanic struck one and sank 100 years ago, but floating obstacle still present a real danger to shipping. 

In Spring, icebergs frequently float close to the coast and into harbour entrances.  These icebergs pictured as minnows compared to the size of some larger examples, which can be dozens of miles wide.  When a huge section of an ice shelf splits, as it moves through the water, it sheds pieces of ice that create the clusters of icebergs. - Daily Mail.