Tuesday, May 1, 2012

EXTREME WEATHER ALERT: Severe Thunderstorms Will Ignite the Upper Mississippi Valley - Isolated Tornado Threat From Minnesota to Nebraska!

Severe thunderstorms will ignite across the upper Mississippi Valley later this afternoon and tonight.  Places that will need to keep an eye out for damaging severe storms include St. Cloud, Minneapolis and Mankato, Minn., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Omaha, Neb.

The greatest risks will be large hail, locally damaging wind gusts, flash flooding and a few tornadoes.  Hail the size of baseballs and wind gusts to 60 mph can cause significant damage to automobiles, homes, trees and power lines.  Torrential downpours are capable of causing flash flooding. Heavy rain that falls in a short amount of time can lead to roadways becoming submerged in quickly rising water, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.  Never drive on a roadway that has been completely covered with water. Turn around and seek a safer alternative route to your destination.  There will also be the threat for isolated tornadoes. Heed all watches and warnings and be prepared to take action if a warning is issued for your area. A storm system will move eastward from the northern Rockies into the northern Plains later today. Out ahead of the storm, warm and moist air will stream northward into the region, creating an atmosphere conducive for explosive thunderstorms.

Later in the afternoon and at night, after daytime heating has taken place, a cold front will slice into the region from the northwest.  The cold front will act as a trigger for damaging severe thunderstorms to erupt.  Strong to severe storms will also fire across parts of western Texas this afternoon.  While the threat is much more isolated today, some places that were hit with severe storms on Monday will be in store for another round this afternoon. Cities in the threat zone include Amarillo, Lubbock and Midland.  Residents in this area should be on the lookout for thunderstorms capable of producing large hail and strong, potentially damaging winds.  A boundary separating very dry air from very moist air, also known as a dry line, will provide the spark for thunderstorms to ignite later this afternoon. - AccuWeather.
WATCH: Meteorologist Mark Miller's forecast.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake Rocks Offshore Chiapas, Mexico!

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck offshore Chiapas, off southwest Mexico, near the Guatemalan border on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 22:43:38 UTC, the U.S. Geological Service said.

The tremor was located at 14.420°N, 92.969°W with a depth of 44 km (27.3 miles). The epicentre was 82 km (51 miles) west (260°) from Suchiate, Chiapas, Mexico; 91 km (57 miles) southwest (234°) from Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico; 97 km (60 miles) southwest (214°) from Huixtla, Chiapas, Mexico; and 265 km (165 miles) W (265°) from Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Earlier today, a 5.7 magnitude quake 130 miles (210 km) from Mexico City shook the capital, but officials had no reports of damage in the city.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Astonishing 30 Meter Deep Sinkhole Opens Up in Erzincan Doruksaray, Turkey?!

Ilic, Haydar Kaya village of the town of Erzincan Doruksaray 5 meters in diameter and 30 feet deep in the field of the earth's crust oluştu.

Erzincan collapse sinkholes in a 120, 8 kilometers away from the town of Ilic Doruksaray Haydar Kaya village in a crash last year in the field of occurred. 5 meters in diameter in the middle of the land as a result of the crash, occurred in a pit 30 meters deep.  Haydar Kaya pit plantation owner of the land could not because of the field.  Haydar Kaya event was heard upon the application of farmers' Ilic governor's office.  Governor started the investigation about the pothole, the wire mesh around the decided to translate. 

Governer's also a technical committee of experts to investigate the pit, Erzincan University, wanted the appointment. As a result of investigations made by the tribunal last week, around the pit to take precautions to prevent loss of life and property was decided.  District, the village community of the pit around the wire mesh, barbed wire and cement aid, to be translated. Field collapse that occurred shepherds owner Haydar Kaya news Recalling that, "I did not believe before. Then go to the pit looked up and was surprised to see. the field ekemiyoruz our fear," he said. - Haberler [Translated].
WATCH: Massive Turkey sinkhole.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Unexplained Sounds and Flashes Spark Rumors in Roslindale, Boston, Massachusetts?!

Roslindale may soon be called Roswell-lindale after a series of unexplained sounds and flashes of light were witnessed over the weekend. 

Both Friday and Sunday, around the same times, residents reported hearing "booms" in the area of Zeller Street near the Fallon Field.  Some residents said the sound wasn't consistent with the noises made by fireworks during a July 4 celebration.  The mysterious blasts were reportedly heard from Dorchester Fields to Jamaica Plain, but no one had an answer for the strange phenomenon.  Locals reported that police responded to the scene, but found nothing.  Todd Johnson, who has lived in Roslindale for the past year, said the sound startled him and his wife. "It wasn't like a gunshot, it was louder and deeper than that," said Johnson, who had his television on the first time he heard the strange noise. "It was like a cannon going off."  While others reported seeing a flash following the boom, Johnson said he only heard the loud noise, on both Friday and Sunday night around the same time.  "It's really weird; you'd think there would be some explanation or something," said Johnson. "With fireworks, there would be some smoke or the smell of sulfur -- but I don't think any of the neighbors heard anything about that kind of stuff." 

On UniversalHub.com, people living nearby joked about the boom being caused by characters from the TV show "Lost" going back to the island, or a possible real-life "Fringe" scenario unfolding in the Hub's backyard.  Residents in other parts of the country have experienced similar strange noises with no apparent cause in recent months.  In Wisconsin, people called police after they heard thunder-like "booms" and "bams" that officials could not immediately explain.  A 15-minute video on YouTube called "Mysterious Booms All Over U.S. Not Just Wisconsin Jolting People To The Bone," claims it's a conspiracy.  In the video, a person says they have been exploring strange sounds for the past two years, and reports of "loud, jolting booms" all around the country have increased. - Metro.

 NOTE: Special thanks to Sheila Aliens.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 5.7 Earthquake Rattles Michoacan, Mexico - Subduction of the Cocos Plate Continues!

An earthquake 130 miles miles away shook Mexico City on Tuesday but officials had no reports of damage in the capital.

Traffic and street life continued as normal moments after the tremor that hit on a public holiday, witnesses said.  "I've lived through plenty of earthquakes. But I didn't feel that one," said Elias Munoz, 70, who runs a kiosk in Mexico City's central Roma.  The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake that hit the central state of Michoacan had a magnitude of 5.7 and was recorded at a depth of 48 miles. 

The epicenter was 128 miles southwest of the Mexican capital. Fausto Vallejo, governor of Michoacan, said on his Twitter account there were no reports of damage in the state.  Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, tweeted that there were no reports of damage there.  Mexico has felt several strong earthquakes in recent weeks such as a 7.4 magnitude tremor in late March, without serious damage. - Reuters.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Italy's Mount Etna Erupts For the Seventh Time This Year - Dramatic Java Display Blankets Areas up to 12 Miles Away With Ash and Scoriae!

Sicily's Mount Etna wowed onlookers and researchers with yet another spectacular show last week. It was the restive peak's 25th dramatic lava display since the volcano ramped up activity in January 2011, and the seventh so far this year.

Italy's Mount Etna glows as lava pours down its flanks.
Signs the mountain was primed for yet another paroxysm first appeared on the morning of April 21, when Mount Etna sent out small plumes of ash. However, it wasn't until nearly two days later, early on April 23, that observers spotted a tiny trickle of lava spilling from the mountain. As the day wore on, lava issued from several vents high atop the volcano in fits and starts, according to Boris Behncke, a volcanologist with Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, reached by email. Behncke, a scientist and accomplished photographer, captured the above photograph at about 8:20 p.m., local time, on April 23. The mountain was taking its time, Behncke wrote in a description of the evening. It didn't explode with its full fury until the wee hours of April 24, when it sent up fountains of lava for about 25 minutes. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth. Between January and August 2000, the mountain experienced 66 of these episodes of "lava fountaining," and a total of 250 since 1995.
The mountain experienced two similar eruptive events earlier in the month. Behncke caught the volcano's spectacular April 1 display on camera. Although those who live near the mountain have grown used to its rumblings, Behncke said this most recent event was somewhat unusual. "What is quite fascinating this time is the rather heavy fallout of pyroclastic material," he said. The mountain blanketed areas as far as 12 miles (20 kilometers) away with ash and scoriae — small, porous and very light fragments of basaltic rock. Behncke said it's likely that strong winds at the time of Mount Etna's explosive eruption, as opposed to any unusual volcanic activity itself, were likely the culprit behind the unusually large area covered with volcanic material in the aftermath. "I am happy the wind did not blow into the direction of our home," Behncke said. "Cleaning up this sort of material is a pain in the neck." - MSNBC.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Canadians Make a Racket Over Mysterious 'Windsor Hum'?!

Last month, Bob Dechert, a senior aide to Canada's foreign minister, was dispatched to Detroit with an important diplomatic mission: To stop a highly annoying noise.  The so-called Windsor hum, described as a low-frequency rumbling sound, has rattled windows and knocked objects off shelves in this border community just across the Detroit River from the Motor City. Locals have said it sounds like a large diesel truck idling, a loud boom box or the bass vocals of Barry White.  Windsor residents have blamed the hum for causing illness, whipping dogs into frenzies, keeping cats housebound and sending goldfish to the surface in backyard ponds. Many have resorted to switching on their furnace fan all season to drown out the noise.  Even weirder, Americans can't seem to hear it. Canadians find that suspicious—especially since their research suggests the hum is coming from the Yankees' side—and accuse U.S. officials of staying silent over the noise.

"The government of Canada takes this issue seriously," Mr. Dechert said after his recent fact-finding trip, which included a visit to a heavily industrialized area on the American side of the river that some Canadian scientists believe is to blame for the hum.  Unexplained noises have tormented city dwellers for centuries. Residents west of Green Bay, Wis., have been trying to identify an occasional loud boom that they say sounds like a cannon blast—geologists have said earthquakes made the noise. Locals in upstate New York and other places have described similar episodes.  But few such cases have become international diplomatic incidents.  After three months of seismic studies conducted by Canada's natural resources department, scientists said the noise was likely coming from Zug Island, a nearly 600-acre man-made island on the Michigan side of the Detroit River. The coal-blackened industrial zone is dominated by steel mills, including facilities operated by U.S. Steel Corp. and others whose blast furnaces belch out steam and flames.  The area is off-limits to the general public and surrounded by wire fences, with the only access via a guarded gate. A spokeswoman for U.S. Steel didn't respond to requests for comment.  The sound has been plaguing Windsor residents on and off for two years. Last May, a particularly loud eruption shook Windsor resident David Robins as he watched the National Basketball Association playoffs. The room began to vibrate with a loud throbbing noise.  Mr. Robins hit mute, fearing he had gone overboard on volume. But the noise persisted. Stepping outside, Mr. Robins said he found the "entire neighborhood pulsating."  "To be honest, I was scared," he said.

Hundreds of other sleep-deprived locals have demanded action from politicians in Windsor and Ottawa.  Locals blamed earthquakes, local salt mines, an underground river and wind turbines in the past. But Canada's seismic study last summer narrowed the likely source down to approximately 250 acres in the vicinity of Zug Island.  American officials say they aren't so sure.  "It may not be actually emanating from Michigan," said Hansen Clarke, the U.S. Representative for the East Detroit congressional district that includes Zug.  Michael D. Bowdler, the mayor of River Rouge, Michigan, the municipality with authority over Zug, said his cash-strapped government doesn't have funds to investigate further. Mr. Bowdler suggests the city of Windsor pay for a survey that could isolate the noise to its exact location.  American officials contend there haven't been complaints on the U.S. side of the border. Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality looked last year at whether the companies at Zug started up any new machinery in the past two years that might be causing the noise and found nothing.  "The only place I am hearing noise from is Canada—from politicians complaining," Mr. Bowdler said.  Mr. Dechert, Canada's parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, concedes the source may not be Zug Island, given there are a "number of operations" in the vicinity that could be responsible. But he wants his U.S. counterparts to investigate further to help quiet down the border ruckus.  "There is definitely something going on that's affecting people on the Canadian side of the river," he said.  Canadian diplomats formally raised the issue with the U.S. Department of State last September. They took up the cause again at a meeting on Thursday. A State Department spokesman declined to comment on the meeting.  "We do sympathize with the plight of those affected but, unfortunately, the federal government doesn't have regulatory authority over noise pollution," the spokesman said. 

Canadian authorities have also hoped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would investigate. But a spokesman for the EPA said it doesn't have the authority to assist.  If U.S. officials don't help find a solution, "there will be a lot of upset people," said Brian Masse, a Canadian New Democratic Party member of parliament, whose Windsor constituency sits across the river from Zug Island.  Studying the hum, much less its origin, is challenging. It is difficult to capture the mainly nocturnal sound on tape, since it doesn't hum all the time.  During a recent visit to Windsor by a Wall Street Journal reporter, Windsor resident Gary Grosse played several recordings he said came from the noise, which modulated from metallic grating to a pulsing beat.  On a visit to the area around Zug Island, a fainter version of similar sounds was audible. But Americans nearby said they still can't hear it.  Fishing under the shadow of some of the large mounds of coal that fringe Zug Island, Samson Jenkins says that in 20 trips here he has never heard a noise like that described in Windsor.  "And they say they can hear it all the way in Canada?" said the 45-year-old maintenance worker. "No way."  Nearby, an industrial chimney belched out a twist of sulfurous-smelling smoke. Mr. Jenkins joked the only noise pollution he has heard of late is Canadian singer Celine Dion.  In Windsor, nobody's laughing.  In January 2011, Sonya Skillings's nocturnal baby-feeding sessions were disturbed by what she said sounded like an underground subway beneath the house. Over a year on, it has become so loud sometimes she worries the windows will blow out.  "I just want to be in my rocking chair with my baby asleep on top of me," she said. But "all I can hear is 'vrump, vrump, vrump.' " - Wall Street Journal.

WATCH: Canadians Make a Racket Over Mysterious 'Windsor Hum'?!

EXTREME WEATHER USA: Nighttime Tornado Knocks Out Power in Medford, Oklahoma!

Several tornadoes were reported in Northern Oklahoma Monday night, and caused damage near Medford and Nowata. 

Two tornadoes reportedly touched down near Medford Monday night. News 9 Storm Tracker Val Castor reported seeing major damage about one mile west of Medford. Several barns and outbuildings were reportedly destroyed.  Several power poles on Highway 11, about three and half miles east of Medford, are reportedly down, blocking the highway.  No damage have been reported in the city of Medford.  Emergency crews are also trying to cap an Anhydrous ammonia leak at the Farmers' Grain Company, located south of Deer Creek in Grant County. Residents within a half-mile radius of the plant are being evacuated. 

As of 11 p.m. Monday, about 867 customers in Medford and about 568 customers in Deer Creek are without power, according to the OG and E.  At least one tornado briefly touched down In Nowata County earlier on Monday. The Nowata County Sheriff's Office said there was some damage from the tornado, and some localized flooding from the storm. Severe Weather 4/30/2012  Stay updated with severe weather warnings, watches.  No injuries have been reported at this point, according to the EMS Director in the Medford area.  As of Monday night, most of Oklahoma is still under a tornado watch, including Oklahoma County. - DigTriad.
WATCH: Tornado touches down in Medford, Oklahoma.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Rumbling Mexican Volcano Threatens Almost 25 Million - Authorities Have Increased Alert Level For Popocatepetl to the Third Highest Level!

Residents in the towns surrounding Mexico's Popocatepetl adjust to life with daily rumblings and ash clouds from the massive volcano.

Local residents report hearing a continuous roar as Popocatepetl's activity increases.
The iconic white-capped volcano known as Popocatepetl, located less than a two-hour drive from Mexico City, awoke in April after more than a decade of silence.  Spurting lava and steam for kilometres, the volcano threatens to dump ash on the more than 25 million people that live within a 100km radius.  Scientists say they cannot predict when it will erupt, but the country's Natural Disaster Prevention Centre has increased its alert to the third highest level. - Al Jazeera.
WATCH: Rumbling Mexican volcano threatens millions.

SUPERMOON: BAD MOON RISING - This Weekend's 'Supermoon' on May 5, Will be the Year's Largest!

Skywatchers take note: The biggest full moon of the year is due to arrive this weekend. The moon will officially become full Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT. And because this month's full moon coincides with the moon's perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year's biggest.  The moon will swing in 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from our planet, offering skywatchers a spectacular view of an extra-big, extra-bright moon, nicknamed a supermoon.

And not only does the moon's perigee coincide with full moon this month, but this perigee will be the nearest to Earth of any this year, as the distance of the moon's close approach varies by about 3 percent, according to meteorologist Joe Rao, SPACE.com's skywatching columnist. This happens because the moon's orbit is not perfectly circular.   This month's full moon is due to be about 16 percent brighter than average. In contrast, later this year on Nov. 28, the full moon will coincide with apogee, the moon's farthest approach, offering a particularly small and dim full moon. 

Though the unusual appearance of this month's full moon may be surprising to some, there's no reason for alarm, scientists warn. The slight distance difference isn't enough to cause any earthquakes or extreme tidal effects, experts say.  However, the normal tides around the world will be particularly high and low. At perigee, the moon will exert about 42 percent more tidal force than it will during its next apogee two weeks later, Rao said.  The last supermoon occurred in March 2011.  To view this weekend's supermoon to best effect, look for it just after it rises or before it sets, when it is close to the horizon. There, you can catch a view of the moon behind buildings or trees, an effect which produces an optical illusion, making the moon seem even larger than it really is. - Christian Science Monitor.
WATCH: NASA issues warning about Supermoon.

THE SEASON OF THE WIND: Vicious Winds and Heavy Rains Capsize Boat in India - 35 Dead and 165 Feared Missing! UPDATE: 103 Confirmed Dead and 100 Are Still Missing!

A packed ferry boat capsized in heavy winds and rain in remote northeastern India late Monday, leaving at least 35 people dead and 165 others feared missing, police said.

Rescuers help search for victims of a ferry accident on the Meghna River in Munshiganj district,
about 20 miles south of Dhaka, India, on March 13.
Assam state police chief J.N. Choudhury said the boat was carrying about 350 passengers and broke into two pieces. About 150 people who were traveling on the top level were rescued or swam to safety, he said. Details were sketchy because bad weather and the remoteness of the area hampered communication. Choudhury said the accident occurred on the Brahmaputra river near Fakiragram in west Dhubri district.

The area is about 215 miles west of the state capital, Gauhati, and close to where the river enters Bangladesh. He said officials in that country had been contacted for help.    The area is dotted with riverside settlements and small islands, and boats are the most common mode of transport. Most ferries are overcrowded, with little regard for safety regulations.    Strong winds and rain likely caused the accident, Choudhury said. Police and paramilitary soldiers were sent to help local villagers with rescue efforts, he said.  - FOX News.
UPDATE: 103 Confirmed Dead and 100 Are Still Missing!
Army divers and rescue workers pulled 103 bodies out of a river after a packed ferry boat capsized in heavy winds and rain in remote northeast India, an official said Tuesday.  At least 100 people were still missing Tuesday after the boat carrying about 350 passengers broke into two pieces late Monday, said Pritam Saikia, the district magistrate of Goalpara district.  Deep sea divers and disaster rescue soldiers worked through the night to pull bodies from the Brahmaputra River in Assam state.  Heavy winds and rain hampered rescue operations, said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Assam's top elected official.  "I will be ordering an inquiry into the cause of the accident, but right now our priority is to account for every person who was on the ferry," Gogoi said.  Around 150 passengers swam to safety or were rescued by villagers, said Saikia, who was supervising the rescue operations.  Divers and rescue workers with rubber rafts scoured the river early Tuesday in the search for survivors amid the floating debris, which was all that remained of the ferry.  Passenger Hasnat Ali told local television the storm tossed about the boat, and he and others who were riding on the roof were thrown off or managed to swim ashore before the ferry was dashed to pieces. But about 200 people were packed inside the boat along with cargo.  Another passenger told New Delhi Television channel there was no lifeguard or life boats on the ferry.  The accident occurred near Fakiragram village in west Dhubri district, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) west of the state capital, Gauhati, and close to where the Brahmaputra River enters Bangladesh.  The area is dotted with riverside settlements and small islands, and boats are the most common mode of transport. Most ferries are overcrowded, with little regard for safety regulations.  Mohan Lal, a senior officer with the Border Security Force, said 35 BSF troops were at the accident site on boats and used hand-held searchlights to search for passengers after daylight faded.  Lal said troops had located the upturned and broken pieces of the boat but were unable to lift them without a crane. - Yahoo.
WATCH: Possibly 200 dead as Indian ferry sinks.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia’s Mount Merapi Volcano Entering Preparation Stage Before an Eruption - Restarting its Inflation Process!

The Mt. Merapi volcano restarted its inflation process immediately after the 2010 eruption and has entered its preparation stage of a forthcoming eruption, a Japanese researcher has said.

A recent eruption at Mount Merapi.
Masako Iguchi, a researcher from the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University, said Tuesday that the global positioning system (GPS) installed on three Indonesian volcanoes, namely Guntur, Sinabung and Merapi, to detect their ground deformations, had signaled the inflation of Mt. Merapi.  Before the 2010 eruption, he said, Merapi had erupted in 2001 and 2006. This showed that there were some periods in which the volcano had no deformation until it inflated and the next eruption occurred on Oct. 26, 2010.  “But in this latest case, we detected that after its 2010 eruption, Merapi inflated again very quickly. This means that Merapi is a very active volcano,” Iguchi said during a meeting to present the team’s project report titled “Multi-Disciplinary Hazard Reduction from Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Indonesia”.  The three-year project, which is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology (JST) institute, will end later this year. The project was led by Hery Harjono, an earthquake researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). 

Iguchi said that during the observation, a joint team of experts from Indonesia and Japan found drastic changes in the chemistry of deposits around Merapi had occurred between October and November 2011.  “More efforts are needed to develop eruption scenarios, volcano monitoring, and countermeasures to mitigate a possible volcanic disaster,” said Iguchi.  Tomoyuki Tada, a JICA senior representative, said the “Multi-Disciplinary Hazard Reduction from Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Indonesia” project marked the first collaboration between the JICA and JST in Indonesia.  “This is a very important project as Indonesia and Japan are both well-known countries for natural disasters,” he said.  During the project, which began in 2009, three significant natural disasters occurred both in Indonesia and Japan, namely the Merapi eruption, the tsunami on Mentawai Island and the earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan.  “When those disasters struck, this project was able to utilize its network of researchers, which contributed to our cooperation for disaster management and responses to disasters,” said Tada.  Citing one example, he said the JICA sent a Japanese disaster rescue team to Indonesia follwing the Merapi eruption and Mentawai tsunami; while, after the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami, workshops and seminars were held in Japan in collaboration with this project’s network of researchers. - The Jakarta Post.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Incredibly Amazing Purple Crab Found in Palawan - One of Four Brand New Species Discovered on Philippine Island!

An amazing purple crab is one of four new species of the creature that have been discovered on the Philippine island of Palawan.

Claws for concern: The purple crab is one of four new species discovered
- but mining projects threaten its existence
They are all variants of the colourful Insulamon freshwater crab and are unique to the island.  However, various mining projects pose a huge threat to them. Located between the Sundaic and Philippine region, Palawan combines two of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots.  Around 50 per cent of the species living on Palawan are defined as endemic, which means they are exclusively native to the island.  ‘In the Aqua Palawana research programme I am head of, we have been investigating the biodiversity of Palawan’s inland waters for over 10 years’, says Dr Hendrik Freitag from the Senckenberg Natural History Collections in Dresden. 

‘This also included taking a closer look at the Insulamon crabs and we discovered four new species in the process.’  The reddish violet species of the Insulamon crab genus are the only varieties that are endemic to only one or a few islands.   The sea means these creatures are unable to spread elsewhere, as they depend on freshwater at all stages of their development.  Having been completely separated from their relatives, they have developed their own separate species and genera over tens of thousands of years.  ‘We have proved that the only previously known type of Insulamon is restricted to the Calamian group of islands to the north of Palawan. The four newly discovered species live exclusively on the actual island of Palawan and make it a unique habitat’, says Freitag. - Daily Mail.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano Registers Slight Increase in Tremors and Ash Emissions - Constant Tremor Signal and High Frequency Energy!

The Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School today reported a slight increase in seismic activity and ash from the volcano Tungurahua.

Tungurahua's recent eruption makes gravel fall on local town.
According to the Geophysical, from about 13:00 the seismic activity is characterized by the generation of a constant tremor signal, high frequency energy that remains. Also he could see a column of about 3 km emission with moderately high ash load and direction of movement to the west and south-west.  Also reported minor ash falls in the sectors of El Manzano, Choglontús and Cahuají, south-west of the volcano, with almost constant roar of varying intensity. - La Hora [Translated].

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic & Nuclear Dangers - Quake Faults Near San Onofre Nuclear Planet to be Studied!

Southern California Edison announced Friday that it will collaborate with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on seismic studies looking at offshore faults near the San Onofre nuclear plant, beginning later this year.  Edison requested approval last year from the California Public Utilities Commission to recover $64 million from ratepayers for seismic studies at the plant.

A PUC administrative law judge issued a proposed decision last month granting the request, but it is still pending final approval from the commission.  It was not immediately clear whether the studies to be conducted by Scripps would be part of the $64-million application pending or would be an additional effort.  [Updated at 4:34 p.m.: Caroline McAndrews, Edison's director of nuclear strategic projects, said the collaboration with Scripps will be part of the work covered in the application pending before the CPUC. She said discussions with Scripps had begun last August, and that the work done in collaboration with Scripps would account for about half of the seismic study budget.  Scripps professor Neal Driscoll, who will be one of the lead scientists on the offshore studies, said the effort will mark the first time in 20 or 30 years that this type of data has been aggregated off the coast of Southern California.  "Having academia partner with industry is the way of the future," he said].  Edison said Scripps scientists will take the lead on the studies off San Onofre State Beach, where they will use specially equipped boats towing underwater microphones to collect data that will be made available to other experts and to the public. The surveys will evaluate existing and potential faults as well as imaging the underwater terrain.  In a statement, Edison said the involvement of Scripps will add “objective and world-class expertise in geophysics” to the studies. 

The group Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility has argued that the PUC should require an independent peer review panel to oversee and review the studies at San Onofre. Such a panel was created for similar studies at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, but the judge’s proposed decision on Edison’s funding request found that the panel at Diablo Canyon had been “too cumbersome for prompt and efficient action” and did not recommend taking the same measure for the studies at San Onofre.  John Geesman, an attorney for the alliance and former member of the California Energy Commission, said he saw the collaboration with Scripps as an attempt by Edison to “immunize themselves from the argument that the CPUC should insist on a prospective peer review process.”  Geesman said that the involvement of Scripps might be a good thing but that the PUC still needs to set up a “credible peer review body" to make sure the right studies are done.  The outcome of the seismic studies could help to determine whether San Onofre can be re-licensed when its current license expires in 2022. Edison has not decided whether to apply for renewal.  The plant is currently out of service while Edison tries to determine what is causing steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water to wear out more quickly than they should. One tube sprang a leak Jan. 31, releasing a small amount of radioactive steam and prompting the plant to be taken offline. Since then, 509 out of about 39,000 tubes in the two working reactor units have been taken out of service because of excessive wear. - LA Times.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia’s Mount Lokon Volcano Erupts Again - Evacuation Sites Being Prepared by Authorities!

Mount Lokon volcano in North Sulawesi erupted again at 11:55 a.m. local time on Tuesday. 

The latest eruption was larger in magnitude compared to the eruption last Wednesday but local residents were more prepared.  The eruption was preceded by a number of mild earthquakes over a span of two minutes.  National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said smoke plumes reached 2,500 meters in height when Mount Lokon erupted. 

According to geologists with the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG), it is not time for residents to evacuate yet, but evacuation sites are being prepared just in case.  The BNPB has deployed a team to keep the situation in Mount Lokon under control. The agency has also prepared transport, Rp 400 million (US$43,600) in cash and other equipment.  Other emergency teams are on stand-by in Malang’s Abdul Rahman Saleh Airport with Hercules C-130 aircraft ready for evacuation. “Everything is ready,” Sutopo said. - The Jakarta Post.