Thursday, May 24, 2012

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake Jolts the Norwegian Sea!

An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted Norwegian Sea on Thursday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

The temblor, which occurred at 10.47pm GMT, had a depth of 8.8km. Its epicentre was 601km northwest of Tromso, Norway and 1,472km northeast of Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, Xinhua quoted the USGS report as stating on its website.

An initial report based on the preliminary data said that the quake, of 6.5 magnitude, hit the adjacent Greenland Sea further north. No tsunami warning was issued immediately after the quake. The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. - Hindustan Times.

PLANETARY TREMORS: The Alpine Fault - Researchers Find New Zealand More Seismically Unstable Than Previously Thought!

Researchers have discovered New Zealand's earthquake-prone landscape is even more unstable than previously thought, recording deep tremors lasting up to 30 minutes on its biggest fault line. Scientists measured the so-called "creeping earthquakes" when they investigated a puzzling lack of major seismic jolts along a section of the Alpine Fault, which runs the length of the South Island. 

The quakes, which caused no surface damage, occurred 20-45 kilometres (12-28 miles) beneath the Earth's crust and continued for as long as half an hour, much longer than ordinary earthquakes. In contrast, the 6.3-magnitude quake that killed 185 people in the South island city of Christchurch in February last year lasted just 37 seconds and struck at a depth of about five kilometres. The quakes could not be measured by regular seismic monitoring devices and researchers from Wellington's Victoria University had to place sensors in boreholes 100 metres deep to pick them up. Seismologist Aaron Wech said the research showed the Alpine Fault, regarded as New Zealand's most hazardous, did not remain still between major earthquakes but was constantly shifting.  Wech said the implications for future earthquakes were unclear. 

"It could be that constant tremor builds up stress and may trigger a major fault movement (earthquake) or, alternatively, the activity may decrease the likelihood of a major quake by acting as a release valve for stress," he said.  "What's important is that we find out more about these tremor events, such as where they happen and how often, so we can better predict the hazard the Alpine Fault poses."  The research was published this week in the US journal Geophysical Research Letters.  The government's GNS Science agency estimates the Alpine Fault has generated four quakes of magnitude 8.0 or higher in the past 900 years, most recently in the early 1700s, and another is overdue.  It says there is a high probability one will occur in the next 40 years, producing "one of the biggest earthquakes since European settlement of New Zealand (which) will have a major impact on the lives of many people".  The Christchurch earthquake was not caused by the Alpine Fault but a previously unknown fault line, part of a network of seismic fractures criss-crossing New Zealand, which lies on the junction of two tectonic plates. - AFP.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Freak Storm Brings "Never Seen Before" Hail to the Philippines - Over 100 Families Affected, Homes Destroyed, Power and Water Supply Disrupted!

Local officials of Pinamungajan declared a state of calamity on Friday in one of two barangays that got hit by a strong wind and hail. The town is expected to follow suit.  Lamac barangay captain Mariflor Cantero, whose house the wind also leveled, said the officials made the declaration to hasten the release of aid. 

Balls of ice the size of marbles or a child’s fist hit two barangays.
Power and water supply in the affected barangays were disrupted, and the residents were still shocked by the sudden weather disturbance.  "They've never seen anything like this," said Representative Pablo John Garcia (Cebu Province, 3rd district) who visited the area on Friday. There was no way the residents could have prepared for what happened.  "Ang kilat nagtagbo diri, dayon ni abri ang panganod ug nihuwad sa tunga (middle) og ice dungan sa kusog nga hangin (Streaks of lightning connected, then the clouds parted and the ice began to fall. The wind hit us then)," said Generoso Grasia, 52.  Mayor Geraldine Yapha and local health officials went back to the mountainous site on Friday to check what the survivors might need.  The most badly hit houses were in Barangay Lamac. Many were pinned down by tree trucks. Entire roofs were torn off houses and thrown a few meters away.  Garcia, who led the distribution of relief goods inside the Lamac Elementary school on Friday, said as many as 100 families were affected. The latest count in Barangay Lamac already reached 88, plus there were some houses in Barangays Punod and Sibago that were also damaged.  A team from the Third Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), together with the congressman's staff, cleared the streets of fallen trees.  Garcia also requested the military's 78th Infantry Brigade to help restore order in the community and help residents rebuild their houses.  Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the Province already sent relief goods to Pinamungajan town -- including clothes, mats, kitchen supplies, blankets and powdered milk -- and will prepare financial aid for the survivors.  The whirlwind damaged properties that were more than 10 feet high.  The roof and trusses on the homes of Juanita Podador, 43, and Francisco Mañalag, 73, were torn off. Podador's roof landed on top of her neighbor Virginia Podador's roof, while Mañalag's entire roof landed five meters away from his house.  Three gmelina trees from his yard crushed the house of Daniel Bacaro, 46, and his wife Mercedes was pinned inside.
A resident of Barangay Lamac, Pinamungahan searches for housing materials he can still reuse,
after a strong wind and hail storm hit his community
Bacaro was in the rice field a kilometer away, harvesting, when he saw the whirlwind hit his house.  "Nagsige ko og singgit, 'Akong asawa! Tabangi ko ninyo' (I yelled for help)," Bacaro said.  Mercedes was in the Pinamungajan District Hospital on Friday, recovering from bruises and other injuries in her chest, back and knees.  At the height of their ordeal, said Helen Embolode, 46, the wind pried the roof open and let in enough ice, in balls the size of a child's marbles or fist, to cover their floor.  "Mura'g gibato among atop (It sounded like someone was pelting our roof with rocks)," she said.  Annaliza Bayno, 35, a church worker of San Isidro Parish in Barangay Lamac, said big ice lumps punched holes in their tent, before the whirlwind lifted the whole eight-by-ten-foot tent and slammed it five meters away.  Marijoy Embolodo, 12, was alone in her family's small hut, pushing their bamboo door closed, when the wind hit. Her mother Fe ran to her neighbor Oscar Cialana's house, clutching her three-year-old child as four other children followed close.  "Mada ko sa hangin (I was afraid the wind would carry me away)," Marijoy said. She stayed safe inside the hut.  Her neighbor Daniel Bacaro's house was crushed by some of the trees that surrounded it.  "Pasalamat ta wala'y namatay (Let's be thankful no one died)," said Congressman Garcia, who added that several injuries were reported.  People's livelihood will be disrupted, so he asked Provincial Social Welfare officer Marivic Garces to help meet the survivors' basic needs in the meantime.  He also thanked the Toledo City Government for providing potable water to the affected residents.  No municipal officials were present when the congressman distributed the relief goods.  When asked about this, Mayor Yapha told Sun.Star SuperBalita they were not told that the congressman was arriving to distribute relief goods. The local officials would have met him, had they been told, she said. - Sun Star.

STORM ALERT: Hurricane Bud Takes Aim at Mexico's Pacific Coast - Could Bring "Life-Threatening Floods and Mudslides"!

Hurricane Bud quickly strengthened early Thursday after forming off the southwestern coast of Mexico just hours before, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported.

Hurricane Bud is expected to approach the Mexico coast late Friday evening.
The Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds was about 350 miles (560 kilometers) southwest of Manzanillo, and was tracking to the north at 7 mph.  Some additional strengthening is expected Thursday, the hurricane center said. "Gradual weakening is expected to begin by Friday."  The forecast map shows the storm approaching the coast late Friday before slipping off to the southwest and away from land.  Bud is the second named tropical storm of the East Pacific hurricane season. 

Early Thursday, Bud's outer bands were already over coastal areas of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero, weather officials in Mexico said.  There was an advisory in place for mariners.  The National Hurricane Center warned that Bud is expected to bring 4 to 6 inches of rain along Mexico's southwestern coast, with possible isolated amounts of 10 inches.  "These rainfall amounts could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides."  Swells generated by Bud will begin affecting some coastal areas Thursday, and "are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the hurricane center said. - CNN.