Thursday, November 22, 2012

DISASTER IMPACT: Dense Fog Causes "Catastrophic" 100-Vehicle Pileup in Southeast Texas - Kills 2 and Sends 51 to Hospital!

November 22, 2012 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - Two people died and more than 80 were hurt Thursday when at least 100 vehicles collided on a Texas highway in dense fog, leaving trucks twisted on top of each other and authorities rushing to pull survivors from the wreckage. “It is catastrophic,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rod Carroll. “I’ve got cars on top of cars.” The Thanksgiving holiday morning crash happened on Interstate 10 about 128 kilometres east of Houston.
Cars and Trucks are piled on Interstate 10 in Southeast Texas Thursday. 
AP Photo/The Beaumont Enterprise, Guiseppe Barranco.
At least 51 people had been taken to area hospitals, and at least eight were critically hurt, officials at Acadian Ambulance service told KFDM-TV. Carroll said the fog was so thick that officers didn’t immediately realize they were dealing with multiple accidents. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a crash on the eastbound side of the highway led to other accidents in a dangerous chain reaction. There were multiple crashes on the other side of the highway as well. DPS trooper Stephanie Davis told KFDM that two people were killed in an SUV crushed by a tractor trailer. She said at least 100 cars and trucks were involved in the accident. I-10’s eastbound lanes were re-opened Thursday evening after more than eight hours. Carroll said uninjured drivers tried to help as authorities sorted through the wreckage. “It’s just people helping people,” Carroll said. “The foremost thing in this holiday season is how other travellers were helping us when we were overwhelmed, sitting and holding, putting pressure on people that were injured.” - National Post.

WATCH: Driver Describes Texas Highway Crash.

DELUGE & GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: UK's Great Western Canal Runs DRY After One Side Collapses in Major Floods, Torrential Rain and Strong Winds - First Breach in Over 200 Years, Uprooted Trees, Buildings Damaged!

November 22, 2012 - BRITAIN - Twenty families were forced to flee their homes yesterday after one side of a 100ft section of the Great Western Canal collapsed, flooding the surrounding land with millions of gallons of water.  Villagers in Halberton, near Tiverton, Devon, were forced to shelter in their local hall - and gales verging on storm force of 90mph are on their way for the weekend, forecasters say.  Devon and Cornwall Police closed the road through the village and trains between Exeter and Taunton and Plymouth to Bristol were cancelled, with replacement coaches carrying passengers.  

Yesterday, winds of up to 100mph were recorded in Wales, where trees were blown down, buildings left damaged and roads flooded. The flood-hit South West will bear the brunt of the new storm. Forecaster Laura Caldwell said: ‘These are potentially damaging winds that could affect trees and structures. There will be crosswinds on roads and drivers of high-sided vehicles should take care.’  The treacherous conditions will follow the heavy rain that has lashed much of the country this week, with the deluge causing widespread chaos which is expected to last over the weekend.  More than 70 flood warnings were in place yesterday - mainly in the South West, where up to two-and-a-half inches of rain fell in some areas - as well as nearly 150 less serious flood alerts.  Halberton Parish Council chairman Ken Browse said: ‘The (Great Western) Canal has been here for 200 years and this is the first time it has breached like this. It will take a lot to put it right. 

‘A lot of farmland was flooded. But no homes or properties were flooded and no one was injured. It could have been a lot worse if the other side had gone.’  Jo Cuthbert, of Tiverton, said: 'The whole bank just gave way. We just watched the whole bank erode. The bed of the canal on this section is empty and there is a vast hole.'  Stephen Browse, who farms the land affected by the flood, said: 'A lot of the water has flood fields I farm so it's affected me directly.  ‘My parents who live on the farm have been evacuated to the village hall but I'm staying to help try and dam up the hole. I don't know how long it will take - maybe a couple of days.'  Stuart Hughes, from Devon County Council, said: 'Two hundred years that canal's been there and we've never seen anything like this.  ‘It's the sheer volume of rainfall and unfortunately you can only do so much in trying to fight mother nature. We cleaned out the gullies in July after the storms and then once again in October.  'It is Autumn, leaves fall from trees, we get wash out from the farmers' fields, everything else is going down the gullies and that's helping to block them up. You can only clean out those gullies so much.'  Devon County Council said that temporary dams to stem the escape of water from the breached canal have been successful.  Engineers worked overnight after the breach, in which water overtopping the canal is thought to have eroded the embankment as it cascaded down, weakening its sides and causing the breach.  Water is now lying in a field on the north side of the canal, where there is no risk of flood to properties. - Daily Mail.

WATCH: Great Western Canal breaks its banks and floods area

WATCH: Torrential rain causes travel chaos on the roads and railways.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Researcher: Japan Should Prepare For Worst-Case Magnitude-10 Earthquake!

November 22, 2012 - JAPAN - Japan should be prepared for the possibility of a magnitude-10 earthquake, although the chances of a temblor that size are slim, a seismologist said.  "The chances of a magnitude-10 occurring are very low," professor Toru Matsuzawa of Tohoku University reported at a Nov. 21 meeting of the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, Japan.

Workers hold a drill simulating rescue work in Mie Prefecture in the event of a Nankai Trough earthquake.
© Asahi Shimbun file photo.
"But if we think of what could happen, with the maximum in mind, we can make a swift response."  The world's largest recorded earthquake was the magnitude-9.5 Valdivia earthquake off the coast of Chile in 1960, rupturing a 1,000-kilometer fault. A magnitude-10 earthquake would be 30 times more powerful than the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.  Matsuzawa said a magnitude-10 quake is possible in theory if a large fault slips.

If a temblor of such a scale should strike, the underground rupture would continue for 20 minutes to an hour, meaning tsunami could hit coasts before the shaking subsides.  If a 3,000-kilometer stretch from the Japan Trench to the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench along the Pacific Ring of Fire has a slip of 60 meters, that would constitute a magnitude-10 earthquake, he said.  The energy of a magnitude-11 quake, 30 times more powerful than a magnitude-10 temblor, would be equivalent to that of the asteroid impact that is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65.5 million years ago. Such a quake would cause a shift extending more than 20,000 kilometers. Matsuzawa concluded that consideration would not be needed for such an earthquake. - The Asahi Shimbun.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Mystery Surrounds Sound and Light Show Over Ingham, Australia?!

November 22, 2012 - AUSTRALIA - Ingham residents are still trying to work out what caused a bright light and a large bang over the town on Wednesday night.

Local man Andrew says the region is still buzzing over what caused the strange sound and light show.

He says there is no shortage of theories about what it was.

"For me I thought it was something breaking the speed barrier and or coming into the atmosphere and yes I didn't really think about it too much at the time but I think definitely there was something either flying through the air or something coming into the atmosphere," he said.

He says people in the town are convinced it was a meteorite.

"I thought that a fuel drum or something had blown up underneath my house and I went outside, investigated, and I spoke to my neighbour and they said they saw a white light and they definitely heard the noise as well," he said.

"Yes I didn't know what the noise was but it was very loud." - ABC News Australia.

SOLAR WATCH: Geomagnetic Storm Category G2 Predicted - Multiple Eruptions From Sunspot 1618, Three Coronal Mass Ejections Heading Towards Earth!

November 22, 2012 - SUN - Sunspot 1618 continues to evolve and has a Beta-Gamma magnetic configuration. This region is currently producing low level M-Class solar flares and could produce an even stronger flare within the next 24-48 hours. Sunspot 1618 is now located in the center of the solar disk and in perfect position for Earth directed Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Conditions are expected to rise to active levels with a chance for minor storm periods. Conditions have a chance for reaching major storm levels early on day two (24 November) with the expected arrival of the CME. On day three (25 November) conditions are expected to return to unsettled to active levels due to CME combined with high speed stream effects.

Thanks to multiple eruptions on the Earth facing side of the Sun, two or perhaps even three Coronal Mass Ejections may be somewhat Earth directed. More imagery is needed, however minor to major geomagnetic storming may be possible later this week. 

WATCH: Geomagnetic Storm Category G2 Predicted
Highest Storm Level Predicted by Day:
Nov 23: G1 (Minor) Nov 24: G2 (Moderate) Nov 25: None (Below G1) - Solar Ham.

CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on November 23rd when a pair of CMEs is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The incoming clouds were propelled toward Earth by the recent eruptions of sunspot AR1618. Black Friday might be tinged red and green by the glow of high-latitude auroras. 

BIG SUNSPOT AR1618: Sunspot AR1618 is really large (10 times wider than Earth). The magnetic canopy of sunspot AR1618 is crackling with M-class solar flares, and NOAA forecasters say an X-flare could be in the offing. AR1618 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for the strongest eruptions. Any flares today would likely be Earth-directed as the sunspot is directly facing our planet. - Spaceweather.

WATCH: 24-Hour Timelapse movie of M-Class Flares around Sunspot 1618.

UFO SIGHTINGS: Alien Armada - Melbourne Man Films Strange Flying Objects Not Visible to the Naked Eye?!

November 22, 2012 - AUSTRALIA - A man from Melbourne has recently uploaded a video clip of his UFO sighting using an infrared camera. The film reveals an eerie show of lights not visible to the naked eye. The clip states in its introduction that the sighting was captured in Melbourne, Australia on November 11 (Sunday) around noon time. Asked for the particular location, the video uploader reveals he took the video at Moonee Ponds.

A panel of scientists concluded, on June 29, 1998, that science has badly neglected the study of Unidentified
Flying Objects (UFOs), despite numerous reports and considerable public interest. “It may be valuable to
carefully evaluate UFO reports to extract information about unusual phenomena currently unknown to
science," the experts, headed by Stanford University physicist Peter Sturrock, wrote in a report released
on Monday. This photo depicts a possible UFO sighting, as reported by the Journal of Scientific Exploration.
The clip is titled, "UFO - '''SKY ARMADA'' Fleet - Yes, '''SKY ARMADA''' - Daylight IR - Australia. 11.11" It says in the intro: "5 groups of 'objects' same direction approx 10 minutes apart." In describing his video clip, Lou says: "One of the most amazing sights I have ever recorded. Objects not visible to naked eye." "'Invasion' may be the wrong title, but that's what I felt. I hope they are benevolent." What the video shows is a strange formation of hovering lights, among others. The lights come in groups, without a particular motion pattern. At least one frame features countless lights moving rather slowly relative to the others. The sight brings to mind an 80s space game where the computer blasts the oncoming lights before it creates any damage.

One video commenter said: "(T)here's many more than 2 lights in this video:) I counted 32 of them and may have missed a couple along the way because most of them are moving so fast. Please watch the video carefully again...this guy is the real deal." "Ty Lou ... I film wild things daily also ... not the things you have but I am open to what you have seen," another viewer commented. UFOs in infrared: What can't the naked eyes see? It is understood this is not the first time Lou has fixed an infrared video camera in the skies. "When I first started, I use to get a few captures per week, then everday, now multiple captures in one day. Whatever 'they' are, there are lots of them - all over the world," he writes in the comments section. "Invisible" UFOs: What are these unidentified flying objects visible only in IR? - IBT.

WATCH: "Sky Armada".

THE AGE OF OBAMA: The End of America - U.S. Citizens to Pay For Thanksgiving Dinner With Food Stamps in Record Numbers, Participation Increased by 70%!

November 22, 2012 - UNITED STATES - While some will spend Thanksgiving and days after it feasting on turkeys, 13 percent of Americans will rely on food stamps to avoid going to sleep hungry this holiday season.  About 42.2 million Americans will eat on a budget of $1 to $1.25 per meal this Thanksgiving as the number of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program remains high, found a new report by The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit government watchdog group.

People fill out state forms for food stamps. (AFP Photo / Spencer Platt).
The number of Americans relying on food stamps this Thanksgiving is equal to the populations of California and Connecticut combined.  The latest data from the US Department of Agriculture shows that 47.1 million Americans relied on food stamps in August – the highest number yet.  Since 2007, participation in the food stamp program has skyrocketed, increasing by 70 percent. The cost of feeding the approximately 44.7 million Americans who relied on food stamps last year cost the US government a record $72 billion.  But the high number of Americans dependent on the nutrition assistance in a struggling economy is not the only problem the US faces this Thanksgiving.

This past summer’s record-breaking drought has taken a toll on the food industry, causing prices to skyrocket while supplies remain low – making it even more difficult to provide Thanksgiving-style food to low-income families.  In Framingham, Mass., a turkey shortage at a food pantry will leave some families without a typical Thanksgiving feast, CBS News reports. Food pantries, or food banks, are non-profit, charitable organizations that distribute food to people in need.  The Pearl Street Cupboard and Café, a food bank that delivers, is facing a turkey shortage and the highest demand it has ever seen. Requests from low-income individuals are up by 400 percent since last year. 

“These are folks you wouldn’t normally expect to be needing help, on top of those always in need, it’s a big group and a big deal,” Paul Mina, president of United Way Tri-County, which runs the food pantry, told CBS. Mina’s group has launched a “Feed-A-Family for Fifty” campaign that aims to provide more than 3,000 turkeys between now and Christmas with money from donations.  “Most people don’t think that a Thanksgiving meal over the holiday is a luxury,” he said.  “But for the families we serve it is.”  With more Americans on food stamps than in previous years and financially struggling families unable to purchase a regular-priced turkey, this Thanksgiving could leave many with less to be thankful for. Officials have warned that food stamp participation will not go down until the economy improves. And after the recent Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Northeast and tore away coastal homes, even more Americans are relying on food stamps to get by. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Discovery Report - Etna, Lokon, Popocatépetl, Fuego, Santiaguito, Chirpoi, Sakurajima, Ambrym, and Nyiragongo!

November 22, 2012 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from the Volcano Discovery Group.

Strombolian activity has resumed at the New SE crater of Etna volcano in Italy. Tremor began rising on 20 November. On the night of 21 November, incandescence was seen in Etna's New Southeast crater. Incandescence was last observed from the crater in April 2012. On 22 November, a swarm of earthquakes has started in the NW sector of the volcano at depths mostly around 20 km.

Another small eruption at Lokon volcano in North Sulawesi (Indonesia) was observed by our reporters at the volcano observatory on 20 Nov.

Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico remains with about 1 emission per per hour. Sometimes, incandescent tephra is ejected to the crater area during the more vigorous explosions.

Fuego volcano in Guatemala has an active lava flow now 800 m long and some weak mild strombolian explosions every few hours, ejecting bombs to about 100 m above the crater and producing ash clouds rising 200-500 m height above the crater.

The lava flows from the Santiaguito lava dome remain very active, INSIVUMEH reports. At 06:09 on 22 Nov morning, a moderate pyroclastic flow was triggered by collapsing material of one of the flow fronts on the SE side.

Sakurajima volcano in Japan has returned to its normal average activity level of 1-2 moderate explosions per day, with ash clouds reaching 6-9,000 ft (1.8-2.7 km) altitude.

Thermal anomalies continue to be detected almost daily at the Snow cone, Chirpoi volcano in the Kuriles. No ash plumes have been detected which means the activity produces little to no ash.

SO2 plumes are visible on today's NOAA satellite images from Ambrym volcano on Vanuatu and Nyiragongo volcano in the DR Congo. - Volcano Discovery.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: The Worst Drought in America in Decades Deepens to Cover 60% of the Lower 48 - Disaster of Epic Proportions, 65% of Population Lives in States of Severe Drought, $18 Billion in Losses to Farmers, Groceries Will Skyrocket in 2013 by $615 Per Family!

A tree trunk rests on the bed of a dried lake, the outcome of severe drought, in Waterloo, Neb., on Tuesday.
A new report shows that the nation's worst drought in decades is getting worse again, ending an
encouraging five-week run of improving conditions. © Nati Harnik/AP.
November 22, 2012 - UNITED STATES - The worst U.S. drought in decades has deepened again after more than a month of encouraging reports of slowly improving conditions, a drought-tracking consortium said Wednesday, as scientists struggled for an explanation other than a simple lack of rain. While more than half of the continental U.S. has been in a drought since summer, rain storms had appeared to be easing the situation week by week since late September. But that promising run ended with Wednesday's weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report, which showed increases in the portion of the country in drought and the severity of it. The report showed that 60.1 percent of the lower 48 states were in some form of drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8 percent the previous week. The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought - the two worst classifications - increased from 18.3 percent to 19.04 percent. The Drought Monitor's map tells the story, with dark red blotches covering the center of the nation and portions of Texas and the Southeast as an indication of where conditions are the most intense. Those areas are surrounded by others in lesser stages of drought, with only the Northwest, Florida and a narrow band from New England south to Mississippi escaping.

WATCH: The Drought of 2012.

A federal meteorologist cautioned that Wednesday's numbers shouldn't be alarming, saying that while drought usually subsides heading into winter, the Drought Monitor report merely reflects a week without rain in a large chunk of the country. "The places that are getting precipitation, like the Pacific Northwest, are not in drought, while areas that need the rainfall to end the drought aren't getting it," added Richard Heim, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. "I would expect the drought area to expand again" by next week since little rain is forecast in the Midwest in coming days. He said there was no clear, scientific explanation for why the drought was lingering or estimate for how long it would last. "What's driving the weather? It's kind of a car with no one at the steering wheel," Heim said. "None of the atmospheric indicators are really strong. A lot of them are tickling around the edges and fighting about who wants to be king of the hill, but none of them are dominant." The biggest area of exceptional drought, the most severe of the five categories listed by the Drought Monitor, centers over the Great Plains. Virtually all of Nebraska is in a deep drought, with more than three-fourths in the worst stage. But Nebraska, along with the Dakotas to the north, could still see things get worse "in the near future," the USDA's Eric Luebehusen wrote in Wednesday's update. The drought also has been intensifying in Kansas, the top U.S. producer of winter wheat. It also is entirely covered by drought, and the area in the worst stage rose nearly 4 percentage points to 34.5 percent as of Tuesday. Much of that increase was in southern Kansas, where rainfall has been 25 percent of normal over the past half year.

WATCH: Far-reaching Effects of the Drought.

After a summer in which farmers watched helpless as their corn dried up in the heat and their soybeans became stunted, many are now worrying about their winter wheat. It has come up at a rate on par with non-drought years, but the quality of the drop doesn't look good, according to the USDA. Nearly one-quarter of the winter wheat that germinated is in poor or very poor condition, an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous week and 9 percentage points worse than the same time in 2011. Forty-two percent of the plantings are described as in fair shape, the same as last week. Farmers who might normally irrigate in such circumstances worry about low water levels in the rivers and reservoirs they use, and many are hoping for snow to ease the situation. But it would take a lot. About 20 inches of snow equals just an inch of actual water, and many areas have rain deficits of a foot or more. - NBC.

CALIPHATE, THE UNITED STATES OF THE ARABS: The Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's President Mursi Assumes Sweeping Powers!

November 22, 2012 - EGYPT - Egypt's President Mohammed Mursi has issued a declaration banning challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions.  The declaration also says no court can dissolve the constituent assembly, which is drawing up a new constitution. 

President Mursi also sacked the chief prosecutor and ordered the retrial of people accused of attacking protesters when ex-President Mubarak held office.  Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei accused Mr Mursi of acting like a "new pharaoh".  Mr ElBaradei said the new declaration effectively placed the president above the law.  "Mursi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh. A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences," the Nobel Peace Prize winner wrote on his Twitter account.  Earlier this year, Mr ElBaradei had called Egypt's political process "the stupidest transition in history".  Mr Mursi may feel he has gained power through his role as international mediator in the Gaza conflict, but at home he faces increasing criticism, the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo reports.

Thousands of protesters demanding political reforms and the prosecution of security officials, blamed for killing demonstrators last year, have returned to the streets around Cairo's Tahrir Square over the past week.  Many feel that Egypt is missing political guidance, our correspondent says.  The appointment of a new prosecutor could be seen as an attempt by Mr Mursi to quell the protesters' dissatisfaction.  But the new declaration is likely to be hotly contested by the judges who will view it as an attack on the courts' independence, our correspondent adds.  Talaat Ibrahim will replace Abdel Maguid Mahmoud as chief prosecutor.  Mr Mahmoud's acquittal of officers allegedly involved in attacks on protesters led to violent clashes in Tahrir Square in Cairo in October, when supporters and opponents of President Mursi clashed.  The president tried to remove Mr Mahmoud from his post by appointing him envoy to the Vatican, without giving an official reason for the switch.  But Mr Mahmoud defied the Egyptian leader and returned to work, escorted by judges and lawyers.  His refusal to comply was seen as a big defeat for Mr Mursi's push to steadily consolidate power.  The new prosecutor is now tasked with re-conducting all the investigations led by Mr Mahmoud into the alleged attacks on protesters, and re-trying people already acquitted in the case.  President Mursi said his decree was aimed at "cleansing state institutions" and "destroying the infrastructure of the old regime". - BBC.

HIGH STRANGENESS: Major Geological Upheaval or Cover-Up - Scientists "Proves" That South Pacific Sandy Island Does Not Exist?!

November 22, 2012 - AUSTRALIA - Several months ago, I highlighted a story about the plans of the government of Kiribati to relocated the country's entire population to Fiji, due to the fact the Pacific island was sinking into the sea.

Fearing that climate change could wipe out their entire Pacific archipelago, the leaders of Kiribati are considering an unusual backup plan: moving the populace to Fiji. Kiribati President Anote Tong told The Associated Press on Friday that his Cabinet this week endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. He said the fertile land, being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million, could provide an insurance policy for Kiribati's entire population of 103,000, though he hopes it will never be necessary for everyone to leave. "We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it," Tong said. "It wouldn't be for me, personally, but would apply more to a younger generation. For them, moving won't be a matter of choice. It's basically going to be a matter of survival." Kiribati, which straddles the equator near the international date line, has found itself at the leading edge of the debate on climate change because many of its atolls rise just a few feet above sea level. - MSNBC.

Today, comes the stunning news that scientists have declared that a Pacific island, Sandy Island, does not exist.

Cartographers everywhere are now rushing to undiscover Sandy Island for ever.
A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say. The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia. But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea. The phantom island has featured in publications for at least a decade. Scientist Maria Seton, who was on the ship, said that the team was expecting land, not 1,400m (4,620ft) of deep ocean. "We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400m in that area - very deep," Dr Seton, from the University of Sydney, told the AFP news agency after the 25-day voyage. It's on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre.

"How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don't know, but we plan to follow up and find out." Australian newspapers have reported that the invisible island would sit within French territorial waters if it existed - but does not feature on French government maps. Australia's Hydrographic Service, which produces the country's nautical charts, says its appearance on some scientific maps and Google Earth could just be the result of human error, repeated down the years. A spokesman from the service told Australian newspapers that while some map makers intentionally include phantom streets to prevent copyright infringements, that was was not usually the case with nautical charts because it would reduce confidence in them. A spokesman for Google said they consult a variety of authoritative sources when making their maps. "The world is a constantly changing place, the Google spokesman told AFP, "and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour'.' The BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Sydney says that while most explorers dream of discovering uncharted territory, the Australian team appears to have done the opposite - and cartographers everywhere are now rushing to undiscover Sandy Island for ever. - BBC.

Is this a cover-up of further geological upheaval along the Pacific Ring of Fire (an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean), resulting in the sinking of the land mass or was Sandy Island really a phantom island?

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments at the Louisiana Sinkhole - High Levels of Dangerous Gas Discovered and Increased Seismic Activity at the Sinkhole!

November 22, 2012 - BAYOU CORNE, LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES - According to the Assumption Parish Police Jury website, Texas Brine has reported high levels of Hydrogen Sulfide from their sonic vent well that is drilled into the cap rock at the giant sinkhole near Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne.

Source: Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Hydrogen Sulfide is a poisonous, flammable gas and has a very bad odor. The smell is described as the smell of rotten eggs. Unlike methane, it is heavier than air and collects at low to the ground levels. No community air monitors have detected Hydrogen Sulfide. The well was shut down due to these levels. This vent well is the deepest vent well on the property. The Department of Natural Resources' contractor, The Shaw Group, is currently investigating. Assumption Parish officials are currently waiting on additional details from DNR. The primary initial purpose of the well was to gain direct access to the interior of the abandoned brine cavern so that equipment can be sent down into the cavern to determine the stability, internal pressure and contents of the cavern. The top of the cavern lies about 3,400 feet below the surface. Venting natural gas is a part of the plan to deal with the cause of the sinkhole and natural gas bubbling in the area. DEQ and Assumption Parish OEP will continue its daily monitoring of the air quality and gas bubbles to make sure levels are safe. - WAFB.

WATCH: High Levels of Dangerous Gas Discovered.

Increased Seismic Activity Reported.
According to the latest report from the Assumption Parish Police Jury on November 21, there are indications of increased seismic activity at the sinkhole.
Dr. Horton has advised that increased seismic activity was recorded between 6 pm and midnight, yesterday. The cause of this activity is unknown. - Assumption Parish Police Jury.
See the most recent graphs HERE, courtesy of the University of Memphis' Center for Earthquake Research and Information.

Effects of Natural Fault Movement on Land Submergence in Coastal Louisiana.
A vast area of south Louisiana is becoming inundated by waters of the Gulf of Mexico as a result of subsidence of fault bound blocks (Figures 1 and 2). The most prominent and active area of submergence and land loss lies seaward of the Golden Meadow Fault Zone, a series of interconnected cracks extending 130 miles across the land from the west bank of the Mississippi River near Empire, Louisiana to Atchafalaya Bay, extending 35,000 feet below the surface, and studded with massive sub-surface pillars of salt. Between 1930 and 1990, some 618 square miles of land south of the Golden Meadow Fault Zone reverted to open water and the loss continues at comparable rates. This is a fault zone with teeth and it’s eating away the edge of the continent.

A cause and effect relationship has been established between modern fault movement and the catastrophic land submergence and loss that has occurred in coastal Louisiana during the past century. Fault movement is occurring on deep-seated faults that are part of the regional tectonic framework of the Gulf Coast Salt Dome Basin (Murray 1961, Peel et al. 1995, Gagliano 1999, and others). The tectonic framework is a linked system that has onshore and offshore components (Figures 3). Primary driving processes of the system, and resulting fault movement, are basin subsidence, rifting, isostatic adjustment, sediment loading, salt movement, and gravity slumping (Gagliano et al. 2003a, 2003b). Secondary processes, which may result in localized subsidence, are sediment compaction, soil de-watering and fluid withdrawal (ground water, hydrocarbons and produced water) (Kuecher et al. 2001, Lopez et al. 1997, Morton et al. 2001, and Morton et al. 2003).

Figure 1 shows changes to the natural landscape that have resulted from fault movement and subsidence. Fault movement affects surface landforms and infrastructure including ridges, barrier islands, wetlands, flood protection levees, highways, and coastal communities. When accompanied by earthquakes, fault movement effects may include liquefaction, breakup of floating marsh mats and other damage to landforms and humanmade structures. Rates, magnitude and frequency of movement have been determined for some faults. The movement data coupled with a process-response model developed from the research provide the basis for risk analysis. The findings have important implications for Louisiana’s proposed multi-billion dollar coastal restoration program. - Sherwood M. Gagliano, Coastal Environments, Inc. [PDF].

UFO SIGHTINGS: Mile High Mystery - Experts Declare That Objects Seen Over Denver Are Not Drones, Planes, Helicopters, Birds or Insects?!

November 22, 2012 - DENVER, UNITED STATES - It’s a story that’s captured worldwide attention. UFOs caught on camera that appear to be launching and landing in the Denver metro area. An aviation expert could not identify it but we’ve heard from hundreds of viewers who think they can. So we talked to more experts, and asked an entomologist to analyze the video, but the answer is still anything but clear.

We first told you about the strange sightings in the mile high skies, after a Denver man, who does not want to be identified, brought us his home video. The flying objects are too fast to see with the naked eye, but when we slowed down his footage frame by frame, we saw something there. Aviation expert Steve Cowell could not identify it. “That is not an airplane, that is not a helicopter, those are not birds … I can’t identify it,” he said. The images were captured on camera from a hilltop in Federal Heights, looking south toward downtown Denver. That location just off of 84th Ave. and Federal Blvd. has now become a popular place for UFO sightseers, “I wanted to come out and get some footage for myself,” Jon Gardner of Broomfield told us. And we have been inundated with phone calls and emails from across the country and as far away as Greece, Croatia, Japan and Korea.

Many people have sent us pictures of similar looking objects. Others believe they have “solved our mystery.” The top 3 answers we have received are: remote controlled aircraft, military drones or insects. A remote controlled aircraft seems like a possible explanation, but the man who shot the video has spent several days in the area near 56th Ave. and Clay St. where the UFOs appear to be launching and landing. He hasn’t seen anyone flying a remote controlled toy, nor have any of the neighbors. Aviation expert Steve Cowell also suspected we had captured military drones until he watched the video, “I don’t think it’s a drone,” he said. He has never seen an unmanned aircraft that flies so erratically. In order to fly drones, the FAA must issue a certificate of authorization. The FAA has issued hundreds of COAs to the University of Colorado to fly drones north of Boulder, but it says no drones are authorized to fly over the Denver metro area. But by far the most popular theory is bugs. Many of you wrote to tell us the object in our video is most likely a fly. We showed the footage to entomologist, or insect expert, Mart Ann Hamilton. “This is a toughie. I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said. Hamilton watched the video over and over again, then she gave us her professional opinion. “After watching the various shots, I do not believe it’s an insect. The shape is inconsistent with an insect,” she said. But that won’t convince skeptics, like Bret Dallas. “The UFOs aren’t UFOs anymore, we’ve identified them as insects,” he said. - KDVR.

WATCH: Experts still can't identify mysterious UFOs flying over Denver.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "Mount Doom" - Volcano's Smell Drifts 100km From Tongariro!

November 22, 2012 - NEW ZEALAND - GNS says Mt Tongariro is still emitting sulphurous gas but has stopped spewing ash, and volcanic activity remains low after yesterday's eruption. The smell from the volcano has been noticed in Manawatu and Hawke's Bay, the areas downwind from the Te Maari crater. Scientist's say the smell may be noticed up to 100km away from the volcano, and could cause minor irritation to people's eyes, skin and throats.

GNS Science is closely monitoring the activity at the volcano following its eruption, and will be looking to see if the temperature from gas samples increases. Further similar eruptions are expected in the coming weeks. "The volcano is in a state of unrest and in that state it can erupt, and it can erupt without any warning," volcanologist Brad Scott told ONE News. "That unrest is going to continue for many weeks many months." Scott said an eruption at Mount Tongariro on August 6 was "vent clearing" because the vent was blocked "so that was naturally more explosive". "Now we've got a more open vent environment that makes it easier for eruptions to occur we can't get such high overpressure and therefore the explosions won't be as explosive or as large as August." A team from GNS flew over the volcano this afternoon and said the eruption has caused no significant change to the crater.

The Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2 and the Aviation Colour Code at Orange. Scientists are not the only ones monitoring Tongariro, a number of tourists have travelled to Tongariro eager to see what might happen. Police are advising them to put their safety first. - TVNZ.

WATCH: GNS Timelapse of Mount Tongariro's Eruption.