Friday, January 4, 2013

ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: Colossal Magnetic Fountains - Giant Gas Geysers Erupting From The Milky Way Galaxy?!

January 04, 2013 - SPACE - Colossal magnetized fountains of gamma-ray-emitting gas are spewing from the center of our Milky Way galaxy, researchers say. The amount of magnetic energy contained in these geyser-like outflows "corresponds to the energy liberated by about a million supernova explosions — that is a lot!" study lead author Ettore Carretti, an astrophysicist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, told These outflows could help solve mysteries concerning the magnetic field of the Milky Way galaxy, Carretti added.

This shows the “geysers” (in blue) shooting out of the Milky Way. CREDIT: Optical image – A. Mellinger, U.Central Michigan; radio image – E. Carretti, CSIRO; radio data – S-PASS team; composition – E. Bresser, CSIRO.
Past research detected regions, later called "Fermi bubbles," that emitted gamma rays far above and below the galactic center. Gamma rays are the most energetic form of light. To learn more about these Fermi bubbles, the researchersanalyzed the parts of the sky including these regions using the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia as part of the S-band Polarization All Sky Survey (S-PASS). They detected giant outflows of gamma-ray-emitting gas, two cone-shaped lobes that combined are about 50,000 light-years long. "That is about half the size of the entire Milky Way," Carretti said. Seen from Earth, the outflows stretch about two-thirds across the sky from horizon to horizon. Each of these lobes is about 13,000 light-years wide, and made of gas traveling about 2.2 million mph (3.6 million kph). "Beside the galactic disc, these are the largest structures ever discovered in our galaxy," Carretti said. These outflows are about 100 million years old, and apparently spew mostly from supernovas within the compact 650-light-year-wide area surrounding the supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way. Supernovas are the most powerful exploding stars in the universe, bright enough to momentarily outshine their entire galaxies. "The compact region around the Milky Way's center harbors the most active star formation activity of our galaxy, and a number of supernova episodes occur there," Carretti said. These outflows each hold a vast amount of magnetic energy, which helps explain why they glow with gamma rays. "The gas expelled by supernova explosions is magnetized," Carretti said. "Moreover, all of the area of the galactic center possesses a strong magnetic field and the outflows, made of charged particles, can trap the magnetic field they are immersed in. "These findings tell us there is transport of a massive amount of energy and strong magnetic fields from the galactic center to the outskirts of the galaxy," Carretti said. "It is an interaction we did not know about, and can transform our view of the galactic halo."

A depiction of the magnetic outflows from the Milky Way's center the researchers detected.
CREDIT: E. Carretti et al., Nature.
The galactic halo "was supposed to be a quiet place," Carretti said. "We now know it is continuously fueled with a massive amount of energy." These cone-shaped outflows have denser ridges corkscrewing around their surfaces much like strings of lights wrapped around Christmas trees. These ridges are about 13,000 to 16,000 light-years long and 1,000 light-years wide. "They are made of relativistic charged particles — high-energy particles that move nearly at the speed of light," Carretti said. One of these ridges, dubbed the Galactic Center spur, apparently stems from a super-stellar cluster orbiting the galaxy's center. Super-stellar clusters contain a very large number of young, massive stars. These ridges take on a corkscrew form because matter spewing out from the spinning center of the galaxy moves in spirals. This is because of conservation of angular momentum, the same property that causes ice skaters to spin faster if they draw their arms in. The other two ridges the researchers see are not connected to super-stellar clusters. The researchers suggest the clusters they originated from may no longer be active, thus shedding light on the history of star activity in the galactic core. These outflows might help explain mysteries surrounding the galaxy's magnetic field. "How the galactic magnetic field is generated and sustained is still a mystery, and our finding can be crucial to solve it," Carretti said. The outflows carry magnetic material from the galactic center to the galactic halo, helping to explain why a magnetic field pervades the galaxy, he said. As monstrous as these outflows are, they are no danger to us, Carretti said. "They are not coming in our direction, but go up and down from the galactic plane. We are 30,000 light-years away from the galactic centre, in the plane," he explained in a statement. In the future, the researchers would like to identify the roots of the outflows and their ridges and investigate any connections between the magnetic fields of the outflows and the galaxy's. The scientists detailed their findings in the January issue of the journal Nature. - SPACE.

SOLAR CYCLE 24: What Is Wrong With The Sun - Solar Storm Peak Expected To Be Lowest In 100 Years?!

January 04, 2013 - THE SUN - The sun's peak of solar activity this year will likely be the quietest seen in at least 100 years, say NASA scientists who watch Earth's closest star daily. Sunspot numbers are low, researchers said, even as the sun reaches the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. Also, radio waves that are known to indicate high solar activity have been very subdued. "It's likely to be the lowest solar maximum, as measured by sunspot 'number,' in more than a century," wrote Joe Gurman, a project scientist for NASA's sun-observing mission Stereo, or Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory. The current sun weather cycle is known as Solar Cycle 24. Quiet as the sun may be, scientists still have a vested interest in watching it. A rogue flare could damage electrical grids or knock out communications satellites, as has happened many times before. Though solar science is still in its infancy, it has advanced greatly even from the time solar activity knocked out much of Quebec's electrical grid in 1989, Gurman pointed out. "The interconnectedness of power grids has grown tremendously since the Hydro Québec issue," he wrote. "Compared to the frequency of widespread power outages due to trees falling on above-ground power lines during snowstorms or hurricane-force winds from storms such as the recent (Hurricane) Sandy, it's a very low order of probability event."

This image shows the Earth to scale with a colossal solar filament eruption from the sun on Aug. 31, 2012 as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. Note: the Earth is not this close to the sun, this image is for scale purposes only. NASA / SDO / GSFC.
Killer flares 'a physical impossibility'
Galileo Galilei was among the first to sight sunspots when he turned his telescope to the sun in 1610. Reliable records of sunspots date back to about 1849, when the Zurich Observatory began daily observations, according to NASA. Sunspots appear as dark blemishes on the sun, generally in clusters above and below the equator. Scientists now know these spots form due to the interplay between the sun's plasma (on the surface) and its magnetic field. Under some circumstances, the twisting magnetic fields near sunspots cause huge explosions such as solar flares, and plasma-rich coronal mass ejections often associated with the flares. These send charged particles out from the sun, and occasionally toward Earth. The strongest category of outburst, called an X-class solar flare, can cause havoc if it reaches Earth. The electrical charge can short out communications satellites or power grids. Medium-class M-type solar flares can supercharge Earth's northern lights displays, while weaker C-class flares and below can have relatively little effect, NASA has said. It is impossible for the sun to produce "killer" solar flares that were made popular by 2012 doomsday predictions, NASA's C. Alex Young told in an email. "On Earth we are completely protected from the direct effects of solar activity. The atmosphere shields us from the electromagnetic radiation from solar flares and the particles in a particle storm," wrote Young, a solar astrophysicist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "(Killer flares) would not happen. The sun cannot produce flares (or CMEs) with enough energy to do this. It is a physical impossibility. It would take the entire energy of the sun, like a supernova. The sun will not become a supernova."

Improvements in solar science

Solar watching is a young science, but in recent decades, NASA has been working to improve the ability to predict and track solar flares and CMEs. The primary way is through using satellites to peer at the sun. The United States' official "space weather" forecaster is the Space Weather Prediction Center, a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Several NASA satellites feed the center data to assist with its predictions. According to NASA's William Pesnell, NASA's satellites work together like this: The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) can watch for CMEs from the moment they erupt from the sun. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) watches the charged particles, or plasma, on their journey toward Earth, making it easier to determine if they will hit the planet. If the plasma is Earth-bound, the two Stereo satellites orbiting the planet then observe the plasma and predict where it could hit. "The Earth is a very small target in a big solar system, and the models that try to track the CME through the solar system are still being developed," added Pesnell, the project scientist for SDO, in an e-mail to "Our biggest advances," he added, "have been in models of the sun's magnetic field and using data in those models to explain the current sun. ... Our models try to explain the 11-year behavior of the solar cycle as the magnetic field moves around inside the sun, and then erupts through the surface to become sunspots." NASA also plans to launch the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission in April 2013. When the satellite is ready, it will watch how energy and plasma move from the sun's surface to its corona or atmosphere, Pesnell said. "That means we will have good overlap to combine the different measurements (with SDO) and better understand the magnetic field of the sun." - MSNBC.

WATCH: Solar Storms.

EXTREME WEATHER: "Catastrophic" Fire Conditions Rages Across Tasmania, Australia - Prime Minister Warns People To Take Care As 80% Experiences The Most Severe Heatwave In Years!

January 04, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - There are unconfirmed reports that one person has died as out of control bushfires rage across parts of Tasmania destroying homes and businesses.  Extreme fires are burning at Forcett, Bicheno and Lake Repulse and a number of communities are being affected.  Police have received reports that one man has died while defending his home during the Forcett blaze, and at least 65 homes and businesses have been lost.  The fires have been intensified by hot weather, with Hobart reaching its highest temperature in 120 years of record keeping.

Smoke from a bushfire near Forcett towers over Park Beach outside Hobart.
Fire Conditions In South Australia Rated Catastrophic.
The Tasmanian Fire Service says this fire is now impacting the communities of Ellendale and Karanja. It is likely too late to leave at this point.  Residents are instructed move to a nearby safer place as the last resort only if the path is clear. If you are at home, this may provide some shelter.  With predicted weather changes it is expected that the communities of Lawrenny and Hamilton will be directly impacted at approximately 6:00am.  The ABC's Jo Spargo has told that she evacuated with her husband and two children from their home near Dodges Ferry:  "I hope we will see the house again. When we built we didn't ever think we would be under a fire threat like this. But to watch this glow and move as quickly as it was it was quite humbling. It's dancing around, it's moving around... we're just going to have to take it as it comes." - Yahoo.

WATCH: Catastrophic fires in Tasmania.

Australia Heatwave Leads To Bushfire Alert.
Australians are sweltering through one of the worst heatwaves for years, with temperatures well above 40C in some places.  Much of the country will be on alert for bushfires this weekend as temperatures reach record levels.  Adelaide in southern Australia registered a top temperature of 45C (113 Fahrenheit) on Friday, its fourth-hottest day on record.  Around 80% of the country has been affected by the mass of hot air spreading east from Western Australia.

 Emergency services warned of the risk of bushfires that could threaten homes and farms and health officials are urging people to drink plenty of water and stay out of the heat.  Experts say the last time such large areas of the country experienced similar heat was in 2001.  John Nairn, of The Bureau of Meteorology, said that while heatwaves are a normal part of the Australian summer, the current blast is unusual for the large area it is covering.  Among the hottest parts of the country on Friday were Wudinna, on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula, which hit 48.2C. Hobart reached a record 41.8C - one degree hotter than the record set in 1976.  Tasmania Fire Service chief officer Mike Brown told a news conference they reached "catastrophic fire danger ratings" at times during Friday afternoon, with up to 40 fires burning around the state.  The bureau of meteorology told The Australian that the scorching heat bearing down across many states will continue "unabated" well into next week.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called on people to be careful.  "Take care and stay safe as we face extreme heat around our nation. Listen to warnings on the high bushfire risk. JG," she tweeted.  Police have also warned that leaving children, elderly people or pets unattended in cars could prove fatal in the hot weather. - SKY News.

WATCH: Heatwave Across Australia.

UNHOLY COVENANT: Towards a Two-State Solution - U.S. Hopes For Israel-Palestinian Peace In 2013?!

January 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The United States on Wednesday urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume direct talks in 2013 and move toward peace.  "As we turn the calendar to 2013... now is the time for leaders on both sides to display real leadership, to focus on the work that's necessary to return to direct negotiations," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was quoted by AFP as having said. 

U.S. President Barack Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The U.S. urged "both sides to clearly demonstrate that they are serious about achieving two states living side by side in peace and security," she said, calling on both sides to halt any "counter-productive unilateral actions."  Nuland stressed that with President Barack Obama starting his second White House term this month and upcoming elections in Israel, the two sides are heading into a particularly important period.  "We have an environment that was quite fraught and quite difficult at the end of 2012, so the question is whether we can make a fresh start in 2013, and that's going to require restraint on all sides," Nuland said, according to AFP.  "We want 2013 to be a better year, we really do," she added. 

Since 2009 Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to come to the negotiating table with Israel and has continuously tried to impose preconditions on talks.  One of his longstanding demands is that Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as final borders. He has also demanded that Israel release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin. At the same time, he has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist. His Fatah party's newly adopted logo shows all of Israel as Palestine.  Even when Israel imposed a ten-month freeze on Jewish construction in an attempt to bring Abbas back to the negotiating table, he refused, choosing instead to impose more preconditions.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called Abbas back to the negotiating table several times, but Abbas has refused. Instead, he opted for unilateral moves such as upgrading the PA's status in the United Nations to a non-member observer state.  This week he said that the UN vote was the "birth certificate" of a Palestinian state.  "We have a birth certificate... and we want to complete the march toward full independence," Abbas said. "Next year, 2013, will be the year of statehood and independence." - Israel National News.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: "One In Five" Struck By Norovirus In Scotland, Say Experts!

January 04, 2013 - SCOTLAND - One in five people in Scotland may have been hit by norovirus in the past year, according to new figures.  The high number of cases has led to hospitals across the country having to close wards to new admissions. 

Norovirus symptoms include nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea.
A total of 2,824 cases of norovirus - also known as the winter vomiting bug - were confirmed by laboratories in Scotland in the past 12 months.  For each confirmed case, scientists believe hundreds more people could have been affected.  Over the past five years estimated cases have risen by an average of about 25%.  Fourteen hospitals across the country have been affected by norovirus in the past week alone, with 18 wards being closed to new admissions. Experts say they are not sure why this year has seen such a high number of cases, but it could be the effects of the weather and the ability of the virus to change and adapt, which stops patients becoming immune.  Health Protection Scotland consultant Dr John Cowden told BBC Radio Scotland that research suggested that for every one person recorded as having the virus there are hundreds more cases in the community that go unrecorded. He said: "There was a study done some years ago to try to find out by what you multiply the national statistics to find out what is really happening in the population.  "Norovirus is usually a very mild disease, most people won't go to their doctor. 

"It has been estimated that you need to multiply our laboratory confirmed cases by about 400 to say what is actually happening in the population."  That calculation would take the number of estimated cases of norovirus across Scotland in 2012 to more than one million.  Dr Cowden said the best way to protect yourself from the bug could be summed up in three words - "scrupulous personal hygiene".  He said: "This is an entirely human germ. It passes from person to person. It is not like salmonella or E. coli that you can get from animals.  "There are no guarantees and this is a highly infectious germ. So yes you can protect yourself, but you can't guarantee that you will get through the season without an episode."  Nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea are the main symptoms of norovirus.  Those who catch the bug are advised to have plenty of non-alcoholic, non-milky drinks and also take oral rehydration solutions.  Anyone infected should ensure their hands are clean, to prevent the infection spreading, and they should not prepare food for others, particularly babies and the elderly.  Scotland's chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns added: "Rates of norovirus fluctuate from year to year with occasional spikes. The Scottish government and health boards monitor norovirus outbreaks closely throughout the year, taking every step to minimise its impact on people who use and work in our hospitals.  "There are simple steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of the virus, including washing your hands properly." - BBC.

EARTH CHANGES: NASA Sees Cyclone Dumile Moving Over Open Ocean After Dumping A Deluge Of Water On La Reunion Island And Mauritius!

January 04, 2013 - INDIAN OCEAN - Cyclone Dumile is on a solo journey in a southeasterly direction over the open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean over the weekend of Jan. 5 and 6. NASA's Aqua satellite captured a stunning visible image of Dumile as it left La Reunion and Mauritius behind.

This visible image from NASA's Aqua satellite shows Tropical Cyclone Dumile has moved south of La
Reunion Island and Mauritius on Jan. 4, 2013, at 1020 UTC. Madagascar can be seen to the left of the storm.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team.
The MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a stunning visible image of Tropical Cyclone Dumile on Jan. 4, 2013 at 1020 UTC (5:20 a.m. EST) as it moved away from La Reunion Island and Mauritius. The MODIS image showed a tight swirl of clouds around Dumile's center as it maintained cyclone (hurricane) status, where the most powerful and highest thunderstorms were east and south of the center of circulation.

The image also showed the eastern coast of Madagascar to the left of the storm. Multispectral satellite imagery indicated that Dumile's eye had become ragged, and the storm was starting to elongate, indicating it is weakening. At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) on Jan. 4, Tropical Cyclone Dumile's maximum sustained winds were near 70 knots (80.5 mph/129.6 kph). It was located near 25.4 south latitude and 54.2 east longitude, about 260 miles (299.2 miles/ 481.5 km) south-southwest of La Reunion. La Reunion remains on a blue alert, which is expected to be dropped as Dumile continues moving away. Dumile was moving to the south at 11 knots (2.6 mph/20.3 kph) and generating very rough seas with wave heights to 32 feet (9.7 meters). Dumile will continue moving over open ocean and transition to an extra-tropical storm as it encounters stronger vertical wind shear and cooler waters. - PHYSORG.

SHADOW WARS: Escalating Towards World War III - U.S. Troops Arrive In Turkey, Rebels Battle For Airport In Syria!

January 04, 2013 - MIDDLE EAST - U.S. troops arrived in Turkey on Friday to man Patriot missile defense batteries near the Syrian border, according to Turkish state media.  Syria has previously launched Scud missiles at cities near the Turkish border in a desperate bid to extend its firepower.  In response, the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands deployed Patriot air defense missiles to the border region to intercept any Syrian ballistic missiles.

A man walks near a missile on Tuesday, December 25, at an army barracks outside Damascus, Syria, that
has been taken over by the Free Syrian Army.
The missiles and troops will be under the overall control of NATO, but the missiles will be operated by U.S. forces. A group of 27 U.S. troops landed in Gaziantep, Turkey, where they will survey the Patriot deployment, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.  U.S. officials did not release any information about the troops' arrival, but had said last month that forces would be deployed to Turkey.  "We've made very clear to them that we're going to protect countries in this region," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month. "We have to act to do what we have to do to make sure that we defend ourselves and make sure that Turkey can defend itself." Taftenaz air base in northern Syria has been a deadly thorn in the side of rebels for months.  For the third day, Free Syrian Army fighters tried to wrest control of the helicopter base from government forces.  If successful, the assault would shut down President Bashar al-Assad's military helicopter pads and diminish his airstrikes in the region.

Syrians carry the body of a victim who activists said was killed during the bombing in the al-Ansari
area of Aleppo, January 3.
Both opposition and government sources reported that the extremist Nusra Front, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist group, is taking part in the assault on the airport.  Al-Assad has exacted retribution on the nearby city of Binnish, where amateur video shows dozens of smoke plumes marking the spots where deadly ordnance has struck. On Thursday, rebels published videos of themselves firing on the air base with heavy truck-mounted machine guns and a captured tank, destroying one government tank and appearing to shoot down a helicopter.  CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of videos from the Syrian conflict posted online. An explosion at a gas station in Damascus near a hospital killed 10 people Friday, Syrian TV reported.  An opposition organization expects the toll to rise as many of the injured are in critical condition after fire spread to nearby cars and buildings.  The explosion came from a car bomb, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights posted on its Facebook page... At least 80 people were killed across Syria on Friday, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition activist network. CNN cannot independently confirm those numbers.  The overall death toll in devastated Syria has surpassed an estimated 60,000 people, the United Nations said Wednesday.  To put it in perspective: 60,000 people is roughly the population of Terre Haute, Indiana; or Cheyenne, Wyoming. It's how many people would fit in Dodger Stadium, and it's more than the 50,000-plus U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam. - CNN.

DELUGE: Tropical Storm Auring (Sonamu) Exits The Philippines - Two Dead; 14 Villages Affected; 1,500 Hectares Of Land Submerged; 10 Million Dollars Worth Of Damage!

January 04, 2013 - PHILIPPINES - Tropical Storm “Auring” is now out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and all public storm signals have been lifted, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), which located the storm some 460 kilometers southwest of Puerto Princesa City as of 5 p.m. on Friday. Auring intensified further as it was leaving PAR, reaching peak winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of 80 kph midday Friday, Pagasa said. The storm left two persons dead in southern Palawan, and affected 14 villages around Lake Buhi in Buhi town, Camarines Sur. The villages were placed under a state of calamity on Thursday after continuous rains caused the lake to overflow and submerge some 1,500 hectares of agricultural lands, destroying at least P10 million worth of crops, mainly corn and palay.

Provincial disaster officials in Palawan identified the fatalities as farmers Pedro Francisco, 33, from Barangay Iraan, Rizal town, who was felled by a coconut tree, and Nicanor Suprecencia of Barangay Culandanum, Bataraza, who drowned while trying to recover his farm animals from the floodwaters. Buhi Vice Mayor Omar Mercurio identified the 14 affected barangays as Iraya, Sagrada, Tambo, San Pedro, Sta. Elena, Sta. Clara, San Buena, San Pascual, Sta. Cruz, San Jose Baybayon, Sta. Justina, Igbac, Ipil and Lourdes. Gov. Luis Raymund Villafuerte said the towns of Nabua and Libmanan were also affected by “floodwaters from Albay (that flowed) towards Camarines Sur.” A passenger vessel, MB Overcomer, with 56 persons on board were rescued by the Coast Guard after they were stranded by heavy rains caused by Auring. In Barangay Iraan, also in Rizal, some 30 families were evacuated. The municipal government has released P1.6 million in calamity fund for the 3,191 families affected, while some P2 million worth of relief goods and medical teams were sent to the affected villages to preempt the possible outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

Although Auring has left PAR, the weather bureau is monitoring another cluster of clouds forming east of Mindanao that could turn into another low pressure area (LPA). Pagasa forecaster Jori Loiz said the weather bureau assesses such possibility every day, although there was minimal chance for the cloud formation to turn into a storm. Most parts of the country will see improving weather over the weekend, although there may be light rains, he said. “In Metro Manila, there will be fair weather and no strong rains unless the northeast monsoon strengthens, in which case there will only be light rains. The effect of the cloud cluster will be felt maybe next week,” Loiz said. Storms in January are not that rare, the Pagasa forecaster said. “We’ve had two storms in January before.” he added. But in February, Loriz said, the Philippines experiences “almost zero storms.” - Inquirer News.

WATCH: Pacific Weather - Tropical Storm Sonamu n Vietnam, Philippines / Snow in Tokyo?

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Epidemic Hazard In America - Norovirus Outbreak In Portland, Oregon!

January 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Doctors say a norovirus outbreak is making dozens of people sick in the Portland area. Norovirus is often known as the "cruise ship disease," but it can spread elsewhere, too. Doctors think Portland's recent cold spell is adding to the problem because it's forcing people inside closed quarters.

Norovirus is extremely contagious. It takes as few as 10 viral particles to make someone sick with norovirus and people can remain contagious for up to 10 days - even after they've stopped showing symptoms. Providence Portland Medical Center has seen 75 cases in its emergency room just since Christmas, according to Doctor Jamie Schlueter. She said it's also sickened a dozen ER nurses and four doctors in just the last week. Making matters more complicated, this appears to be a new strain of norovirus. "People that have been exposed to norovirus before might get it again, so your immune system might not completely respond," Schlueter explained. "We have a surge about every four years." Symptoms of norovirus include severe nausea, cramping, diarrhea and fever. People who have it may remain sick for one to three days. Some mistake it for the flu, but a flu shot will not prevent the norovirus. Doctors said hand-washing can help, though, along with drinking lots of water. Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States.

Bacteria and viruses including Bacillus subtilis, canine hepatitis, Escherichia coli, varicella (chicken pox), as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria. At this level precautions against the biohazardous materials in question are minimal, most likely involving gloves and some sort of facial protection. Usually, contaminated materials are left in open (but separately indicated) waste receptacles. Decontamination procedures for this level are similar in most respects to modern precautions against everyday viruses (i.e.: washing one's hands with anti-bacterial soap, washing all exposed surfaces of the lab with disinfectants, etc). In a lab environment, all materials used for cell and/or bacteria cultures are decontaminated via autoclave. - RSOE EDIS.

HIGH STRANGENESS: "Beam Of Interference" - What, Exactly, Is That Mysterious Radar Anomaly In Mason County, Illinois?!

January 04, 2013 -  UNITED STATES - It may not be extraterrestrial activity, but a permanent imprint on the central Illinois Doppler radar even has the National Weather Service stumped.

Interference issues have developed with the Lincoln Doppler radar, beginning on Nov. 16, 2012. In the radar
image above, you can see a beam extending at a direction of 277 degrees, or just north of due west from the radar.
© National Weather Service.
A mysterious "beam of interference" has been etched into the Lincoln Doppler radar since Nov. 16, according to a bulletin on the National Weather Service website. The rogue beam extends westward from Lincoln through the middle of Mason County, near Manito, the bottom of Fulton County and onward into the state of Iowa.

"We're not sure what it is yet," said Llyle Barker, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Lincoln. "4G has caused interference before, so it might be a 4G tower."

The National Weather Service's website indicated that the problem might stem from recent construction on an electronics tower in Lincoln, but the precise cause still is unresolved. Barker said that the issue largely has gone unnoticed by the public, save for a few inquiries on the National Weather Service's Facebook page.

The National Weather Service Radar Operations Center continues to analyze the interference for a solution and offered no time frame for a permanent fix, but Barker said that, for now, the Doppler disturbance is harmless.

"It's not really impacting our operations at all," Barker said. - Journal Star.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Dead Fish, Mostly Snapper, Wash Up On Coromandel Beaches In New Zealand?!

January 04, 2013 - NEW ZEALAND - Dead fish, most of them snapper, have washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches, and fisheries authorities want to know how they got there. The rotting carcasses are littering beaches from the top of the Coromandel Peninsula for about a 10km stretch, Newstalk ZB reported.

Fisheries authorities want to hear from anyone who might have a clue as to what happened. In similar cases in the past, prosecutions have resulted against commercial trawlers dumping their catch at sea. Compliance manager Brendon Mikkelsen says the fish started washing up on New Year's Day.

"There is a significant volume of snapper and we're currently investigating it. The positive is that we have some witnesses coming forward so we're speaking to those witnesses.'' He is asking for public help to shed light on how the fish got there. "We're most interested in information from anybody that's seen any activity at sea that's associated with that fish, so obviously vessels in the area.'' Mr Mikkelsen warned people not to eat the fish as there was no telling how long they had been floating at sea in the sun. - NZ Herald.

MASS UFO SIGHTINGS: Orange Orbs Light Formation Cause UFO Buzz In South Africa?!

January 04, 2013 - SOUTH AFRICA - Reports of orange unidentified flying objects (UFOs) seen over parts of Centurion on Monday night have been flooding into the Pretoria News.  While celebrating the start of the new year and looking to the night sky, some city residents did not see fireworks but a display of another kind.  Centurion resident Louise Schoeman said she saw the first orange orbs at about 8pm, followed by dozens more through the course of the evening.

"The lights appeared in formations of two or three at a time. They glowed orange but did not twinkle or flash," she said.  "They appeared to be moving quite quickly, from the north, east and west, and would travel for a few minutes and then disappear. They were not conventional aircraft, they moved in a linear fashion and were definitely not fireworks.  "We watched one that stopped in mid-air, turned white and appeared to stay in the same spot for approximately an hour. It did not twinkle like a star. The object was gone when we looked again at 1am."  Another city resident asked: "Did the Mayans perhaps get the date wrong?" 

Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with reports of similar sightings locally - including Johannesburg and Durban - and internationally.  - UFO sighting in Elk Grove, California, on January 1, 2013 - four red-orange lights - Akashar Kentaloon  - Orange UFOs over New Port Richey, Florida. Burning orange pulsating lights moving erratically, hovering, disappearing -  - happy new years everyone seen #orangelights in the sky tonight kinda freaky - Anna Peters  - Did anyone else see three consecutive orange lights in the sky? Flying too high to be planes or helicopters. Woah. Insane. - Rachael Cantu  - These 5 orange lights directly up in the sky moving around and shining then dissapearing and yes i am sober! - nuuch'  Is there a logical explanation? Were they simply Chinese lanterns or flares? Or perhaps the result of one too many festive beverages?  You be the judge. Please let us know if you saw this strange phenomenon. - IOL News.

HIGH STRANGENESS: Martian Rock From Sahara Desert Unlike Others?!

January 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Scientists are abuzz about a coal-colored rock from Mars that landed in the Sahara desert: A yearlong analysis revealed it's quite different from other Martian meteorites. Not only is it older than most, it also contains more water, tests showed. The baseball-size meteorite, estimated to be 2 billion years old, is strikingly similar to the volcanic rocks examined on the Martian surface by the NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which found water-bearing minerals.

This image provided Carl Agee, University of New Mexico, shows a rock from Mars that landed in the Sahara Desert.
An examination of the Martian meteorite known as NWA 7034 determined it is 2.1 billion years old and is water-rich.
Photo: University Of New Mexico, Carl Agee / AP.
"Here we have a piece of Mars that I can hold in my hands. That's really exciting," said Carl Agee, director of the Institute of Meteoritics and curator at the University of New Mexico who led the study published online Thursday in the journal Science. Most space rocks that fall to Earth as meteorites come from the asteroid belt, but a number can be traced to the moon and Mars. Scientists believe an asteroid or some other large object struck Mars, dislodging rocks and sending them into space. Occasionally, some plummet through Earth's atmosphere. Short of sending a spacecraft or astronaut to the red planet to haul back rocks, Martian meteorites are the next best thing for scientists seeking to better understand how Earth's neighbor transformed from a tropical environment to a frigid desert.

About 65 Martian rocks have been recovered on Earth, mostly in Antarctica or the Sahara. The oldest dates back 4.5 billion years to a time when Mars was warmer and wetter. About half a dozen Martian meteorites are 1.3 billion years old and the rest are 600 million years or younger. The latest meteorite NWA 7034 — nicknamed "Black Beauty"— was donated to the University of New Mexico by an American who bought it from a Moroccan meteorite dealer last year. Researchers performed a battery of tests on the meteorite and based on its chemical signature confirmed that it was blasted to Earth from Mars. At 2.1 billion years old, it's the second-oldest known Martian meteorite that formed from a volcanic eruption. There's also evidence that it was altered by water. Though the amount released during heating was small — 6,000 parts per million — it was still much more than other Martian meteorites. Scientists said this suggested there was interaction with water near the surface during a time when the planet was mostly dry and dusty. More tests are under way to determine how long the rock floated in space and how long it had been sitting in the Sahara. University of Alberta meteorite expert Chris Herd said the find was welcome since most Martian rocks that rain on Earth tend to be younger. And the latest find does not appear to be too contaminated, he said. "It's fairly fresh. It hasn't been subjected to a whole lot of weathering," said Herd, who had no role in the research. - SFGate.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Solar System Disturbance - 2012 Saw Record Number Of Meteorite Falls So Far This Year Century, Spectacular Green Fireball Over North Washington And Southwestern British Columbia, Comet Shower at Captain Cook's Monument!

January 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The year 2012 saw a new record set for most meteorite falls in a single year in the 21st century. I started keeping detailed records of every new meteorite fall that is recovered or reported by reliable sources.

2012 Saw Record Number Of Meteorite Falls So Far This Year Century.

Some of these have not been officially approved by the Meteoritical Society yet, but that is not unusual. In 2012, eleven (11) new meteorite falls fit the above criteria to be included on my list. Prior to 2012, the most falls in a single 21st century year (since 2000), was ten falls in 2008. On average, since the year 2000, we have averaged about 5 recovered meteorite falls per year that are either officially accepted by the Meteoritical Society or verified by reliable sources (such as the 2008 Zunhua meteorite fall, which has not been officially approved yet, but is a meteorite nonetheless). The first verified fall of 2012 was a few days before Valentine's Day on February 11, 2012. This was the so-called "XINING-Huangzhong" meteorite, which has not been officially approved yet, but was analyzed and is likely an L6-chondrite.  About three weeks later, on March 01, 2012, the OSLO meteorite struck a roof in Norway.  But, it was the April 22, 2012 spectacular SUTTER'S MILL meteorite fall that took the meteorite world by storm. A rare sub-type of CM carbonaceous chondrite, this celestial black gold showered over a strewnfield that happened to be the birthing ground of the legendary California Gold Rush. This one is arguably one of the most scientifically-iimportant meteorites to fall since Tagish Lake.  Just a couple weeks later, an ordinary chondrite fell over the DIPLO area of Pakistan.

This event was overshadowed by the ongoing media circus surrounding the recent Sutter's Mill fall.  People did pay attention on May 22nd, when a strange green achondrite showered the KATOL area of India with fresh stones - at least of which were reported to strike roofs and farmhouses. This weird meteorite is unlike any seen before and preliminary testing points to an igneous ungrouped achondrite.  Again, roughly two weeks after the Katol fall, another meteorite fell near COMAYAGUA Honduras on June 3, 2012. News of this fall was pushed aside by the recent excitement and focus on the more scientifically-significant Sutter's Mill and Katol falls.  Just five days later on June 8 2012, yet another meteorite fell over JALANGI India. Like Comayagua, Jalangi is an ordinary chondrite.  On August 22, 2012, American meteorite hunters got excited when a fireball showered meteorites over the remote area of BATTLE MOUNTAIN Nevada. Strangely, Battle Mountain is one of only two meteorites from 2012 to be officially approved by the Meteoritical Society (the other was Sutter's Mill). Battle Mountain is an L6 chondrite.  The month of October was a very busy one in 2012 - the last three verified meteorite falls of the year took place in October.  On October 12, 2012, a meteorite fell over a remote area of Morocco in the High Atlas mountains. This meteorite has been called BENI YACOUB and is likely to be an ordinary chondrite.  Five days later on October 17, 2012, a stony meteorite fragmented above the NOVATO area of urban California - sending meteorite hunters and local residents out into the streets to look for stones. One piece reportedly hit a residential home.  Lastly, on the day before Halloween (October 30, 2012), the ADDISON meteorite fell over the forests in south-central Alabama.  We averaged almost one recovered meteorite fall per month in 2012. Part of that is due to new observation and tracking cooperation by services like Galactic Analytics, doppler radar, internet communication, and increased overall awareness of meteorites. - Lunar Meteorite Hunters.

Spectacular Green Fireball Over Northwestern Washington And Southwestern British Columbia.
12:33 AM: Have just received two reports of this, one a text, and then this e-mail from Chas in Gatewood:
no images – but sitting upstairs looking west (past my computer screen) just saw a giant green fireball enter over what looked like Kitsap peninsula – green streak coming from high in sky (limit of window) turning yellow and ending in large (5 times apparent diameter of moon) green fireball just above what looked like the mountains – couldn’t really tell how far it was except for the brightness and detail suggested it was relatively close (within hundred/or so miles) about 3 minutes ago for timing (like 12;20 or thereabouts).
We had heard of a possible meteor shower tonight. Looking it up now.

12:48 AM UPDATE: Thanks to “Meteorologist Patrick” (as we know him) Kelly – who mentioned via Twitter that it’s the Quadrantid meteor shower. This story has details too – apparently the shower is peaking right now.

12:55 AM: Someone at the National Weather Service saw it too:

1:39 AM: West Seattle’s own NASA Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen has shared some info in comments, starting here. She suggests that anyone with a west-facing surveillance camera should check to see if it caught anything around 12:20 am (and if you have any kind of image, still or video, please let us know, would love to add it to the story – thanks!). - West Seattle Blog.

Comet Shower at Captain Cook's Monument.
An obelisk dedicated to Captain Cook sits atop of Easby Moor in North Yorkshire, England. In this stunning image, Peter Greig and his colleague David Relph captured 'comet like' star trails during the Geminid meteor shower last month. This is a composite of twenty 30-second exposures that give the stars a comet-like appearance. It almost looks like a snow-shower, too! - Universe Today.

Comet shower at Captain Cook’s Monument. © Credit: Peter Greig.

DELUGE: Heavy Floods Swamp Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Triggering Mudslides - One Dead, Eight Missing And Thousands Homeless!

January 04, 2013 - BRAZIL - Heavy flooding on the Capivari River in Xerem, in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro state in Brazil has forced more than three thousand people from their homes.  At least one person has died and eight others are missing.  The floods follow two weeks of record high temperatures.  Three years ago ten days of torrential rain in the same region killed 900 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Photo: Damage caused by the floods of the Capivari river in Xerem, in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro; Reuters.
Photo: Damage caused by the floods of the Capivari river in Xerem, in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro; Reuters.
Photo: Damage caused by the floods of the Capivari river in Xerem, in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro; Reuters.
Photo: Damage caused by the floods of the Capivari river in Xerem, in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro; Reuters.
Rio de Janeiro floods have displaced more than 3,000 peoples. Nearly 215 mm of rain fell in just 24 hours north of Rio. Flood-triggered mudslides have killed hundreds Brazilians in recent years. January 2011 Rio de Janeiro floods and mudslides killed 903 people and caused damage of 2.0 billion Reais. It was the worst weather-related natural disaster in Brazilian history. - Euro News.

WATCH: Floods force thousands from homes in Brazil.

SOLAR WATCH: Chance Of Flares - Sunspot 1640 Harbors Energy For X-Class Flare!

January 04, 2013 - SUN - Solar activity remains at very low levels for now. Some sunspot formation is taking place within the middle of region 1640. There is currently a chance for X-Class flares.

Sunspot 1640.
CHANCE OF FLARES: Sunspot AR1640 has developed a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. At the moment, however, the sunspot is mostly quiet, producing only a smattering of low-level C-class eruptions. - Space Weather.

Sunspot 1640 is crackling with low-level
C-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI.

SOLAR FORECAST: Solar activity has been at very low levels for the past 24hours. There are currently 7 numbered sunspot regions on the disk. Solar activity is likely to be at low levels with a slight chance for M-class flares on days one, two, and three (04 Jan, 05 Jan, 06 Jan).

The geomagnetic field has been at quiet levels for the past 24 hours. Solar wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak speed of 322 km/s at 03/1909Z.

Total IMF reached 5.5 nT at 03/1220Z. The maximum southward component of Bz reached -3.3 nT at 03/1209Z. The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet levels for the next three days (04 Jan, 05 Jan, 06 Jan). - SWPC/NOAA.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Coastal Landslide Safety Warning After Tynemouth Cliff Collapses!

January 04, 2013 - BRITAIN - People are being urged to take extra care at cliff edges after a landslide along the coast. 

A slab of grass and earth, measuring around 15 feet by 15 feet, tumbled down a cliff on the northern side of Tynemouth Priory and landed just below on the south side of King Edward’s Bay.  Although a group of youngsters had been playing football on the beach, there was no one underneath the debris.  The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade was called to the scene at around 2.20pm on Monday and engineers from North Tyneside Council arrived to assess the site.  A temporary exclusion zone was set up, but it was felt no further action was necessary. 

Peter Lilley, a captain with the brigade, said: “While it was felt that further land slips may happen in the coming days, no further preventative action was taken as a large number of clear warning signs are already in place to highlight the risk of land slides in that area.  “However, we would like to remind members of the public of the risks cliffs pose, whether this be landslides or falling while on them. “We ask that people take extra care in the forthcoming days and weeks as, due to the recent rain and cold weather, they are even more treacherous than usual.” - Chronicle Live.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.6 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Sicily, Italy!

January 04, 2013 - ITALY - Earthquakes in Italy today: Sicily, Marche, Lazio, Umbria, Calabria and Basilicata regions affected. Today, the INGV has recorded four earthquakes in Italy that have affected districts seismic Gulf of Patti and Milazzo (magnitude 2.4), the Lipari Islands (magnitude 2.4 and 2.3) and Monti Reatini (magnitude 2).

USGS map.
Affected the provinces of Messina, Rieti, Italy, Ascoli Piceno and Perugia. Yesterday, including those not yet reported, were recorded in the districts seismic shock of the Sea of ​​Sicily (magnitude 2.9), the Lipari Islands (magnitude 2.7), the island of Ustica (magnitude 2.4) and Pollino (magnitude 2.1). Affected the provinces of Messina, Palermo, Cosenza and Power. A shallow 4.6 (USGS) magnitude earthquake also struck Sicily at a depth of 9.2 km (5.7 miles). The epicenter of the earthquake was 5 km (3 miles) from Maniace, 52 km (32 miles) NNW (332°) from Catania, Sicily, Italy and 72 km (45 miles) from Messina. The earthquake was felt by the population in the provinces of Messina and Catania, the town next to the epicenter are the municipalities of San Teodoro, Cesarò and Maniace. The earthquake was recorded at 8:50 am. - Corriere Web [Translated].

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Mediterranean Region and Vicinity.
The Mediterranean region is seismically active due to the northward convergence (4-10 mm/yr) of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary. This convergence began approximately 50 Ma and was associated with the closure of the Tethys Sea. The modern day remnant of the Tethys Sea is the Mediterranean Sea. The highest rates of seismicity in the Mediterranean region are found along the Hellenic subduction zone of southern Greece, along the North Anatolian Fault Zone of western Turkey and the Calabrian subduction zone of southern Italy. Local high rates of convergence at the Hellenic subduction zone (35mm/yr) are associated with back-arc spreading throughout Greece and western Turkey above the subducting Mediterranean oceanic crust. Crustal normal faulting throughout this region is a manifestation of extensional tectonics associated with the back-arc spreading. The region of the Marmara Sea is a transition zone between this extensional regime, to the west, and the strike-slip regime of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, to the east. The North Anatolian Fault accommodates much of the right-lateral horizontal motion (23-24 mm/yr) between the Anatolian micro-plate and Eurasian plate as the Anatolian micro-plate is being pushed westward to further accommodate closure of the Mediterranean basin caused by the collision of the African and Arabian plates in southeastern Turkey. Subduction of the Mediterranean Sea floor beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea at the Calabrian subduction zone causes a significant zone of seismicity around Sicily and southern Italy. Active volcanoes are located above intermediate depth earthquakes in the Cyclades of the Aegean Sea and in southern Italy.

In the Mediterranean region there is a written record, several centuries long, documenting pre-instrumental seismicity (pre-20th century). Earthquakes have historically caused widespread damage across central and southern Greece, Cyprus, Sicily, Crete, the Nile Delta, Northern Libya, the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The 1903 M8.2 Kythera earthquake and the 1926 M7.8 Rhodes earthquakes are the largest instrumentally recorded Mediterranean earthquakes, both of which are associated with subduction zone tectonics. Between 1939 and 1999 a series of devastating M7+ strike-slip earthquakes propagated westward along the North Anatolian Fault Zone, beginning with the 1939 M7.8 Erzincan earthquake on the eastern end of the North Anatolian Fault system. The 1999 M7.6 Izmit earthquake, located on the westward end of the fault, struck one of Turkey's most densely populated and industrialized urban areas killing, more than 17,000 people. Although seismicity rates are comparatively low along the northern margin of the African continent, large destructive earthquakes have been recorded and reported from Morocco in the western Mediterranean, to the Dead Sea in the eastern Mediterranean. The 1980 M7.3 El Asnam earthquake was one of Africa's largest and most destructive earthquakes within the 20th century.

Large earthquakes throughout the Mediterranean region have also been known to produce significant and damaging tsunamis. One of the more prominent historical earthquakes within the region is the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755, whose magnitude has been estimated from non-instrumental data to be about 8.0. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake is thought to have occurred within or near the Azores-Gibraltar transform fault, which defines the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates off the west coast of Morocco and Portugal. The earthquake is notable for both a large death toll of approximately 60,000 people and for generating a tsunami that swept up the Portuguese coast inundating coastal villages and Lisbon. An earthquake of approximately M8.0 near Sicily in 1693 generated a large tsunami wave that destroyed numerous towns along Sicily's east coast. The M7.2 December 28, 1908 Messina earthquake is the deadliest documented European earthquake. The combination of severe ground shaking and a local tsunami caused an estimated 60,000 to 120,000 fatalities. - USGS.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Discovery Report For January 03, 2013 - New Submarine Eruption Near Turkey, Earthquakes At El Hierro, Ongoing Activity At Tolbachik In Kamchatka And Much More!

January 04, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from the Volcano Discovery Group.

A submarine volcanic eruption is underway near Turkey.
A new submarine volcanic eruption might have recently started off Turkey's west coast in the Marmaris Sea between the mainland and the Greek Island of Simi near Rhodes. Scientists from Istanbul's Technical University announced that they have found evidence of 2 active vents at about 200 m water depth along a north-south trending fissure of 2.5-3 km length. Read more.

Earthquake activity at and near Santorini volcano has calmed down again after the brief pulse in quakes mostly along the Amorgos Graben to the NE at the end of December.

Earthquakes continue at El Hierro island under the eastern El Golfo area. The NE part of the island is experiencing uplift detected by GPS, which suggests that a magma intrusion at depth (so far) is the cause of the current swarm. Volcanic tremor is low.

We posted a detailed activity report about Stromboli volcano, including an annotated crater image showing the different active vents.

The lava flows continue to effuse from the Southern fissure of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka. KVERT reports a slightly increased volcanic tremor amplitude compared to the past days. In other words, the eruption might actually be far from ending.

Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico has (temporarily?) calmed down a lot: the number of steam and gas emissions decreased to only 8 recorded during 2-3 Jan, but glow is still being observed at night.

Pacaya volcano in Guatemala had an increased phase of fumarolic activity with a steam plume reaching 3,000 m altitude for a few hours yesterday. No other surface activity was noted, but INSIVUMEH is increasing its monitoring efforts on the volcano.

Fuego volcano produced 8 weak explosions with ash clouds reaching 3-400 m above the crater and accompanied by faint rumblings were observed during 2-3 Jan. The lava flow toward Taniluya canyon decreased to a length of only 300 meters.

The Santiaguito lava dome continued to feed its lava flows, one of which showed some advance noted today by INSIVUMEH.

Copahue volcano in Chile/ Argentina continues to emit a steam and gas plume, but no further explosions were recorded. SERNAGEOMIN keeps the alert level at yellow.

Tiny earthquakes continue to occur beneath Tongariro volcano in New Zealand, showing that the volcano, similar as its neighbors Ruapehu and White Island, is not completely quiet. GeoNet has not posted any alerts for its volcanoes recently, which probably means that no significant activity is expected soon. - Volcano Discovery.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Great Lakes Reach All-Time Record Low Water Levels - Lowest Level Since 1964!

January 04, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The Great Lakes have had lower water levels this past year, but now they have reached an all-time, record low.

A rare cloudless satellite view of the entire Great Lakes region, April 24, 2000,
with the names of the lakes added. © Wikipedia.
The Federal Government says preliminary numbers show both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron reached record low water levels, in December.

The credit is given to the low level, to light snowfall last Winter, and light rainfall in the Spring.

The previous all-time low level was set in 1964, at 576.2 feet.

The preliminary mark for December 2012, is 576.15 feet. - 9&10 News.