Friday, February 8, 2013

EXTREME MONUMENTAL WEATHER: The Winter's Wrath - Monster Blizzard Wallops United States Northeast; More Than 100,000 Without Power; More Than 4,000 Flights Canceled; Families Hit Hard By Sandy Still Without Any Heat; Boston Could Get Three Feet Of Snow; Snow Blamed For 19-Car Pileup In Maine; MA, CT Governors Ban All Traffic From Roads; State Of Emergency Declared In CT, RI, MA, And NY!

February 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES -  A storm that forecasters warned could be a blizzard for the history books began clobbering the New York-to-Boston corridor on Friday, grounding flights, closing workplaces and sending people rushing to get home ahead of a possible 1 to 3 feet of snow.  From New Jersey to Maine, shoppers crowded into supermarkets and hardware stores to buy food, snow shovels, flashlights and generators, something that became a precious commodity after Superstorm Sandy in October. Others gassed up their cars, another lesson learned all too well after Sandy. Across much of New England, schools closed well ahead of the first snowflakes.  "This is a storm of major proportions," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said. "Stay off the roads. Stay home." 

By Friday evening, Boston had just 2.5 inches of snow and New York City had just 2, but parts of southeastern Massachusetts had more than 6 inches and central Rhode Island had more than 8. And, as more than 100,000 customers in the region lost power, the National Weather Service warned the worst was still to come.  The wind-whipped snowstorm mercifully arrived at the start of a weekend, which meant fewer cars on the road and extra time for sanitation crews to clear the mess before commuters in the New York-to-Boston region of roughly 25 million people have to go back to work. But it could also mean a weekend cooped up indoors.  Rainy Neves, a mother of two in Cambridge, just west of Boston, did some last-minute shopping at a grocery store, filling her cart to the brim.  "Honestly, a lot of junk – a lot of quick things you can make just in case lights go out, a lot of snacks to keep the kids busy while they'd be inside during the storm, things to sip with my friends, things for movies," she said. "Just a whole bunch of things to keep us entertained."  In heavily Catholic Boston, the archdiocese urged parishioners to be prudent about attending Sunday Mass and reminded them that, under church law, the obligation "does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation."  Halfway through what had been a mild winter across the Northeast, blizzard warnings were posted from parts of New Jersey to Maine. The National Weather Service said Boston could get close to 3 feet of snow by Saturday evening, while most of Rhode Island could receive more than 2 feet, most of it falling overnight Friday into Saturday. Connecticut was bracing for 2 feet, and New York City was expecting as much as 14 inches.

By Friday evening, the New York-to-Boston corridor was experiencing blizzard-like conditions, with blowing, swirling snow and freezing rain. Early snowfall was blamed for a 19-car pileup in Cumberland, Maine, that caused minor injuries. Throughout the Northeast, more than 118,000 homes and business lost power, mainly in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  Forecasters said wind gusts up to 75 mph could cause more widespread power outages and whip the snow into fearsome drifts. Flooding was expected along coastal areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, which hit New York and New Jersey the hardest and is considered Jersey's worst natural disaster.  Meteorologist Jeff Masters, of Weather Underground, said the winter storm was a collision of two storms and may end up among the Boston area's Top 5 most intense ever.  "When you add two respectable storms together, you're going to get a knockout punch with this one," he said.  It could break Boston's all-time snowstorm record of 27.6 inches, set in 2003, forecasters said. The storm also comes almost 35 years to the day after the Blizzard of '78, a ferocious storm that dropped 27 inches of snow, packed hurricane-force winds and claimed dozens of lives.  Masters said the region could get a break from warmer air trailing behind that is expected to push temperature up to the 40s by Monday.  "It's going to be not that difficult to dig out, compared to maybe some other nor'easters in the past, where it stayed cold after the storm went through," he said.

Drivers were urged to stay off the streets lest their cars get stuck, preventing snowplows and emergency vehicles from getting through. New York City ran extra commuter trains to help people get home before the brunt of the storm hit.  Amtrak stopped running trains in cities around the Northeast on Friday afternoon. Airlines canceled more than 4,300 flights through Saturday, and New York City's three major airports and Boston's Logan Airport shut down.  Interstate 95 was closed to all but essential traffic in Rhode Island, where the governor said power outages remained the biggest threat.  "With tree branches laden with heavy, wet snow, the winds picking up and the temperatures plunging all at the same time, it's a bad combination," Gov. Lincoln Chafee said.  In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick enacted a statewide driving ban for the first time since the Blizzard of `78. Hours before the ban went into effect at 4 p.m., long lines formed at gas stations, some of which were almost out of fuel.  James Stone said he was saving the remaining regular gas at his station in Abington, south of Boston, for snowplow drivers.  "It hasn't snowed like this in two years," Stone said. "Most people are caught way off-guard." 

In New York, Fashion Week, a series of designer showings with some activities held under tents, went on mostly as scheduled, though organizers put on additional crews to deal with the snow and ice, turned up the heat and fortified the tents. The snow did require some wardrobe changes: Designer Michael Kors was forced to arrive at the Project Runway show in Uggs.  For Joe DeMartino, of Fairfield, Conn., being overprepared was impossible: His wife was expecting their first baby Sunday. He stocked up on gas and food, got firewood ready and was installing a baby seat in the car. The couple also packed for the hospital.  "They say that things should clear up by Sunday. We're hoping that they're right," he said.  Said his wife, Michelle: "It adds an element of excitement."  The snow was too much of a good thing in some places. In New Hampshire, the University of Connecticut's Skiing Carnival was canceled because of the snowstorm. In Maine, the National Toboggan Championships in Camden were postponed from Saturday to Sunday, and the Camp Sunshine Polar Plunge was put off until March.  At Rosie's Liquors in Abington, customers were lined up eight to 10 deep Friday, snapping up rum, wine and 30-packs of beer.  "We've been absolutely slammed. It's almost been like Christmas here," manager Kristen Brown said. "A lot of people are saying, `I'm going to be stuck with my family all weekend. I need something to do.'" - Huffington Post.

WATCH: Record-Breaking Blizzard Set to Blanket Northeastern States.

DISASTER IMPACT: State Of Emergency Declared On Santa Cruz Islands - Death Toll Rises To 10; 3,500 Homeless; Widespread Destruction!

February 08, 2013 - SOLOMON ISLANDS - The Government today has officially declared a State of Disaster for Santa Cruz Islands in Temotu Province following Wednesday's deadly 8.0 magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami that claimed lives and property. 

Houses lie wrecked in the Solomon Islands village of Venga after a tsunami struck the remote Santa Cruz Islands.
Source: AFP.
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon Bradley Tovusia made the declaration following a decision reached by the National Disaster Council on February 7.  The National Disaster Council has satisfied itself that the logistical challenge inherent in responding to the disaster in Temotu means that support has delayed departing Honiara to reach the affected population.  This challenge coupled with the number of dead already reported, the huge disruption to normal functioning in the province and that the capacity at the local, provincial and national levels to deal with it alone has been exceeded there has led to the NDC recommending a declaration of disaster be made.  In light of the current situation, the Provincial Emergency Operations Center has been activated and there are currently 6 teams doing assessment in affected areas.  Based on Information received from the ground, the Government expects the province will require significant additional support.  The Government hopes the official disaster declaration will mobilize more support both inside and outside the country to facilitate relief efforts more swiftly. - Scoop.

The death toll from the tsunami that swept across Ndende in the eastern Solomon Islands on Wednesday has risen to 10. The reopening of Lata airport enabled medical staff to arrive to support local hospital workers, and National Disaster Management Office experts to start assessing the damage. The tsunami was triggered by a magnitude-8 underwater earthquake. About 3500 people have lost their homes in several villages on Ndende, the main island of the Santa Cruz group. The first report from NDMO assessors said wells and bore holes had been contaminated and water tanks destroyed, debris blocked roads, food gardens and fruit trees on the coast had been lost and the power supply in the main town, Lata, remained out. Australia's initial aid includes $50,000 to the NDMO for aircraft fuel and logistics support, $250,000 to Solomon Islands Red Cross, and reconnaissance by an RAAF Hercules. - The Australian.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Across The World - Heaviest Snowfall In Many Years Hits Polish-Slovakian Border!

 February 08, 2013 - POLAND - Due to heavy snowfall a state of emergency was imposed in 20 towns at the Polish-Slovakian Border, near to Orava. Last night it was seen 75 cm of snow!

More than 1200 residents of the region were left without electricity after heavy snowfall knocked out power lines and substations.

I've never seen such big flakes of snow. They are as big as the coin two euros. Within 24 hours as much snow fell as usual throughout the winter. Snow cover in some places more than five feet, the governor said.

Plows can not keep up with snow removal routes. - Ice Age Now.

WATCH: Poland - Heavy snow clogs streets.

HIGH STRANGENESS: You Think Winter Storm Nemo Is Bad - In Brazil, It's Raining Spiders?!

February 08, 2013 - BRAZIL - What's that? You're worried about a little snow falling on your head? How adorable.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, it's raining spiders.

© YouTube/Gawker.
Footage posted online yesterday shows thousands of spiders "falling from the sky" in the southern Brazilian town of Santo Antônio da Platina.

"Still do not know what causes such behavior," writes the video's uploader. "We are researching and will post the answer to the question here."

I know exactly what causes such behavior. A little something called the end of the world.

UPDATE: Brazilian news portal G1 reports that this footage was captured by 20-year-old web designer Erick Reis as he was leaving a friend's engagement party this past Sunday.

G1 spoke with a local biologist who identified the spider as Anelosimus eximius - a "social spider" species known for its massive colonies and "sheet webs." He characterized the phenomenon as "normal," which it most certainly is not. - Gawker.

Raining spiders in Brazil.

SHADOW WARS: Escalating Towards World War III - South Korea Ready To Launch Preemptive Strike Against North Korea!

February 08, 2013 - KOREAN PENINSULA - South Korean officials are considering a preemptive strike against North Korea amid fears that the North will soon conduct a nuclear weapons test in response to a new round of sanctions by the United Nations.

A South Korean sailor uses a binoculars as South Korean warship sails during their three-day military drills in South Korea's East Sea on Feb. 6, 2013. (Associated Press/Korea Pool via Yonhap).
North Korea last conducted a short-range ballistic missile test in December. Its last nuclear test was an underground detonation in 2009. The Hankyoreh, a daily newspaper in South Korea, reports that Jung Seung-jo, South Korea’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military would launch a preemptive attack if “signs of an imminent nuclear weapon launch against the South were detected.” Business Insider picked up North Korea’s response via its official state-run media website: “They do not know what a real war is like and they would shudder after experiencing our military’s spirit to attack in a single breath.” - Washington Times.

The chairman of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff weighed into speculation about North Korea's imminent nuclear test on Wednesday, guessing that the North is preparing to test a "pre-hydrogen" nuclear weapon.  Gen. Jung Seung-jo made the guess in a report to the National Assembly's Defense Committee on Wednesday.  The weapon could be a "boosted fission weapon," a type of nuclear bomb that uses a small amount of fusion fuel to increase the yield of a fission reaction, he said.  This could make it possible to drastically reduce the size and weight of nuclear weapons to less than one ton, small enough to fit a nuclear warhead on a missile.  "When you develop nuclear weapons, you have such a goal in mind," Jung said. "I think the North has made a lot of progress in that regard."  He warned that South Korea will launch a pre-emptive strike "if there's a clear sign of the enemy using a nuclear weapon" but no such attack is planned on the nuclear test site in Pyunggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province.  "We may change our mind if the situation changes," he added.  Defense Committee chairman Yoo Seung-min said, "Are you sticking to your guns even if a pre-emptive strike on the North's nuclear weapons will lead to a full-scale war?" Jung replied, "It would be better to destroy the North's nuclear weapons first than to be struck by them, given that that would lead to a war in any case." - CHOSUN.

WATCH: North Korea's nuclear programme.

EXTREME WEATHER ALERT: Historic Monster Storm Nemo Set To Paralyze North America - Stretches From Canada To The Gulf Of Mexico, Massive Blizzard To Hit The Northeast, Severe Weather Cancels All Transportation, Could Be The Worst Storm Ever!

February 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A massive winter storm is coming together as two low pressure systems are merging over the U.S. East Coast. A satellite image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on Feb. 8 shows a western frontal system approaching the coastal low pressure area.

The satellite image, captured at 9:01 a.m. EST, shows clouds associated with the western frontal system stretching from Canada through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, into the Gulf of Mexico. The comma-shaped low pressure system located over the Atlantic, east of Virginia, is forecast to merge with the front and create a powerful nor'easter. The National Weather Service expects the merged storm to move northeast and drop between two to three feet of snow in parts of New England. - NASA.

New York City is on the edge of a blizzard that will hit central and coastal New England and Long Island especially hard Friday night. The storm will bring enough snow to shovel and plow, as well as a period of high winds from central New Jersey to the lower Hudson Valley.  Even though the area from central New Jersey to southeastern New York state may not be in the epicenter of this storm, enough snow will fall to cause major travel problems and winds can be strong enough for a time to cause downed tree limbs, power outages and extensive blowing and drifting of the snow.  As two storms, an Alberta Clipper from the west and a storm from the South, merge there could be more than a manageable amount of snow in New York City, southwestern Connecticut and Long Island. Without a blocking area of high pressure over the Greenland, this storm will keep moving along. 

Just as there is the possibility of the storm strengthening rapidly to bring heavy snow to New York City, there is also the chance the storms stay separate long enough so that little precipitation falls. meteorologists are meeting the odds in the middle, projecting 6 to 12 inches of snow in New York City on west, preceded by rain or a wintry mix during much of the day Friday. From 1 to 2 feet of snow will fall east of New York City.
The heaviest snow is likely Friday evening into the wee hours of Saturday morning around New York City. Over Long Island and western Connecticut heavy snow will last through much of the nighttime hours.  Warm air will be an issue in the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island causing part of the storm to be rain, a wintry mix and some of the snow to melt as it falls on roads during the first part of the storm. However, intense snowfall rates Friday night will overcome this especially east of New York City.  Odds favor wet roads around New York City to a few slippery spots north and west into Friday afternoon. However, as more snow starts to mix in later in the day and a change to all snow is likely by Friday evening, road conditions could rapidly deteriorate. Low cloud ceilings and increasing winds during Friday may lead to building flight delays and cancellations even before the heavy snow hits. The strongest winds will be blowing offshore as the storm strengthens. However, there will be minor to moderate coastal flooding problems along the north shore of Long Island with average water levels running 2 to 3 feet above published values. There will be some wave action on top of this of course. Minor coastal flooding is possible for a brief time around Seaside Heights, N.J. Friday evening. In the Raritan Bay area water levels will be between 1 and 2 feet above published values.

The greatest risk of coastal flooding from the storm is along the east coast of New England (from Cape Cod to Boston) Friday night and midday Saturday. The high tide cycle Friday evening is likely to be the most troublesome for northern Long Island. That high tide is within a couple of days of the new moon, which is early Sunday morning.
Across upstate New York and part of southern Ontario, moderate snow will fall from a substantial Alberta Clipper cruising in from the Midwest Friday into Friday night.  Enough snow to shovel and plow is likely over much of this area which can reach as far south as parts of western and northern Pennsylvania into the higher elevations of West Virginia and western Maryland.  A brief shot of blustery, seasonably cold conditions are in store for Saturday in the wake of the storm. Temperatures will moderate Sunday, setting the stage for the next storm system Monday to bring mostly rain to the region with a wintry mix over northern upstate New York and northern New England.  The atmosphere is in the process of building a pipeline of storms for the eastern part of the nation during the balance of February. Most will bring rain to the mid-Atlantic coast, but some could bring snow. Details will follow as the time draws nearer. - AccuWeather.

AccuWeather Live Blog: Major Winter Storm Gaining Strength

Blizzard to Bury New England at the End of the Week
Snow for Detroit, Buffalo
Slippery Travel Pa., NY State, Southern NJ
Safe Snow Driving

WATCH: Extreme weather conditions across the United States.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Discovery Report For February 08, 2013 - Updates On Stromboli, El Hierro, Bagana, Batu Tara, Paluweh, And Aoba!

 February 08, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from the Volcano Discovery Group.

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy)
: (7 Feb) Tremor has remained at generally low to medium levels, while explosion signals have gained strength recently.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): Some new data suggest that a second submarine eruption might actually have occurred at El Hierro occurred at the sea floor SW off El Hierro Island during the strong seismic crises in end of June - July 2012. Evidence of this claimed eruption were sonar images which, according to the researchers, showed volcanic material erupted in an area less than 2 NM from the coast and at depths of 64 to 88 meters. The material formed a plume that rose up to a depth of 48 meters. However, some doubts about this evidence remain because while the earthquake swarm was very intense, there were no shallow earthquakes associated with the possible opening of a new eruptive vent.

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): An eruption last night produced an ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude last night, VAAC Darwin reported.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): A relatively large explosion this morning has produced an ash plume detected at 12,000 ft (3.7 km) altitude extending 40 nautical miles to the northwest. (VAAC Darwin)

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): Activity at the lava dome continues. Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes at altitudes of 12,000 and 7,000 ft (2.1 and 3.7 km) altitude last night and this morning. Most likely, the ash plumes are the result of more (but smaller compared to Sunday's) collapses of the dome have and / or explosions from the dome itself.

Aoba (Vanuatu): Vanuatu's Geohazards agency indicated that minor phreatic activity has been occurring at Lombenben volcano on Aoba (Ambae) island.  Scientists detected a patch of mud at the tuff cone built during the eruption of 2005. The entire surface of Lake Vui showed increased evaporation and inhabitants of a nearby village have noticed abnormal activity since December 2012. Satellite measurements showed increased SO2 emission rates between 18 and 25 January.  Geohazard maintains the Volcanic Alert Level of Aoba at Level 1. The area of risk remains near the Manaro Voui crater. "This volcano activity may remain as it is and decrease but there is a low probability of neglecting the gradual increase of the alert in the coming months", Geohazard writes. - Volcano Discovery.

EXTREME WEATHER: Major Snowstorm In Ontario Causes Flight Cancellations And School Closings - Over 150 Highway Car Collisions, Nearly 4,000 Flights Scrapped!

February 08, 2013 - CANADA - The worst of a winter storm into southern Ontario landed during morning rush hour, covering the region in a white shroud of snow flurries and sleet, forcing schools to close and disrupting land and air traffic. (For a list of school closures, transit delays and flight information, click here.)

A woman walks down a residential street as snow falls in Toronto on Friday, February 8, 2013.
© Chris Young /The Globe and Mail.
Other vehicles were reported to be stuck in snowbanks, in ditches or blocking lanes after spinning out of control. At the Bayview entrance of the southbound Don Valley Parkway, cars had trouble negotiating the icy in-ramp. The DVP's Bayview off-ramp was reported to be closed because of slippery conditions. On Highway 401, the eastbound collector off-ramp at Allen Road was also closed because of the road conditions. On the Queen Elizabeth Way, near Fort Erie, a snowplow fell into a ditch and, a few kilometres further north, a salter truck had rolled. More than 150 highway car collisions had been reported, said Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Dave Woodford. There were only minor injuries, mostly from fender benders, he said.  The Canadian Automobile Association was expecting to get twice as many calls for assistance. By 9 a.m. more than 900 motorists had called for help, mostly for towing, with wait times of over an hour, according to CAA South Central Ontario. The inclement weather forced the cancellation of more than 240 flights today and 35 tomorrow at Pearson International Airport, with about another 40 cancelled at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. In the United States, airlines scrapped about 3,800 flights, Bloomberg news agency said.

Pearson has posted a travel advisory on its website, urging passengers to check flight information before heading for the airport. GO Trains moved on a storm adjusted schedule, with express trains stopping at all stations. In downtown Toronto, while pedestrians hunched down, the rim of their hoods crusted with frost, traffic was slowed by snow-laden wind gusts and thick slush on the ground. Constable Clint Stibbe of the Toronto police traffic services division said there were fewer vehicles in the downtown core "but with the restricted lanes, the congestion is just as high if not worse."  Since the snow began falling Thursday evening, there had been 136 reported collisions, twice the usual rate, with 42 minor injuries.  One bus line, 63 Ossington, had to be diverted because of fallen wires, another, 29 Dufferin, because of a disabled bus. Another bus lines were diverted because of poor road conditions.  Thousands of students got the day off.  Some school boards - including Toronto, Durham and York districts and Toronto and York Catholic districts - remained opened but cancelled school bus transportation. Others - Peel and Halton and Halton Catholic districts - closed schools all together,  Several universities also closed: York, Ryerson, University of Toronto's Mississauga and Scarborough campuses, McMaster, Guelph, Waterloo, Brock and Wilfrid Laurier.  The poor conditions stemmed from a massive low-pressure system that came from Texas, passed through Illinois and was expected to leave up to 25 centimetres of snow on southern Ontario.  Toronto gets an average of 115 centimetres of snow each winter. However only 42 centimetres fell last winter and before this storm, there had only been 31 centimetres of snow this winter. - Globe and Mail.

MONUMENTAL MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Herring Apocalypse - Researchers Blame Low Oxygen Levels For The Death Of Millions Of Herrings In Iceland?!

February 08, 2013 - ICELAND - Researchers in Iceland are blaming low oxygen levels in a shallow fjord for the deaths of tens of thousands of tons of herring.  Masses of dead herring have been found in Kolgrafafjordur fjord for the second time this winter, raising concerns about Iceland's fishery. 

 Associated Press/Brynjar Gauti - Herring worth billions in exports are seen floating dead Tuesday Feb. 5 2013 in Kolgrafafjordur, a small fjord on the northern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula, west Iceland, for the second time in two months. Between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of herring died in December and more now, due to lack of oxygen in the fjord thought to have been caused by a landfill and bridge constructed across the fjord in December 2004. The current export value of the estimated 10,000 tons of herring amounts to ISK 1.25 billion ($ 9.8 million, euro 7.2 million), according to Morgunbladid newspaper. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti).
The Morgunbladid newspaper estimated the value of the 10,000 tons of fish found dead this week at 1.25 billion kronur ($9.8 million). An even larger number of fish died in December.  Roughly one season's worth of herring has been lost, Johann Sigurjonsson, director of Iceland's Marine Research Institute, said Wednesday.  He said herring tend to winter in large populations and may have depleted the oxygen in the shallow fjord. The danger should ease in spring when the herring spread out into a wider area, he said, downplaying fears that the entire herring fishery is in danger. 

"We regard this as a serious event," he said. "We are investigating; we would like to find out if it is necessary to try to step in somehow."  The government's economic minister has increased funding for monitoring in the area to determine what can be done to prevent more fish from dying off. Some blame recent construction in the region for the kills.  Schoolchildren, town workers and volunteers have been cleaning up the dead fish, which can be turned into feed for mink and other animals.  Revenue from the sale is expected to go to local children and to area schools. - FOX News.

ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: Animal Magnetism - Salmon Use Magnetic Map To Travel Thousands Of Miles Home!

February 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Ever wondered how salmon navigate across thousands of miles of ocean without getting lost? After years feeding at sea, the fish swim through vast expanses of featureless water back to the rivers where they hatched.  Now scientists may have finally answered a mystery that has baffled them for decades, after finding evidence suggesting salmon use the Earth’s magnetic field to guide them back to their spawning grounds.  Researchers believe that when the fish first enter the sea, they memorize the location’s magnetic field and use it as a home address. 

Magnetism: Scientists have found evidence suggesting salmon use the Earth's magnetic field to guide them
back to their spawning grounds.
The magnetic field varies across the globe, allowing animals to use it as a ‘map’ and determine their location.  ‘To find their way back home across thousands of kilometres of ocean, salmon imprint on the magnetic field that exists where they first enter the sea as juveniles,’ said lead researcher Dr Nathan Putman of Oregon State University. ‘Upon reaching maturity, they seek the coastal location with the same magnetic field.’  To test the theory, they looked at fisheries data going back 56 years, documenting the return of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River in British Columbia.  But to reach the river mouth, the fish must either swim around the north or south side of Vancouver Island.  Scientists, who published their findings in the journal Current Biology, discovered their decision was influenced by the Earth’s magnetic field, which shifts slightly each year.  The fish showed greater preference for the inlet that most matched the magnetic value of the Fraser River when they left it two years earlier.   If it was closer north of the island, then the fish were more likely to opt for that route, while if it was south there was an increased chance they would migrate using that course. 

The research looked at fisheries data going back 56 years, documenting the return of sockeye salmon
(pictured) to the Fraser River in British Columbia.
‘When they attempt to return, they are confronted with a giant obstacle: Vancouver Island is blocking direct access to their river,’ said Dr Putman. ‘So the fish must make a choice: Do they use the northern inlet or the southern inlet in their detour?'  He added: ‘Salmon have to get it right because they only have one chance to make it back to their home river, so it makes sense that they may have more than one way to get there. ‘The magnetic field is amazingly consistent, so that is a strategy that can withstand the test of time. But they may also use the sun as a compass, track waves breaking on the beach through infrasound, and use smell.’  Other animals believed to use Earth’s magnetic field to navigate include birds, turtles, and termites.  And if you are ever lost in the countryside without a compass, don’t panic. Just look for a herd of cows and see which way they are pointing.  After monitoring the behaviour of thousands of cattle, scientists have found that they tend to face north, after using the magnetic field to align themselves.  The behaviour is thought to be a relic of the days when the wild ancestors of today’s domesticated cattle used inbuilt compasses to find their way across the plains of Africa, Asia and Europe on long migrations.  Animals are thought to use internal magnets - made of crystals of magnetite - to find their way around. Homing pigeons, for instance, have a tiny blob of these crystals in their beaks. - Daily Mail.

MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFFS: "Very Unusual" - High Number Of Dolphins, Whales And Porpoise Stranding Deaths In Ireland?!

February 08, 2013 - IRELAND - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group says the stranding of high numbers of common dolphins and other species, which has become apparent over the past two weeks here, is “very unusual”.

Photo Credit: (c) Cathy Lynchehaun via the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group.
An apparently otherwise healthy dolphin along with two pilot whales have now been washed up at Cuas Croom near Cahirciveen and there have been continuous strandings of dolphins, particularly in Mayo and Donegal. At the end of January at least eight common dolphins have been found dead on the beaches of Achill Island, Co Mayo.

Mick O’Connell of the whale and dolphin group said the strandings in Mayo and Donegal were “way bigger” than might be expected. Porpoises had also been washed up . These were not live stranding and young dolphins had been involved.

Simon Berrow of the IWDG said weather may have been a factor in the case of a small number of animals particularly the pilot whales which mostly occupied different grounds to the dolphin.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has conducted postmortem examinations. - Irish Times.

SOLAR MAXIMUM 2013: A Solar "Superstorm" Is Coming And We'll Only Get 30-Minute Warning - They Cause Devastation, Occur Every 150 Years, Last One Was In 1859?!

February 08, 2013 - THE SUN - A solar "superstorm" could knock out Earth's communications satellites, cause dangerous power surges in the national grid and disrupt crucial navigation aids and aircraft avionics, a major report has found. It is inevitable that an extreme solar storm – caused by the Sun ejecting billions of tonnes of highly-energetic matter travelling at a million miles an hour – will hit the Earth at some time in the near future, but it is impossible to predict more than about 30 minutes before it actually happens, a team of engineers has warned.

Solar superstorms are estimated to occur once every 100 or 200 years, with the last one hitting the Earth in 1859. Although none has occurred in the space age, we are far more vulnerable now than a century ago because of the ubiquity of modern electronics, they said. "The general consensus is that a solar superstorm is inevitable, a matter not of 'if' but 'when?'," says a report into extreme space weather by a group of experts at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London. In the past half century, there have been a number of "near misses" when an explosive "coronal mass ejection" of energetic matter from the Sun has been flung into space, narrowly bypassing the Earth. In 1989 a relatively minor solar storm knocked out several key electrical transformers in the Canadian national grid, causing major power blackouts.

Similar solar storms significantly increased atmospheric radiation levels in 1956, 1972, 1989 and 2003, the experts found. Professor Paul Cannon, who chaired the academy's working group on solar storms, said that the Government should set up a space weather board to oversee measures aimed at minimising the impact of solar storms. "A solar superstorm will be a challenge but not cataclysmic. The two challenges for government are the wide spectrum of technologies affected today and the emergence of unexpected vulnerabilities as technology evolves," he said. "Our message is, 'Don't panic, but do prepare'. A solar superstorm will happen one day and we need to be ready for it. "Many steps have already been taken to minimise the impact of solar storms on current technology… We anticipate that the UK can further minimise the impact," he added. Minor solar storms hit the Earth on a regular basis, but these are far less powerful than the 1859 event named after the British astronomer Richard Carrington, which was the last true solar superstorm.

A similar event today would put severe strain the electricity grid, where transformers are particular vulnerable to power surges, as well as degrading the performance of satellites, GPS navigation, aviation and possibly the mobile phone network, particularly the new 4G network, which relies on GPS satellites for timing information. "Satellites are certainly in the front line of a superstorm. They are part of our infrastructure and we have concerns about their survival in a solar superstorm," said Keith Ryden, a space engineer at Surrey University. - The Independent.

WATCH: A space weather expert speaks on Thursday about a Royal Academy of Engineering study urging the government to be aware of the effects a solar superstorm may have on the UK. Paul Cannon from the study group says 'there will be a challenge for the UK' when such a storm occurs, but that 'it will not be cataclysmic'. Solar superstorms are periodic blasts of radiation and high-energy particles from the sun and can damage electrical networks.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Mysterious Gel Brings Death To Hundreds Of Sea Birds Off Jurassic Coast - Experts Unable To Find Source, Takes A Fortnight To Clean Each Bird, Could Spread Along The Food Chain, "Disaster Is Going To Be Far Worse Than We Can Imagine"?!

February 08, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - The Razorbill did not stand a chance. Its wings were coated in a thick gloopy gel, which solidified in the cold. Its feathers lost their use as insulation, leaving the bird’s body exposed to the sub-zero temperatures and biting winds.  Washed up on the beach, it lay on the pebbles in a sorrowful heap.  Several hundred dead birds have been washed up along the south coast of England since the first were found on Wednesday morning.  On Saturday night, an RSPCA treatment centre in West Hatch, near Taunton, was caring for 254 of them. The birds, mainly guillemots and razorbills, were all tarred with the mysterious white-yellow gel. No one knew where this slick came from.  “It’s quite sinister really,” said Teresa Donohue, 22, a volunteer with a wildlife charity. “We don’t know what it is, and you can’t smell it or see it spreading.”  

Several hundred dead birds have been washed up along the south coast of England Photo: APEX.
Yesterday, Miss Donohue, who helps put identification rings on birds, was walking along Chesil Beach when she saw a guillemot stranded just above the tide line.  “You never normally see these birds sitting on the beach, but it was exhausted. I had a tea towel and put it over its head, then carried it up the beach to the RSPCA.”  John Pollock, the RSPCA inspector for West Dorset, was waiting with his van. “In 22 years working here, I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “It’s officially described as a mineral oil, but that could mean anything man made. It just makes me really angry that this could happen.  “What we are seeing is only a tiny fraction of the true damage, as the vast majority of the affected wildlife will simply die out at sea.” Dead birds have been found all along the coast from Sussex through Dorset and into Devon. Contaminated guillemots have also been found on the Isle of Wight.  The RSPCA said that hundreds had been found dead, while a further 254 were being treated. But along the coast, many sections of the beach were not being monitored, meaning that thousands of birds were likely to have died undetected.

Dead and dying birds get cleaned by Marc Smith and Angela Thomas of the Dorset Wildlife Trust
Photo: Christopher Jones for the Telegraph.
“It’s the worst possible time for this to happen,” said Derek Davey, 53, a volunteer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, as he pulled on his dry suit to wade out on the rocks below Portland Bill.  “They are on their way to the breeding grounds off the coast of Ireland and Scotland. Sometimes we have 20,000 birds a day passing through here. It’s awful.”  No one knows why. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency sent up a helicopter above the sea to see – unsuccessfully – if there was an obvious source. Many suspect that a ship in the English Channel illegally rinsed its tanks out at sea, which is cheaper than washing them in the docks.  Any ship operator caught of doing so faces a hefty fine or imprisonment.  The slick has also struck along a valuable area of Britain’s coastline. The Jurassic Coast in Dorset and Devon is famed for its starfish, burrowing anemones and rare pink fans — a type of coral — are all found in the reef off Stennis Ledges. Seals, bottlenose dolphins and basking sharks all swim in the sea. 

While Mr Davey set off to clamber among the rocks, a less experienced team was beginning to patrol the beach. “We saw it on the news, and so went out this morning to buy a net,” said Melissa Kennett, 63, patrolling the beach with her two granddaughters.  One granddaughter, Amber, nine, said: “I found the first bird. It was like a black dot and then we got closer and saw it was alive. But it splashed away. We found another two though and carried them back.”  Birds which are rescued are taken to West Hatch, where 20 full and part-time staff are working to rehydrate, clean and feed the birds.  The guillemots and razorbills are fed sprats and rubbed down with supermarket margarine to remove the sticky gunk from their bodies. The birds are then washed in warm soapy water and left to recover, before the team reintroduce the healthiest ones, little by little, to a series of ponds.  “It’s a laborious process that, at its fastest, takes a fortnight for each bird,” said Steve Powell, of the RSPCA.  Marc Smith of the Dorset Wildlife Trust said: “The damage from this goes right the way along the food chain, from the plankton to the fish to the birds, seals and dolphins. This disaster is going to be far worse than we can imagine.” - Telegraph.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Bayou Corne Sinkhole Meeting Gets Heated, Official Has Resident Escorted Out By Sheriff As The Cover-Up Continues!

February 08, 2013 - LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES - Assumption Parish Police Jury President Martin “Marty” Triche exchanged sharp words Wednesday night during a community meeting on the parish’s 8.6-acre sinkhole with a resident who asked whether Triche had any personal financial interests in dirt-hauling related to the response effort.  The episode, which led to the resident’s removal by a sheriff’s deputy at Triche’s direction but Triche’s later apology for the outburst, occurred about 11 minutes into the meeting before about 150 people. The session also revealed several new details on the sinkhole and the multi-level response to its effects.  A Shaw Environment and Infrastructure geologist working on the response urged Bayou Corne residents to consider allowing methane vent wells to be drilled on their property, while residents suggested authorities look around the neighborhood’s fringes for drilling sites to remove the gas. 

Residents also learned that Shaw and the Louisiana Office of Conservation have hired petroleum geophysicist Don Marlin to interpret three-dimensional seismic data that Texas Brine Co. LLC is planning to collect around the sinkhole.  The interpretation from Marlin, an LSU graduate in geology who has worked on 3-D and other types of subsurface studies on the Gulf Coast for 30 years, will be independent of the one expected from Texas Brine’s consultant Kevin Hill, he said.  State Sen. Rick Ward III, D-Maringouin, told residents a joint legislative hearing on the sinkhole will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 19 at the State Capitol, and he and other legislators urged residents to attend.  “And any of you that can come, we sure hope that you can be there, and we’ll listen as long as you want to speak,” Ward told the group.  Ward said members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and House Natural Resources and Environment Committee would also be visiting the Bayou Corne area after the joint meeting but before the upcoming legislative session to see the sinkhole first-hand.  The sinkhole formed Aug. 3 after the suspected failure of a Texas Brine salt cavern has led to a standing mandatory evacuation of 150 residences in the area. The failure released oil and gas from formations along the sides of the Napoleonville Salt dome, from which the cavern was mined. 

Bayou Corne resident Cathy Simoneaux prompted the heated response from Triche after first asking state Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Pierre Part, whether Gov. Bobby Jindal had told her not to speak about the sinkhole issue and whether St. Germain had a pending job offer from the state Department of Natural Resources or another state agency.  St. Germain denied both assertions and Triche rose to her defense and her level of participation in the sinkhole response.  Simoneaux then asked Triche if he had a trucking company involved in the response and later whether his family did.  Dump trucks can be seen on La. 70 South carrying loads of dirt to Texas Brine’s site and a pad location west of it where the company is planning to install vent wells and build a containment berm around the sinkhole.  Triche denied both allegations.  “Ma’am, I’m not in the dirt company, and I can tell you right now, I’m not in the dirt business,” Triche said.  “If you are here to accuse people, ma’am, I’m not answering your questions.”  The Police Jury president said moments later that if Simoneaux was in the audience to be ugly to him, “I could be ugly right back.” 

Triche said he has spent numerous hours trying to help with the sinkhole problems and it appeared she was trying to impugn his and St. Germain’s integrity and to embarrass both.  Triche added that his brother had been in the dirt business, but his brother had since died.  “Now you bring him up,” Triche said. “You want to bring that up?  Simoneaux responded she did not.  At that point, Triche asked a deputy sheriff to remove Simoneaux from the meeting hall.  “I had enough. I had enough,” Triche said.  Residents attending the meeting applauded as Simoneaux was escorted out while she shouted a profanity and asked the crowd, “Do you see what they are doing?”  After residents saw presentations showing Texas Brine’s plans to install a series of new vent wells that will burn off gas trapped under the area, Shaw geologist Gary Hecox showed residents that the wells would not affect the immediate Bayou Corne neighborhood and asked for landowners to cooperate.  Hecox said the wells are needed in the neighborhood to remove gas under it and to reduce pressure in the aquifer and clay layer above that aquifer.  But the prospect of pipes connecting wells to a flare stacks and the open-ended nature of the vent wells being left on residential property prompted residents to suggest different options.  Allen Hill, 66, a camp owner in Bayou Corne, suggested authorities look at placing vent wells in swamps on the fringes of the neighborhood.  Hecox, who said the wells can draw gas from a 500 foot-radius, agreed officials would look at that possibility. - The Advocate.

WATCH: Bayou Corne Sinkhole Meeting Gets Heated.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Intermountain Seismic Belt - 3.7 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Utah!

February 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A Utah earthquake today 2013 has been felt in Nevada. The Utah earthquake today Thursday, February 07, 2013 erupted shortly after 1 pm local time. No reports of damage have yet to be indicated by local news.

Officials tell news that a 3.5 magnitude quake erupted in Utah Thursday with no depth. The quake began only one mile below the earth’s surface. As a result the quake could be felt across the region. USGS indicates to news that the quake was five miles west of Enoch. The quake also started eight miles west of Cedar City and sixteen miles west of Paorwan. Officials also tell news that the quake was seventy-seven miles east of Caliente, Nevada and one hundred sixty miles east of Las Vegas., In February last year, a 3.7 magnitude quake began east of Elk Ridge, roughly eight miles outside of the city. The quake was also nine miles east of Salem, fifteen miles east of Santaquin. Then in November a 3.1 magnitude quake began outside Hooper. The quake was thirty-two miles west of Hooper, thirty-three miles west of Plain City. The quake also erupted fifty-six miles northwest of West Valley City and Salt Lake City. - LALATE.

Historic Seismicity.
Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the Intermountain Seismic Belt (Southern Utah)
 The Intermountain seismic belt (ISB) is a prominent north-south-trending zone of recorded seismicity in the Intermountain West. A modern catalog of instrumentally located earthquakes in Utah begins in mid-1962, and historical earthquake records date back to the 1850s. The ISB in southern Utah is characterized by scattered seismicity with locally dense clusters of small- to moderate-sized earthquakes. The largest earthquake in the ISB in southern Utah was a M6.5 earthquake in 1901 in Richfield. A group of three M5 and 6 earthquakes occurred in Elsinore in the Sevier Valley in 1921. To the south in southwestern Utah, a damaging earthquake (M5.9) occurred in 1992 near St. George. Earthquake swarms (clusters of earthquakes with no outstanding main shocks) of maximum magnitude 3 to 4 are common in the area.  Because moderate and large earthquakes are likely, expected levels of strong ground shaking are relatively high. Ground shaking from a M5 earthquake can cause significant damage at distances up to 10 km (6 miles), and a M7 at distances up to 50 km (30 miles) and more. Geologic site conditions such as deep sediment-filled basins may locally amplify and prolong ground shaking.

The ISB in southern Utah coincides with a transition between east-west-directed stretching in the Basin and Range to the west and more stable crust of the Colorado Plateau to the east. Tectonic movement on generally north-trending, east- and west-dipping range- and plateau-bounding normal faults, which results in horizontal extension, characterizes this part of Utah. The Sevier Valley is an area of variable and complex deformation involving significant components of folding and both normal and strike-slip faulting. The most prominent geologically young faults in southwestern Utah are the Hurricane and Sevier faults. The Hurricane fault forms the west-facing Hurricane Cliffs, which define the eastern edge of the Basin and Range within the ISB. Faults in the ISB in southern Utah locally show evidence of displacement younger than 10,000 years, but average recurrence intervals are generally longer than those on faults in the ISB in northern Utah. Recurrence intervals for surface faulting on the most active segments of ISB faults in southern Utah are generally many thousand to tens of thousands of years.  Moderate to large earthquakes in the Sevier Valley area and other small to moderate earthquakes in the ISB in southern Utah generally cannot be correlated with particular mapped faults, although the 1992 M5.9 St. George earthquake may have occurred on the west-dipping Hurricane fault. - USGS.

EXTREME MONUMENTAL WEATHER: Persistent Drought - U.S. Great Lakes Hit Lowest Water Level Ever On Record!

February 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation.  Measurements taken last month show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918, and the lakes could set additional records over the next few months, the corps said. The lakes were 29 inches below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches since January 2012.  The other Great Lakes — Superior, Erie and Ontario — were also well below average. 

"We're in an extreme situation," said Keith Kompoltowicz, watershed hydrology chief for the corps district office in Detroit.  The low water has caused heavy economic losses by forcing cargo ships to carry lighter loads, leaving boat docks high and dry, and damaging fish-spawning areas. And vegetation has sprung up in newly exposed shoreline bottomlands, a turnoff for hotel customers who prefer sandy beaches.  The corps' report came as shippers pleaded with Congress for more money to dredge ever-shallower harbors and channels. Shippers are taxed to support a harbor maintenance fund, but only about half of the revenue is spent on dredging. The remainder is diverted to the treasury for other purposes. Legislation to change that policy is pending before Congress.  "Plunging water levels are beyond anyone's control, but the dredging crisis is man-made," said James Weakley, president of the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers' Association.  Kompoltowicz said the Army corps might reconsider a long-debated proposal to place structures in a river to reduce the flow of water away from Lakes Huron and Lake Michigan, which are connected.  Scientists say lake levels are cyclical and controlled mostly by nature. They began a steep decline in the late 1990s and have usually lagged well below their historical averages since then.  But studies have shown that Huron and Michigan fell by 10 to 16 inches because of dredging over the years to deepen the navigational channel in the St. Clair River, most recently in the 1960s.

Dredging of the river, which is on the south end of Lake Huron, accelerated the flow of water southward from the two lakes toward Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.  Groups representing shoreline property owners, primarily in Lake Huron's Georgian Bay, have demanded action to slow the Lake Huron and Michigan outflow to make up for losses that resulted from dredging, which they contend are even greater than officials have acknowledged.  Although the Army corps produced a list of water-slowing options in 1972, including miniature dams and sills that resemble speed bumps along the river bottom, nothing was done because the lakes were in a period of above-average levels that lasted nearly three decades, Kompoltowicz said.  The corps has congressional authorization to take action but would need money for an updated study as a first step, he said.

The Detroit office is considering a funding request, but it would have to compete with other projects nationwide and couldn't get into the budget before 2015.  "It's no guarantee that we're going to get it, especially in this budget climate," Kompoltowicz said. "But there are serious impacts to navigation and shoreline property owners from this extreme event. It's time to revisit this."  Scientists and engineers convened by the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian agency that deals with shared waterways, issued reports in 2009 and last year that did not endorse trying to regulate the Great Lakes by placing structures at choke points such as the St. Clair River. The commission has conducted public hearings and will issue a statement in about a month, spokesman John Nevin said.  Roger Gauthier, a retired staff hydrologist with the Army corps, said a series of "speed bumps" could be put in the river at a reasonable cost within a few years. Without such measures, he warned, "it would take years of consistent rain" to return Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to normal. - Yahoo.

WATCH: Great Lakes reach record low.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Magmatic Intrusion Of The Canary Islands - Second Eruption Spot At The El Hierro Volcano Amidst Uptick In Micro-Seismicity, Why Did The Science Organizations And The Local Government Take 6 Months To Disclose This?!

February 08, 2013 -  THE CANARY ISLANDS - Three Spanish organisations (Involcan, IGME and IHHM) will publish a scientific paper at a conference in April claiming that they have found another eruption location at the south-west part of the island. The eruption was detected by the oceanographic vessel Hesperides during the fierce seismic period of the end of June / beginning July.  Sonar images show, what the researchers are claiming to be volcanic plumes, eruption material released at less than 2 NM from the coast and at depths of 64 to 88 meter. The released material was thrown up to a depth of 48 meter. Involcan sees a confirmation in their findings from the strong deformation at the time and from some increased chemical values. (ER: Involcan omits one of the most important elements here : the depth of the hypocenters! There were almost no volcanic earthquakes at a this shallow depth, neither was there any evolution in shallower depth  – read our extensive reporting at the time here))

Image courtesy and copyright Involcan.
Involcan got its moment of glory explaining this “new” event on all Spanish TV stations. Big news in Spain. - For ER the big news is that these scientific organizations did wait 6 months to disclose these findings. These acoustic images were almost IMMEDIATELY available at the time the Hesperides made his research trip. NO WORD TO THE PUBLIC at that time. Since the beginning of the El Hierro eruption process, our readers have the feeling that the Spanish research institutions are not publishing all they know. The current disclosure is another proof of all this. We do not think Involcan is to be blamed for what happened (or did they wait to present their scientific paper on the conference), but other organizations surely are.

Read also the article in Diario El Hierro about this 2th eruption spot.

El Hierro volcanic earthquakes February 7 2013

2013-02-05 11:58 UTC
- Only few earthquakes, but something is currently starting, however we do not know whether it will continue the following hours. A lot of micro-seismicity since a couple of hours. (Thanks to our readers Tam and Leona who have been informing us of what was happening)
El Hierro seismic activity on February 5 2013
Eal Hierro volcanic earthquakes February 4-5 2013

2013-02-03 23:58 UTC
- Almost nothing to report as we had only 2 mini earthquakes in 2 days
Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 00.55.04

2013-02-01 08:58 UTC
- Superficially it looks like yesterday’s activity ended, but if you look carefully at the CHIE graph, many micro events are still occurring.
- IGN has not listed (at the time of writing) the 02:33 earthquake yet. This was a local earthquake as no other event so strong happened elsewhere in the world.

2013-01-31 19:03 UTC
- A strong (for El Hierro at least) earthquake occurred at 16:27 UTC at a depth of 15 km.
No other earthquakes have been listed by IGN today, but if we watch the HT graph, we see some real changes happening.  We are of course curious what the next hours will happen. The HT line is seriously thicker than this morning and the amplitude increased a little before the strong earthquake. Location of the epicenter here. The epicenter of this quake (more or less at the new volcano buildup) makes this episode even more interesting.

CHIE graph as showed on the screenshot below can be followed in real time here (30 minutes delay)
Let us stay alerted in this phase and please comment whenever a serious change is noticed.
Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 19.28.52

- Earthquake Report.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Monumental Seismic Swarm - Powerful 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Jolts The Solomon Islands After Countless Series Of Tremors Over The Last Two Days! UPDATE: Mega- Aftershocks - Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Hits Off Santa Cruz Islands!

February 08, 2013 - SOLOMON ISLANDS - A 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit off the Solomon Islands on Friday, two days after an 8.0-magnitude quake sparked a tsunami, but there was no threat of widespread destructive waves this time, US agencies said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 10:12 pm (1112 GMT) near the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the Solomons, at a relatively shallow depth of nine kilometres (5.5 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said "no destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data".

A handout photo taken on February 6, 2013 and released on February 7 by World Vision shows damages in a village near Lata in the Santa Cruz Islands region of the Solomon Islands. (AFP Photo/World Vision).
"However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre," it added in a statement.

It was the latest strong aftershock to hit the area affected by Wednesday's tsunami, which killed 13 people with many more reported missing.

A handout photo taken on February 6, 2013 and released on February 7 by World Vision shows damages in a village near Lata in the Santa Cruz Islands region of the Solomon Islands. (AFP Photo/World Vision).
The aftershocks were hampering efforts to reach remote villages, up to 20 of which were through to have been swamped on Ndende island in the east of the island nation.

Some 6,000 people were thought to be homeless, the national disaster management office said. - DNA India.

UPDATE: Mega-Aftershocks - Magnitude 7.0  Earthquake Hits Off Santa Cruz Islands!
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit off the Solomon Islands, the latest massive aftershock following a 8.0-magnitude quake which sparked a tsunami three days ago, U.S. seismologists said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 2:26 a.m. (1526 GMT Friday) near the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the Solomons, at a depth of 26 kilometers (16 miles). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no danger of a widespread destructive tsunami.