Monday, March 25, 2013

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Guatemala - No Initial Reports Of Damage!

March 25, 2013 - GUATEMALA - A powerful earthquake struck Guatemala close to the capital city on Monday, though emergency services said there were no initial reports of damage or injuries.

The epicenter of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake, initially reported as a magnitude 5.8, was only 6 miles southeast of Guatemala City but it was at a depth of 124.6 miles, lessening its effect.


USGS earthquake map and location.


David de Leon, a spokesman for Guatemala's emergency agency, CONRED, said he had no reports of damage or victims.

A magnitude 6.2 quake is capable of causing severe damage.


USGS earthquake intensity shakemap.


Last November, more than 50 people were killed in a 7.5 magnitude quake in Guatemala in San Marcos state, a mountainous region near the Mexican border.

In 1976, a magnitude 7.5 quake centered about 99 miles northeast of Guatemala City killed some 23,000 people. - Reuters.



Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics Of The Caribbean Region And Vicinity.
Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.


USGS earthquake historic seismicity.

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Columbia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake. - USGS.



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Ice Age Now - Perilous Conditions Of 'White Easter' As Britain Faces Perfect Winter Storm; UK's Coldest Spring In 50 Years Claims 5,000 Lives, Final Toll Could Be 'Horrendous'; 30,000 Could Die from Extreme Cold!

March 25, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - Britain's snow chaos is set to continue this week, with parts of the country blighted by blizzards right up until Easter Day.

Perilous Conditions Of 'White Easter' As Britain Faces Perfect Winter Storm.
Forecasters predict temperatures could plunge to -10C, there will be widespread snow showers and 45mph winds in the lead-up to the holiday weekend. Snow is now highly likely in some areas on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Day, with only a slight respite expected on Bank Holiday Monday. It comes as homes in North Yorkshire, Cumbria and East Anglia have already been buried in drifts as high as four feet. The Met Office still has weather alerts in place, sweeping from south-east England up to southern Scotland and the snow and ice, which caused continuing problems on the nation's transport network over the weekend, is expected to continue until after Easter, with temperatures dropping to -5C.


Drifting: A man walks past a packed wall of snow in Dinbren, Denbighshire, caused by snow drifting.

Walls of snow: High winds and snow along with freezing temperatures brought traffic chaos to rural parts of North West Lancashire.

Up to an inch of snow fell across eastern Scotland and central parts of England, the Midlands, East Anglia and Lincolnshire overnight on Saturday, but the severe weather conditions may also bring a silver lining. The freeze is being brought over from Scandinavia by what meteorologists call a ‘blocking pattern’, which is set to make March the coldest in half a century.

But, according to the three-month forecast from the Met Office, the same pattern may also bring a heat-wave towards the end of Spring if – as is likely – it shifts slightly south. The freezing conditions continue to cause disruption on the roads and leave homes without power. Helen Roberts, forecaster at the Met Office, said falling snow was going to become less of a problem over the next few days, although the cold weather was expected to last throughout the rest of the week.


Swirling snow: The snow is whipped up by the swirling winds in and around the village of Anderton, near Chorley, Lancashire.

Frozen: Banks of snow are formed by the winds near Chorley, Lancashire.

She said: 'At the moment we have got a weak weather front but it's becoming increasingly weak, so increasingly light and patchy.' She said: 'The main concern is the strength of the cold easterly wind, which could lead to drifting and the blowing of lying snow. It will be cold next week. Even in January and December we would not be expecting the type of snow we have had for the last few days.

‘It is very unusual for this time of year. The first half of March was around two degrees lower than we would normally expect. There is still some time to go in March, but we are certainly looking at some unseasonably wintry conditions for the rest of the month and foreseeable future. The Easter Bunny will have to have his winter coat on this year.’ - Daily Mail.


Freezing conditions: A man wraps up warm as he braves the cold near Chorley, Lancashire.

Walk on by: A person walks past a snow drift on the Cushendall Road, in the Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland, as wintry weather continues to cause havoc across the United Kingdom.
WATCH: Thick snow has made roads impassable in parts of Ulster.




UK's Coldest Spring In 50 Years Claims 5,000 Lives, Final Toll Could Be 'Horrendous'.
Freezing Britain's unusually harsh winter could have cost thousands of pensioners their lives. This month is on track to be the coldest March for 50 years – and as the bitter Arctic conditions caused blackouts and traffic chaos yesterday, experts warned of an 'horrendous' death toll among the elderly. About 2,000 extra deaths were registered in just the first two weeks of March compared with the average for the same period over the past five years. And for February, 3,057 extra deaths were registered in England and Wales compared with the five-year average for the month.

Campaigners at Age UK, which says 26,000 people die needlessly in winter every year, said the current weather could prove deadly for thousands more. Director general Michelle Mitchell said: 'Colder, harsher winters tend to lead to an increase in life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes which in turn leads to a high rate of excess winter deaths.

'For every one degree drop in average temperature, there are around 8,000 extra deaths.' The Office for National Statistics said the extra death rate 'could be to do with the prolonged period of cold weather we've been experiencing.' But it cautioned that it was too early to make an absolute link. The March figures are still provisional.


Deep snow: A car is covered in snow in Birmingham, when the heavy snow made roads impassable, had to dig their cars out to return home.

Whitewash: A man digs his car out of drifting snow at Sandy Lane, near Bradford.

Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said that last month almost 700 of his members had died, compared with 250 last year.  'If our membership is a representative sample that was replicated across the general population, then we could be looking at a horrendous number when all the figures are in,' he said.

'An increase in fuel costs and the extended winter means that more people are going to suffer, and more will be unable to afford to eat and heat their homes. It's a scary prospect.' It is not just pensioners who are at risk. The body of a 27-year-old man who went missing while walking home from a night out was found in deep snow in farmland near Burnley, Lancashire, yesterday afternoon. Police said the man would not be named until all family members had been informed.

Chief Inspector Derry Crorken of Burnley Police said: 'Early indications suggest that it is a very tragic incident where a young man has been out with friends and has become caught up in the weather last night on his journey home.  'I would urge people to only go out if it is necessary.'
All white: A picture taken from a plane coming in to land at Luton Airport shows the Bedfordshire countryside blanketed in snow.


Gale force: Strong winds battered the coast in the north east. A huge wave crashes against the South Gare lighthouse, Teeside.

Blizzards and power cuts wreaked havoc across large parts of the country yesterday, leaving snowdrifts of up to 15ft in Cumbria and night-time temperatures plunging to -7C (19F) in the Pennines. Power lines were down in Northern Ireland, Scotland and North Wales, leaving 50,000 homes without electricity. Ulster was hardest-hit, with 29,000 properties without power and 1,000 without water.

The transport network was also crippled. East Midlands, Leeds, Robin Hood (Doncaster) and Humberside Airports were all forced temporarily to close runways for snow and ice to be cleared. Train services in the North-West were severely hit and even major roads were treacherous. In Cumbria 70 people were put up in a school after being stranded in their cars on the A595. In North Wales, the Red Cross was brought in to transport vital medical staff to hospitals in 4x4 vehicles because the snow had made roads off limits to normal cars.  The M62 near Rochdale was closed for a time but gritters were out to ensure the route between Manchester and West Yorkshire remained open overnight.

Yesterday's sporting programme was also badly hit, with Northern Ireland's football World Cup qualifier against Russia called off for the second time in 24 hours as Belfast's Windsor Park was unplayable. Elsewhere, seven Football League games in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North were cancelled and race meetings at Doncaster and Newbury were abandoned. Theme parks at Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park closed, too. The Environment Agency had 59 flood alerts in place last night, covering the Midlands, East Anglia, the south east and the south west.  Hundreds of schools were forced to close on Friday and many were expected to remain closed tomorrow, causing headaches for parents.


Whiteout: Blizzards caused huge snow drifts leaving these cars nearly completely covered in Hadfield, Derbyshire.

Collapse: Tonnes of chalk is scattered over the coastline at Dover after a landslip from its famous White Cliffs caused by wind and freezing temperatures.
Weathermen forecast that the harsh conditions would gradually diminish over the coming week but a biting wind from the east would ensure temperatures remain at 4-6C (39-42F), well below the seasonal average of 11C (52F). Greg Dewhurst of the Met Office said: 'While the rain, sleet and snow will peter out, it will still feel very cold because of strong easterly winds. The signals are that temperatures will start to return to normal after Easter.'

The weather is also taking its toll on retailers, especially fashion chains where spring lines are remaining on the racks. For DIY chains and garden centres, this is normally one of the most important months. But Mandy Murphy of the British Retail Consortium said: 'Bad weather could feed through to sales being poorer than hoped for over the big bank holiday weekend.' It is all in stark contrast to the same time 12 months ago, when sunbathers swamped beaches as temperatures hit 22C (71F), sparking fears of a possible drought. - Daily Mail.


30,000 Could Die From Extreme Cold.
Around 2,000 more deaths than normal were recorded in the first two weeks of March and last month 3,057 extra deaths were registered in England and Wales. The Office for National Statistics said this could be due to the “prolonged period of cold weather”. The National Federation of Occupational Pensioners said deaths among its members had more than quadrupled since the end of last year.


Blizzards: The Peak District was one of the worst affected areas as blizzards swept the UK overnight.

Tight squeeze: A motorist drives slowly past another vehicle that has been trapped in snow near Belfast.

Chief executive Malcolm Booth said almost 500 of its members died last month, double the January figure. He said: “At the rate we are going, and if this extreme cold continues we could be looking at 30,000 deaths.” Age UK said extreme cold weather can increase the risk of serious illness in elderly people.

Director general Michelle Mitchell said: “Colder, harsher winters tend to lead to an increase in life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes which in turn leads to a high rate of excess winter deaths. “For every one degree drop in average temperature, there are around 8,000 extra deaths.” - Express.

WATCH: See wintery scenes from across the UK.





GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up In America - New Florida Sinkhole In Same Florida Town; 3rd Sinkhole In The Same Area In A Month!

March 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A new sinkhole opened up in Seffner, Fla., the same town where a sinkhole swallowed a man. This is at least the third sinkhole in the Florida town in a month

Authorities say a sinkhole has opened between two homes in Seffner and the houses have been evacuated as a precaution.


This video image shows an aerial photo of a sinkhole earlier this month in Seffner, Fla., that opened up underneath a bedroom and swallowed Jeffrey Bush. Florida is one of only two states where insurers of residences have to cover damage related to earth movement.
ABC Action News-WFTS TV/AP

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said the hole was estimated at 8 feet across and 10 feet deep. It opened about 7 p.m. Saturday. Seffner was also the site of a massive sinkhole that swallowed a man in his bedroom, killing him about a month ago.

As LiveScience.com points out, "sinkholes are an increasingly deadly risk in Florida, due primarily to the region's geology. The state is largely underlain by porous limestone, which can hold immense amounts of water in underground aquifers.

As groundwater slowly flows through the limestone, it forms a landscape called karst, known for features like caves, springs and sinkholes.

The water in aquifers also exerts pressure on the limestone and helps to stabilize the overlying surface layer, usually clay, silt and sand in Florida. Sinkholes form when that layer of surface material caves in."

As The Christian Science Monitor reports, sinkhole insurance for homeowners is rare. "Only in Florida and Tennessee - where sinkholes are common - are home insurance providers required to offer coverage for damage related to earth movement.

"In California, earthquake coverage is optional," says Lynne McChristian, the Florida representative for New York-based Insurance Information Institute. "The home and your property are covered but not the land. Insurers in Florida are required to cover land as well."

"Sinkhole insurance in the Sunshine State has been somewhat of a nightmare for policyholders and providers alike in recent years. Rates for sinkhole coverage jumped last year, with state-run Citizen's Property Insurance hiking rates 50 percent in parts of "sinkhole alley" - pockets of Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties, in and around the greater Tampa area, according to the Consumer Insurance Guide. Private insurers hiked rates up to 200 percent. "  - CSM.



MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Earth Fissure Opens Up In Serra Geral de Goias, Brazil - 7 Kilometres Long And Nearly 200 Metres Wide!

March 25, 2013 - BRAZIL - The prosecutor Douglas Roberto Ribeiro de Magalhaes Chegury is investigating responsibility for environmental disasters in the cities of Santo Domingo and Campos Belos, Goias in the Northeast.





Since yesterday (14/3), and surveys are being carried out by the technical-skills expert prosecutors in places where there were the disasters generated by the collapse of land. This information will educate the public civil inquiries which proceed through the Prosecutor's Office and Justice of São Domingos Campos Belos to liability for damages.

According Chegury in early February, shortly after becoming aware of the environmental disaster in the Serra Geral, which divides the states of Goiás, Tocantins and Bahia, the civil investigation was initiated public n ° 02/2013 (click here) . The prosecutor even been to the crash site and collected samples of water and land that could be contaminated with chemicals and pesticides.







With the collapse, the flood of mud, stones and earth opened up a crater approximately 7 km, changing in almost 200 meters to the east of the Mosquito River, a major Northeastern Goiás and Tocantins Southeast.

The prosecutor also informed that another investigation was initiated in Santo Domingo for determining liability for environmental damage over the Serra Geral, similar to what happened in Upper Landing.





On site, there was a landslide that hit the east of the São Vicente, which passes Terra Ronca State Park, the most extensive areas of environmental preservation of Goiás, with approximately 60 000 hectares, endangering fish species endangered and Sao Vicente cave complex. (Cristiani Honorio / Social Communication of the MP-GO - Photos: file Prosecutor's Office of St. Dominic). - MP. [Translated]

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: High Temperatures At Poas - Costa Rica Volcano Producing Acid Rain, Destroying Crops, Causing Problems For Residents!

March 25, 2013 - COSTA RICA - It seems one of the tourist attractions and wonders in Costa Rica might be causing problems for both the people living around the volcano and destroying crops in the area due to the low level of the lake inside the Poas Volcano.




The low level of the lake of the Poas volcano hot increased the possibility for increased venting directly to the atmosphere which can result in acid rain falling in the surrounding areas.

Those fumes in the past have caused respiratory problems, corroded metal structures and burned vegetation around the crater.

The warning came last Wednesday volcanologist Raul Amador Mora, National Seismological Network (RSN), University of Costa Rica (UCR), after a visit to the volcano.

The expert said the depth of the lake is one of the lowest in the past 15 years.

“At times the lake has been as deep as 50 meters and currently it is between about 9-12 feet deep,” he explained.

Mora added that both in April 1989 and in the same month of 1994, the lake dried up, prompting unrestricted gassing into the atmosphere, which became acid rain.

Experts attribute the low level of the lake to a significant decrease in the amount of rain, as the volcano remained at very high temperatures, which evaporated the water.

This process could be reversed if the rains increase. For volcanologists, water acts as a seal which prevents the free exit of gases.

The volcano is active and according to people studying the volcano there is no reason to expect an eruption. Those is the park have noticed a strong sulfur odor but have stated “there is no reason not to allow the arrival of tourists.” They have said however if they feel any effects of the gas they should leave the area.

If the volcano erupts we will know this was just another Costa Rican government cover up to protect the Easter tourist flow into the country. - Costa Rican Times.


MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Global Food Crisis - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Warns Of Growing Water Scarcity!

March 25, 2013 - UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that by 2030, nearly half the world's population could be facing a scarcity of water, with demand outstripping supply by 40 percent.




One in three people already live in a country with moderate to high water stress, Ban told a U.N. event marking the opening of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013. It also marked the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of World Water Day.

"Competition is growing among farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country; upstream and downstream; and across borders," the secretary-general said.

Ban said international cooperation is essential "to protect and manage this fragile, finite resource," especially as the world population grows and the climate changes.




And with more people moving to urban areas, water use is projected to increase by 50 percent by 2025, said Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations.

By that time, he said, roughly 5.5 billion people — two-thirds of the projected global population — "will live in areas facing moderate to severe water stress."

Mayr-Harting said the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of cutting in half the proportion of people without access to clean water by 2015 is likely to be surpassed.


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

But he said "over 780 million people today do not have access to improved sources of drinking water, especially in Africa, and major inequities remain." - Seattle PI.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Plague Of Biblical Proportions - Israel Fights Off Locust Scourge On Passover Eve!

March 25, 2013 - ISRAEL - Crop-dusting planes on Monday bombarded a scourge of locusts with pesticides in an effort to cull the biblically timed plague that threatened to annihilate crops in southern Israel.

Israel has battled swarm after swarm of the voracious insects for the past three weeks, with ever-larger plagues of the destructive insects arriving daily from neighboring Egypt.


Aircrafts spraying pesticides over agricultural fields in Ramat Negev, March 11, 2013.
(Photo credit: Flash90)

At the start of the month, the Agriculture Ministry launched a major crop-dusting campaign to kill the aerial invaders.

Unlike previous swarms that have entered Israel in the past month, the locusts that hit Israel Sunday are yellow and fertile and, in this stage of their metamorphosis, pose less risk to crops because they eat significantly less.

Once the insects lay eggs and they hatch, however, Israeli farmers will face the threat of this wave’s insatiable brood, which will eat anything green in their path.

“The planes spray the swarms and stop them from going further into the country,” a Ramat Negev Regional Council official said.

“You spray them early in the morning to stop them from arriving at moister areas, where they would lay eggs and the larvae would eat everything in sight.”

The latest swarm to hit Israel on Passover eve carries biblical significance: Of the 10 plagues which, according to the Bible, smote Pharaoh to ensure the release of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, the eighth was locusts. - Times of Israel.


ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Across The World - American Midwest Spring Is Transformed Into Extreme Winter; Storm Expected To Affect The Mid-Atlantic States With Heavy Snow, Slush, Rain And Minor Coastal Flooding; As Cold Air Replaces South's Severe Weather!

March 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Midwesterners saw no signs of spring on Sunday as heavy snow blanketed a large swath of the country that stretched from Missouri to Pennsylvania.

The storm doused Colorado and northwest Kansas on Saturday, leaving 10 to 15 inches of snow in some areas, according to the National Weather Service. Now the system is moving east and will make its way through the mid-Mississippi Valley, the Ohio Valley and the Appalachians, where it is expected to leave six to 10 inches of snow in its wake.

By 3 p.m. on Sunday, St. Louis had 8 inches of snow, causing travel headaches both on the ground and in the air. More than 70 flights into and out of St. Louis International Airport were canceled, according to FlightAware.com. Airports in Kansas City and Chicago also canceled dozens of flights for reasons related to the storm.


  Pedestrians are shrouded in heavy snow as they cross a downtown street on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.
Charlie Riedel / AP

Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh are all expected to be hit with heavy snow accumulation by the end of Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologist Ariel Cohen told Reuters.

New Jersey and New England may also be hit by the storm late Monday or early Tuesday. Washington, D.C. could be in the early spring storm's path, but Cohen said temperatures were too warm for any significant accumulation. If snow flurries drop, it will come at the start of Washington’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

The weather system canceled 100 flight in and out of Denver International Airport just one day prior, and closed Interstate 70 in both directions east of Denver to the Kansas state line.

But the snow has not affected the NCAA men's basketball championships, part of which is being played in Kansas City this weekend. North Carolina coach Roy Williams said the wintery weather was "no distraction." - NBC News.

WATCH: Snowy start to spring. A storm system blanketed the Midwest in snow, while thunderstorms and wind gusts slammed the South, NBC's Janel Klein reports.




Storm Expected To Affect The Mid-Atlantic States With Heavy Snow, Slush, Rain And Flooding.
A storm responsible for heavy snow from Denver to Kansas City on Saturday and from St. Louis to Indianapolis on Sunday will continue to affect the mid-Atlantic Monday with snow, slush and rain. Heavier snow will fall in part of the central Appalachians. The heaviest snow will focus over part of South Jersey into Monday evening and could briefly swing into central and eastern Long Island for a time Monday night, following rain.


Most of the snowfall during the day Monday will be on grassy surfaces. A larger version of this map is available on the AccuWeather.com Winter Weather Center.

Minor coastal flooding can also occur from New Jersey to Cape Cod through Monday night. More details on this danger can be found here.
The storm will struggle with marginal temperatures along I-95, causing some of the snow to fall as rain or melt as it falls. However, enough slush and poor visibility will result in travel delays and foiled plans to start the week for many.

Part of the storm started on Sunday night, including in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Washington, D.C., when road surface temperatures were cold. The Pittsburgh area had accumulated as much as 3 inches before sunrise while some of the mountainous areas of West Virginia had already received 10 inches. As a result, many Monday morning commuters were navigating on some slippery secondary roadways. AccuWeather.com meteorologists are bringing you live reports of the Mid-Atlantic snowstorm to keep you informed. From Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Trenton and New York City, precipitation falling for part of the day on Monday will fight the March sun effect. Even when concealed by clouds, enough energy gets through to warm road surfaces, causing some or all of the snow to melt.

It has to snow very hard in urban areas to overwhelm the sun effect and accumulate on paved and concrete surfaces in urban areas during the middle of the day. The greatest amount of snow will be on grassy and elevated surfaces from Washington, D.C. to Trenton, N.J. The snow will have more success accumulating northwest and southeast of this major urban highway.

The area of accumulating snow will defined by rather sharp edges across the north and south. In Virginia, the southern dividing line between rain and snow extended from near Richmond to near Danville. In the area from the West Virginia mountains to the Laurel Highlands in south-central Pennsylvania, 3 to 6 additional inches can fall, including parts of the I-68 and Pennsylvania Turnpike corridors. - AccuWeather.


Cold Air Replaces South's Severe Weather.
The cold front that brought severe weather to parts of the South over the past two days has opened the door for an unseasonably chilly start to the workweek.  High temperatures across much of the South will be more than 10 degrees below normal on Monday with some places being as cold as 20 degrees below normal.  On top of the below-average temperatures, a northerly breeze will cause AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures to be even colder.  To calculate the RealFeel®: temperature, AccuWeather.com uses multiple factors including the temperature, humidity, cloud cover, sun cover, sun intensity and wind to explain how hot or cold it feels outside.



Not only will high temperatures during the day on Monday run below average, but so will the temperatures on Monday night. Widespread subfreezing temperatures are expected southward to Charlotte, N.C., Augusta and Columbus, Ga., Tuscaloosa, Ala., Hattiesburg, Miss., and areas just north of Baton Rouge, La., and Houston, Texas.  Places where temperatures are set to dip below freezing should cover any plants that are already starting to grow outside.




Temperatures will remain below normal through Tuesday and Wednesday as this cold Canadian air holds its ground across much of the eastern United States. During the second part of this week, temperatures will finally start to return to near normal across the South. - AccuWeather.



MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Mysterious Fish Kill Reported In Bohol, Philippines!

March 25, 2013 - PHILIPPINES - The reported fish kill that occurred recently in this coastal town may not be totally left unnoticed as some residents belonging to “Nagkahiusang Alburanons” raised this at facebook, expressing deep concern over marine ecosystems.

The Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) provincial head Crescencio Pahamutang confirmed that indeed there was a slight fish kill.




It was not immediately known what was the extent of the fish kill and what are the causes, said the “Nagkahiusang Alburanons.” But they got angry somehow why there was no immediate action on the part of the technicians involved.

In her facebook account, municipal technician Dolores Cagoco, had this to say:

“Sad to say didto nako sa BFAR gahapon unja kay di nadaw pwede ma examine ang mga samples kay nabahu na ug matud pa sa BFRA Cebu laboratory cyanide ra pod ila exam. Ug di napod maseguoro unsa jud hinungdan tungod kay bahu na ang isda hasta pod ang tubig sa dagat … sa RHU la pako mahibawo naa naba result.”

In an interview, Pahamutang explained that BFAR cannot anymore conduct a laboratory examination of the fishkill samples since they (samples) were presented too late and the samples were in de-composting state.

BFAR said that whenever there is occurrence like fish kill samples should immediately be brought to their office as these (samples) are to be sent to Cebu for laboratory test because Bohol has no facilities for this, Pahamutang said.

Fish kill is also known as fish population mortality that may also affects aquatic life, according to Wikipedia. “The most common cause is reduced oxygen in the water, which in turn may be due to factors such as drought, algae bloom, overpopulation, or a sustained increase in water temperature.”

Water pollution from agricultural runoff or biotoxins, oxygen pletion are blamed and the most common natural causes of fish kills. Others include droughts, waste spills and hazardous wastes due to chemicals washed to the sea and native cyanide-producing vines poisonous to aquatic life. - The Bohol Standard.


PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Trinidad & Tobago!

March 25, 2013 - TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - The United States Geological Survey is reporting that a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck Northeast of Roxborough in Trinidad and Tobago earlier this afternoon.


USGS earthquake map and location.

The quake was 81km Northeast of Roxborough and had a depth of 46km.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.


USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

USGS earthquake - Magnitude 4.9 in the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The earthquake follows this morning's 4.9 magnitude quake which struck east of Grenada at 1:28 am. - OG.



Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics Of The Caribbean Region And Vicinity.
Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.


USGS earthquake historic seismicity.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Columbia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake. - USGS.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Doomsday Preppers - Oregon Stockpilers Ready For Overdue Earthquake!

March 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Oregon might not get an earthquake for half a century, but Peter Mulder is fortifying his basement anyway.

Mulder, a retired banker from Portland, Ore. has six months' worth of food, 50 gallons of water, tools, medicine and liquor stockpiled underneath his house. Every few months he changes the water, takes an inventory and adds more items.


Tom Nelson's truck is always stocked with enough gear for two people to survive about two weeks.
(Photo: Travis Nelson)

"If you have a major quake here, a lot of the Portland area is just not prepared, and stores would be emptied in a matter of days and they wouldn't be restocked for weeks," Mulder says. "It's not a question of if, it's a question of when."

There is up to a 40% chance that a magnitude 8 or above earthquake will strike off the coast of Oregon within the next 50 years, according to a study released by Oregon State University. The 2011 Japanese earthquake was a magnitude 9.

The Cascadia Fault runs from Northern California to British Columbia.

Every 300 years or so, the Cascadia Fault causes a massive earthquake — the last one was the year 1700.

Yumei Wang, a geohazards engineer for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, has been studying earthquakes since the 1980s. Wang acknowledges that the Cascadia earthquake might not happen for decades, but it could also happen tomorrow and she believes people won't be ready.

"A very large magnitude earthquake is inevitable, and we are very ill-prepared and we must prepare for it if we are going to survive it," Wang says.

Michael Knight owns the Portland Preparedness Center. His store sells supplies for emergencies. Knight's most basic survival tip is to follow the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross' recommendation and have essentials to keep you alive for a minimum of 72 hours. The center sells "72-hour bags," which Knight says are designed to get you home after disaster strikes, the bags range from $40-$239.



A "72-hour" bag sold at the Portland Preparedness Center.
(Photo: Michael Knight, getreadyportland.com)

Knight's store isn't specifically related to earthquake preparation, but he says a lot of his customers are stocking up for the earthquake forecast.

"They are self-reliant independent thinkers with no desire to get caught up in any bad social scenarios that might occur in the times ahead," Knight says. "Here in Oregon, their major concern seems to be the increasing likelihood of an earthquake in the magnitude 9-plus range, which local scientists say is overdue."

Tom Nelson, a retired military member from Milwaukie, Ore., says he feels a responsibility to help others if disaster strikes. He has stockpiled food, water and other essentials so that his family can survive without him if needed.

The Nelsons have created a survivalist haven. A hundred gallons of water are stored in the backyard, and the garage is full of extra food. Five old-fashioned cooking pans adorn their fireplace and mantel. Nelson believes they give the living room a rustic look but serve a second purpose as well — they can be used to cook food if the power goes out.


The Nelson family has five old-fashioned cooking pans around their fire for decoration. However, they serve another purpose. They can cook food in an emergency.
(Photo: Travis Nelson)

If he knows his family will be OK at home, Nelson will be able to travel wherever help is needed. He doesn't want to depend on anyone else while in the field so he keeps two "144-hour bags" in his truck at all times. A small trailer has been converted into a ham radio station so he can communicate with military personnel and average citizens.

David Kobler, an expert on the National Geographic show Doomsday Preppers, evaluates how people are preparing for disasters. While the show hasn't featured anyone concerned with the Cascadia quake, Kobler believes being ready for most disasters follows the same protocol.

After any disaster, there will be a lot of people in need. Emergency services won't be able to reach them all. Kobler says creating an emergency kit and having "bug-out bags" on hand will help you survive — even if you can't get help.

"You need to take care of yourself, and you need to take care of your neighbors," Kobler says. "You might have to be the person who helps rescue your neighbor."

Neighbors are a key element for survivalists. Larry Charles Holt wrote the novel Almost Home, a fictitious story about what happens after a power grid failure. For his novel, Holt did extensive research on the disintegration of society after disasters. Holt realized emergencies often bring out the worst in people.

"They will go in and take what they want; they will do what they want; they will say these are extraordinary circumstances and they require extraordinary measures," Holt says.

Kobler might evaluate survivalists for a living, but he acknowledges there are times when it can be too much. When people in the present are going without because they're spending so much money planning for the future, it could be an indicator of going overboard.

"If your prepping is hurting the people you love, then you're probably going a little too far," says Kobler. - USA Today.




MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Found On Mississippi River?!

March 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The hundreds of dead fish that can be seen on both shores of the Mississippi River in the Quad-Cities are not cause for alarm, environmental officials said Friday.


FILE PHOTO.


The expired fish can be seen dotting the Davenport shoreline at South Concord Street and in the ice in the area of Credit Island, among other places. Mostly shad, the fish species often experience seasonal kills, because they are not a hardy fish in cold weather.

“This is absolutely the most northern part of their range,” Iowa DNR spokesman Kevin Baskins said of the shad that occupy waterways in Iowa and Illinois. “They’re really not that adapted to the climate here.”

He said a similar fish kill occurred last weekend in the Des Moines River.

Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa DNR, said freeze-thaw cycles are particularly hard on the less-than-resilient species.

“In the spring, we always see a lot of shad die,” he said. “They’ll die all winter long.”

In fact, Larscheid said, the dozens of dead fish on riverbanks in Davenport likely did not survive the winter and were deposited there by rising water.

Many of them will be consumed by other wildlife, he said.

“It’s a natural occurrence, and our catfish, especially, will capitalize on it,” he said. - QC Times.


PLANETARY TREMORS: The Creeping Tectonic Plates - Foreshocks Announce Future Earthquakes On Some Faults!

March 25, 2013 - EARTHQUAKES - After a destructive earthquake, scientists sifting through the rumbles that preceded the big event often find foreshocks.

Foreshocks are smaller temblors that strike in the days and hours before a moderate-to-large earthquake. They're puzzling. Not all earthquakes have foreshocks, and despite decades of effort, no one has successfully found a way to predict earthquakes using foreshocks.


Ruptures along the trace of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake in Baja California, Mexico in 2010. The earthquake ruptured along a plate boundary, and is one of several which shows signs of foreshocks caused by slow movement prior to the earthquake, a new study finds.
CREDIT: John Fletcher, CICESE

Now, a new study may help explain some of the mysteries surrounding these enigmatic earthquakes.

At plate boundaries, the interface between two of Earth's tectonic plates, foreshocks result from slow, creeping movement between the two plates before big earthquakes rupture more rapidly, according to a study published today (March 24) in the journal Nature Geoscience.

As the fault creeps, small, stuck zones resist this slow movement and eventually break, generating foreshocks, explained study co-author Virginie Durand, a graduate student in seismology at the Institute of Earth Science (ISTerre) in Grenoble, France.

Thus, foreshocks aren't triggers for earthquakes, as was once thought, Durand told OurAmazingPlanet. Instead, "these events can tell us how an earthquake begins," she said. "And if we understand better where and how earthquakes begin, we can better mitigate earthquake hazard."

Plate boundaries

For the study, Durand and her colleagues looked at earthquakes bigger than magnitude 6.5 along the edge of the Pacific Ocean, where Taiwan, Japan, the United States and Mexico operate dense seismic monitoring networks. Between 1999 and 2011, half of the earthquakes tested were on plate boundaries (22 subduction zone quakes and nine strike-slip) and half were so-called intraplate earthquakes. 

Subduction zones are collision zones between two plates, where one bends down and dives under the other. Strike-slip boundaries are where plates slide horizontally past one another. Intraplate quakes hit away from the massive faults that mark plate boundaries.

While the pattern for each plate boundary earthquake was unique, on average, the seismicity along the faults was nearly constant until about two months before a big earthquake, when there was a small but noticeable increase, the researchers found. Seismicity refers to the geographic and time distribution of earthquakes.

Mitigating future risk

The increase became more pronounced about 20 days before the main event. Earthquake frequency continued accelerating about two days before, then a few hours before, and kept increasing until the final convulsion, the study found.

"This observation suggests that an earthquake is preceded by the slow slip of the two plates in contact," Durand said."If confirmed, the relatively long duration of this nucleation phase may help mitigate earthquake risk in the future."

There was no clear pattern in earthquakes away from plate boundaries, on the intraplate quakes, an observation that could help explain the puzzling lack of foreshocks for some earthquakes.

Future research will confirm whether the pattern is present in other earthquake zones around the world, and if monitoring faults for creeping movements and foreshocks could be used to forecast future earthquakes on certain types of faults. It's not known if the pattern also appears along faults when there are no earthquakes, the researchers point out. - Live Science.


MASS STRANDINGS: Weird Animal Behavior And Disaster Precursors - 19 Pilot Whales Mysteriously Beach In South Africa, 7 Dead, Frenzy To Save The Remaining Mammals! UPDATE: Just Five Whales Are Rescued As 14 Die After School Beaches On Cape Town Beach!

March 25, 2013 - SOUTH AFRICA - Six of 19 pilot whales that were stranded Sunday on a beach in the South African city of Cape Town have died and authorities said they planned to euthanize some of the surviving whales.


Associated Press/Schalk van Zuydam - A dead whale covered with sand at Noordhoek beach near the city of Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, March 24, 2013. South African officials say 19 pilot whales have beached in Cape Town and five of them have died. Police and other rescue workers are hosing down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Police and other rescue workers had hosed down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive.

The South African Press Association quoted Craig Lambinon, a spokesman for the National Sea Rescue Institute, as saying authorities had considered whether to try and refloat the whales, which washed up on the beach on Sunday morning.


A rescue volunteer, right, covers the blow hole of a whale to prevent water from entering at Noordhoek beach near the city of Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, March 24, 2013. South African officials say 19 pilot whales have beached in Cape Town and five of them have died. Police and other rescue workers are hosing down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

"Seven are in poor health," SAPA quoted Lambinon as saying. "We are still trying our best to save them, but those that can't be saved will be humanely euthanized."

One whale was being transported to a naval base and will be taken out to sea, according to authorities.

"At this stage the first whale is on its way on a trailer to the naval base," Lambinon said. "There are a remaining five whales in good health and we are going to attempt to do the same for them."


A rescue volunteers pours water over a whale as a woman, left, covers its blow hole to prevent water from entering, at Noordhoek beach near the city of Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, March 24, 2013. South African officials say 19 pilot whales have beached in Cape Town and five of them have died. Police and other rescue workers are hosing down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

A rescue volunteers pours water over a whale as a woman, right, covers its blow hole to prevent water from entering at Noordhoek beach near the city of Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, March 24, 2013. South African officials say 19 pilot whales have beached in Cape Town and five of them have died. Police and other rescue workers are hosing down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

He appealed to the public to stay away from the beach because enough workers are there, trying to help the whales.

In 2009, authorities in the Cape Town area removed the carcasses of 55 whales that beached themselves and had to be shot despite the frantic rescue efforts of hundreds of volunteers. - Yahoo.


UPDATE: Seven Pilot Whales Die In Mass Stranding On South Africa Beach.
South African National Sea Rescue Institute staff and volunteers push beached whales back in to the sea, May 30 2009 (AFP/File, Gianluigi Guercia)
Nineteen pilot whales washed up on a Cape Town beach in South Africa Sunday and seven of them died, sea rescue officials said, prompting a frenzy to save the remaining giant mammals.

"We don't know what might have caused the mass whale stranding, unfortunately seven have died," said Craig Lambinon, the spokesman for the National Sea Rescue Institute.

He said efforts were under way to release the surviving whales back into the sea and to dispose of the seven carcasses.

The scene at Noordhoek beach on the Atlantic coast attracted dozens of curious onlookers who eagerly snapped pictures of the creatures, as rescuers tried to hose down the surviving animals.

Pilot whales are members of the dolphin family and grow up to six metres (20 feet) long.

The reason why they beach themselves is unknown, although scientists speculate it may occur when their sonar becomes scrambled in shallow water. - AFP.


UPDATE: Just Five Whales Are Rescued As 14 Die After School Beaches On Cape Town Beach.
Just five whales have survived after a pod of 19 became stranded on a beach in Cape Town.  Nine whales were humanely euthanized and another five died naturally in devastating scenes in South Africa.  The 19 whales were first discovered beached on Noordhoek Beach this morning. Police, sea rescue and other services hosed the whales down in a desperate bid to keep them alive.  The beach was closed and residents were urged to stay away. 


Scientists do not know why whales beach, but one theory is that pod leaders get caught in shallow water.

Attempts to refloat the pod failed.  Five whales were placed on trailers at Noordhoek Beach and transported to Simonstown naval base, where they were taken out to sea.  National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon said: 'One of them has already rebeached in Simonstown.  'It is still alive and we are trying to save that one but its health has also deteriorated quite substantially.'   In 2009, authorities in the Cape Town area removed the carcasses of 55 whales that got stranded.


Police, sea rescue and other services helped keep the mammals alive by hosing them down.

They had to be shot despite hundreds of volunteers' rescue efforts.  Scientists do not known why whales beach.  However, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board head of operations Mike Anderson-Reade, said one of the theories is that when one of the leaders of the pod gets caught in shallow water, the others follow.  He added: 'And then they get disorientated and find their way to shore.'  Another theory is that when one of the lead whales gets ill, it beaches and the others follow suit. - Daily Mail

WATCH: Just five whales are rescued as 14 die after school beaches on Cape Town beach.