Monday, April 22, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For April 21-22, 2013 - Updates On Stromboli, Shiveluch, Tolbachik, Etna, Batu Tara, Soputan, Popocatépetl, Nevado del Ruiz, Santa María, Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego And Telica!

April 22, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Webcam image of the crater area of Stromboli (INGV).

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy)
: Magma stands high inside the conduits. A small overflow is occurring from the NE crater. The lava flow reaches about 100 meters length at the moment. Tremor and explosion signals are moderate to elevated.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): A possible explosion or partial lava dome collapse produced a modest ash plume yesterday rising to 12,000 ft (3.7 km) altitude (VAAC Tokyo). KVERT reports no significant changes and continues to record moderate tremor levels, indicating that magma continues to rise and slowly build up the lava dome.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): No changes were reported in the eruption. Lava flows continue to effuse from the southern fissure on Tolbachinsky Dol, and tremor levels remain stable (KVERT).

Radiostudio7 webcam image from Schiena dell'Asino showing a pyrocalstic flow.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): At the end of the eruption, partial collapse of the New SE crater's walls triggered pyroclastic flows that descended towards and partly into Valle del Bove.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Strombolian activity continues. A stronger explosion yesterday produced an ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude detected on satellite (VAAC Darwin).

Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): Indonesian volcanologists raised the alert level to 3 out of 4 ("Siaga", alert) on 19 April. The decision was based on an increase in block avalanches and seismicity including numerous volcanic-tectonic VA earthquakes (rock fracturing) and long-period VB events corresponding to internal fluid movements.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has decreased to about one emission of gas/steam/minor amounts of ash per hour over the past few days. Glow remains visible at night from the crater.

Current seismic recording from Nevado del Ruiz (OLL station, INGEOMINAS).

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): The earthquakes swarm at depths between 5-9 km continues with increasingly strong quakes, and accompanied by continuous volcanic tremor (since 10 April), indicating an ongoing magmatic intrusion. Some of the recent earthquakes were above magnitude 4 and felt in areas near Manizales town. The volcano is now producing a plume of gas and ash rising to about 800 meters and light ash fall has occurred in various parts of Tolima.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Explosions of moderate size have been observed producing ash plumes reaching up to 900 m height, and causing light ash fall in the areas of Finca El Rosario and near San Marcos Palajunoj. Strong degassing noises were sometimes heard and some avalanches occurred from the flows on the NE and S sides of the active lava dome.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Weak strombolian activity continues from Mackenney crater, accompanied by visible incandescence at night.

Fuego (Guatemala): An increase in strombolian activity has been observed. Explosions eject incandescent material to 100-150 m height and creates avalanches when falling back onto the slopes. Ash plumes from this activity have been rising 300-600 m.

Current seismogram from Telica volcano (TELN station INETER).

Telica (Nicaragua): The seismic swarm continues with frequent, but smaller earthquakes compared to the previous week.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for April 22, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: 27,000 Turkeys Killed Due To Avian Influenza In Lower Saxony, Germany!

April 22, 2013 - GERMANY - A mild form of avian influenza has broken out in Lower Saxony, Germany. This has confirmed the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday.

Therefore, the bird flu virus has been proven in two Turkey farms in the District of Osnabrück type H7.

A form of bird flu has been proven in two Turkey farms in the District of Osnabrück. (Theme image)

The total number of turkeys in these establishments must now be culled. 27,000 Animals are affected by the measure. Danger to people should not exist with this mild form of bird flu.

Also neighbouring districts are alarmed

To the courts in the District of Osnabrück, a spell has been held now. In this district, there are some private breeders of chickens. These animals may be no longer exhibited at shows or consumed. "There is no new case, 21 days after cleaning and disinfection of holdings these measures can be lifted again", according to a release of the Ministry of agriculture. Also the neighboring districts watch the action of Cloppenburg and Vechta.

These circles are considered strongholds of animal husbandry in Lower Saxony, Germany. The first preparations for a possible spread of the epidemic had begun in the District of Vechta, a district spokesman said. Also the district Cloppenburg wants to check if there is contact with the affected farms in the District of Osnabrück.

Expert: plague train unlikely
The animal expert Thomas Blaha from the remote location of the veterinary University of Hannover in Bakum calls for increased attention and strict compliance with all hygiene and animal health requirements. Would be complied with these rules, no new big plagues train, threatens believes Blaha. The quick discovery and identification of the bird flu outbreak showed that the control mechanisms worked. - NDR. [Translated]

MASS BEES DIE-OFF: Global Food Crisis - Cocktail Of Multiple Pressures Combine To Threaten World's Pollinating Insects?! UPDATE: Insectoid Automatons - Robotic Pollinators To Replace Dying Bees?!

April 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A new review of insect pollinators of crops and wild plants has concluded they are under threat globally from a cocktail of multiple pressures, and their decline or loss could have profound environmental, human health and economic consequences.

Globally, insects provide pollination services to about 75% of crop species and enable reproduction in
up to 94% of wild flowering plants.
© Daniel Prudek / Fotolia

Globally, insects provide pollination services to about 75% of crop species and enable reproduction in up to 94% of wild flowering plants. Pollination services provided by insects each year worldwide are valued at over US$200 billion.

The review, published April 22,  2013 in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, was carried out by an international team of 40 scientists from 27 institutions involved in the UK's Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI), a £10M research programme investigating the causes and consequences of pollinator decline.

Dr Adam Vanbergen from the UK's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and science coordinator of the IPI led the review. He said, "There is no single smoking gun behind pollinator declines, instead there is a cocktail of multiple pressures that can combine to threaten these insects. For example, the loss of food resources in intensively-farmed landscapes, pesticides and diseases are individually important threats, but are also likely to combine and exacerbate the negative impacts on pollinators."

The review concluded that:
  • Pollinator populations are declining in many regions, threatening human food supplies and ecosystem functions
  • A suite of interacting pressures are having an impact on pollinator health, abundance, and diversity. These include land-use intensification, climate change, and the spread of alien species and diseases
  • A complex interplay between pressures (e.g. lack of food sources, diseases, and pesticides) and biological processes (e.g. species dispersal and interactions) at a range of scales (from genes to ecosystems) underpins the general decline in insect-pollinator populations
  • Interdisciplinary research and stakeholder collaboration are needed to help unravel how these multiple pressures affect different pollinators and will provide evidence-based solutions
  • Current options to alleviate the pressure on pollinators include establishment of effective habitat networks, broadening of pesticide risk assessments, and the development and introduction of innovative disease therapies
Co-author Professor Simon Potts from the University of Reading said, "Pollinators are the unsung heroes of the insect world and ensure our crops are properly pollinated so we have a secure supply of nutritious food in our shops. The costs of taking action now to tackle the multiple threats to pollinators is much smaller than the long-term costs to our food security and ecosystem stability. Failure by governments to take decisive steps now only sets us up for bigger problems in the future."

Co-author Professor Graham Stone at Edinburgh University's Institute of Evolutionary Biology said, "a major challenge is going to be understanding the whole ecosystem effects of the specific threats faced by specific pollinators. Complicated as this is, this is nevertheless what we need to do if we want to predict overall impacts on pollination services."

The Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI) is funded jointly by the BBSRC, Defra, NERC, the Scottish Government and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the Living with Environmental Change programme. - Science Daily.

UPDATE: Insectoid Automatons - Robotic Pollinators To Replace Dying Bees?!
No, this is not a tabloid - it's real.

In addition to the recent suggestion that we should "plant more flowers" to aid the declining bee population...

Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is working with staff from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Northeastern University's Department of Biology to develop robotic bees. These insectoid automatons would be capable of a multitude of tasks.

Autonomous pollination, search and rescue, hazardous exploration, military surveillance, climate mapping, and traffic monitoring - to name a few.

Harvard claims their "Micro Air Vehicles Project" was inspired by the biology of a bee and the insect's hive behaviors. While the researchers focused on the development of individual autonomous robots, they also plan to study coordinating large numbers of the robots to accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently.

The robots are created through an incredible micro-engineering process specifically designed for mass production. Each "Bee" is designed with its own electronic nervous system and power source, and able to target tasks with a microscopic Ultra Violet targeting sensor.

These micro-engineering advances are increasingly similar to the military's development of miniature drones. Shared knowledge and research in these technologies is resulting in a massive increase of processing power and flight time, as well as the potential for fully autonomous drone swarms.

WATCH: A small group of robots work together on assembling a tower-like structure.

WATCH: Compared to the current bee micro-drones seen in the video below, those amazing quadrotor copters are almost monstrous in size. It just goes to show how the application of these technologies is increasing, while the size of the chassis becomes almost microscopic.

But as far as aiding in the pollination of our dystopian GMO fields, devoid of workers, devoid of life, what are the possible benefits?  Well, as the sales pitch for a full mechanization of nature suggests, farmers would no longer have to rely on bees to pollinate their crops. Patented worker drones could be purchased or rented and rolled into the field each spring. Pollination would be quick and efficient, no worries about colony collapse or sterile crops. 

And here's another thought . . . the robobees could be programmed specifically to your own crop. Imagine not having to worry about your little pollinators getting lost in your neighbor's field. Simply have them programmed to respond only to specific genetic markers found only in your fields. Of course, that would require that your crop have a patented genetic marker to be programmed . . . oh.  Patented bees pollinating only approved patented crops. If that doesn't sound like a biology lesson from The Orwellian Institute, then I don't know what does.

WATCH: Last but not least, wherever high tech is present, so is the military. Here is a video from the Air Force illustrating the multi-purpose aspect of what is being proposed: not only surveillance, not only autonomous insect swarms, but also assassinations.

- Activist Post.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Found In A Lake At Sylvan Heights, Pennsylvania, America?!

April 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - About 500 dead fish are belly-up in a lake at Sylvan Heights — but no one seems to know about it.

City officials, including Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo, said as of Thursday afternoon they had not heard reports or complaints of dead fish.

However, a caller to the New Castle News, claiming to be golfer, reported smelling the fish Monday and Wednesday at the city-owned course.

The caller also claimed he had contacted the Pennsylvania Fish Commission but received no response.

Mike Rooney, New Castle public works director, and Brian Heichel, recreation director, confirmed the city began a $33,000 improvement project at the course this week. But both said they knew nothing about nor had they heard anything about dead fish.

“In fact, we moved all of the fish that we could catch from the pond being cleaned to another pond,” Heichel said.

The ponds are being dredged in order to make them deeper so they will collect and hold more rain water, he explained. This will be used to water the tees and greens during dry summer months.

“We’ve had problems with the lakes going pretty dry,” Rooney noted.

Sam Pidro, who was at the course Thursday, said he personally did not notice anything “fishy.”

“No one said anything and I didn’t smell anything from the parking lot.” Pidro said he had played on Tuesday night.

Efforts to reach course manager John Dado were not successful.

Mastrangelo was puzzled when contacted Thursday afternoon.

“I know about the lake dredging, but I haven’t heard about that,” he said of the dead fish. “You’d think that someone would have called me if there was a problem.” - New Castle News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes West Coast Of Mexico - Causes Buildings To Sway In Mexico City!

April 22, 2013 - MEXICO - A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Mexican state of Michoacan on Sunday night, causing buildings to sway 200 miles away in Mexico City.

USGS earthquake map and location.

Some people evacuated buildings in the capital, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. State officials in Michoacan also said they had no reports of casualties or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was about 23 miles (38 kilometers) northeast of the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas. That is about 202 miles (327 kilometers) west-southwest of Mexico City.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

USGS earthquake shakemap.

The USGS said its preliminary reading of the quake gave it a magnitude of 5.9. Mexico’s National Seismological Service put the magnitude at 5.8.

The tremor occurred 45 miles (73 kilometers) below the Earth’s surface, the USGS said. The energy of a deep earthquake dissipates more than that of a shallow quake and generally causes less damage. - TIME World.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of Mexico
Located atop three of the large tectonic plates, Mexico is one of the world's most seismologically active regions. The relative motion of these crustal plates causes frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. Most of the Mexican landmass is on the westward moving North American plate. The Pacific Ocean floor south of Mexico is being carried northeastward by the underlying Cocos plate. Because oceanic crust is relatively dense, when the Pacific Ocean floor encounters the lighter continental crust of the Mexican landmass, the ocean floor is subducted beneath the North American plate creating the deep Middle American trench along Mexico's southern coast. Also as a result of this convergence, the westward moving Mexico landmass is slowed and crumpled creating the mountain ranges of southern Mexico and earthquakes near Mexico's southern coast. As the oceanic crust is pulled downward, it melts; the molten material is then forced upward through weaknesses in the overlying continental crust. This process has created a region of volcanoes across south-central Mexico known as the Cordillera Neovolcánica.

USGS historic seismicity for the region.

The area west of the Gulf of California, including Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, is moving northwestward with the Pacific plate at about 50 mm per year. Here, the Pacific and North American plates grind past each other creating strike-slip faulting, the southern extension of California's San Andreas fault. In the past, this relative plate motion pulled Baja California away from the coast forming the Gulf of California and is the cause of earthquakes in the Gulf of California region today.

Mexico has a long history of destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In September 1985, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake killed more than 9,500 people in Mexico City. In southern Mexico, Volcán de Colima and El Chichón erupted in 2005 and 1982, respectively. Paricutín volcano, west of Mexico City, began venting smoke in a cornfield in 1943; a decade later this new volcano had grown to a height of 424 meters. Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl volcanos ("smoking mountain" and "white lady", respectively), southeast of Mexico City, occasionally vent gas that can be clearly seen from the City, a reminder that volcanic activity is ongoing. In 1994 and 2000 Popocatépetl renewed its activity forcing the evacuation of nearby towns, causing seismologists and government officials to be concerned about the effect a large-scale eruption might have on the heavily populated region. Popocatépetl volcano last erupted in 2010. - USGS.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Moderate Earthquake Near Dieng Volcano, Java, Indonesia - 311 Houses Damaged; 2 Injuries; 1,000 Evacuated!

April 22, 2013 - INDONESIA - Contrary to earlier reports, no building collapsed due to the quake. But at least 311 houses were damaged. 34 of them with severe and 27 with moderate damage.

Image courtesy and copyright

Besides the damage, 2 people were injured by the quake.

A woman and her child suffered fractures and were taken to a nearby hospital. Evacuated people are gradually returning to their villages due to a decrease in volcanic activity of the Dieng volcano complex.

At least 3 buildings in local villages collapsed due to the shaking. 9 additional buildings were affected with major damage. Nobody was injured. It is expected that this quake was tectonic nature, but with probably related to Deng volcano.

86 weaker earthquakes followed the main shock within 25 minutes. Cracks in walls and further damaged houses are the result of this Dieng earthquake which has also a volcanic basis. 

1000 people have been evacuated to shelters provided by the Indonesian authorities. The earthquakes are part of the activity of the Dieng volcano. The alert level has been raised to Siaga on March 27. The volcano last eruption was in 2009.  - Earthquake Report.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Storm Kills Ten Thousand Birds In Jhenidah, Pakistan!

April 22, 2013 - PAKISTAN - About ten thousand birds of various species were killed when a storm with heavy rainfall lashed them at village Madanpur and Hatfazilpur under Shoilakupa upazila in the district on Friday night. The birds were living at the branches of Mahogany trees there.

File Image.

As noone from the livestock department visited the spot even after a day, it had created dissatisfaction among the villagers. The dead birds might pollute the environment in the locality, it is apprehended by the locals and health departmental officials.

Even on Saturday morning, large number of birds were found lying there. Shalik, ghughu, bulbuli, tuntuni, crowm, stork, masranga, sprow, babui, suichora and soe others species were among the dead birds.
There were a number of rare species among the dead, some locals said.

Abdul Alim, a villager of Hatfazilpur said, the birds were living at the Mahogany gardens owned by Ayub Hossain, Babul Biswas, Jamal Uddin and some others. They were caught by the storm along with heavy rainfall that swept the area on Friday night. - The Independent.