Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Bird Flu Virus - China Confirms 108 H7N9 Cases, 22 Deaths, As Bird Flu Spreads To Eastern Province Of Shandong!

April 23, 2013 - CHINA - During the 24-hour period ending at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, China confirmed four new cases of human H7N9 avian influenza, including two in Zhejiang, one in Anhui and the first case in Shandong.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said in its daily update on H7N9 cases that a total of 108 H7N9 cases have been reported in China, including 22 that have ended in death.

Of the total, 14 H7N9 patients have been discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment, and the other 72 patients are being treated in designated hospitals, according to the commission.

A total of 33 cases, including 12 that have ended in death, have been reported in Shanghai. Twenty-four cases, including three deaths, have been reported in Jiangsu Province, and 42 cases, including six deaths, in Zhejiang Province. Anhui Province has reported four cases, with one ending in death. Beijing has reported one case and three have been reported in Henan Province, with one in Shandong.

Li Lanjuan, an academician of Chinese Engineering Academy and director of the State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, eats chicken thigh meat in her box lunch in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, April 15, 2013. Li said that well-cooked poultry are safe to eat as avian influenza virus are usually heat-sensitive. They can be inactived by boiling for 30 minutes at the temperature of 65 degrees Celsius or two minutes at the temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. By 4 p.m. on Monday, Zhejiang had reported a total of 16 H7N9 cases including one new case on Monday. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

China officially confirmed the human cases infected with the H7N9 virus late last month.

According to the commission, China's confirmed H7N9 cases are isolated and there has been no sign of human-to-human transmission. - Xinhaunet.

China H7N9 Bird Flu Spreads To Eastern Province Of Shandong.
An H7N9 bird flu patient walks in the corridor of a hospital after his recovery and approval for discharge in Bozhou, in central China's Anhui Province, on April 19, 2013.

China’s H7N9 strain of bird flu has spread to a new region as Chinese health authorities confirm the first virus case in the eastern province of Shandong.

On Tuesday, the health ministry released a statement saying a 36-year-old man was sickened by the bird flu virus in Shandong's Zaozhuang city.

To date, the H7N9 avian influenza has claimed 22 lives. A total of 108 people in China have been infected by the virus.

China officially confirmed the occurrence of human infection with the new bird flu virus late last month and a research project was formally launched on April 10 to develop a vaccine for the H7N9.

The project, jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Health and Family Planning Commission, aims to produce a vaccine for the virus within the next seven months.

This comes while the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no evidence that the H7N9 virus can spread among human beings.

H7N9 Pandemic Cases Map.

On April 19, the WHO regional spokesman Timothy O’Leary said “Right now it is still an animal virus that rarely infects humans.”

The Geneva-based world body also sent a team of international experts to China to investigate the new bird flu virus.

H7N9 is distinct from the H5N1 virus, which since 2003 has caused more than 360 confirmed human deaths and killed about tens of millions of birds. - Press TV.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - Bright Fireball Turns The Night Sky Into Day In Santiago del Estero, Argentina; Mysterious Halo Appears In The Sky Afterwards!

April 23, 2013 - ARGENTINA - A brilliant meteor explosion briefly turned the night sky bright as day in Santiago del Estero, Argentina on Sunday, April 21 -- and the event was captured on video by nearby concertgoers and traffic and security cameras.

Jorge Coghlan, director of the Santa Fe Astronomical Observatory, said in a radio interview that the fireball was caused by a space rock measuring 40 to 45 centimeters (about 1.5 feet) that entered the atmosphere at more than 130,000 kilometers (81,000 miles) per hour, according to a translation by The Huffington Post.

Coghlan urged skepticism regarding YouTube videos that purportedly caught the meteor explosion, adding that the videos taken by security cameras and by attendees at a neighboring concert given by Argentine folk band Los Tekis were reliable.

After the meteor exploded, a "halo" appeared in the sky over Santiago del Estero just before sunrise. According to Nuevo Diario, a Santiago del Estero newspaper, Coghlan said the halo and the meteor explosion were unrelated.

The website of Nuevo Diario also compiled traffic and security camera footage from the time of the incident, which took place around 3:26 a.m. local time. According to a HuffPost translation of the website, the meteor disintegrated 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) above the earth.

WATCH: Fireball interrupts a concert in Argentina.

Although the explosion certainly startled onlookers (particularly at the concert), it was much smaller than the one that blew up over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February.

Mainstream media reports on the fireball.

The Chelyabinsk meteor is estimated to have measured between 17 and 20 meters (55 to 65 feet), according to NASA. More than 1,000 people were injured -- mostly by broken glass -- after the meteor exploded over the Ural mountains.

WATCH: Mysterious halo appears following the fireball.

NASA estimates that 1,000 to 10,000 tons of meteoric material fall to earth each day, but most of it goes unnoticed because the fragments are so tiny. - Huffington Post.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Powerful 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Papua New Guinea!

April 23, 2013 - PAPUA NEW GUINEA - A 6.4 magnitude earthquake has struck Papua New Guinea, the US Geological Survey says, but no tsunami warning has been issued nor any damage reported.

The strong quake hit at 9.14am (AEST), 31 kilometres north of Rabaul in the Pacific nation's east, the USGS said. It was 18 kilometres deep.

USGS earthquake map and location.

Rabaul was the scene of destruction in 1994 when an erupting volcano caused a large number of buildings in the town to collapse, but seismologists said it was unlikely to have suffered any major damage this time.

''It would certainly have given the area a good shake, but Rabaul is on the edge of our damage radius,'' seismologist John Bathgate from Geoscience Australia told AFP.

''There's potential for some damage, but expect it to be very minimal.

''Damage would be more likely in coastal areas of New Ireland,'' he said, with the quake measured by Geoscience Australia as only around eight kilometres off the coast.

''There was potential for a localised tsunami but it would have passed by now and we have had no reports about one.''

Bathgate added: ''It's not unusual for the area to experience this type of quakes, or even larger.''

Last week, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the country's north but no major damage was reported. - Daily Telegraph.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the New Guinea Region and Vicinity.
The Australia-Pacific plate boundary is over 4000 km long on the northern margin, from the Sunda (Java) trench in the west to the Solomon Islands in the east. The eastern section is over 2300 km long, extending west from northeast of the Australian continent and the Coral Sea until it intersects the east coast of Papua New Guinea. The boundary is dominated by the general northward subduction of the Australia plate.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Along the South Solomon trench, the Australia plate converges with the Pacific plate at a rate of approximately 95 mm/yr towards the east-northeast. Seismicity along the trench is dominantly related to subduction tectonics and large earthquakes are common: there have been 13 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded since 1900. On April 1, 2007, a M8.1 interplate megathrust earthquake occurred at the western end of the trench, generating a tsunami and killing at least 40 people. This was the third M8.1 megathrust event associated with this subduction zone in the past century; the other two occurred in 1939 and 1977.

Further east at the New Britain trench, the relative motions of several microplates surrounding the Australia-Pacific boundary, including north-south oriented seafloor spreading in the Woodlark Basin south of the Solomon Islands, maintain the general northward subduction of Australia-affiliated lithosphere beneath Pacific-affiliated lithosphere. Most of the large and great earthquakes east of New Guinea are related to this subduction; such earthquakes are particularly concentrated at the cusp of the trench south of New Ireland. 33 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900, including three shallow thrust fault M8.1 events in 1906, 1919, and 2007.

The western end of the Australia-Pacific plate boundary is perhaps the most complex portion of this boundary, extending 2000 km from Indonesia and the Banda Sea to eastern New Guinea. The boundary is dominantly convergent along an arc-continent collision segment spanning the width of New Guinea, but the regions near the edges of the impinging Australia continental margin also include relatively short segments of extensional, strike-slip and convergent deformation. The dominant convergence is accommodated by shortening and uplift across a 250-350 km-wide band of northern New Guinea, as well as by slow southward-verging subduction of the Pacific plate north of New Guinea at the New Guinea trench. Here, the Australia-Pacific plate relative velocity is approximately 110 mm/yr towards the northeast, leading to the 2-8 mm/yr uplift of the New Guinea Highlands.

Whereas the northern band of deformation is relatively diffuse east of the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border, in western New Guinea there are at least two small (less than 100,000 km²) blocks of relatively undeformed lithosphere. The westernmost of these is the Birds Head Peninsula microplate in Indonesia's West Papua province, bounded on the south by the Seram trench. The Seram trench was originally interpreted as an extreme bend in the Sunda subduction zone, but is now thought to represent a southward-verging subduction zone between Birds Head and the Banda Sea.

There have been 22 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded in the New Guinea region since 1900. The dominant earthquake mechanisms are thrust and strike slip, associated with the arc-continent collision and the relative motions between numerous local microplates. The largest earthquake in the region was a M8.2 shallow thrust fault event in the northern Papua province of Indonesia that killed 166 people in 1996.

The western portion of the northern Australia plate boundary extends approximately 4800 km from New Guinea to Sumatra and primarily separates Australia from the Eurasia plate, including the Sunda block. This portion is dominantly convergent and includes subduction at the Sunda (Java) trench, and a young arc-continent collision.

USGS historic seismicity for the region.

In the east, this boundary extends from the Kai Islands to Sumba along the Timor trough, offset from the Sunda trench by 250 km south of Sumba. Contrary to earlier tectonic models in which this trough was interpreted as a subduction feature continuous with the Sunda subduction zone, it is now thought to represent a subsiding deformational feature related to the collision of the Australia plate continental margin and the volcanic arc of the Eurasia plate, initiating in the last 5-8 Myr. Before collision began, the Sunda subduction zone extended eastward to at least the Kai Islands, evidenced by the presence of a northward-dipping zone of seismicity beneath Timor Leste. A more detailed examination of the seismic zone along it's eastern segment reveals a gap in intermediate depth seismicity under Timor and seismic mechanisms that indicate an eastward propagating tear in the descending slab as the negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere detaches from positively buoyant continental lithosphere. On the surface, GPS measurements indicate that the region around Timor is currently no longer connected to the Eurasia plate, but instead is moving at nearly the same velocity as the Australia plate, another consequence of collision.

Large earthquakes in eastern Indonesia occur frequently but interplate megathrust events related to subduction are rare; this is likely due to the disconnection of the descending oceanic slab from the continental margin. There have been 9 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded from the Kai Islands to Sumba since 1900. The largest was the great Banda Sea earthquake of 1938 (M8.5) an intermediate depth thrust faulting event that did not cause significant loss of life. - USGS.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For April 23, 2013 - Updates On Stromboli, Batu Tara, Miyake-shima, Popocatépetl, Telica, San Cristobal, Masaya And Nevado del Ruiz!

April 23, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Thermal webcam image of the crater area of Stromboli (INGV).

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The small lava flow issuing from the breached NE crater continues, but has not progressed much. Frequent glowing rockfalls descend the Sciara del Fuoco.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): A stronger strombolian explosion produced an ash plume rising to 5,000 ft / 1.5 km this morning, which drifted 15 nautical miles to the NW (VAAC Darwin).

Depth vs time of the recent earthquakes west of Miyake island.

Miyake-shima (Izu Islands): The earthquake swarm that started on 17 April and included a magnitude 5.6 quake has been decreasing and remained at the same depths at around 10-15 km just west off the island. This suggests that no magmatic intrusions have formed at shallower depths (so far) and the scenario of a (submarine) eruption is less likely.

View of Popocatepetl's glowing summit crater this morning.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity continues with no significant changes: weak emissions of steam/gas/ash occur at rates of approx. once per hour, and glow at night shows that magma continues to arrive slowly in the summit crater.

Current seismic signal from Telica volcano (TELN station, INETER).

Telica (Nicaragua): Numerous small volcanic earthquakes continue at high frequency at the volcano, accompanied by continuous tremor.

Current seismic signal from San Cristobal volcano (CRIN station, INETER).

San Cristobal (Nicaragua): Numerous small volcanic earthquakes have merged into weak continuous volcanic tremor.

Current seismic signal from Masaya volcano (MASN station, INETER).

Masaya (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has generally remained low and near normal levels at the volcano over the past weeks.

Current seismic signal from Ruiz volcano (OLL station, INETER).

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): The frequency and size of earthquakes has diminished, but is still above normal levels, and suggests that the intrusion of fresh magma is not yet over. A volcanic-tectonic earthquake of magnitude 2.9 occurred this morning at a depth of 7.24 km NW of the Arenas crater.

The other Colombian volcanoes have not shown significant variations in activity: Weak seismic unrest continues at Machin, Cumbal and Sotara volcanoes with no surface activity. Nevado del Huila has remained in a degassing state with average low seismicity during the past weeks, while Galeras volcano produces occasional steam and ash emissions.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for April 23, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

RATTLE & HUM: "Sounded Like An Explosion" - Mysterious And Unexplained Big Boom Shakes Southern Connecticut?!

April 23, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A loud boom was heard throughout several towns along the Connecticut shoreline and in New Haven County Friday evening, prompting several 911 calls and brief flurry of social media posts.

Madison 911 Communications Center numerous calls from people reporting what sounded like an explosion shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, according to a post on Facebook, " ... along shoreline neighborhoods and as far north as County Road and Guilford Lakes. Also getting reports of the same thing as far west as West Haven and Milford. Anybody know what happened???"

The post on the Madison 911 Communications Center Facebook page
quickly received responses from people as far inland as Haddam.

Around 11 p.m., Madison 911 followed up with this information:

"Just to reiterate: We've investigated and checked in with several other agencies (including on Long Island)... many other towns getting similar reports of a single loud "boom", no reports of light flashes or power outages in the area. Our best guess is that this was a huge thunder clap. Mother nature playing tricks on us while we're already on edge."

Readers for several Patch sites in southern Connecticut - including Wallingford - posted to our Facebook pages saying they heard the booming sound.

"We heard and felt it on the Hamden/Wallingford town line," said reader Dennis Demott.

Suzanne Novak, from Madison, reported that it shook her house in Legend Hill.

People living on the shoreline in Clinton reported hearing it as well.

© Wallingford Patch

While it may have been thunder, many people reported that it was just one boom, and that it shook the ground, making it sound like an explosion.

And, with the entire country riveted by the tragedy earlier this week in Boston, and the drama that unfolded today as one bombing suspect was killed and another captured, explosions were on everyone's minds, perhaps making them more apt to report something out of the ordinary to 911.

The National Weather Service did say that conditions were ripe for a thunderstorm Friday night.

Jay, on the Madison Patch Facebook page, wondered if it was a bolide, or a meteor that explodes when it hits the atmosphere. The American Meteor Society website did not log any reports of that overnight, but we have an inquiry in to them to see if this might be a plausible explanation for the sound.

Several calls came into dispatch centers other than Madison, including Connecticut State Troopers at Troop F in Westbrook, and other shoreline towns, according to the responses on the Madison 911 inquiry. - Wallingford Patch.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - Very Bright Fireball Seen Over Southern Poland; Recorded By Stations In Czech Republic, Slovakia And Hungary!

April 22, 2013 - POLAND - "On Tuesday evening, a very bright meteor appeared over southern Poland." said Mariusz Wisniewski from the Comet and Meteor Workshop (PKiM) astronomic association. April 16, 2013 at 22:26 the sky over the Polish-Czech-Slovak border was illuminated by a very bright fireball.

The fireball has been recorded by many fireball stations in the Polish Fireball Network and also by stations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. An analysis of these recordings is in process. Preliminary estimates lead to the conclusion that this was a very long phenomenon. It was recorded over a distance of nearly 250 km. High-speed entry into the atmosphere and the height at which the fireball vanished exclude a possibility of finding any meteorites.

WATCH: Bright fireball over Poland.

Eyewitnesses talked about its blue-green color and an apparent visible fragmentation. A photographer from Hungary was extremely lucky. He registered the final phase of the fireball's flight with his camera with telephoto lens. The pictures clearly show the color of the phenomenon, an orange trail left behind, and several clearly separated fragments at the end. - Odkrywcy. [Translated by SOTT]