Monday, April 29, 2013

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Expert Declares That Material Is Flowing Out From Bottom Of Sinkhole, The Volume Of The Hole Has Doubled Since October, Now A 25-Acre Settlement Area!

April 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Texas Brine Co. is building a westward extension of a 1.5-mile containment berm encircling the Assumption Parish sinkhole because a 200-foot stretch of the earthen wall is sinking, authorities said Friday.

The berm has been under construction for months to keep oil, salt and other contaminants from escaping the 13-acre sinkhole and harming surrounding freshwater swamps, bayous and aquatic life.

Scientists think the sinkhole surfaced in August after a subterranean Texas Brine salt dome cavern broke open, forcing the nearly nine-month evacuation of 350 people in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities.

John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said Texas Brine contractors began work on the berm expansion Friday. The V-shaped “reroute” is shown on a company map jutting out from the western part of the berm.

Screen shot from State Police video - Image of the Assumption sinkhole taken by State Police on April 23, 2013.

“They started clearing trees,” he said.

Boudreaux said Texas Brine officials have said it should take a couple of weeks to put down the first layer of sand used for initial containment.

Still, Patrick Courreges, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, said the additional work would likely delay the expected completion date, although containment of the sinkhole can be maintained by the existing wall until then.

“It’s not a situation where they’ve got to get this done tomorrow. They can manage it with fill until they can get the new part built,” Courreges said.

The existing western berm will be partially maintained for access.

Before the latest developments, Texas Brine officials had said the berm, which is being designed to last at least 20 years, is due for completion by July 1.

In a statement late Thursday, Louisiana Office of Conservation officials attributed the subsidence to continued filling of the failed Texas Brine cavern with unconsolidated sediments and compaction in a zone of broken rock under the sinkhole.

Courreges added Friday that the decision to move the berm was not related to sinkhole growth but to the subsidence and need to keep containment.

Boudreaux said the berm has not been breached. It gained containment on Feb. 22 of a 71-acre area that includes the sinkhole, Texas Brine officials have said.

A bulldozer spreads clay April 9 over fabric layers that are being laid inside a 1.5-mile berm and upgraded levee system designed to contain the Assumption Parish sinkholes near Bayou Corne. The clay and the protective liners are part of a second phase of the berm construction. On Friday, regulators said workers are adding an extension to the western side of the berm because of subsidence. Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU.

Conservation officials have said the berm was designed to hold the sinkhole even at the worst-case size predicted by scientists, about 1,400 feet in diameter. The sinkhole now measures about 1,000 feet across.

Conservation officials said Thursday the sinkhole’s edge is still more than 100 feet from the western berm.

Boudreaux said depth surveys show the subsiding area along the western berm has slumped about 3 feet since January.

He added that recent video from overflights of the sinkhole show a patch of dead cypress trees along the inner wall of the western berm. Boudreaux attributed the dead patch to the fact that the trees are standing in water too deep for them to survive.

The western berm tracks an oilfield access road known as the Rig Road.

Boudreaux said there were indications last summer suggesting that part of the road is low. Later, when building the berm was proposed, concerns arose that the Rig Road was close to the sinkhole. He said Texas Brine officials agreed to move the berm west if needed.

Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Texas Brine, said Friday that because of the subsidence, the company is playing it safe and building the new berm.

Scientist have said since last year that the sinkhole showed up after a sidewall failure in the Texas Brine cavern at a depth of more than 5,600 feet. Millions of cubic yards of sediments flowed into the cavern as a result.

In addition to the sinkhole, the shift in earth left behind a zone of fractured rock running up outside the cavern and alongside the Napoleonville Dome, scientists have said.

In a presentation April 5 at LSU, Gary Hecox, a CB&I hydrogeologist, described how other rock movements also have been increasing the sinkhole’s size and creating subsidence in the surrounding area.

The sinkhole has a 25-acre settlement area around it, he said then.

Hecox said that sands from the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer, which runs in a band about 120 feet to as much as 600 feet deep, are flowing down into the zone of broken rock under the sinkhole.

Also, the sinkhole’s volume has more than doubled since it was calculated in October, rising from 550,000 cubic yards to 1.2 million cubic yards, Hecox said then.

“The material is flowing out of the bottom (of the sinkhole) down the disturbed rock zone,” Hecox said.

Texas Brine released results Monday from a new seismic survey suggesting the rock zone is far shallower than Hecox and others had theorized and that the zone is connected to the cavern by a narrow pathway.

State officials say they are checking Texas Brine’s seismic data. - Advocate.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: The Atacama Desert - Earthquakes In Chile Have Permanently Deformed Earth!

April 29, 2013 - CHILE - Earthquakes can permanently crack the Earth, an investigation of quakes that have rocked Chile over the past million years suggests.

Although earthquakes can wreak havoc on the planet's surface, more than a century of research has suggested the Earth actually mostly rebounds after quakes, with blocks of the world's crust elastically springing back, over the course of months to decades, to the way they initially were. Such rebounding was first seen after investigations of the devastating 1906 San Francisco temblor thathelped lead to the destruction of more than 80 percent of the city. The rebound is well-documented nowadays by satellite-based GPS systems that monitor Earth's movements.

A map of an the area in Chile where scientists examined signs that millenia of earthquakes had left permanent deformation of the ground.
CREDIT: A. Baker, et al./Nature Geoscience

However, structural geologist Richard Allmendinger of Cornell University and his colleagues now find major earthquakes of magnitude 7 or greater apparently caused the crust in northern Chile to crack permanently.
"My graduate students and I originally went to northern Chile to study other features," Allmendinger said. "While we were there, our Chilean colleague, Professor Gabriel González of the Universidad Católica del Norte, took us to a region where these cracks were particularly well-exposed."

"I still remember feeling blown away — never seen anything like them in my 40 years as a geologist — and also perplexed," Allmendinger told OurAmazingPlanet. "What were these features and how did they form? Scientists hate leaving things like this unexplained, so it kept bouncing around in my mind."

Atacama exposed

In northern Chile, "the driest place on Earth, we have a virtually unique record of great earthquakes going back a million years," Allmendinger said. Whereas most analyses of ancient earthquakes only probe cycles of two to four quakes, "our record of upper plate cracking spans thousands of earthquake cycles," he noted.

The record of the vast number of earthquakes captured in northern Chilean rocks allowed the researchers to examine their average behavior over a much longer period of time, which makes it easier to pick out any patterns. They discovered that a small but significant 1 to 10 percent of the deformation of the Earth caused by 2,000 to 9,000 major quakes over the past 800,000 to 1 million years was permanent, involving cracks millimeters to meters large in the crust of the Atacama Desert. The crust may behave less elastically than previously thought.

"It is only in a place like the Atacama Desert that these cracks can be observed — in all other places, surface processes erase them within days or weeks of their formation, but in the Atacama, they are preserved for millions of years," Allmendinger said. "We have every reason to believe that our results would be applicable to other areas, but is simply not preserved for study the way that it is in the Atacama Desert," he added.

Model rethink

This work "calls into question the details of models that geophysicists who study the earthquake cycle use," Allmendinger said. "Their models generally assume that all of the upper-plate deformation related to the earthquake cycle is elastic — recoverable, like an elastic band — and not permanent. If some of the deformation is permanent, then the models will have to be rethought and more complicated material behaviors used.

The area the researchers studied, the Iquique Gap, "is one of the few places along western South America that has not had a great earthquake in the last 100 years and thus has a high probability of a major earthquake in the next couple of decades," Allmendinger added. "We may get to test out predictions about earthquakes if the next great earthquake there happens in the next couple of decades."

The scientists detailed their findings online April 28 in the journal Nature Geoscience. - OAP.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For April 29, 2013 - Updates On Stromboli, Batu Tara, Paluweh, Gaua, White Island, Popocatépetl, Fuego, Telica, Tungurahua, And Sakurajima!

April 29, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe. 

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Spattering and lava effusion have increased from the NE hornito, feeding a new relatively large sustained lava flow on the Sciara del Fuoco.

New lava overflow on the Sciara del Fuoco (INGV thermal webcam).

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

Activity has decreased a bit yesterday, but strong explosions and small lava overflows from the NE crater rim and a vent at the outer flank continued, accompanied by frequent rockfalls on the Sciara. At the moment, activity seems to be increasing again.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): New explosions have produced ash plumes rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude this morning.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): Activity from the lava dome continues. A larger event (explosion and/or dome collapse) produced a fairly large ash plume rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude that drifted 60 nautical miles NW this morning (VAAC Darwin).

Gaua (Vanuatu): The Wellington VAAC reported on 29 April that a Qantas Airline pilot noticed a possible ash plume from Gaua volcano.

The Vanuatu Geohazards keeps the alert at 1 (on a scale of 0-4)

White Island (New Zealand): Geonet has lowered the alert level of the volcano back to green (normal), following a gradual decline in seismic activity over the past weeks.

Seismic spectrum and amplitude from White Island (GeoNet).

Degassing remains intense, and after heavy rainfall during the recent past, a lake has been re-established at the main crater.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity at the volcano has picked up in the past 48 hours. Following an earthquake swarm on Saturday with volcanic-tectonic quakes of magnitudes up to 2.3, which was probably the result of a new magma batch rising, an increase in small emissions occurred yesterday with 71 events registered during 24 hours.

Explosion from Popocatépetl yesterday morning.

The largest emission yesterday (at 10:33 local time) produced a steam and ash plume rising 1.2 km above the crater and drifted NE... [read more]

Fuego (Guatemala)
: Effusive activity has increased on the expense of weaker explosive activity.

Today's seismic signal from Fuego (FG3 station, INSIVUMEH).

The two lava flows on the SW flank towards the Taniluyà and Ash canyon have reached 900 and 700 m length, respectively, and cause frequent avalanches (visible on the seismograph) that reach the vegetation.

Telica (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has decreased a bit in energy recently.

Current seismogram from Telica volcano (TELN station INETER).

Although the frequency of earthquakes has slowed down, the quakes, still above background levels, are now of higher magnitude.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Following the initial explosions and ash emissions on Saturday, a significant new eruptive phase has started at the volcano.

Current seismic signal from Tungurahua (RETU station, IG).

From 05h30 yesterday morning (local time), an explosion created a steam-ash column rising 4 km initially, then decreased and remained more or less sustained at 2.5 km height above the crater for 30 minutes. The plume drifted W and SW to more than 100 km and caused light ash falls in areas near and around the volcano, such as Banos, Chacauco, Bilbao, Cusúa, Juive Grande, Pondoa and Pillate... [read more]

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Over the past days, the volcano has remained at comparably low levels of activity, with on average one vulcanian-type explosion of small to moderate size per day.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for April 29, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

DELUGE: Storms Sweep Across Texas And Southern United States - Dumping Up To 7 Inches Of Rain! UPDATE: Extreme Weather Continues - Flash Flooding, Severe Storms Threaten The South And Will Expand To The East!

April 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A number of severe thunderstorms have moved across much of the South, prompting warnings across several states.  The onslaught of storms have dumped more than seven inches in some areas and flood warnings were still in effect around Houston, Texas until Sunday morning.  According to local affiliates quarter-size hail and winds up to 60 mph were reported in South Texas.

Reports indicate that at least 80 cars were stranded in the surrounding area of Houston, Texas after heavy storms battered the South over the weekend.

According to reports the thunderstorms produced quarter-size hail and winds up to 60 mph in some areas.

Cars are stranded in southwest Houston, which was flooded after an afternoon downpour Saturday. 

A weather map shows the severe thunderstorm warning that was in effect around Houston.

The stretch of bad weather extended all the way to Tennessee, where a number of stray animals were 'on the loose.'  The Fayette Country Animal Rescue was damaged by the storm sending an unknown number of animals into the area near Interstate 40.  Currently there are no reports of any deaths or injuries from the storms.  

Jay Evans, a Houston fire sergeant, told the Weather Channel that his department was encouraging residents of Houston and the surrounding area to remain indoors.  Emergency crews allegedly provided 50 water rescues from stranded motorists.  There were several road closures in Harris and Fort Bend County because of the flooding.  

Officials with the Houston Fire Department were encouraging individuals to stay home during the storms.

The storms covered such a large area of the South because of a collision of two air fronts in the Gulf of Mexico.

The sheer size of the storms, which were reported in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, can be attributed to a collision between a cold and warm front with moist air coming from the Gulf of Mexico.  Houston is still slated to receive even more rain Sunday afternoon.  Though tornado warnings were issued for several states it is not yet clear if one actually touched down. - Daily Mail.

WATCH: NBC's Dylan Dreyer takes a look at a weather system bringing heavy rains to portions of the country as well as river flooding in the Midwest.

Flash Flooding, Severe Storms Threaten The South And Will Expand To The East.
Another round of slow moving thunderstorms and widespread rain is drenching much of the Southeast. There have even been a few severe thunderstorms across parts of Georgia and Alabama.

This storm has a history of producing flash flooding across parts of the southern Plains earlier in the weekend. Houston was particularly hard hit with some areas picking up nearly six inches of rain in a few short hours. Pictures from Twitter and Facebook displayed the dangerous floods with cars stranded in several feet of water.

The similar flash flooding threat will persist across the South into tonight. Rain will continue to fall from the central Gulf Coast into the Carolinas tonight before shifting toward the East Coast late.

This flash flood threat is all due to an area of low pressure that is tracking through the Ohio Valley.

The main threat from this system is flooding from widespread, long duration rainfall. Low-lying areas and locations along rivers and streams will be the most vulnerable for flooding.

Rainfall totals through tonight in many areas will average 1-2 inches with local amounts over 3 inches inches possible, especially from northeast Georgia through western North Carolina.

The Mississippi River is especially at risk for flooding from this system. River levels are already on the rise as water continues to make its way downstream following last weeks flooding rain in the Midwest.

The additional rainfall flowing into the Mississippi River from its tributaries will only add to the flooding potential along the river.

There can also be a few damaging thunderstorms into tonight across the central Gulf Coast region where some heating is occurring. The best chance for these gusty storms will be from near New Orleans through southern Mississippi and much of Alabama into central Georgia.

There has already been one tornado warning prompted by a cell southeast of Atlanta. A couple of additional rotating thunderstorms are possible into the evening hours.

The greatest risks from these storms will be isolated damaging wind gusts and hail. Wind gusts up to 50 mph in these storms can bring down tree branches and power lines. - AccuWeather.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Dozens Of Birds Slam Dead Into Downtown Minnesota City Buildings?!

April 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Dozens of birds have been found dead after slamming into downtown buildings in one Minnesota city.

The Duluth Tribune News reported Wednesday (April 24) that at least 30 Bohemian waxwing birds were killed and three others were injured after flying into buildings in Duluth on Monday and Tuesday.

A majority of the Bohemian waxwings were found dead in the plaza area adjacent to the Minnesota Power building in downtown Duluth, said Amy Rutledge, manager of corporate communications for Minnesota Power.

The birds apparently flew into tinted glass partitions adjacent to the building as they were flying up to trees.
“We’re on a major migration route,” said Peggy Farr, a Wildwoods rehabilitator and board member. “This is a good time of year to close the blinds so the birds don’t get faked out by the windows.”
Rutledge said Minnesota Power plans to put stickers on the glass panels that the waxwings hit so birds will be more likely to see the panels.

Bohemian waxwings, just smaller than robins, often move and feed in large flocks. In the Duluth area, these birds frequently feed on berries of mountain ash or crabapple trees.

It is believed that the birds may have become disoriented after eating the berries due to the fact that some are fermented or contain some small amounts of alcohol.

Duluth birder and birding guide Erik Bruhnke said that sometimes happens.
“I know that waxwings become intoxicated because of alcohol when the berries are fermented,” Bruhnke said.

“I have seen, a couple times, where the whole flock will sit on the ground in a slight daze after eating large amounts of fermented berries and fruits,” he added.
The Duluth Audubon Society is initiating a project called Birdsafe, an effort to reduce the number of birds killed or injured when they collide with buildings, said Jane Cleave, president of Duluth Audubon Society. - Examiner.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: 4,000 Fowls Killed Due To Avian Flu In Rupandehi, Nepal?!

April 29, 2013 - NEPAL - Authorities have confirmed bird flu virus at Pokharvindi in Rupandehi.

The virus was detected at the Bhatapurhawa-based Laxmi Poultry Farm owned by Santa Kumar Yadav.

More than 200 fowls and 50 kilograms of chicken feed were destroyed on Saturday following the confirmation of flu after samples of dead chicken tested positive, said Dr Laxman Dhakal, chief of the District Livestock Office, Bhairahawa.

The lab test was carried out after 120 chickens died in the farm.

Earlier, the bird flu virus was reported at Lakhanautiya VDC-based Sandip Poultry farm belonging to Dirganarayan Yadav.

More than 4000 fowls were culled in the firm. - The Himalayan Times.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: "We've Never Had Anything Like This Before" - Dead Birds Mysteriously "Falling From The Sky" In Port Arthur, Texas?!

April 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Port Arthur resident Lara Comeaux says over the course of just two days she and her neighbors have found at least 7 dead birds in their yards along Shady Cove Lane.

"We've never had anything like this before, maybe a baby bird falling out of a nest in the front once or twice, but never birds just falling out of the sky," Comeaux told 12News Friday afternoon.

Comeaux and her neighbors have no idea what's killing them.

"I looked at the first one and it wasn't messed with, there weren't feathers everywhere, so I'm like 'Ok the dog didn't get the bird'," Comeaux said.

Comeaux says she immediately picked up two in her front yard and threw them in a garbage bag to keep them away from her dog and her 3 kids.

"I have children who play outside running through the yards, I don't know what they could pick up and bring in."

Port Arthur Animal Control Supervisor Anthony Mitchell says Comeaux has a reason to be concerned.

"They (birds) carry many parasites, they carry all kinds of little vermin around with them, but that doesn't actually cause them to just drop out of the sky," said Mitchell.

Mitchell says it's too early to determine what is causing the deaths.

Comeaux just wants the mystery to be over.

Comeaux looking at a dead bird in her neighbor's yard.

"Investigate it, find out why these birds are dropping dead in our area... because if it's a health concern I would like to know," Comeaux said.

Mitchell says he visited the neighborhood late Friday afternoon and collected the birds. He says he will wait to hear from the Port Arthur Health Department before he either disposes of them or sends them off for testing. - 12 News Now.

WATCH: Dead birds "falling from the sky" in Port Arthur neighborhood.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: China's H7N9 Bird Flu Cases Keep Rising - Total Reaches 125, 23 Dead; US Health Leader Warns Of Human-To-Human H7N9 Bird Flu; H7N9 Zaozhuang Shandong Cluster Raises Concerns; Taiwan Expands Travel Warning In China - H7N9 Spreads; H7N9 Flu Prefers Men And Seniors!

April 29, 2013 - CHINA - The number of confirmed H7N9 bird flu cases in mainland China rose by five on Sunday, the country’s official Xinhua news agency reported. Four provinces — Zhejiang, Shandong, Jiangxi and Fujian — reported illnesses, the agency said. Xinhua didn’t provide a total number of cases. Based on a figure of 120 mainland cases as of Saturday at 7 p.m. Beijing time reported by China National Radio, the total number of cases would be 125. The number of dead is 23, according to a report in today’s Shanghai Daily.

The disease has spread from eastern China both northward and southward, leading to the closure of a growing number of markets where live chicken is sold as a preventative measure. The new, deadly disease has mostly struck people that have come into contact with chicken. There has also been occasional human-to-human transmission, according to the World Health Organization.

“Countermeasures have been effective so far, but the situation is still developing as new cases turn up,” Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday at a visit to the Chinese Center for Disease Control in Beijing.

The center has halted the publication of English-language figures about the spread of the disease since last Thursday. It didn’t give a reason.

Consumers have been wary of chicken, even though the government says cooked meat is safe. Yum!, the U.S. operator of the KFC fried chicken chain that has relied on China for much of its growth in recent years, has been hit with a decline in KFC sales in the country.

The spread of the disease in Zhejiang Province is expected to come under control due to the closure of wet markets and warmer weather, Xinhua said in a report, citing a doctor at Zhejiang University. - Forbes.

US Health Leader Warns Of Human-To-Human H7N9 Bird Flu.
There is no evidence that the deadly H7N9 bird flu has yet spread between humans in China but health authorities must be ready for the virus to mutate at any time, a top US virologist has warned.

A poultry market vendor (C) gives a thumbs up to his chickens at a market in Taipei on April 26, 2013. There is no evidence that the deadly H7N9 bird flu has yet spread between humans in China but health authorities must be ready for the virus to mutate at any time, a top US virologist has warned.

Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said officials in China had studied more than 1,000 close contacts of confirmed cases and not found any evidence of human-to-human transmission.

"That is powerful evidence because if you had a thousand contacts with someone with the flu you would be pretty sure some of them would have been infected," Fauci said in an interview with AFP.

Nevertheless, Fauci cautioned that authorities needed to be ready for the possibility of the virus mutating and spreading between humans.

"It's unpredictable as are all the influenza. One of the things we need to be concerned about is this might gain the capability of going human-to-human which up to this point has not happened and is somewhat encouraging news," Fauci said.

"But we still need to be very prepared for the eventuality of that happening."

Researchers are already developing a diagnostic test to identify H7N9, along with a vaccine, with clinical trials due in July or August.

"Work is under way on making a diagnostic test to be able to pick it up quickly," Fauci said.

"We have already started on an early development of a vaccine as we did with H5N1 years ago... Hopefully, we will never have to use it."

More than 110 people in mainland China have been confirmed to be infected with H7N9, with 23 deaths, since Beijing announced on March 31 that the virus had been found in humans.

Most of the cases have been located in eastern China, although Taiwan has reported one case. Another case has been found in southern China, while Chinese officials confirmed a further outbreak in the central province of Hunan.

Chinese authorities have identified poultry as the source of the virus and have confirmed that patients became sick from contact with infected live fowl.

A visiting team from the World Health Organization, which wrapped up a week-long visit to China on Wednesday, said there had been no human-to-human transmission but warned H7N9 was "one of the most lethal" influenza viruses ever seen.

Fauci praised Beijing for its handling of the current crisis, contrasting it to the response of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2002-2003, when China stood accused of covering-up the scale of the crisis.

"It was not the case with SARS in 2003 but the transparency has been excellent," Fauci said. "I am quite satisfied with the Chinese response."

Fauci likened the current H7N9 strain of bird flu "in some respects" to the H5N1 bird flu strain of several years ago.

"The similarities are that it is fundamentally a chicken or bird flu that jumps from chicken to humans and is quite severe when it infects humans," he said.

However, Fauci added: "The difference between H7N9 and H5N1, is that H5N1 kills chickens very rapidly so it is easy to identify where the infected flocks of chickens are. H7N9 doesn't make the chicken sick, so it has been difficult to pinpoint where the infected chickens are."

There have been 566 confirmed cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which killed 332 people in the world -- a mortality rate of 58 percent, compared to 20 percent for the H7N9 bird flu strain.

The H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic o 2009, which appeared in Mexico at the same time of year as the H7N9, eventually infected 60 million people throughout the world and killed more than 12,000.

The 1918 Spanish flu, which has been called one of the deadliest plagues in human history, had a mortality rate of only two percent. - France24.

H7N9 Zaozhuang Shandong Cluster Raises Concerns.
Patients Zhang, male, 36 years old, who lives in Zaozhuang City, and engaged in the work of building materials wholesale. Fever, cough 6 days, hold breath after 1 day the Zaozhuang City hospital on the evening of April 21, admitted to hospital with severe pneumonia

In Shandong, experts confirmed an H7N9 bird flu case in the city of Zaozhuang on Sunday. The patient, a four-year-old boy surnamed Zhang, developed a fever on Saturday.

The above translation (in red) describes the first confirmed H7N9 case (36M) in Zaozhuang, Shandong Province, who developed symptoms on April 15 (see map). The comments (in blue) describe the confirmation of H7N9 in his son (4M), who developed symptoms on April 27. The 12 day gap in disease onset dates strongly signals human to human transmission. Similar time gaps exist for family members in other H7N9 bird flu clusters, including the Minghan familial cluster where disease onset dates between son and father was 8 days (both cases died).

Although the disease onset date gaps provided compelling evidence of human yo human (H2H) transmission, the evidence for sustained H2H transmission is the identity in three genes found on A/Hangzhou/1/2013 and A/Jiangsu/01/2013, which included L226I

The dramatic spread of confirmed cases in recent days (see map) also supports widespread H3H transmission. - Recombinomics.

Taiwan Expands Travel Warning In China - H7N9 Spreads.
Hunan Province (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With H7N9 bird flu spreading into a growing number of provinces in China, Taiwan has expanded a warning to would-be travelers to the mainland, the Central News Agency reported from Taipei. Hunan Province yesterday became the 10th mainland province and city to receive a Level-2 travel advisory after a H7N9 bird flu illness was reported there, CNA said.   The seven other provinces are Jiangsu, Henan, Zhejiang, Anhui, Shandong, Fujian and Jiangxi.  The two cities are Shanghai and Beijing. A Level-2 advisory means travelers should be aware of their surroundings and take extra hygienic precautions, especially in high-risk places,  CNA said.   Taiwan, which has a three-level warning system, first issued a Level-2 alert on April 25.  Taiwan to date has one H7N9 bird flu case, a 53-year-old man who became sick after turning from Jiangsu and Shanghai. - Forbes.

H7N9 Flu Prefers Men And Seniors, Now Over 120 Cases.
Researchers have begun to agree that the new avian-human flu crossover, influenza A(H7N9), differs markedly in terms of human vulnerability from influenza A(H5N1), the other recent and lethal crossover avian virus. One hundred twenty cases of human infection with H7N9 have been reported as of today (Sunday, April 28). Most patients have been severely ill, and 23 have died.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control issued this update:
"The source and mode of transmission have not been confirmed. The outbreak is caused by a reassortant avian influenza virus with low pathogenicity for birds.... Genetic analyses of the isolates have shown changes which suggest that the H7N9 virus may have greater ability to infect mammalian species, including humans, than most other avian influenza viruses. Pathogenicity for humans appears to be high and higher age appears to be a risk factor for disease."
Age difference among patients
In China the previous major avian flu, H5N1, was more prevalent among young adults than other age groups. However, Nicholas Kelley, PhD, at the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, recently calculated the median age of the H7N9 patients at 61.5 years. When the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control released its April 19 epidemiological update, it declared the median age of H7N9 patients even higher: 64.
Examining the ages of the 45 H5N1 patients in China over the past 10 years, Kelley found a median of only 27. The H5N1 cases recorded in the H7N9 geographic range averaged even younger: 24. No explanation has yet been offered for the huge 40-year difference.

Striking gender imbalance

It appears at this early date that H7N9 may infect men more often than women. The ECDC report a week ago noted that only 25 of 82 patients with available information were female. Kelley looked at 12 H5N1 cases in the same locations as the H7N9 cases and found the H5N1 group evenly divided.

Other H7N9 mysteries
  • Why have more than 100 H7N9 cases popped up in just the first few weeks in China, when only 45 H5N1 cases occurred in the same country over about 10 years? What accounts for this major difference in transmission rates, and should we be alarmed?
  • Why does the virus seem to cause little or no sickness in birds but make humans seriously ill? "We don't know what we're dealing with here, because this is the first time we've seen a virus causing serious illness in humans but having low pathogenicity in birds," said Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the UMinn center.
  • Who or what is actually spreading this disease? Scientists confirmed on Thursday that chickens were a major source of the new flu virus--but are they the only source? Chinese authorities reported this week in a study published in Lancet, the top British medical journal, that about 40% of H7N9 patients had no clear history of exposure to poultry. Additionally, only 39 of about 48,000 samples from more than 1,000 poultry markets, farms, and other sites were found to contain the virus.
"Aggressive intervention to block further animal-to-person transmission in live poultry markets, as has previously been done in Hong Kong, should be considered," said Kwok-Yung Yuen of the University of Hong Kong.
More than 300 people who had close contact with four of the patients had no symptoms of H7N9 infection over two weeks, the Lancet reported, so human-to-human transmission remains an important question.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautions that although no person-to-person contact has been found to date, authorities should be ready for the virus to mutate and become capable of spreading among humans. "It's unpredictable.... But we still need to be very prepared for the eventuality of that happening." - Examiner.

TERRORISM, ACCIDENT OR FALSE FLAG EVENT: Massive Explosion Rocks Prague In The Czech Republic - 55 Injured, Buildings Damaged!

April 29, 2013 - CZECH REPUBLIC -  An explosion ripped through a film and TV school building in the Czech capital of Prague while classes were in session Monday morning, injuring dozens of people and prompting evacuations of nearby buildings, city fire officials said.

Victims stand on the street near the site of the blast.

At least two people were unaccounted for, and authorities were working on stabilizing the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts building so rescuers could search for them in the rubble, fire department spokeswoman Pavlina Adamcova said.

The blast at the school in the center of the city was "most likely a gas explosion," Prague police spokesman Tomas Hulan said on state-run Czech TV.

Woman injured in the explosion.

Crews work at the scene.

Injured people receive medical care.

Up to 55 people were injured, Adamcova said. Thirty-five were taken to various hospitals, and others with less serious injuries were treated at the site, Prague emergency services representative Jirina Ernestova said.

Much of the building's first floor collapsed, and windows of neighboring buildings were damaged. Nearby buildings including the National Theatre, across the street from the school, were evacuated.

Marianna Zapotilova was in an office in a nearby building when the blast happened. The office's window was open, and the force of the blast "pushed me away from my computer," she said.

"There was a lot of dust" immediately after the explosion, Zapotilova said. "People in the area were injured, mainly by broken glass from the windows, they had their heads bandaged." - CNN.

WATCH: Prague explosion leaves 50 hurt, buildings damaged.

WATCH: Prague explosion injures dozens.

THE INNER EARTH SUN: Scientific Research - Earth's Core 1,000 Degrees Hotter Than Previously Thought, On Par With The Sun!

April 29, 2013 - EARTH - Think it’s hot on the sun? Well it’s just as hot under your feet, according to new research suggesting the Earth's core is a scorching mass of iron that's roughly the same temperature as the sun.

This Jan. 4, 2012, file photo provided by NASA shows the Earth. (AP / NASA, File)

Scientists at France's CEA research agency revealed their new findings Friday in a study published in the journal Science.

The Earth is believed to have a solid core, consisting mainly of iron in a crystalline state. Surrounding that solid core is an outer core comprised of scorching-hot liquid.

The temperature of the crystalline centre has been the subject of an enduring debate, with scientists unable to agree on how the iron might behave in the intense pressure and heat of that environment.

The CEA researchers were able to simulate the phenomenon, however, by compressing a sample of iron in a laser-heated diamond anvil cell -- a device which essentially squeezed the sample between two synthetic diamonds. Then, they used lasers to increase the temperature of the sample while the pressure was cranked up to more than a million times that of the Earth’s atmosphere at sea level.

This image captured in the 304 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in red, and provided by NASA shows a solar flare, lower centre, erupting from the sun Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP / NASA)

X-rays were then fired at the iron sample, while its texture and structure were observed during the transition from solid to liquid – giving new insights into the behaviour of partially molten iron and the temperatures at which iron crystalline can form.

According to the experiment, the Earth's core is 1,000 degrees hotter than previously thought -- making it 6,000 C, on par with the temperature on the sun.

"The accurate determination of the melting temperature of iron provides an important constraint on the core temperature, which is essential to understanding how the dynamic Earth works, including its heat budget, generation of its magnetic field, and the thermal evolution of the planet. high heat flux at the core-mantle boundary with a possible partial melting of the mantle," wrote researcher Yingwei Fei.

The research has provided scientists with the most definitive look yet into how the planet's iron core looks and behaves. - CTV.