Monday, June 17, 2013

MONUMENTAL SOLAR ANOMALIES: Possibility Of A Magnetic Collapse On The Sun - More Unexpected Solar Behavior As The Solar Magnetic Dipole HAS NOT Crossed Zero?!

June 17, 2013 - SUN - The Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) began daily observations of the Sun's global magnetic field in May 1975, with the goal of understanding changes in the Sun and how those changes affect the Earth; this is now called space weather.

Since 1976 low-resolution maps are also made of the Sun's magnetic field each day, as are observations of solar surface motions. The observatory is located in the foothills just west of the Stanford University campus.

Current research topics include space weather, helioseismology, and the solar cycle; The staff are closely associated with the Solar Oscillations Investigation that uses the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) instrument on the SOHO spacecraft to observe the inside of the Sun.

Plot from Wilcox Solar Observatory

This is fairly important news given the sun is strongly a magnetic entity, moreover this might be in line with some predictions about a kind of magnetic collapse.

  • Livingston and Penn work which suggests the visibility of sunspots will drop.

NOTE: NASA have used an offset Y axis, visually misleading, the slope is far less than shown. Source
© Science@NASA

  • Monopole solar activity as suggested was the case during a previous solar minimum based on work with unpublished solar drawings in Scandinavian university archives. (vague because I can't remember the source)
The polar field is not known before recent times, deduced from spectroscopic work.

On looking back at various Talkshop articles the following surprise dated March 2011 turned up.

© Tallbloke Talkshop

Vuc had helped out by telling me about data which extends the dataset back in time a little. I think more luck than law but it suggests there is a significant meaning in detail cyclic content.

Previous posts on this subject are best found by Google, which indexes blogs so here is a specific search phrase wso polar

- Daedal Earth.

EXTREME WEATHER: Heightened Risk Of Severe Weather For The Lower Mississippi Valley To Southern Atlantic Coast - Broad Area Of Thunderstorms Will Produce Widespread Downpours, Flash Flooding, Damaging Winds, Hail And Isolated Tornadoes!

June 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A broad area of thunderstorms will produce flooding downpours and locally damaging winds from the Lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Atlantic coast Monday evening.

A vigorous storm moving out of the central Plains will team up with heat and humidity to spark severe thunderstorms on Monday that will threaten Monroe, La., Greenville, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "During Sunday night, a complex of thunderstorms organized into a squall line, which proceeded to move quickly southeastward across Oklahoma and northern Texas."

The storms hit the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex during the morning rush hour.

The storms weakened Monday midday, but were springing back to life due to heating of the afternoon farther to the east.

By early Monday night, the heightened risk for severe weather along with flooding will focus on an area from southern Illinois and western and central Kentucky to middle Tennessee and central Mississippi.

Widespread heat and humidity in combination with an old frontal boundary will bring widespread downpours and primarily a flash flooding risk farther east into the Carolinas.

Areas from Jackson, Miss. and Birmingham, Ala., to Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta and Columbia, S.C., will face the risk of flash flooding in slow-moving and repeating thunderstorms into Monday night.

A few small clusters of storms farther east can also bring damaging wind gusts east of the Mississippi Valley.

On Saturday, a stubborn thunderstorm unleashed nearly 10 inches of rain in only a few hours over the southern suburbs of Springfield, Tenn. Nearly 4 feet of water inundated some roadways, and water rescues were needed.

Such extreme rainfall and flooding cannot be ruled out across parts of the Southeast, but it would be a rare instance. However, motorists should not attempt to cross any water-covered roadways and are urged to turn around.

Additional thunderstorms will fire Monday evening well to the west, over the southern High Plains.

The activity over the High Plains is forecast to organize into a complex of thunderstorms affecting parts of northern and central Texas during Tuesday. - AccuWeather.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For June 17, 2013 - Updates On Veniaminof, Pavlof, Popocatépetl, Santa María, Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego, Sangeang Api, Soputan And Merapi!

June 17, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption continues at low levels. Recent satellite images show very high elevated surface temperatures at the intracaldera cinder cone consistent with continued effusion of lava.

Photo of Veniaminof on 13 June, taken from Port Moller by Bob Murphy (via AVO)

No plumes have been observed in satellite images nor reported by pilots or local observers. (AVO)

Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA)
: AVO reports no significant change in the seismicity at Pavlof in the past 24 hours: seismic tremor continues, but at lower amplitudes than previously.

For the first time since May 27, no elevated surface temperatures were detected in satellite images during the past 24 hours. No plumes were visible in satellite images, and web camera images show cloudy conditions. (AVO)

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has been elevated. During 15-16 June, CENAPRED recorded 3-4 emissions per hous, including a few stronger explosions.

Eruption plume from Popocatepétl on June 14.

Eruption from Popocatepétl on June 16.

One yesterday morning threw incandescent fragments on the north side at a distance no greater than 500 m.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity has remained more or less stable. Occasional explosions occur from the lava dome producing small ash plumes of a few 100 m height.

View of the Caliente lava dome with an explosion yesterday morning (INSIVUMEH webcam).

The viscous lava flows on the flanks of the dome are mostly stagnant, but sometime experience small advance and collapses, mostly the flow on the southern side (left in the picture).

Pacaya (Guatemala): Eruptive activity has resumed. Weak incandescence and explosions could be seen and heard during the past days.

Seismic signal from Pacaya today (PCG station, INSIVUMEH).

Today, no direct observations were reported, but volcanic tremor increased significantly during today, which could indicate some more vigorous activity soon.

Fuego (Guatemala)
: Activity has increased during the past days. A new small lava flow started on 14 June on the southern flank and had a length of 300 m this morning.

Fuego today with the lava flow towards the Ceniza canyon visible (INSIVUMEH webcam)

Explosive strombolian activity has picked up a bit as well. Glowing tephra is ejected to 75-125 m height, and ash plumes rise to 3-500 m above the crater.

Sangeang Api (Indonesia)
: VSI decreased the alert level from 3 to 2 ("Waspada", on a scale of 4), as seismic activity has decreased recently.

Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia)
: VSI decreased the alert level back to level 2. The volcano is currently quiet and only degassing.

Merapi (Central Java)
: A small ash eruption was reported yesterday at around 09:15 local time. Residents near the volcano heard an explosion sound and some fins ash fell on nearby villages.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 17, 2013.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Preparing For The "Armageddon" Event - NASA Picks 8 New Astronauts, 4 Of Them Women, To Lead First Human Mission To An Asteroid?!

June 17, 2013 - NASA - NASA has eight new astronauts — its first new batch in four years.

The space agency announced its newest astronaut class Monday. Among the lucky candidates: the first female fighter pilot to become an astronaut in nearly two decades. A female helicopter pilot also is in the group. In fact, four of the eight are women, the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected by NASA.

The eight were chosen from more than 6,000 applications, the second largest number ever received. They will report for duty in August at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says these new candidates will help lead the first human mission to an asteroid, and then Mars.
The list:
Josh A. Cassada, Ph. D., 39, is originally from White Bear Lake, Minn. Cassada is a former naval aviator who holds an undergraduate degree from Albion College, and advanced degrees from the University of Rochester, N.Y. Cassada is a physicist by training and currently is serving as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Quantum Opus.

Victor J. Glover, 37, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, hails from Pomona, Calif., and Prosper, Texas. He is an F/A-18 pilot and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. Glover holds degrees from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Air University and Naval Postgraduate School. He currently is serving as a Navy Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Congress.

Tyler N. Hague (Nick), 37, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, calls Hoxie, Kan., home. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards, Calif. Hague currently is supporting the Department of Defense as Deputy Chief of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

Christina M. Hammock, 34, calls Jacksonville, N.C. home. Hammock holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. She currently is serving as National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Station Chief in American Samoa.

Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, originally is from Penngrove, Calif. She is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stanford (Calif.) University and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md. Mann is an F/A 18 pilot, currently serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.

WATCH: Movie Symbolism - Armageddon Movie (1998). The film follows a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

Anne C. McClain, 34, Major, U.S. Army, lists her hometown as Spokane, Wash. She is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, both in the United Kingdom. McClain is an OH-58 helicopter pilot, and a recent graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.

Jessica U. Meir, Ph.D., 35 is from Caribou, Maine. She is a graduate of Brown University, has an advanced degree from the International Space University, and earned her doctorate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Meir currently is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Andrew R. Morgan, M.D., 37, Major, U.S. Army, considers New Castle, Pa., home. Morgan is a graduate of The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and earned doctorate in medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md. He has experience as an emergency physician and flight surgeon for the Army special operations community, and currently is completing a sports medicine fellowship. - MYFOXNY.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across North America - Canadian Sinkhole Forces Highway Closure!

June 17, 2013 - CANADA - A huge sinkhole has closed both lanes of Highway 2 north of Prince Albert.

Officials say a washout from heavy rains caused the road collapse.

The sinkhole is located about 52 kilometres north of the Waskesiu turnoff.

WATCH: Sinkhole forces highway closure.

Repairs are underway, but it wasn’t known when the highway would reopen. - CTV News.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across America - Massive Sinkhole Swallows Front End Of Semi Tractor-Trailer In Mission, Kansas!

June 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - An apparent sinkhole swallowed up the front end of a semi tractor-trailer in Mission, Kan. Saturday afternoon.

Image: Kyle Rowlands.

The pictures below were sent to FOX 4 by Jamie McCray. Others also watched as authorities tried to retrieve the truck from the lot.

Image: Jamie McBray.

Image: Kyle Rowlands.

FOX 4 is working to gather more information on this developing story after the heavy rains.  Refresh this page for updates. - FOX4KC.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Swine Flu Spreads In India - 4,783 Tested Positive; 293 Deaths!

June 17, 2013 - INDIA - Rajasthanreported second highest number of swine flu deaths this year. Highest deaths were reported in Gujarat.

According to the figures of the health ministry, swine flu claimed 161 lives in the beginning of the year in the state. In Gujarat, 194 persons died of swine flu.

Moreover, the state stands third in swine flu cases. Delhi reported the highest number of cases (1,503), followed by Gujarat (1025) and Rajasthan (842) during January 1 and May 26.

Nationally, 4,783 persons tested positive for the disease while 593 died due to it.

Delhi, despite reporting the highest number of swine flu cases, reported only 16 deaths. While Gujarat and Rajasthan reported a higher number of swine flu deaths comparatively.

Despite a change in the temperature, flu cases get reported off and on. While on May 30 one person died in Baran district.

From April 1 to May 30, as many as 38 cases of swine flu were detected in state, of whom 14 died. - Times of India.

TERMINATOR NOW: Rise Of The Machines - Swiss Scientists Have Created The Fastest Robot Under 65 Pounds; "Cheetah Cub" Robot Runs Like A Housecat!

June 17, 2013 - SWITZERLAND - Researchers in Switzerland have created a robot that moves like a housecat and can run faster than all other robots its size.

Screen capture of Swiss researchers' cat-inspired robot, which can run at seven body lengths per second.

Dubbed the "cheetah-cub robot," scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne modeled it after a common housecat, with strings replacing the tendons in its legs. Flexible knees allow it to bound over steps and other small obstacles.

The robot can run at speeds of up to 3.1 miles per hour. Each second, it can travel seven times the length of its body, and it's the fastest four-legged robot ever created that weighs less than 65 pounds. By comparison, the common housecat can travel about 29 body lengths per second.

"It has applications in rough terrain, it can climb through the mountains, which is harder for a machine with wheels," Alexander Sprowitz, one of the researchers, explains in a video about the robot. Sprowitz believes the robot might be useful for search and rescue missions in areas with rocky terrain.

WATCH: Robot that runs like a cat.

The robot still has a bit of growing up to do if it wants to perform like a cheetah, though. In 2012, DARPA created a robot that is capable of running at speeds of 28 miles per hour, faster than track star Usain Bolt. That robot, however, ran on a treadmill and still requires a device to help it center itself. DARPA plans on testing the robot in free-running situations in the future. - US News.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Saudi Arabia Says That MERS Coronavirus Kills Four More People!

June 17, 2013 - SAUDI ARABIA - Four more people have died and three more have fallen ill in Saudi Arabia from the new SARS-like coronavirus MERS-CoV, the Saudi Health Ministry said on Monday.

Men wearing surgical masks as a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus, speak at a hospital in
Khobar city in Dammam May 23, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Stringer

The ministry said the four deaths were among previously registered cases. The new infections were in Eastern Province, in the capital Riyadh and in Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia
has been the country most affected by the respiratory-system virus, with 49 confirmed cases, of whom 32 have died, according to data from the ministry.

The worldwide death toll released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 15 stood at 34.

The virus, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, has spread from the Gulf to France, Britain and Germany. The WHO has called it the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

It is a distant relative of the virus that triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that swept the world in late 2003 and killed 775 people.

The origin of the MERS virus is still unclear. So far, it appears to spread between people only when there is close, prolonged contact. - Reuters.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Central Mexico - Knocked Out Power In Some Areas Of Mexico City!

June 17, 2013 - MEXICO - A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico early Sunday, so far without any casualties or damage reported, officials said.

USGS earthquake location.

The quake struck just after midnight local time (0519 GMT), east of the city of Huitzuco, in Guerrero state, at a depth of about 30 miles (50 kilometers), according to Mexico's National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey.

The officials downgraded the tremor's magnitude from an initial report of 6.0 on the Richter scale.

Although the quake was felt strongly in the capital, "in the preliminary report, Mexico City was not damaged," Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera wrote on his Twitter feed.

The country's Civil Protection chief Fausto Lugo, meanwhile, told reporters "We have no reports of major incidents. We reviewed the city and have no incidents." But the power was out in some areas of Mexico City, a local radio station reported, and the strong tremors sparked panic in some restaurants and bars, as customers hastily evacuated.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The international airport said on its social network account it was reviewing its tracks, platforms, fuel and terminal buildings for damage.

And in the coastal resort city of Acapulco, an AFP reporter saw some tourists leave their hotels but said there were no reports of damages.

An 8.1-magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985 destroyed part of the city and killed 3,700 people, according to official tallies. Civil groups put the death toll from that powerful quake even higher, at around 20,000 people. - Hurriyet Daily News.

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 plate tectonics 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.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: City Investigating Dead Fish At East Park Pond, El Dorado, Kansas - Cause Of Death Of Numerous Fish Is A Mystery?!

June 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The cause of the death of numerous fish at the pond in East Park is a mystery.

The City of El Dorado has investigating the cause after received the report of dead fish Wednesday.

File photo.

After inspecting the pond, they found a lot of big and little fish dead.

"The first thing we did was start adding new water," said Herb Llewellyn, city manager. "The solution to pollution is dilution. We have been cleaning up and adding water ever since."

They first suspected it was due to waste from the geese and ducks, which had taken all the dissolved oxygen out of the water, but when they checked, there was a lot of oxygen.

"We then started looking for other things," Llewellyn said.

They have been in contact with Randy Just, from the El Dorado State Park, and Craig Johnson, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism fisheries biologist for El Dorado, to try to determine the cause.

Kurt Bookout, public utilities director, said he had talked to Johnson and they both were stumped as to the cause.

“We’ve run all the tests we know to run in our lab and didn’t find a cause,” Bookout said.

He said they are continuing to flush fresh water through the pond. - El Dorado Times.

WAR DRUMS: Growing Conflict - Iran To Send 4,000 Troops To Aid President Assad Forces In Syria!

June 17, 2013 - MIDDLE EAST - Washington’s decision to arm Syria’s Sunni Muslim rebels has plunged America into the great Sunni-Shia conflict of the Islamic Middle East, entering a struggle that now dwarfs the Arab revolutions which overthrew dictatorships across the region.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard could be sent to Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
AFP/Getty images

For the first time, all of America’s ‘friends’ in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites. Breaking all President Barack Obama’s rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East.

The Independent on Sunday
has learned that a military decision has been taken in Iran – even before last week’s presidential election – to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the largely Sunni rebellion that has cost almost 100,000 lives in just over two years.  Iran is now fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime, according to pro-Iranian sources which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new ‘Syrian’ front on the Golan Heights against Israel.

In years to come, historians will ask how America – after its defeat in Iraq and its humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled for  2014 – could have so blithely aligned itself with one side in a titanic Islamic struggle stretching back to the seventh century death of the Prophet Mohamed. The profound effects of this great schism, between Sunnis who believe that the father of Mohamed’s wife was the new caliph of the Muslim world and Shias who regard his son in law Ali as his rightful successor – a seventh century battle swamped in blood around the present-day Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kerbala – continue across the region to this day. A 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbott, compared this Muslim conflict to that between “Papists and Protestants”.

America’s alliance now includes the wealthiest states of the Arab Gulf, the vast Sunni territories between Egypt and Morocco, as well as Turkey and the fragile British-created monarchy in Jordan. King Abdullah of Jordan – flooded, like so many neighbouring nations, by hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – may also now find himself at the fulcrum of the Syrian battle.  Up to 3,000 American ‘advisers’ are now believed to be in Jordan, and the creation of a southern Syria ‘no-fly zone’ – opposed by Syrian-controlled anti-aircraft batteries – will turn a crisis into a ‘hot’ war.  So much for America’s ‘friends’.

Its enemies include the Lebanese Hizballah, the Alawite Shiite regime in Damascus and, of course, Iran. And Iraq, a largely Shiite nation which America ‘liberated’ from Saddam Hussein’s Sunni minority in the hope of balancing the Shiite power of Iran, has – against all US predictions – itself now largely fallen under Tehran’s influence and power.  Iraqi Shiites as well as Hizballah members, have both fought alongside Assad’s forces.
Washington’s excuse for its new Middle East adventure – that it must arm Assad’s enemies because the Damascus regime has used sarin gas against them – convinces no-one in the Middle East.  Final proof of the use of gas by either side in Syria remains almost as nebulous as President George W. Bush’s claim that Saddam’s Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

For the real reason why America has thrown its military power behind Syria’s Sunni rebels is because those same rebels are now losing their war against Assad.  The Damascus regime’s victory this month in the central Syrian town of  Qusayr, at the cost of Hizballah lives as well as those of government forces, has thrown the Syrian revolution into turmoil, threatening to humiliate American and EU demands for Assad to abandon power.  Arab dictators are supposed to be deposed – unless they are the friendly kings or emirs of the Gulf – not to be sustained.  Yet Russia has given its total support to Assad, three times vetoing UN Security Council resolutions that might have allowed the West to intervene directly in the civil war.

A wounded Syrian waits for medical treatment.
AFP/Getty images

In the Middle East, there is cynical disbelief at the American contention that it can distribute arms – almost certainly including anti-aircraft missiles – only to secular Sunni rebel forces in Syria represented by the so-called Free Syria Army.  The more powerful al-Nusrah Front, allied to al-Qaeda, dominates the battlefield on the rebel side and has been blamed for atrocities including the execution of Syrian government prisoners of war and the murder of a 14-year old boy for blasphemy.  They will be able to take new American weapons from their Free Syria Army comrades with little effort.

From now on, therefore, every suicide bombing in Damascus - every war crime committed by the rebels - will be regarded in the region as Washington’s responsibility. The very Sunni-Wahabi Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on 11th September, 2011 – who are America’s greatest enemies as well as Russia’s – are going to be proxy allies of the Obama administration. This terrible irony can only be exacerbated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adament refusal to tolerate any form of Sunni extremism.  His experience in Chechenya, his anti-Muslim rhetoric – he has made obscene remarks about Muslim extremists in a press conference in Russian – and his belief that Russia’s old ally in Syria is facing the same threat as Moscow fought in Chechenya, plays a far greater part in his policy towards Bashar al-Assad than the continued existence of Russia’s naval port at the Syrian Mediterranean city of Tartous.

For the Russians, of course, the ‘Middle East’ is not in the ‘east’ at all, but to the south of Moscow;  and statistics are all-important. The Chechen capital of Grozny is scarcely 500 miles from the Syrian frontier.  Fifteen per cent of Russians are Muslim.  Six of the Soviet Union’s communist republics had a Muslim majority, 90 per cent of whom were Sunni.  And Sunnis around the world make up perhaps 85 per cent of all Muslims.  For a Russia intent on repositioning itself across a land mass that includes most of the former Soviet Union, Sunni Islamists of the kind now fighting the Assad regime are its principal antagonists.

Iranian sources say they liaise constantly with Moscow, and that while Hizballah’s overall withdrawal from Syria is likely to be completed soon – with the maintenance of the militia’s ‘intelligence’ teams inside Syria – Iran’s support for Damascus will grow rather than wither.  They point out that the Taliban recently sent a formal delegation for talks in Tehran and that America will need Iran’s help in withdrawing from Afghanistan.  The US, the Iranians say, will not be able to take its armour and equipment out of the country during its continuing war against the Taliban without Iran’s active assistance.  One of the sources claimed – not without some mirth -- that the French were forced to leave 50 tanks behind when they left because they did not have Tehran’s help.

It is a sign of the changing historical template in the Middle East that within the framework of old Cold War rivalries between Washington and Moscow, Israel’s security has taken second place to the conflict in Syria.  Indeed, Israel’s policies in the region have been knocked askew by the Arab revolutions, leaving its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, hopelessly adrift amid the historic changes.

Only once over the past two years has Israel fully condemned atrocities committed by the Assad regime, and while it has given medical help to wounded rebels on the Israeli-Syrian border, it fears an Islamist caliphate in Damascus far more than a continuation of Assad’s rule.  One former Israel intelligence commander recently described Assad as “Israel’s man in Damascus”.  Only days before President Mubarak was overthrown, both Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called Washington to ask Obama to save the Egyptian dictator.  In vain.

If the Arab world has itself been overwhelmed by the two years of revolutions, none will have suffered from the Syrian war in the long term more than the Palestinians.  The land they wish to call their future state has been so populated with Jewish Israeli colonists that it can no longer be either secure or ‘viable’.  ‘Peace’ envoy Tony Blair’s attempts to create such a state have been laughable.  A future ‘Palestine’ would be a Sunni nation.  But today, Washington scarcely mentions the Palestinians.

Another of the region’s supreme ironies is that Hamas, supposedly the ‘super-terrorists’ of Gaza, have abandoned Damascus and now support the Gulf Arabs’ desire to crush Assad.  Syrian government forces claim that Hamas has even trained Syrian rebels in the manufacture and use of home-made rockets.

In Arab eyes, Israel’s 2006 war against the Shia Hizballah was an attempt to strike at the heart of Iran. The West’s support for Syrian rebels is a strategic attempt to crush Iran. But Iran is going to take the offensive.  Even for the Middle East, these are high stakes. Against this fearful background, the Palestinian tragedy continues. - The Independent.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 6.5 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off The Coast Of Nicaragua!

June 17, 2013 - NICARAGUA - A 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted several towns along Nicaragua's Pacific coast on Saturday, rattling buildings but causing only minor damage.

The earthquake struck at 11.34am (1734 GMT), 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of the capital Managua 
in the Pacific at a depth of 36 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said.

USGS earthquake location.

Nicaragua said it was followed by about 10 aftershocks measuring between 3.6 and 5.3 in magnitude.

An 81-year-old man was the only reported casualty. He died of cardiac arrest, apparently succumbing to the temblor that lasted several seconds, according to the president of the national disaster response agency, SINAPRED, Guillermo Gonzalez.

He said some buildings suffered cracks, including the offices of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade.

Seismologist Angelica Munoz said the quake was powerful and felt almost throughout the country, and there could be more aftershocks.

In the city of Leon, 90 kilometers northwest of Managua, the dome of a church was damaged.

USGS earthquake shakemap location.

People said objects fell to the ground in the capital. Cell phone service and Internet access were knocked out for a few minutes.

At least six houses suffered cracks on their walls after the first tremor, according to the authorities.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami, but there could be smaller localized ones.

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Managua in December 1972 killed 5,000 people and left more than a quarter million homeless. - Hindustan Times.

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 plate tectonics for the region.

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.

References for the Panama Fracture Zone:

Molnar, P., and Sykes, L. R., 1969, Tectonics of the Caribbean and Middle America Regions from Focal Mechanisms and Seismicity: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 80, p. 1639-1684. - USGS.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 6.2 Magnitude Quake Shakes Southern Greece!

June 17, 2013 - GREECE - A moderate 6.2-magnitude earthquake rumbled off the southern coast of the Greek island of Crete Saturday, according to the US Geological Survey, but there was no immediate warning of a tsunami.

USGS earthquake location.

The earthquake struck at 6:11 p.m. (1611 GMT) around 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the town of Pirgos at a depth of 10 kilometers, the USGS said, adding that there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

According to the Athens Observatory, it was a “very strong” quake which it put at a magnitude of 5.9 and said its epicenter was located 483 kilometers southeast of Athens in the Mediterranean.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The quake was especially felt in the city of Ierapetra on Crete, it added. About 10 days ago, a quake was also registered off of Crete, which did not cause any casualties or damage. Greece is the European country that is most frequently hit by earthquakes. - Inquirer.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Mediterranean Region and Vicinity.
The Mediterranean region is seismically active due to the northward convergence (4-10 mm/yr) of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary. This convergence began approximately 50 Ma and was associated with the closure of the Tethys Sea. The modern day remnant of the Tethys Sea is the Mediterranean Sea. The highest rates of seismicity in the Mediterranean region are found along the Hellenic subduction zone of southern Greece, along the North Anatolian Fault Zone of western Turkey and the Calabrian subduction zone of southern Italy. Local high rates of convergence at the Hellenic subduction zone (35mm/yr) are associated with back-arc spreading throughout Greece and western Turkey above the subducting Mediterranean oceanic crust. Crustal normal faulting throughout this region is a manifestation of extensional tectonics associated with the back-arc spreading. The region of the Marmara Sea is a transition zone between this extensional regime, to the west, and the strike-slip regime of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, to the east. The North Anatolian Fault accommodates much of the right-lateral horizontal motion (23-24 mm/yr) between the Anatolian micro-plate and Eurasian plate as the Anatolian micro-plate is being pushed westward to further accommodate closure of the Mediterranean basin caused by the collision of the African and Arabian plates in southeastern Turkey. Subduction of the Mediterranean Sea floor beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea at the Calabrian subduction zone causes a significant zone of seismicity around Sicily and southern Italy. Active volcanoes are located above intermediate depth earthquakes in the Cyclades of the Aegean Sea and in southern Italy.

USGS tectonic plates for the region.

In the Mediterranean region there is a written record, several centuries long, documenting pre-instrumental seismicity (pre-20th century). Earthquakes have historically caused widespread damage across central and southern Greece, Cyprus, Sicily, Crete, the Nile Delta, Northern Libya, the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The 1903 M8.2 Kythera earthquake and the 1926 M7.8 Rhodes earthquakes are the largest instrumentally recorded Mediterranean earthquakes, both of which are associated with subduction zone tectonics. Between 1939 and 1999 a series of devastating M7+ strike-slip earthquakes propagated westward along the North Anatolian Fault Zone, beginning with the 1939 M7.8 Erzincan earthquake on the eastern end of the North Anatolian Fault system. The 1999 M7.6 Izmit earthquake, located on the westward end of the fault, struck one of Turkey's most densely populated and industrialized urban areas killing, more than 17,000 people. Although seismicity rates are comparatively low along the northern margin of the African continent, large destructive earthquakes have been recorded and reported from Morocco in the western Mediterranean, to the Dead Sea in the eastern Mediterranean. The 1980 M7.3 El Asnam earthquake was one of Africa's largest and most destructive earthquakes within the 20th century.

Large earthquakes throughout the Mediterranean region have also been known to produce significant and damaging tsunamis. One of the more prominent historical earthquakes within the region is the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755, whose magnitude has been estimated from non-instrumental data to be about 8.0. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake is thought to have occurred within or near the Azores-Gibraltar transform fault, which defines the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates off the west coast of Morocco and Portugal. The earthquake is notable for both a large death toll of approximately 60,000 people and for generating a tsunami that swept up the Portuguese coast inundating coastal villages and Lisbon. An earthquake of approximately M8.0 near Sicily in 1693 generated a large tsunami wave that destroyed numerous towns along Sicily's east coast. The M7.2 December 28, 1908 Messina earthquake is the deadliest documented European earthquake. The combination of severe ground shaking and a local tsunami caused an estimated 60,000 to 120,000 fatalities. - USGS.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mysterious Liver Disease Kills 30 Cows At Colac Farm In Victoria, Australia?!

June 17, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Victoria's Department of Environment and Primary Industries says a disease that has killed about 30 cows near Colac, in south-western Victoria will not spread to other animals.

File Photo.

The department's director of animal biosecurity and welfare, Tony Britt, says early reports show the cattle died early this week from acute bovine liver disease.

He says the disease is sometimes observed in the western district at this time of year.

Mr Britt says farmers should contact their vet if their animals are sick, but they should not worry about the disease spreading from animal to animal.

"The exact cause is not known with any degree of certainty but it's probably a fungal contamination on the pasture," he said.

"The cattle ingests the fungus, (then) the fungus damages the liver. That's the underlying cause of the disease." - ABC News Australia.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "No Fish Left" - Over 350,000 Fish Have Died Since The Beginning Of The Year In Lugert-Altus Lake, Oklahoma?!

June 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The extreme drought blanketing Southwestern Oklahoma has taxed water resources in Altus and plagued farmers.

File photo.

Now, a toxic golden algae bloom at Lugert-Altus Lake has left it “essentially dead as a fishery,” The Oklahoman’s Ed Godfrey reports. Wildlife officials aren’t sure how the algae spreads, but the drought improves growth conditions:
It flourishes in cool water conditions where there is less healthy green algae and in lakes with higher salt content. The lack of rain also can concentrate nutrients in the water that increase the odds for toxic blooms, but there is no way to predict when they will happen.
About 350,000 fish have died from the the fish-kill, which started in December and continued through February, the paper reports. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation surveyed the lake in April and couldn’t find any fish.

From The Oklahoman:
Basically, all lakes west of I-35 are vulnerable to golden algae. A handful of lakes east of I-35 – including Hefner, Sooner, Konawa, Keystone and Kerr – also have been identified as potentially vulnerable because of their higher salt content.
Lakes filled with dead fish aren’t great sources of drinking water, but officials at the Department of Environmental Quality say the golden algae bloom shouldn’t affect Altus’ public water supply, according to a report from the Wildlife Department:
Altus-Lugert Lake is one source of drinking water for the City of Altus, Oklahoma. At the current time, Altus is NOT using its intake structure located in this lake.

- State Impact.

WAR ON NATURE: Fishermen Dump Dead Fish On Dibba Beach In The United Arab Emirates - More Than 10,000 Fish Were On The Beach, Causing Bad Smell In The Area?!

June 17, 2013 - UAE - More than 10,000 dead fish deformed the clear water and sandy beach in Dibba Fujairah after they were dumped by fishermen seeking to get rid of excess catch.

Pictures published by the Arabic language daily Al Bayan showed the fish, some of which have started to decompose, dotted a long stretch of the beach in the quiet town, triggering a massive clean-up operation by local authorities.

The paper quoted fishing officials as saying the fish had been dumped by fishermen who sought to dispose of excess catch to avoid penalties by authorities following the introduction of regulations banning fishing malpractices and setting quotas to be caught by local fishermen in a bid to preserve the country’s marine wealth.

“These fish are a result of bad practices by some fishermen, who dump some of their catch in the water and on the sand,” said Suleiman Al Khadeem, deputy chairman of the UAE fishermen’s union and head of Dibba fishermen’s association.

“This is an irresponsible behavior by the fishermen as it causes environment problems, damages natural beauty and drains the country’s marine wealth.” - Emirates 24/7.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: H1N1 Flu Cases Up Sharply In Venezuela - 414 New Cases In Just 1 Week; 1,138 Total!

June 17, 2013 - VENEZUELA - The number of H1N1 swine flu cases rose sharply in Venezuela during the last week of May, the health ministry said Wednesday, refusing to disclose whether any deaths have been linked to the outbreak.

 A patient is given a swine flu vaccination at the University College London Hospital on October 21, 2009. The Venezuelan ministry said there were 414 new cases of H1N1 in the week from May 26 to June 1 of this year.

Health Minister Isabel Iturria, explaining why deaths would not be reported, blamed "political or economic interests" for creating alarm over the outbreak.

The ministry said there were 414 new cases of H1N1 in the week from May 26 to June 1, pushing the total number of cases from 724 to 1,138.

The virus was detected for the first time in Venezuela in 2009.

The current outbreak has surpassed one in 2011 that resulted in 900 cases and eight deaths.

Venezuela has been fiercely polarized since Nicolas Maduro was declared the winner of a disputed election in April to replace his mentor, the late leftist leader Hugo Chavez. The centrist opposition has contested the results. - France24.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Strikes South Of The Kermadec Islands!

June 17, 2013 - KERMADEC ISLANDS - A strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck south of Kermadec Islands on June 15, 2013 at 11:20:34 UTC.

USGS earthquake location.

The epicentre was located at 313 km (194 miles) southwest of L'Esperance Rock, New Zealand at coordinates of 33.895°S 179.455°E.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) registered a depth of 172.4 km (107.1 miles).

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate.
The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most sesimically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.

Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults' strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

North of New Zealand, the Australia-Pacific boundary stretches east of Tonga and Fiji to 250 km south of Samoa. For 2,200 km the trench is approximately linear, and includes two segments where old (Magnitude greater than 120 Myr) Pacific oceanic lithosphere rapidly subducts westward (Kermadec and Tonga). At the northern end of the Tonga trench, the boundary curves sharply westward and changes along a 700 km-long segment from trench-normal subduction, to oblique subduction, to a left lateral transform-like structure.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 60 mm/yr at the southern Kermadec trench to 90 mm/yr at the northern Tonga trench; however, significant back arc extension (or equivalently, slab rollback) causes the consumption rate of subducting Pacific lithosphere to be much faster. The spreading rate in the Havre trough, west of the Kermadec trench, increases northward from 8 to 20 mm/yr. The southern tip of this spreading center is propagating into the North Island of New Zealand, rifting it apart. In the southern Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench, the spreading rate increases northward from 60 to 90 mm/yr, and in the northern Lau Basin, multiple spreading centers result in an extension rate as high as 160 mm/yr. The overall subduction velocity of the Pacific plate is the vector sum of Australia-Pacific velocity and back arc spreading velocity: thus it increases northward along the Kermadec trench from 70 to 100 mm/yr, and along the Tonga trench from 150 to 240 mm/yr.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding Australia plates, within the two plates themselves and, less frequently, near the outer rise of the Pacific plate east of the trench. Since 1900, 40 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded, mostly north of 30°S. However, it is unclear whether any of the few historic M8+ events that have occurred close to the plate boundary were underthrusting events on the plate interface, or were intraplate earthquakes. On September 29, 2009, one of the largest normal fault (outer rise) earthquakes ever recorded (M8.1) occurred south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that killed at least 180 people.

Across the North Fiji Basin and to the west of the Vanuatu Islands, the Australia plate again subducts eastwards beneath the Pacific, at the North New Hebrides trench. At the southern end of this trench, east of the Loyalty Islands, the plate boundary curves east into an oceanic transform-like structure analogous to the one north of Tonga.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 80 to 90 mm/yr along the North New Hebrides trench, but the Australia plate consumption rate is increased by extension in the back arc and in the North Fiji Basin. Back arc spreading occurs at a rate of 50 mm/yr along most of the subduction zone, except near ~15°S, where the D'Entrecasteaux ridge intersects the trench and causes localized compression of 50 mm/yr in the back arc. Therefore, the Australia plate subduction velocity ranges from 120 mm/yr at the southern end of the North New Hebrides trench, to 40 mm/yr at the D'Entrecasteaux ridge-trench intersection, to 170 mm/yr at the northern end of the trench.

Large earthquakes are common along the North New Hebrides trench and have mechanisms associated with subduction tectonics, though occasional strike slip earthquakes occur near the subduction of the D'Entrecasteaux ridge. Within the subduction zone 34 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900. On October 7, 2009, a large interplate thrust fault earthquake (M7.6) in the northern North New Hebrides subduction zone was followed 15 minutes later by an even larger interplate event (M7.8) 60 km to the north. It is likely that the first event triggered the second of the so-called earthquake "doublet". - USGS.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "Unusual Event" - Thousands Of Fish Found Mysteriously Dead In Willband Creek Park, Abbotsford, Canada?!

June 17, 2013 - CANADA - The Ministry of Environment (MoE) has concluded its investigation into the deaths of thousands of small fish in a large detention pond in Willband Creek Park in Abbotsford, and the incident remains a mystery.

MoE spokesman David Karn said an emergency response officer tested the water temperature, pH levels, conductivity and dissolved oxygen, and determined none of those were connected to the deaths.

Gary Stewart at Willband Creek Park on May 13, the day after he discovered
thousands of dead fish in a retention pond.

Contamination of the water was also ruled out.

"There was no obvious source of contamination and no physical sign that the fish were exposed to a chemical contaminant," Karn said.

The city's environmental team was also notified. Rhonda Livingstone, spokesperson for the City of Abbotsford, said the fish kill is being considered an "unfortunate mystery."

"City staff will be closely monitoring the ponds to see if any new issues crop up, but the hope is that we won't have any similar incidents and we can chalk this up to a one-time, unusual event," she said.

The dead fish were discovered on Sunday, May 12 by Abbotsford resident Gary Stewart while he was out for a walk.

Stewart immediately informed the ministry, which sent out an environmental emergency response officer that afternoon.

Volunteers with the Ravine Park Salmon Enhancement Society were also notified, and they determined that the fish were three-spined stickleback. No other fish appeared to have been impacted.

Doug Gosling, a member of the Stoney Creek Salmon Stalkers, which is affiliated with RPSES, said he is disappointed that the MoE is not investigating the incident further.

"Thousands of fish showing up on the shores of one of our local waterways seems to me to be important enough to garner a fairly significant investigation … by doing nothing much more than a little snoop-around and shrugging our shoulders won't help in preventing another similar event."

He said the MoE should be pushed to provide answers.

"I think they need to know there are lots of people interested in this event and something needs to be done to prevent it happening again."

Willband Creek Park is located in east Abbotsford at Highway 11 and Bateman Road. - Abby News.