Wednesday, June 19, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Biggest Harmonic Quake Swarm In At Least 30 Years Hits The Long Valley Caldera In California - 169 In 24 Hours; 370 In 3 Days; 2,800 Temblors In JUST ONE WEEK!

June 19, 2013 - UNITED STATES - As magma moves through the earth, it displaces and fractures rock along the way. This movement causes earthquakes that can be recorded with seismometers at the surface of the earth.

Seismic monitoring is the most used technique for volcano surveillance.

Volcanic earthquakes often provide the initial sign of volcanic unrest. Their signals differ from typical, tectonic, earthquakes because they tend to be found at depths shallower than 10 km, are small in magnitude (less than 3), occur in swarms, and are restricted to the area beneath a volcano.

Harmonic tremor, or volcanic tremor, is the name for the continuous, rhythmic seismic energy associated with underground magma movement.

At Long Valley Caldera, there are currently 61 seismometers that make up the seismic network used to determine earthquake location and energy of movement with time.

The first instrument was installed in 1974 and additional instruments were added throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Between 2000 and 2003, the seismic network was updated to include additional, more modern instruments.

The vertical bars on the graphs below correspond with the left-side y-axis and represent the number of earthquakes per day. The red line indicates the cumulative number of earthquakes and corresponds with the right-side y-axis.

Earthquake swarms occurred at Long Valley from 1978-1983, 1990-1995, 1996, and 1997-1998. The rate of earthquakes since the end of the last swarm has been relatively low considering the history since seismic monitoring started.


The above graph shows the number of earthquakes from the past 30 days.


PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mass Shrimp Die-Off - Massive Amounts Of Shrimp Are Dying From A Mysterious Disease In Sinaloa, Mexico?!

June 19, 2013 - MEXICO - Fish farms of Sinaloa and Sonora are currently being seriously affected and it is unknown for sure what is causing the death of shrimp at a young age, revealed Francisco Salvador Lopez Brito.

Fish farms of Sinaloa and Sonora are currently being seriously affected and it is unknown
what is causing the death of shrimp at a young age

In that sense, the senator by the National Action Party announced that it is to pay attention and you will provide the necessary requirements to this problem, we require the support of the National Fisheries Commissioner, Mario Aguilar.

He reported that this will be one of the topics to raise with the federal official at the meeting that will be held today.

"For there is emerging a disease that is very strong hitting fish farms and I'm taking the subject, to address this issue, is another problem, the white spot and aquaculturists have known how to handle it, however, is in if analysis process is a bacterium or a toxin that is affecting the aquaculture farms of Sinaloa and Sonora, "he stressed.

The truth, he said, it is already causing economic losses to the farmer of two entities of the Republic, even when you have defined what causes this problem.

"It is being studied, however, what we do is no certainty that it causes, with the data we have does not cause harm to humans and indeed all its output is deleted, not go to the market," he said.

He said the fish farmers are concerned, because the infection occurs in the early phase of the product, so that not even reach commercial sizes requiring shrimp.

No obstate, PAN federal legislator said unknown amount of resources has been lost due to this situation.

"I'm going to touch this issue, from two points of view, one the toilet, which advances in research and progress in what is the location of treatment, or the cure, the cure for this disease, and certainly find some aspects of financing especially for farmers who are having significant losses, "he reiterated.

Lopez Brito noted that although some programs will be managed funding to support them as much as possible, it is extremely unfortunate, especially aquaculture producers that social sector are further resenting this problem. - Noroeste. [Translated]

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Surprising Trove Of Gas Seeps Found Off United States East Coast - Largest Methane Release In The World!

June 19, 2013 - UNITED STATES - On the seafloor just off of the U.S. East Coast lies a barely known world, explorations of which bring continual surprises.

As recently as the mid-2000s, practically zero methane seeps — spots on the seafloor where gas leaks from the Earth's crust — were thought to exist off the East Coast; while one had been reported more than a decade ago, it was thought to be one of a kind.   
But in the past two years, additional studies have revealed a host of new areas of seafloor rich in seeps, said Laura Brothers, a research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

And surrounding these seafloor vents, scientists have found a variety of unique life forms, like mussels and crabs, that survive via symbiotic relationships with methane-eating bacteria,

Brothers told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet. New technologies have allowed scientists to keep locating new seeps, including one that may be the largest in the world.

The findings have changed geologists' understanding of the processes taking place beneath the seafloor.

"These newly discovered [seafloor] communities show that there is much more seafloor methane venting then we previously thought, and suggests that there are many more seeps out there that we don't know about," Brothers said.

A study co-authored by Brothers, published online last month in the journal Geology, found several large communities of mussels and other animals at two spots off of the Carolinas where methane is seeping from the seafloor, Brothers said.

Although one of these spots had already been discovered, the amount of life the researchers found covered an area about six times larger than previously thought, Brothers said. And the mussels cover a total area equivalent to about 40 football fields.

"We found these in an area we thought we knew well," she said.

The largest seep in the Atlantic

An even larger, previously unknown vent was found off the coast of Virginia, in research by Steve Ross, a scientist at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Sandra Brooke, a scientist at Florida State University.

Discovered near the Norfolk submarine canyon, the vent is the largest in the Atlantic, and possibly in all of the world's oceans, Ross told LiveScience.

North America's continental shelf, the underwater edge of the continent that borders the Atlantic Ocean basin, is littered with underwater canyons etched by rivers thousands of years ago when the region was above sea level.

A red crab trying to crack open a mussel at a newly discovered natural gas seep off the coast of Virginia.

These canyons remain little explored, Ross said. But he is helping to change that through his work aboard the Okeanos Explorer, a ship owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which for the last three years has been working to explore these submarine canyons.

Scientists locate the seeps by producing images of methane gas bubbles (and where they originate) using multi-beam sonar, which calculates the amount of time and distance it takes for sound waves to travel from the ship to the bubbles and back.

The same technique also produces detailed imagery of the seafloor. Remote-operated vehicles can then be dispatched to bring back photos of the ocean bottom, Ross said. All of these techniques are being used to document the gas seeps, he said.

Many more to be discovered

Further imaging of the seafloor by the Okeanos Explorer last fall revealed another three gas seeps southeast of Nantucket, Mass., at a maximum depth of 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) below the ocean surface.

Along with several new findings that haven't been published yet, these newfound seeps add up to a total of about eight regions venting methane off of the East Coast, Ross said.

However, Carolyn Ruppel, a researcher at the USGS, advised against declaring a specific number of seeps found, since this total is constantly increasing and since the determination of what constitutes an individual "seep" can be vague. "We expect many more to be discovered," Ruppel said.

Much of this methane appears to be coming from methane gas hydrates, a crystallized form of methane stored in frigid sediment under the relatively high pressures of the deep ocean, Brothers said.

Previously it wasn't thought that a significant amount of this methane would be released from these deposits, which only give up their methane when weakened by lower pressures or rising temperatures.

It's unclear why some of these hydrates are producing methane gas, but it's not a huge amount and unlikely to be enough to currently attract commercial interest, Brothers said. - Yahoo.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For June 19, 2013 - Mexico's Popocatépetl Throws Up Explosive "Bombs" Into The Sky & Moderate Seismic Activity At Tolbachik Volcano In Russia!

June 19, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): A few hours ago, another moderately strong explosions occurred at 14:48 h local time, which threw incandescent fragments at distances of 100 m from the crater and generated an ash column reaching nearly 2 km in height, which was dispersed towards the northwest. The alert level remains unchanged at Yellow Phase 2.

Eruption from Popocatepétl this morning.

Yesterday's strong eruption ejected bombs to distances of up to 2 km and many ignited bushfires. There were reports of ashfall in Tetela del Volcán, Ocuituco, Yecapixtla, Atlatlahucan, Cuautla, Tlayacapan, Yautepec, Jiutepec y Xochitepec in the state of Morelos, and also in Ecatzingo, Atlautla y Ozumba in the state of México.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no changes in the ongoing eruption of the volcano. Tremor levels remain stable and lava continues to be effused from the southern fissure vent.

The other currently active volcanoes in Kamchatka have not shown significant variations either. Moderate seismic activity was reported by KVERT for Shiveluch, Kizimen (dome extrusion) and Gorely (degassing), while no data were available for Bezymianny (dome extrusion) and Karymsky (intermittent mild explosions) volcanoes. Klyuchevskoy seems to be currently quiet.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 19, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

DELUGE: Heavy Floods Close Lourdes Pilgrimage Site In The Pyreness, France - Two Dead, Hundreds Evacuated!

June 19, 2013 - FRANCE - Heavy floods in southwest France have left two dead and forced the closure of the Catholic pilgrimage site in Lourdes and the evacuation of pilgrims from nearby hotels.

The sanctuary of Lourdes flooded, in Lourdes, southwestern France, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. French rescue services and police are evacuating hundreds of pilgrims from hotels threatened by floodwaters from a rain-swollen river in the Roman Catholic shrine town of Lourdes. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Muddy floodwaters swirled Wednesday in the grotto where nearly 6 million believers from around the world, many gravely ill, come every year seeking miracles and healing. It has been a major pilgrimage site since a French girl's vision of the Virgin Mary there in 1858.

Heavy rains around the region inundated town centers and swelled the Gave de Pau river, forcing road closures.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on BFM television that a man in his seventies died Wednesday, swept away by the river. The Interior Ministry says it is the second person who has died in this week's rains.

The spokesman for the Lourdes pilgrimage complex, Mathias Terrier said that the site in the foothills of the Pyrenees wasn't likely to reopen before the end of the week.

Rescue services evacuated hundreds of people from nearby hotels. Authorities were particularly concerned with bringing weak and sick pilgrims to safety.

''We need more reinforcements in the area to face these floods, which are really exceptional,'' Valls said while visiting Lourdes on Wednesday. He said days of sustained rains and sudden snowmelt made the flooding worse, and left some villages isolated.

The website for the pilgrimage complex, which includes several buildings and a sanctuary nestled beneath a rocky hillside, carried a dramatic rundown of the rising waters.

Throughout Tuesday, masses were gradually cancelled. One by one, entrances to the sanctuary were cordoned off. The live video feed of the grotto went down. Then the electricity was cut off, and then phones.

''A vision of the apocalypse in the Sainte Bernadette Church, where the big movable partition is threatening to fall. The water has risen above the stairs of the choir,'' read one announcement.

Terrier said waters reached 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) in the grotto. A group of 3,000 children scheduled to come for the day Wednesday were told to stay away. Volunteers offered to help clean up the site when the waters recede. - Boston.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Eerie Silence On North Anatolian Fault - Scientists Pinpoints Extremely Dangerous Seismic Zone Near Istanbul, Turkey!

June 19, 2013 - TURKEY - German and Turkish scientists on Tuesday said they had pinpointed an extremely dangerous seismic zone less than 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the historic heart of Istanbul.

Running under the Sea of Marmara just south of the city of some 15 million people, this segment of the notorious North Anatolian fault has been worryingly quiet in recent years, which may point to a buildup in tension, they wrote.

"The block we identified reaches 10 kilometres (about six miles) deep along the fault zone and has displayed no seismic activity since measurements began over four years ago," said Marco Bohnhoff, a professor at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam, near Berlin.

"This could be an indication that the expected Marmara earthquake could originate there."

The North Anatolian fault, created by the collision of the Anatolia Plate with the Eurasia Plate, runs 1,500 kilometres (950 miles) along northern Turkey.

At the western tip of the fault, an earthquake took place in 1912 at Ganos near the Aegean Sea.

On its eastern side, a domino series of earthquakes in 1939, 1942, 1951, 1967 and 1999 displaced the stress progressively westwards, bringing it ever closer to Istanbul.

What is left now is a so-called earthquake gap under the Sea of Marmara, lying between the two fault stretches whose stress has been eased by the quakes. The "gap" itself, however, has not been relieved by an earthquake since 1766.

Seeking a more precise view of the gap, the GFZ and Istanbul's Kandilli Earthquake Observatory set up a network of seismic monitors in the eastern part of the sea.

They calculate that the Anatolian fault normally has a westward motion of between 25 and 30 millimetres (one to 1.2 inches) per year.

But this natural slippage is being blocked by a small section, about 30 km (19 miles) long, located under a chain of nine small islands known as the Princes Islands -- a popular destination for day-trippers from Istanbul.

"The seismic silence along the Princes Islands segment stands in contrast to the background activity in the broader Izmit-Marmara region," warns the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

The paper says that, conceivably, stress under the Princes Islands is being relieved "aseismically," in other words, the pressure is being eased so gradually as to be undetectable.

But this scenario is unlikely, it says.

"Our evidence indicates that this patch is locked and is therefore a potential nucleation point for another Marmara segment earthquake -- a potential that has significant natural hazards implications" for Istanbul, it warns.

The study does not make any prediction about the size of any future quake or when it could occur.

But it notes an estimate published in 2004 that found a 35-to-70 percent probability that the "gap" will be struck by an earthquake greater than magnitude seven by 2034.

Other scientists have also pointed to the possibility of several smaller "en echelon" type quakes, which may generate less ground motion but are likelier to cause tsunamis because they displace the sea floor.

The last big quakes on the North Anatolian fault in 1999 -- a 7.1-magnitude quake in Duzce and 7.4-magnitude quake in Izmit -- left some 20,000 people dead. - Space Daily.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Baked Alaska - Unusual Heat Wave Hits 49th State; Highest Temperatures In NEARLY A CENTURY!

June 19, 2013 - ALASKA - A heat wave hitting Alaska may not rival the blazing heat of Phoenix or Las Vegas, but to residents of the 49th state, the days of hot weather feel like a stifling oven - or a tropical paradise.

With temperatures topping 80 degrees in Anchorage, and higher in other parts of the state, people have been sweltering in a place where few homes have air conditioning.

This photo taken Monday, June 17, 2013, shows people sunning at Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska. Parts of Alaska are setting high temperature records as a heat wave continues across Alaska. Temperatures are nothing like what Phoenix or Las Vegas gets, but temperatures in the 80s and 90s are hot for Alaska, where few buildings have air conditioning. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

They're sunbathing and swimming at local lakes, hosing down their dogs and cleaning out supplies of fans in at least one local hardware store. Mid-June normally brings high temperatures in the 60s in Anchorage, and just a month ago, it was still snowing.

The weather feels like anywhere but Alaska to 18-year-old Jordan Rollison, who was sunbathing with three friends and several hundred others lolling at the beach of Anchorage's Goose Lake.

"I love it, I love it," Rollison said. "I've never seen a summer like this, ever."

State health officials even took the unusual step of posting a Facebook message reminding people to slather on the sunscreen.

Some people aren't so thrilled, complaining that it's just too hot.

"It's almost unbearable to me," said Lorraine Roehl, who has lived in Anchorage for two years after moving here from the community of Sand Point in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. "I don't like being hot. I'm used to cool ocean breeze."

Liz Gobeski soaks up the sun on the beach at Point Woronzof as a Polar Air Cargo jet comes in for a landing at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport as the temperature reached into the 80's in Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)

On Tuesday, the official afternoon high in Anchorage was 81 degrees, breaking the city's record of 80 set in 1926 for that date.

Other smaller communities throughout a wide swath of the state are seeing even higher temperatures.

All-time highs were recorded elsewhere, including 96 degrees on Monday 80 miles to the north in the small community of Talkeetna, purported to be the inspiration for the town in the TV series, "Northern Exposure" and the last stop for climbers heading to Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain. One unofficial reading taken at a lodge near Talkeetna even measured 98 degrees, which would tie the highest undisputed temperature recorded in Alaska.

That record was set in 1969, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the online forecasting service Weather Underground.

"This is the hottest heat wave in Alaska since '69," he said. "You're way, way from normal."

It's also been really hot for a while. The city had six days over 70 degrees, then hit a high of 68 last Thursday, followed by five more days of 70-plus.

The city's record of consecutive days with temperatures of 70 or above was 13 days recorded in 1953, said Eddie Zingone, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service who has lived in the Anchorage area for 17 years.

The heat wave also comes after a few cooler summers - the last time it officially hit the 80 mark in Anchorage was 2009. Plus, Tuesday marked exactly one month that the city's last snow of the season fell, said Zingone, who has lived in Anchorage for 18 years.

In this photo taken Monday, June 17, 2013, people swim and sunbathe at Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska's largest city and other parts of the state are experiencing a long stretch of higher than normal temperatures. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)

"Within a month you have that big of a change, it definitely seems very, very hot," he said. "It was a very quick warm-up."

With the heat comes an invasion of mosquitoes many are calling the worst they've ever seen. At the True Value Hardware store, people have grabbed up five times the usual amount of mosquito warfare supplies, said store owner Tim Craig. The store shelves also are bare of fans, which is unusual, he said.

"Those are two hot items, so to speak," he said.

WATCH: Unusual Heat Wave in Alaska.

Greg Wilkinson, a spokesman with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, said it's gotten up to 84 degrees at his home in the Anchorage suburb of Eagle River, where a tall glass front lets the sunlight filter through.

"And that's with all the windows open and a fan going," he said. "We're just not used to it. Our homes aren't built for it."

Love or hate the unusual heat, it'll all be over soon.

Weather forecasters say a high pressure system that has locked the region in clear skies and baking temperatures has shifted and Wednesday should be the start of a cooling trend, although slightly lower temperatures in the 70s are still expected to loiter into the weekend. - AP.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: NOAA Predicts Possible Record-Setting DEAD ZONE In The Gulf Of Mexico & Smaller Hypoxia Levels Than Past In Chesapeake Bay - Zone Extends Up To 8,561 SQUARE MILES!

June 19, 2013 - GULF OF MEXICO - Scientists are expecting a very large “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico and a smaller than average hypoxic level in the Chesapeake Bay this year, based on several NOAA-supported forecast models.

Less oxygen dissolved in the water is often referred to as a “dead zone” (in red above) because most marine
life either dies, or, if they are mobile such as fish, leave the area. Habitats that would normally be teeming
with life become, essentially, biological deserts. Download image here. (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA-supported modelers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium are forecasting that this year’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic “dead” zone will be between 7,286 and 8,561 square miles which could place it among the ten largest recorded. That would range from an area the size of Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia combined on the low end to the New Jersey on the upper end. The high estimate would exceed the largest ever reported 8,481 square miles in 2002 .

Hypoxic (very low oxygen) and anoxic (no oxygen) zones are caused by excessive nutrient pollution, often from human activities such as agriculture, which results in insufficient oxygen to support most marine life in near-bottom waters. Aspects of weather, including wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and temperature, also impact the size of dead zones.

The Gulf estimate is based on the assumption of no significant tropical storms in the two weeks preceding or during the official measurement survey cruise scheduled from July 25-August 3 2013. If a storm does occur the size estimate could drop to a low of 5344 square miles, slightly smaller than the size of Connecticut.

This year’s prediction for the Gulf reflect flood conditions in the Midwest that caused large amounts of nutrients to be transported from the Mississippi watershed to the Gulf. Last year’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico was the fourth smallest on record due to drought conditions, covering an area of approximately 2,889 square miles, an area slightly larger than the state of Delaware. The overall average between 1995-2012 is 5,960 square miles, an area about the size of Connecticut.

A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, calls for a smaller than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary. The forecasts from researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the University of Michigan has three parts: a prediction for the mid-summer volume of the low-oxygen hypoxic zone, one for the mid-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone, and a third that is an average value for the entire summer season.

The forecasts call for a mid-summer hypoxic zone of 1.46 cubic miles, a mid-summer anoxic zone of 0.26 to 0.38 cubic miles, and a summer average hypoxia of 1.108 cubic miles, all at the low end of previously recorded zones. Last year the final mid-summer hypoxic zone was 1.45 cubic miles.

This is the seventh year for the Bay outlook which, because of the shallow nature of large areas of the estuary, focuses on water volume or cubic miles, instead of square mileage as used in the Gulf. The history of hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay since 1985 can be found at the EcoCheck website.

Both forecasts are based on nutrient run-off and river stream data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), with the Chesapeake data funded with a cooperative agreement between USGS and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Those numbers are then inserted into models developed by funding from the National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS).

"Monitoring the health and vitality of our nation’s oceans, waterways, and watersheds is critical as we work to preserve and protect coastal ecosystems,” said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., acting under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and acting NOAA administrator. “These ecological forecasts are good examples of the critical environmental intelligence products and tools that help shape a healthier coast, one that is so inextricably linked to the vitality of our communities and our livelihoods.”

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico affects nationally important commercial and recreational fisheries, and threatens the region’s economy. The Chesapeake dead zones, which have been highly variable in recent years, threaten a multi-year effort to restore the Bay’s water quality and enhance its production of crabs, oysters, and other important fisheries.

WATCH: The Dead Zone.

During May 2013, stream flows in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers were above normal resulting in more nutrients flowing into the Gulf. According to USGS estimates, 153,000 metric tons of nutrients flowed down the rivers to the northern Gulf of Mexico in May, an increase of 94,900 metric tons over last year’s 58,100 metric tons, when the region was suffering through drought. The 2013 input is an increase of 16 percent above the average nutrient load estimated over the past 34 years.

For the Chesapeake Bay, USGS estimates 36,600 metric tons of nutrients entered the estuary from the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers between January and May, which is 30 percent below the average loads estimated from1990 to 2013.

“Long-term nutrient monitoring and modeling is key to tracking how nutrient conditions are changing in response to floods and droughts and nutrient management actions,” said Lori Caramanian, deputy assistant secretary of the interior for water and science. “Understanding the sources and transport of nutrients is key to developing effective nutrient management strategies needed to reduce the size of hypoxia zones in the Gulf, Bay and other U.S. waters where hypoxia is an on-going problem.”

“Coastal hypoxia is proliferating around the world,” said Donald Boesch, Ph.D., president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “It is important that we have excellent abilities to predict and control the largest dead zones in the United States. The whole world is watching.”

The confirmed size of the 2013 Gulf hypoxic zone will be released in August, following a monitoring survey led by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium beginning in late July, and the result will be used to improve future forecasts. The final measurement in the Chesapeake will come in October following surveys by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partners from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Despite the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Nutrient Task Force’s goal to reduce the dead zone to less than 2,000 square miles, it has averaged 5,600 square miles over the last five years. Demonstrating the link between the dead zone and nutrients from the Mississippi River, this annual forecast continues to provide guidance to federal and state agencies as they work on the 11 implementation actions outlined by the Task Force in 2008 for mitigating nutrient pollution.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service has been funding investigations and forecast development for the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico since 1990, and oversees national hypoxia research programs which include the Chesapeake Bay and other affected bodies of water.

USGS operates more than 3,000 real-time stream gages and collects water quality data at numerous long-term stations throughout the Mississippi River basin and the Chesapeake Bay to track how nutrient loads are changing over time.

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science is the coastal science office for NOAA’s National Ocean Service. Visit our website or follow our blog to read more about NCCOS research.

USGS provides science for a changing world. Visit, and follow us on Twitter @USGS and our other social media channels at

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook , Twitter and our other social media channels. - NOAA.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles And Shakes Lima, Peru - Seismologists Indicate That 92 Areas In Lima Are At Risk Of Experiencing A Mega-Quake, Which Could Cause More Than 51,000 Fatalities!

June 19, 2013 - PERU - A small earthquake hit just off the coast of Peru early Tuesday afternoon. Early reports estimated a magnitude of 5.6, but the USGS says the earthquake was magnitude 4.6.

The earthquake shook buildings in Lima, Peru's capital city, but no injuries or damage have been reported, according to Reuters. A magnitude 4.6 earthquake can be felt, but rarely causes damage beyond clinking some glasses and knocking pictures askew. Earthquakes of this size happen tens of thousands of times per year.

USGS earthquake location.

The earthquake's center was about 22 miles northwest of Lima and 38 miles (61 kilometers) underground.

Peru is located on the "Ring of Fire," the belt of earthquakes and volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Ocean. All along its western coast, the South American plate is colliding with the Nazca plate, forcing the heavier ocean crust down into the Earth's mantle. The collision of the plates is like a slow-motion car wreck. They're colliding at only 3 inches per year, but that's enough to cause frequent earthquakes – and build the Andes Mountains.

The tectonically active region along the coast of South America, known to geologists as the South American arc, is more than 4,000 miles long, from just below the southern tip of Chile to just off the coast of Panama.
This earthquake was one of the deepest that Peru is likely to experience. Shallower quakes, in the top 30 miles (50 km) of the crust, are due to the crunching of the South American plate as it crumples up the Andes. Earthquakes deeper than 40 miles (70 km) are rare in Peru, and mostly limited to the northern region of the country.

Today's earthquake, located about 38 miles below the surface, was probably along the interface between the Nazca and South American plates. This zone has produced numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes, many of which were followed by devastating tsunamis. The magnitude 9.5 earthquake that hit southern Chile in 1960, which remains the largest earthquake ever recorded, was one of these subduction zone-interface earthquakes. - CS Monitor.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Last month, Peru’s Geological Mining and Metallurgical Institute  said 92 areas in Lima were considered at risk of experiencing an earthquake following a 2012 report that estimated an 8-degree quake near the capital could cause more than 51,000 fatalities.

English-language site Peru This Week said the institute's president and Peruvian politician Susana Vilca advised officials to plan for future disasters in the potentially affected regions. Vilca called the 92 at-risk areas a “geologic and geohydrologic danger,” noting homes are built on sandy land.

The report said the areas considered most at-risk of experiencing future natural disasters includes Punta Hermosa, Lurín, Villa El Salvador, Pachacamác, Villa María del Triunfo, San Juan de Miraflores, Ate Vitarte, Lurigrancho-Chosica, Downtown Lima, Rímac, Ventanilla- Callao, Independencia, Comas, Carabayllo and Ancón. - IBTimes.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region).
The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

Most of the large earthquakes in South America are constrained to shallow depths of 0 to 70 km resulting from both crustal and interplate deformation. Crustal earthquakes result from deformation and mountain building in the overriding South America plate and generate earthquakes as deep as approximately 50 km. Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world. Other notable shallow tsunami-generating earthquakes include the 1906 M8.5 earthquake near Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the 1922 M8.5 earthquake near Coquimbo, Chile, the 2001 M8.4 Arequipa, Peru earthquake, the 2007 M8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru, and the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake located just north of the 1960 event.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Large intermediate-depth earthquakes (those occurring between depths of approximately 70 and 300 km) are relatively limited in size and spatial extent in South America, and occur within the Nazca plate as a result of internal deformation within the subducting plate. These earthquakes generally cluster beneath northern Chile and southwestern Bolivia, and to a lesser extent beneath northern Peru and southern Ecuador, with depths between 110 and 130 km. Most of these earthquakes occur adjacent to the bend in the coastline between Peru and Chile. The most recent large intermediate-depth earthquake in this region was the 2005 M7.8 Tarapaca, Chile earthquake.

Earthquakes can also be generated to depths greater than 600 km as a result of continued internal deformation of the subducting Nazca plate. Deep-focus earthquakes in South America are not observed from a depth range of approximately 300 to 500 km. Instead, deep earthquakes in this region occur at depths of 500 to 650 km and are concentrated into two zones: one that runs beneath the Peru-Brazil border and another that extends from central Bolivia to central Argentina. These earthquakes generally do not exhibit large magnitudes. An exception to this was the 1994 Bolivian earthquake in northwestern Bolivia. This M8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 631 km, making it the largest deep-focus earthquake instrumentally recorded, and was felt widely throughout South and North America.

Subduction of the Nazca plate is geometrically complex and impacts the geology and seismicity of the western edge of South America. The intermediate-depth regions of the subducting Nazca plate can be segmented into five sections based on their angle of subduction beneath the South America plate. Three segments are characterized by steeply dipping subduction; the other two by near-horizontal subduction. The Nazca plate beneath northern Ecuador, southern Peru to northern Chile, and southern Chile descend into the mantle at angles of 25° to 30°. In contrast, the slab beneath southern Ecuador to central Peru, and under central Chile, is subducting at a shallow angle of approximately 10° or less. In these regions of “flat-slab” subduction, the Nazca plate moves horizontally for several hundred kilometers before continuing its descent into the mantle, and is shadowed by an extended zone of crustal seismicity in the overlying South America plate. Although the South America plate exhibits a chain of active volcanism resulting from the subduction and partial melting of the Nazca oceanic lithosphere along most of the arc, these regions of inferred shallow subduction correlate with an absence of volcanic activity. - USGS.

EXTREME WEATHER: "It Got Pretty Crazy Around Here" - Tornado Touched Down At Denver Airport!

June 19, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Radar indicated a tornado briefly touched down Tuesday over the east runways of Denver International Airport, where thousands of people took shelter in bathrooms, stairwells and other safe spots until the dangerous weather passed, officials said.

This Tuesday, June 18, 2013 image provided by Scott Morlan shows a tornado that touched
down near Denver International Airport.
© AP Photo/Scott Morlan

Airport spokeswoman Laura Coale reported no damage. Nine flights were diverted elsewhere during a tornado warning that lasted about 40 minutes, she said.

A 97 mph wind gust was measured at the airport before communication with instruments there was briefly knocked out, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin.

Chris Polk, a construction foreman, was working on a renovation project just outside the airport's main concourse when he got the tornado warning at 2:15 p.m., looked up and saw a funnel cloud. He and his crew ran inside and took shelter with some 100 people, including luggage-toting passengers, inside a basement break room as tornado sirens sounded.

"It got pretty crazy around here," Polk said.

Asked whether he was nervous when he spotted the funnel cloud, he shrugged. "No, I'm from Missouri," he said.

Everyone inside the break room was calm, Polk added.

It wasn't clear how many people were at the airport when a public announcement went out about the tornado warning, but the airport averages about 145,000 passengers over the course of a day, Coale said.

Television coverage showed the airport's normally busy terminal was empty during the warning. Access to a bridge to concourse A was blocked, since the bridge is surrounded by large glass windows.

Scott Morlan said he had dropped his daughter off at airport and was heading out when he saw an ominous cloud.

"It was just turning. You knew it was thinking about coming down," he said.

He watched the tip of funnel cloud touch the ground and cross Pena Boulevard, which leads to the airport, before lifting into the sky.

On Monday, a tornado touched down briefly in La Junta on Colorado's southeastern plains. Power poles were knocked down in an industrial park, but no injuries were reported, said weather service spokeswoman Nezette Rydell said.

Heavy rain fell there, as well as in Lamar, where some streets flooded. The area is among those hardest hit by the drought in the West.

La Junta Fire Chief Aaron Eveatt said high winds downed power poles, temporarily closing U.S. 50. A gas station canopy was toppled and a co-op storage tower also suffered damage.

Mark Sarlo, the manager of the Phillips 66 station, said he was driving to the station just before 6 p.m. Monday when the sky turned dark brown and yellow, the rain began to pound, and wind shook his truck. He stopped and got on the floor as debris hit.

As soon as the storm passed, Sarlo said residents in the town of 7,000 were out with chain saws removing downed poles and trees blocking streets. They also cut up his canopy and hauled it in chunks to an empty lot so he could resume business. One family brought bottled water and pizzas to feed the crews.

"It's just amazing," he said of the response of his hometown. - Yahoo.