Monday, July 22, 2013

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Sinkhole Expands To 24 Acres As Officials Issue Cease And Desist Order After Gas Found "Approaching EXPLOSIVE LEVELS" Coming From Hole In Front Of Homes; "Automatic Emergency Systems" Engaged Due To Problem At ANOTHER Cavern In Salt Dome; "Burp Event" And "Lots Of Activity" With "Abundant Surface Water Movement"; Officials UNABLE To Find Bottom Of Sinkhole Using 750 Foot Measuring Cord! UPDATE: Hydrogeologist Admits They Don't Know What Is Going On In Cavern Below Sinkhole, That "Nobody's Ever Encountered Anything Like This In The HISTORY OF MANKIND" - The Wellhead Pressure Now Up To Almost 600psi!

July 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Here are the latest news reports about the frightening situation developing at the giant Louisiana sinkhole over the last few days:

"Automatic Emergency Systems" Engaged Due To Problem At ANOTHER Cavern In Salt Dome.
An internal piping problem inside a Dow Hydrocarbons underground storage cavern in Assumption Parish prompted automatic emergency systems to burn off propylene and shut the cavity, but the situation presents no immediate public safety risk.

Dow officials are working on plans to check the cavern — located south of La. 70 South about two miles away from the 24-acre Assumption Parish sinkhole.

John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said he visited Dow’s Grand Bayou facility on the Napoleonville Dome on Thursday after a report from a concerned resident.

Boudreaux said he visited the control room and saw that the cavern and its surface access well do not appear to be compromised.

“They showed me everything I needed to see. From what I saw, yes, there is a problem, but I don’t think there is a public risk,” he said.

The problem involves metal piping, that hangs freely inside the cavern and is not relied upon to seal the flammable propylene underground, officials said. Part of the pipe is missing for reasons unknown.

The Dow 3A cavern is about one-third of a mile underground in the salt dome and stores 600,000 barrels of propylene under pressure as a liquid, officials said.

Boudreaux said safety systems burned off propylene in lines tied to the cavern as a precaution a few days ago.

Patrick Courreges, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, said Dow officials first noticed a problem the night of July 11 and requested a work permit from the agency the next day to investigate.

Courreges said Dow plans to examine the damaged piping and test the integrity of the cavern and its access well. He said Dow will remove propylene for those tests.

The Dow cavern is on the opposite side of the 1-by-3-mile salt dome from the Bayou Corne-area sinkhole and the failed Texas Brine Co. cavern suspected of causing it.

Dow Hydrocarbons is part of Dow Chemical.

Dow’s more than 880-acre salt dome facility supplies brine for chlorine manufacturing and stores hydrocarbon feedstocks, like propylene, for its instate plants, the company’s website says.

A message left with a Dow spokeswoman was not immediately returned Thursday. - The Advocate.

"Burp Event" And "Lots Of Activity" With "Abundant Surface Water Movement".
There is lots of activity on the sinkhole this morning. Dr Horton reports that this increase in activity started about 5:00 a.m. (this morning).

There is abundant surface water movement, as you can see in the video posted (from Pad 3).

Also, currently, a burp event is occurring in the center of the sink hole.

WATCH: Water movement at the Sinkhole - July 19, 2013.

- Assumption Parish Police Jury.

Officials UNABLE To Find Bottom Of Sinkhole Using 750 Foot Measuring Cord.
John Boudreaux has reported another depth survey has been completed in the center of the sinkhole. A video has been posted on YouTube showing that 750′ of cord was used and all 750′ went down to bottom. This information has been sent to the Blue Ribbon Commission for there review.

WATCH: Depth measure of the Sinkhole - July 20, 2013.

- Assumption Parish Police Jury.

Sinkhole Expands To 24 Acres As Officials Issue Cease And Desist Order After Gas Found "Approaching EXPLOSIVE LEVELS" Coming From Hole In Front Of Homes.
Parish workers discovered water and debris moving inside the containment berm area early Friday. Bubbles on the water’s surface indicated a gas release, and there were tremors felt in the area... 

The periodic ‘burp’ was the second in two days and the fourth in the past two-and-a-half weeks, according to parish officials... The [blue ribbon] commission, thus far, has not been able to come up with a reasonable prediction of what the future holds for the area. - WWL.

The 24-acre Assumption Parish sinkhole underwent a periodic burp early Friday... on Friday, Conservation Commissioner James Welsh ordered Texas Brine Co. to cease a type of earth-probing test aimed at seeing where gas is in the shallow rock under Bayou Corne...

In addition to the sinkhole, gas is being released from bubbling sites in area bayous and is thought to be gathered in an aquifer and even in shallower rock under the communities. Welsh’s order follows Boudreaux’s cease and desist order to Texas Brine earlier this week after residents complained about a plugged probe site leaking gas in front of homes... he tested the hole and found leaking gas at a concentration that was approaching an explosive level. - The Advocate.

Hydrogeologist Admits They Don't Know What Is Going On In Cavern Below Sinkhole, That "Nobody's Ever Encountered Anything Like This In The HISTORY OF MANKIND" - Wellhead Pressure Now Up To Almost 600psi!
Gary Hecox, CB&I Hydrogeologist: This is going to not satisfy you, but we honestly don’t know.

We have talked to some of the leading experts in the world as too what could be causing this. We don’t know. Nobody’s ever encountered anything like this in the history of mankind.

I’m not kidding, what’s going on with that cavern where it’s going up several hundred feet and down several hundred feet, we don’t know if it’s some equipment issues or if there’s something going on in the cavern that we don’t understand. The pressure in the cavern continues to slowly increase. It’s up now to almost 600psi in the wellhead, that’s brine pressure not gas...

I don’t even have a good hypothesis to tell you...

The world experts have looked at this and we don’t know.

WATCH: Gary Hecox speaks at a Public Briefing on July 16, 2013.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Welcome To Tropical Britain - Fog Up North; Thunderstorms Down South As Heat Wave Warning Ends, After Temperatures Soared To 33.1 Celsius On Hottest Day In Seven Years!

July 22, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - Those who are in need of relief from the blazing heat are best advised to just sit tight – as the prolonged dry spell is set to be interrupted by ‘violent’ thunderstorms and rain today.

Some parts of the country were hit by brief storms last night, but showers are today expected across the UK as the longest heatwave for seven years finally gives way to cooler weather.

Lightning strikes over Poole Harbour during a thunderstorm.The spell of hot weather was brought to an end
last night on the South coast after a second week of heatwave conditions across the UK.

Yesterday temperatures reached 33.1C at Heathrow, making it the hottest day of year so far. And although it will be slightly cooler in the coming days, the mercury will still hover around the mid-twenties.

A Met Office spokesman said a nationwide weather warning had been issued because of the risk of localised flooding on dry ground, which could make driving hazardous in places.

She said thunder and lightning was likely across the UK, with short sharp showers giving a soaking to many areas. A Meteogroup forecaster said: ‘It’s going to be sticky, oppressive and close, and will make things feel quite uncomfortable.

‘It will be almost tropical in the way it feels.'

Thunder and lightning appeared over Bournemouth last night as the hot spell drew to a noisy conclusion.

More storms are predicted to sweep the country tomorrow as the UK experiences tropical conditions.

Today is set to be the hottest day in seven years. The hottest July day on record in the UK was seven
years ago when a sweltering 36.5C was recorded in Wisley, Surrey, on July 19 2006.

‘Some very violent weather could be kicking off, with thunderstorms across quite a lot of England, Scotland and Wales. We will see quite lively storms.’

He said it will stay warm, with temperatures up to 30C (86F) on Tuesday but declared it was the ‘end of the official heatwave’.

Forecasters predict that a band of thunderstorms due to sweep the country from today will bring muggy weather with it as it douses the parched country, meaning uncomfortable sticky nights lay ahead for many.

Parts of the UK will see 96 per cent humidity this week - muggier than Nigeria.

As the week progresses humidity levels across the country are expected to reach into the 90s, with Leeds seeing humidity levels reach 96 per cent on Wednesday.

Calm before the storm - a sea mist covers the flat calm water off Falmouth in Cornwall with
thunderstorms expected this week.

Beachgoers soak up what could be the last of the sun at Stokes Bay, Gosport.

As Britain continues to bask in another day of hot weather, sun-seekers flock to the Essex
village of Dedham to enjoy the heatwave.

This compares with with 92 per cent humidity in Lagos on the same day.

Humidity in London will climb to 86 per cent on Wednesday. Meanwhile Newcastle will see humidity top 92 per cent and Birmingham 84 per cent.

The muggy conditions are expected to spread and persist during the week, according to Met office spokesman Tony Gray.

WATCH: Londoners record early morning lightning during storm.

The Met Office has issued a rain warning for tomorrow for most of England and all of Wales, with localised flooding possible in places and the Environment Agency has issued flood warnings for the South West.

'We could have a few fat spots of rain coming out of the sky over widespread areas on Monday' said Mr Jones. 'With the high temperatures, it will be almost tropical in the way it feels tomorrow.

'Then from Monday night and into Tuesday, some very violent weather could be kicking off, with thunderstorms across quite a lot of England, Scotland and Wales. We will see quite lively storms.

'It will stay pretty warm as well, with temperatures up to 30C (86F) on Tuesday, and some humidity.'

In London, firefighters were shifting their focus from fighting grass and forest fires to being on flood alert, after heavy rain warnings were issued for the capital and elsewhere. Peter Cowup, London Fire Brigade's acting head of operational procedures, said: 'Heavy rainfall can create fast-flowing water that may look safe but can be powerful enough to knock you off your feet.

'We want people to stay well away from any floodwater, streams and rivers and to keep a close eye on their children and dogs to make sure they stay away from the water.'

The hot weather has taken its toll on the UK in recent weeks, with grass fires in London, mountain blazes in the Welsh valleys and forest fires in Fife, Scotland.

Hundreds of premature deaths are believed to have been caused by the heatwave. Wildlife experts have warned of the 'tinder-box' conditions across some landscapes after days of hot, dry weather.

Devon Wildlife Trust has teamed up with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to urge people to take care to avoid fires in the region, which can devastate habitats that are key to rare species as well pose dangers to people and farmland.

Members of the public are being urged not to drop cigarettes, use barbecues or leave glass or bottles in the countryside, all of which can start fires, and to report any blaze they see to the emergency services immediately.

Steve Hussey, from Devon Wildlife Trust, said: 'Wildfires can be devastating for wildlife, as well as potentially dangerous for people and damaging to farmland.

The beach front is turned into a sea of parasols and tents as people shelter from the blistering heat.

Thick fog descends on the M62 between Manchester and Huddersfield whilst South-West England and
England is predicted to have the hottest day of the year so far.

'Heathlands, with their coverings of dry gorse and grass, are particularly vulnerable when the weather remains hot for several weeks. At present many heathlands are in 'tinder-box' condition.'

He added: 'This is a habitat which has declined by more than 80% in the last 200 years. The few remaining heaths are key places for rare wildlife which includes Dartford warblers, common lizards and adders.'

Paul Slaven, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: 'We want to remind people to be mindful of the impact and damage that wild fires have on the environment.

'These fires also a have a further impact, tying up valuable fire resources for some time.' - Daily Mail.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: More Strange Weather Patterns For The United States - Severe Storm Threat From Kansas City To Minneapolis; Flash Flood Threat, Not Heat For The East This Week; DC, Philadelphia Set "Amazing" Heat Records; EF1 Tornado Hits Ursuline College, Ohio?!

July 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Global weather patterns seem to get stranger and stranger with each passing day. Here are the latest stories, courtesy of AccuWeather, of recent and coming weather events in the United States that seems to highlight the bizarre nature of this new normal.

Severe Storm Threat From Kansas City To Minneapolis.

A storm will move closer to the Great Lakes on Monday, bringing a chance for severe weather to southern Canada through Missouri.

The same system that brought severe thunderstorms and tornado reports to North Dakota on Sunday will make its way eastward to start the workweek.

By the afternoon, strong, and even severe thunderstorms will stretch from Thunder Bay in southern Ontario to Minneapolis, Minn., and La Crosse, Wis., to northern Iowa, including Mason City.

The primary threats as these storms move through will be damaging wind gusts and large hail. Storms also have the potential to bring torrential downpours that could inhibit travel.

However, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. The greatest risk for tornadoes extends from northern Wisconsin, north of Wausau into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Thunder Bay.

Storms will likely be most severe in the afternoon and evening as the storms move eastward and threaten even more cities. Affected areas from the evening, into the overnight, include Madison, Wis., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Kansas City. Chicago also could have a gusty storm.

Again, the primary threat will be hail and gusty, damaging winds.

Flash Flood Threat, Not Heat For The East This Week.

The return of more frequent showers and thunderstorms to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast will keep the intense heat at bay, but could lead to localized flash flooding.

After a more comfortable end to the weekend across New York and New England, higher humidity will surge back northward through Tuesday.

With the rise in humidity will come the return of showers and thunderstorms from the mid-Atlantic, some of which will be drenching.

Drier and less humid air will quickly return to the St. Lawrence Valley later in the week, while the thunderstorms linger across the mid-Atlantic and eastern New England.

In addition to interfering with outdoor activities, any downpours across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast this week threaten to create problems for motorists.

Downpours will dramatically lower visibility, while vehicles traveling at highway speeds will be susceptible to hydroplaning as water ponds on roads.

A small number of the downpours will cause flash flooding in urban and poor drainage areas, as well as along small streams and creeks.

That is especially true underneath any slow-moving thunderstorm or in places that see repeated rounds of thunderstorms.

Daily thunderstorms and the localized flood threat will prove to be reminiscent to what occurred during much of June into the first few days of July, according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Rainfall From June 1-July 20

Despite the recent heat wave, rainfall totals are still running well above normal since June 1, over much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast due to the wet spell in June.

One beneficial aspect of the showers and thunderstorms this week is that the heat will be kept in check.

The week, going forward from Sunday, will pass without places from Philadelphia northward seeing temperatures reach or exceed 90 degrees, while 90-degree days should be limited to one this week in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

DC, Philadelphia Set 'Amazing' Heat Records.
Tour bus salesman Shariff Davis takes a drink of water on Independence Mall in the heat of the midday on Friday,
July 19, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke).

While the recent heat wave did not set many record high temperatures, records have fallen based on the duration of heat.

This summer has been responsible for some rather uncomfortable sleeping weather. Many nights have been warm and muggy in the Northeast.

In Philadelphia, temperatures have not dropped below 70 degrees since June 23. This 28-day stretch is the longest string of days at or above 70-degrees since records have been kept in 1872. The old record was 26 consecutive days at or above 70 degrees set during the summer of 1876 and more recently in 1995.

 New York City has experienced three consecutive nights where the temperature was above 80 degrees, spanning July 18-20.

In Washington, D.C., the temperature failed to drop below 80 degrees for five nights during the recent heat wave.

According to Warning Coordinator Meteorologist Chris Strong at the Baltimore/Washington area NWS office, the five-day string of 80-degree or greater low temperatures is a record.

The four-day period starting on July 21, 2011, was the most recent record-holder with three days beginning on July 5, 2012, being number two.

High temperatures have not been exceptional in Washington, D.C., at least, Strong said of the recent heat wave, but high humidity has contributed to very warm nights.

Strong described this record streak as "amazing," adding, "At least the string was broken this morning."

The temperature in Washington, D.C., Monday morning finally fell below 80, dropping to 77 degrees.

Meanwhile, in the South, daytime and nighttime temperatures have been notably lower this summer.

Day and night time temperatures have averaged nearly two degrees warmer in Washington, D.C., compared to Atlanta.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologists Dale Mohler, "Columbia, S.C., typically hits 100 degrees at least once during about 75 percent of the summers."

Columbia's highest temperature thus far has only been 96 degrees.

New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) and Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) have been hotter by day than Columbia and Atlanta, Ga. JFK reached 100 degrees on July 18 and BOS reached 99 degrees on July 19. Both locations each set some of the few daily record highs during the heat wave.

The hottest Atlanta has been so far this summer is 92 degrees on June 28. At about 1,000 feet above sea level and farther inland from the coast, Atlanta's climate during the summer is on par with Washington, D.C. However, the warmest night Atlanta has experienced this summer so far was 74 degrees on June 27.

Tornado Hits Ursuline College, Ohio - No One Injured.
Damage from the tornado that moved through Ohio's Ursuline College was captured in this photo,
courtesy of the National Weather Service's Cleveland Office.

Early Saturday morning, a tornado moved through Ohio's Ursuline College, just east of Cleveland. It was later surveyed and classified as an EF1 tornado.

The tornado brought 110 mph winds, damaging a few buildings on campus. The school's gymnasium sustained substantial damage.

Luckily, there were only a few students on campus at the time and no one was hurt.

Campus will be closed through the weekend in order to assess the damage done.

The AP reported that two other buildings at the college that would be in need of some repair included the Dauby Science Center and Ralph M. Besse Library. There were also many trees uprooted, windows broken and debris scattered around.

In all, the tornado traveled a total of 1.3 miles.

- AccuWeather.

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - Pentagon Is Developing A Terminator Type Robot Called ATLAS And The University of California, Berkeley, Creates Paper-Thin E-Skin That Responds To Touch By Lighting Up, Enabling Robots To Become Touch-Feely!

July 22, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The machines are rising! Pentagon is actually developing a robot that is bound to remind of you the Terminator robots, but their creation isn’t a mean kill machine as yet. Its called ATLAS, it has two arms, two legs and 28 hydraulically actuated joints.

This project falls under Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA. The department is working on robots that it can develop to provide disaster relief and humanitarian aid, they’ve brought in researchers from MIT and other major institutions as participants of their Virtual Robotics Challenge.

Participants have been given access to the ATLAS robot. ATLAS is 6 ft and 2 inces, it weighs 330 pounds. Its primary purpose is said to be joining in relief efforts particularly in those places where involvement of human beings is lethal or downright impossible.

Boston Dynamics, who built the ATLAS body, say that the robot is strong and coordinated enough to climb using its hands and feet, as well as pick its way in congested spaces. The people who have been called in to work on the robot are tasked with programming it to interact in the most efficient way it can be made to.


DARPA has released a video which shows ATLAS walking, avoiding obstacles, withstanding brute force applied at its torso and even climbing the stairs. The teams working on this project will have to prove that the ATLAS they have programmed is capable of efficiently working in the field. - UberGizmo.

Paper-Thin E-Skin Responds To Touch By Lighting Up, Enabling Robots To Become  Touch-Feely.
Shown is a fully fabricated 16x16 pixel e-skin that lights up when touched.
Credit: Photo by Ali Javey and Chuan Wang.

A new milestone by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, can help robots become more touchy-feely, literally.

A research team led by Ali Javey, UC Berkeley associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has created the first user-interactive sensor network on flexible plastic. The new electronic skin, or e-skin, responds to touch by instantly lighting up. The more intense the pressure, the brighter the light it emits.

"We are not just making devices; we are building systems," said Javey, who also has an appointment as a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "With the interactive e-skin, we have demonstrated an elegant system on plastic that can be wrapped around different objects to enable a new form of human-machine interfacing."

This latest e-skin, described in a paper to be published online this Sunday, July 21, in the journal Nature Materials, builds on Javey's earlier work using semiconductor nanowire transistors layered on top of thin rubber sheets.

In addition to giving robots a finer sense of touch, the engineers believe the new e-skin technology could also be used to create things like wallpapers that double as touchscreen displays and dashboard laminates that allow drivers to adjust electronic controls with the wave of a hand.

"I could also imagine an e-skin bandage applied to an arm as a health monitor that continuously checks blood pressure and pulse rates," said study co-lead author Chuan Wang, who conducted the work as a post-doctoral researcher in Javey's lab at UC Berkeley.

The experimental samples of the latest e-skin measure 16-by-16 pixels. Within each pixel sits a transistor, an organic LED and a pressure sensor.

In this artistic illustration of an interactive e-skin, organic LEDs are turned on locally where the surface is
touched. The intensity of the emitted light quantifies the magnitude of the applied pressure.
Credit: Illustration by Ali Javey and Chuan Wang

"Integrating sensors into a network is not new, but converting the data obtained into something interactive is the breakthrough," said Wang, who is now an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University. "And unlike the stiff touchscreens on iPhones, computer monitors and ATMs, the e-skin is flexible and can be easily laminated on any surface."

To create the pliable e-skin, the engineers cured a thin layer of polymer on top of a silicon wafer. Once the plastic hardened, they could run the material through fabrication tools already in use in the semiconductor industry to layer on the electronic components. After the electronics were stacked, they simply peeled off the plastic from the silicon base, leaving a freestanding film with a sensor network embedded in it.

"The electronic components are all vertically integrated, which is a fairly sophisticated system to put onto a relatively cheap piece of plastic," said Javey. "What makes this technology potentially easy to commercialize is that the process meshes well with existing semiconductor machinery."

Javey's lab is now in the process of engineering the e-skin sensors to respond to temperature and light as well as pressure. - PHYSORG.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For July 22, 2013 - Updates On Sakurajima, Kizimen, Shiveluch, Bagana, Merapi, Popocatépetl, Santa María, Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego And Tungurahua!

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

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): A strong vulcanian explosion occurred last night at 11:02 GMT (20:02 local time), following several hours of near complete calm at the volcano. A loud cannon-shot bang accompanied the explosion, which generated a large mushroom cloud that reached 12,000 ft (3.7 km) altitude and engulfed the NE half of the Sakurajima peninsula and was followed by several smaller ones within about half an hour.

Explosion with lightnings from Sakurajima at 20:02 on 21 July.

The volcano and much of the surrounding areas remained under the ash plume for several hours until it started to clear up again. In the hours after the explosion, the Showa crater continued to emit ash plumes in often near-continuous pulses, sometimes reaching several 100 m height, but with no visible incandescence or audible sounds.

Eruption column from the explosion at 20:02.

Lightning inside the eruption cloud about 1 hour after the explosion.

Kizimen (Kamchatka): A rock spine that had been growing at the summit of the active lava dome has collapsed, producing pyroclastic flows and an ash plume rising to 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude.

Multilope pyroclastic flows (block and ash flows) yesterday morning at Kizimen (annotation by Culture Volcan).

WATCH: Culture Volcan posted the following time-lapse video from KVERT webcam images:

The collapse of the spine produced an impressive block and ash flow that spit into 3 lobes that traveled down towards the SW, E and NE, reaching a distance of about 2600 m in just 4 minutes, i.e. at a speed of 40 km/h average.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): An explosion and/or partial dome collapse produced an ash plume rising to 15,000 ft (4.7 km) last night and drifting east (Tokyo VAAC).

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): An small SO2 plume is seen on satellite images drifting from Bagana volcano. This suggests continuing activity.

SO2 plume from Bagana volcano (NOAA).

Merapi (Central Java): Merapi volcano, on the island if Java, Indonesia produced a moderate emission of ash earlier today. Locals reported an eruption of dark red material to a height of 1 km was reported. Rainfall that was occurring at the time, mixed with the ash to create a heavy mud that forced locals to evacuate the slopes of the volcano... [read more]

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The volcano has quieted down and produces only smaller emissions of mainly steam and gas at rates of 1-2 per hour.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity remains low with no significant changes. Few explosions occur, but the lava flow on the southern slope of the Caliente dome remains weakly active.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Activity has dropped at bit apparently. Although the seismic signal suggests that small strombolian-type explosions still seem to continue, INSIVUMEH reported only degassing and no sounds of explosions heard.

Seismic signal last night from Pacaya (PCG station, INSIVUMEH).

Fuego (Guatemala): There are no significant changes in activity, which remains weak (8 small to moderate explosions during 20-21 July) and mainly effusive; the lava flow on the southern side was about 300 m long and produced small avalanches of blocks towards the Taniluya canyon.

Seismic signal last night from Fuego (FG3 station, INSIVUMEH).

Tungurahua (Ecuador): An increase of activity occurred yesterday. IGPEN recorded 3 strong pulses of volcanic tremor since midnight 20-21 July (local time), which were accompanied by strombolian activity and strong explosions that produced loud roars, heavy gunfire sounds, and vibrations that rattled floors, windows and doors of houses in areas nearby. Some were heard even in the Tungurahua Volcano Observatory (OVT), located 14 km north of the volcano.

The largest explosion yesterday at 14h18 (local time) generated an eruption column of 5 km height moving east.

Strombolian activity from Tungurahua in the night of 19 July (photo P. Ramón - OVT/IGEPN).

Although so far there have been no new pyroclastic flows, this could likely happen in the near future. Ash fall occurred in the area of ​​Manzano, Choglontus, Tisaleo, Cevallos and Mapayacu. In between the explosions, constant strombolian activity with the ejection of incandescent bombs, some of which rolled down the slopes could be seen at night.

The explosions caused considerable damage to some of the monitoring instruments (solar panels, cameras etc.).

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

- Volcano Discovery.

THE EURO-ZONE CRISIS: Precursors To The Total Collapse Of The FAILED White Supremacy Paradigm - The Euro-Zone Collective Debt Hits NEW RECORD HIGH Of 92.2%!

July 22, 2013 - EUROPE - Official data show the collective debt in the eurozone has hit a new record high of 92.2 percent in first quarter of 2013, as the 17-nation bloc continues to grapple with a worsening financial crisis.

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008.

The data released by Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, on Monday showed that government debt as a share of the total annual GDP of the eurozone increased to 92.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from 90.6 percent the previous quarter.

The EU agency further stated that the highest debt-to-GDP ratios were traced to Greece at 160.5 percent, Italy at 130.3 percent, Portugal at 127.2 percent, and Ireland at 125.1 percent.

The latest data showed that many EU countries remain mired in recession with reported debt burdens becoming heavier as states survive on bailout loans.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is entering its sixth year of recession because of the government-introduced harsh austerity measures that have resulted in more than a quarter of Greeks losing their jobs.

Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy.

Portugal is the third country after Greece and Ireland to succumb to financial troubles in the eurozone debt crisis, seeking financial assistance to the tune of a EUR 78-billion bailout.

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries. - Press TV.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "Unusual Cosmic Event" - Galaxies A Trillion Times Brighter Than The Sun Observed Inside Colossal Amoeba-Like Objects!

July 22, 2013 - SPACE - In 2011, galaxies a trillion times brighter than our Sun were observed by the Spitzer Space Telescope  inside enormous blobs that were first found  by visible-light telescopes, located billions of light-years away in ancient galactic structures or filaments, where thousands of young galaxies are clustered together. These large, fuzzy galactic halos are made up of hot hydrogen gas and are about 10 times as large as the galaxies they encompass. Astronomers can see glowing blobs, but they don't know what provides the energy to light them up. But they have a hunch.

Lyman-alpha blobs (shown above) are so called because they strongly emit radiation due to the Lyman-alpha emission line of hydrogen gas. Normally, Lyman-alpha emission is in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, but Lyman-apha blobs are so distant, their light is redshifted to (longer) optical wavelengths. These huge bodies of gas may be precursors to galaxies. One of these objects, named Himiko (see below) for a legendary, mysterious Japanese queen, stretches for 55 thousand light years, a record for that early point in time. Himiko is located at a transition point in the evolution of the universe called the reionization epoch -- it's as far back as we can see to date.

"It is possible that extremely bright galactic mergers (image above) lie at the center of all the mysterious blobs, but we still don't know how they fuel the blobs themselves," said Dr. Harry Teplitz, Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology. "It's like seeing smoke in the distance and now discovering that it's a forest fire, not a house or car fire, but still not knowing whether it was caused by lightning or arson."  The findings will ultimately provide a better understanding of how galaxies, including ones like our own Milky Way, form.

Using its heat-seeking infrared eyes, Spitzer was able to see the dusty galaxies tucked inside one well-known blob located 11 billion light-years away. The findings reveal three monstrously bright galaxies, trillions of times brighter than the Sun, in the process of merging together (image below).

Spitzer also observed three other blobs located in the same cosmic neighborhood, all of which were found to be glaringly bright. One of these blobs is also known to be a galactic merger, only between two galaxies instead of three. It remains to be seen whether the final two blobs studied also contain mergers.

"To figure out what's going on, we need to better characterize the galaxies at the center of the blobs," said Dr. James Colbert, Spitzer Science Center.

That's where Spitzer comes in. Spitzer can sense the infrared glow from the dusty galaxies inside the blobs. When Colbert and colleagues used Spitzer to look at four well-known blobs located in a galactic filament 11 billion light-years away, they discovered that one of them appears to be made up of three galaxies falling into each other -- an unusual cosmic event.

The finding is intriguing because previous observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope found that another one of the four blobs surrounds a merger between two galaxies. The astronomers speculate that all blobs might share this trait; however, more evidence is needed to close the case.

One clue that the scientists might be on the right track has to do with the infrared brightness of the blob galaxies. To visible-light telescopes, these galaxies appear unremarkable. Spitzer measurements revealed that all four of the galaxies studied are among the brightest in the universe, giving off the equivalent light of trillions of Suns. Such luminous galaxies are often triggered when smaller, gas-rich ones crash together, supporting the notion that galactic mergers might make up the cores of blobs.

Even if galactic mergers are fingered as the culprit, the mystery of the giant galactic blobs will persist. Astronomers will have to figure out why mergers are producing such tremendous clouds of material.

"Far from solving the mystery of the blobs, these observations only deepen it. Not only are the gas clouds bizarre, we now know that they contain some of the brightest and most violent galaxies in the universe," said Teplitz.

One extended Lyman-Alpha blobs astronomers discovered is a mysterious, giant object that existed at a time when the universe was only about 800 million years old. This blob was named Himiko for a legendary, mysterious Japanese queen. It stretches for 55 thousand light years, a record for that early point in time. That length is comparable to the radius of the Milky Way's disk.

"The farther out we look into space, the farther we go back in time, " explained Masami Ouchi, a fellow at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution who led an international team of astronomers from the U.S., Japan, and the United Kingdom. "I am very surprised by this discovery. I have never imagined that such a large object could exist at this early stage of the universe's history. According to the concordance model of Big Bang cosmology, small objects form first and then merge to produce larger systems. This blob had a size of typical present-day galaxies when the age of the universe was about 800 million years old, only 6% of the age of today's universe!"

Astronomers are puzzled by the object, which they think could be ionized gas powered by a super-massive black hole; a primordial galaxy with large gas accretion; a collision of two large young galaxies; super wind from intensive star formation; or a single giant galaxy with a large mass of about 40 billion Suns.

Extended blobs discovered thus far have mostly been seen at a distance when the universe was 2 to 3 billion years old. No extended blobs have previously been found when the universe was younger.

"We hesitated to spend our precious telescope time by taking spectra of this weird candidate. We never believed that this bright and large source was a real distant object. We thought it was a foreground interloper contaminating our galaxy sample," continued Ouchi. "But we tried anyway. Then, the spectra exhibited a characteristic hydrogen signature clearly indicating a remarkably large distance—12.9 billion light years!"

"Using infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope, radio data from the VLA, and X-ray imaging from the XMM-Newton satellite, we were able to estimate the star-formation rate and stellar mass of this galaxy and to investigate whether it contains an active nucleus powered by a super-massive black hole," remarked James Dunlop a team member at Edinburgh. "We found that the stellar mass of Himiko is an order of magnitude larger than other objects known at a similar epoch, but we cannot as yet tell if the center houses an active and growing black hole."

"One of the puzzling things about Himiko is that it is so exceptional," said Carnegie's Alan Dressler, a member of the team. "If this was the discovery of a class of objects that are ancestors of today's galaxies, there should be many more smaller ones already found -- a continuous distribution. Because this object is, to this point, one-of-a-kind, it makes it very hard to fit it into the prevailing model of how normal galaxies were assembled. On the other hand, that's what makes it interesting!"

The image of the gigantic, amoeba-like structure is seen as it was when the universe was a mere two billion years old -- about 12 billion years ago. Normally, Lyman-alpha emission is in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, but Lyman-apha blobs are so distant, their light is redshifted to (longer) optical wavelengths. X-ray data (blue) indicates the presence of a supermassive black hole feeding at the center of an active galaxy embedded in the blob. Lyman-alpha blobs could represent an early phase in galaxy formation where the heating is so great it begins to limit further rapid growth of active galaxies and their supermassive black holes.

Some of the gas blobs are up to 400,000 light years across, nearly twice the diameter of the Milky Way's neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. Scientists think they formed when massive stars born early in the history of the universe exploded as supernovas and blew out their surrounding gases. Another theory is that the blobs are giant gas cocoons that will one day give birth to new galaxies.

Black holes actually emit immense amounts of radiation (it's just that none of it comes from inside the event horizon).  As the black hole hoovers up material, the mass spirals in towards the black hole.  As it falls it's accelerated and heats up (imagine a rock falling to Earth), and hot material starts to glow.  Very hot material radiates even more energy, "glowing" all the way up to X-rays.

Observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory have found black holes in several blobs about eleven billion light years from Earth, at the very edge of the system's detection ability.  They can't quite make out the other blobs yet, but they believe that every blob has a black hole core -- just as galaxies do -- which powers their radiation even as it eats their matter.

In fact, it's these black holes that prevents the blobs from ever becoming anything else.  Such a vast cloud of matter would inevitably collapse to start creating stars unless there's something working to prop it up against gravity -- the radiation from a billion-sun-sized black hole.  Which is enough to do most things.

"Something this large and this dense would have been rare in the early universe," said  Ryosuke Yamauchi from Tohoku University. "The structure we discovered and others like it are probably the precursors of the largest structures we see today which contain multiple clusters of galaxies." - Daily Galaxy.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mass Bird And Animal Die-Off In Pakistan - 118 Peacocks Have Died From Disease During The Past Two Months In Tharparkar And Cattle Herds Dying Of Mysterious Disease In Sargodha?!

July 22, 2013 - PAKISTAN - Wildlife Department has failed to control the New Castle “Ranikhet” disease as two more peacocks died of the deadly disease here on Thursday raising the overall death toll to 118.

118 Peacocks Have Died From Disease During The Past Two Months In Tharparkar.

It should be mentioned that beauty of Tharparkar, renowned for the wandering peacocks in open air, was fading due to deaths of peacocks due to birds epidemics.

More than 300 peacocks were killed of New Castle disease locally known as Ranikhet last year and 118 have died during last two months.

The locals who love the precious bird like their other pets have expressed grave concerns over outspread of disease as it claimed more than 100 of their beloved birds besides leaving dozens others affected. It was feared that death toll may rise further as many peacocks were stated to be adversely affected of Ranikhet.

They demanded the Wildlife Department and government to take steps to save the precious birds of extinction. - Business Recorder.

Cattle Herds Dying Of Mysterious Disease In Sargodha.

Mysterious disease continues to killing cattle heads in different areas of Sargodha district. Highly perturbed over the death of their precious animals which are main source of their earnings, farmers have protested against the livestock department negligence.

According to details, three buffaloes worth more than seven lac rupees died of mysterious disease in Chak 32 of Southern Sargodha on Saturday. It should be mentioned that the disease which could not be detected by cattle owners and veterinary experts also has so far left dozens of cattle dead in various areas of the district. The cattle rearing people have started moving to other villages due to fear of the disease affecting their animals.

The farmers have expressed grave concern over the criminal negligence of the livestock department officials in taking steps to control the spread of disease and treatment of affected animals.

They demanded the authorities concerned for taking notice and financial assistance of the farmers who suffered losses due to deaths of cattle. - The Frontier Post.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Disaster Impact - New Zealand's 6.9 Earthquake Released Energy Equal To 100 Nuclear Bombs The Size That Devastated Hiroshima!

July 22, 2013 - NEW ZEALAND - This evening's magnitude 6.9 earthquake released energy equivalent to 100 nuclear bombs of the size which devastated Hiroshima, scientists say.

GNS Research seismologist Stephen Bannister said the quake, which was centred in the Cook Strait, 20 kilometres east of Seddon at a depth of 17 kilometres, was one of more than more than 230 earthquakes recorded in the area since Friday, with about 15 rating above magnitude 4.

It was likely linked to a fault in the Cook Strait capable of generating far more severe shaking, GNS Science said.

Dr Kelvin Berryman, GNS Science director of Natural Hazards, said the severe shaking over the past three days was probably linked to one of several faults capable of generating shakes of magnitude 7.0 or more.

The most likely candidate was the Needle fault, although the location of the quakes over the past three days did not quite match up.

He said a larger quake was unlikely but the swarm that kicked off on Friday morning was not following the normal aftershock pattern, in which the tremors became progressively less severe.

This afternoon's 6.9 magnitude shake, the biggest in the latest swarm, meant the shaking was not following the usual pattern, he said.

GNS should have a clearer idea of the probability of another big, or even bigger, quake by tomorrow, he said.

Bannister said a magnitude 6.9 earthquake releases energy equivalent to 100 nuclear bombs of the size which devastated Hiroshima.

"People will be feeling shocks that register above [magnitude] 3, and we have had about 50 of those since Friday.

"It's not a simple main shock followed by aftershocks, it's an evolving sequence," Bannister said.

He said with earthquakes of this size, aftershocks should be anticipated in the coming days.

"We would just encourage people to make sure they have their emergency kits and rations ready for future events. We can't say how many more large ones to expect."

Victoria University geophysics professor Euan Smith said much of Wellington's city centre was reclaimed land which meant it was not as stable as other areas.

"Where rubble has come down in Featherston St, there was no land there before the 1855 earthquake in Wellington.

"Reclaimed land shakes more easily and is not as strong as hard ground. From Lambton Quay and towards the harbour is also reclaimed land, and these areas will shake much more strongly than other areas."

The Hutt Valley was similarly on softer ground.

"If this evening's was the first then I would say we could expect them to decay in the usual way, but given we had the earlier ones we should still be anticipating that there could be quite large earthquakes for the next few days."

South Island still being reshaped

The South Island is still buckling and shifting to the rhythms of the earth nearly three years after titanic seismic forces began reshaping Canterbury.

High-precision satellite readings gathered from afar afield as the Southern Alps and analysed by scientists as part of an Earthquake Commission-funded project show that despite the apparent settling down of aftershocks, the ground keeps moving.

While it's 14 months since the last magnitude 5-plus earthquake shook Canterbury, the longer-term effects of the barrage of quakes are continuing to affect the landscape.

In the past 18 months, North Canterbury has been budged about 10mm further east towards Pegasus Bay compared with Christchurch, Banks Peninsula and parts of the region further south.

But researchers say the overall movement of the crust across the quake zone is slowing down, which they believe is a good sign for Canterbury residents.

On Friday, the country's biggest quake of recent months, a magnitude 5.7 event centred in Cook Strait at a depth of 8km, frightened Marlborough and Wellington residents. A second quake of 4.5 magnitude followed hours later.

GNS Science spokesman John Callan said there were several active faults under the seabed in Cook Strait.

Seismologists say post-seismic deformation in Canterbury is quite different from "slow-slip" or "silent" quakes that have been discovered in parts of the North Island, such as Poverty Bay, Hawke's Bay and offshore of the Kapiti Coast, over the past decade using global positioning system technology.

University of Texas research scientist Laura Wallace said the most recent GPS data recorded across what has become known as The Gap near Christchurch showed regional movement had slowed by 50-70 per cent from an earlier survey.

The Gap, an area around Prebbleton and Lincoln southwest of Christchurch, is a physical void between the eastern end of the Greendale Fault and the western end of the Port Hills Fault.

Scientists have calculated there is a shortfall in the amount of energy released by quakes there compared with that released close to the two big faults on either side.

Some scientists have advocated monitoring of The Gap to discover whether hidden and shallow faults there could generate a quake of magnitude 6 or more.

However, recent attempts to secure research funding for ongoing work have failed.

Wallace said it was clear The Gap and the surrounding region was still moving as a result of the long quake sequence.

"Basically there was six to 10mm of movement between January 2012 and January this year across the region from south of the aftershock [zone] to the region north of the aftershocks [zone]. This contrasts with a slightly faster 10mm or so movement across that region in the nine months between June 2011 and March 2012.
So The Gap area is still adjusting, but at a slightly lower rate than it was before. [It's] interesting, but not super exciting, which is good for you guys," Wallace said.

GNS Science seismologist Caroline Holden believed The Gap was not as potentially hazardous as previously thought. "There's faults everywhere, but if they were to be going off they would have gone by now, although the risk of a [magnitude] 5 is still quite high."

The last aftershock of that size was a magnitude 5.2 on May 25, 2012. GNS Science forecasts there is a 61 per cent chance of a quake of more than magnitude 5 in the aftershock zone in the next year.

"The ground is still trying to settle down but the rate is now a bit smaller. It is a horizontal relative motion, where the northern side of the aftershock zone is moving roughly east-northeast relative to Banks Peninsula.

However, compared to regional deformation before the whole earthquake sequence started in September 2010 it is still a lot more active."

‘The September 2010 quake was 7.1 magnitude and the February 2011 quake, which killed 185 people, was a 6.3 magnitude. - Stuff.

COSMIC CATASTROPHISM: Mars' Atmosphere Destroyed By "Catastrophic" Event Four Billion Years Ago - Caused By Either A Volcanic Eruptions Or A Massive Collision!

July 22, 2013 - MARS - A “catastrophic” event destroyed the atmosphere of Mars four billion years ago, according to scientists. An analysis of data returned by the Curiosity rover, which landed on the planet a year ago, suggests there was a major upheaval which could have been caused by volcanic eruptions or a massive collision which stripped away the atmosphere.

Rocks collected from the surface of the Gusev crater by Nasa's Spirit rover were found to contain
five times as much nickel as Martian meteorites found on Earth.
 Photo: ALAMY

The rover has returned its first measurements of the makeup of gases, including argon, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, in the Martian atmosphere.

The results, published in two parallel studies in the journal Science, allow scientists to better understand how the Martian climate changed, and understand whether it ever had the right conditions for life.

Dr Chris Webster at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, lead author on one of the studies, said the data enabled direct comparisons with the Earth’s climate.

“As Mars became a planet and its magma solidified, catastrophic outgassing occurred while volatiles were delivered by impact of comets and other small bodies”, Dr Webster said.

“Our Curiosity measurements are – for the first time – accurate enough to make direct comparisons with measurements done on Earth on meteorites using sophisticated large instrumentation that gives high accuracy results.”

The team believe a major event destroying the atmosphere must have happened around four billion years ago.

The different ratio of two forms of the gas argon on Mars and Earth suggests some huge event changed their relative amounts, the scientists said.

Monica Grady, professor of planetary sciences at The Open University, who did not write the studies, told The Guardian: “It’s really great that two separate studies using different instruments and techniques have given the same composition.

WATCH: Bridge Collapses In Washington State.

“These findings reverse the results from the Phoenix mission and clear up some confusion over the composition of the Martian atmosphere.”

According to a study of rock samples published last month, Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere more than a billion years before Earth.

Rocks collected from the surface of the Gusev crater by Nasa's Spirit rover were found to contain five times as much nickel as Martian meteorites found on Earth.

This suggests that the surface rocks, which are at least 3.7 billion years old, formed in an oxygen-rich environment while the meteorites, aged between 180 million and 1.4 billion years, did not.

Dr Paul Mahaffy from Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, who was the lead author on the other paper, said further analysis needed to be done before humans could be put on Mars.

“From a practical standpoint we need to know the composition [of the atmosphere] today, and how it is changing, so that we can prepare for the eventual arrival of human explorers.” - Telegraph.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Villagers Flee As Indonesia Volcano Spews Ash - Mount Merapi Unleash Volcanic Material 3,280 Feet High!

July 22, 2013 - INDONESIA - Indonesia's most volatile volcano spewed smoke and ash Monday, forcing hundreds of people to flee their villages along its slopes, a disaster official said.

Villagers look at the Merapi volcano in Cangkringan, Indonesia, Monday, July 22, 2013.

Mount Merapi on the main island of Java rumbled as heavy rain fell around its cloud-covered crater, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, disaster mitigation agency spokesman.

The volcano unleashed a column of dark red volcanic material 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) into the air, and the ash made the rain thick and muddy in several villages as terrified residents fled to safety, he said.

The sound was heard 30 kilometers (18 miles) away, but an eruption did not occur and the volcano's alert level was not raised, Nugroho said.

The 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) mountain is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes. Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 240 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines. - TWC.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes West Of The Marion Islands, Prince Edward Islands!

July 22, 2013 - PRINCE EDWARD ISLANDS - According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck west of the Marion Islands, Prince Edward Islands on July 22, 2013 at 07:01 UTC. The tremor was located at coordinates 46.042°S 34.825°E.

USGS earthquake location.

It had a depth of 10 kilometres (km) or 6.2 miles.

The epicentre was located at  244 km (152 miles) west of Marion Island, Prince Edward Islands; 1538 km (956 miles) southeast of Port Alfred, South Africa; and 1963 km (1220 miles) southeast of Maseru, Lesotho.

USGS earthquake location.

No tsunami warning was issued.

This is a remote area, located about 1500 km beneath mainland South Africa, between Africa continent and Antarctic in sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean.

The only human inhabitants of the islands are the staff of a meteorological and biological research station run by the South African National Antarctic Programme on Marion Island.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

There are no populated areas in 100 km radius from the epicentre, so there are no reports of casualties or infrastructural damage.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 6.6 Magnitude Earthquake And 5.6 Magnitude Aftershock Devastates China - At Least 56 Killed; 412 Injured; 14 Missing; Thousands Of Homes Destroyed!

July 22, 2013 - CHINA - A shallow earthquake struck a dry, hilly farming area in western China early Monday, killing at least 56 people, injuring more than 400, and destroying thousands of homes, the local government said.

The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a hilly region of mountains, desert and pastureland about 1,233 kilometers (766 miles) west of Beijing.

Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but there was relatively little major damage or panic in the city itself. Tremors were felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou 177 kilometers (110 miles) north, and as far away as Xi'an, 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the east.

USGS earthquake location.

"You could see the chandeliers wobble and the windows vibrating and making noise, but there aren't any cracks in the walls. Shop assistants all poured out onto the streets when the shaking began," said a front desk clerk at the Wuyang Hotel in the Zhang County seat about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the epicenter. The clerk surnamed Bao refrained from identifying herself further, as is common among ordinary Chinese.

The government's earthquake monitoring center said the initial quake at 7:45 a.m. (2345 GMT Sunday) was magnitude-6.6 and subsequent tremors included a magnitude-5.6.

The quake was shallow, which can be more destructive. The center said it struck about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) beneath the surface, while the Gansu provincial earthquake administration said it was just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) deep.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the initial quake as 5.9 and the depth at 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Initial measurements of an earthquake can vary widely, especially if different monitoring equipment is used.

An additional 14 people were missing on top of the 56 dead, and 412 were injured, the provincial government said in a statement posted online.

The deaths and injuries were reported in Min County and other rural southern parts of the municipality, Dingxi Mayor Tang Xiaoming told state broadcaster CCTV. Tang said damage was worst in the counties of Zhang and Min, where scores of homes were damaged and telephone and electricity services knocked out.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Su Wei, leader of a 120-member rescue team from the paramilitary People's Armed Police, told state broadcaster CCTV that they were on their way to the epicenter, but progress was being slowed by mud and rock slides blocking the road.

The Chinese Red Cross said it was shipping 200 tents, 1,000 sets of household items, and 2,000 jackets to the area and sending teams from both Lanzhou and Beijing to help with relief work and assess further needs.

Heavy rain is expected in the area later in the week, raising the need for shelter and increasing the chance of further landslides.

More than 1,200 homes were destroyed by the quake, with another 21,000 badly damaged, provincial government spokesman Chang Zhengguo was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

With a population of 26 million, Gansu is one of China's more lightly populated provinces, although the New Jersey-sized area of Dingxi has a greater concentration of farms in rolling hills terraced with fields for crops and fruit trees. Dingxi has a total population of about 2.7 million.

China's worst earthquake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude temblor that struck the southwestern province of Sichuan in 2008, leaving 90,000 people dead or missing. - Huffington Post.

Tectonic Summary

The July 21, 2013 China earthquake (Mw5.9) occurred in south-central Gansu Province, 13km east of the city of Chabu. The earthquake resulted from NE-SW oriented oblique, thrust-type motion. On a continental scale, the seismicity of central and eastern Asia results from northward convergence of the India plate with the Eurasia plate at a velocity of about 50mm/yr. The convergence of the two plates is broadly accommodated by the uplift of the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau, and by the motion of crustal material to the east away from the sides of the Tibetan Plateau.

The July 21, 2013 event occurred within 200km of 3 events greater than M 6 in the past 40 years, including one event of M 6.0 in 2008.

Seismotectonics of the Himalaya and Vicinity

Seismicity in the Himalaya dominantly results from the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. The surface expression of the plate boundary is marked by the foothills of the north-south trending Sulaiman Range in the west, the Indo-Burmese Arc in the east and the east-west trending Himalaya Front in the north of India.

The India-Eurasia plate boundary is a diffuse boundary, which in the region near the north of India, lies within the limits of the Indus-Tsangpo (also called the Yarlung-Zangbo) Suture to the north and the Main Frontal Thrust to the south. The Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is located roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin. The narrow (less than 200km) Himalaya Front includes numerous east-west trending, parallel structures. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults. Examples of significant earthquakes, in this densely populated region, caused by reverse slip movement include the 1934 M8.1 Bihar, the 1905 M7.5 Kangra and the 2005 M7.6 Kashmir earthquakes. The latter two resulted in the highest death tolls for Himalaya earthquakes seen to date, together killing over 100,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The largest instrumentally recorded Himalaya earthquake occurred on 15th August 1950 in Assam, eastern India. This M8.6 right-lateral, strike-slip, earthquake was widely felt over a broad area of central Asia, causing extensive damage to villages in the epicentral region.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The Tibetan Plateau is situated north of the Himalaya, stretching approximately 1000km north-south and 2500km east-west, and is geologically and tectonically complex with several sutures which are hundreds of kilometer-long and generally trend east-west. The Tibetan Plateau is cut by a number of large (greater than 1000km) east-west trending, left-lateral, strike-slip faults, including the long Kunlun, Haiyuan, and the Altyn Tagh. Right-lateral, strike-slip faults (comparable in size to the left-lateral faults), in this region include the Karakorum, Red River, and Sagaing. Secondary north-south trending normal faults also cut the Tibetan Plateau. Thrust faults are found towards the north and south of the Tibetan Plateau. Collectively, these faults accommodate crustal shortening associated with the ongoing collision of the India and Eurasia plates, with thrust faults accommodating north south compression, and normal and strike-slip accommodating east-west extension.

Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the India plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range. Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes. The active, left-lateral, strike-slip Chaman fault is the fastest moving fault in the region. In 1505, a segment of the Chaman fault near Kabul, Afghanistan, ruptured causing widespread destruction. In the same region the more recent 30 May 1935, M7.6 Quetta earthquake, which occurred in the Sulaiman Range in Pakistan, killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

On the north-western side of the Tibetan Plateau, beneath the Pamir-Hindu Kush Mountains of northern Afghanistan, earthquakes occur at depths as great as 200 km as a result of remnant lithospheric subduction. The curved arc of deep earthquakes found in the Hindu Kush Pamir region indicates the presence of a lithospheric body at depth, thought to be remnants of a subducting slab. Cross-sections through the Hindu Kush region suggest a near vertical northerly-dipping subducting slab, whereas cross-sections through the nearby Pamir region to the east indicate a much shallower dipping, southerly subducting slab. Some models suggest the presence of two subduction zones; with the Indian plate being subducted beneath the Hindu Kush region and the Eurasian plate being subducted beneath the Pamir region. However, other models suggest that just one of the two plates is being subducted and that the slab has become contorted and overturned in places.

Shallow crustal earthquakes also occur in this region near the Main Pamir Thrust and other active Quaternary faults. The Main Pamir Thrust, north of the Pamir Mountains, is an active shortening structure. The northern portion of the Main Pamir Thrust produces many shallow earthquakes, whereas its western and eastern borders display a combination of thrust and strike-slip mechanisms. On the 18 February 1911, the M7.4 Sarez earthquake ruptured in the Central Pamir Mountains, killing numerous people and triggering a landside, which blocked the Murghab River.

Further north, the Tian Shan is a seismically active intra-continental mountain belt, which extends 2500 km in an ENE-WNW orientation north of the Tarim Basin. This belt is defined by numerous east-west trending thrust faults, creating a compressional basin and range landscape. It is generally thought that regional stresses associated with the collision of the India and Eurasia plates are responsible for faulting in the region. The region has had three major earthquakes (greater than M7.6) at the start of the 20th Century, including the 1902 Atushi earthquake, which killed an estimated 5,000 people. The range is cut through in the west by the 700-km-long, northwest-southeast striking, Talas-Ferghana active right-lateral, strike-slip fault system. Though the system has produced no major earthquakes in the last 250 years, paleo-seismic studies indicate that it has the potential to produce M7.0+ earthquakes and it is thought to represent a significant hazard.

The northern portion of the Tibetan Plateau itself is largely dominated by the motion on three large left-lateral, strike-slip fault systems; the Altyn Tagh, Kunlun and Haiyuan. The Altyn Tagh fault is the longest of these strike slip faults and it is thought to accommodate a significant portion of plate convergence. However, this system has not experienced significant historical earthquakes, though paleoseismic studies show evidence of prehistoric M7.0-8.0 events. Thrust faults link with the Altyn Tagh at its eastern and western termini. The Kunlun Fault, south of the Altyn Tagh, is seismically active, producing large earthquakes such as the 8th November 1997, M7.6 Manyi earthquake and the 14th November 2001, M7.8 Kokoxili earthquake. The Haiyuan Fault, in the far north-east, generated the 16 December 1920, M7.8 earthquake that killed approximately 200,000 people and the 22 May 1927 M7.6 earthquake that killed 40,912.

The Longmen Shan thrust belt, along the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, is an important structural feature and forms a transitional zone between the complexly deformed Songpan-Garze Fold Belt and the relatively undeformed Sichuan Basin. On 12 May 2008, the thrust belt produced the reverse slip, M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, killing over 87,000 people and causing billions of US dollars in damages and landslides which dammed several rivers and lakes.

Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau are the right-lateral, strike-slip Red River and the left-lateral, strike-slip Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang fault systems. The Red River Fault experienced large scale, left-lateral ductile shear during the Tertiary period before changing to its present day right-lateral slip rate of approximately 5 mm/yr. This fault has produced several earthquakes greater than M6.0 including the 4 January 1970, M7.5 earthquake in Tonghai which killed over 10,000 people. Since the start of the 20th century, the Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang Fault system has generated several M7.0+ earthquakes including the M7.5 Luhuo earthquake which ruptured on the 22 April 1973. Some studies suggest that due to the high slip rate on this fault, future large earthquakes are highly possible along the 65km stretch between Daofu and Qianning and the 135km stretch that runs through Kangding.

Shallow earthquakes within the Indo-Burmese Arc, predominantly occur on a combination of strike-slip and reverse faults, including the Sagaing, Kabaw and Dauki faults. Between 1930 and 1956, six M7.0+ earthquakes occurred near the right-lateral Sagaing Fault, resulting in severe damage in Myanmar including the generation of landslides, liquefaction and the loss of 610 lives. Deep earthquakes (200km) have also been known to occur in this region, these are thought to be due to the subduction of the eastwards dipping, India plate, though whether subduction is currently active is debated. Within the pre-instrumental period, the large Shillong earthquake occurred on the 12 June 1897, causing widespread destruction. - USGS.