Tuesday, August 6, 2013

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: NASA Declares That SOMETHING BIG Is About To Happen On The Sun - The Sun's Magnetic Field Is ABOUT TO FLIP!

August 06, 2013 - SUN - Something big is about to happen on the sun.  According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun's vast magnetic field is about to flip.

The Sun's magnetic poles are about to flip. The major event will have effects all across the solar system.

"It looks like we're no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal," says solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. "This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system."

The sun's magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years.  It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun's inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself.  The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of 'Solar Max' will be behind us, with half yet to come.

Hoeksema is the director of Stanford's Wilcox Solar Observatory, one of the few observatories in the world that monitor the sun's polar magnetic fields.  The poles are a herald of change. Just as Earth scientists watch our planet's polar regions for signs of climate change, solar physicists do the same thing for the sun. Magnetograms at Wilcox have been tracking the sun's polar magnetism since 1976, and they have recorded three grand reversals—with a fourth in the offing.

Solar physicist Phil Scherrer, also at Stanford, describes what happens: "The sun's polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. This is a regular part of the solar cycle."

Astronomers at the Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) monitor the sun's global magnetic field on a daily basis.
WSO home page
 A reversal of the sun's magnetic field is, literally, a big event. The domain of the sun's magnetic influence (also known as the "heliosphere") extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. Changes to the field's polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space.

When solar physicists talk about solar field reversals, their conversation often centers on the "current sheet."  The current sheet is a sprawling surface jutting outward from the sun's equator where the sun's slowly-rotating magnetic field induces an electrical current.  The current itself is small, only one ten-billionth of an amp per square meter (0.0000000001 amps/m2), but there’s a lot of it: the amperage flows through a region 10,000 km thick and billions of kilometers wide.  Electrically speaking, the entire heliosphere is organized around this enormous sheet.

An artist's concept of the heliospheric current sheet, which becomes more wavy when
the sun's magnetic field flips. More

During field reversals, the current sheet becomes very wavy. Scherrer likens the undulations to the seams on a baseball.  As Earth orbits the sun, we dip in and out of the current sheet. Transitions from one side to another can stir up stormy space weather around our planet.

Cosmic rays are also affected. These are high-energy particles accelerated to nearly light speed by supernova explosions and other violent events in the galaxy.  Cosmic rays are a danger to astronauts and space probes, and some researchers say they might affect the cloudiness and climate of Earth. The current sheet acts as a barrier to cosmic rays, deflecting them as they attempt to penetrate the inner solar system. A wavy, crinkly sheet acts as a better shield against these energetic particles from deep space.

WATCH: A new ScienceCast video anticipates the reversal of the sun's global magnetic field.

As the field reversal approaches, data from Wilcox show that the sun's two hemispheres are out of synch. 

"The sun's north pole has already changed sign, while the south pole is racing to catch up," says Scherrer.

"Soon, however, both poles will be reversed, and the second half of Solar Max will be underway."

When that happens, Hoeksema and Scherrer will share the news with their colleagues and the public. - NASA.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Gang Of Asteroids - New Study Indicates That Russia's Chelyabinsk Meteorite May Have Followers Or "Gang Of Siblings" On The Same Path!

August 06, 2013 - SPACE - The Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russia in February, injuring over a thousand, may have stemmed from a massive cluster of rocks which broke off from a disintegrating asteroid thousands of years ago, a new study claims.

Spanish astronomers have discovered that the Chelyabinsk bolide, an 18-meter wide 11,000-ton space rock that burst in a 460-kiloton explosion above Russia, used to be a part of a larger space body.

Scientists believe between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, a massive body orbiting the sun broke up, most likely as a result of the temperature extremes and planetary gravitation it experienced while looping out past Mars and Venus.

Subsequently, the pieces of that asteroid formed a so-called ‘asteroid family’, a group of asteroids that share same origin, composition and orbit.

The parent of this potentially hazardous asteroid family has been identified as 2011 EO40. Those rocks are still flying somewhere in space, and just like the Chelyabinsk meteorite, their orbits could intersect with that of Earth.

In a new study, Carlos de la Fuente Marcos and his brother Raul from the Complutense University in Madrid said that they have found reliable statistical evidence for the existence of the Chelyabinsk cluster, or asteroid family.

The Chelyabinsk meteor trace. (RIA Novosti / Nakanune.RU)

The brothers used computer simulations of billions of possible asteroid orbits to find the ones most fitting into the Chelyabinsk impactor pre-collision orbit.

They then searched the NASA database of known asteroids to find out if any of them follow those orbits. In the course of their investigation, they spotted the Chelyabinsk bolide family of about 20 asteroids, which range in size from 5 to 200 meters across.

“It appears to include multiple small asteroids and two relatively large members: 2007 BD7 and 2011 EO40. The most probable parent body for the Chelyabinsk superbolide is [asteroid] 2011 EO40,”
according to their article, which is to be published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

The study points out that the shattered pieces of a rubble-pile asteroid can spread along the entire orbit of the parent body, making their collision with Earth possible on a time-scale of hundreds of years.

The Spaniards do admit that the orbits of the Chelyabinsk bolide asteroid family have not been definitively calculated and there is room for debate about whether they are a ‘family’ at all.

The Spanish researchers also said the gravitational pull of the planets may affect the paths of the other rocks in the cluster in a slightly different way, so even if the orbits of these objects initially seem similar, they could radically change down the line. 

Still, Carlos de la Fuente Marcos warns, “More objects with the same orbital signature may encounter our planet in the future”.

With a diameter of some 200 meters, 2011 EO40 has already been labeled a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) by the Minor Planet Center (MPC).

Fragments of the Chelyabinsk meteorite are studied at the laboratory of the Research and Educational Center
of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies of Ural Federal University. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

It was first classified as an Earth crosser upon its discovery in 2011. So far its orbit has not been entirely calculated, being modeled on a mere 34 days of observations, whereas it usually takes years of follow-ups of a space object to know its trajectory with certainty.

Jorge Zuluaga from the University of Antioquia in Colombia has doubts if 2011 EO40 is in fact the parent of the Chelyabinsk meteor and isn’t worried about it creating further impacts.

“I don’t think this particular asteroid is more hazardous than others in the MPC list,”
said Zuluaga, adding that the asteroid isn’t on a direct collision course with Earth in any case. 

David Nesvorny from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder Colorado was also skeptical of a definite link.

WATCH: Chelyabinsk meteorite may have gang of siblings.

“It is not obvious to me why [the Chelyabinsk meteor] cannot be a fragment that was produced by a collision in the main asteroid belt, and evolved to its impact orbit by a few planetary encounters,”
he told the journal Nature. 

Further tests would be needed to confirm if 2011 EO40 was Chelyabinsk’s parent rock. Sending a probe into space to bring back samples is the only way to be completely sure.

Another cheaper and a less conclusive option would be to analyze the light bouncing off it and collate its composition to fragments of the meteorite that hit Russia. - RT.

MAJOR ALERT: Disaster Looms - FEMA Scrambles To Stockpile Food Reserves?!

August 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - In recent years the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been regionalizing disaster supplies and rapidly procuring hundreds of millions of ready-to-eat meals, blankets, and body bags. Coupled with the Department of Homeland Security’s suspiciously massive purchases of ammunition, firearms, and riot gear, it is becoming increasingly clear that the U.S. government is positioning itself in advance of an as of yet unknown widespread calamity.

The stockpiling of supplies often considered prepper staples has been occurring since at least 2008, and has increased in scope and velocity throughout the last several years. In fact, the government has been buying so many supplies and in such large amounts that shortages have affected the world’s leading manufacturers to the point they’ve been forced to suspend shipments to retail customers of survival foods and ammunition.

The efforts to stockpile supplies have not abated, despite the mainstream notion that we are experiencing an economic recovery and that relative peace exists throughout the world. In fact, it seems that FEMA and DHS are increasingly expanding their efforts. As evidenced in the report below, they are no longer just waiting for bids posted on the Federal Business Opportunities web site.

FEMA is now actively engaging businesses on the retail supply level, suggesting that whatever they are preparing for is imminent and may occur in short order:
Via Intellihub.com and My Patriot Supply:

The owner of MyPatriotSupply.com was contacted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by way of email, leading on that something is ready to pop off.

“Here we are, August 2013 and FEMA once again is trying to buy up large stockpiles of food. And they don’t want anyone to know it, and they want to take immediately delivery… I’ve studied history. That is what got me into preparedness in the first place. History has shown us time after time that those who depend on the government to come to their aid during a disaster are the ones waiting the longest for help. Sometimes help never comes…or comes too late.

I do not believe these critical emergency food supplies should be in the hands of the government, stored in some secret warehouse only to be brought out and distributed to their own agencies first,  with the rest of us getting table scraps long after we need it.

These life-saving meals belong in the hands of people like you and me. This is why I declined the opportunity to sell to the Department of Homeland Security. 

But let’s not forget the most important part of this: 

Why the sudden sense of urgency? What do they know that we do not?

I’m not one to cry that the sky is always falling, but when DHS/FEMA make a move to quietly buy up emergency food supplies and ask how much we can ship within 24 hours…I think this is far enough outside the realm of what is “normal” to beg some questions.
A snapshot of the email from FEMA has been made available below:

Granted, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is tasked with preparing America for unexpected, widespread emergencies, so having supplies should be their top priority. However, that they would be anxiously contacting retail suppliers of emergency food and equipment is highly suspect.

We know the U.S. government has been actively preparing for and simulating scenarios that include economic collapse and civil unrest with participants including everyone from the Pentagon to hybrid local law enforcement agencies.

For all intents and purposes the government of this country is engaging in activity that is, when applied to individual behavior, considered suspicious terroristic activity. They are doing everything their FBI bulletins say we as individual citizens should be reporting to police, including the bulk purchases of meals-ready-eat, ammunition, high capacity magazines, and firearms.

Though most Americans are ignorant of these facts, many of those who are aware of what the government has been doing dismiss this as completely normal. They believe that, should disaster strike, those supplies are being stockpiled for their benefit, never realizing that they will be the last in line when a true breakdown happens.

When Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast last year tens of thousands of people were left without homes and supplies. Where was FEMA? We’re not sure, but we do know that within 72 hours of the grid being down residents of New York and New Jersey were starving and rummaging through trash looking for scraps of food. Those who were lucky enough to find a FEMA shelter soon found out that the assistance being provided felt more like a concentration camp than a refugee center. We saw similar events unfold in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The bottom line is that these supplies and the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent by FEMA are not for us. They are being allocated for the elite members of society, not the average American on the ground.

For those who fail to prepare for long-term disaster situations, life will be horrific and unbearable, because, as noted by FEMA itself, government recovery assistance could take weeks or months.

They are preparing. For what? We can only speculate, but the evidence suggests it’s big and involves a potentially long-duration event.

When it hits the fan all bets are off and you’ll have only yourself, those close to you, and your community to keep you alive. - SHTF Plan.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For August 6, 2013 - Updates On Santa María, Santiaguito, Karymsky And Tongariro!

August 06, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): A series of stronger explosions occurred this morning from the Caliente lava dome. The explosions produced several small pyroclastic flows on the flanks of the dome and ash plumes of more than 1 km height rose to 3-3.5 km a.s.l.

Explosion from Santiaguito this morning (INSIVUMEH).

Ash fall occurred in Coatepeque, Malacatán, El Rodeo, Tacana, Sibinal, and other places.

Karymsky (Kamchatka): After months with probably only smaller explosive activity, a powerful vulcanian eruption took place last night (22:35 UTC), producing a 3-4 km tall ash plume rising to 20,000 ft (6 km) elevation.

The plume was observed by a helicopter pilot and on satellite imagery drifting east. About 5 hours after the eruption, the plume was 50 miles (80 km) ESE of the volcano.

Tongariro (North Island, New Zealand): During the past two weeks, GeoNet has been recording very small earthquakes beneath the volcano. The quakes were too small to be located but show up on local seismic stations.

Current seismic recording from Tongariro (GeoNet).

GNS Science said the earthquakes could simply be part of the background unrest typical of most active volcanoes. However, in this case they are of interest at this time because there have been so few at Tongariro since November 2012 and potentially could signal changes occurring inside the volcano... [read more]

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for August 6, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

GREAT DELUGE: Over 160 Dead In Flash Floods In Pakistan And Afghanistan - More Than 500 Houses Washed Away, As Disaster Impact Overwhelms Governmental Relief!

August 06, 2013 - PAKISTAN & AFGHANISTAN - Flash floods have left more than 160 people dead and stranded and even more without food or shelter in Pakistan and Afghanistan in one of South Asia’s most destructive natural disasters of the year, officials said Monday.

A Pakistani woman walks through floodwaters following heavy monsoon rains in Karachi on Monday.
Rizwan Tabassum, AFP / Getty Images

The death toll as a result of flooding caused by heavy rains is highest in mountainous Afghanistan, said officials. Additionally, more than 500 houses were washed away throughout more than a dozen villages outside the capital city Kabul.

Sixty more homes were destroyed in more remote regions of Afghanistan, which are surrounded by roads controlled by the Taliban, said provincial spokesman Mohammad Yusufi. As a result, he said, the government is having trouble getting aid to those whose basic necessities have been swept away by floodwaters.

"We have asked the national government for help, as have an overwhelming number of locals asking for assistance, but this is a Taliban-ridden area," Yusufi said.

In provinces on the eastern border of Afghanistan, local officials have reported an additional 24 people dead, homes and businesses destroyed and farmland turned to swampland after the floods.

In Pakistan, the death toll rivals that of Afghanistan’s. Local media reported that at least 80 people have died in incidents related to the heavy rains. Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said the floods have caused building collapses, electrocution and drowning.

Flooding was especially bad in Pakistan’s most populous area, Karachi, because of the city’s poor drainage system, said Brigadier Kamran Zia, a senior member of the National Disaster Management Authority. The city is home to more than 18 million people and is considered the commercial capital of the country.

Monsoon season, which spans from July to August, is particularly harsh in Pakistan. In August 2010, more than 1,500 Pakistani people lost their lives when floodwaters overcame one fifth of the country.

This year’s floods are not as devastating but come at an already distressing time in Pakistan. Security officials are on high alert after the Taliban freed 250 prisoners from a jail one week ago. Interior Ministry spokesman Omar Hamid Khan said that intelligence officials are worried the prisoners might be used to attack the capital city of Islamabad. - NBC News.

STORM ALERT: Henriette Now A Hurricane Over The Central Pacific Ocean - 1,600 Miles From The Hawaiian Islands!

August 06, 2013 - PACIFIC - Hurricane Henriette is churning westward through the central Pacific Ocean, just over 1,600 miles east-southeast of the Hawaiian Islands.

Projected Path: The latest forecast path and wind speeds from the National Hurricane Center.

Henriette is expected to track toward the northwest, then turn west over the next five days.  While no land areas are in Henriette's path over the next five days, we still cannot rule out a brush of the Hawaiian Islands late in the weekend or early next week.

Current Information: So, where exactly is the cyclone's center located now? If you're plotting the storm
along with us, click on the "Current Information" map below to get the latitude/longitude
coordinates, distance away from the nearest land location, maximum sustained winds and
central pressure (measured in millibars). 

That being said, while Henriette may encounter some additional strengthening over the next day or so, more stable air and cooler water is expected to weaken Henriette starting later Wednesday or Thursday.

As occurred with Flossie, the climatology of tropical cyclones weakening to either depressions or low-grade tropical storms when the approach Hawaii from the east, is expected to hold in the case of Henriette.

Satellite: How does the system look on satellite imagery. Click on "infrared" satellite imagery, to see how
"cold" the cloud tops are. Brighter orange and red shadings concentrated near the center of circulation
signify a healthy tropical cyclone.  (Note: In this case, "Henriette" is the tropical cyclone
farthest east in the satellite image.)

If a weakened Henriette, or its remnant low, does brush Hawaii, it appears it would do so Sunday evening or Monday, local time.

This has been a relatively active season in the Eastern Pacific. On average, there are only three Eastern Pacific hurricanes by the first week of August; the sixth hurricane on this side of North America doesn't arrive, on average, until September 9. - TWC.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Kamchatka Awakening - Karymsky Volcano Sends Ash 4 Miles Into The Sky!

August 06, 2013 - RUSSIA - An active volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula on Tuesday spewed ash to a height of 6.5 kilometers (4 miles), local emergencies services reported.

Karymsky Volcano.

The 1,486-meter (4,875-foot) Karymsky is the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone.

Its activity increased dramatically in 1996 and continues with periodic eruptions until the present.

“An ash eruption to a height of up to 6,500 meters took place at the Karymsky volcano early on Tuesday,” the report said.

According to the report, the plume of ash is moving in the eastern direction from the volcano and poses no threat to nearby residential areas.

The emergencies ministry, however, issued a warning to local air traffic as the tiny ash particles often cause problems with aircraft engine turbines.

On Monday, another active Kamchatka volcano, the 3,283-meter (10,771 feet) Shiveluch, churned out ash to a height of up to five kilometers (three miles). No warnings were issued in the eruption.

There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 29 of them active.- RIA.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Heavy Rains And Landslides Claim 14 Lives In Kerala, India - Severe Weather Forces Closure Of Cochin International Airport!

August 06, 2013 - INDIA - Fourteen persons died and several reported missing in landslips triggered by heavy rain in high range Idukki and adjoining districts of Kerala on Monday, forcing closure of Cochin International Airport as the runway was water-logged.

Several persons were reported missing as a huge mound of rock and rubble came crashing down at
Chiyyappara in Idukki while relief work was on in the area

Eight contingents of the army and national disaster relief force have been called to speed up relief and rescue operations in Idukki and Aluva areas near Kochi where Periyar river is overflowing.

After reviewing the situation, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said 11 casualties were reported from Idukki district where 10 persons are still missing. Relief operations have been hampered since roads in Idukki were seriously damaged after 18 landslips had occurred since Sunday night.

Chandy said some 20,000 people hit by incessant rains and floods have been shifted to relief camps in Idukki as well as Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur districts. The government has allotted Rs 84 crore for urgent relief works in affected areas.

While nine lives were lost in landslips, five persons engaged in relief work were killed as a huge block of rock and rubble came crashing down on them at Chiyyampara near Adimali. Rescuers are still removing the debris using earthmovers as more people are feared to be trapped under the rubble, police said.

The sandbanks of Periyar river in Aluva, where thousands are to converge to perform the 'Balitharpanam' ritual on Tuesday, the day of 'Karkitakavavu', is flooded and the Shiva temple there almost submerged. The district administration is seeking possibilities of alternative arrangements for the conduct of the ritual.

The Cochin International airport at nearby Nedumbassery will remain closed to traffic till Tuesday evening as taxi bays and parking bays continue to be water logged. The airport has been closed till 3.30pm on Tuesday, Airport Director A K C Nair said.

Though water-logging in the runway has been reduced, taxi-bays and parking bays still remained water-logged. Air India Express sources told PTI that at least 20-25 domestic flights and an equal number of international flights have been affected due to the closure of the airport. AIE cancelled its Kochi-Doha-Bahrain via Kozhikode and Kochi-Kuwait via Mangalore flights from Kochi and the passengers have been asked to re-book after two days. All incoming flights have been diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode and departures from Kochi have been cancelled the sources added.

On Monday morning, the Saudi Airlines flight from Kochi was diverted to Chennai and the Spicejet Mumbai-Kochi flight to Coimbatore. Heavy rains continue to lash many parts of the state and IMD has cautioned fishermen against venturing into the sea as heavy winds are expected to blow along coastal areas in the next 48 hours.

The government has decided to grant Rs 2 lakh as compensation to each of the families of those killed in rain-related incidents. The government would take a decision on the compensation to be paid for the loss of property and crops, Chandy said. Meanwhile, IMD said in its forecast that heavy rainfall exceeding 7 cm to very heavy rainfall exceeding 13 cm will occur at isolated places over Kerala till the morning of August 7. In Ernakulam district, 76 relief camps have been opened so far. While 221 houses were partially damaged, 22 were destroyed. Authorities have decided to construct 'Bali tharas' on the roadside near the Shiva temple to enable devotees perform 'Balitharpanam' on the occasion of 'Vavu Bali' on Tuesday. About 367.7 hectares of crop area have been affected, official sources said. - Rediff.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Unusual Event Of Rare Waves - Bizarre Meteotsunami Stirred Waves In The United Kingdom?!

August 06, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - A tsunami that struck the UK in 2011 was caused by a storm roiling the ocean hundreds of miles away, a new study confirms.

People crossing to the tidal island of St. Michael's Mount in southwest England suddenly
found themselves knee deep in water because of a meteotsunami on June 27, 2011.
© Oliver Tindall / Shutterstock

The "meteotsunami" (or weather-induced tsunami) of June 27, 2011, caused swells on a normally calm estuary on a sunny day, left some people knee-deep in water and made other people's hair stand on end in southwest England. Scientists suspected that a storm was to blame for the bizarre waves, but the new study, published in the June issue of the journal Weather, confirms it.

"As far as Britain is concerned this is the first time that a meteotsunami has been recorded," said study co-author David Tappin, a marine geologist at the British Geological Survey.

Rare waves

Weather-induced waves happen when storms blast the ocean surface with a burst of pressure, creating a wave. But this wave only turns into a tsunami if the pressure wave forms a resonance with the weather pattern - meaning the wave is traveling at the same speed as the weather front itself.

The wave may be just a few inches high in the deep ocean. But once the wave hits a narrow inlet or V-shaped harbor, the waterway reflects and amplifies the wave's energy and the blip on the water's surface can rapidly grow to 20 feet (6 m) high, Tappin told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet.

Rare weather-induced monster waves have been reported in Majorca, Spain; the Great Lakes in the United States; and the Adriatic Sea. In 1979, a weather-induced tsunami struck Japan at Nagasaki Bay. The 13-foot-high (4 m) wave killed several people.

Unusual event

On June 27, 2011 - a sunny day - the normally placid estuary at the mouth of the Yealm River in southwest England reported waves up to 2.6 feet (0.8 m) high. On the tidal island of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, people crossing the causeway connecting the island to the mainland quickly found themselves knee-deep in water, and others reported their hair standing on end.

Tappin's team suspected that the Yealm Estuary wave was caused by a storm, because no sensors detected an underwater landslide or earthquake, which normally trigger tsunamis.

The team pored over Doppler radar, pressure measurements and tide data from coastal Portugal, Spain, France and England.

The researchers found that the night before, a storm was brewing in the Bay of Biscay (located between Spain and France), more than 300 miles (482 kilometers) away from the Yealm. Over the next several hours, the storm moved into the English Channel, and area gauges showed pressure fluctuations. During the same period, the tides were also modestly higher throughout Britain, Ireland, France and Spain.

The combination of data suggests that the storm caused the freak waves in the southwest of England, the team concluded.

After the team released its report, people have called Tappin with tales on other suspected meteotsunamis, he said.

"What we need to do now is have a look at our historical records and new information of when they occur so we can warn people and advise them when they actually happen," Tappin said. - Live Science.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Mysterious Fireball Light Burns Bright Across The Skies Over Australia?!

August 06, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Experts believe a mysterious bright light in the sky north of Noosa was probably caused by the sun's light on a jet's contrail.

 Willem Bruinsma snapped this burning light in the sky at Noosa National Park. Willem Bruinsma.

The phenomenon appeared to be soaring across the sky for at least 20 minutes, just after sunset on Sunday.

Owen Bennedick, of Wappa Falls Observatory, said it was likely to be an atmospheric event, as a meteor usually lasted a maximum five seconds.

He added that the presence of any comets at the time would have been well documented. - Sunshine Coast Daily.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.9 & 6.0 Magnitude Quakes Hit Off Vanuatu - No Immediate Tsunami Warning Issued!

August 06, 2013 - VANUATU - A 6.0-magnitude quake hit off the South Pacific island of Vanuatu on Wednesday (local time), the US Geological Survey said, but it was not expected to generate a tsunami.

USGS earthquake location.

The US Geological Survey said the tremor hit at 17:21:58 UTC was 31.2 kilometres (19.4 miles) deep and some 84 kilometres south of Lakatoro, Vanuatu; and more than 136 kilometres from the capital Port Vila.

Geoscience Australia estimated said it was unlikely to have caused any damage due to its depth.

"If there was any damage it would only be light," duty seismologist Steve Tatham said.

Earthquakes regularly hit near Vanuatu, with a 6.8-magnitude shaker hitting off the South Pacific island in December without generating a destructive tsunami and a 6.2 magnitude recently struck the region on July 26, 48 kilometres northeast of Luganville.

Today's 6.0 tremor was preceded by a strong 5.9 magnitude quake in the Lakatoro region.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The island lies on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a zone of frequent seismic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.

It has been rocked by several large quakes in recent years, averaging about three magnitude 7.0 or above incidents every year.

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

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

USGS tectonic plates boundary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Unprecedented Lobster Cannibalism - Crustaceans Starting To Eat Each, Probably Because Of Climate Change?!

August 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - SumPity the young lobster. In addition to keeping a watchful eye out for the regular motley crew of predators, they now need to watch out for mom and dad as well.

© Getty

Although lobsters have been known to assault and eat each other in captivity - not a surprising reaction given the conditions - marine biologists have recently observed an unprecedented degree of lobster cannibalism taking place in the wild.

Noah Oppenheim, a biologist studying the New England marine ecosystem, was the first to record the new development by setting up a camera trap using a young lobster as bait, reports The Independent.

When the same kind of experiments were conducted 20 years ago, other fish would feed on the bait; now, it's adult lobsters that are swooping in and making mincemeat of their young. After repeated experiments, scientists concluded that juvenile lobsters were 90 percent more likely to be attacked and eaten by adult lobsters than by any other type of fish.mary

Oppenheim believes that rising water temperatures are to blame; over the past decade, the average temperature in the coastal water there has been 50.7 degrees Fahrenheit, a significant increase above the century average of 47.6 degrees.

WATCH: Climate Desk reports on the crustacean chaos.

"As the water temperatures elevate, lobsters both become more fecund," said Oppenheim, speaking to James West of Climate Desk. "They reproduce more frequently and with larger broods and they grow more rapidly. If we enjoy eating lobsters perhaps other lobsters enjoy eating lobsters too." - Huffington Post.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across North America - Huge Sinkhole Swallows Up Backhoe In Downtown Montreal, Canada!

August 06, 2013 - CANADA - A section of a downtown commercial street swallowed a backhoe on Monday as city crews were getting ready to repair a leaky water main.

A construction vehicle lies where it was swallowed by a sinkhole on Saint-Catherine Street in
downtown Montreal, August 5, 2013.  Christinne Muschi/Reuters

The backhoe had started to chip at asphalt near the corner of Ste-Catherine and Guy streets when the ground crumbled beneath it and the heavy machine tumbled in.

The driver of the backhoe was not injured but was taken to hospital to be checked out as a precaution, city officials said.

Emilie Miskdjian, a spokeswoman for the Ville-Marie borough, said the city was alerted to the possible water leak on the weekend.

She said preliminary indications were that the leak caused the problem but more inspections needed to be done to find the exact cause.

"We think that the water leak was because of the sewer pipe," she told reporters. "It's a broken sewer pipe. That's what we think but we have to do inspections to see what is really the cause."

Montreal police quickly blocked off streets around the sinkhole and rerouted traffic away from the stretch of street which is dotted with restaurants and stores.

Metal fences were erected around the hole, where the backhoe remained at an angle as crews figured out how to eventually remove it safely.

Firefighters and gas company workers also milled around the scene, which drew a horde of lunchtime gawkers who snapped pictures of it with their cellphones.

Rahman Esmaili, owner of the Sharx pool bar, was instead assessing damage to his basement-level bar where he says water had been leaking in for more than a week.

He says the city was warned about the problem but replied there were no reports of low water pressure.

"The city completely ignored (it)," he said. "This morning, they decided to come and look at it."

Esmaili said workers hadn't been there long before the street caved in. He wondered aloud what would have happened if heavy traffic had been passing over the spot at the moment it collapsed.

"It's very disturbing," he said.

Esmaili said he will have to close his business for several days to replace soaked carpeting. - The Globe And Mail.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcanic Unrest - Unusual Earthquakes Recorded Below New Zealand's Mount Tongariro!

August 06, 2013 - NEW ZEALAND - Mt Tongariro is under a watching brief after a series of small earthquakes was detected under the volcano over the past two weeks.


GNS Science duty volcanologist Michael Rosenberg said the quakes were not connected to the ongoing flurry of seismic activity centred in the Cook Strait and the tremors were no cause for ''undue alarm.''

Fewer than 10 quakes, all under magnitude 1.5, have been recorded on a handful of seismic monitors and are too small to be pinpointed.

''The reason we're paying attention is because of their location and we don't see quakes there very often,'' Rosenberg said.

The volcano erupted for the first time in a century at the Te Maari craters in August last year, followed by another eruption in November and scientists warn the craters could still erupt with little or no warning.

The earthquakes could just be normal volcanic background unrest but the earthquakes had piqued interest because there have been so few since 2012 and could signal changes occurring inside the volcano.

The seismic activity was not seen as a precursor to another eruption because carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide gas emissions had been at low levels since the start of the year.

''If we saw these gases increase and saw more and larger earthquakes then we would think of this very likely as magma moving through Tongariro,'' Rosenberg said.

The area around the Te Maari craters is off-limits so scientists are waiting for the right prevailing winds to collect gas samples by driving or flying under volcanic plumes.

''At this stage we don't know what the activity is. There's obviously something disturbing the insides of the volcano - maybe it's just changes in the stress on the faultline.''

GNS has not changed its 0 to 5-scale Volcanic Alert Level from 1, which shows volcanic unrest or its Aviation Colour Code from green, which indicates no eruptive activity. - Stuff.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Toxic Red Tide Of Summer Wipes Out ELEVEN MILLION FISH In South Korea?!

August 06, 2013 - SOUTH KOREA - Fisherman Kim Yeon-bok, 58, went down to check his jwichi (tilefish or leatherfish) farm last week off Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang, and found thousands of his fish floating on the sea or washed up on the beach.

Fish farmer Oh Yoon-seok, 40, who raises chamdom (red sea bream) and jwichi (tilefish or leatherfish) in
Tongyeong in South Gyeongsang’s Sanyang County, clears dead fish yesterday from his farm
after a red tide swept the southern coast. By Song Bong-geun

They were killed by a toxic red tide that has engulfed a large swath of the southern coast.

The number of fish killed this year along the southern coast is 11 million, according to the South Gyeongsang Provincial Government yesterday, generating 6.05 billion won ($5.45 million) in losses.

“The catch has been down this year,” Kim said, “So I looked forward to selling 250,000 jwichi. But 90 percent of them have been killed by the red tide.”

The fisherman estimated his loss at over 500 million won. There were so many dead fish, Kim said it would take two to three days to clear them away.

Kim is one of hundreds of farmers suffering from the red tide, caused by massive algae blooms exuding chemicals harmful to marine animals. They are not good for humans to inhale either.

The algae blooms turned the sea a reddish brown color a few days ago.

“My fish farm was totally ruined by the red tide,” said Park Soon-bok, 59, who raises chamdom (red sea bream) and jwichi in the southern waters off Tongyeong.

“It is really daunting to deploy cranes to move hundreds of thousands of dead fish from the sea into the land,” he said.

In Tongyeong City, one of the most heavily-affected areas, 42 fish farms have lost 80 to 90 percent of their fish.

The government is considering offering financial assistance to the affected areas in the South Gyeongsang regions.

Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Yoon Jin-sook visited Tongyeong last weekend and pledged compensation for the damages.

Fish farms along the coast off Yeosu and Goheung, South Jeolla have been put on a red tide alert.

“I suffered a lot last year when the red tide killed a huge number of doldom [parrot fish],” said a 57-year-old fish farmer in Yeosu.

This year’s red tide is expected to be more severe than last year’s, which was blamed on sweltering heat, although the exact cause was never conclusively determined.

Prior to last year, red tides affected seas off of South Jeolla, where such phenomena were first detected. Last year and this year, the waters off South Gyeongsang were first affected.

“Farmers grow really frustrated because we have trouble using red clay to contain the red tide effects,” said the fisherman, “due to the South Jeolla governor’s order not to use it.”

Governor Park Joon-young banned the use of red clay to combat the tide, citing the potential of hurting other marine animals.

He also cast doubt on its effectiveness earlier this month, but the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries countered the governor’s claim.

Also affected is the eastern sea, prompting the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute to issue a warning for the region for the first time in six years.

The fishery institute upgraded a warning for Yeosu and Goheung, South Jeolla as well as the south coast last week.

Concerns are rising of a repeat of the red-tide nightmare of 2003, which resulted in 21.5 billion won in losses.

Experts said the tide could possibly worsen.

“The wind shifting to the south will pose a further threat and there are no signs of heavy rain or thunderstorms in the near future, which can limit the effect of red tide,” said Lee Chang-kyu from the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute. - Korea Joongang Daily.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of Dead Fish Found Dead In Assabet River Massachusetts?!

August 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - While pulling out invasive water chestnut plants on July 20, Dick Lawrence of Hudson and other OARS volunteers discovered the floating remains of hundreds of fish in the Assabet River in Stow. Allan Fierce of Stow quickly reported the dead fish to OARS and the state.

Dead fish float on Assabet River.

Fish can be killed by spills of pollutants, but also by the combined effects of high water temperatures and the accompanying lack of oxygen in the water, which suffocates the fish. This is most common in shallow lakes and ponds, but can also occur in stressed rivers. Even though there appears to be less duckweed on the surface than previous years, high nutrient levels in the Assabet River continue to feed the algae and rooted plants that use up the oxygen that fish need to survive.

According to MassWildlife the hot weather, with temperatures hitting 100 degrees on July 19, is the likely cause of the fish kill. OARS water quality monitoring volunteers regularly measure the temperature in the rivers and their tributaries. On July 22, the water temperature exceeded 86 degrees, according to OARS staff scientist Sue Flint.

If fish have no deep or shaded places to retreat from the heat (“thermal refugia” in scientific terms), fish kills occur. Narrower sections of the river are lined with trees that provide shade. Groundwater also contributes cool springs that provide a safe haven for fish during heat waves.

To learn how to prevent fish kills visit OARS’ website: oars3rivers.org/take-action. OARS is a non-profit watershed organization dedicated to restoring the health of the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord Rivers. - Wicked Local.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Freight Train Derails In Louisiana - Releases Hazardous Chemicals Into Surrounding Communities; Emergency Is Declared With Hundreds Unable To Return Home; Families Face Risk Of Sodium Hydroxide Poisoning!

August 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - With hundreds of people unable to return to their homes Monday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency as specialists continued to assess the wreckage of a derailed freight train that was leaking chemicals.

The scene of a train derailment near Lawtell, La. on Monday. The Union Pacific train, which
was carrying hazardous materials, derailed Sunday afternoon near Lawtell,
forcing the evacuation of about 100 homes. Louisiana State Police via AP

More than 100 homes were evacuated after the 78-car Union Pacific locomotive came off the tracks about 3:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET) Sunday near Lawtell, about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.

Two of the 27 cars that derailed began leaking chemicals, including the substance sodium hydroxide, which can cause injuries if it touches the skin or even death if it is inhaled.

Another car was emitting lube oil, while a fourth containing vinyl chloride was damaged but not leaking.

All were secured by 1 a.m. local time, Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davy said.

St. Landy Parish President Bill Fontenot added that within an hour of the crash, authorities began evacuating homes near the site.

"The first order of business was making sure people were safe," he said. “So we evacuated 101 homes within a one-mile radius to make sure that no one could come into contact with the chemicals.”

He added that Union Pacific had put up most of the residents in nearby hotels, although some had gone to stay with relatives or friends.

"Every carriage has to be checked before people can go back," he said.

Fontenot added that rain had hampered attempts to secure the crash site and that authorities had been forced to dig dams to prevent the harmful chemicals from entering the water supply.

He also expected U.S. Highway 190, which runs parallel to the track, would be closed for at least two days.

"We're working hard with both state and federal hamzat teams to secure the situation," Union Pacific spokesman, Mark Davy said.

He said repairs were being made to the 1,600 feet of track damaged by the accident, which he expected to be completed by 8 p.m.

Side booms were being used to right the overturned carriages, most of which would be put back on the track.

Those that were too badly damaged, he said, would be removed by road.

Jindal authorized state assistance in his emergency declaration Monday.

"Any time you have chemicals leaking into the environment, that's a serious issue," he said Sunday night on a visit to St. Landry Parish, KATC-TV reported. - NBC News.