Friday, September 20, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For September 20, 2013 - Updates On Popocatépetl, Shikotsu, Sinabung, Santa María, Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego And Ubinas!

September 20, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has remained at generally low levels with no large fluctuations. During 18-19 Sep, the number of small to moderate emissions has risen to about 2 per hour.

Explosion from Popocatépetl early on September 19.

Some of these events produced ash plumes up to about 1 km height, but frequent cloud cover prevented observation most of the time.

The most significant were registered at 01:01 h, 05:53 h, 08:10 h and 10:16 h (19 Sep) local time.

WATCH: Webcam of Popocatépetl.

Shikotsu (Hokkaido): The latest report of the Japan Meteorological Agency indicates some unrest at the caldera. Seismic activity accompanied by inflation were recorded under the western flank of Tarumai stratovolcano (the most active vent of the system, located on the SW rim of the Shikotsu caldera) between late June and early July this year.

Earthquakes near Tarumai in 2013.

Following this period of deformation, deep seismicity under the western flank has increased above background since the beginning of July. There are no reports of unusual surface phenomena.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Since the eruptions on 15 and 17 September, the volcano has been calm, but VSI warns that new eruptions could follow.

Such new eruptions are likely to follow the style of the last explosion, a sudden vulcanian-type eruption: it was proobably caused by accumulating viscous magma trapped under a solid plug in the crater, which was eventually disintegrated during an explosion when pressure exceeded the strength of the plug.

According to volcanologist Hendrasto, head of PVMBG, there are 29 villages at risk within a zone of 6 km radius around the volcano.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity has been week with no significant changes.

Santiaguito's Caliente lava dome yesterday morning.

No explosions were reported during 18-19 Sep, but moderate rock avalanches could be heard, indicating that (some of) the lava flows on the flanks of the Caliente dome remain weakly active.

Pacaya (Guatemala): An increase in seismic activity has occurred gradually over the past 24 hours. Individual explosion signals have merged into strong continuous tremor. This could indicate another paroxysm with continuous explosions / lava fountaining / lava flow emission in the progress, but CONRED / INSIVUMEH have not (yet) updated on this possible increase in activity.

Seismic signal this morning at Pacaya (PCG station, INSIVUMEH).

During the past days, the volcano had been producing frequent strombolian eruptions with jets of incandescent lava reaching 50-100 m above the Mackenney crater.

Fuego (Guatemala): No significant change in activity occurred over the past days.

Fuego yesterday morning (INSIVUMEH).

Small to moderate explosions that often are accompanied by shock waves occur from time to time (several times per day). Ash plumes rose up to about 600 m during 18-19 September.

Ubinas (Peru): While the volcano has calmed down at the surface since the series of 9 phreatic explosions during 1-5 September, a pulse of volcanic tremor yesterday could indicate that the volcanic crisis is not over or even still at the beginning.

The Geophysical Institute of Peru recorded changes in seismicity with the appearance tremor starting 02:00 local time on 18 September.

Seismic signal from Ubinas on September 18 (UB2 station, IGP).

Even though the strength of the tremor signal is still small, it suggests that a body of new magma has started to heat up the hydrothermal system or is moving into the volcanic edifice. This in turn increased the likelihood of new and possibly magmatic eruptions (i.e. if the magma reaches the surface).

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for September 20, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

MASS SHOOTINGS: Carnage In Chicago - Three Killed, 23 Wounded In Latest Round Of Killings Perplexing City Officials?!

September 20, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Three people were killed and 23 wounded in the latest spate of violence to hit Chicago. The wounded include 3-year-old Deonta "Tay-man" Howard, and two teens, among 13 people shot in an apparent gang-related attack in Chicago's South Side Cornell Square Park. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said an assault-style rifle with a high-capacity magazine was used in the shootings.

Debris litters the crime scene where a number of people were wounded.  Paul Beaty, AP

"They almost shot his whole face off,' McCarthy said, noting it was a "miracle" that no one had died in the attacks.

Others in the violence-plagued city weren't so lucky. At least 10 others were shot in other incidents late Thursday and early Friday. Three were murdered, including Johnny Tinsey, 36, Rubin Austin, 25, and an unidentified 29-year-old woman.

Howard's grandmother, Semehca Nunn, said his condition had stabilized Friday after he underwent surgery. The bullet entered the boy's ear and exited through his mouth. Deonta's uncle was shot to death just two weeks ago.

Chicago police detectives investigate the scene where a number of people, including a 3-year-old child,
were shot in a city park on the south side of Chicago on Sept. 19, 2013.
(Photo: Paul Beaty, AP)

A police officer guards a home where a man was shot in the chest in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on
Sept. 20 in Chicago. Thirteen people were wounded. Two are in critical condition while others were
reported in serious to fair condition.  Scott Olson, Getty Images

Twelve people, including a 3-year-old child, shot at a Chicago park.
Image: KTLA

None of the other victims shot in the park suffered life threatening injuries, police said.

A witness to the Cornell Square Park shootings, Julian Harris, told the Chicago Sun-Times that dreadlocked men fired at him from a gray sedan before firing at others.

"They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house," said Harris,22, Howard's uncle. "They've been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night, just gang-banging stuff. It's what they do."Police say the park shootings stem from an on-going dispute between the Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stone Nation gang. Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran told the Chicago Sun-Times that police have talked to several people but had made no arrests.

WATCH: Chicago Shooting - 13, Including 3-Year-Old Shot.

"Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place in Chicago and betray all that we stand for," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday. "The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I encourage everyone in the community to step forward with any information and everyone in Chicago to continue their individual efforts to build stronger communities where violence has no place."

Three weeks ago an outbreak of violence during the Labor Day weekend left eight people dead and 20 injured.

The Chicago police department responded by paying overtime to add patrols to some neighborhoods, including the Back of the Yards, where Thursday's shooting took place.

Crime statistics released this week by the FBI showed that Chicago, with 500 murders in 2012, replaced New York, with 419, as the murder capital of the U.S. Year-to-date, Chicago murders are actually down 22% from 2012. Police say there have been 305 killings, vs. 389 at this point in 2012. - USA Today.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Will The Dead Sea Be Eaten By Sinkholes - Huge Chasms Are Appearing In The Region At A Rate OF ONE PER DAY; Over 3,000 Sinkholes On The Israeli Side?!

September 20, 2013 - DEAD SEA - The Dead Sea is drying up at an incredible rate leaving huge chasms of empty space in its wake.

These chasms appear in the form of large, devastating sinkholes and are increasing in number throughout the region.

The Dead Sea is drying up at an incredible rate leaving huge chasms of empty space in its wake.

Experts claim they are now forming at a rate of nearly one a day, but have no way of knowing when or how they will show up.

Estimates by Moment magazine suggest that, on the Israeli side alone, there are now over 3,000 sinkholes around the Dead Sea.

This compares to just 40 counted in 1990, with the first sinkhole appearing in the 1980s.

The Dead Sea spans more than 60 miles through Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.

The Dead Sea spans more than 60 miles through Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. Its waters are 10 times
saltier than the northern Atlantic Ocean because it has no outlet. This means that any
minerals that flow there, stay there.

Its waters are 10 times saltier than the northern Atlantic Ocean because it has no outlet. This means that any minerals that flow there, stay there.

The increase in sinkholes is directly related to the Dead Sea drying up at a rate of one meter per year.

Sinkholes are basically bowl-shaped features that form when an empty space under the ground creates a depression.

An aerial view shows a close up of a salt formation inside a large sinkhole on the shores of the Dead Sea.
The increase in sinkholes is directly related to the Dead Sea drying up at a rate of one meter per year.

The depression is the result of a reaction between freshwater and salt buried in a subterranean level beneath the surface.

When the freshwater dissolves the salt, it creates a void, causing the landscape around and above it to suddenly collapse.

Over the last few decades, increasing numbers of people have been drawn to the Dead Sea causing its salt water to dry up.

This leaves more fresh water in the area to dissolve the salt and create more cavities.

One solution being presented by the World Bank is to create a canal linking the Dead Sea to either the Red Sea.

Sinkholes pock-mark the emerging shoreline of the Dead Sea near Ein Gedi. The sinkholes are caused by
fresh groundwater dissolving subterranean salt deposits that once formed the bottom of the Dead Sea.

But environmentalists warn that doing this could spell the end for the Dead Sea.

Experts believe more needs to be done to highlight the plight of the Dead Sea and come up with a solution.

For instance to bring the world's attention to the challenge artist Spencer Tunick shot the first mass nude shoot in the Dead Sea in 2011.

Estimates suggest that, on the Israeli side alone, there are now over 3,000 sinkholes around the Dead Sea.

‘Human intervention has just about killed the Dead Sea,’ Alon Tal, professor in the Department of Desert Ecology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, told Moment magazine.

‘It will take extraordinary human measures—careful, wise intervention and positive regional cooperation—to save it.’

The Dead Sea spans more than 60 miles through Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.

Its water level has fallen from 394 meters below sea level in the 1960s to about423 meters below sea level as of end 2012.

As a result, the Sea’s water surface area has been reduced by one third: from roughly 950 square
kilometers to 637 square kilometers today.

The water level continues to drop at an alarming pace of 0.8 to 1.2 meters per year.

The significant decline of the water level over the past 30 years is due to diversion of water from the Jordan River and from the Dead Sea itself due to population increase. - Daily Mail.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: 7,500 Songbirds Dead After "Flying Into A Gas Flare" From Gas Plant In St. John, Canada - Migrating Birds, Some Possible Endangered Species!

September 20, 2013 - CANADA - About 7,500 songbirds, possibly including some endangered species, were killed while flying over a gas plant in Saint John late last week, officials have confirmed.

It appears the migrating birds flew into the gas flare at Canaport LNG between Friday night and Saturday morning, said Fraser Forsythe, the company's health, safety, security and environmental manager.

A large number of red-eyed vireos were among the estimated 7,500 migrating songbirds killed by the flare at
Canaport LNG. (Courtesy of the Migration Research Foundation)

The birds were drawn to the flame like moths, an extremely unusual event, according to Don McAlpine, the head of zoology at the New Brunswick Museum.

"They would circle in around that and of course with a large flame like that and high temperatures, they wouldn't need to get terribly close to become singed or burned."

The weather conditions were foggy and overcast at the time, which may have contributed to the incident, said McAlpine.

Not much is known about how such birds navigate at night, but officials believe they are attracted to light, particularly red or flashing lights, he said.

The flare tower at the Canaport liquefied natural gas receiving and regasification terminal is about 30 metres tall and the size of the flame varies, depending on weather conditions. It is typically higher amid low-pressure systems.

Flaring is part of the standard operation at the east side plant, located on Red Head Road, and is designed as a safety release system. It is used to maintain normal operating pressure by burning off small amounts of excess natural gas.

An estimated 6,800 birds were killed, while several hundred more were injured and had to be put down. "There were too many birds to count," said McAlpine.

"A crude estimate at this stage suggests about 7,500 birds died," he said. "There's certainly more than 5,000 and probably less than 10,000 birds affected."

McAlpine is still examining several hundred of the dead birds, which are being stored in a freezer, to try to identify their species.

There were a large number of red-eyed vireos, several types of warblers, including parula, black-and-white, magnolias and redstarts, as well as a few thrushes and rose-breasted grosbeaks, he said.

It's possible there may have also been some endangered species, such as the olive-sided flycatcher and Canada warbler, which are on the federal government's species at risk registry, said McAlpine.

"There are some flycatchers involved, but I haven't identified them yet. There's very few. Likewise with the Canada warbler, I haven't seen any yet, but it doesn't mean they're not there."

Many of the birds were badly burned, but some appeared completely unscathed, said McAlpine. He suspects they became disoriented and hit the tower or the ground, but several have been sent to the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island for necropsies to determine if there were any underlying conditions or external factors that may have contributed to the bird deaths.

The affected birds, which are mostly insect-eating, spend their summers in New Brunswick nesting and breeding before heading to Mexico, Central and South America for the winter, he said.

Staff 'reduced to tears'

Canaport LNG employees were devastated when they discovered the dead and injured birds piled up around the base of the plant's flame on Saturday morning, said Forsythe.

"We've got people that are pretty well reduced to tears here," he said.

"It has really struck home to our employees here and they've expressed a lot of remorse to me that this would happen. It's a very unexpected event," Forsythe said, adding it was the first incident of this type at the plant.

Cleanup efforts continued into Tuesday, said Forsythe.

Staff alerted the provincial Department of Environment, the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Atlantic Wildlife Institute in Sackville about the incident immediately, he said.

Barry Rothfuss, executive director of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, said they are still busy dealing with the "carnage."

But they hope to be able to determine the cause and make recommendations to prevent a similar occurrence. "That's going to take some time," he said.

"I don't think it could have been necessarily perceived and accidents like this do happen and so it's a learning experience for all of us," Rothfuss added.

McAlpine said there is not a lot of information about bird mortalities involving flare towers.

"There's been a recognized need recently for further monitoring of this kind of thing," he said.

Still, McAlpine, said it's important to put the incident in perspective, noting an estimated one billion birds in the U.S. are killed every year from human causes.

WATCH: 7,500 songbirds killed at Canaport gas plant in Saint John.

"Although this is certainly a tragic event and it's shocking to see 7,500 dead birds, it’s a drop in the bucket in terms of the number of birds that are killed from human actions every year," said McAlpine.

The leading cause of death is birds flying into tall office buildings, while house cats rank third, he said.

Canaport LNG, owned by Repsol and Irving Oil Ltd., lists bird monitoring as among its environmental and reporting activities on its website.

Migratory birds have been considered in previous environmental impact assessments at the terminal.

In March 2012, Canaport LNG announced plans for a $43-million upgrade to make the facility more efficient and cut down on flaring. - CBC.

STORM ALERT: Super Typhoon Usagi Threatens Taiwan, The Philippines And Hong Kong - Strongest Storm On The Planet This Year; Equivalent Of A Monster Category 5 Atlantic Hurricane; Storm Warnings Issued!

September 20, 2013 - PACIFIC OCEAN - The strongest storm on the planet so far this year is rumbling across the Western Pacific near Taiwan and the Philippines, prompting authorities to issue warnings to residents in vulnerable areas.

Packing winds as strong as 260 kilometers per hour (162 mph) on Friday, Super Typhoon Usagi is forecast to plow through the Luzon Strait that lies between Taiwan and the Philippines on Saturday.

The storm is then expected to weaken to become a severe typhoon as it heads northwest toward the South China coast, where it is predicted to make landfall near the densely populated city of Hong Kong on Sunday.

Usagi's current wind strength makes it equivalent in power to a Category 5 hurricane. The overall storm system measures more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) across.

"It's an incredible storm system," said Pedram Javaheri, a meteorologist for CNN International. As the typhoon moves across the sea, it is estimated to be generating waves as high as about 15 meters (50 feet).

In the storm's path

Its outer bands have already brought rain to the northern Philippines, where authorities have issued storm warnings for more than 15 provinces. The local weather agency, Pagasa, said residents in mountainous and low-lying areas should beware of possible flash floods and landslides.

The lightly populated Batanes Islands -- situated right in the middle of the Luzon Strait, and the storm's path -- are the area the most at risk from potentially devastating winds, the agency said.

Usagi is expected to come closest to Taiwan on Saturday. The Central Weather Bureau issued a typhoon warning for the island, with heavy rain predicted, particularly in the east.

"If you're on the east coast of Taiwan, you've certainly got to take this storm very seriously," Javaheri said. Usagi could dump more than one meter (3 feet) of rain on the area over the coming days, he said.

Preparations in China

In China, authorities have issued a disaster relief alert ahead of the storm's expected arrival over the weekend. Usagi is expected to hit coastal areas of the populous southern province of Guangdong.

The National Disaster Reduction Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have asked local authorities to prepare for potential emergencies and damage caused by the typhoon, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported Friday.

The Hong Kong Observatory warned residents that Usagi posed a threat to the territory.

"Weather will deteriorate significantly with strengthening winds and rough seas" on Sunday, it said.

East Asia is buffeted for several months a year by heavy storms that roll in from the Western Pacific. Usagi has eclipsed Super Typhoon Utor, which hit the Philippines and South China last month, as the strongest storm of the year so far.

About 50 people died as result of Utor in China, and 11 people were killed in the Philippines. - CNN.

WATCH: Updates on Super Typhoon Usagi - Western Pacific Weather.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Myanmar - Yellow Alert Issued For Risk Of Fatalities!

September 20, 2013 - MYANMAR - A shallow 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck close to Myanmar's second-biggest city on Friday evening, seismologists said.

USGS earthquake location.

The quake hit at 6:54 pm local time (1224 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles), the US Geological Survey said.

It was 110 kilometres north of the city of Mandalay.

The agency indicated the quake caused strong shaking and issued a yellow alert, suggesting a mid-level risk of fatalities.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar.

The USGS said six strong earthquakes, of 7.0-magnitude and more, struck between 1930 and 1956 near the Sagaing Fault which runs north to south through the centre of the country.

Last November a powerful earthquake left more than 20 people dead and destroyed hundreds of buildings in Mandalay and surrounding villages. - FOX News.

Tectonic Summary - 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 (>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 (>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 >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.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Local Airlines Told To Avoid Path Near Indonesia's Sinabung Volcano - Continuous Eruptions; 15,000 Residents Evacuated!

September 20, 2013 - INDONESIA - More than 15,000 residents have fled a volcano that rumbled to life less than a week ago in Indonesia and local airlines have been warned to avoid flying near the mountain as thick ash continues to spew from its crater, an official said.

AVIATION WARNING: Local airlines have been warned to avoid flying near the mountain as
thick ash continues to spew from its crater

The aviation warning was issued for small planes serving short-haul flights in the region as small eruptions continue at Mount Sinabung, said Susanto, general manager for air navigation at Kuala Namu airport in North Sumatra's capital Medan. Like many Indonesians, he uses only one name.

Data from the local emergency task force showed the number of people evacuated has doubled to more than 15,000 after many residents outside the 3-kilometer danger area abandoned their houses.

The 2,600-metre (8,530-foot) volcano first erupted Sunday after being dormant for three years.

A larger eruption occurred two days later volcanic ash and thick smoke were belched up to 3 kilometres into the air that ignited fires on its slopes.

The volcano's last eruption in August 2010 killed two people and forced 30,000 others to flee.

It caught many scientists off guard because it had been quiet for four centuries.

Mount Sinabung is among around 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. - Stuff.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Minor 3.4 Magnitude Earthquake Felt In Eastern Jamaica!

September 20, 2013 - JAMAICA - A minor earthquake was felt in eastern Jamaica at 12:34 Friday, September 20, the earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI) has reported.

USGS earthquake location.

The epicentre of the 3.4-magnitude earthquake was located approximately 4 kilometres southeast of Albany, Portland in the Blue Mountains subarea, the earthquake Unit said.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The quake was reportedly also felt in Kingston and St Andrew from Constant Spring to Bull Bay. - Jamaica Observer.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity.
Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Columbia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake. - USGS.

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Rise Of The Global Police State - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security To Test Facial Recognition System At Junior Hockey Game!

September 20, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will test its crowd-scanning facial recognition system, known as the Biometric Optical Surveillance System, or BOSS, at a junior hockey game this weekend, according to the Russian news agency RT.

With assistance from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, DHS will test its system at a Western Hockey League game in Washington state. The test will determine whether the system can distinguish the faces of 20 volunteers out of a crowd of nearly 6,000 hockey fans, to evaluate how successfully BOSS can locate a person of interest.

According to DHS, BOSS technology consists of two cameras capable of taking stereoscopic images of a face and a back end remote matching system. Stereoscopic images are two images of the same object, taken at slightly different angles that create an illusion of three-dimensional depth from two-dimensional images.

The cameras transfer the pair of images to the remote matching system by way of fiber optic or wireless technology. The system then processes and stores the two images into a 3-D signature, which is the mathematical representation of the stereo-pair images that the system uses for matching.

Using the BOSS facial recognition algorithms, the signature is matched against a locally stored database created from volunteers, using a combination of mathematical and statistical analysis.

BOSS is capable of capturing images of an individual at 50-100 meters in distance. The system can capture images of subjects participating from a specific distance, or be set up in a way that tracks and passively captures frontal face images of an individual as he/she moves in front of the camera.

As reported previously in, a $5.2 million contract for BOSS was awarded to Electronic Warfare Associates, a U.S. military contractor.

Recently the system was not deemed ready since it could not achieve 80 to 90 percent identification accuracy at a distance of 100 meters and could not process and identify images in less than 30 seconds against a biometric database.

This weekend’s test will attempt to rectify this deficiency. If the test succeeds, the technology conceivably could be used at international crossings and other ports across the United States patrolled by the department. - Biometric Update.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake Strikes Fukushima, Japan - 2 Injured, No Reports Of Plant Damage Or Abnormalities!

September 20, 2013 - JAPAN - A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck Fukushima in the northeast early Friday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, but no abnormalities were observed at the region's nuclear power plants including the crippled Fukushima Daiichi, according to their operators.

The focus of the 2:25 a.m. quake was around 17 kilometers underground in Fukushima Prefecture's southern coastal region, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.

Seismic intensity ranged from 1 to upper 5 on the scale of 7 in the Japanese measurement system from northeastern to central Japan.

The highest reading of upper 5 was recorded in Iwaki city in Fukushima Prefecture, while lower 5 was logged in other parts of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures. Tokyo and Narita city registered intensity 3.

A Japan Meteorological Agency official told a news conference that the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude 9 quake that devastated northeastern Japan in 2011 and warned that a temblor measuring up to 4 in intensity could occur within a week.

Iwaki firefighters said a 62-year-old woman suffered light shoulder injuries at her home in the city when she got out of bed in surprise following the quake.

A 32-year-old woman in Iwaki also sustained minor foot injuries from a shattered mirror, they added.

No new abnormalities were observed in measurement data from the nuclear reactors and other equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station or from radioactivity monitoring posts there. Readings were also normal at the nearby Fukushima Daini plant, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. The Daiichi plant was crippled by the massive quake and tsunami in 2011.

Japan Atomic Power Co. said no abnormalities were confirmed at the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture.

A few sections of highways in the region were closed to traffic, according to highway operators.

A quake measuring upper 5 on the Japanese scale hit Ishinomaki in northeastern Japan's Miyagi Prefecture on Aug. 4.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Fukushima Daiichi on Thursday and urged TEPCO to scrap the remaining two reactors in addition to four other units the utility is taking steps to decommission. - Mainichi.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Large Numbers Of Dead Fish Appear In Heze City, China!

September 20, 2013 - CHINA - 16, Mudan District, Heze, Shandong Yang reflected Edmond Hou River Bridge shop surfaced number of dead fish surface area on the river exudes shares stench. Nearby residents said that in three or four days on the water began to appear dead fish, dead fish the next few days the number continues to grow.

17 morning, the reporter went to the shop Edmond Hou River Bridge area found a large number of dead fish floating in the river, while the number of dead fish rivers more, these dead fish body length of 5-10 cm range, the fish had been white , rot. Along the water, dead fish drift from west to east, beside the river from time to time came the stench of dead fish everywhere riverbank.

Fishing people say, three or four days, there dead fish floated upriver from Edmond, later increasing number of dead fish, "dead fish on the water up to the day before yesterday, the water shining white, and now most of the dead fish are washed up on the shore. "he said, soaked in water for fish has begun to stink, not only affects the quality appearance.

Subsequently, the reporter went to the river along the Edmond and Chao Ma Zhuang Zhuang see big, still a lot of dead fish in the river, most have rotted, from time to time came the shares stench.

The cause of death for the fish, said Mr. Lin, who lives in Hou shop a few days ago to see someone at night electric fish in the river, do not know whether relating. "Caused such a large area of ​​dead fish, is not someone in the administration of the river?" Another resident said, whether the water is contaminated?

Subsequently, the reporter with the Peony District Animal Husbandry and Fishery Bureau contact. Staff explained that they were on the 16th afternoon Hail River dead zone view the situation, resulting in so many fish died, the initial judgment may have been in the river or dosing with warmer weather in recent days, the water level dropped, water quality deterioration related to the specific cause is still under investigation. - Shuichan. [Translated]