Friday, September 27, 2013

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Pakistan's Mega-Quake Creates THREE New Islands - One Island Off Gwadar "Emits Flammable Gas"!

September 27, 2013 - PAKISTAN - Pakistan has just got three brand new islands — thanks to a major earthquake. When the shock of the temblor subsided on Tuesday, people living in the coastal town of Gwadar were stunned to see a new island in the sea.

 People use boats as they visit an island that rose from the sea following an earthquake, off Pakistan's
Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea.  Source: Reuters

That's not all. Two other islands have come up along the Balochistan coast.

"The island near Gwadar is about 600 feet in diameter and has a height of about 30 feet," Muhammad Moazzam Khan, technical advisor at WWF — Pakistan, told IANS over telephone.

He said "gas was coming out" of the island, which primarily consists of "stones and soft mud".

The two islands near Ormara town are small.

  People explore an island that rose from the sea following an earthquake, off Pakistan's Gwadar
coastline in the Arabian Sea.  Source: Reuters

The new island that emerged in the Arabian Sea after an earthquake in Pakistan.  Source: Reuters

Khan said the islands had a diameter of about "30-40 feet and a height of about 2-3 feet". "Gas is also coming out," he said.

He said that while some islands which form suddenly "stay on", others gradually fade away. He explained that the islands were formed following the massive earthquake that rocked Balochistan province Tuesday.

The death toll in the 7.7-magnitude earthquake has reached 348, and a total of 20,000 houses were destroyed. This is not the first time islands have formed off the Pakistan coast. "In 1945, two big islands had formed near the coast. One was two kilometers long while the other was half kilometre long," said Khan. - Times of India.

Pakistan Quake Island Off Gwadar "Emits Flammable Gas".
Barely half an hour after they were jolted by a major earthquake on Tuesday, people of the Pakistani coastal town of Gwadar had another shock when they saw a new island emerge in the sea, just over a kilometre from the shore.

A local journalist, Bahram Baloch, received the news via a text message from a friend.

"It said a hill has appeared outside my house," Mr Baloch said.

"I stepped out, and was flabbergasted. I could see this grey, dome-shaped body in the distance, like a giant whale swimming near the surface. Hundreds of people had gathered to watch it in disbelief."

Mr Baloch and some friends landed on the island on Wednesday morning to check it out and to take pictures.

"It's an oval shaped island which is about 250ft to 300ft (76-91m) in length, and about 60 to 70ft above the water," he said

It has a rough surface, much of which is muddy and some parts are mostly made up of fine- to coarse-grained sand. One part of it is solid rock, and that is where Mr Baloch and his friends landed.

"There were dead fish on the surface. And on one side we could hear the hissing sound of the escaping gas," Mr Baloch said.

Although they couldn't smell gas, they did put a match to the fissures from where it was oozing, and set it on fire.

Seismic activity appears to have sparked the unusual land formation.

"We put the fire out in the end, but it was quite a hassle. Not even the water could kill it, unless one poured buckets over it."

The story now doing the rounds in Gwadar is that a similar hill had jutted out of the sea 60 or 70 years ago, and that the elders had then named it the Zalzala Koh, or the quake hill.

They say Tuesday's earthquake has brought it back.

Their story is not entirely incorrect. However the quake hill that appeared in 1945 was not near Gwadar, but over 100km to the east, although it was along the same coastline, which is called the Makran coast.

About 700km from east to west, the Makran coast is characterised by high seismic activity, and is home to several hills called mud volcanoes, having craters at the top from which methane gas seeps.

These volcanoes are located inland, and have been there for a long time. But similar formations that emerge offshore are usually washed away by the sea.

Geologists say it is part of the continuing process of continental drift, or the drift of land mass across the oceans that brought the Indian sub-continent to collide with Eurasia and created the fault-lines, some of which run through the Makran coast.

Gas activation

Rashid Tabrez, the director-general of the Karachi-based National Institute of Oceanography, says the energy released by the seismic movements of these fault-lines activates inflammable gases in the seabed.

Much of the new piece of land is muddy.

"The seabed near the Makran coast has vast deposits of gas hydrates, or frozen gas having a large methane content," he explained.

"These deposits lay compressed under a sediment bed that is 300m-800m thick."

"When the plates along the fault-lines move, they create heat and the expanding gas blasts through the fissures in the earth's crust, propelling the entire sea floor to the surface."

The island that popped up near Gwadar is the fourth in this region since 1945, and the third during the last 15 years, he said.

WATCH: Pakistan's new island attracts visitors.

In 1999, and again in 2010, islands appeared within 1km of the coast of Ormara, just below the delta of the Hingol river.

One of the best known mud volcanoes of the region, the Chandragup, is located just inland from this location, a little way off the Hingol river.

The volcano serves as a holy site for Hindu pilgrims who make their offerings here in April each year before proceeding to the nearby cave temple of Hinglaj.

Mr Tabrez says the seismic activity in the coastal seabed has caused the gases to make conduits inland, leading to the formation of Chandragup and other mud volcanoes.

New island seen from space. NASA.

But while these inland volcanoes have sat along the Makran coast for centuries, the islands appearing in the sea hardly last more than a few months.

"One reason is that over a period of time, the pressure that propelled the sea floor to the surface eases up, causing the islands to subside," he says.

"Another reason is that the fine-grained muddy material of the sedimentary seabed soon starts to erode due to sea action. In seven or eight months, the island is gone, and only its signature remains on the seabed." - BBC.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Pakistan Bus Bombing - Kills 19, Dozens Injured In Insurgency-Hit City Of Peshawar!

September 27, 2013 - PAKISTAN -

Devastating: The device exploded in the back of the coach which was carrying government
employees in northern Pakistan.

For nearly a decade, Pakistan's army has tried to eliminate bases of the TTP in the northwestern tribal districts bordering Afghanistan. The anti-militancy operations have apparently failed to disrupt the group.

FUK-U-SHIMA: The Clean Up At Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Plant May Be DOOMED - Critics Say Japan's Government Is Engaged In A VAST, Duplicitious And Fruitless Campaign!

September 27, 2013 - JAPAN - Across much of Fukushima’s rolling green countryside they descend on homes like antibodies around a virus, men wielding low-tech tools against a very modern enemy: radiation. Power hoses, shovels and mechanical diggers are used to scour toxins that rained down from the sky 30 months ago. The job is exhausting, expensive and, say some, doomed to failure.

Today, a sweating four-man crew wearing surgical masks and boiler suits clean the home of Hiroshi Saito (71) and his wife Terue (68). Their aim is to bring average radiation at this home down to 1.5 microsieverts an hour, still several times what it was before the incident but safe enough, perhaps, for Saito’s seven grandchildren to visit. “My youngest grandchild has never been here,” he says.

For a few days in March 2011, after explosions at the Daiichi nuclear plant roughly 25km (15.5 miles) to the south, rain and snow laced with radiation fell across this area, contaminating thousands of acres of rich farming land and forests.
More than 160,000 people closest to the plant were ordered to evacuate. The Saitos’ home fell a few kilometres outside the 20km compulsory evacuation zone but, like thousands of others, they left voluntarily.

Invisible poison
When they returned two weeks later their two-storey country house appeared undamaged, but it was covered in an invisible poison only detectable with beeping Geiger counters.

Nobody knows for certain how dangerous the radiation is. Japan’s central government refined its policy in December 2011, defining evacuation zones as “areas where cumulative dose levels might reach 20 millisieverts per year”, the typical worldwide limit for nuclear power plant engineers.

The worst radiation is supposed to be confined to the 20km exclusion zone, but it spread unevenly: less than 5km (three miles) north of the Daiichi plant, our Geiger counter shows less than five millisieverts a year; 40km (25 miles) northwest, in parts of Iitate village, it is well over 120 millisieverts.

Those 160,000 refugees have not returned and are scattered throughout Japan. The nuclear diaspora is swelled by thousands of voluntary refugees. Local governments are spending millions of dollars to persuade them back.

The price tag for cleaning a heavily mountainous and wooded area roughly the same size as Co Wicklow (2,000sq km) has government heads spinning. In August, experts from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology put the total cost of decontamination at $50 billion (€37 billion). The Japan Centre for Economic Research, a Tokyo-based think tank, says the final tally for the Fukushima clean-up will be $600 billion.

The Saitos’ home falls within the boundaries of Minamisoma, a city that has not recovered from the disaster. Most of its 71,000 population fled voluntarily from the Daiichi incident 20km south. A third have yet to return.

“We’ve worked hard to make our city livable again,” says Minamisoma mayor Katsunobu Sakurai. “But everything we’ve done could be for nothing unless the problems at the plant are fixed.”

Fighting radiation is now one of Minamisoma’s few growth industries. The city has set up a permanent office to co-ordinate decontamination with a budget this year alone of $230 million. Since last September, a crew of 650 men has laboured around the local streets and countryside, cleaning schools, homes and farms.

By the end of the year, the operation will employ almost 1,000 people – a large chunk of the town’s remaining able-bodied workforce.

Disputed figures
Radiation levels in most areas of Fukushima have dropped by about 40 per cent since the disaster began, according to government estimates, but those figures are widely disbelieved.

Official monitoring posts almost invariably give lower readings than hand-held Geiger counters, the result of a deliberate strategy of misinformation, say critics. “They remove the ground under the posts, pour some clean sand, lay down concrete, plus a metal plate, and put the monitoring post on top,” says Nobuyoshi Ito, a farmer who opted to stay behind in the heavily contaminated village of Iitate. “The device ends up 1.5m from the ground.”
Critics say toxins wash down from the mountains and forests after the decontamination crews leave, bringing radiation levels back up – though seldom to previous levels.

Local governments are desperate for evacuees to return and must decide on what basis evacuation orders will be lifted. If they unilaterally declare their areas safe, evacuees could be forced to choose between returning home and losing vital monthly compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), operator of the ruined Daiichi complex.

For the refugees, a worrying precedent has been set in the municipality of Date, which lies outside the most contaminated areas. In December 2012, the local government lifted a “special evacuation” order imposed on 129 households, arguing that radiation doses had fallen below 20 millisieverts per year. Three months later the residents lost the $1,000 a month they were receiving from Tepco.

Still, local leaders say they believe the decontamination will work. “Field tests have demonstrated we can bring levels down to five millisieverts per year and that is our objective,” says Iitate mayor Norio Kanno.

He accepts that some residents might refuse to return until exposure falls further – the limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection is one millisievert per year. But he insists nobody will be excluded from any relocation plan. “In the end, we need to reach a consensus as a community.”

Toxic waste
The Fukushima clean-up faces another, perhaps insurmountable problem: securing sites to store contaminated soil, leaves and sludge. Many landowners baulk at hosting “interim” dumps – for three years – until the government builds a midterm storage facility.

Local governments across Japan have refused to accept the toxic waste, meaning it will probably stay in Fukushima for good. The waste is stored under blue tarpaulins across much of the prefecture, sometimes close to schools and homes.

At Hitoshi Saito’s home, the decontamination crew have finished a 10-day shift, power-hosing his roof, digging drains and removing 5cm of topsoil from his land. The cleanup has cut radiation by about half, but in the trees a few metres behind his house, the reading is 2.1 microsieverts. “Unless you do something about those trees, all your work is useless,” he berates an official from the city.

The crew may have to return sometime, he speculates. “Whatever happens, we will never have what we had before. It’s clear that my grandchildren will never come here again.” - Irish Times.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Boom Felt, Bright Light Fills The Sky Over South Dakota!

September 27, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A surreal bright blue color illuminated the entire sky and was accompanied by a thunderous boom at about 9 p.m. Monday.

File photo.

People from all parts of Campbell County can attest to witnessing the strange phenomenon that lasted only a few seconds.

Whendi Kiewel thought a plane was crashing right before her eyes as she drove her twin boys home from Rapid City, S.D. They were near Inyan Kara and the interstate exit for the Keyhole Reservoir when it happened.

"The sky just completely lit up. I couldn't figure out what it was," Kiewel said.

The sky was bright blue and it looked as though a massive shooting star was falling from the sky for about 30 seconds, Kiewel said. She, along with others, believe that the fireball was a meteorite.

"You could see it breaking apart and then it just kind of burned out," Kiewel said.

Many people heard a noise resembling loud thunder, but Kiewel and her sons only got to watch the show.

"I can't quit thinking about it," Kiewel said. "It was the most amazing thing."

Kiewel's friend, Jena Meader, was in her backyard on North Heptner Road on the Adon Highway when the unknown object lit up the sky. Meader was facing the other direction, but was still able to see the light.

"I could tell something illuminated big time behind me," Meader said.

She and her husband initially thought the noise was a train, but soon realized it was a sonic boom.

Candace Smith was driving in a different area of town, eight miles south of Gillette on Highway 59 when everything around her went bright.

"It was very much like daylight for a split second," Smith said.

Smith had no clue what had happened. She checked all of her mirrors and finally looked up through her windshield and saw fiery fragments moving across the sky.

"I figured it was a huge falling star," Smith said. "It was pitch black out, but you could see the entire road in front of you and the fields on each side."

The fragments were orange, Smith said, but she, like others, saw an unforgettable electric blue sky.

Reports of light flashes and a loud noise were came in from all over the region Monday night. Eleven people reported seeing a bright light in the sky on Monday on the American Meteor Society website.

The reports came from all over the state including Gillette, Eden, Ten Sleep, Thermopolis, Laramie, Hyattville, Ralston, Moose, Basin, Upton, an Yellowstone National Park.

People from Colorado, Montana and Utah also reported seeing the light.

There has been much speculation that the bright light and boom was a meteorite, but the cause is still under investigation. - Gillette News Record.

MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFF: War On Mother Nature - Sonar Mapping For Oil Near Madagascar Killed 100 Whales!

September 27, 2013 - MADAGASCAR - A noisy technology that blasts sounds below water to map the ocean for oil is being blamed for 100 melon headed whale deaths off Madagascar, experts said Thursday.

An independent panel of scientists found that sonar surveying by ExxonMobil in late May 2008 led to the sudden displacement of the whales, which became stranded and died.

“This is the first known such marine mammal mass stranding event closely associated with relatively high frequency mapping sonar systems,” said the report released by the International Whaling Commission.

“Earlier such events may have been undetected because detailed inquiries were not conducted.”

The researchers described a “highly unusual event” in which about 100 melon headed whales became stranded in shallow waters in the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar in May and June 2008.

“This typically open ocean cetacean species had never previously nor since been reported in this shallow tidal estuarine system, nor in any other in Madagascar,” said the study.

The culprit was named as a “high power 12 kHz multi beam echosounder system (MBES)” operated by an Exxon Mobil vessel on May 29 about 65 kilometers (40 miles) offshore from the first known stranding.

The five-member independent scientific review panel said the vessel’s operation was “the most plausible and likely behavioral trigger for the animals initially entering the lagoon system.”

The sounds would have been “clearly audible over many hundreds of square kilometers of melon headed whale deep water habitat areas.”

The advocacy group Oceana said the findings show how dangerous the technology can be to aquatic animals.

“Seismic blasts can disturb the vital behaviors of dolphins and whales such as breathing, feeding, mating and communicating,” said the group’s vice president for US Oceans, Jacqueline Savitz.

“This can quickly turn deadly when animals are startled into rushing to the surface or are driven into shallower areas, where they often die as these whales did.”

A spokesman said ExxonMobil said it does not back the panel’s findings.

“ExxonMobil believes the panel?s finding about the multi-beam echo sounder is unjustified due to the lack of certainty of information and observations recorded during the response efforts in 2008.”

The evidence was compiled by the International Whaling Commission, the US Marine Mammal Commission, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Ltd, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Government of Madagascar. - RAW Story.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Plagues & Pestilences - Campaign Begins In Madagascar To End Massive Swarms Of Locusts!

September 27, 2013 - MADAGASCAR - More than a year after a locust plague was declared in Madagascar, a control program finally is about to begin. Massive swarms of the insects have damaged or destroyed large areas of cropland and pastures.

Betroka Region, Southern Madagascar - A dense swarm of locusts as seen during spraying
operations, May 29, 2011.  © FAO/Yasuyoshi Chiba

Aerial and ground surveys are underway in Madagascar to map the locations of the Malagasy migratory locust swarms.

Annie Monard, locust response coordinator for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, currently is in Madagascar. Monard was among those who sounded the alarm over a year ago.

“It is a plague – no doubt concerning that. It’s a plague because numerous locust swarms escaped the outbreak area. The declaration of plague was made in April 2012.”

Despite the announcement of a locust emergency, the response was slow to develop. That allowed the swarms to spread even further from the southwest where they’re endemic.

The problem began several years earlier when the last control program – funded by the African Development Bank – ended. The FAO launched emergency campaigns in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but they were not enough to stop the locust plague from developing.

“What we did and what FAO does for many, many years is always to promote what we call preventive control strategy. Unfortunately, there are always some situations during which it is not possible to apply the preventive strategy; and progressively the locust situation deteriorated, arising at the level we have now,” she said.

Then late last year, Monard said Madagascar’s agriculture minister requested the FAO’s help in developing a new spraying campaign. That is now scheduled to be conducted in three stages, between October of this year and September 2016. Total cost of the three-year campaign is over $41-million.

“For the time being, we got from a wide range of donors the budget for the first year. But we have still to advocate and to get the budget for the two following campaigns, which will allow us and allow the country to go back to a recession situation,” she said.

The FAO has raised $23 million dollars for the first year of the campaign.

The focus of the spraying will be on hopper bands, when the locusts are still wingless. Hoppers are more sensitive to pesticides that are less harmful to the environment, including those that contain a fungus. Besides spraying hoppers directly, pesticides will be used to create barriers or buffer zones. This is done by spraying the ground every 600 to 800 meters.

It’s estimated that of the 13 million people at risk, about nine million are directly dependent on agriculture for food and income. In some regions, 70 percent of the rice and maize crops have been damaged. As the control program gets underway, the locusts are expected to move to the north where the more productive agricultural lands are located. - VOA News.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Scores Of Birds And Cats Dying Mysteriously Everyday In Parks In Dubai, In The United Arab Emirates?!

September 27, 2013 - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Scores of birds and cats have died of suspected poisoning in various parks in Dubai, XPRESS has learnt.

A dead crow in the park. Image Credit: Supplied

Nina Stone, who teaches Brazilian martial arts Capoeira at Safa Park, said she has found 40 to 50 dead birds everyday over the past fortnight.

“It’s a horrifying sight. There are mynahs, crows, pigeons and hud huds either lying dead in the grass or in their final death throes. At least three cats, all neutered, have also died from suspected poisoning and many others have fallen sick.

“I took six of them to the vet and sheltered three others in my house, but there are still a few left near the nursery area. I hope I can rescue them as well before something happens,” she said.

Concern: Nina Stone, left, and Samira Behyari at Safa Park where they found dead birds
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Raining dead birds
At the Umm Suqeim Park the scenes are no less disturbing. “It’s almost like raining dead birds here. They are falling out of the skies and trees. The other day I saw a worker scoop away a bagful of dead mynahs and crows,” said a British woman visiting the park. Similar incidents have been reported from Al Barsha Park.

Park-goers reckon the unusually high number of deaths could be a result of a massive culling operation, but Hisham Abdul Rahman Al Yahya, Head of Pest Control Section at Dubai Municipality denied it.

“We don’t have anything to do with it. Somebody might have used poison, but it’s definitely not us. In any case, we have not received any complaint in this regard,” he told XPRESS.

Another official at the pest control department said they don’t have any bird control programme. Killing birds is illegal, we do not do it,” he said, adding that they are not aware of any incident.

Dreadful: Mynahs, crows and cats were among scores of animals found dead in the park
Image Credit: Supplied

But Stone, who has lodged a formal complaint with the Municipality, is not amused. “How can they say they have not heard about any deaths when they have registered my complaint and even issued me a complaint number?

Cruel and ineffective bird poison can be dangerous to humans too. Ask abaya designer and animal rights activist Samira Behari who tried to rescue a dying bird at Safa Park on Monday. “I used my bare hands to lift the bird. It was a mistake, because soon after I fell terribly ill. I got diarrhoea and felt nauseous all day,” said the Iranian-Australian woman.

A poisoned cat.  Image Credit: undefined
Stone said the deaths of birds have scared away her students, most of whom are four to five years old.

“Now nobody wants to send their kids here.”

You speak: Have you have seen dead animals in your park? - Gulf News.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Huge Meteor Flashes Across Alberta Skies In Canada!

September 27, 2013 - CANADA - An incredible fireball shooting across the Alberta sky has been caught on tape.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, a RCMP officer was driving down the highway near Manning when he saw the bright meteor flash in front of him.

His patrol camera was recording at the time, and it was all captured on video.

WATCH: RCMP officer on patrol captures meteor sighting while on patrol near Manning, Alberta.

A community astronomer at the Telus World of Science confirmed that the sighting was in fact a meteor. - Global News Canada.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Giant Hornets Go On Mad Killing Spree In China - Bites 28 People Dead, Hundreds Injured!

September 27, 2013 - CHINA - You'd think it only happens in the movies, but yes, giant insects swarming on humans and killing them actually does happen. In China, 28 people have died after getting bitten by a swarm of Asian giant hornets.

The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)

Witnesses and survivors lucky enough to endure the ordeal recalled being chased for hundreds of metres. The Asian giant hornets can probably outrace a skilled and talented runner. It is capable of flying up to 62 miles (100 kilometres) at speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h).

Victims were bitten and stung up to 200 times.

If not immediately treated, such multiple stings can prove fatal to a victim. A victim reported suffering acute renal failure while another was hospitalized for almost a month.

An Asian giant hornet feeding on a mantis.

The attack of the Asian giant hornets, also known as Vespa mandarinia, happened over a period of several weeks in and around the towns of Ankang, Hanzhong and Shangluo of Shaanxi. Authorities have advised residents to refrain walking through fields and wooded areas this year. They likewise advised victims to seek immediate treatment.

"Patients with more than 10 hornet stings should seek medical attention. Those with more than 30 stings need immediate emergency treatment," Chinese Business, a local newspaper quoted a director of Ankang Disease Control Centre, as saying.

Zhou Yuanhong, a health official, told the Associated Press the Asian giant hornets' attacks were not an unusual occurrence. In fact, 36 people have died in the city and 715 others injured between 2002 and 2005 because of the attacks.

However, the rather aggressive nature of the insects this year was noted to be particularly severe because of the weather changes. According to experts, the hornets breed more successfully in warmer temperatures where hundreds or even thousands could live in a single nest. It is believed they go deeper into wooded areas in search of bee colonies.

A defensive ball of Japanese honey bees (Apis cerana japonica) in which two hornets
(Vespa simillima xanthoptera) are engulfed, incapacitated and heated.

A swarm of not even more than 30 hornets can easily wipe out a 30,000-strong honeybee colony in just a matter of hours.

Hospitals around the affected areas have set up special units to focus on patients bitten by the Asian giant hornets. Fire crews have likewise mobilized to remove hornet nests. - IB Times.