Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ICE AGE NOW: Major Midweek Winter Storm To Sock More Than Two Dozen American States - Will Bring Heavy Snow, Ice, Strong Winds, Urban Flooding And Wintry Mix; Over 100 MILLION People Will Be Affected; Travel Disruptions Likely!

February 04, 2014 - UNITED STATES - A major winter storm with heavy snow, ice and a wintry mix will reach from the southern and central Plains to the Midwest and Northeast spanning Tuesday and Wednesday.

It will hit barely after some people had time to dig out from two prior storms in the Midwest and the Monday storm in the Northeast.

The storm will directly impact more than two dozen states and at least 100 million people with snow and/or ice. Travel delays and disruptions to daily activities are likely.

The storm has the potential to drop 6 inches or more of snow on portions of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Some areas are expected to see more than a foot of snow from northeastern Pennsylvania to southern New Hampshire.

There is a long list of major cities that can receive enough snow to shovel and plow. These include Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, Scranton, Pa., Hartford, Conn., and Buffalo, N.Y.

Accumulating snow will also fall on the Canada cities of Toronto, Montreal and St. John, New Brunswick.

A long stretch of the I-70 and I-80 corridors will be hit by the storm as it rolls northeastward. The bulk of the storm will hit central Rockies and Plains first on Tuesday, followed by the Midwest Tuesday night and then the Northeast late Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Winds may be strong enough to cause blowing and drifting snow near the end of the storm over parts of the Central states and Northeast.

A zone of wintry mix, snow changing to rain, or a period of ice will occur with the storm south and east of the heavy snow area.

In a narrow zone, as the snow becomes more wet and heavy or changes to ice, there is the potential for downed trees and power outages. The area where this is most likely to occur will reach from central Oklahoma to along the Ohio River to part of the central Appalachians and the I-95 corridor from the northern mid-Atlantic to southern New England. This includes the area around Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and New York City.

In some cases, the rain will wash away the newly fallen snow, which can lead to urban flooding.

Even at airports not directly affected by heavy wintry precipitation, there is the potential for rounds of flight delays and cancellations with this storm.

Additional major winter storms and associated disruptions to travel and daily activities will follow through at least the middle of the month approximately every two to four days.

The amount of snow on the ground may build to and beyond a couple of feet in some areas of the central Plains, Midwest and Northeast.

However, at least the next storm in the train will have a bit more separation and may offer more time to prepare, compared to the storms during the first half of this week. - AccuWeather.

MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFF: More Than 400 Dead Dolphins Found On The North Coast Of Peru?!

February 04, 2014 - PERU - More than 400 dead dolphins were found last month on the Pacific Ocean beaches of northern Peru where twice that amount were encountered in 2012, officials said Monday.

Police officers looks on at the dead bodies of the dolphin. AP

Authorities never established the cause of the deaths in 2012. They are doing autopsies on the latest dolphins found during January in the Lambayeque region on the northern coast.

Technician Jaime de la Cruz of Peru's IMARPE marine life agency said about 220 dead dolphins were found in the last week of January, the rest during the previous three weeks.

De la Cruz said autopsy results are expected in two weeks. Exams will focus on lungs, kidneys and livers.

Marine officials examine and measure the body of one of the dolphins. AP

Autopsies of some of the more than 870 dolphins found in 2012 were inconclusive. Speculation ranged from biotoxins in the sea to seismic testing to an unknown ailment.

Yuri Hooker, director of the marine biology unit at Cayetano Heredia University, told The Associated Press that in other parts of the world dolphin deaths generally are caused by environmental contamination when the sea mammals eat fish or other smaller species filled with toxins. Hooker said others die after ingesting discarded plastic floating in the sea.

A dolphin carcass lies on the beach at Puerto Eten in Lambayeque, Peru. AP

The marine biologist said determining the death of dolphins is "complicated" in Peru because government laboratories have only three or four of the world's 100 or so chemical reagents that can be used for determining the animals' cause of death. - First Post.

ICE AGE NOW: "I Haven't Seen Snow Like This In Five Decades" - Iran Hit By Biggest Snowstorm For 50 Years!

February 04, 2014 - IRAN - Eighteen of Iran's 31 provinces have been blanketed in snow, following the heaviest snowstorm in the country in 50 years.

(Photo: EPA)

The snow triggered power cuts and trapped thousands of people in their homes, the Iranian media reported.

"I haven't seen snow like this in five decades. Two meters of snow have fallen since Friday," said an official from the Mazandaran Province.

According to official sources, around half a million people in northern Iran have been without electricity or gas since Saturday.

(Photo: EPA)

(Photo: EPA)

(Photo: EPA)

(Photo: AP)

(Photo: AP)

(Photo: AP)

 A Red Cross representative said that in the last four days, the organization's local staff have rescued 11,000 people trapped by snow.

Several of the northern provinces have cancelled school for the last three days; some 3,800 people have been sleeping in emergency shelters, and food and water has been dispatched to the stricken areas cut off by the snow. - YNET News.

MASS FISH/MAMMAL DIE-OFF: Latest Incidents Across The United States - Tens Of Thousands Of Dead Fish Washing Up Along A River In Tennessee; 25 Dead Whales Found Near Kice Island In Florida; Masses Of Fish And Squid Wash Ashore Dead On Beach In Kauai, Hawaii; And Hundreds Of Dead Fish Appear In Kings River, California!

February 04, 2014 - UNITED STATES - The following constitutes the latest incidents of mass mammal,  and fish die-offs in the United States:

Tens Of Thousands Of Dead Fish Washing Up Along A River In Tennessee.
Tens of thousands of dead fish are now washing up on the shores of the Holston River in Grainger County.

Tens of thousands of dead fish are now washing up on the shores of the Holston River in Grainger County.  6 News has been investigating this since viewer Chris Joyce first alerted us Monday morning by posting this photo on our Facebook page. The white spots in the picture are the fish. 

They are scattered downstream from Cherokee Lake, just off Tampico Road in rural Grainger County.  "It's just a shock to see it in your own backyard," Joyce said.  After seeing thousands of dead fish near his home, Joyce turned to 6 News for answers.  "I got to looking. There was a lot on the water, a lot on the banks. I took pictures of it and sent it in. This is the first time I've ever seen anything like this," Joyce said.  We took Joyce's concerns to TWRA spokesman Matt Cameron, who came out to investigate. He says the dead fish are all the same type, called threadfin shad.  "From what the biologists are telling me, these are reservoir species, meaning these didn't originate from the river. They had to come from the lake above the dam," Cameron said. 

They can be seen washed up on shore and floating in the Holston River below the Cherokee Dam.

They can be seen washed up on shore and floating in the Holston River below the Cherokee Dam.  "We're about four miles below the dam here, and we've got reports of at least two miles downstream this location," Cameron said.  He says it's the unusually cold weather killing the small fish.  "They only tolerate a lower temperature of about 40 degrees. Once the water gets that cold or colder, and stays that cold, they can't survive," Cameron said.  While the dead fish are shocking to look out, Cameron says it's not really an environmental concern because it's only one type of fish that are dying.  "Which is a good sign, because if we had multiple species of fish we would have a real problem here," Cameron said.  Because of the cold temperatures, it could be awhile before the fish decompose, but Cameron says many of them will be eaten by birds and other fish before that happens. They do see similar cases like this when it gets cold. - WATE.

25 Dead Whales Found Near Kice Island In Florida.

Twenty-five dead pilot whales were discovered Thursday near Kice Island in southwest Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.  They were part of a pod of whales first seen swimming around Gordon Pass in Naples in Collier County on Sunday, NOAA Fisheries Southeast marine mammal stranding coordinator Blair Mase said.

Biologists marked the whales, which were spotted again off Marco Pass near Marco Island on Monday. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat stayed with the group for much of Monday, when they were two miles off-shore, before officials stopped monitoring them.  But early Thursday afternoon, officials received a report from a boater who saw the whales on Kice Island, Mase said.

Mase said the whales came in on the high seas and were beached on Kice Island. It is on the south side of Caxambas Pass, which divides Marco Island and Kice Island, NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Kim Amendola said. They were discovered 16 miles south of where they were originally spotted on Sunday.  A FWC field biologist went out and confirmed that the whales were all dead, and had been there for about 24 hours, Mase said. The biologist was accompanied by FWC law enforcement.  Sixteen of the whales were females, and nine were males, NOAA Fisheries said as it gave an increased death toll late Thursday afternoon. 

Officials initially said that about 20 whales were found.  Earlier this week, four pilot whales died and four more were euthanized around Lover’s Key near Fort Myers in Lee County. Mase said the necropsies on those eight whales were completed Wednesday. Some of the whales looked emaciated, and some appeared to be in decent condition, she said.  "They did all have empty stomachs, which is something that we were suspecting," she said.  Five of the whales were males and three were females, including one that was pregnant, Amendola said.  In December, 51 pilot whales were found stranded in Everglades National Park, and 22 of them died. No cause of deaths has been determined yet for those whales, Mase said Thursday. - NBC News.

Masses Of Fish And Squid Wash Ashore Dead On Beach In Kauai, Hawaii.
Lanternfish dead on Kalapaki Beach Monday. Don Heacock/Contributed photo

Up to 1,000 small lanternfish and a smaller number of squid washed ashore Monday along Kalapaki Beach, on Kauai’s south-east coast.  “Why they came up there, we have no idea right now,” said Don Heacock, a fisheries biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. 

Heacock, who collected and preserved samples for future analysis, said it isn’t the first time the same two species have washed ashore together at Kalapaki.  On Jan. 20, 2009, hundreds of the deep-water lanternfish and a smaller number of squid were discovered along the same stretch of shoreline. At that time, Heacock told The Garden Island that it also wasn’t the first incident.  Heacock plans to send the frozen fish and squid samples to Dr. Thierry Work, head of Infectious Disease for the U.S. Geological Survey, on Friday.  While he couldn’t be certain without a further investigation, Heacock said it is unlikely the incident is the result of a disease. 

“This is a vertebrate and invertebrate washing ashore at the same time,” he said. “If it was a disease they would all be the same species.”  A more likely scenario, he said, is that it is the result of something being dumped offshore, possibly human waste from a cruise ship.  “When they flush the toilet, it’s a big toilet,” he said.  The dead fish Monday measured between one and three inches in length, according to Heacock.  Lanternfish, which get their name for their ability to produce light, make up as much as 65 percent of the deep sea biomass and are among the most widely distributed and diverse of all vertebrate species, according to Sea and Sky.  Heacock was also called out to Poipu Monday in response to a dead turtle, which he is investigating. - The Garden Island.

Hundreds Of Dead Fish Appear In Kings River, California.
Hundreds of dead fish are surfacing in a popular fishing spot in the Kings River. The dead fish began showing up earlier this week. California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials think it may be something missing from the water.  Several clusters of dead, decomposing carp line a segment of the Kings River south of Stratford. The rotting fish are leaving a strong, disgusting odor in the air.  Tony Gonzalez and his nephew picked a different spot to fish Wednesday, after finding the fish kill. They say the area is very popular to catch fish year round.

The dead fish began getting attention after a video posted to YouTube. Chango Thao was stunned to see so many fish just floating on the surface of the water. He recorded the video to show his fishing buddies. "Oh, it was horrible," Thao said. "Just the stench of it, I couldn't stick around too long. Getting home I still smelled it in my nose, seriously."  Fish and Wildlife officials surveyed the area Wednesday evening. "What we think happened is the fish got concentrated in one area because of the low flows," Mike Conely said. "When you get this many fish in one small area the dissolved oxygen in the water becomes an issue. Basically the fish suffocate." 

Conely says the fish were likely searching for an area with high water levels to live in, but warmer weather and minimal water flow forced them to the spot where they died.  While a natural death is the likely cause, state officials will rule out possible poisoning or pollution. "We're going to take some samples [Thursday] of the water and fish and we'll go from there," Conely said.  Regulars to this spot on Highway 41 and the Kings River hope it's not something dangerous in the water. "I hope I can return to that area to fish again," Thao said.  In an effort to rule out any health risks to the public, the Department of Fish and Wildlife says it will also be testing tissue samples from the dead fish.

WATCH:  Dead fish everywhere.

- ABC30.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano Blows Sky-High - Spews Ash 8 Kilometers Into The Air, Causing Total Darkness In Surrounding Sectors; Biggest Eruption Since October!

February 04, 2014 - ECUADOR - Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano exploded into life this weekend, blasting three times in an hour on Saturday (Feb. 1) and spewing ash 5 miles (8 kilometers) into the air.

Tungurahua volcano erupts on Feb. 1, 2014. Credit: IGEPN

The ash caused total darkness in the nearby sector of Chacauco, Ecuador's Instituto Geofisico (IG-EPN) reported. The ash is streaming to the south and southwest.

Pyroclastic flows - superheated, flowing plumes of ash, gas and lava - raced more than 5 miles (8 km) down Tungurahua's slopes and crossed at least one road, the IG-EPN said.

However, thanks to an early warning provided by seismic tremors beneath the volcano that started Jan. 30, nearby residents were evacuated and a state of emergency declared in the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo, according to local news reports.

This is the biggest eruption at Tungurahua since late October 2013.

Tungurahua volcano erupts on Feb. 1, 2014, sending pyroclastic flows down its slopes.
Credit: IGEPN-Silvia Vallejo

As Tungurahua woke, an ongoing eruption at Indonesia's Sinabung volcano took a tragic turn. Mount Sinabung's violent eruption Saturday killed 16 people in Sukameriah, the first deaths since the volcano's first blasts four months ago.

WATCH: Tungurahua volcano explosion - February 1, 2014.

The deaths came one day after authorities allowed thousands of residents who had been evacuated to return to their homes, saying the volcano's activity was decreasing. However, those killed were inside a 3-mile-across (5 km) "red zone" around the volcano. - Live Science.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Major Alert - Bank Drill-Service Disruption Being Held On February 15-16, 2014!

February 04, 2014 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES - Bank of Albuquerque and Bank of Oklahoma have announced a preparedness drill which will disrupt internet based and automated bank services.

Screen capture taken from YouTube video.

This drill will take place from February 15 to 16.

WATCH: YouTuber discuss the preparedness drill.

- Alternative Information Channel.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Eastern Indonesia!

February 04, 2014 - INDONESIA - A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Indonesia Tuesday but there was no tsunami alert, seismologists said.

USGS earthquake location.

The quake struck at 7:36 a.m. local time (2236 GMT Monday), 318 kilometers (197 miles) east-northeast of the East Timor capital Dili in the Banda Sea at a depth of 18 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue any alerts following the tremor in the remote region at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago between East Timor and the Maluku islands.
In an initial assessment, the USGS said there was a low likelihood of damage or casualties.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

A 6.1-magnitude quake struck Indonesia's main island of Java in January, damaging dozens of buildings.
Another 6.1 quake that hit Aceh province on Sumatra island in July 2013 killed at least 35 people and left thousands homeless. - GMA Network.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the New Guinea Region and Vicinity.
The Australia-Pacific plate boundary is over 4000 km long on the northern margin, from the Sunda (Java) trench in the west to the Solomon Islands in the east. The eastern section is over 2300 km long, extending west from northeast of the Australian continent and the Coral Sea until it intersects the east coast of Papua New Guinea. The boundary is dominated by the general northward subduction of the Australia plate.

Along the South Solomon trench, the Australia plate converges with the Pacific plate at a rate of approximately 95 mm/yr towards the east-northeast. Seismicity along the trench is dominantly related to subduction tectonics and large earthquakes are common: there have been 13 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded since 1900. On April 1, 2007, a M8.1 interplate megathrust earthquake occurred at the western end of the trench, generating a tsunami and killing at least 40 people. This was the third M8.1 megathrust event associated with this subduction zone in the past century; the other two occurred in 1939 and 1977.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Further east at the New Britain trench, the relative motions of several microplates surrounding the Australia-Pacific boundary, including north-south oriented seafloor spreading in the Woodlark Basin south of the Solomon Islands, maintain the general northward subduction of Australia-affiliated lithosphere beneath Pacific-affiliated lithosphere. Most of the large and great earthquakes east of New Guinea are related to this subduction; such earthquakes are particularly concentrated at the cusp of the trench south of New Ireland. 33 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900, including three shallow thrust fault M8.1 events in 1906, 1919, and 2007.

The western end of the Australia-Pacific plate boundary is perhaps the most complex portion of this boundary, extending 2000 km from Indonesia and the Banda Sea to eastern New Guinea. The boundary is dominantly convergent along an arc-continent collision segment spanning the width of New Guinea, but the regions near the edges of the impinging Australia continental margin also include relatively short segments of extensional, strike-slip and convergent deformation. The dominant convergence is accommodated by shortening and uplift across a 250-350 km-wide band of northern New Guinea, as well as by slow southward-verging subduction of the Pacific plate north of New Guinea at the New Guinea trench. Here, the Australia-Pacific plate relative velocity is approximately 110 mm/yr towards the northeast, leading to the 2-8 mm/yr uplift of the New Guinea Highlands.

Whereas the northern band of deformation is relatively diffuse east of the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border, in western New Guinea there are at least two small (less than 100,000 km²) blocks of relatively undeformed lithosphere. The westernmost of these is the Birds Head Peninsula microplate in Indonesia's West Papua province, bounded on the south by the Seram trench. The Seram trench was originally interpreted as an extreme bend in the Sunda subduction zone, but is now thought to represent a southward-verging subduction zone between Birds Head and the Banda Sea.

There have been 22 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded in the New Guinea region since 1900. The dominant earthquake mechanisms are thrust and strike slip, associated with the arc-continent collision and the relative motions between numerous local microplates. The largest earthquake in the region was a M8.2 shallow thrust fault event in the northern Papua province of Indonesia that killed 166 people in 1996.

The western portion of the northern Australia plate boundary extends approximately 4800 km from New Guinea to Sumatra and primarily separates Australia from the Eurasia plate, including the Sunda block. This portion is dominantly convergent and includes subduction at the Sunda (Java) trench, and a young arc-continent collision.

In the east, this boundary extends from the Kai Islands to Sumba along the Timor trough, offset from the Sunda trench by 250 km south of Sumba. Contrary to earlier tectonic models in which this trough was interpreted as a subduction feature continuous with the Sunda subduction zone, it is now thought to represent a subsiding deformational feature related to the collision of the Australia plate continental margin and the volcanic arc of the Eurasia plate, initiating in the last 5-8 Myr. Before collision began, the Sunda subduction zone extended eastward to at least the Kai Islands, evidenced by the presence of a northward-dipping zone of seismicity beneath Timor Leste. A more detailed examination of the seismic zone along it's eastern segment reveals a gap in intermediate depth seismicity under Timor and seismic mechanisms that indicate an eastward propagating tear in the descending slab as the negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere detaches from positively buoyant continental lithosphere. On the surface, GPS measurements indicate that the region around Timor is currently no longer connected to the Eurasia plate, but instead is moving at nearly the same velocity as the Australia plate, another consequence of collision.

Large earthquakes in eastern Indonesia occur frequently but interplate megathrust events related to subduction are rare; this is likely due to the disconnection of the descending oceanic slab from the continental margin. There have been 9 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded from the Kai Islands to Sumba since 1900. The largest was the great Banda Sea earthquake of 1938 (M8.5) an intermediate depth thrust faulting event that did not cause significant loss of life. - USGS.