Thursday, May 1, 2014

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: USGS - Magma Rising In Washington State's Mount St. Helens Volcano!

May 01, 2014 - SEATTLE, UNITED STATES - Magma levels are slowly rebuilding inside Mount St. Helens, a volcano in Washington state that erupted in 1980 and killed 57 people, although there was no sign of an impending eruption, U.S. scientists said.

Visitors to the Coldwater Ridge Center look up at Mount St. Helens venting steam October 11, 2004.
REUTERS/Andy Clark

The roughly 8,300-foot volcano erupted in an explosion of hot ash and gas on May 18, 1980, spewing debris over some 230 square miles and causing more than a billion dollars in property damage. Entire forests were crushed and river systems altered in the blast, which began with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake.

"The magma reservoir beneath Mount St. Helens has been slowly re-pressurizing since 2008," the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement on Wednesday. "It is likely that re-pressurization is caused by (the) arrival of a small amount of additional magma 4 to 8 km (2.5 to 5 miles) beneath the surface."

The USGS said this is to be expected with an active volcano and does not indicate "the volcano is likely to erupt anytime soon."

The USGS, and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at University of Washington, closely monitor ground deformation and seismicity at the volcano. This summer, they will also measure its released gases and gravity field, measurements that can be used to monitor subsurface magma and forecast eruptions. - Yahoo.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Viral Disease - Peacock Death Toll Increases To 42 Across Tharparkar, Pakistan!

May 01, 2014 - PAKISTAN -  At least eight more peacocks died of viral Newcastle disease in Bhopay village here on Thursday, increasing death toll to 42 across Tharparkar.

Due to scorching hot weather, Newcastle disease broke out in various areas of the drought-hit Tharparkar, according to wildlife officials. At least 42 affected peacocks died in two days, they said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Newcastle is a contagious bird disease affecting many domestic and wild avian species; it is transmissible to humans. Tharparkar's drought and hot weather has started hitting the birds as dozens of peacocks have died in different villages of Diplo taluka - the worst-affected area of the district by the drought this year.

Dozens of birds visit each house of different villages early in the morning. "We serve these birds wheat and some other eatables available at home," said Desh Mukh, a local villager. After taking their share, these birds fly away, he said. "It is painful for us that our birds are dying in large number," he said.   - Daily Times.

EXTREME WEATHER: Hurricane Rips Through Omsk Region, South Central Russia - Two People Killed; Over 20 Injured; Hundreds Of Buildings Damaged! [PHOTOS]

May 01, 2014 - RUSSIA - Two people have been killed and more than 20 people injured after a hurricane swept through the Siberian region of Omsk over the weekend.

The death toll increased to two on Monday after an elderly woman died in hospital of a head injury sustained during the hurricane, a law enforcement official said, Interfax reported.

The second victim, a 23-year-old woman, died after a bus stop collapsed on her in the village of Troitskoe, near Omsk, a law enforcement official said.

A further 20 people were injured as the hurricane blew through 24 districts in the Omsk region, with winds reaching up to 29 meters per second.

In total, 550 buildings were damaged during the storm, including 345 homes, 33 schools and 12 kindergartens. - The Moscow Times.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: "I Haven't Heard Of This Before" - Truck Carried 27 MILES By Tornado Across Arkansas!

May 01, 2014 - ARKANSAS, UNITED STATES - A truck was reportedly carried 27 miles by a tornado Sunday night in Arkansas, according to meteorologist Darby Bybee of KHBS-TV in Fort Smith.

A police officer walks past an overturned car near a home that was destroyed by
a tornado on April 29, 2014, in Vilonia, Ark.
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Bybee reported that the truck was carried from Mayflower, Ark., to near Vilonia, Ark., a distance of about 27 miles. A report from the National Weather Service in Little Rock notes that an EF4 tornado - with winds of at least 180 mph - traveled 41 miles on a path that included both Mayflower and Vilonia.

The tornado killed 15 people.

Many cars were tossed around and destroyed, some mangled beyond recognition, Bybee said. He said it can be difficult to make an insurance claim on a car that can't be found or identified.

Long-distance transport of large objects in tornadoes has been reported before, though Randy Cerveny, a geography professor at Arizona State University, said, "I haven't heard of trucks being thrown that far."

In 1877, a tornado in Illinois reportedly carried "the spire, vane and guilded ball of a Methodist church" 15 miles, according to his book Freaks of the Storm.

An EF4 tornado carved a ferocious 41-mile path through central Arkansas on Sunday night, killing 15 people.National Weather Service

"A 1966 Mississippi tornado reportedly lifted a mother and her 2-year-old daughter in the family Volkswagen into the air and carried it 70 feet through the air," he added. "Finally, the tornado dropped the small car on the top of the local electrical company building.

"Amazingly, the Volkswagen sustained only a couple of dents in the hood and miraculously neither the mother nor her daughter was injured," he wrote.

The world record for the object carried farthest by a tornado: A personal check was carried 223 miles on April 11, 1991, from Stockton, Kan., to Winnetoon, Neb.

World weather records are kept in the World Meteorological Organization's Weather and Climate Extremes archive, Cerveny said. - USA Today.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Hundreds Caught Off Guard By The SINGLE RAINIEST DAY EVER RECORDED - Rescued From Floodwaters In Florida And Alabama!

May 01, 2014 - FLORIDA/ALABAMA, UNITED STATES - People were plucked off rooftops or climbed into their attics to get away from fast-rising waters when nearly 2 feet of rain fell on the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast in the span of about 24 hours, the latest bout of severe weather that began with tornadoes in the Midwest.

A portion of the Scenic Highway collapsed near Pensacola, Fla., Wednesday April 30, 2014. Heavy rains and flooding
have left people stranded in houses and cars in the Florida Panhandle and along the Alabama coast. According to the
National Weather Service, an estimated 15-20 inches of rain has fallen in Pensacola in the past 24 hours.

AP Photo/Pensacola News Journal, Katie E. King

On Wednesday, roads were chewed up into pieces or wiped out entirely and neighborhoods were inundated, making rescues difficult for hundreds of people who called for help when they were caught off guard by the single rainiest day ever recorded in Pensacola.

Boats and Humvees zigzagged through the flooded streets to help stranded residents. A car and truck plummeted 25 feet when portions of a scenic highway collapsed, and one Florida woman died when she drove her car into high water, officials said.

Near the Alabama-Florida line, water started creeping into Brandi McCoon's mobile home, so her fiance, Jonathan Brown, wrapped up her nearly 2-year-old son Noah in a blanket and they swam in neck-deep water to their car about 50 feet away.

Then, the car was flooded.

WATCH: Hundreds rescued from floodwaters in Florida and Alabama.


"Every which way we turned, there was a big ol' pile of water," she said.

Brown called 911 and eventually a military vehicle picked them up and took them to a shelter.

Kyle Schmitz was at his Pensacola home with his 18-month-old son Oliver on Tuesday night when heavy rain dropped during a 45-minute span. He gathered up his son, his computer and important papers and left.

"I opened the garage and the water immediately flowed in like a wave," he said. "The water was coming up to just below the hood of my truck and I just gassed it."

Schmitz and his son also made it out safely.
In Alabama, Capt. David Spies of Fish River/Marlow Fire and Rescue said he was part of a team who found two women and a young boy trapped in the attic of a modular home.

Spies said they received the first call of help before midnight Tuesday but they couldn't find the group until about 8 a.m. Wednesday. By then, the water was 2 feet below the roof. A firefighter used an axe to punch a hole through the roof and free them.

"They were very scared, they were very upset. I would've been, too," Spies said.

There were at least 30 rescues in the Mobile area of Alabama. Florida appeared to be the hardest hit. Gov. Rick Scott said officials there received about 300 calls from stranded residents.

At the Pensacola airport, 15.55 inches of rain fell on Tuesday before midnight - setting a record for the rainiest single day in the city, according to data since 1880. By comparison, the airport in drought-stricken Los Angeles has recorded 15.9 inches of rain - since Jan. 1, 2012.

Vehicles rest at the bottom of a ravine after the Scenic Highway collapsed near Pensacola, Fla.,
Wednesday April 30, 2014.
AP Photo/Pensacola News Journal, Katie E. King

Pensacola and nearby Mobile are two of the rainiest cities in the U.S., averaging more than five feet of rain in a year, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

The National Weather Service said forecasters issued flash flood warnings as early as Friday, yet many people were still caught unaware.

Elizabeth Peaden was at her weekly Bunco game Tuesday night and it wasn't raining on her way there. On her way home, she drove her van through a flooded intersection and got stuck.

"I was scared out of my wits. Water started coming in and I wasn't sure what to do," she said.

Peaden waded her way to a nearby American Legion post where she and about 20 other stranded travelers spent the night sleeping on tables or the floor.

The widespread flooding was the latest wallop from a violent storm system that began in Arkansas and Oklahoma and worked its way South, killing 37 people along the way, including a 67-year-old driver in Florida.

Bystanders look at the flooding as creek and sewer waters spill into the road, causing traffic issues, Monday, April 28,
2014, on Hargrove Road East near the Woodlands of Tuscaloosa apartment complex in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt

Pensacola Police Chief Chip Simmons said two vehicles fell 25 feet when portions of a scenic highway collapsed. The truck driver was fine, but a woman in a car needed help getting out. Neither had serious injuries, Simmons said.

In Gulf Shores, Ala., where nearly 21 inches of rain fell over a day's time, the scene resembled the aftermath of a hurricane. At the Sportsman Marina in Orange Beach, employee J.J. Andrews couldn't believe what she saw out the window.

"We've got water up in our parking lots," she said. "Our docks are under water. It's worse than during Hurricane Ivan, is what they're saying. It's crazy."

The 2004 hurricane dumped 3 to 7 inches of rain along the Florida Panhandle.

Waters stands across Bonds Road in McCracken County, which is closed at the
intersection of Oaks Road due to flooding, Monday, April 28, 2014, in Paducah, Ky.
AP Photo/The Paducah Sun

By Wednesday afternoon, water had started to recede while the storm marched its way up the East Coast, bringing warnings of more tornadoes and flash flooding. Emergency officials in Maryland said crews rescued motorists stranded in high water and a block-long section of street collapsed, sending cars sliding down a steep embankment onto railroad tracks.

Over the past four days, the system created 65 tornadoes and slammed Arkansas' northern Little Rock suburbs and the Mississippi cities of Louisville and Tupelo. Arkansas had 15 deaths; Mississippi had 12.

Authorities in Louisville searched for a missing 8-year-old boy after a large tornado killed his parents and destroyed their home.

On Wednesday, Louisville officials said they were shifting priorities from response to cleanup.

"Today is the day we start putting Louisville back together," said Buddy King, county emergency management director. - Yahoo.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 6.6 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Pacific Near New Caledonia - No Damage Or Tsunami Risk! [MAPS+ESTIMATES+TECTONIC SUMMARY]

May 01, 2014 - NOUMEA, NEW CALEDONIA - A strong but fairly deep earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean near the French territory of New Caledonia on Thursday evening, but there were no reports of damage or casualties and no tsunami warnings were issued, seismologists said.

USGS earthquake location map.

The 6.6-magnitude earthquake at 5:36 p.m. local time (0636 GMT) on Thursday was centered in the Pacific Ocean about 201 kilometers (125 miles) west-northwest of the uninhabited volcanic island of Hunter, which is part of the French territory of New Caledonia. It struck about 105 kilometers (65 miles) deep, making it a fairly deep earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Computer models showed some 45,000 people on islands near the epicenter may have felt light shaking, but damage or casualties were neither expected nor reported.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which initially measured the tremor as having a magnitude of 6.7, said the earthquake struck too deep to pose a tsunami threat. "A destructive tsunami was not generated because this earthquake is located too deep inside the Earth," the center said in a bulletin. - Wire Update.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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