Sunday, June 1, 2014

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Report For June 1, 2014 - Major Updates On Sangeang Api, Cumbal, Sotará, Etna, San Miguel, Pagan, Pavlov, Fuego, Santiaguito, Turrialba, Galeras, Cerro Negro de Mayasquer And Reventador! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 01, 2014 - GLOBAL VOLCANISM - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Sangeang Api (Indonesia): After the violent eruption on Saturday, a strong initial explosion followed by at least 3 other, but smaller explosions and ash emissions until yesterday, activity at the volcano has calmed down significantly.

Eruption column and pyroclastic flow over water at Sangeang Api yesterday (picture: Sofyan Efendi)

Weaker ash and steam emissions still continue but at significantly reduced intensity.

NASA satellite image of the ash plume and continuing ash emissions this morning (annotation: Culture Volcan)

The Indonesian Volcanological Survey (VSI) lowered the alert status back to 2 ("waspada") on a scale of 1-4.

Dissipating aerosol plume from Saturday's eruption at Sangeang Api

BNPB, Indonesian Civil Defense, has distributed more than 15,000 dust masks to people in the town of Bima at about 40 km distance to the SW.

The plume from the original explosion continues to spread and dissipate over a vast area between Indonesia and northern Australia. Flights to and from Darwin airport are reported to resume today.

Cumbal (Colombia): Seismic unrest continues at the volcano, still on alert status Yellow, with little variation over the past months. The Pasto volcano observatory reported a 50% increase in earthquakes during the past week.

Most earthquakes were associated with internal fluid movements. The other quakes, all very small, were due to rock fracturing at shallow depths. No other signs of unrest were observed at the volcano recently.

Sotará (Colombia): Seismic activity associated with rock fracturing processes under the volcano showed a slight increase during the past week. The earthquakes occurred mainly under the Paletará valley, approximately 12 km northeast of the volcano at depths between 6 and 10 km, and had local magnitudes between 0.3 and 2.2 on the Richter scale.

Slight deformation has been detected at the volcano, but no changes or signs of activity are visible at the surface. The volcano remains at Yellow alert.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Activity has decreased. No new ash emissions from the Bocca Nuova could be noticed on webcam images and the strombolian activity at the New SE crater, although still present, has weakened and become much more sporadic as well.

Weak (but among the strongest during past night) strombolian activity at the New SE crater

WATCH: Etna volcanic activity on May 30 and 31.


San Miguel (El Salvador): Small ash emissions were reported at Chaparrastique volcano yesterday. Local observers heard rumblings and noticed ash fall in the area of Alpina Carreto.

Apart from a possible eruption, a major hazard is posed by mud slides and mud flows at the slopes of the volcano. Civil protection ordered new evacuations. According to local press, school classes were suspended in 12 schools located within 5 kilometers radius of Chaparrastique due to landslides in the area generated by the rains.

Pagan (Mariana Islands): USGS reports that "low-level unrest continued at Pagan Volcano throughout the past week. Seismic activity remains above background. A vapor plume was visible in web camera and satellite images.

Volcanic gas from Pagan may be noticed downwind of the volcano as a distinctive sulfurous odor." The Aviation Color Code remains at YELLOW.

Pavlov (Alaska Peninsula, USA): After about 1 year of pause, a new eruption started at the volcano on 30 May. Ground observers saw a small lava flow from a vent on the upper NE side of the cone.

MODIS hot spots at Pavlov volcano (MODVOLC, Univ. Hawaii)

"Satellite imagery shows elevated surface temperatures. A low level steam plume is visible in satellite imagery and in the FAA web camera located in Cold Bay. Several pilots reported a gas and ash plume drifting north at 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. Based on these observations AVO raised the Aviation Color Code to ORANGE." (AVO)

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity at the volcano continued with little variation as intermittent strombolian explosions of small to moderate size. Incandescent material was ejected to about 100 m height and fell back to form glowing avalanches on the upper crater. Ash plumes rose to 400-700 m height and drifted for approx. 8 km before dissipating.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Ongoing rainfall has been causing a number of mud flows (lahars) in the rivers draining from Santiaguito, including Samala, San Isidro and Tambor.

A first large hot lahar descended the Nima I river bed yesterday. The sulfur-smelling mud flow was about 25 m wide and 3 m deep, carrying blocks of up to 50 cm in diameter and pieces of tree trunks and branches of up to 2 m. On its passage near the observatory, it made the ground vibrate. The lahar drained into the Samala river.

Turrialba (Costa Rica): The volcano could be becoming more active with increased degassing. An elevated SO2 concentration in the atmosphere above and near the volcano was visible on satellite data yesterday. Seismic activity appears to be elevated.

Galeras (Colombia): Activity at the volcano is currently low.

Seismic activity and gas emissions are at low to moderate levels. No recent ash emissions have occurred.

Cerro Negro de Mayasquer (Colombia): Unrest at the volcano continues in the form of earthquakes under the Chiles-Cerro Negro volcanic massif. During the past week, the monitoring network recorded around 6500 quakes, mostly located less than 4 km SW from the summit at depths ranging between 1 and 8 km and with magnitudes of up to 4.0 on the Richter scale.

Most of the earthquakes are volcanic-tectonic, i.e. associated with the fracturing of rock due to fluid pressure underground.

On May 21, 3 earthquakes at 02:53, 15:44 and 18:46 local time were felt felt by local inhabitants.

Reventador (Ecuador): A moderate explosion at the volcano produced an ash plume that rose to flight level 210 (21,000 ft / 6.5 km altitude), a pilot reported.

Ash explosion at Reventador today (IGPEN webcam)

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 1, 2014.

- Volcano Discovery.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Indiana Sinkhole Swallows Car With 4 People In It! [PHOTOS]

June 01, 2014 -  INDIANA, UNITED STATES - Using two wreckers, employees with Tri-State Towing managed to remove a 2003 Ford Taurus from a sinkhole at West Oregon Street and Main Street in Evansville on Friday afternoon.

Kevin Swank, The Evansville Courier & Press

Timothy Stone, of Evansville, said that he and three passengers were in a car heading east on West Oregon Street at Main Street in Evansville, when they stopped for a stop sign and then the car "felt weird" and started to sink.

They were able to get out of the passenger side of the car and then the front of the car went down into the hole. No one was injured.

Using two wreckers, employees with Tri-State Towing managed to remove this 2003 Ford Taurus from a
sinkhole at West Oregon Street and Main Street in Evansville on Friday afternoon.
Kevin Swank, The Evansville Courier & Press

The car, a 2003 Ford Taurus, that ended up in this sink hole on West Oregon Street at Main Street in Evansville
drew a crowd of people coming to take pictures and see the sight on Friday afternoon.
Kevin Swank, The Evansville Courier & Press

Two Evansville police officers along with Chris Walsh (at left), of the Water & Sewer Utility, look at a car that
fell into a sinkhole Friday afternoon on West Oregon Street at the intersection with Main Street.
Kevin Swank, The Evansville Courier & Press

Allen Mounts, director of the Water & Sewer Utility, said the cave-in was caused by the collapse of a 72-inch sewer. A six-inch water main was also broken in the collapse. Two wreckers were used to remove the car from hole, which an Evansville police report described as 12 feet in diameter and 16 feet deep.  - Courier Press.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior - Species Disappearing Far Faster Than Before, Earth On The Brink Of A Sixth Great Extinction; Large Fish Kill Appears On Santa Fe Lake In Kansas, United States; As Dead Deep Sea Sperm Whale Found On Moreton Island Beach, Queensland, Australia; Pod Of Dolphins Guide Scientists To Rescue Suicidal Girl In Los Angeles, California; Snake Drops Onto Car Dashboard In Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore Alarm Residents In Port Credit, Ontario, Canada; Fish Kill Found On Red River In Oklahoma, United States; Snake Causes Power Outage In Duncan, Oklahoma And Large Amount Of Dead Fish Found In A Lake In Wuhan, China!

June 01, 2014 -  EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Species Disappearing Far Faster Than Before, Earth On The Brink Of A Sixth Great Extinction
The oceanic whitetip shark, once one of Earth’s most plentiful predators now is rarely seen. Species of
plants and animals are going extinct 1,000 faster than they did before humans.

Terry Goss Photography USA/Marine Photobank 2010

Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene, and the world is on the brink of a sixth great extinction, a new study says.

The study looks at past a nd present rates of extinction and finds a lower rate in the past than scientists had thought. Species are now disappearing from Earth about 10 times faster than biologists had believed, said study lead author noted biologist Stuart Pimm of Duke University.

"We are on the verge of the sixth extinction," Pimm said from research at the Dry Tortugas. "Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions."

The work, published Thursday by the journal Science, was hailed as a landmark study by outside experts.

Pimm's study focused on the rate, not the number, of species disappearing from Earth. It calculated a "death rate" of how many species become extinct each year out of 1 million species.

In 1995, Pimm found that the pre-human rate of extinctions on Earth was about 1. But taking into account new research, Pimm and his colleagues refined that background rate to about 0.1.

Now, that death rate is about 100 to 1,000, Pimm said.Numerous factors are combining to make species disappear much faster than before, said Pimm and co-author Clinton Jenkins of the Institute of Ecological Research in Brazil. But the No. 1 issue is habitat loss. Species are finding no place to live as more places are built up and altered by humans.

The buffy-tufted-ear marmoset in Nazsre Paulista, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, lost habitat
and is listed as a vulnerable species. 
Roberto de Lara Haddad 2009

Add to that invasive species crowding out native species, climate change affecting where species can survive, and overfishing, Pimm said.

The buffy-tufted-ear marmoset is a good example, Jenkins said. Its habitat has shrunk because of development in Brazil, and a competing marmoset has taken over where it lives. Now, it's on the international vulnerable list.

The oceanic white-tip shark used to be one of the most abundant predators on Earth and they have been hunted so much they are now rarely seen, said Dalhousie University marine biologist Boris Worm, who wasn't part of the study but praised it. "If we don't do anything, this will go the way of the dinosaurs."

Five times, a vast majority of the world's life has been snuffed out in what have been called mass extinctions, often associated with giant meteor strikes. About 66 million years ago, one such extinction killed off the dinosaurs and three out of four species on Earth. Around 252 million years ago, the Great Dying snuffed out about 90 percent of the world's species.

Pimm and Jenkins said there is hope. Both said the use of smartphones and applications such as iNaturalist will help ordinary people and biologists find species in trouble, they said. Once biologists know where endangered species are they can try to save habitats and use captive breeding and other techniques to save the species, they said.

One success story is the golden lion tamarin. Decades ago the tiny primates were thought to be extinct because of habitat loss, but they were then found in remote parts of Brazil, bred in captivity and biologists helped set aside new forests for them to live in, Jenkins said.

"Now there are more tamarins than there are places to put them," he said.

Source: The Associated Press- Arizona Daily Star.

Large Fish Kill Appears On Santa Fe Lake In Kansas, United States
Dead fish dot on the shore of Elks Lake Saturday. Joshua Vail, Tribune

Many fish were found dead in Santa Fe lake this weekend.
Groundskeeper Bill Leeper said the cause is a spontaneous lack of oxygen in the water, something he was told can happen in some lakes by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Leeper said he did not know if this would lead to a need to restock the lake. - The Chanute Tribune.

As Dead Deep Sea Sperm Whale Found On Moreton Island Beach, Queensland, Australia
Rotting sperm whale carcass on Moreton Island. Ben Dillaway

A rotting sperm whale carcass on Queensland's Moreton Island is attracting large sharks and creating a stink for visitors.

The 11-metre whale washed up on Friday on the island's eastern side, having been dead for about 24 hours.

The cause of death is unknown, however, Moreton Bay is known to be heavily populated with bull sharks and bites can be seen on the mammal.

A ranger said the carcass was too large to move with a tractor and it was hoped it would be washed out to sea on the rising tide. Otherwise, the whale would be left to decompose on the beach.

Rotting sperm whale carcass on Moreton Island. Ben Dillaway

Tourist Ben Dillaway said the rotting carcass smelled "putrid", adding he wasn't game to step foot in the water after spotting a "huge shark" just off the beach.

Sperm whales are rarely seen along the Queensland coast, making the mammal's discovery intriguing.
Though the whale's sex is unknown, it is likely to be a female, as females prefer more temperate waters.

Last year a pod of 11 killer whales beached on Fraser Island, with three dying. Like the sperm whale, It is unusual for orcas to travel so far north. - Brisbane Times.

Dolphins Guide Scientists To Rescue Suicidal Girl In Los Angeles, California
Bottlenose dolphin school foraging along the Los Angeles coastline.
Photograph by Maddalena Bearzi, Ocean Conservation Society, under NOAA permit

One day, my research team and I were following a school of bottlenose dolphins near shore as we do on a regular basis in the waters off Los Angeles, California. We just wrapped up our photo-identification work and were moving on to take video of dolphin social interactions and enter data on behavior.

The dolphins were still feeding in circle near shore, when suddenly, one individual changed direction heading out toward deeper water. A minute later, the rest of the school turned to follow. We were so accustomed to tracking these coastal metropolitan dolphins back and forth within a few hundred meters of the beach, that seeing them abruptly leave a foraging ground and change direction came as a surprise to the research team. I decided to follow them.

The dolphins increased their speed, still heading offshore as I pushed the throttle ahead to keep pace while one of my researchers recorded this hasty change in behavior on the sighting form.

Somewhere near three miles offshore the dolphin group stopped, forming a sort of ring around a dark object in the water.

"Someone's in the water!" yelled my assistant, standing up and pointing at the seemingly lifeless body of a girl. For a moment, we were silent. Then, slowly, I maneuvered the boat closer. The girl was pallid and blonde and appeared to be fully clothed. As the boat neared, she feebly turned her head toward us, half-raising her hand as a weak sign for help.

I cut the engine and called the lifeguards on the VHF radio. They told us not to do anything until they arrived on site but it was our unanimous feeling that if we didn't act immediately, the girl would die. We decided to ignore lifeguard's instructions, instead pulling the frail and hypothermic body on board. I called the lifeguards back and informed them that she was alive and that we had her aboard and we were heading back to Marina del Rey, the closest harbor, as quickly as possible.

"She is cyanotic," said one of my researchers, also a lifeguard, after a cursory examination. "She has severe hypothermia. We need to get her warm!" We managed to get some of her wet garments off and wrap her in a blanket. We took turns keeping her warm by huddling with her under the blanket.

The girl was around eighteen and probably foreign because we couldn't seem to communicate. We tried speaking French, Italian, and Spanish to no avail and she was barely able to speak but none of us could understand what she was saying. I couldn't avoid noticing a plastic bag tied around her neck. It was sealed and seemed to contain her passport and a folded handwritten note. Somewhere near the harbor, we met up with the lifeguard rescue boat. We handed her off to them and followed them back to port.

A couple of hours later, we were all waiting outside the emergency room at the Marina del Rey hospital. The ER doctor came out to talk with us. The girl, it seems, would pull through, and he thanked us for our quick action. He tells us the girl was vacationing in L.A. from Germany and, as the letter found in her plastic bag explained, she was attempting suicide. If we hadn't found her, if the dolphins hadn't led us offshore when they did, to that specific place, she would have died.

Busy as we were trying to save the girl, we completely lost track of the dolphins. What might they have done with her if we hadn't been there? Might they have tried to save her? There are many anecdotal accounts of dolphins saving humans from death and disaster, either by guiding them to shore, fending off sharks or helping them to remain afloat until help arrives.

Many scientists think dolphins do not, in fact, save humans because there is not enough hard scientific evidence to support these stories. But that day I witnessed coastal bottlenose dolphins suddenly leave their feeding activities and head offshore. And in doing so, they led us to save a dying girl, some three miles offshore. Coincidence?

This article has been adapted from the book Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist (Chicago University Press, 2012).

 - National Geographic.

Snake Drops Onto Car Dashboard In Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Joan Bumgarner stands next to her car - the same car in which she watched a snake drop
from the ceiling onto the dashboard while she was driving. 
John Hinton/Journal

An elusive snake turned a Wilkes County woman's trip to Winston-Salem into an expensive adventure and resulted in a fruitless two-day search for the reptile.  The incident began shortly after noon Wednesday when Joan Bumgarner was driving along U.S. 421 South in eastern Yadkin County, she said. Bumgarner was taking her sister to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for an appointment.  Bumgarner said she felt something brush against her leg as she drove her white Lexus RX 350 on the highway into western Forsyth County.  "I looked down and didn't see anything," Bumgarner said. "About 10 minutes later, I saw the (snake's) head coming from behind the rearview mirror. It must have crawled up from the seat."  It was black and gray, and Bumgarner said she believes it was likely a black snake.  The snake then dropped onto the dash board. Bumgarner pulled her SUV off the highway, and she and her sister quickly got out of the vehicle.

The snake didn't bite them, she said.  "I stayed as calm as I could, but I was pretty scared," Bumgarner said with a laugh. "The snake literally fell in my sister's lap."  Bumgarner called 911, and two deputies and a Forsyth County animal-control officer came to the scene.  "One deputy saw the snake, but he couldn't get it," Bumgarner said.  That deputy and the animal-control officer didn't see the snake after that, said Tim Jennings, the director of the Forsyth County Animal Control.  A deputy then took Bumgarner's sister to Wake Forest Baptist, and a tow truck hauled the SUV and Bumgarner to Flow Lexus of Winston-Salem on Jonestown Road.  A group of Flow employees, an animal-control officer and a pest-control specialist searched the vehicle Thursday and Friday, but they couldn't find the snake, either.  "Some way or another, it slithered away," said Wally Gordon, the Lexus dealership's service manager. 

The snake could have crawled out of the SUV along the highway before it was towed to the car dealership, Jennings said.  "I suppose anything is possible," Jennings said. "It could have crawled out of the vehicle, if it felt it was being harassed."  Bumgarner, 64, is a retired middle-school teacher who lives in the Mulberry community near North Wilkesboro in a house on a 30-acre tract surrounded by trees.  She rented a vehicle from the dealership to get home Thursday. Her SUV was delivered to her Friday.  Black snakes, which are not venomous, live in rural areas, and one could have fallen from a tree near Bumgarner's house onto the SUV or crawled into the vehicle through its engine or some other way, Jennings said.  The serpentine ordeal left Bumgarner with a bill of almost $700 from the dealership, but she said she wasn't concerned that the snake might still be in her vehicle.  "I guess it escaped, at least I hope so," she said. - Journal.

Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore Alarm Residents In Port Credit, Ontario, Canada
An alewife fish. People walking along the shore of Port Credit
have noticed bodies of the fish washing up in large numbers.
Supplied photo
Thousands of dead fish have washed up on the shores of Port Credit over the last three days, alarming some nearby residents.

The small, silvery fish, which are about 15 centimetres long, have been spotted all along the shoreline and at the mouth of rivers.

But though the scene may look like a sure sign of an unfolding ecological disaster, conservationists say it is a natural phenomenon caused by nothing more dangerous than fluctuations in the temperature of Lake Ontario.

The fish is believed to be the alewife, a species that is not native to Lake Ontario.

According to the University of Wisconsin's Sea Grant Institute website, it is a Atlantic Coast saltwater fish that made its way into the Great Lakes in the late 1940s.

Because the alewife is not well adapted to the freshwater environment in the lakes, it is well known among aquatic biologists for dying off in large numbers, particularly in spring when it moves to shallow waters to mate and is vulnerable to changes in the water temperature.

Jon Clayton, an aquatic biologist with CVC, speculates that high winds over the last few days could have driven colder water from the middle of Lake Ontario to the shore, and the fish couldn't cope with the rapid cooling.

He believes that people may have noticed the die-off more this year than in the past as a result of the rapidly growing numbers of alewife fish in the lake. Data from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources suggest that there are 681 million alewife in Lake Ontario, a number that has more than doubled since 2012. - Durham Region.

Fish Kill Found On Red River In Oklahoma, United States

A popular Love County fishing spot along the Red River has recently become a fish graveyard and is being investigated.

"It's a sad sight," says Chad McMillan.

He says he's been fishing at Tucks Ferry along the Red River for close to 20 years, but this past weekend he saw something he's never seen before - hundreds of dead fish. He thinks the drought could be to blame.

"Lack of rain. We get a little water, goes into the lake, try to fill the lake back up," said Mcmillan.

"The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Department of Environmental Quality are down there investigating it today, so, it could be a while before we know, if we ever know," says Wildlife and Fisheries Consultant Mike Porter with the Noble Foundation.

He says any theories about the cause are just speculation.

"A sign of bacteria, maybe something was dumped in the river, we don't know. We have no idea," said Porter.

WATCH: Fish kill at Red River under investigation.


And Porter says this isn't the first fish kill investigation along the Red River in recent years.

"There's been several organizations that have looked in depth at that, and nobody has been able to figure out really what caused it," said Porter.

He explains that any possible toxins that might've killed the fish, may dissipate very quickly making the investigation difficult. But he says there are a few possible and common causes.

"Dissolved oxygen, bacteria, toxins, and then man-made pollutants occasionally get in the water. Those are the three main causes," said Porter.

McMillan says, for now, he'll have to take his fishing to another location.

"It was a regular spot. Now we pretty much stick to the lake." - KXII.

Large Amount Of Dead Fish Found In A Lake In Wuhan, China
Pictured: two pipe members are salvaging dead fish Lake (reporter Lei Weiwei photo)

In Hanyang many dead fish floating in the lake the lake. In the southerly role in almost all the dead fish gathered in the northern shore of Lake ink. Lake pipes staff, more dead fish these days, they are losing no time to salvage.

At noon yesterday, the ink Lake Bridge on the west side of Lake of the ink , the reporter saw hundreds of square meters of the lake on the floating head too big dead fish, ink Hubei shore, bringing together a large number of dead fish have been corrupt. Southerly breeze blowing, the air fills with the stench.

A staff member surnamed Gan Hanyang fish farms introduced, starting in 2012, ink lake had " early retirement " and no longer engage in the use of lake fish farming, also did not specifically put fish, dead fish fry may be slipping through the net at the time.

It is involved in the salvage of dead fish in the lake tube member Master Feng introduced, these days, the number of dead fish in the lake of ink gradually increased, starting yesterday morning, four people have been in their boats uninterrupted salvage of dead fish, and its focus buried. According to Feng master analysis, the increase may be due to dead fish with recent weather Enthusiasm, and the fish itself sick about. - Eastday. [Translated]

Snake Causes Power Outage In Duncan, Oklahoma

A slithering snake caused a power outage in Duncan, Comanche, Waurika and parts of Lawton in the predawn hours Saturday.

The snake crawled into a switch station shared by Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and Public Service of Oklahoma a mile south of Comanche to cause the problem, company officials said.

Power to 3,147 customers in Duncan, Comanche, Waurika and parts of Lawton was curtailed, at 3:31 a.m., but was restored by 4:46 a.m. after the snake's fried remains were removed, said Ed Bettinger, a spokesman for PSO.

"The snake was on Western Farmers' side of the switch station, but it still managed to affect both customers," Bettinger said.

Sondra Boykin, communications coordinator of Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, said customers in Ryan and Sugden lost electricity.

"It was all because of a stupid snake," she said. - Duncan Banner.