Wednesday, June 4, 2014

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Military Harrier Jet Crashes Into Residential Area In California - 2 To 3 Houses Impacted; Pilot Ejected; Investigation Underway! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 04, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A military jet has crashed into a residential area in Imperial Valley, California.

Military plane crash in Imperial. Multiple homes on fire. Pilot safely ejected. No reports of fatalities on ground.

Military #jetcrash in our town. Still waiting to hear more details. #ImperialCA (photo: Maria Sais)  @JeremiahVik

Officials say one home was set ablaze, according to NBC San Diego, but the fire was quickly extinguished. Two to three additional homes were impacted by the crash, officials said.

The Third Marine Aircraft Wing AV-8B Harrier crashed at approximately 14:20 local time.

"I was pretty close to it," witness Shaun Penniman told KGTV. "I heard like a pop and a whistle. And right when I looked up is when I saw the pilot eject."

WATCH: Scenes from the crash site.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar says it is attempting to gather more information, according to KGTV in Imperial. MCAS Miramar officals said an investigation has begun to determine the cause of the crash.

The jet was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, in Arizona. Miramar officials said the pilot ejected, but there is yet no information on any injuries at the site of the crash. - RT

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Shocking Pictures - Tornadoes Rip Through Britain As Freak Weather Starts To Smash Into The UK; Weekend Of "WEATHER HELL" Expected With The WORST Hailstorms In Over 170 YEARS; Severe Warnings Issued!

June 04, 2014 - BRITAIN - Tornadoes began smashing into Britain today amid fresh warnings the country faces a weekend of weather hell.

A tornado sweeps through the midlands today as freak weather starts to hit Britain[ STU MORANT/MERCURY PRESS]

As these terrifying pictures show, a series of fearsome twisters ripped through Lincolnshire this afternoon as experts insisted 'much worse' is to come over the next few days.

Geoff Hill, 54, who works near Market Rasen, photographed the tornadoes as the skies suddenly darkened around 3pm.

He said: "It was spotted by one of our store staff working outside looking up at the sky. Somebody rushed in and said there's a tornado.

"We rushed outside and I grabbed my camera and took a picture. I actually caught it on the second go because it had formed for five minutes before and then disappeared.

"Then it formed again and appeared for another five minutes."

Elsewhere, photographer Stu Morant caught amazing images of a rampaging tornado on camera near Crowle, near Scunthorpe, North Lincs, around 4.30pm.

Forecasters said two huge weather systems are set to collide over the UK on Friday triggering the worst hailstorms in 170 years, strong winds, "tropical" downpours and potentially deadly thunderstorms and fork lightning.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for rain on Saturday when more than an inch could fall in a matter of hours.

Spokeswoman Laura Young said a huge swathe of warm air is about to flood into the UK from the Continent sending temperatures rocketing.

She said: "The most notable day is Saturday, where because of a warm air mass moving up from the Continent, we are expecting some potentially heavy and thundery downpours.

This tornado was caught on camera this afternoon as it raged through the Lincolnshire countryside

Dramatic thunderstorms and fork lightning are expected across all of Britain this weekend [GETTY]

Britain is braced for fierce winds, tornadoes, thunder, lightning and hailstorms this weekend [NETWEATHER]

"There is also a chance that parts of the Southeast could see the warmest temperatures of the year so far.

"From Friday night into Saturday there is an area of low pressure bringing heavy and potentially thundery rain in through the Southwest moving northeastwards throughout the day.

"The Southeast, however could still see some good bright sunny spells and temperatures could rise to the mid to perhaps locally high 20 degrees Celsius."

Temperatures in the south could hit 86F (32C) by the weekend while the north is expected to roast in highs in the 70s (22C).

Leon Brown, forecaster for The Weather Channel, warned of serious humidity by Friday with the extreme temperatures likely to trigger storms and flash floods.

He said: "After a cooler, clearer and fresher day on Thursday the weather will quickly change again to become very warm and humid by the end of Friday, but also very unstable too over the west.

"The threat of storms and flash floods moving northeast across many western then central areas on Saturday.

"On Saturday expect heavy downpours, there will be heavy rain and thunder over the south west and Wales early in the day.

"Up to 30mm [1.2ins] of rainfall is likely widely, but locally 40mm [1.6ins] or more is possible with a risk of flash floods since storms will be slow-moving."

The chaotic weather is being driven by high pressure over the country dragging warm air in from the Continent while unstable low pressure systems sweep in from the Atlantic.

Netweather forecaster Paul Michaelwaite said: "There is still some uncertainty in terms of the weather into Saturday, but we keep the risk of some big downpours and thunderstorms for many.

"Temperatures are likely to reach the high-teens to low-twenties, but potentially peaking into the mid-twenties in the southeast and feeling a fair bit warmer than this due to high humidity as well." - Express

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Massive Explosion In The Netherlands - Shell Production Plant In Moerdijk On Fire; Two "Enormously Loud Bangs" Heard; Minor Injuries Suffered! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 04, 2014 - NETHERLANDS - A massive explosion, seen from miles away, has occurred at a Shell production plant in Moerdijk, Netherlands.

Two “enormously loud bangs” were reported by bystanders. There are currently no plans to evacuate the area around the factory, Omroep Brabant reports.

Fire crews are currently working at the scene. The fire is "manageable" but not yet contained, according to the Central and West-Brabant Safety Region.

All personnel are accounted for, according to Shell, but several people suffered minor injuries.

It is not yet known exactly what chemical caused the fire but it may be ethylbenzene or methylbenzene, according to local media.

The fire started during a shift change, according to Marieke van Wijk of the Safety Mid and West Brabant.

"The blaze is pretty intense," said van Wijk.

WATCH: Major explosion, fire at Shell plant in the Netherlands.

A Shell spokesman on the way to Moerdijk told BBC there were two priorities for the company: ensure the safety of the people and minimize environmental damage as a result of the explostion.

It not the first time a blaze has engulfed the industrial park in Moerdijk. Back in 2011, a fire broke out at Chemiepack, which handles hazardous chemicals, on the opposite end of the same industrial park, completely razing the facilities. - RT

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Global Food Crisis - Madagascar Once Again Struck By Locust Plague; Threatens To Trigger A Monumental Food Crisis; Over Half Of The Island's Cultivated Land And Pastures Infested! [PHOTOS]

June 04, 2014 - MADAGASCAR - Farmers in Madagascar have once again had to witness their crops be destroyed by an annual plague of migratory locusts, which threatens the livelihoods of 13 million people.

A swarm of the Red Locusts 20 kilometres north of the town of Sakaraha, south west MadagascarRIJASOLO/AFP/Getty Images

Since April 2012, the creatures have descended on the land where nine million of the country's agriculture workers try to make their living.

The threat lies in the insects' voracious appetite, with one locust able to consume its body weight - about 2 grams - in a day. During plague season, billions of locusts swarm to the east African nation.

Photos of this year's ambush show the insects appear as vast clouds in the sky, while farmers attempt try and fail to protect their land with fire and makeshift battons.

A farmer protects his rice field from locusts by chasing away them with reeds at
Amparihibe village in Tsiroanomandidy, western Madagascar.

A farmer protects his rice field from locusts by chasing away them with reeds at Amparihibe village. A Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) mission is to fight the locust's swarm with an insecticide. RIJASOLO/AFP/Getty Images

What began as an upsurge in 2010 became a plague because campaigns to tackle the insects between 2010 and 2012 were underfunded, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation (FAO).

In September 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO sought to tackle the problem and launched a Three-year emergency Programme, which aims to control locust populations and thereby protect millions of vulnerable people.

To protect Madagascar's naturally diverse ecosystem, control operations are carried out using bio pesticides. - Independent

GREAT DELUGE: Massive Flooding In China - Almost Half A Million People Left Homeless! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 04, 2014 - CHINA - Flooding in China over the past week has left many dead and many more missing, leaving almost half a million people homeless.

A taxi is trapped by flood water that washed away parts of a road in Pingba county
in southwest China's Guizhou province on June 3, 2014.

The seasonal rains have fallen especially hard on the country's manufacturing hub of Guangdong province near Hong Kong and more recently, on southwest China's Images of heavy flooding in China.

WATCH: China flooding leaves more than 1,000 vehicles stranded.


China's worst floods in recent history were in 1998, when 4,150 people died, most of them along the Yangtze River, China's mightiest.

Here is a medley of some of the most astounding images from the floods that has swept southern China.

Residents wade through flood water along a street amid heavy rainfalls in Zengcheng,
Guangdong province on May 23, 2014.

Commuters and a pedestrian manoevering their way through floods water in Liling,
central China's Hunan province after heavy storms hit the city on May 25, 2014.

Affected people rowing a dinghy through flood waters in central China after heavy storms hit the city.

A child tries to ride a bicycle through flood waters in Liling city in Hunan province.

Residents make their way through a heavily-flooded street in Anshun city in Pingba county,
southwest China's Guizhou province on June 3, 2014.

A van is seen surrounded by flood water in Anshun city in southwest China's Guizhou province.

Residents wade through flood water next to partially submerged houses amid
heavy rainfalls in Zengcheng, Guangdong province.

- The Economic Times

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Report For June 4, 2014 - Major Updates On Ubinas, Sangeang Api, Dukono, Pavlof, Kilauea, Popocatépetl And Santiaguito! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 04, 2014 - GLOBAL VOLCANISM - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Ubinas (Peru): A relatively strong explosion occurred yesterday morning at the volcano, followed by ongoing ash emissions. Overall, the activity at the volcano has been showing again an increasing trend.

Explosion at Ubinas volcano yesterday

Local media reported that people in the villages of Yunga, Lloque and Chojata, all located east of the volcano, needed to wear dusk masks.

WATCH: The ash plume was approx. 3 km high and rose to 10 km altitude, then drifted east:


Sangeang Api (Indonesia): Eruptive activity continues in the form of low-level ash emissions. VAAC Daarwin reported a volcanic ash plume at estimated 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude extending more than 100 km to the west.

Dukono (Halmahera): Ash plumes from strong strombolian activity continue to show up as alerts from VAAC Darwin. A plume extending 50 nautical miles to the north was seen last evening. Its height was at estimated 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude.

Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): After a phase of intense eruptive activity yesterday, the volcano continues to erupt lava fountains and flows, along with associated ash plumes, but has decreased its activity.

Starting around 23:00 local time yesterday evening, the effusion rate increased rapidly, lava fountaining at the summit reached 200 m height and the lava flows on the northern flank became more alimented. As a result of violent interaction between lava and ice/snow, pyroclastic flows formed and descended on the flanks. An associated ash plume rose to approx. 24,000 ft (7 km) altitude and drifted more than 70 km to the east.

Lava fountains and flows on Pavlof volcano yesterday (image: Robert Stacy / AVO)

Tremor amplitude over the past days (AVO)

Ash plume from Pavlof volcano on 2 June (image: Christopher Diaz / AVO)

Lava fountains and flows at the beginning of the eruption on 31 May (image: Paul Horn / AVO)

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

Today, this activity continues but at reduced pace. AVO lowered the aviation color code from RED to ORANGE: "Although the eruption of Pavlof continues, seismic tremor has deceased over the past 12 hours and has remained relatively steady throughout the day at a much lower level than that of yesterday.

Recent satellite data and web camera views of the eruption plume indicate that there are now two distinct parts of the plume. The part of the plume that reaches high above the volcano appears to be mainly steam and gas with minor ash present, extending south of the volcano. Additionally, pyroclastic flow activity on the north flank is producing diffuse ash emissions that result in areas of hazy air, with variable concentrations of ash below 10,000 ft.

Low-level winds are likely to disperse this ash to the west-southwest with no more than trace amounts accumulating. There are no reports of ash falling in nearby communities."

Kilauea (Hawai'i): This past week we have seen Kilauea tiltmeter networks record slowing DI inflationary tilt (7 microradians since May 24, see photo) while the lava lake within Halemaumau crater continued to rise sporadically and was at an estimated 34-35 m (112-115 ft) this morning. Gas emissions continued to be elevated at the summit.

Over 100 earthquakes have been recorded over the past week around various areas of Kilauea! Along the east rift zone of Kilauea, glow was observed from the north, south, southeast and northeast spatter cones within Pu'u 'O'o crater. This suggests that activity is building at this location, which has been erupting consistently since January 1983.

With the lava lake at such a high point, right now is an excellent time to view the summit eruption. When the weather is right the bright orange glow produced by this lava lake within Halemaumau crater is the brightest we have seen yet!

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The number of emissions of steam, gas and occasionally fine ash increased during 1-2 June. CENAPRED also recorded several episodes of weak harmonic tremor, consistent with continuing slow arrival of magma at the summit crater.

Steam and light ash emissions from Popocatépetl yesterday

At 08:08 and 08:28 local time yesterday, two medium sized exhalations occurred, which were accompanied by emissions of fine ash. This started a train of small to medium sized emissions that produced a continuous plume of gases and fine ash headed towards the WSW.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Ongoing heavy rainfalls continue to trigger strong lahars, particularly through the Nimá I and San Isidro rivers.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 4, 2014.

- Volcano Discovery

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Gigantic Sinkhole Opens Up In Minnesota, Forces Home Demolition Near Eden Prairie! [VIDEO]

June 04, 2014 - MINNESOTA, UNITED STATES - Sunday's epic rain event will force the demolition of a home in Eden Prairie that is now perched on the edge of a gigantic sinkhole.

The Eden Prairie City Council has ordered the demolition of a home that sits on the edge of a huge sinkhole
that was caused by Sunday's massive downpours.
(Photo: KARE)

The Eden Prairie City Council voted in an emergency meeting early Monday to adopt a resolution ordering the demolition and removal of the structure located at 11201 Burr Ridge Lane. The emergency meeting was called after the residence was declared uninhabitable due to the imminent risk of failure and collapse from damage sustained during yesterday's rain event.

"It's pretty surreal," says homeowner Revie Zurn. "It's all of a sudden we're moving out stuff out and trying to start somewhere else."

Heavy rains caused the land between homes at 11201 and 11211 Burr Ridge Lane to give way and slide down into the Purgatory Creek valley. Prior to this event, the City of Eden Prairie had contracted with SEH (Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc.) and NWA (Northwest Asphalt) to repair the stormwater sewer system serving the neighborhood, a project that was still in progress when the downpours struck.

WATCH:  Raw video of gigantic sinkhole in Eden Prairie.


We are very thankful that none of the residents of Burr Ridge Lane were injured as a result of the mudslide," said Public Works Director Robert Ellis. "It's unfortunate this family lost their home. The city will continue to work closely with them throughout this process."

The family is thankful no one was hurt, but it's still hard to process seeing the home they grew up in now considered too dangerous to live in.

"I'm still pretty shocked," said Jack Zurn, who is a freshman at Eden Prairie High School. "My dad woke me up on Sunday and said we have to get out of the house. It's pretty crazy."

To minimize additional property damage the City, SEH and NWA worked through the day and into Sunday evening to create a temporary stormwater runoff bypass system from Burr Ridge Lane to Purgatory Creek. The City plans to acquire the property at 11201 Burr Ridge Lane in order to install a new stormwater sewer system and stabilize the slope. - KARE11.

EXTREME WEATHER: Very Powerful Thunderstorms And Tornadoes Sweep Through The United States Midwest - BASEBALL-Sized Hail Wreaks Extensive Damage; Thousands Of Homes And Cars Pounded By Freak Hail Leaving Windshields And Windows Riddled With Holes; More Storms Underway! [PHOTOS+VIDEO

June 04, 2014 - MIDWEST, UNITED STATES - Severe storms that pelted Omaha, Nebraska, with hail are expected to move east Wednesday and hit parts of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, CNN meteorologist Sherri Pugh said.

Baseball-sized hail has pounded homes and cars across Nebraska, as powerful thunderstorms swept the Midwest,
wreaking extensive damage, severe flooding and even reportedly tornado touchdowns in some areas.
Photo from Twitter/@Jcow

Hailstones the size of baseballs pummeled the state with devastating effect Tuesday, producing a social media storm
flooded with images of the aftermath of the freak hail, showing cracked windshields and houses riddled with holes.
Jacqui Jewett

Nashville; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati probably will be pounded with heavy rain and strong winds Wednesday night, the National Weather Service said. The chance of precipitation is 70% to 80% in those cities Wednesday night.

Isolated tornadoes and flash floods are possible, Pugh said, though the threat is lower than it was Tuesday.

By early Wednesday, officials had received at least 12 reports of possible tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and Kansas, the Storm Prediction Center said.

But the hail was what got everybody's attention in Nebraska.

The US National Weather Service received reports of flooding and registered winds of up to 85 mph in neighboring
Iowa. In addition, there were reported of eight unconfirmed tornado touchdowns in Nebraska, Reuters reported.
Image: Hail northwest of Bayard. Measured at 4.5". @KNEBStormCenter

The bout of stormy weather has been brought on by a derecho storm system – a short-lived, large cluster of storms –
which is expected to move East on Wednesday morning. Image: @SkyNews In Blair Nebraska USA today
@WoodhouseAuto, had 4500 vehicles damaged by hail. Est damage cost $152million @RF_Jenkins

"These storms can knock down trees, cause power outages and travel mayhem for the Wednesday morning commute," Reuters reported Alex Sosnowski, a senior meteorologist at, as saying. Damage to the Rath Inn in Missouri Valley Iowa. Roof blown off and lots of windows broken.   @OPDLtTierney

Some of it was baseball-size and smashed windows and damaged siding on houses, reported CNN affiliate KMTV. Police in the town of Blair said hail injured 12 people at a Walmart, KMTV said.

The hail that pummeled 4,300 vehicles at Woodhouse Auto Family doesn't even compare to what the car dealership chain expects to get Wednesday.

"The damage is substantial," Woodhouse Chief Financial Officer Paul Cech said. "We'll get people all over the country calling us trying to get discount prices."

That's exactly what happened the last time the Omaha company's cars got battered in a storm. As soon as the hail subsides, a flood of callers try to get their hands on banged-up vehicles.

More storms in the Midwest

On Wednesday, southern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia are under the gun.

"Tornadoes, hail, damaging winds and heavy rain are all threats for the area," CNN meteorologist Todd Borek said.

Hail damage in Blair, NE via @Michaeldkrueger's cousin

By Thursday morning, thunderstorms and rain will probably reach the Mid-Atlantic states, the National Weather Service said.

A huge mess

Across Nebraska, residents shared photos on social media showing large hail Tuesday and the damage the hail left behind.

An Omaha police sergeant posted a picture of what he said was an officer's dented car, its windshield shattered.

And then there was the flooding.

WATCH: Hail and dust storms hit Nebraska.

Police and firefighters rescued residents stranded by floodwater in Omaha -- sometimes by boat, CNN affiliate KETV reported.

Just across the Missouri River, the storm ripped off a roof of a hotel in Missouri Valley, Iowa, KETV said.

And a wind gust of 100 mph was reported in Ringgold County, Iowa.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad issued a storm disaster proclamation Tuesday night for Pottawattamie County, where the storms hit while voters were heading to the polls for primary elections. - Click2Houston | RT.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 5.7 Earthquake Strikes Alaska! [MAPS]

June 04, 2014 - ALASKA -  A 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocked southeastern Alaska, about 73km from Haines, near Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

USGS earthquake location map.

The earthquake hit on Wednesday at 11:58 GMT southwest of Haines, which has a population of over 2,500 people. The epicenter was 10km deep, according to United States Geological Survey.

The quake was first reported at a magnitude of 5.8, however it was subseqently downgraded to 5.7.

There have been no reports of casualties.

The circum-Pacific seismic belt, the earth's most active seismic feature, brushes Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, resulting in frequent earthquakes. More than 80 percent of the planet's tremors occur in the circum-Pacific belt, according to USGS data.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

One of the strongest earthquakes in the history of Alaska occurred in the Anchorage area on March 27, 1964, according to the USGS. The magnitude was recorded at 8.5 on the Richter scale, then recalculated to 9.2, while the shock devastated downtown Anchorage.

It was followed by a tsunami that destroyed many of Alaska's coastal towns and spread along the West Coast of the United States and Canada, and as far as Hawaii. One hundred and twenty-two were drowned by the ensuing tsunami waves - 107 in Alaska, 11 in California, and four in Oregon. - RT.

SOLAR WEATHER ANOMALIES: What's Going On With The Sun - Scientists Puzzled By Oddities In The Sunspot Cycle?!

June 04, 2014 - THE SUN - The sun has been acting strangely of late, prompting some solar physicists to suggest that once current sunspot activity peaked, which appeared to happen last fall, it could tank and remain that way for several decades.

This image of the sun was taken on July 24, 2007, when it was almost spotless, a sign that the Sun may have reached
solar minimum. The 11 year long solar cycle is marked by two extremes, solar minimum and solar maximum. During solar
minimum, sunspot and solar flare activity diminishes, and often does not occur for days at a time. NASA/AP

A prolonged period with few or no spots would have a slight, temporary cooling effect on Earth's climate and a general calming effect on space weather, which would be good news for astronauts and satellites.

Recent observations of the sun show that, yes, it's still acting in a peculiar way for this point in its 11-year sunspot cycle.

But as cautious as scientists were in 2009, when they first raised the possibility of a looming so-called grand minimum, those earlier suggestions have given way to shrugs of "who knows?"

It's not for lack of trying to understand Earth's host star, say solar physicists attending the June meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Boston. But it's been hard. Some of the evidence that researchers pointed to in suggesting the coming of a grand minimum has vanished. Also, only in the past four years have sun-watchers had the tools to dig deep into the underlying mechanisms driving sunspot cycles.

And if one looks far enough into the past, at least one solar maximum in the past 100 years has been as lackluster as the current one.

If a prolonged dearth of sunspots lies ahead, researchers would be hard pressed to predict it because they don't know what the run-up to a grand minimum looks like. None of the tools in space or on Earth today were available between the mid-1600s and the early 1700s, when the sun went through the Maunder Minimum.

"At some point, we want to be able to predict what the next cycle is like," said Sarbani Basu, a Yale University astrophysicist, during a briefing Tuesday on the sun's behavior. "We're working hard; we're not there yet."

Still, given the current stage in what's known as Cycle 24, the sun is presenting researchers with some puzzling observations.

Exhibit A: Missing features in the east-to-west flow of the sun's plasma. The flow is fastest at the sun's equator and slows toward the poles, explained Rick Bogart, a solar physicist at Stanford University in California.

When the flows are mapped over the course of a sunspot cycle across the northern and southern hemispheres, they form a flying-wedge pattern that starts at the poles and whose legs, or jets, are swept away at an increasing pace until the northern and southern jets meet at the equator to form the wedge's pointed end. As these flows approach the equator, sunspots appear on their edges.

Based on previous cycles, flow patterns at each pole that in effect anchor the ends of the wedge should have started to appear around 2010, culminating in a sunspot peak around 2023 or 2024. These polar patterns have been AWOL.

Exhibit B: Near the sun's poles, temperature variations in the sun's extended atmosphere, or corona, aren't behaving as they have during past solar cycles, added Richard Altrock, with the Air Force Research Laboratory.

During a sunspot minimum, the corona's temperature near the poles cools about 1 million degrees or so simultaneously in the northern and southern hemispheres. But coming out of the last solar minimum, the northern hemisphere warmed faster than the southern hemisphere. Moreover, at the high point of Cycle 24, the corona's maximum temperature was significantly lower than during previous high points in sunspot activity, Dr. Altrock explained.

Finally, hints are cropping up in measurements of solar activity involving the most powerful outbursts from the sun, coronal mass ejections (CMEs). During the current sunspot cycle, they appear to have been erupting less often as the number of sunspots increased. Typically, CME outbursts become more frequent as the number of sunspots increases.

What to make of this is unclear, Dr. Basu of Yale said. Are these truly peculiar, or do they merely fall outside of observational experience?

Scientists have been counting and recording sunspot activity for 400 years. But only in the past 40 to 60 years have the variety of measurements increased, and only during the past four have researchers had access to continuous, highly detailed information about the regions of the sun where much of the action takes place.

"This solar cycle may not be strange in the grand scheme of things," Basu said. "Our biggest problem is that we only have good data for maybe 60 years, and the sun is a 4.5-billion-year-old star. It's too early to panic about how the sun is changing." - CS Monitor.

MAJOR GLOBAL VOLCANISM ALERT & DISASTER PRECURSORS: Earthquake Swarm Detected At Yellowstone National Park - Nearly 100 Small Tremors In Just A Few Days!

June 04, 2014 - YELLOWSTONE, UNITED STATES - Seismographs have picked up a swarm of earthquakes in the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park, including dozens early Tuesday.

The University of Utah Seismograph Station reported five small earthquakes including those with magnitudes of 3.4, 2.7 and 3.2 in a 20-minute period starting at 3:33 a.m. in an area 16 to 18 miles south of Gardiner.

Earthquake information specialist Paul Roberson says there were another 20 to 30 small quakes Tuesday morning that hadn't yet been posted on the university's website.

A U.S. Geological Survey map shows the location of one of the small earthquakes that
shook Yellowstone National Park recently. (Associated Press)

He called it a fairly normal swarm for Yellowstone. He didn't expect there to be any damage.

Seismographs recorded 31 quakes in the same area south of Gardiner on Saturday, while another 23 were reported last Wednesday and Thursday in an area between 18 and 19 miles east-southeast of West Yellowstone. - Oregon Live.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Japan's Great Wall Of Ice - TEPCO Starts Work On Fukushima Underground Barrier! [PHOTOS+DIAGRAM]

June 04, 2014 - JAPAN - Aiming to isolate radioactive water build-up, Fukushima nuclear plant's operator, TEPCO, has started constructing a huge underground ice wall around the facility. The ambitious project will have to be maintained for well over a century to reach its goal.

AFP Photo / Pool / Koji Sasahara

Tokyo Electric Power Company has launched work on the 1.5 kilometer underground ice wall, which is to be built around four reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 nuclear power plant, Kyodo news agency reports.

According to Kyodo, 1,550 pipes will now be inserted into the ground to circulate coolant around the reactors, keeping the surrounding soil constantly frozen.

The government funded project, which will cost an estimated 32 billion yen (US$314 million), is scheduled for completion by the end March 2015. It will then take a few more months to fully freeze the soil after the coolant starts circulating, according to TEPCO.

The work started days after Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) granted the go-ahead for the project, despite earlier reservations. TEPCO reportedly managed to convince the watchdog that the ice wall – which might cause some ground to sink – will not have any significant effect on the stability of the reactor buildings.


However, some experts remained skeptical of TEPCO’s plan, which is the latest move in the company’s struggle to contain the fallout of the March 2011 nuclear disaster triggered by a strong earthquake. TEPCO’s efforts have been overshadowed by revelations that the company repeatedly concealed the true radiation levels at the plant and “misreported” the radiation risks to US servicemen helping to contain the disaster. New evidence also allegedly shows that some 90 percent of workers were not present at the plant when the meltdown started.

While the frozen wall may indeed help to at least reduce the escape of contaminated liquid into the groundwater, it will still take decades – if not hundreds of years – for record-high radiation levels to clear away in the area, including in the ocean.

AFP Photo / Pool / Toru Yamanaka

Michio Aoyama, a professor at Fukushima University’s Institute of Environmental Radioactivity, told Kyodo that the Fukushima plant contains radiation equivalent to “14,000 times” the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, and has seriously affected the ocean and the coastal area.

The problem is thus left for the coming generations to tackle, stretching the impact of the accident into the future. Japan, meanwhile, is eyeing the resumption of work on some of its 20 nuclear power plants suspended or shut down after the 2011 earthquake, despite public protests. As of June, two units at Oi nuclear power plant are the only operating Japanese nuclear facilities. - RT.