Friday, June 13, 2014

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Earthquake Swarms At Hawaii's Mauna Loa Betray Magma Moving Deep Below - Increasing Signs Volcano Might Be Roaring Back Into Action!

June 13, 2014 - HAWAII - We just passed the 30th anniversary of the last major eruptive period at Hawaii's biggest volcano, Mauna Loa. Since those eruptions in 1984, the volcano has been quiet, letting the continuous activity at Kilauea take the spotlight. However, by no means is Mauna Loa going to be quiet forever and over the past year, there have been increasing signs that the volcano might be preparing to jump back into action.

The broad shield of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, the largest active volcano on Earth. Erik Klemetti, taken March 2013.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory noted that Mauna Loa has had 4 earthquake swarms over the past ~15 months that suggest that deep below the summit crater, magma is moving. These swarms are in the same location, on the northwestern flank of the Mauna Loa, as earthquakes that preceded the eruptions in 1984 and they are all occurring at depths of 10-14 km, near the base of the oceanic crust under Hawaii. This might mean that magma forming in the hotspot under the islands is slowly pooling at the base of the crust, refilling the reservoir that feeds Mauna Loa.

However, as of right now, there is little evidence of deformation or increasing carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide emissions from Mauna Loa - all key signs that an eruption might be about to start at a shield volcano like Mauna Loa. HVO also notes that the earthquake activity is much less intense now that it was in the years just prior to the 1984 activity. Remember, lava flows from Mauna Loa are definitely a hazard for people living between the volcano and Hilo and Hawaii has been preparing for the volcano's awakening. Nothing is going on right now, but you can get quite a view from the webcams set up at the Mokuʻāweoweo summit area.

While we wait for Mauna Loa to return to action, be sure to check out what Kilauea has been up to over the past few months. There have been a number of lava flow breakouts along with some rapidly changing activity at the two lava lakes on the volcano at Halema'uma'u and Pu'u O'o. Be sure to check out the webcams as well to see what's going on at the world's most active volcano. It might not be long before it is joined by its neighbor. - Wired

PROTESTS & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: "They Are Starving Us Out" - Massive Taxi Demonstrations Block Streets In Major European Union Cities, Causing Traffic Chaos! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 13, 2014 - EUROPE - Traffic chaos gripped major cities in Europe on Wednesday as taxi drivers in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Portugal staged their biggest protest so far in the battle for their livelihood against taxi hailing apps.

A number of taxi summoning applications – the most popular of which is San Francisco-based Uber – have threatened the jobs of many licensed European taxi drivers, many of whom took to the streets in their cars for the massive demonstration.

Such applications allow users to see the nearest registered cars and hail them directly from their mobile. Licensed taxi drivers say this gives private hire cars an advantage while putting the traditional European taxi model and drivers' jobs at risk.

London tourist hubs blockaded

Up to 12,000 black cabbies and private hire cars jammed traffic near London’s tourist hubs of Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, and Parliament Square from 2 p.m. local time in a protest the taxi drivers started planning weeks ago.

The Metropolitan Police said that “repeated attempts” to contact the organizers of the campaign failed. In an open letter, the security authorities warned the taxi drivers that without official written notification, the protest "could give rise to criminal liability" and lead to arrest.

WATCH:  Uber protest draws hundreds of cabbies.

"Today's demo goes ahead, 2pm T Sq/ Whitehall/P Sq. Comply with all police instructions, do not give up, do not be beaten, just head back!" the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association wrote on Twitter, despite the warning from police.

Posters were earlier placed all over London calling for the strike, with the intention of “failing London” traffic to stress the importance of licensed taxi drivers.

Some mimicked a WWI recruiting campaign featuring military commander Horatio Kitchener.

"They're killing us off, starving us out," Mick Fitz, a London black taxi driver who has been in the business for years, told Reuters.

"With their taximeter, their apps that they use, their technology, those are taximeters basically, which by law only we are allowed to use," Fitz said, referring to the 1998 British law reserving the right to use a meter for licensed black taxis.

In response to the mass demonstration, Uber said that it has seen an 850 percent increase in its users from last Wednesday.

Uber also took advantage of the mass strike, using it to promote its service.

“While the taxi protests may seek to bring Europe to a standstill, we’ll be on hand to get our riders from A to B,” the company said, according to Bloomberg.

"Black cabs have been a symbol of London for many decades, known across the world. But symbols, no matter how iconic, cannot be allowed to stand in the way of innovation," said director general of the Institute of Directors, Simon Walker, as quoted by BBC.

London’s licensed taxi drivers were also joined by their French colleagues.

Taxis block roads in Paris

Across Paris, 55,000 professional taxis and 15,000 cabs went on strike on Wednesday, said Nadine Annet, vice president of the FNAT taxi association in France, as quoted by Bloomberg.

She added that the city's taxi drivers jammed traffic on major arteries into the city, with about 1,200 Parisian drivers blocking Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports on Wednesday.

WATCH:  Uber strikers knock motorcycle taxi down.

Local TV reported that the A1 highway that circles Paris was halted by a 200-kilometer traffic jam.

German taxi drivers take to the streets

Thousands of German taxi drivers in Berlin, Köln, Frankfurt, and Hamburg also took part in the Wednesday strike. They protested against Uber and similar apps such as Blacklane (a German limousine car service) which they believe create unfair competition.

“It has to be regulated. It has to be fair. It cannot go on like this anymore. We have to pay for all the costs and our licenses. They pay for nothing except their cars and petrol,” 64-year-old Siegfried Liebesgesell from Berlin, a taxi driver for 35 years, told the Local.

Taxi licenses in Europe can ultimately cost up to 200,000 euros (US$270,000) a piece. There are an estimated 7,000 taxi drivers in Berlin, 2000 of which are self employed, Liebesgesell added.
Madrid strike planned for 24 hours

The Spanish capital and major tourist city of Barcelona held similar demonstrations against carpooling apps on Wednesday. Madrid planned the strike to last 24 hours – from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday.

The Spanish Ministry of Public Works has warned that companies or individuals offering Uber-type services face fines of up to 6,000 euros ($8115), while users could be fined up to 600 euros ($812).

Demos against ride-hailing apps were also held in Rome, Lisboa and Brussels. - RT

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcano Report For June 13, 2014 - Explosions And Increased Activity At Italy's Stromboli Volcano; Eruption And Ash Emissions At Zhupanovsky In Kamchatka; Sporadic Strombolian Explosions At Italy's Mount Etna; And Signs Of Unrest At Semisopochnoi Volcano In Alaska! [PHOTOS+GRAPH]

June 13, 2014 - GLOBAL VOLCANISM - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The activity at the volcano has strongly increased since about 2 weeks ago. Our group tour visited Stromboli during 8-11 June and observed at least 14 active glowing vents. It appears that the magma level has once again risen to very near the surface of the crater terrace.

Two simultaneous strong explosions from the NW (l) and NE (r) vents at Stromboli on June 9, 2014.

About half of them were showing constant or, some, intermittent weak to strong spattering: in particular, the twin vents of the central crater, two vents in the western crater, the NW hornito, as well as, intermittently, the hornito at the northwestern rim of the NE crater.

Typical strombolian explosions, some quite strong with ejection heights to 200-300 m, occurred at intervals of 5-10 minutes mainly from the westernmost twin vents, the NW hornito, the large NE vent, and occasionally also from the central crater. The NW hornito often produced a 3-5 meters tall pale purple flame-like gas jet that usually preceded candle-like eruptions accompanied by very loud jet-engine noises.
Pictures from this activity will be posted later.

Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka): The eruption at the volcano that was initially reported by a pilot who observed a 6 km ash plume continues with smaller ash emissions.

Ash emissions of Zhupanovsky volcano on 7 June the morning after the initial explosion at night
(Photo: Vasily Yaremchuk via Evgeny Karpov, @Jeenka41 / twitter)

While the initial report left some doubts about the eruption, confirmation was soon after provided by the presence of a SO2 plume, ash deposits visible on satellite imagery and photos taken on location.

The attached photo shows ongoing ash emissions the morning of 7 June following the main explosion. Two secondary flank vents producing steam plumes and dark streaks on the lower left flank of the volcano representing mud flows that were generated by lava-snow interaction are visible.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): No changes in activity have occurred. Sporadic small strombolian explosions continue from the summit crater of the New SE crater. Tremor is low.

Strombolian explosion at Etna's NSEC this evening (Radiostudio7 webcam)

Semisopochnoi (United States, Aleutian Islands): Another remote volcano in Alaska is showing signs of unrest or possible activity. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) sent out the following alert:

"A swarm of earthquakes at Semisopochnoi volcano that started at 10:00 AKDT (18:00 UTC) on June 9 escalated yesterday, June 12, at approximately 12:00 AKDT (20:00 UTC). The continuation of this anomalous seismic activity through the night prompts AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code to YELLOW and the Volcano Alert Level to ADVISORY. No eruptive activity is currently indicated.

Current seismic signal at Semisopochnoi volcano (CEAP station / AVO)

"AVO is closely monitoring the situation and will issue further updates as conditions change.

"Semisopochnoi volcano is monitored by a 6-station seismic network as well as satellite imagery. Five of the seismic stations on Semisopochnoi are currently operational. The telemetry system for the Semisopochnoi stations, located on Amchitka Island, was just repaired in late May. Semisopochnoi Island is located 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Amchitka and 200 km (130 mi) west of Adak in the remote western Aleutian Islands. The last eruption of Semisopochnoi occurred in 1987."

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 13, 2014.

- Volcano Discovery

GLOBAL AWAKENING: Taking The "Enlightened Approach And Embracing Of Mother Nature - Jamaica Relaxes Ban On Marijuana Possession!

June 13, 2014 - JAMAICA - Jamaica’s government has approved legislation to ease a ban on the possession of small amounts of weed. Hailed as a more “enlightened approach,” the bill will also decriminalize the use of the drug for religious, medical and scientific ends.

Jamaican lawmakers approved the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act which will legalize the possession of small amounts of pot, or ganja as it’s locally known, in certain cases.

"Cabinet has approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to the possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical/medicinal purposes," said Justice Minister Mark Golding.

The amendment is likely to be made law in September when the Jamaican parliament return from their summer break. The new regulations will drastically scale down the punishment for carrying up to 57 grams of the drug. Citizens caught in possession of weed will no longer be arrested. Instead they will be issued with a ticket and asked to pay a fine.

In addition, the amendment decriminalizes the use of the drug for scientific, religious and medical purposes. The cultivation of cannabis for medical and industrial ends will also be permitted under the amendment.

Golding said the new legislation was not intended in any way to promote the consumption of marijuana.

"The objective is to provide a more enlightened approach to dealing with possession of small quantities,” he said, stressing the drug will still be illegal to smoke in public.

"Smoking of ganja should be absorbed into the general non-smoking regime, with the same penalty structure, except that the smoking of ganja will be permitted in private places," he said.

Jamaica’s Rastafarian movement, which views cannabis as sacred, has long called for the legalization of the drug. They will now be able to use the drug in special places designated for religious worship.

The legalization of marijuana in Uruguay and Colorado has prompted many governments to reassess their policies on marijuana.

Last December Uruguayan President Jose Mujica signed a law decriminalizing the consumption, cultivation and sale of the drug. In doing so he hopes to undercut the illegal drugs industry in the country. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Heightened Unrest At The Semisopochnoi Island - Earthquake "Swarm" Observed At Remote Aleutian Volcano; Color Code Alert Level Raised!

June 13, 2014 - ALASKA -  An advisory alert has been issued for a remote volcano in the western Aleutian Islands after dozens of earthquakes were reported in the area, an early sign of volcanic unrest.

Semisopochnoi Island, in November 2012.ROGER CLIFFORD — Alaska Volcano Observatory

The change means that five volcanoes being monitored in Alaska are now simultaneously active, the most in recent memory, said Matt Haney, a research geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

"We might have had four before, but we haven't had five," Haney said.

A total of 52 volcanoes in Alaska are considered by the observatory to be "historically active." All are monitored daily through satellites, and about 30 are monitored with ground-based seismometers that measure earthquake activity. On Friday, the observatory raised the color code alert level for the Semisopochnoi (pronounced Semi-so-poch-noi) volcano to "yellow," a reflection of heightened unrest.

Haney said there doesn't appear to be a connection between the five, just random chance. The other four volcanoes --Cleveland and Veniaminof volcanoes in the "yellow" alert level, and the Pavlof and Shishaldin volcanoes are classified as "orange"-- are among the most active in the state.

But Semisopochnoi is "kind of the oddball," Haney said. It's only erupted twice in recorded history, first in 1873 and then in 1987.

"There hasn't been any activity here for a long time," Haney said. The volcano is about 40 miles northeast of Amchitka Island and 130 miles west of Adak.

A better monitoring system also played a role in raising the alert level. Scientists have been receiving much more consistent seismic data about the volcano after a telemetry system on Amchitka Island was repaired in late May, said Game McGimsey, a volcanologist with the observatory. The seismic network for Semisopochnoi was installed in 2005, but the data were previously too spotty to assign a color code, McGimsey said.

On Thursday, the Semisopochnoi monitors recorded a total of 65 earthquakes on Thursday alone, an episode known as an "earthquake swarm." All of the quakes were listed at a magnitude of 2.0 or lower.

A day earlier, 22 earthquakes occurred, and 15 the day before that, showing a clear escalation pattern, Haney said. The quakes occur as a result of magma rising up beneath the earth.

In 2012, earthquake swarms occurred at the volcanic Little Sitkin Island and at Mount Iliamna, but there was no surface eruptive activity in either case.

In 2009, however, an earthquake swarm preceded the eruption at Mount Redoubt, Haney said.

"The jury's still out" on what will happen next at Semisopochnoi, Haney said. "We're going to keep a close eye and see if things progress."

All volcanoes on the Aleutian arc are considered a potential hazard to the North Pacific air routes. - ADN.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Scientists Recreate Extinct Spanish Flu Virus - Killed Over 50 MILLION People A Century Ago?!

June 13, 2014 - HEALTH - The extinct influenza virus that caused over 50 million deaths a century ago has been replicated from avian flu present in wild ducks. Scientists are seeking to study how such a virus could lead to a new pandemic.

Reuters / Felix Ordonez

Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with an international team of scientists, created a life-threatening virus that is only three percent different from the 1918 Spanish flu that devastated the globe in possibly the worst pandemic in history.

The team infected laboratory ferrets with a close copy of the 1918 virus to analyze the ease with which it could be transmitted to the best animal model of the human disease.

“The point of the study was to assess the risk of avian viruses currently circulating in nature. We found genes in avian influenza viruses quite closely related to the 1918 virus and, to evaluate the pandemic potential should such a 1918-like virus emerge, identified changes that enabled it to transmit in ferrets,” Kawaoka said, according to The Independent.

The 1918 virus was recreated from eight genes found in avian flu viruses, which are found in populations of wild ducks. Researchers rebuilt the virus with “reverse genetics” so that it was 97 percent identical to the 1918 flu strain, according to the study published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.

The research was conducted in a secure laboratory reinforced with the second-highest biosafety level.

Critics charge that any benefits of recreating the virus from existing avian flu strains are not worth the potentially awful risks if the genetically-engineered virus were to leak, on purpose or not, from the laboratory.

Kawaoka countered the argument, saying that the research is needed to produce influenza vaccines and other measures designed to combat the risks of a future flu pandemic.

“These critics fail to appreciate the precautions and safeguards built into our work, the regulation, review and oversight these studies receive...The risks of conducting this research are not ignored, but they can be effectively managed and mitigated,” Kawaoka said.

He said such studies advance medical knowledge and preparedness needed for the future.

“We know studies like ours advance the field and help those responsible for making decisions about surveillance and pandemic preparedness [to] base decisions on scientific fact, rather than conjecture. Therefore our research provides important benefits that cannot be achieved by other means,” he said. - RT.

SKYNET NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - Google Plans To Turn A Swarm Of Skybox Satellites Into An ALL-SEEING EYE, Creating Unprecedented Access To An Unlimited Stream Of Global High-Resolution Aerial Imagery!

June 13, 2014 - TECHNOLOGY - The reach of Google’s online empire is hard to overstate. In a sense, the Google search engine is the loom through which the entirety of the public internet is woven. With tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs, the company also handles many of our private online tasks. Using the data generated by these services to target online ads, Google has built a business that generates tens of billions of dollars a year.

Photo-illustration: Jeff Lysgaard

Now, with the $500 million purchase of Skybox, a startup that shoots high-res photos and video with low-cost satellites, Google can extend its reach far across the offline world. Thanks to its knack for transforming mass quantities of unstructured data into revenue-generating insights, the unprecedented stream of aerial imagery to which the company is gaining access could spark a whole new category of high-altitude insights into the workings of economies, nations, and nature itself.

But this acquisition will also demand assurances from Google that it will incorporate privacy safeguards into its vast new view of the world. Already Google gets a lot of flack for tracking user behavior online. With Skybox’s satellites, Google may gain a window into your everyday life even if you don’t use Google at all.

Really Big Data

In his WIRED feature story on Skybox, David Samuels describes some of the stunning ways high-resolution images shot from space are being used to unlock secrets about life on the ground. One company is tracking cars in parking lots to create retail forecasts. Images of pits and slag heaps reveal the productivity of mines. Pictures of property damage from above can tell insurance companies whether a claim is valid.

“Many of the most economically and environmentally significant actions that individuals and businesses carry out every day, from shipping goods to shopping at big-box retail outlets to cutting down trees to turning out our lights at night, register in one way or another on images taken from space,” Samuels writes. “So, while Big Data companies scour the Internet and transaction records and other online sources to glean insight into consumer behavior and economic production around the world, an almost entirely untapped source of data–information that companies and governments sometimes try to keep secret–is hanging in the air right above us.”

Building SkySat-1 in the clean room of Skybox in Mountain View, CA, in 2013. Photo: Spencer Lowell

In a statement, Google has said that, in the short term, it plans to use Skybox’s satellites to keep Google Maps up to date. And, in the future, the company says, it could use them to help spread internet access to remote areas, something that will help improve the reach of its existing services. But imagine all the other things Google could do turns its artificial intelligence expertise onto a constant stream of images beamed down from above.

One Skybox insider told Samuels that satellite images alone could be used to estimate any country’s major economic indicators. Take, for example, this Skybox case study of Saudi oil reserves measured from space. Now consider the insights that could come from marrying that visual data with Google’s Knowledge Graph, leveraging all the company’s algorithmic might. Google could learn all kinds of new things about the world.

Military-Industrial Ties

But it could also learn all kinds of new things about you. Skybox can take photos from 500 miles up with a sub-one-meter resolution of the ground below. That isn’t likely to sit well with privacy activists who already don’t trust Google. What does the right to be forgotten mean when Google can always see you anyway?

Skybox’s pedigree likely won’t help assuage anyone who likes a good conspiracy theory. According to Samuels, one of the company’s co-founders, John Fenwick, had previously worked as as a liaison in Congress for the National Reconnaissance Office, “the ultrasecret spy agency that manages much of America’s most exotic space toys.” A major investor had worked as an intelligence officer in the French army, while its CEO held previous jobs that brought him into close contact with the Department of Defense.

Gold Mine in Uşak, Western Turkey. Photo: Courtesy of Skybox

That’s not to suggest there’s anything nefarious about Skybox or its intentions. It’s hard to get anything into space without entreé into government and military circles. But Skybox CEO Tom Ingersoll told Samuels that the government is interested in his company’s imagery. “In the end,” Samuels writes, “the government will likely commandeer some of Skybox’s imaging capabilities under terms similar to those imposed on other vendors.” With Google now involved, that begins to sound a lot like the NSA commandeering the internet servers to spy on U.S. citizens.

Skybox or Skynet?

Even if a network of high-powered imaging satellites could give Google the power to track an individual from space, it probably wouldn’t. Setting aside any legal or moral constraints, there’s just no percentage in it. Monetizable insights of the kind that would interest Google or companies willing to pay Google for access to that data are derived from observing patterns and populations, not individuals. As geeks of all varieties are fond of pointing out, n=1 is a terrible sample size.

If Google finds ways of using these satellites that ends up making users’ lives more interesting and convenient, most people are unlikely to object, just like revelations of NSA surveillance haven’t exactly dented Gmail’s market share. But people may find the idea of Google looking down from the heavens on their physical selves more discomfiting than peering through their browsers at their virtual personas. After all, putting an all-seeing Google eye in space gives a whole new meaning to “do not track.” - WIRED.

HIGH STRANGENESS: "Unprecedented" Incidents - 13 Aircraft Disappear From Radars In The Heart Of Europe?!

June 13, 2014 - EUROPE - A total of 13 aircraft suddenly vanished off radars for about 25 minutes on two occasions over Austria and neighboring countries, Austria's flight safety monitor said, calling for an EU probe into the “unprecedented” incidents.

Reuters / Toby Melville

The flights vanished from air traffic controllers’ screens in Austria on June 5 and June 10 for 25 minutes each time, Marcus Pohanka of Austro Control – Austria’s flight safety organization – said Thursday.

Air traffic control in neighboring regions of Germany and the Czech Republic also reported similar problems.

Pohanka said the location, height, and identity of the 13 aircraft vanished over Austria both times, in what he called “unprecedented” incidents, AP reported.

He added that some neighboring countries had experienced similar problems. The daily Kurier, based in Vienna, elaborated that similar problems were experienced by flight controllers in Munich and Karlsruhe in Germany and in Prague, Czech Republic.

Poahanka declined to say which airlines and planes were involved, but suggested that some may have been passenger jets, which fly at high altitudes. The EU’s Eurocontrol and European Aviation Safety Agency will investigate the incidents.

Poahanka stressed that at no time were any of the planes in danger, as extra air traffic controllers were immediately called to their posts and emergency measures were brought in, which included immediately establishing voice contact with the pilots and the widening of flight corridors.

The Kurier cited an unnamed expert as saying that the problem was most likely to do with interference between the aircraft transponders and the ground. - RT.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: The Great Deluge - Brazil's Iguazu Falls Overflow In Flood Of Biblical Proportions; Carrying 46,300 CUBIC METERS, 33 Times The Usual Water Flow Rate! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 13, 2014 - BRAZIL - Following massive rainfalls in Misiones, Argentina, and Santa Catarina and Paraná, Brazil, the famous Iguazú Falls are now overflowing, carrying 46,300 cubic meters per second - 33 times the usual water flow rate. The images and video are unbelievable. I hope you have your arks ready, my friends.

The previous record was in 1992, when the river reached 36,000 cubic meters per second, about 10,000 cubic meters per second less than the current flow rate. Authorities have closed the area.

This is how they are looking right now at 46,300 cubic meters per second:

This is how the famous Iguazú Falls normally look, with their usual flow rate of 1500 cubic meters per second:

 WATCH: It's absolutely insane. Check out this video -


It may get even worse because the rains continue in Brazil. According to local media, the Paraná river is quickly increasing its level too and it will overflow, flooding everything along its path. Reportedly, the Paraná's level has increased 16 meters in some areas. - Gizmodo.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: "Unprecedented" - Malaysia Swarmed By Giant Moths! [PHOTOS]

June 13, 2014 - MALAYSIA - Swarms of giant moths have descended on Malaysia, invading homes and even disrupting a national football match.

The dark-coloured moths are one of the largest found in South East Asia

Thousands of the furry insects, with a wing span of up to 16cm (6in), interrupted a semi-finals match at the Darul Makmur Stadium last week.

Over 800 sightings were also reported in neighbouring Singapore last month, sparking intense online debate.

The Lyssa Zampa tropical moth, which is also known as the Laos brown butterfly, is native to South East Asia.

Biology lecturer N Sivasothi said that while the moth sightings appear to be "unprecedented", it is not a new phenomenon.

Many people reported seeing moths resting at sheltered buildings during the day

The moths excited many people in Singapore, who took to the internet to upload pictures

While harmless to many, people suffering from asthma may be sensitive to fine hairs on moths

"The moths are actually present during other times of the year but in very small numbers, so they are usually not noticed by people," Mr Sivasothi said, adding that the creatures typically emerge between April and August every year.

Ecologist Anuj Jain said moths' use of light for navigation often causes them to head to built-up areas.

"Their tendency to emigrate in search of new uneaten host plants attracts these moths to light in urban city areas," he said.

Experts said that while people suffering from asthma may be sensitive to hairs on their wings, the nocturnal creatures do not pose any threat.

"The moths are harmless and the public has nothing to be afraid of," said Lena Chan, Director of the National Biodiversity Centre at the National Parks Board in Singapore. - BBC.