Sunday, November 16, 2014

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Powerful 6.7 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes East Of Gisborne, New Zealand; No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location map.

November 16, 2014 - NEW ZEALAND - A powerful 6.7 magnitude earthquake shook the east coast of New Zealand Monday, but authorities ruled out an immediate tsunami threat.

The quake, which struck at 10:33 am (2233 GMT Sunday) was centred at sea nearly 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the eastern North Island city of Gisborne and 35 kilometres deep, the US Geological Survey said.

New Zealand´s civil defence organisation said it was "unlikely to have caused a tsunami that will pose a threat to New Zealand."

There have been no reports of damage, but workers in Rotorua were evacuated as a precaution. A Te Waiariki Purea Trust staff member said its building in the Haupapa St was cleared.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Hawkes Bay Today reporter Sam Hurley said on Twitter that he felt the "rather large" quake in Napier.

Betty Lowe of Whakatane said the quake was the "worst" she'd felt in a long time.

"[The] floor moved under me, vertical blinds really swayed, [it] went on for several minutes."

Earlier, GeoNet reported a 5.1 earthquake had also struck Hanmer Springs just after 11.30 this morning. However, this turned out to be a technical glitch.

New Zealand sits at the southwestern edge of the Pacific "ring of fire," an area of high seismic and volcanic activity that stretches up through Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coasts of North and South America. - NZ Herald.

Tectonic Summary - 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.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

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.

ICE AGE NOW: "Bone-Chilling Nights" - Harsh Cold To Freeze United States Northeast, Set Records South; The Coldest Air Since Last Winter Will Drop Temperatures To Single Digits From The Northern Plains To The Deep South!

November 16, 2014 - UNITED STATES - The coldest air since last winter is set to move over the Plains and the East during the first half of the new week.

The core of the cold air will focus over the northern Plains and the Great Lakes through at least Wednesday with overnight lows dipping down into the teens, and even the single digits in some normally colder spots.

Bone-chilling nights will be followed up by frigid days with highs struggling to reach the 20-degree mark over the regions on Monday and Tuesday. Some locations are forecast to stay below 20 F until Wednesday afternoon, including Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Temperatures this low can make it dangerous for outdoors activities if you are not wearing the proper clothing.

While much of the Northeast will escape the cold on Monday, the arctic air is expected to move into the region by Tuesday.

Highs temperatures from Washington, D.C., through New York City are forecast to stay near or below freezing on Tuesday, levels that would be considered below normal even during the heart of winter.

A biting wind from the northwest will make it feel even colder with RealFeel® staying in the teens throughout the day along the I-95 corridor.

A significant lake-effect snow event will set up downwind of the Great Lakes as the arctic air blows over the comparatively warm waters of the lakes.

The stage is set for feet of snow to pileup in some communities downwind of the Great Lakes. In some cases, the heaviest snow squalls in these areas can produce thunder and lightning.

Traveling in areas affected by heavy snow squalls can be extremely difficult as the snow cannot only make roads slippery and hard to drive on, but also greatly reduce visibility.

Such hazardous conditions will set up in Buffalo, New York, for a time.

This arctic outbreak will not only be limited to the northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast, but will reach across into the Deep South.

Record lows will be challenged on multiple occasions through midweek from eastern Texas to the Carolinas with lows near freezing along much of the Gulf Coast.

Parts of northern Florida may even have their first freeze of the season as lows dip down into the 20s in cities such as Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

This could have impacts on some of the citrus plants across the Sunshine State as freezing temperatures can damage the fruit.

The intensity of the cold is expected to lessen as temperatures begin to moderate heading into the second part of the week.

However, highs from Atlanta, Georgia, to Albany, New York, and westward through Aberdeen, South Dakota, will remain below normal until at least the weekend.

The second half of the week may also bring the next chance for snow to the Northeast with a storm potentially spreading accumulating snow from Indiana to Maine on Friday. - AccuWeather.

WATCH: Mini-Ice Age 2015-2035 - "Bombogenesis" and 60F Air Temperature Drops.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Major Alert - Massive Building Collapse In French Quarter, New Orleans Frays Nerves; And DuPont Chemical Leak Kills 4, Alerts Residents In Texas!

In this Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 photo, pedestrians watch down the street from where a three-story, brick-and-cypress building collapsed in the historic
French Quarter section of New Orleans. The collapse of the 210-year-old building is raising warning flags about decay and a lack of rigorous
inspections in one of America’s oldest and most fragile neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

November 16, 2014 - UNITED STATES
- The collapse of a 210-year-old building in the heart of the French Quarter is raising warning flags about decay and a lack of rigorous inspections in one of America's oldest and most fragile neighborhoods.

No one was injured when the three-story, brick-and-cypress building collapsed in late October, but the episode has thrown into focus an array of problems throughout the nearly 300-year-old Quarter. Among them: structural decay, voracious termites at work on aged wood beams, Louisiana's humid climate, absentee landlords and the stresses of modern life as heavy trucks rattle streets and balconied buildings standing shoulder to shoulder.

Perhaps the biggest problem, though, is that no one is charged with making sure the Quarter's 3,000 old buildings are stable. And the city has no in-depth inspection policy tailored to the distinct qualities of its first neighborhood.

The single inspector at the Vieux Carre Commission, the city's zoning arm for the Quarter, only has authority to inspect a building's exterior. Citations are routine for gaudy signs and Plexiglas - violations of historical standards - or letting a facade decay. Owners can't be cited for letting a floor sag or allowing mortar to deteriorate to dust on the interiors of their buildings. There are city building and fire inspectors, but they do not do random inspections of old structures.

The commission's check-ups amount to "a visual inspection that occurs from the streets, corners, and any aerial views that we are readily afforded," said commission chairman Nicholas Musso. "We do not have the ability to enter a piece of property, or a courtyard, or a rear of a building. It could have been crucial in this particular instance."

Even based on superficial assessments, he's concerned about the condition of some structures: "We do have a series of buildings that are highly suspect, should we say."

Though many residents and preservationists deem the collapse a wake-up call, longtime Quarter real estate agent Michael Wilkinson thinks the steady rise of wealthier owners ensures most properties are being looked after. Property values have increased by as much as 30 percent in recent years.

"There's a lot of incentive - financial and otherwise - to maintain these properties," Wilkinson said. "It's a very wealthy area."

For now, Musso said, the commission hopes property owners will take the initiative and ask inspectors to come in and take a look around.

It's not as though there are no interior inspections. Fire department and city inspectors routinely examine commercial properties - the myriad of crowded bars and restaurants that make the Quarter so appealing to the 9.2 million tourists who visited New Orleans last year. Building inspectors weigh in whenever major renovations are done to commercial or residential property. And banks require a building to be inspected before backing a purchase.

When it comes to inspections and enforcing good maintenance, New Orleans' rules don't differ much from most historic cities and towns, said John Hildreth, a regional vice president for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Regulations in Boston and New York, for instance, largely match those in New Orleans.

Ultimately, that means most of the older structures aren't undergoing regular reviews.

The collapse near the heart of the Quarter came at lunchtime on a Tuesday on a block of Royal Street lined with high-end art galleries, boutiques, jewelry stores and restaurants. Renters in the fallen building, one of the earliest three-story structures in the Quarter, were not at home when it caved in.

"Incredibly, no one got killed," said Peter Trapolin, an architect who regularly works in the Quarter and who believes the neighborhood needs a stronger inspection protocol.

The owners of the building were cited in 2011 for allowing the facade to decay, but the Vieux Carre Commission has said no single problem caused the collapse. In the past year alone, 302 warnings were issued to owners whose structures were considered, at least on the exterior, to be in dangerously bad condition, according to figures provided by the city.

The elderly lady who owned the building operated a small shop where she cut keys and made second-line umbrellas, the decorative parasols common in jazz processions, until about two years ago, said Doc Hawley, an amateur neighborhood historian and a well-known figure around the Quarter for his decades as the captain of the Natchez steamboat.

"I watched them pull out the old timbers," he said, standing somberly in front of a pile of bricks where the facade once stood. "They were badly damaged by termites."

Behind the stuccoed walls of the Quarter's old buildings, bricks made hundreds of years ago from Mississippi River mud are crumbling. Add to the stress load hurricanes, heavy tourist traffic, and a constant rumbling of multi-ton trucks carrying beer, food, garbage and heavy equipment.

"These buildings were built for horse and buggies," Hawley said. "I lie in bed and I feel my house (in the Quarter) go up and down. The pictures on my walls bounce up and down when the big trucks go by outside." - AP.

DuPont chemical leak kills 4, alerts residents in Texas

Image from

Four DuPont employees were killed and another injured when a toxic chemical was spilled at its plant in La Porte, Texas, on Saturday morning. Residents of the city complained of a persistent “funny smell” after the incident.

The company would not immediately identify the victims of the spill. The emergency started at around 4 a.m. local time. It took repair crews two hours to replace a ruptured valve in the crop protection unit and contain the chemical. The confirmation of fatalities was released 12 hours after the incident.

The chemical spilled was methyl mercaptan, or methanethiol,which is used to make feed stock for insecticides and fungicides. It is more commonly known for being added to naturally odorless propane and natural gas to give them a distinctive rotten egg smell, making leaks detectable. In high concentration it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, coma, and death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the employees,”
plant manager Randall Clements said in a statement. “There are no words to fully express the loss we feel or the concern and sympathy we extend to the families of the employees and their co-workers.”

“We will continue to cooperate with all the local authorities, and make sure that we investigate this fully and we will find the cause of this, at this point, we don’t know why this happened,”
he added.

The workers were exposed to the chemical as they responded to the leak. DuPont insists that at no time were people living in the vicinity of the plant in danger.

Local residents, however, complained of a foul odor on Saturday morning.

“We are used to funny smells around here, especially when the wind is out of the north,”
La Porte resident Dudley Crittendon told “We thought something had died in the house. We started burning candles but it didn't go away.”

La Porte is located in Harris County, about 20 miles east of Houston. DuPont’s chemical plant employs 320 people. Four other companies are also tenants at the same complex, according to AP. - RT.

ICE AGE NOW: Ice Visible on Lake Superior - Several Weeks Ahead Of Schedule?!

A thin layer of ice visible on Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisc., Nov. 15, 2014. @clkoval/Twitter

November 16, 2014 - WISCONSIN, UNITED STATES
- Cold temperatures and snow across the Great Lakes in November is certainly nothing out of the ordinary, but this morning, a layer of ice was visible on parts of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wis.

While this may not seem unusual given the current stretch of unseasonably cold temperatures, it is actually several weeks earlier than normal.

The first sightings of ice on Lake Superior and the Great Lakes overall usually occur during the beginning to middle of December. However, a perfect combination of last season's record ice coverage, cooler summer temperatures, and an early blast of arctic air this fall has allowed for areas of ice to form earlier than normal for the second year in a row.

PHOTO: Ice, on average, usually begins to form in shallow parts of the Great Lakes

Last winter featured relentless, record breaking cold leading to the second highest ice coverage on record for the Great Lakes as a whole.

Lake Superior also set a record for the longest length of time that ice was observed on the lake. In 2013, ice was first observed on Nov. 25, and it did not all melt until early June 2014.

PHOTO: Ice coverage on Lake Superior for the 2013-2014 season

The extent and longevity of the ice coverage were both equally impressive. It is also important to note that this year the ice is being observed about 10 days earlier that last year's record-breaking season. However, an early start to ice formation does not mean another record breaking ice coverage season is on the way. The overall winter pattern over the next few months will ultimately determine where this year's ice coverage will go.

After a summer that lacked much intense heat for the region and the early arrival of long lasting arctic air, it is not taking much kick off some ice forming on Lake Superior once again.

The overall weather pattern will continue to favor below normal temperatures across the Great Lakes region for at least the next seven to 10 days -- perfect conditions to help add to the ice in place that's already setting up a wintry scene. - ABC News.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: California Drought Hits San Mateo County Coast Particularly Hard - Children Bathing Once A Week, Sharing Same Tub Of Water!

Doniga Markegard, 33, walks in a dried up stock pond that used to be a water source for their cattle in Half Moon Bay.

- Showers were one of the first things to go when the spring dried up at the Markegard ranch south of Half Moon Bay.

Forced to rely on trucked-in water, the four children — ages 4, 6, 7 and 12 — now bathe once a week, often sharing the same tub of water.

“The cleanest kid goes first,” said their mother, Doniga Markegard, 33, who on a recent morning soaked her two youngest, daughters Quince and Quill, followed by 7-year-old Larry. “As my grandmother said, 'Wash your pits and parts, and you’re good to go.’”

The historic statewide drought has struck especially hard along the southern San Mateo County coast. While other parts of the Bay Area are served by big water agencies with steady if shrinking supplies, most of the homes and small farms here, less than an hour’s drive from Silicon Valley, rely on creeks and wells, many of which have stopped flowing.

That’s left scores of people struggling mightily to get by with little or no water.

“People don’t think there are rural communities on the San Francisco Peninsula that have run out of water,” said Chelsea Moller, project coordinator with the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District, which is trying to help families shore up their water needs. “I think they really get overlooked.”

For Doniga and her husband, Erik, 45, running their small family ranch along Highway 1 wasn’t easy even with an abundance of water. So when the rationing started in July, their routine became that much harder — flushing toilets with bathwater, running spigots slowly or not at all, and foregoing showers after a long day.

The biggest hit, though, has been to the bottom line. The family had to move their cattle herd — the heart of their grass-fed-beef business — off their property and lease wetter land elsewhere, an unforeseen and devastating expense.

Watching crops die

Not far from the Markegards, on Tunitas Creek Road, grower Bill Laven saw the stream behind his house dry up and the output of his two wells plunge 90 percent. In August, seeing no other option, he shut down his farm.

“That field would be waist-high in vegetables if we would have had water,” Laven said as he surveyed an expanse of barren soil dotted with withered cabbage and some other unrecognizable greens. “We basically stopped watering it and watched it all die.”

Laven, whose Potrero Nuevo Farm provides organic produce for two local food banks, eventually had a run of luck. After a local dowser tipped him off to underground water on his land, he hired contractors to dig two new wells. He’s now replanting his fields and making another run at a crop in the coming months.

His fortunes, however, aren’t the norm.

Even the area’s larger property owners, with more wells and more creeks, are seeing their water supplies erode. Marchi Central Farms, for example, a major supplier of Brussels sprouts, leeks and fava beans in Pescadero, planted almost 30 percent less this year, the partners say, because a stretch of the San Gregorio Creek dried up for the first time in 26 years.

In nearby Loma Mar, a popular county park, with 154 campsites, closed because the Pescadero Creek is low, and officials wanted to save what remains for residents.

Still, property owners downstream of the park have been limited in what they can draw from the creek and are having to get by with a lot less.

Doniga Markegard, whose family raises cattle, moves a herd of sheep out to graze in the early morning hours on her leased land in Half Moon Bay.

“It went dry where we are,” said Sean Coombs, who had to stop pumping water to his 10 acres for growing organic produce. “We dry-farm a lot now.”

Tending fields without irrigation, Coombs said, is actually working out OK. While he’s lost crops, he’s found that others have grown as well, if not better, like tomatoes, peppers and summer squash.

The local farm bureau says that the few hundred growers in the area, who produce upward of $100 million worth of goods annually, have all taken significant losses. Most have cut production, some up to one-third.

Fickle water supplies

California has seen three consecutive dry years. And the current one isn’t shaping up much better.

The weather station in Half Moon Bay, run by the National Weather Service, recorded less than 7 inches of rain last year compared with an annual average of 26.2 inches. This year rainfall is down significantly as well, at 38 percent of normal.

While the southern San Mateo County coast has long survived on water from three major creeks and groundwater reserves, it’s no secret that those supplies were fickle — and one day would be tested by a drought.

Property owners have long sought to divert more water from streams and build new wells, but efforts have been slow. Concern about promoting development or taking water from wildlife often got in the way, along with the sheer expense of new construction.

“People will throw a foot valve into a stream rather than fix a well,” said Steve Simms, a lifetime San Mateo County resident who runs a Pescadero plumbing business and consults on water. “It becomes this whole layer of bureaucracy and costs that they have to deal with.”

The geology of the area also has limitations. Underground water, usually the most dependable source for residents, is not always easy to find and is sometimes laden with salt.

“In a lot of places, when you have trouble getting water, you just drill deeper and deeper,” explained Aaron Lingemann, who has been digging wells in the region for 25 years. “But that’s often not an option along the coast. There are a lot of areas that if you drill over 100 or 200 feet it’s salty.”

Still, the number of well-drilling permits issued countywide this year is nearly double what it was last year, county records show.

Lingemann, who runs Earth Flow Drilling Co. out of Santa Cruz, is having his busiest year in decades. He has a backlog of jobs and is trying to get to them as fast as he can because he understands what it’s like to have no water.

“People are feeling it. You see the water trucks running up and down the roads,” he said, referring to the contractors who deliver water to residents for their day-to-day needs. “If I was 10 years younger, I might go out and buy more drill rigs.”

Emergency funding

The county Resource Conservation District received $3.9 million from the state this month to help people with water shortages. The money is among funds that Gov. Jerry Brown committed after declaring a drought emergency in January.

The funding is designed to help property owners tune up water systems and, in many cases, provide more storage. Most agree that capitalizing on existing water assets is the first step to boosting supplies.

For the Markegards, the solution is rain — and they’ll probably need more than just one storm. It may take a few years of wet weather to nourish their spring back to life and refill the dozen or more stock ponds on their property that went dry this year.

Markegard siblings Quill (left), Quince and Larry take their weekly bath together to save water at their family home in Half Moon Bay.
The family runs a small ranch and is trying to get by amid a severe water shortage.

Because the couple are leasing their 1,000 acres, they’re not in a position to invest in pricey water projects. Money is better spent leasing additional land where there’s water for their almost 500 belted Galloway cattle, a furry heritage breed originally from Scotland.

But paying for almost twice as much acreage as usual — with the same number of cows — is a losing proposition.

“We know the rains are going to come and the grass is going to grow and we are going to get out of this,” Doniga Markegard said.

'We’ll remember’

When she spoke on a recent morning, the tank behind her house had recently been filled, so there was a rare sense of plenty in the home. Water boiled for coffee. Two pumpkin pies baked in the oven. Things seemed normal.

But it would be three weeks before the water truck would come again, and everyone knew it.

“We’ll remember these times,” Doniga Markegard said. “We’ll remember when we were bathing with 5-gallon buckets and recycled water. ... When you’ve been there, then the other side is so much more rewarding.” - SF Gate.

SOLAR WATCH: The Largest Sunspot In Over 20 Years Returns And Is Crackling With Flares - NOAA Forecasters Estimate A 30% Chance Of X-Flare In The Next 24 Hours! UPDATE: Giant Sunspot 2192 Erupts With M5.7 Solar Flare - No CME Detected; Brief Radio Blackout!

November 16, 2014 - SPACE
- Old sunspot AR2192, recently re-numbered AR2209 for its second trip around the sun, is crackling with M-class solar flares.

Here's one recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Nov. 15th at 20:45 UT:

The impulsive blast registered M3 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares, and produced a minor HF radio blackout on the daylit side of Earth.

Such blackouts are typically noticed by ham radio operators, mariners at sea, and aviators flying polar routes. In this case, because the flare was so brief, the blackout was not widely felt or observed.

More potent flares could be in the offing. AR2192 has a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class explosions 10 times stronger than the M-flares we are seeing now.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance that the sunspot will unleash an X-flare in the next 24 hours.


Here is an updated look at the visible solar disk on Sunday. Solar activity during the past 24 hours was moderate.

Region 2209 was responsible for two M-Flares on Saturday, including an M3.2 at 12:03 UTC, and an M3.7 at 20:46 UTC. The M3.7 event produced a faint coronal mass ejection (CME) that was directed south of the ecliptic plane and is not expected to impact our geomagnetic field. Region 2209 will remain a threat for an isolated M-Flare during the next 24 hours.

All other visible numbered regions, including 2213 were either stable or in a state of decay.

Geomagnetic activity during the past day was elevated as our geomagnetic field was under the influence of a Co-Rotating Intersection Region (CIR). Solar wind speeds reached above 600 km/s and the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) was mostly variable.

A minor (G1) storm watch remains in effect on Sunday.


Dazzling displays of aurora are visible this evening in Alaska. To watch in near real time, please tune in to Alaska Aurora Cam website, courtesy of Ronn and Marketa Murray.

The cause of the latest geomagnetic disturbance is due to what is known as a Co-Rotating Intersection Region (CIR). When fast solar-wind streams, emanating from coronal holes, interact with slow streams, they can produce Co-rotating Interaction Regions in interplanetary space.

The magnetic fields of the slow streams in the solar wind are more curved due to the lower speeds, and the fields of the fast streams are more radial because of their higher speeds. Intense magnetic fields can be produced at the interface (IF) between the fast and slow streams in the solar wind. The Co-rotating Interaction Regions are bounded by a forward shock (FS) and a reverse shock (RS).

UPDATE: Giant Sunspot 2192 Erupts With M5.7 Solar Flare - No CME Detected; Brief Radio Blackout!

Region 2209 produced another M-Flare, this time a moderately strong M5.7 event peaking at 17:48 UTC Sunday.

The event was responsible for a brief R2 radio blackout, along with a 10cm radio burst (TenFlare) lasting 1 minute and measuring 300 solar flux units (SFU).

So far it does not appear likely that a noteworthy CME was associated:

Chance Of Storms

NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on November 16th when a co-rotating interaction region (CIR) is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. CIRs are transition zones between fast and slow solar wind streams. Solar wind plasma piles up in these regions, producing density gradients and shock waves that do a good job of sparking auroras.

- Solar Ham | Space Weather.

MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcanic Activity Intensifies - Alaska's Pavlof Volcano Launches Ash Plume 30,000 Feet High, Airplanes Warned To Avoid Airspace; Kilauea Volcano's Lava Flow Advances, Edging Closer To Pahoa Town In Hawaii!

November 16, 2014 - ALASKA/HAWAII
- Airplanes are being warned to avoid airspace near an erupting Alaska volcano as it spews ash 30,000 feet above sea level.

The National Weather Service said Saturday ash is being blown to the west and northwest of Pavlof Volcano.

Pavlof began erupting three days ago, pushing lava out from a vent near its summit. On Friday, the ash cloud reached 16,000 feet.

Alaska Volcano Observatory Geophysicist Dave Schneider says the eruption intensified at 6 a.m. Saturday, sending the ash cloud higher.

Schneider says it's not clear how long the eruption will last. He says Pavlof's eruptions may last for weeks or months with varying levels of intensity.

Pavlof is Alaska's most active volcano. It sits along international air routes connecting Europe, North America and Asia. - KVOA.

A volcano in the Alaska Peninsula launched an ash plume 30,000 feet into the air on Saturday morning, while officials in Hawaii say lava continues to advance on a town that has been sitting in the path of a slow-moving molten slide since June.

Mt. Pavlof, which has been erupting since Wednesday, continues to see intense seismic activity, and pilots in the area were reporting ash clouds as high as 30,000 feet above sea level, according to the state's volcano observatory.

The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to impose flight restrictions in the area, according to spokesman Ian Gregor, but the agency did issue several notices to pilots regarding the eruption.

Power poles in the lava's path are being protected by thick insulating foil, with an 18-foot-high ring of cattle fencing filled with
crushed rock and cinders around each pole. (Peter Serafin / For The Times)

In Hawaii, the state's civil defense agency said Saturday that the lava flow from Kilauea volcano that had advanced slowly on the town of Pahoa since June was continuing to edge closer, but still did not pose an immediate threat to residents.

The lava, which has come within 200 yards of Pahoa Village Road in recent weeks, has smothered part of a cemetery and set fire to two structures, but there are no other buildings in its immediate vicinity.

In a statement issued Saturday, Hawaii's civil defense agency said several "active breakouts" from the lava flow were burning asphalt and vegetation, and heavy smoke conditions could be persistent in the area.

Many residents of Pahoa have evacuated or are prepared to do so.  - LA Times.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Netherlands Have Ban Nationwide Poultry Transportation Over "Highly Pathogenic" Bird Flu Strain That Can Be Transmitted To Humans - No Details Released About The Exact Variant Of Avian Influenza?!

Reuters/Tyrone Siu

November 16, 2014 - THE NETHERLANDS
- The Netherlands has discovered a “highly pathogenic” bird flu virus that can be transmitted to humans.

The authorities have banned poultry transport throughout the country.

The strain of avian influenza, or bird flu, was found at a battery poultry farm in the village of Hekendorp, in the central province of Utrecht (population 300,000 people), late on Saturday, according to authorities.

"This highly pathogenic variant of avian influenza is very dangerous for bird life,"
the government said in a statement. "The disease can be transmitted from animals to humans."

No details have been revealed about the exact strain of bird flu the Netherlands is dealing with, but it’s known the variant endangers birds and is lethal for chickens.

The farm’s 150,000 hens are now being slaughtered, Dutch authorities said, adding that they are also applying protective measures for the people, who came into direct contact with the infected poultry.

Reuters/Aly Song

Amsterdam also imposed a 72-hour ban on transporting all poultry products throughout the country, including eggs, dung and used straw.

Sixteen poultry farms within a 10km radius of the infected area will be banned from transporting their products for 30 days. Security measures for visitors have also been introduced in the area.

Previous avian influenza outbreaks in the world have proved highly contagious and developed the ability to jump the species barrier to humans.

Its highly pathogenic strain (H5N1) appeared in Asia in 2003. Avian influenza reached Europe in 2005 and the Middle East and Africa in 2006.

In March, inspections discovered bird flu in Gelderland province in the east of the Netherlands, where the population is over 2 million people. About 10,000 virally affected chickens were destroyed.

Earlier in November, Germany detected the first case of highly infectious H5N8 influenza in the country and over 30,000 turkeys were slaughtered. - RT.

THE AGE OF OBAMA: Precursors To The End Of The United States Corporation - Police Nationwide Brace For Widespread Protests After Ferguson Grand Jury Decision!

November 16, 2014 - UNITED STATES
- From Boston to Los Angeles, police departments are bracing for large demonstrations when a grand jury decides whether to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The St. Louis County grand jury, which has been meeting since Aug. 20, is expected to decide this month whether Officer Darren Wilson is charged with a crime for killing Michael Brown after ordering the 18-year-old and a friend to stop walking in the street on Aug. 9.

The confrontation between Wilson and Brown lasted less than 90 seconds, according to emergency radio calls. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a timeline Friday night, based on an analysis of police and EMS calls.

Meanwhile, newly-released video shows Wilson leaving a St. Louis-area hospital shortly after the shooting, according to the newspaper.

Attorneys for the Brown family issued a statement Saturday, saying the video showed that "it would appear the initial descriptions of (Wilson's) injuries were exaggerated" and the audio showed the "initial interaction with the officer and Brown had nothing to do with the incident at the convenience store."

"We will wait for the grand jury's decision and continue to develop a plan to change the system that now works entirely in favor of law enforcement and against citizens," the statement said.

Wilson has not been seen in public since the shooting, which has led to tension with police and a string of unruly protests there and brought worldwide attention to the formerly obscure St. Louis suburb, where more than half the population is black and yet few police officers are.

For some cities, a decision in the racially charged case will, inevitably, reignite long-simmering debates over local police relations with minority communities.

"It's definitely on our radar," said Lt. Michael McCarthy, police spokesman in Boston, where police leaders met privately Wednesday to discuss preparations. "Common sense tells you the timeline is getting close. We're just trying to prepare in case something does step off, so we are ready to go with it."

In Los Angeles, rocked by riots in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, police officials say they've been in touch with their counterparts in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon and St. Louis-area law enforcement held a news conference this week on their own preparations. Brown's family is urging people to stay calm.

"Naturally, we always pay attention," said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a police spokesman. "We saw what happened when there were protests over there and how oftentimes protests spill from one part of the country to another."

In Las Vegas, police joined pastors and other community leaders this week to call for restraint at a rally tentatively planned northwest of the casino strip when a decision comes.

And in Berkeley, Missouri, a town neighboring Ferguson, officials this week passed out fliers urging residents to be prepared for unrest just as they would a major storm - with plenty of food, water and medicine in case they're unable to leave home for several days.

In Boston, a group called "Black Lives Matter," which also has chapters in other major cities, is organizing a rally in front of the police district office in the Roxbury neighborhood the day after an indictment decision.

In October, the group, as part of a larger coalition, rallied in front of police headquarters protesting the department's "racially biased stop, frisk, and search practices" and expressing solidarity with protesters in Ferguson.

Organizers at the time pointed to an American Civil Liberties Union report that concluded Boston's black residents are more likely to be stopped, questioned or searched by police, an assertion the department has strongly disputed, saying it was based on old data.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, police are expecting demonstrations after having dealt with a string of angry protests following a March police shooting of a homeless camper and more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. John Stanford anticipates his city will see demonstrations, regardless of what the grand jury returns. "We're not oblivious to the fact that ... there are going to be protests," he said.

But big-city police departments stressed they're well-equipped to handle crowds.

Indeed, many saw large, mostly peaceful demonstrations following the 2013 not-guilty verdict in the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who was not a police officer but coordinated the local neighborhood watch.

In Los Angeles, protesters briefly shut down part of a freeway and caused some vandalism in city neighborhoods. In New York City, hundreds marched from Union Square north to Times Square, where a "sit-in" caused gridlock in one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections.

"We're the largest police department in the nation, we're trained to move swiftly and handle events as they come up," said Stephen Davis, a New York City Police Department spokesman.

In Boston, McCarthy said the city's 2,200 sworn police officers have dealt with the range of public actions, from sports fans spontaneously streaming into the streets following championship victories to protest movements like Occupy.

"We've had a lot of practice," he said. "The good thing is that our relationships here with the community are much better than they are around the world. People look to us as a model. Boston is not Ferguson."

Many churches plan to offer prayer, shelter, food and a sanctuary
for protesters, residents, students and others affected by potential unrest.

A suburban St. Louis school district says schools will get early notice once the grand jury reaches a decision. - CBS News.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Floodlist – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Widespread Flooding, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

Flood rescue in Italy, November 2014. Photo: Nazionale Anpas

November 16, 2014 - EARTH
- The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

More Deaths as Flooding Continues in Italy

Floods and landslides continue to wreak havoc across northern Italy. Damage has been estimated at almost $150 million so far. Five people have died in the floods and landslides so far this month. This comes after the flood disasters in northern Italy, in particular Genoa, last month which left 3 people dead.

Affected Areas

The Liguria, Lombardy and Piedmont regions are worst affected. Rail traffic disruption is particularly prominent and new flood and landslide damage continues to be recorded throughout the affected areas. Parts of Milan have also been affected, where many schools have been closed as a result of the severe weather. The Seveso and Lambro rivers burst their banks and levels of the Po river are increasingly high. reported last night that levels of the Po River in Piacenza stood at 6.8 metres, 20cm below flood stage. Piacenza is a city the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is also feared that the high levels of the Po could affect parts of Venetia region.


In the recent spate of severe weather, two people, said to be an elderly couple, died after torrential rain caused floods and landslides in northern Italy on Tuesday 11 November 2014. In a separate incident, a man was killed by a landslide outside his home in Crevacuore, Piedmont on 12 November.

A man drowined in Moscazzano, south-east of Milan, yesterday while he was attempting to open a sluice gate to alleviate floding. Also yesterday, an elderly man drowned in Ispra, on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore, in the province of Varese, in the Lombardy region.

Thailand – Floods in Nine Provinces, More Rain to Come

The northeast monsoon has left at least 9 provinces in southern Thailand battling heavy rain and floods, as the country’s Interior Minister warns there could be more to come.

Homes flooded in Trang; troops help the trapped.

Trang Province

Trang province in southern Thailand has been one of the worst affected areas after persistent heavy rain over the last 4 days caused flash floods across several southern provinces.

Around 1,000 villagers in Trang have been evacuated since the flooding began. Houses and farmland have been damaged. The flood water level was almost two meters high, according to NNT.

Nakhon Si Thammarat

At least 5 districts – Chawang, Chang Klang, Pipoon, Lan Ska, and Phra Phrom in Nakhon Si Thammarat also experienced severe floods that first began around 07 November 2014. More than 4,400 households and 12,000 people have been affected in the province.

Nine Provinces Affected

Besides Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat, the provinces of Patthalung, Songkhla, Krabi, Satun, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat have also been affected. Some reports claim that flood waters have started to recede in Patthalung and Trang. However the heavy rain continues. Narathiwat saw 74 mm of rain fall in the last 24 hours.

File photo: Flooding in Trang, Thailand. Photo: Magalie L’AbbĂ©

More Rain to Come

Ion 12 November, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda alerted the governors southern provinces to another wave of heavy rains between November 13-16 and instructed them to be prepared for possible disasters.

The provinces most likely affected are Krabi, Trang, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Satun.

According to Gen Anupong, it is forecast that the northeast monsoon will pick up strength from tomorrow until November 16 and will, in turn, bring torrential rains to many areas of the lower southern region of Thailand. Surat Thani province is also likely to experience strong winds.

DDPM Director-General Chatchai Promlert has advised locals, whose homes are situated near waterways, on hill slopes or in lowlands, to closely follow weather forecasts and disaster warnings.

Flooding clean-up underway after deluge in Northern Ireland

A clean-up operation is continuing after homes and businesses were flooded during torrential rain in many parts of Northern Ireland on Thursday.

The worst flooding was in Counties Armagh and Down, particularly Newry.

Several homes and shops were evacuated on Bridge Street, Newry, on Thursday afternoon because part of the street was under two to three feet of water.

On Friday evening, some roads were closed in parts of County Armagh, including in Portadown and Loughgall.

Earlier, Trafficwatch NI advised staff in Greenbank industrial estate in Newry to leave before a high tide at 16:00 GMT.

Further problems on Friday meant Bridge Street and several other roads across Northern Ireland were closed, although many have now reopened.

Newry businessman, Shealan Strain, who owns The Gentry clothes store on Bridge Street, said he tried to protect his shop with sandbags on Thursday afternoon but had to evacuate because of the volume of water.

"Within about 20 minutes it was coming in the front and the back, so basically, we just had to leave," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

Mr Strain said when the water subsided at about 20:00 GMT, he returned to the shop and spent almost four hours cleaning up the damage.

'Already saturated'

Bridge Street in Newry has been badly affected, with cars under water

Part of Newry's Bridge Street was under two to three feet of water at one stage on Thursday evening

The rain has been accompanied by strong winds, as seen in Whitehead County Antrim

However, he said has been told the street flooded again on Friday morning.

"So what do we do now? I haven't had one phone call from the council informing me of what has happened, what the plan is and if there is any chance of flooding again," Mr Strain told the BBC.

A bridal shop next door was also flooded, and it led to problems for one bride who is getting married on Friday.

Caroline Bramwell was due to pick up her wedding dress from the shop on Thursday afternoon, but was told it was inaccessible due to the floods.

However, local police officers came to the rescue, wading through the shop to retrieve Ms Bramwell's dress.

WATCH: Heavy rain causes flooding across Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Department for Employment and Learning's (DEL) temporary offices in Clarence Court in Belfast were flooded on Thursday.

They have been based there while their own offices in Adelaide Street were being refurbished.

A DEL spokesman said they had re-located back to the Adelaide Street premises on Friday because the flooding had caused a power failure, but hoped to be back in Clarence Court on Monday.

He added that services had not been affected.

Staff in the Department for Regional Development who shared an office with DEL in Clarence Court have also had to leave the premises.

- Floodlist | BBC.

HUMAN DEVOLUTION: New World Disorder, Terrorism And False Flag Events - New ISIS Video Claims Beheading Of United States Hostage Peter Kassig!

Still from YouTube video

November 16, 2014 - IRAQ
- Islamic State militants have beheaded US aid worker Peter Kassig even though he converted to Islam, a video posted on social media shows.

Kassig, 26, was captured on October 1, 2013, by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants on his way to the city of Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria.

After conversion during captivity, Kassig took the name Abdul-Rahman.

The footage reportedly shows Jihadi John murdering Kassig. This comes despite earlier reports that the extremist, who has executed other UK and US hostages, was wounded in an airstrike on a top-level extremists’ meeting in Iraq last week.

The video showing Kassig’s death is part of 15 minutes of footage, which depicts IS militants beheading several other men. The victims have been identified as officers serving under the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In the video the extremists deliver warnings to the US, UK and other countries.

Islamic State militants first showed him in the video of the beheading of UK aid worker Alan Henning, who shared a prison cell with Kassig. After Jihadi John, an IS executioner with a London accent, killed Henning, he also threatened Kassig would be next.

In the meantime, the UK Foreign Office said it is examining the video’s authenticity.

"We are aware of a further video and are analyzing its contents. If true, this is a further disgusting murder,"
the spokeswoman told Reuters.

UK PM David Cameron said he is “horrified” by the murder of Kassig.

"I'm horrified by the cold blooded murder of Abdul-Rahman Kassig. ISIL have again shown their depravity. My thoughts are with his family,"
he said.

Kassig had served in Iraq in 2007 before becoming a medical technician. In May 2012, he travelled to Beirut, Lebanon where he volunteered in hospitals. He then helped in Palestinian refugee camps, “offering his services as a trauma medic to Syrian refugees wounded in the fighting in Syria.”He founded his own aid organization, SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance), a non-governmental group intended to provide relief to Syrian refugees.

His parents, Ed and Paula Kassig from Indiana, had been appealing for their son’s release. They tried to reach the IS leader by writing messages on Twitter.

“We have tried to contact you directly to plea for the life of our only son, Abdul Rahman Kassig, and have not received any response. Please tell us what more we can do so that Abdul Rahman may continue to serve and live his life in accordance with the teachings of Islam,”
she wrote on Twitter.

WATCH: Kassig Family Message.

The Kassig family released a letter from their son written on October 13, which was delivered to them by a hostage, who had been released. In the letter Kassig thanks his parents “for everything they have both done” for him. He describes his captivity, saying that he and the other hostages “share dreams and stories of home and loved ones.”

WATCH: ISIS claims beheading of U.S. aid worker Kassig.


“I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all,”
he wrote. “If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need.” - RT.