Saturday, December 27, 2014

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – December 27, 2014!

Map of the Nornahraun lava field as of 24 Dec 2014 (Univ. Iceland)

December 27, 2014 - EARTH
- The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Bardarbunga (Central Iceland): The eruption continues, but seems to be becoming slowly weaker. The latest measurement shows the Nornahraun lava field measures now more than 81 square km.

Seismic activity under the caldera has been slowly decreasing overall as well.

Subsidence and earthquakes at Bardarbunga caldera (IMO)

However, the decreasing trend is very weak and the eruption could still continue for many months, or take a new, unexpected evolution at any time. The future, or probably 2015 will tell!

Fogo (Cape Verde): According to local press, volcanologist João Fonseca, responsible for volcanic monitoring and equipment maintenance at Fogo volcano, mentioned that volcanic activity shows signs of decreasing and that the eruption could be approaching its end.

Still, the northern lobe of the recently active lava flow to the west remained active during the past days and smaller lobes advanced through more farm land in the Cova Tina area.

The eruption, worse than the 1995 one, has already had a severe short- and medium- to long-term impact on the island's economy and counts as one of the worst volcanic disasters in recent decades. On the positive side, at least, there were no fatalities.

The eruption of Fogo volcano and the 3 lava flows (North, South and West), and the location of the destroyed settlements.
(Images: Theo Montrond via Involcan / editing and annotations: Culture Volcan)

- The short-term consequences are obvious: destruction of homes, infrastructure supporting tourism, agriculture (wine production, storage and processing facilities destroyed).

- The medium- and long-term consequences are diverse. The loss of fertile land decreases the ability of the caldera area to produce cultivated plants, such as beans, squash, grapes etc. Less surface is available as for livestock to feed on. This decreases drastically the number of people the land now can support in the long term - it will take many decades if not centuries for the lava flow to become fertile land again.

Tourism in turn could however profit from the changes the eruption has brought as a geological attraction.

Whether an acceptable economic balance can return to the inhabitants of the caldera will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- How investment, partly funded by donations collected during the crisis, will be used and how it will be prioritized based on a volcanic hazard model.

- The willingness of residents to return and rebuild.

If the villages of Portela and Bangaeira are reconstructed on the lava flow, there is a good chance that the next lava flow - which inevitably will occur in some time in the future, as Fogo continues to be a very active volcano - will choose a different path and spare them.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka)
: Explosive eruptions, by explosions and or partial collapse events of the active lava dome continue to occur regularly. On 26 Dec at 04:37 UTC, an eruption was reported to produce an ash plume that rose to 26,000 ft (8 km) altitude and drifted west. (Tokyo VAAC)

Aso (Kyushu): The eruption from the volcano's Nakadake crater continues with relatively intense and near continuous strombolian activity. Incandescent material is frequently ejected several tens of meters above the crater rim.

Strombolian explosion at Aso volcano this morning

An ash plume rises a few hundred meters above the crater to up to 1-2 km altitude. A second vent inside the crater produces a dense steam plume and likely has some milder explosive activity as well.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): Explosive activity at the Caliente dome has picked up. Explosions with ash plumes rising several hundred meters have become more frequent. The lava flow on the eastern side remains active, according the the observatory's latest report.

Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH reported a week ago that activity decreased and that there are currently no signs of explosive activity from the Mackenney crater. Only a steam and gas plume is being emitted.

Fuego (Guatemala): Mild to moderate strombolian explosions continue, the volcano being at average levels of activity over the past weeks.

Eruption plume from Fuego this morning

Popocatepetl (Mexico):
An explosion at Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano sent a mix of steam, gas and ash 3.5 kilometres into the sky, according to local authorities.

Turrialba (Costa Rica):
Costa Rica has issued an emergency alert after the eruption of Turrialba volcano in the centre of the country.

Ash from the eruption has gone as far as the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.

The volcano has not spewed lava since the 1800s but there are concerns that this eruption could be a precursor to larger eruptions.

- Volcano Discovery.

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

 An aerial view of houses and plantations submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Bharu. (AFP: Mohd Rasfan)

December 27, 2014 - EARTH
- The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Malaysia floods: 5 Dead And more than 160,000 flee homes; anger as PM plays golf in US during crisis

Five people have died and more than 160,000 people have fled their homes across Malaysia as the country faces its worst flooding in a decade.

The government has come under fire for not declaring a state of emergency to help devastated communities as the country prepared to face more heavy weather.

WATCH: 5 die in region’s worst flooding.

Forecasters have predicted further heavy rainfall across previously unaffected southern parts of the country.

Among the dead was a man who drowned at a relief centre on Christmas Eve, while a rescue boat carrying eight people, including a young couple, went missing after it became entrapped in a whirlpool and capsized, state news agency Bernama reported.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has called on rescue workers evacuating people in flooded areas and providing food and water to step up their efforts. Royal Malaysian Navy

Over 160,000 evacuated from Malaysia after worst floods in decades.

Prime Minister Najib announced he was cutting short his holiday to visit the flood-stricken state of Kelantan

Malaysia's government says the flooding is the worst in more than 30 years

Local media carried photographs of people wading through flood waters as deep as two metres and entire houses submerged by rising water.

Seasonal flooding hits Malaysia every year and regularly forces tens of thousands from their homes, but the latest floods are the worst seen in the country since at least 2004.

About 100 tourists stranded in the remote Mutiara Taman Negara Resort in central Malaysia were rescued and sent to a relief centre.

Rising flood water rendered several roads unusable and authorities have suspended train services in some of the worst-affected areas.

Communications systems were also badly hit by the storms.

PM criticised for golfing in US during floods

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak called on rescue workers desperately trying to reach flood victims to step up their efforts to deliver food and water.

But Mr Razak came under fire after photos showed him golfing in Hawaii with United States president Barack Obama during the storms.

Malaysians used his official Facebook page to question why he was not at home to deal with the crisis.

"The PM needs time to take a break," deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

"He has been working very hard so let's be fair to him as a human being. Don't worry, I'm in charge."

PM Najib was criticised as photos emerged of him playing golf with President Obama on Christmas Eve

Mr Yassin also insisted the government had responded appropriately to the flooding, telling the newspaper: "We face floods every year but this is looking to be the worst the country has seen in the last 30 years".

"Unless there was a total breakdown in electricity or water supply, or if the number of evacuees rises to over hundreds of thousands, we will not declare a state of emergency."

Mr Razak later decided to cut short his usual year-end vacation and return to Malaysia to oversee rescue operations.

He is expected to land in Kelantan, one of the worst-hit states, and meet people affected by the crisis as well as discuss new measures with authorities to help flood victims.

"I am deeply concerned by the floods. I feel for the people who have lost their homes, and the families who have lost loved ones," Mr Razak said in a statement.

"I want to see the situation for myself and be with the people."

The government has allocated about $14 million to manage relief centres

The Malaysian Meteorological Department warned of a heavy downpour over the next few days in parts of the country that have so far been spared the worst of the flooding, including the southern state of Johor, which neighbours Singapore.

Meanwhile, Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation declared disaster zones in eight of its southern provinces after floods killed at least 13 people.

The zones are in Surat Thani, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Pattalung, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Songkhla and also Trang, which has been flooded since mid-December.

The Department said more than 184,000 households were affected by the floods and nearly 8,000 people displaced. - ABC Australia.

Sri Lanka floods, mudslides kill 14

Sri Lankan children play in the surf in the southern coastal town of Peraliya on December 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ishara S.Kodikara)

Floods and mudslides triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 14 people in Sri Lanka and driven 80,000 from their homes, police and officials said Friday, as the country marked the 10th anniversary of the tsunami.

Police said at least 10 people were killed in mudslides in the central region where 38 people lost their lives in a similar disaster in late October.

Four other people drowned in flooding triggered when authorities opened the sluice gates at a number of reservoirs to reduce pressure on their dams.

Authorities deployed troops to assist with relief operations for around 80,000 people whose homes were flooded or damaged by two days of unusually heavy rains.

The meteorological department issued a severe weather warning over the floods, which came as Sri Lanka held commemorations for the 31,000 people killed there when the Asian tsunami hit in 2004. - Yahoo.

MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Geological Upheaval - Japan's Nishino-Shima Volcano Island Continues To Grow Towards The North; The Surface Is TEN TIMES Its Original Size! [VIDEO]

Nishinoshima seen on 25 Dec 2014 (Japanese Coast Guard)

December 27, 2014 - JAPAN
 - The eruption continues well into its second year, steadily enlarging the island with lava flows.

During the past weeks, most activity has been concentrated to produce flows towards the north and northwest where the island has been growing considerably.

Evolution of the island Nishino-Shima between November 2013 and December 2014(Japanese Coast Guard)

By now, nothing is left of the former small island, result of the 1973 eruption, and the surface of the island is currently about 10 times of what it had been before the ongoing eruption.

At the main vent, a cinder cone has formed that probably by now reaches more than 100 m in elevation. Explosive activity continues as mild to moderate strombolian activity, producing a steam and light ash plume rising several hundred meters.

Steam plume from Nishinoshima on 27 Nov 2014 (Landsat 8 image / NASA Earth Observatory

Comparison of Nishinoshima from shortly after the birth of the new island (image 21 Nov 2013, lt), the merging with the old island (25 Dec, rt), formation of
extensive lava deltas (7 April 2014, lb), and the disappearance of the old island under new lava (13 Nov 2014, rb) (Source.

Nishimo-shima volcano (西之島, literally: Western Island, also: Rosario Island) is the tiny submerged part of a caldera in the northern Volcano Islands of Japan. The small 700 m wide island was significantly enlarged during the last eruption in 1974, which joined several new islands that formed then.

Water discoloration due to possible minor eruptions and / or shallow submarine hydrothermal activity in the area is a frequent sight.

WATCH: Japan's newest island still increasing in size.

The mostly submerged volcano is a massive seamount with prominent flank cones on the south, west and NE flanks. The southern cone rises to a depth of 214 m below the sea surface, 9 km SSE of Nishino-shima. - Volcano Discovery.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Fukushima Rocked By Strongest Quakes To Hit Japan This Month - Footage From Nuke Plant Shows Shaking Lasted Over A Minute; "Major Quake Disasters Could Strike Anywhere In The Country... Great Increases In Probability; Measures Urgently Needed"!

December 27, 2014 - JAPAN
- A 5.5 magnitude quake rocked northeastern Japan yesterday night… The medium-intensity quake [was centered off] Futaba district, Fukushima, with epicenter at a depth of 30 km. — 5.5 Magnitude Quake Rocks Japan - Dec 25, 2014 - Prensa Latina.

The US Geological Survey said the quake… was measured at 5.5-magnitude… The quake had a depth of 6.2 miles, said the USGS. - Earthquake Today in Japan: Strong Quake Off Coast of Fukushima on Christmas- Dec 25, 2014 - Epoch Times (China).

USGS shakemap intensity.

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s Honshu island… shaking Fukushima where crippled nuclear power plants are located… A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power said no irregularities have been found at its Fukushima Daiichi or Daini plants. - Earthquake hits near Fukushima - Dec 21, 2014 - The Herald.

Major earthquake disasters could strike anywhere in the nation
— What is the probability of a major earthquake striking each part of the nation? The government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion has unveiled its 2014 version of a geographical forecast for massive quakes… A glance at the map shows us that no region in this nation is free from the risk of seismic disaster… The data in question shows that no further delay may be permitted in taking necessary measures… Despite the urgent need for measures to cope with the situation, some municipal governments have not done enough… In producing the latest version, the headquarters expanded the scope of the areas with estimated epicenters while also extending the scales for predicted quakes. This resulted in great increases in the perceived probability of a major earthquake striking some areas, including Saitama [north of Tokyo]. The figure for the city marked a 21-point increase to 51 percent. - Dec. 24, 2014 (emphasis added) - Yomiuri Shimbun.

Compiled by ENE News.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of Japan and Vicinity

Japan and the surrounding islands straddle four major tectonic plates: Pacific plate; North America plate; Eurasia plate; and Philippine Sea plate. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, beneath Hokkaido and northern Honshu, along the eastern margin of the Okhotsk microplate, a proposed subdivision of the North America plate. Farther south, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath volcanic islands along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This 2,200 km-long zone of subduction of the Pacific plate is responsible for the creation of the deep offshore Ogasawara and Japan trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of Circumpacific island arcs. Similarly, the Philippine Sea plate is itself subducting under the Eurasia plate along a zone, extending from Taiwan to southern Honshu that comprises the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto trench.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Subduction zones at the Japanese island arcs are geologically complex and produce numerous earthquakes from multiple sources. Deformation of the overriding plates generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the interface of the plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. At greater depths, Japanese arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific and Philippine Sea plates and can reach depths of nearly 700 km. Since 1900, three great earthquakes occurred off Japan and three north of Hokkaido. They are the M8.4 1933 Sanriku-oki earthquake, the M8.3 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, the M9.0 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the M8.4 1958 Etorofu earthquake, the M8.5 1963 Kuril earthquake, and the M8.3 1994 Shikotan earthquake. - USGS.

PARADIGM SHIFT: The Rise Of The BRICS, Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar, The U.S. Corporation, And Ultimately, The Collapse Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - China To Launch Yuan Swap Trading With Russian Rubles On Monday!

December 27, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY
- China is launching trading in forwards and swaps between the yuan and three more currencies, including the Russian ruble, from December 29, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System managed by the People’s Bank of China announced on Friday.

China is also launching trading in contracts with the Malaysian ringgit and the New Zealand dollar from 29th December. China is promoting usage of the yuan in global commercial and financial transactions, with the ultimate goal of rivaling the dollar as a reserve currency.

Friday’s announcement will extend the yuan’s swaps trading to 11 currencies on the interbank foreign-exchange market.

Analysts say China will not halt its accelerated plans to internationalize its currency.

“This will provide companies with better hedging tools, and at the same time, make currency trading more efficient,” a Bloomberg report quoted HSBC’s strategist in Hong Kong, Ju Wang as saying.

“China won’t stop yuan globalization” despite volatility in emerging market currencies, the strategist said.

China is promoting the use of its currency as an alternative to the dollar in global trade and finance and more and more nations now want to capture the fast-growing market for offshore trade in yuan, also known as the renminbi.

The Chinese currency is already traded directly against the US dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, the British pound, the Aussie and New Zealand dollars, Russia’s rouble, the Singapore dollar and Malaysia’s ringgit. Yuan settlement in trade surged from 2.06 trillion yuan in 2012 to 3.01 trillion yuan in 2013 worldwide.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked business leaders last week to report on plans to sell foreign currency revenues and to engage in responsible foreign exchange operations, Vedomosti newspaper reported earlier this week. - The BRICS Post.

China is promoting the use of its currency as an alternative to the dollar in global trade and finance [Xinhua]

The world was slow to wake up to the new reality in which China is now the de facto IMF sovereign backstop, as Zero Hedge described two weeks ago in "China Prepares To Bailout Russia" when we noted that a PBOC swap-line was meant to reduce the role of the US dollar if China and Russia need to help each other overcome a liquidity squeeze, something we first noted over two months ago in "China, Russia Sign CNY150 Billion Local-Currency Swap As Plunging Oil Prices Sting Putin."

In fact, it was only this week that Bloomberg reported that "China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion." But in order to fully backstop Russia away from a SWIFT-world in which the dollar reigns supreme, one extra step was necessary: the launching of direct FX trade involving the Russian and Chinese currencies, either spot or forward - a move away from purely theoretical bilateral FX trade agreements - which would not only enable and make direct currency trading more efficient by sidestepping the dollar entirely, but also allow Russian companies to budget in Chinese Yuan terms. It is no surprise then that this is precisely the missing step that was announced overnight, and will be implemented starting Monday.
From Bloomberg:
China will allow trading in forwards and swaps between the yuan and three more currencies in a bid to reduce foreign-exchange risks amid increased volatility in emerging markets.

The China Foreign Exchange Trade System will begin such contracts with Malaysia’s ringgit, Russia’s ruble, and the New Zealand dollar from Dec. 29, it said in a statement on its website today. That will extend the yuan’s swaps trading to 11 currencies on the interbank foreign-exchange market.

A plunge in Russia’s ruble this month to a record low sparked a selloff in developing nations’ assets, leading to a surge in currency volatility. The new contracts come amid efforts by China to increase the international use of the yuan, as the world’s second-largest economy promotes it as an alternative to the U.S. dollar for global trade and finance. Malaysia and Russia are China’s eighth and ninth biggest trading partners, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

This will provide companies with better hedging tools, and at the same time, make currency trading more efficient,” said Ju Wang, a senior currency strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “China won’t stop yuan globalization or capital-account opening because of the volatility in emerging market currencies.”

The CFETS is an agency under the People’s Bank of China.
So while the US continues to parade with "destroying" the Russian economy, even if it means crushing the shale industry, aka the only bright spot, and high-paying job-creating industry in the US economy over the past 5 years, Russia and China continue to be nudged by the west ever closer monetarily and strategically, until one day, as we have long predicted, China and Russia will announce a joint currency, one backed by both China's "surprising" gold reserves and Russia's commodity hoard. Then things will get interesting. - Zero Hedge.

ICE AGE NOW: Met Office Issues Severe Weather Warnings As The United Kingdom Is Under Barrage Of Heavy And Relentless Snowfall - Causing Airport Shutdowns, Multiple Road Accidents And Holiday Traffic Mayhem!

Reuters / Darren Staples

December 27, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM
- Heavy snow in parts of the UK forced the Liverpool airport to shut down and caused holiday traffic mayhem with multiple road accidents. The Met Office and police issued weather warnings, while people took to Twitter to rate the snow-in.

Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport had to be closed due to a “deluge” of snow on Friday. Five inbound flights were diverted so that runways could be cleared. Most of the flights were rerouted to Manchester's airport.

“We are currently closed. It is just while we are clearing the runway. We have had quite a deluge here,”
Liverpool airport’s spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Met Office – the UK’s national weather service – issued alerts for cold weather and falling snow across the UK, including the east of England, northwest England, Wales, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, the West Midlands, London, and southeast England.

“An area of rain, sleet and snow is affecting the area before clearing eastwards overnight. Some uncertainty surrounds how much snow will occur, but several cm of snow are likely even at low levels, especially in a swathe through Wales and the Midlands. As precipitation clears, roads could turn very icy,” the Met Office said.

Regional UK police also issued warnings for roads in the Midlands and northwest.

“Reports of difficult road conditions across Staffordshire due to snow, Please only travel tonight if necessary,” Staffordshire Police wrote on Twitter.

Cheshire Police also tweeted: “Roads around Delamere/Frodsham looking quite treacherous due to weather. Please drive with care.”

Temperatures are estimated to fall as low as -10C at the start of the week.

Multiple accidents have been reported throughout the country.

A picture of a car skidding off the road in the snow and catching fire was posted on Twitter.

The West Bromwich Albion versus Manchester City football match was caught in heavy snowfall at Hawthorns, with spectators tweeting surreal pictures of players sprinting through sizable snowflakes.

Meanwhile, many have been using the hashtag #UKSnow on social media, adding personal accounts to the minute-by-minute weather reports.

Cold weather enthusiasts have expressed excitement about the Boxing Day snowfall. Others have poked fun at how the country will function with the disruption.

The head of extreme events at Public Health England, Dr. Angie Bone, has asked everyone to keep an eye out for friends and family who are vulnerable to cold weather.

“Weather like this is not unusual for this time of year, but during very cold weather it’s important we take extra care to keep safe and healthy,”
Bone said. “Also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends, family and neighbors – it’s important we all do what we can to protect those around us.” - RT.