Thursday, April 23, 2015

PLANETARY TREMORS: California's "BIG ONE" Could Trigger Super Cycle Of DESTRUCTIVE QUAKES - Study!

Image from

- A major earthquake – the Big One – is statistically almost certain in California in the coming decades, and there is even worse news below the ground: it is likely to be followed by a series of similar-sized temblors, according to a leading seismologist.

The current relatively quiet seismic period – in which “far less” energy is being released in earthquakes than it is being stored from tectonic plate motions “cannot last forever,” said University of Southern California earth sciences professor James Dolan while delivering a new paper during the Seismological Society of America conference in Pasadena.

“At some point, we will need to start releasing all of this pent-up energy stored in the rocks in a series of large earthquakes,” Dolan stressed.

The earthquake could spark a “super cycle,” meaning “a flurry of other Big Ones, as stresses related to the original San Andreas fault earthquake are redistributed on other faults throughout Southern California,” he said.

Earthquake fault heightens California tsunami threat, experts say

While there would not be a literal cannonade of destruction, the earthquakes could come just decades apart, like, for example, the 7.5 major quake in 1812 on the San Andreas fault, followed by a 7.7 in 1857.

Incidentally, that was the last major earthquake in that system, one of the factors that led the US Geological Survey to conclude last month that there is a 7 percent chance of an earthquake measuring 8.0 or greater on the Richter scale to occur in California in the next 30 years alone.

Scientists behind the March report said that the fault lines in California – which is home to almost 40 million people – are much more interconnected than previously thought, and similarly claimed that “tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable.”

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18.

Dolan made his discovery while studying the Garlock fault line ‒ state’s second-biggest. He said the Garlock was “switched off” for 3,500 years before creating four major earthquakes from 250 AD to 1550. During that period, the fault lines were moving four times as fast, as during the pause.

“We’re not focused especially on the seismic threat posed by the Garlock,” said Dolan.

“This study focuses on the deeper scientific significance, the more general importance of how faults interact with one another over long time and distance scales, and fundamentally on helping us to understand how faults store and release energy,” he added. “These are issues of absolutely basic importance for our understanding of seismic threats from all faults.”

The most destructive recent earthquake in California was the Northridge in 1994, which caused more than 50 deaths and $20 billion worth of damage despite its modest magnitude of 6.7. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "This Giant Volcano Is Very Much Alive" - Scientists Find Missing Link In Yellowstone Plumbling; Massive New Magma Reservoir And Hot Rock Found Beneath The Supervolcano!

The gorgeous colors of Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic hot spring are among the national park’s myriad hydrothermal features created by the Yellowstone supervolcano. A
new University of Utah study reports discovery of a huge magma reservoir beneath Yellowstone’s previously known magma chamber.
(“Windows into the Earth,” Robert B. Smith and Lee J. Siegel)

- Yellowstone National Park is the home of one of the world's largest volcanoes, one that is quiescent for the moment but is capable of erupting with catastrophic violence at a scale never before witnessed by human beings. In a big eruption, Yellowstone would eject 1,000 times as much material as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. This would be a disaster felt on a global scale, which is why scientists are looking at this thing closely.

On Thursday, a team from the University of Utah published a study, in the journal Science that for the first time offers a complete diagram of the plumbing of the Yellowstone volcanic system.

The new report fills in a missing link of the system. It describes a large reservoir of hot rock, mostly solid but with some melted rock in the mix, that lies beneath a shallow, already-documented magma chamber. 

The newly discovered reservoir is 4.5 times larger than the chamber above it. There's enough magma there to fill the Grand Canyon. The reservoir is on top of a long plume of magma that emerges from deep within the Earth's mantle.

WATCH: University of Utah seismologists funded by the National Science Foundation found a pool of magma beneath Yellowstone's supervolcano that they say is big enough to fill the Grand Canyon more than 11 times. (National Science Foundation/University of Utah)

This system has been in place for roughly 17 million years, with the main change being the movement of the North American tectonic plate, creeping at the rate of roughly an inch a year toward the southwest. A trail of remnant calderas can be detected across Idaho, Oregon and Nevada, looking like a string of beads, marking the migration of the tectonic plate. A similar phenomenon is seen in the Hawaiian islands as the Pacific plate moves over a hot spot, stringing out volcanoes, old to new, dormant to active.

“This is like a giant conduit. It starts down at 1,000 kilometers. It's a pipe that starts down in the Earth," said Robert Smith, emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Utah and a co-author of the new paper. The lead author is his colleague Hsin-Hua Huang.

This new picture doesn't change, fundamentally, the risk assessment of Yellowstone, but it will help scientists understand the mechanics of the volcano.

“Really getting an idea of how it works and understanding how these large caldera-forming eruptions may occur, and how they might happen, would be a good thing to understand," said paper co-author Jamie Farrell, another geophysicist at the university. "No one's ever witnessed one of these really large volcanic eruptions. We kind of scale smaller eruptions up to this size and say, 'This is probably how it happens,' but we really don’t know that for sure.”

A new study provides the first complete view of the plumbing system that supplies hot and partly molten rock from the Yellowstone hotspot to the Yellowstone supervolcano.
The study revealed a gigantic magma reservoir beneath the previously known magma chamber. This cross-section illustration cutting southwest-northeast under Yellowstone
depicts the view revealed by seismic imaging. Seismologists estimate the annual chance of a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption is 1 in 700,000.
(Hsin-Hua Huang/University of Utah)

The next major, calderic eruption could be within the boundaries of the park, northeast of the old caldera.
“If you have this crustal magma system that is beneath the pre-Cambrian rocks, eventually if you get enough fluid in that system, enough magma, you can create another caldera, another set of giant explosions," Smith said. "There’s no reason to think it couldn’t continue that same process and repeat that process to the northeast.”

The report is based on the equivalent of an MRI of the crust beneath Yellowstone. Nature itself supplies the key diagnostic tool: Earthquakes. The Yellowstone region is seismically active, and in any given year there can be hundreds of small earthquakes. These tremors send seismic waves racing through the planet's crust. Seismographs stationed around Yellowstone and across the United States record the arrival of these waves and carefully measure how long it took for them to reach the instruments. The speed of the waves carries information: When the seismic waves hit hot rock, they go slower; when they pass through cold rock, they're faster. By combining the data from many sensors, scientists can get a picture of the hot and cold rock beneath Yellowstone. This is known as "seismic tomography."

This is a volcano that can erupt either in a big way or a truly colossal and catastrophic way. The big eruptions can send lava flowing over a big portion of the park; the really huge ones can form a giant crater, or caldera. The last time Yellowstone had a calderic eruption was 640,000 years ago, and the misshapen hole it created was about 25 miles by 37 miles across. This caldera has since been filled in by lava flows and natural erosion, and Yellowstone Lake covers a portion of the area. The main visual evidence of the old caldera is the striking absence of mountains at the heart of the park: They were literally blown away in the last eruption.

Risk assessment is tricky for low-probability, high-consequence events like volcanic eruptions. The big Yellowstone eruptions occur on time scales of many hundreds of thousands of years. Smith said the repeat time for a caldera explosion at Yellowstone is roughly 700,000 years. But the smaller eruptions, with lava flowing over the surface, are more frequent. There have been at least 50 such smaller eruptions since the caldera exploded 640,000 years ago. The most recent was about 70,000 years ago.

Geological processes don't follow clocks. These are chaotic systems, with strain building unpredictably as distant faults break and the geological stresses shift here and there.

Bottom line: Yellowstone is unpredictable. There's no sign at all that this old volcano is going to erupt anytime soon, either in a big way or a huge, show-stopper way. But neither is there any evidence that it's running out of steam. - Washington Post.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Puerto Rico Officials Warn GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IMMINENT - Says Looming Liquidity Crisis Will Have DEVASTATING IMPACT On The Island's Economy!

A woman walks at the headquarters of the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, in San Juan in this file photo taken on May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Ana Martinez

April 23, 2015 - PUERTO RICO
- Puerto Rico's top finance officials said the government of the U.S. territory will likely shutdown in three months because of a looming liquidity crisis and warned of a devastating impact on the island's economy.

In a letter to leading lawmakers, including Governor Alejandro Padilla, the officials said a financing deal that could potentially salvage the government's finances currently looked unlikely to succeed. It warned of laying off government employees and reducing public services

"A government shutdown is very probable in the next three months due to the absence of liquidity to operate," the officials said. "The likelihood of completing a market transaction to finance the government's operations and keep the government open is currently remote."

The letter, dated April 21, was also sent to the heads of Puerto Rico's Senate and House as well as the governor. It was signed by the government's fiscal team, including the head of the Government Development Bank and the Treasury Secretary.

Puerto Rico, which has a total debt of more than $70 billion, is trying to raise $2.95 billion in financing, while pushing through unpopular tax reforms such as a higher value-added tax and increasing a levy on crude oil to help pay for it.

Puerto Rico is largely reliant on hedge funds for its financing needs. Those hedge funds have been pushing the government to carry out tax reforms to improve its fiscal position as a condition for providing extra financing.

Government bonds have been in steady decline in recent weeks as uncertainty grows over the prospects for the island of 3.6 million people. On Wednesday, its benchmark general obligation bonds traded at an average 79.982 cents on the dollar, close to an all-time low.

The warning also marks a new tone of urgency from officials, who have up to now remained publicly upbeat about the prospects for getting a financing deal by the middle of May.

"A government shutdown would have a devastating impact on the country's economy, with payroll and public service cuts, with a painful recovery and of a long duration," the officials said in the letter.

The government has used hardball tactics to browbeat recalcitrant lawmakers in the past. Padilla threatened to shutdown San Juan's public transport system in November if lawmakers refused to pass an increase in the crude oil tax.

That shutdown, which could have impacted 75,000 people, was ultimately avoided and lawmakers agreed to pass the tax rise.

WATCH: Government shutdown imminent in Puerto Rico.

- Yahoo.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Seismic Swarm Shakes Chile's Laguna del Maule Volcanic Complex - Over 150 Earthquakes Recorded; Area Is Seen As Of The Places On Earth MOSTLY LIKELY TO SEE A SUPER-ERUPTION And The Eruption Would Be THOUSAND TIMES MORE VOLUMINOUS Than The Villarrica Volcano; Last Erupted 600 Years Ago!

April 23, 2015 - MAULE REGION, CHILE
- SERNAGEOMIN recorded more than 150 earthquakes on Sunday. Despite this, the alert continues in level green.

The national service of geology and mining (Sernageomin) explained that the swimmer and 13:05 hrs of the day Sunday occurred during a seismic swarm in the Laguna del Maule volcanic complex, located in the commune of San Clemente, Maule Region.

During that span of hours, there were 175 2.2 in the escalation of Richter earthquakes, with its epicenter 11 kilometers southwest from the center of the lagoon and a depth of six kilometers, as reported by the volcanological Observatory of the southern Andes.

Image: Sernageomin

The director of Sernageomin, Rodrigo Álvarez, said that "due to low levels of energy released by this seismic swarm and according to its characteristics, not evidence an instability in the volcanic system, reason why Laguna del Maule stays on alert green."
The important thing is to understand that Chile has 90 active volcanoes, which means that we must get used to cohabit intelligently with this information. " The area of Laguna del Maule continues with activity standard within your baseline".

Laguna del Maule complex has caused concern in recent years, due to international studies that there have been made.

The Professor of the University of Wisconsin, Bradley Singer, said Channel 13 that this area would rate it "as one of the places most likely" to see a megaerupcion, a supererupcion in the future.

Imagen: Sernageomin

Location of Laguna del Maule

"This is a system active, (...)"
There is intrusion of magma into the crust, we see that for satellite data", he explained.

For his part, Ángelo Castruccio, Professor of the Department of geology of the University of Chile, said that "will happen an eruption in the future, what happens is that we don't know when."
"It may be 100 years from now, 1,000 years from now, maybe in one month, we do not know".

"Eruptions which resulted in the Laguna del Maule are thousands of times more voluminous" compared those of the Villarrica volcano in times recent, detailed Castruccio.

According to Sernageomin, complex presents 36 products volcanic lavas and domes and combination lava-domo of post-glaciar age, i.e. newer than 20 thousand years, which were formed from 24 different craters.
It should be noted that its last eruption occurred 600 years ago.

InSAR radar interferogram 14 Apr 2013 to 25 Jan 2014. One fringe denotes 15.5 mm of range change between satellite and ground. (Copyright: Singer et al., 2014)

Hypothesized magmatic system feeding the crystal-poor rhyolitic eruptions encircling Laguna del Maule (adapted from Hildreth, 2004). Section is SW-NE along bent line in
Figure 1B. Observations support inferences shown here, including: (1) rapid uplift, (2) shallow earthquakes, (3) active intrusion of mafic magma at 5 km depth,
and (4) normal faulting and geodetic data that record extension. (copyright: Singer et al., 2014)

Led by the University of Wisconsin, United States, studies show that you between 2007 and 2010 the Laguna del Maule had a hoist of bark of 30 cm per year, what at the time was the world's largest deformation rate on a volcanic system without rash.

From the same University, they claim that this is a great opportunity to analyze a "megavolcan" until you make rash, which could change the climate.

Today, the area has 11 seismic stations, five GPS equipment, a webcam and an electronic inclinometer to measure increases in the bark, in order to constantly monitor the volcanic complex. - Eldinamo. [Translated]

NOTE: Special thanks to Joann McKeon-Chan for contributing to this post.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes At LaGrange-Callaway Airport, Troup County, Georgia - Pilot Injured!

One person was injured after a plane crash at the airport in Troup County.

- A plane has crashed near the LaGrange-Callaway Airport, according to an airport official.

Authorities say one person was injured when a small plane crashed at a west Georgia airport.
Lt. Chris Taylor of LaGrange Fire Department tells the LaGrange Daily News the plane crashed at LaGrange-Callaway Airport in Troup County shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday.

He says the plane hit the ground near the end of a runway.

A Pitts aircraft had one person on board when it crashed short of the runway around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The NTSB is investigating the crash.

A spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration says that a bi-plane crashed near the LaGrange-Callaway Airport.

A state trooper pulled the 51-year-old pilot from the wreckage.

The pilot was the only one on board the plane and was flown to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash.
The name of the pilot, who owned the single-engine Pitts Model 12 plane, was not released.
The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and was expected to investigate the crash. - WRBL.

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Boom Heard In Northampton, United Kingdom - Ministry Of Defence Rules Out Sonic Boom?!

April 23, 2015 - UNITED KINGDOM
- A mysterious 'loud bang' was heard in Northampton last night.

Residents were left baffled after hearing the noise at around 10pm.

Some people took to Twitter to report what they heard, with one person suggesting it sounded like 'artillery fire'.

The Northants H&P has contacted Northamptonshire Police and Northants Fire and Rescue Service about the noise, and both say they have not received any calls about it.

The Ministry of Defence has also completely ruled out the possibility of it being caused by one of their planes.

Frencesca Sharpe (@Sylindria) said: "Just heard a heck of a 'boom' in Northampton and it didn't sound good #Northampton #noise."

Gary Painting (@Sketchys1) said: "Just heard a loud explosion... something like distant artillery fire! Anyone else hear it?"

Kev Smith, who heard the noise in Briar Hill, tweeted to Northants Police: "What was the loud explosive bang in Northampton around 2200hrs weds PM #Northampton" - Northampton News.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Indiana Extends State Of Emergency As HIV Epidemic Spreads - WORST OUTBREAK IN ITS HISTORY!

Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

- Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) has extended a state of emergency as the state battles the worst HIV outbreak in its history. At least 135 people have been diagnosed in two counties and the epidemic is linked to needle-sharing by opiate users.

The original public health emergency was declared on March 26, and would have expired on April 24. According to Indiana law, a state of disaster emergency may not continue for longer than 30 days unless the governor renews it. Pence extended the emergency via executive order on Monday.

“We have no higher priority than the health and safety of our citizens,”
Pence said in a statement. “Today, on the recommendations of the Indiana State Department of Health and in consultation with Scott County officials and the Centers for Disease Control, I used my authority as Governor to extend the public health emergency in Scott County for an additional thirty days.”

"This is the new normal for Indiana. It won't go away." 

“While we’ve made progress in identifying and treating those affected by this heartbreaking epidemic, the public health emergency continues and so must our efforts to fight it,”
he continued.

As the epidemic has grown to 135 cases ‒ 129 confirmed and six preliminary positives ‒ it has also spread from Scott County into Jackson County. There are five cases in Jackson, according to health officials.

The outbreak began in Scott County ‒ about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Louisville, Kentucky ‒ with the first diagnosis in mid-December. By late January, there were seven known HIV-positive patients in the rural, five-county area.

In February, the number climbed to 26. When Pence initially declared a state of emergency at the end of March, there were 79 confirmed cases of HIV originating in the south eastern Indiana county. Typically, Scott County would see fewer than five new HIV cases in a year, state officials said.

All of the cases are linked to intravenous drug abuse, mostly with the prescription painkiller Opana.

This is one of two rooms where HIV testing is being done. Prelim test takes about 20 mins

The executive order allows the incident command center, created by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) under the initial declaration, to continue coordinating HIV treatment and substance abuse treatment. It also continues to require state and local health, law enforcement and emergency response agencies, as well as health care providers and hospitals, to cooperate and assist in disaster response.

The state of emergency also extends the length of the “limited and focused short-term needle exchange program” in Scott County, but still doesn’t extend the program into neighboring counties, which critics contend is a massive failure on the part of the state.

"[Interstate] 65 goes from south to north,"
Dr. Deepak Azad, an internist in Scott County, told the Indianapolis Star in March. "Keeping a needle exchange program only in Scott County is not going to solve the problem."

Pence has consistently said he doesn’t support needle exchanges as an anti-drug policy, although public health officials and medical professionals say they are an effective way to combat the spread of diseases during IV drug use.

Health officials told reporters Tuesday that 95 people have visited the community outreach center set up in Scott County under the initial executive order, bringing in 3,111 needles. The center has distributed 4,337 needles.

Health officials report 95 visitors to community outreach center, 3,111 needles brought in, 4,337 needles distributed

It is illegal in Indiana to conduct a needle-exchange program, but the state legislature is considering lifting the ban. An Indiana Senate committee heard testimony Monday about a proposal to allow the counties at the highest risk of HIV outbreaks linked to intravenous drug use to set up needle exchange programs, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Joey Fox, director of legislative affairs for the Indiana State Department of Health, signaled that the administration may be softening its stance on the programs.

"This is a brand-new concept for the state of Indiana,"
Fox said during a hearing at a House-Senate negotiating committee on Monday. "I think the administration would be open to having a conversation."

Despite the steps Indiana has taken under the state of emergency to prevent the further spread of HIV among intravenous drug users, according to expert testimony at the Senate committee hearing.

Full house as conference committee discusses expanding needle exchange program for high risk counties in Indiana

An estimated 10 percent of the population of Austin, or about 430 people, are thought to use intravenous drugs, Dr. Shane Avery, a physician in Scottsburg, said. The HIV outbreak in the region could climb to about 200, or about half of all the IV drug users.

“We have kind of a recipe for disaster, all the bad ingredients — unemployment, high dropout, high teen pregnancy rate, high drug abuse rate,”
Dr. William Cooke, medical director for Family Foundations Medicine in Austin, told AP in March, noting that more than half of Scott County deaths are due to IV drug overdose.

The administration will continue to monitor the HIV outbreak to determine whether a further extension is necessary. - RT.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes In Central Zimbabwe - Two People Feared Dead!

A model of the K-8 jet.

April 23, 2015 - ZIMBABWE
- At least two people are feared dead after an Airforce of Zimbabwe jet crashed near Thornhill airbase in central Zimbabwe, state radio reported Thursday.

“The road leading to the wreckage has been cordoned off,” said the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s (ZBC) Power FM station.

“The pilot successfully ejected,” according to the report.

The Chinese-built K-8 jet crashed on Thursday morning a few kilometres from the airbase, which is situated in the central town of Gweru.

It was not immediately clear if they believed fatalities were people on the ground.

The ZBC’s website said that there had been two pilots in the aircraft and that both had successfully ejected from the plane. - News 24.

MONUMENTAL MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFFS: The Fukushima Effect And The Collapse Of Sea Life In The Pacific Ocean - Professors Declare That HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS Of Animals Have Died Recently Along U.S. West Coast; WORST MORTALITY EVENT EVER KNOWN; "Wiped Out At Least 20 DIFFERENT SPECIES"; Marine Life Also DISAPPEARING From Fukushima Coast; NUCLEAR WASTE Spilling Into Pacific Ocean After Power Outage Hits Fukushima Plant; Radiation Expert Says The Site Is So Radioactive And Unstable, "IT MAY NEVER BE CONTAINED"!

April 23, 2015 - PACIFIC OCEAN
- [A]n ongoing outbreak of a sea-star wasting disease… has killed millions of starfish… It’s the greatest wildlife mass-mortality event, or “die-off,” of the present day Online, speculation about the cause of the die-off soon focussed [sic] on radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant… [Pete Raimondi, principal investigator with a research group studying the disease] recalled a phone call in which a fearful soon-to-be father asked whether he should immediately move his family away from the West Coast. It was one of many similarly heartfelt calls. Researchers have found no evidence of a link between the ongoing Fukushima disaster and the starfish die-off,.. Many members of the public remain unconvinced… sea stars are known to be maritime canaries-in-the-coal-mine: “They’re always the first ones to go,” Raimondi said. - Apr 21, 2015 (emphasis added) - New Yorker.

[A] mysterious disease has melted millions of sea stars… This current epidemic has wiped out at least 20 different species of starfish, Raimondi said. - Apr 6, 2015 - Santa Cruz Sentinel.

“The numbers of stars that have died are probably — reasonable estimates of hundreds of millions. I think at this point most scientists are pretty comfortable saying that it’s the largest mass mortality ever associated with a disease ever recorded. [It's] quite frightening… Patterns we initially saw and subsequent to that — and some other data — strongly suggests that it has nothing to do with Fukushima, though that was something that was very commonly reported in the media.” - Jan 22, 2015 (35:45 in) - Dr. Ben Miner, Western Washington Univ..

Was ‘the media’ responsible for suggesting a possible link to Fukushima contamination as Dr. Miner claims? Or was it the sea star wasting researchers?

  • CTV News: The vanishing sea creatures have caused concern among marine experts [They're] studying the potential impact of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.
  • Discovery News: A wasting disease that’s attacking starfish… could be at least in part caused by nuclear pollution from [Fukushima] said a marine ecologist involved with studying sick starfish. Peter Raimondi [told News 1130 in Vancouver] that nuclear pollution carried across the ocean… can’t be ruled out as a factor. “One of the byproducts is obviously nuclear radiation discharge…” he told the news outlet.
  • Dr. Ian Hewson, Cornell Univ. (.mp3): “We’ve had a lot of questions about whether it is related to radiation from Fukushima. We can’t completely exclude that possibility, but… sea stars on the Japanese side of the Pacific, they’re not dying*, as far as we know.”
  • The Herald: “It’s extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact cause,” said Ben Miner… [One] theory is that the condition is caused by radiation [from] Fukushima… If that were true, many more creatures would be affected**, researchers said.“It’s unlikely to be the direct cause,” Miner said.
* See report from Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies (2014): “We conducted field surveys at intertidal zones of 43 sites… The number of species of intertidal biota seemed to get smaller as the site was close to 1F [Fukushima Daiichi]. No rock shell specimens were collected at 8 sites of Fukushima… specimens were collected at many sites in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, where enormous Tsunami attacked, it is unlikely that smaller number of intertidal species were caused by Tsunami. Contaminated cooling water may have given any impacts to intertidal biota.” [Sea stars are "the foundation of intertidal life" - Source]

** Many other instances of mass die-offs and disease have occurred along North America’s Pacific coast since 2011 — for example: whales, orcas, dolphins, sea lionsseals, polar bears, walruses, sea birds, owls, pelicans, turtles, crabs, sea urchins, oysters, scallops, abalone, sardines, anchovies, salmon, herring, jellyfish, sea salps, coral, krill, plankton and more.

WATCH: State of Bellingham Bay - Biological Ecosystems.

Outage hits pumps at Fukushima plant; toxic water leaks into ocean – [Tepco] on Tuesday reported that a power outage has shut down all eight water transfer pumps… and that radioactive water is again leaking into the Pacific Ocean… The beleaguered utility said it was checking into what happened and how much water had leaked. The pumping had begun last Friday, in response to a finding in late February that highly radioactive water in the channel was reaching the ocean. - Apr 21, 2015 - Kyodo News.

Radioactive water leaking into sea — [TEPCO] says radioactively contaminated rainwater is spilling outside the facility’s port after pumps to prevent leakage stopped working… The firm started operating the pumps last Friday. But on Tuesday, a worker found that they had stopped and the water was going into the sea. TEPCO officials say they don’t know the amount or radioactive level of the water. - Apr 21, 2015 - NHK.

[TEPCO] says radioactive rainwater has stopped leaking into the sea as pumps are back in operation… The pumps were used to draw the contaminated rainwater from a drainage channel to prevent leaks… They said a worker found the pumps had stopped, allowing the water to spill outside the facility’s port. The officials say the rainwater spilled into the sea for more than 11 hours, but they do not know the amount. But they say the radioactive levels of the drainage water were low… The pumps had been installed as a stopgap measure to reroute the channel… rainwater that had accumulated on the roof of a reactor building was spilling through the drainage channel. This rooftop water contained comparatively high levels of radioactive substances. - Apr 21, 2015 - NHK.

I was hired by the Atomic Energy Commission as a radiological monitor at the “Rad Lab,” University of California in Berkeley… While working at the university “Rad Lab,” I was offered a research job at the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory… Chernobyl, which melted down in 1986, is still leaking and the sarcophagus being built to cover it is not finished. But the most critical site is Fukushima – so radioactive and unstable that it may never be contained… four years after the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, radioactive materials continue to flow into the air and ocean. Given that it takes 10 half-lives for an isotope to completely decay, for sr-90 and cs-137, that will be nearly three centuries… in one lifetime our world has become a massive dumping ground – toxic in various ways to all life. - Apr 17, 2015 - Dr. Janette D. Sherman, MD.

None of today’s reports mention that hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater enter the Pacific Ocean each day.

See also: Highly radioactive liquid flowing into Pacific — Experts: Amount entering ocean “increasing by 400 tons daily” (VIDEO)

 Compiled by: ENE News.

ICE AGE NOW: Winter Returns In APRIL In The United States - Snowfall In 23 STATES, As Far South As NEW MEXICO; When Does Winter End?!

Roxann Lincoln @Rlincoln93060

April 23, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- Late April is starting to feel more like mid-winter for many parts of the U.S. this week. The Great Lakes and Northeast woke up to snow on Thursday morning and for some, it was actually the fourth day in a row of the wintry weather.

Since Sunday, it has snowed in at least 23 states, as far south as New Mexico, according to the national snow analysis from the National Weather Service. Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin have been seeing snow all week, but are finally getting a reprieve on Thursday (if you can call temperatures in the 30s a reprieve).

This is not the kind of radar image you want to see in late April. Snow is falling from Michigan to New England on Thursday morning, April 23. (Weather Underground)

The Yankees played in Detroit on Wednesday night as flakes flew. After Yankees player Jacoby Ellsbury got hit square in the chest by a pitch, he likened it to “a frozen snowball.”

Looking at the typical last day of snow in these areas, this isn’t totally unheard of. But it was a long, cold winter so it’s not hard to understand why people are at least mildly annoyed.

Places where snow has fallen in the Lower 48 since Sunday. (NWS)

According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight of the last day of snow in the largest 25 U.S. cities, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Denver all have a decent shot of seeing snow in mid-to-late April. Denver’s median last day of snow is actually in late April, and snowy days often linger well into May.

Wednesday’s Mid-Atlantic cold front blasted the high elevations of western Maryland with snow, which we watched on traffic cameras with dismay as it quickly coated the ground.

(Harry Enten,

AccuWeather’s Jesse Ferrell shared this depressingly cold image showing observations of snow stretched from the Arctic Circle into Pennsylvania. The colors in his graphic indicate temperature, notably that 41 states saw temperatures in the 30s or lower at 7 a.m. Thursday morning, and 37 states saw below freezing temps.

Most of the snow in the Northeast on Thursday is lake-effect enhanced, but can be attributed to a persistently parked upper level low pressure area that has been spinning over the Great Lakes for the past week, shooting off smaller weather disturbances and their associated cold fronts.

It's Apr 22 and yes, snowing!, in western Maryland, temp 32:
(img via @terpweather)

(Jesse Ferrell via Facebook)

@SamChampion make it stop! Snowy and cold a week before may! #amhq #makeitstop

Beth Cleveland  in #almostMay. Seriously?
Pam Baron @baron_pam

happy spring
cailey @caileyschwind

Redfield, NY (Tug Hill Plateau) received 3½" of snow so far via @CYerdon . @alroker @TODAYshow @JimCantore #nywx
Peter Hall @PeteWeatherBeat

Late season lake effect snowfall in parts of northern Ohio @JimCantore @spann
Scott Sabol @ScottSabolFOX8

The stagnant upper-level low is expected to push off to the east over the next day or two, but will be quickly replaced by new troughs lined up behind it. In fact, cooler than average conditions are forecast to set up over the eastern U.S. for the next couple of weeks, while the west will likely see warmer than average temperatures. The warm West, cool East pattern is something we saw dig in its heels for most of this past winter.

Thursday’s snow is piling up in an not-insignificant fashion in the Northeast. Enhanced by lake effect snow, the accumulation is growing in Northeast Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Upstate New York. - Washington Post.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Man-Made Earthquakes Increasing In Central And Eastern United States - USGS Claims!

An older methodology was used to count earthquakes from 1960-2012

April 23, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- For the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey has unveiled a map of earthquakes thought to be triggered by human activity in the eastern and central United States.

Oklahoma is by far the worst-hit state recently, according to the USGS study released Thursday. The state last year had more earthquakes magnitude 3 or higher than California, part of a huge increase recorded in recent years.

Seismic activity in Texas near the Dallas-Fort Worth area has also increased substantially recently. Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Ohio have all experienced more frequent quakes in the last year.

All of the areas highlighted on the map “are located near deep fluid injection wells or other industrial activities capable of inducing earthquakes,” the study said.

Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS' National Seismic Hazard Project, said the pattern of increased quakes is troubling.

“These earthquakes are occurring at a higher rate than ever before, and pose a much greater risk and threat to people living nearby,” Petersen said.

The release of the map comes as officials are coming to terms with the idea that wastewater disposal following oil and gas extraction is causing more earthquakes. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves shooting a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to extract oil and natural gas. The resulting wastewater is often forced underground as well, but can trigger earthquakes on faults that haven’t moved in a very long time.

The Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday that the sharp rise in quakes in that state is “very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process,” since they are occurring over the same area that saw a huge jump in wastewater disposal in the last several years.

The seismicity rate in 2013 was 70 times greater than the background seismicity rate observed in Oklahoma prior to 2008, state officials said.

Human-induced earthquakes have troubled scientists because they pose a risk to public safety — and because they have become larger. A magnitude 5.6 earthquake believed to have been caused by wastewater injection hit near Prague, Okla., in 2011, injuring two people and destroying 14 homes. That same year, a 5.3 earthquake struck a remote part of Colorado, near the town of Trinidad close to the New Mexico border, which the USGS said was also triggered by wastewater injection.

History suggests that even larger earthquakes could be in store.

“We know, for example, in Oklahoma that there was an earthquake of about magnitude 7 about 1,300 years ago,” said USGS geophysicist William Ellsworth. “We have to be guided with what we have seen in the past.”

The idea that injecting water deep into the ground can trigger earthquakes has been talked about for decades.

In the 1960s, many scientists concluded that injection of chemical-waste fluid in the Denver Basin triggered seismic activity, according to a study at the time in the journal Science.

Before 1976, earthquakes were rare in the desert town of Gazli in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. Like Oklahoma, this Soviet region was far away from the boundaries of the giant tectonic plates whose crashes create the huge quakes well known in places such as California.

Then two big earthquakes hit the Gazli area that year, and a magnitude 7 quake struck in 1984, killing one person and injuring more than 100. Scientists writing in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America at the time suggested that the quake could have been induced by human activity at the gas field.

Now that the USGS maps have been released, one big question is what to do about the man-made quakes.

USGS geophysicists Art McGarr and Andy Michael called for better monitoring of regions with increased seismic activity. Some areas rely on relatively crude seismic sensors that can’t precisely identify the location of quakes that are smaller than a magnitude 3. But that knowledge could help scientists identify areas where seismic pressure is building up.
It would also aid them in determining the size of unmapped faults in these areas.

“It’s a bit frustrating when we don’t have really good earthquake locations,” Michael said.

And better data could help scientists manage the quake risk. Not all wastewater injection causes earthquakes, Ellsworth said, and regulators in some areas may opt to restrict wastewater injection in places where the risk is high.

Officials in Kansas have already ordered a reduction in wastewater injections in certain areas, and authorities are observing whether it will be followed by a reduction in quakes.

“We think society can manage the hazard,” Ellsworth said. “We don’t have to stop production of oil and gas, but we think we can do so in a way that will minimize the earthquake hazard.”

For instance, the risk could be reduced by placing new wastewater injection sites further away from cities or critical facilities where large earthquakes are a big worry, Ellsworth and McGarr wrote in an essay published in the journal Science in February.

“The general public is the most important stakeholder because they may be exposed to potential injury and damage,” the pair and their colleagues wrote. “If an induced earthquake sequence results in damage, then blame can be assigned with legal implications for liability. The question of whether an earthquake sequence was induced or natural is of more than academic interest.” - LA Times.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Surreal - Sunset Turns Massive Calbuco Eruption Into AMAZING SCENES! UPDATE: Second Explosion Even Stronger Than The First - Ash Reaches Up To 65,000 Feet High! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Reuters / Rafael Arenas

April 23, 2015 - CHILE
- The record-breaking volcanic eruption in southern Chile is dramatically altering skies, as spectacular views emerge of white plumes creeping miles up into the sky after coloring the night orange. A second blast took place hours ago.

Nature’s colossal power was aptly demonstrated by Calcubo, which erupted a second time just a few hours ago, with agencies reporting a stronger eruption than the first.

An electrical storm mixed with the raging spurts of lava overnight to create what looked like the jaws of hell opening to swallow the surrounding landscape.

AFP Photo / David Cortes

AFP Photo / David Cortes

Reuters / Carlos Gutierrez

Reuters / Sergio Candia

Reuters / Sergio Candia

In scenes reminiscent of the movie Independence Day, white mushroom disks adorned the daytime skies, slowly claiming the city of Puerto Varas for their own.

Even rarer and arguably more precious-looking views opened up against the setting sun, as the white disks collided with its glow.

This is what the scene looked like in video.

WATCH: Amazing visuals of Calcubo's eruption.

For a few hours it looked as though Puerto Varas was entirely submerged beneath a menacing blanket of fire.

Breathtaking photography revealed the nighttime sky with its billions of stars, struggling against a mess of dark ash and debris.  - RT.

Second explosion at 01:00 local time

A second explosion occurred at 01:00 local time (4am GMT), even stronger than the first one last evening. VAAC Buenos Aires reports ash to 40,000 ft (12 km) altitude while other sources speak of heights up to 15-20 km (65,000 feet).

Pyroclastic flows occurred during the second eruption on the southeast flank, caused by partial collapse of the eruption column.

A large ash plume is moving northeast and has reached Villa Angostura and Bariloche in Argentinia where ash is now falling. In more nearby areas such as Ensenada (Región de Los Lagos), up to 40 cm of ash have been reported.

Spectacular images of the subplinian eruption column and plume at day and night, including volcanic lightning, are emerging everywhere on the net.

Ash cloud of Calbuco this morning

First pluse of eruption last evening:
The first eruption that had started 18:08 local time last evening followed only 2 hours of strong seismic activity recorded by Sernageomin, but otherwise came as a complete surprise.

Over 4000 people were evacuated or fled from an area within 20 km radius of the volcano during the first hours. 3 small towns are now deserted (Ensenada, Correntoso, Lago Chapo). Significant ash fall occurred in areas to the east and northeast of the volcano.

The airport of Puerto Montt is closed and flights are diverted to Valdivia. In the city itself, people tried frantically to refuel cars and stock up supplies, leading to traffic jams, empty supermarkets and chaos.

The first pulse only lasted about 2 hours and a lava flow could have been active by around 19:30, based on seismic signals from Sernageomin.  - Volcano Discovery.