Friday, April 24, 2015

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Vancouver Plane Crashes In Mount Tom, Oregon - Pilot's Body Found Among The Wreckage!

A Search and Rescue team has found the wreckage of a small airplane bound for Vancouver in Oregon. The plane crashed on Mount Tom, about nine miles
east of the Linn County community of Harrisburg, Ore. ()

April 24, 2015 - OREGON, UNITED STATES
- Searchers looking for a missing Vancouver plane found wreckage and a body Friday afternoon on a mountain in Linn County, Ore.

An Oregon Army National Guard helicopter was sent out Friday morning to help search for Vancouver pilot Lee Cheshire Leslie, 41, and his Piper PA-28. Around 1 p.m. searchers spotted a crashed airplane on Mount Tom, a heavily forested area where they had concentrated the search, the Oregon Civil Air Patrol said.

The Federal Aviation Administration had tracked the plane’s flight path to a point where the plane went off radar in the Mount Tom area, which is about 9 miles east of Harrisburg, Ore., the Civil Air Patrol said.

Searchers with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office went out to the crash site and found a body among the wreckage. The body and the plane haven’t been positively identified yet, the sheriff’s office said.

“Everything indicates that this was more than likely the plane that was missing, but we can’t confirm that at this point,” Sheriff Bruce Riley said. Plane crashes are not uncommon in Linn County, which is mountainous in some areas and has several small airports and airstrips.

The Linn County Medical Examiner’s Office will identify the body and determine cause of death.

Around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Leslie took off from Hobby Field in Creswell, Ore., about 120 miles from Vancouver’s Pearson Field. After the plane was reported overdue Tuesday night, managers of airports along the plane’s flight path were called and asked to do a ramp search to look for the tail number of the plane in question, said Civil Air Patrol Vice Commander Ted Tanory.




The Lane County Sheriff’s Office filed a missing person report and began working with the Civil Air Patrol to find the pilot and his plane. Pilots flew over the area, looking for damaged or burned foliage that might indicate where a plane had crashed.

Upon finding the downed plane, the Civil Air Patrol stopped looking for Leslie and his plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what caused the crash.

Leslie is believed to be the only person who was onboard the silver and red aircraft that was bound for Pearson Field. The pilot didn’t file a flight plan, the FAA said, nor was he required to do so.

Willy Williamson, manager of Pearson Field, said Leslie never made contact with him, anyone else at the airport or Aero Maintenance, which runs a flight school at the airport. He met Leslie a few months ago and said Leslie was relatively new to the airport.

Leslie’s Piper PA-28 is one of the most common private planes in the world, designed to be safe and easy to fly, Williamson said. - Columbian.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Global Seismic Uptick - Strong 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Off Northern California Coast And 3 Idaho Quakes Rattle Residents From Washington To Montana!

USGS earthquake locations over the last 7 days.

April 24, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 5.5 earthquake has struck in the Pacific Ocean near Eureka.

The USGS says the quake’s epicenter was located 162 miles west of Eureka at 5:34 p.m.


USGS shakemap intensity.

The quake struck at a depth of six miles.  At least two people reported feeling the shaking on the USGS site.

No tsunami warning was issued. - CBS.


3 Idaho Quakes Rattle Residents From Washington to Montana

Three earthquakes up to magnitude-4.2 and nearly a half-dozen aftershocks jolted northern Idaho, with residents from Washington state to Montana saying they felt the tremors.

A Bonner County emergency dispatcher in Sandpoint said Friday morning that no injuries or damage were reported. The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-4.1 quake hit first, around 7:32 p.m. Thursday, centered 30 miles northeast of Hayden.

"It was crazy, the whole house was shaking," said Charity Hadley, 37, of Sagle, who was outside on her deck with her dog, Bella. "She was running around the yard and barking and looking around like, 'What is this?'"

She said nothing was damaged in the house during the quake that she estimated lasted several minutes.

A second quake of magnitude-4.2 struck a little more than three hours later, waking up Hadley and her dog. That quake was centered 38 miles northeast of Hayden. Then, a magnitude-3.3 temblor hit at 1:28 a.m. Friday in the same area.

Also Friday, a magnitude-6.1 earthquake struck British Columbia's north coast, but a tsunami was not expected and no injuries or damage were reported.

After the Idaho temblors, hundreds of people logged onto the Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information website to report feeling them.


USGS shakemap intensity.

Mike Stickney, senior research geologist at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology based in Butte, Montana, said four aftershocks of up to magnitude-2.5 occurred after the first quake and another small aftershock followed the second quake.

He said the shaking was almost certainly caused by a slip on a fault, though there are no known active faults in the area. However, there are many old faults — millions of years old that occurred with the formation of the Rocky Mountains — that likely caused the quakes, Stickney said.

The Lucky Friday Mine, a silver mine and one of the nation's deepest at about a mile, is about 60 miles from where the quakes struck, but they weren't felt there and work was going on as usual, said Mike Westerlund of Hecla Mining Co. A small earthquake closer to the mine in February briefly slowed production.

Stickney said he had no reason to believe the recent quakes might lead to something larger but had no guarantees.

"It's not one of the more seismically active regions in Idaho," he said. "But as this well-proves, nowhere in the state is immune from the possibility of earthquakes." - ABC News.




EXTREME WEATHER: Epic Dust Storms Continue As The Celestial Black Event Nears - Five People Killed After Dust Storm And Lightning Hit Uttar Pradesh, India; Hundreds Of Farmers Have Committed Suicide Over Losing Crop Harvest!



April 24, 2015 - UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA
- Five people including a woman were killed late Friday after a dust storm and lightning hit many parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, officials said on Saturday.

While two people died in Jaunpur after being struck by lightning, two others died in Pratapgarh and a woman lost her life in Azamgarh.

Police said Afroz and Preeti were struck by lightening in Jaunpur and died later on way to a local medical facility.

Heavy rainfall and lightning in Pratapgarh killed two people while a woman, identified as Ramawati was killed in Kamharia village of Azamgarh when her mud house caved in due to the dust storm.

Extensive damage to vegetable yield and wheat crop has also been reported.

Hailstorm has been reported from Rasra in Ballia, leading to damage of crop and many vehicles.

Unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm in the past 40 days led to crop damage in the state, leaving the farmers devastated.

Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide while many died due to shock over losing the harvest. - Zee News.




PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Global Seismic Uptick - Very Strong 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes New Zealand, Causing Panic And Minor Structural Damage, Halting Local Transportation Services, Setting Of Alarms And Knocking Food Items Off Shelves! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 24, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- A strong magnitude 6.3 earthquake has hit 40 kilometers off the New Zealand town of Kaikoura, GeoNet reported. Witnesses described feeling tremors all across central regions of the country.



The quake centered in Nelson region at the depth of 80 kilometers, according to GeoNet. The US Geological Survey, meanwhile, reported a lower magnitude of 5.9 at the epicenter.


There were no immediate reports of any major damage caused by the quake; however, local public transport services were temporarily halted.


USGS shakemap intensity.


The power of the earthquake's tremors knocked food items from their shelves in the stores and set off alarms.

Locals reported that the temblor lasted longer than usual, forcing houses to creak, which caused some people to panic.


GNS Science spokeswoman Caroline Little said the quake was labelled as "strong."

"We've classed it as a strong quake so a small amount of structural damage, but more likely things falling off shelves and that sort of thing," she said.

Little warned that some aftershocks are to be expected.

"The general rule of thumb with aftershocks is they'll be up to one magnitude less than the main shock, so we might have some fives and fours and threes as well," she said.


Kaikoura's store manager, James Hills, described the chaos in his shop after the quake hit.

"Fair bit of panic - get out of the shop, everything was falling off the shelves. There's been a little bit of damage, certainly not heaps, but yeah, there's a lot of stuff fallen over."

"Well, initially, we were up on the second floor and felt a slight movement, we thought, 'that's okay, that's it,' so we just took our seats, then it came on - to me, it was a rolling motion, quite firm, quite solid," Kaikoura's mayor, Winston Gray, told Radio New Zealand News, adding that there were some reports of minor damage throughout the city. - RT.


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.

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 (greater than 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.


USGS plate tectonics for the region. (PDF)

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.






FIRE IN THE SKY: "The Mark Of Zorro" - UK Photographer Snaps Meteor Leaving A Stunning "Z" Formation In The Sky!

© petapixel.com

April 24, 2015 - UNITED KINGDOM
- A couple of nights ago, Hawick, UK-based photographer Sam Cornwell spent some time in the great outdoors taking pictures of the April Lyrids meteor shower that happens from April 16 to April 26 of each year.

Just as he was about to call it quits and return home without a keeper, Cornwell captured the above photo of a huge "fireball" streaking across the night sky.

After returning home and taking a closer look at the burst of frames he shot, Cornwell noticed that the meteor had left a "wicked smoke trail" in the sky in the shape of an expanding (then disappearing) 'Z.'

He strung the frames together into an animated GIF.




"Looks a bit like the mark of Zorro dontchafink?," Cornwell writes. - Petapixel.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Two Strong 5.3 Magnitude Earthquakes Hits Aleutian Island, Alaska - Tsunami Warning Issued! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake locations.

April 24, 2015 - ALASKA, UNITED STATES - Two moderate earthquakes of magnitude 5.3 (mg/mb) was reported on Thursday and Friday in Alaska.

The first one struck at 74 kilometers (46 miles) from Buldir Island, with a depth of 56km.


USGS earthquake location for the tremor near to Buldir Island.


A tsunami warning has been issued near Buldir Island in Alaska, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The second at 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Atka, with a depth of 49km.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of Alaska

The Aleutian arc extends approximately 3,000 km from the Gulf of Alaska in the east to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the west. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Aleutian Islands and the deep offshore Aleutian Trench.

The curvature of the arc results in a westward transition of relative plate motion from trench-normal (i.e., compressional) in the east to trench-parallel (i.e., translational) in the west, accompanied by westward variations in seismic activity, volcanism, and overriding plate composition. The Aleutian arc is generally divided into three regions: the western, central, and eastern Aleutians. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate that increases from roughly 60 mm/yr at the arc's eastern edge to 76 mm/yr near its western terminus. The eastern Aleutian arc extends from the Alaskan Peninsula in the east to the Fox Islands in the west. Motion along this section of the arc is characterized by arc-perpendicular convergence and Pacific plate subduction beneath thick continental lithosphere. This region exhibits intense volcanic activity and has a history of megathrust earthquakes.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The central Aleutian arc extends from the Andreanof Islands in the east to the Rat Islands in the west. Here, motion is characterized by westward-increasing oblique convergence and Pacific plate subduction beneath thin oceanic lithosphere. Along this portion of the arc, the Wadati-Benioff zone is well defined to depths of approximately 200 km. Despite the obliquity of convergence, active volcanism and megathrust earthquakes are also present along this margin.

The western Aleutians, stretching from the western end of the Rat Islands in the east to the Commander Islands, Russia, in the west, is tectonically different from the central and eastern portions of the arc. The increasing component of transform motion between the Pacific and North America plates is evidenced by diminishing active volcanism; the last active volcano is located on Buldir Island, in the far western portion of the Rat Island chain. Additionally, this portion of the subduction zone has not hosted large earthquakes or megathrust events in recorded history. Instead, the largest earthquakes in this region are generally shallow, predominantly strike-slip events with magnitudes between M5-6. Deeper earthquakes do occur, albeit rather scarcely and with small magnitudes (Magnitude less than 4), down to approximately 50 km.

Most of the seismicity along the Aleutian arc results from thrust faulting that occurs along the interface between the Pacific and North America plates, extending from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. Slip along this interface is responsible for generating devastating earthquakes. Deformation also occurs within the subducting slab in the form of intermediate-depth earthquakes that can reach depths of 250 km. Normal faulting events occur in the outer rise region of the Aleutian arc resulting from the bending of the oceanic Pacific plate as it enters the Aleutian trench. Additionally, deformation of the overriding North America plate generates shallow crustal earthquakes.

The Aleutian arc is a seismically active region, evidenced by the many moderate to large earthquakes occurring each year. Since 1900, this region has hosted twelve large earthquakes (Magnitude greater than 7.5) including the May 7, 1986 M8.0 Andreanof Islands, the June 10, 1996 M7.9 Andreanof Islands, and the November 17, 2003 M7.8 Rat Islands earthquakes. Six of these great earthquakes (M8.3 or larger) have occurred along the Aleutian arc that together have ruptured almost the entire shallow megathrust contact. The first of these major earthquakes occurred on August 17, 1906 near the island of Amchitka (M8.3) in the western Aleutian arc. However, unlike the other megathrust earthquakes along the arc, this event is thought to have been an intraplate event occurring in the shallow slab beneath the subduction zone interface.

The first megathrust event along the arc during the 20th century was the November 10, 1938 M8.6 Shumagin Island earthquake. This event ruptured an approximately 300 km long stretch of the arc from the southern end of Kodiak Island to the northern end of the Shumagin Islands and generated a small tsunami that was recorded as far south as Hawaii.

The April 1, 1946 M8.6 Unimak Island earthquake, located in the central Aleutian arc, was characterized by slow rupture followed by a devastating Pacific-wide tsunami that was observed as far south as the shores of Antarctica. Although damage from earthquake shaking was not severe locally, tsunami run-up heights were recorded as high as 42 m on Unimak Island and tsunami waves in Hilo, Hawaii also resulted in casualties. The slow rupture of this event has made it difficult to constrain the focal mechanism and depth of the earthquake, though it is thought to have been an interplate thrust earthquake.

The next megathrust earthquake occurred along the central portion of the Aleutian arc near the Andreanof Islands on March 9, 1957, with a magnitude of M8.6. The rupture length of this event was approximately 1200 km, making it the longest observed aftershock zone of all the historic Aleutian arc events. Although only limited seismic data from this event are still available, significant damage and tsunamis were observed on the islands of Adak and Unimak with tsunami heights of approximately 13 m.

The easternmost megathrust earthquake was the March 28, 1964 M9.2 Prince William Sound earthquake, currently the second largest recorded earthquake in the world. The event had a rupture length of roughly 700 km extending from Prince William Sound in the northeast to the southern end of Kodiak Island in the southwest. Extensive damage was recorded in Kenai, Moose Pass, and Kodiak but significant shaking was felt over a large region of Alaska, parts of western Yukon Territory, and British Columbia, Canada. Property damage was the largest in Anchorage, as a result of both the main shock shaking and the ensuing landslides. This megathrust earthquake also triggered a devastating tsunami that caused damage along the Gulf of Alaska, the West Coast of the United States, and in Hawaii.

The westernmost Aleutians megathrust earthquake followed a year later on February 4, 1965. This M8.7 Rat Islands earthquake was characterized by roughly 600 km of rupture. Although this event is quite large, damage was low owing to the region's remote and sparsely inhabited location. A relatively small tsunami was recorded throughout the Pacific Ocean with run-up heights up to 10.7 m on Shemya Island and flooding on Amchitka Island.

Although the Aleutian arc is highly active, seismicity is rather discontinuous, with two regions that have not experienced a large (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquake in the past century: the Commander Islands in the western Aleutians and the Shumagin Islands in the east. Due to the dominantly transform motion along the western arc, there is potential that the Commander Islands will rupture in a moderate to large strike-slip earthquake in the future. The Shumagin Islands region may also have high potential for hosting a large rupture in the future, though it has been suggested that little strain is being accumulated along this section of the subduction zone, and thus associated hazards may be reduced.

East of the Aleutian arc along the Gulf of Alaska, crustal earthquakes occur as a result transmitted deformation and stress associated with the northwestward convergence of the Pacific plate that collides a block of oceanic and continental material into the North America plate. In 2002, the Denali Fault ruptured in a sequence of earthquakes that commenced with the October 23 M6.7 Nenana Mountain right-lateral strike-slip earthquake and culminated with the November 3, M7.9 Denali earthquake which started as a thrust earthquake along a then unrecognized fault and continued with a larger right-lateral strike-slip event along the Denali and Totschunda Faults.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics


- USGS.




GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Planetary Transformations - Film Shows Powerful Landslide Ripping Up Trees Like Matchsticks In Russia!

Slow and steady: Powerful landslide engulfs Russian countryside

April 24, 2015 - RUSSIA
- The terrifying natural phenomenon brought down hundreds of trees in the area as the ground appeared to collapse

The is the incredible moment a powerful landslide tore down hundreds of trees as it ripped through the countryside.

And despite its low speed, the landslide doesn't seem any less terrifying as it cascades down the hillside.

In the clip, the sound of tree roots can be heard as they rip from the ground while the rocky outcrops appear to subside and collapse in on themselves.

The footage emerged earlier this month, and information provided by the filmmaker claims the natural phenomenon occurred on April 1 in Zarechny, Russia.


WATCH: Dramatic video shows powerful landslide ripping up trees like matchsticks.




It is likely the landslide was caused by spring meltwater that had seeped into the soil on nearby hillsides, according to The Weather Network.

When water is able to saturate most of the soil, the ground becomes more viscous and the soil is more likely to 'flow' downhill. - Daily Mirror.



OMEN: Portents, Symbolism, Signs, And Disaster Precursors - Baby Born With Eight Limbs In India?!

Thousands have flocked to the small town where the baby was born. © Caters

April 24, 2015 - INDIA
- Worshippers in India have gathered in the small town of Dumri-Isri to celebrate the arrival of the baby

Thousands of religious devotees have flocked to see a baby born with eight limbs to worship him as a Hindu God.

The baby boy, who has not yet been named, was born with four legs and four arms - thought to be the result of a birth defect from an underdeveloped conjoined twin.

But worshippers in India have gathered in the small town of Dumri-Isri to celebrate the arrival of the baby, who they believe to be a reincarnation of Hindu God Ganesha.

Ganesha is one of the most iconic and widely-worshipped deities in the Hindu religion and is represented as an elephant with four arms.

Kuntalesh Pandey told local media he had travelled 72 miles to catch a glimpse of the boy.

He said: "When a friend first sent me a picture I wrote it off as photoshopped but when he confirmed that it is real I came to see the baby straight away."

The condition of the baby's mother, Ureda Khatun, is unknown.

The baby is not the first to win adulation from Hindus after being born with a physical abnormality.

Last year, a boy with a seven-inch 'tail' announced he was considering having it removed - despite being worshipped as a God.

Arshid Ali Khan, 13, was hailed an incarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. - Daily Mirror.




PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Just East Of Seddo, New Zealand! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

© Geonet

April 24, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- More tremors are likely following two earthquakes which hit central New Zealand, a GNS scientist says.

Seismologist Dr John Ristau said it was likely there would be more quakes following Thursday's shakes, but it was impossible to say whether they would be stronger or weaker than the 5.1.

"You have to remember this whole area is seismically active to begin with," he said.

"It's likely there's be an aftershock around 4. There's also a chance there'll be something bigger.

"If you think back to July 2013 when those quakes started you first had one around 5, a little bit above 5, and then a couple weeks later was the first of those two 6.6 quakes." - Stuff.


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.

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 (greater than 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.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

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.





OMEN: Portents, Symbolism, Signs, Disaster Precursors And Animal Behavior - Lamb Born With Face Like An "Angry Old Man" In Dagestan, Russia?! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

A vet said the lamb's deformity may have been caused by too much vitamin A in its mother's diet. © CEN

April 24, 2015 - DAGESTAN, RUSSIA
- Proud owner Blasius Lavrentiev's shock soon turned to delight after he was offered 10 times the normal price for her

A lamb born with a face 'like an angry old man with a big nose' has avoided the chop after a circus made an offer for her.

Proud owner Blasius Lavrentiev's shock soon turned to delight after he was already offered 10 times the normal price for her.

Sheep farmer Lavrentiev, 45, from the village of Chirka close to the Republic of Dagestan in south-western Russia, had been waiting all week for his prized ewe to give birth.

The farmer said described the lamb as a "little beauty". © CEN


He said: "We had quite a tough winter and when I noticed she was pregnant I was delighted as it meant I would be able to sell the lambs and start making some money again.

"But when I went down to see how it was going I nearly died from shock when I saw what looked like the hairy face of an old man staring up at me.


"Her parents are both normal looking sheep so I have no idea how she ended up looking like this."

Now the human-faced lamb has become the talk of the village.


WATCH: Lamb born with face like an angry old man.




The farmer said described the lamb as a "little beauty"

Neighbour Dementi Galkin, 65, said: "I've seen some weird stuff in my time, but nothing like this.

"She looks like an angry old man with a big nose."


Villager Dana Mishina, 56, said: "She is both freaky and sweet.

"I don't know what to make of it really. But she terrifies my grandchildren."

"It will be interesting to see what she looks like when she gets older."

Local vet Dorofei Gavrilov, 49, said: "From what we can make out the anomaly is the result of the farmer giving the lamb's mother too much vitamin A.

Proud owner Lavrentiev however has found his shock turn to delight after he was already offered 10 times the normal price - from a local circus - and several other enquiries have also come in since then.

He said: "Whatever has caused it she's a little beauty and I definitely won't be selling her for anyone's dinner table either as the buyers want her on display.

"She'll be staying with us until then." - Daily Mirror.