Tuesday, May 12, 2015

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Amtrak Train Crashes In Philadelphia - Wreckage "Pretty Bad"; Cars Ripped Apart; 6 Persons Killed; Dozens Injured!

An Amtrak train crashed Tuesday, May 12, 2015, near Philadelphia. Train 188 was traveling from Washington to New York City. (AP Photo/Paul Cheung)

- An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and tipped over in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, mangling the front of it, tearing the cars apart and killing at least six people. Dozens of passengers were injured, and some climbed out of windows to get away.

Mayor Michael Nutter, who confirmed the deaths, said the scene was horrific.

"It is an absolute disastrous mess," he said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."

He said there were train cars that were "completely overturned, on their side, ripped apart."

"It is a devastating scene down there," he said. "We walked the entire length of the train area, and the engine completely separated from the rest of the train, and one of the cars is perpendicular to the rest of the cars. It's unbelievable."

Firefighters said dozens of people were hospitalized and six were critically injured.

Train 188, a Northeast Regional, had left Washington, D.C. The front of the train was going into a turn when it started to shake before coming to a sudden stop.

An Associated Press manager, Paul Cheung, was on the train and said he was watching Netflix when "the train started to decelerate, like someone had slammed the brake."

"Then suddenly you could see everything starting to shake," he said. "You could see people's stuff flying over me."

Cheung said another passenger urged him to escape from the back of his car, which he did. He said he saw passengers trying to escape through the windows of cars tipped on their side.

"The front of the train is really mangled," he said. "It's a complete wreck. The whole thing is like a pile of metal."

Patrick J. Murphy

Officials tell @nbcphiladelphia Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia; Pic from @PatrickMurphyPA shows injuries
Brian Ries

BREAKING: Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia, multiple injuries reported http://nbcnews.to/1JGcan5 @NBCPhiladelphia
NBC Nightly News

EMT helping survivors taking them to the hospital #amtrak #philly
Beth Davidz

Was just on #Amtrak train that crashed
Beth Davidz

Amtrak Train Derails in Philadelphia http://www.myfoxla.com/story/29048426
FOX 11 Los Angeles

Another passenger, Daniel Wetrin, was among more than a dozen people taken to an elementary school afterward.

"I think the fact that I walked off (the train) kind of made it even more surreal because a lot of people didn't walk off," he said. "I walked off as if, like, I was in a movie. There were people standing around, people with bloody faces. There were people, chairs, tables mangled about in the compartment ... power cables all buckled down as you stepped off the train."

The cause of the derailment was unknown, but Amtrak said it was investigating.

The area where the derailment occurred is known as Frankford Junction and has a big curve. It's not far from where one of the nation's deadliest train accidents occurred: the 1943 derailment of The Congressional Limited, from Washington to New York, which killed 79 people.

Police swarming around Tuesday's derailment site, in Port Richmond, a working-class area, told people to get back, away from the train. They pleaded with curious onlookers: "Do NOT go to scene of derailment. Please allow 1st responders room to work."

Roads all around the crash site were blocked off. Waves of firefighters continuing toward the train cars, taking people out.

Several injured people, including one man complaining of neck pain, were rolled away on stretchers. Others wobbled while walking away or were put on city buses. An elderly woman was given oxygen.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy was on the train and said he helped people. He tweeted photos of firefighters helping other people in the wreckage.

"Pray for those injured," he said.

Amtrak said the train was carrying 238 passengers and five crew members. It said rail service on the busy Northeast Corridor between New York and Philadelphia had been stopped.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was gathering information about the derailment. It said it was launching an investigative team, which would arrive at the site Wednesday morning.

Port Richmond is one of five neighborhoods in what's known as Philadelphia's River Wards, dense rowhouse neighborhoods located off the Delaware River. Area resident David Hernandez, whose home is close to the tracks, heard the derailment.

"It sounded like a bunch of shopping carts crashing into each other," he said.

The crashing sound lasted a few seconds, he said, and then there was chaos and screaming. - AP.

TWILIGHT ZONE: "Surprised By The Sheer Complexity Of The Signal" - Mysterious "X-Files" Noises Captured 22 Miles Above Earth's Surface?!

Reuters/Terry Virts/NASA

May 12, 2015 - SPACE
- For the first time in 50 years, mysterious 'X-Files' sounds have been recorded from the edge of space.

A helium balloon built by a student for a NASA project captured the eerie hisses and whistles 22 miles above the Earth's surface.

The bizarre noises were captured using equipment designed and built by Daniel Bowman, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to LiveScience.

The instruments recorded atmospheric infrasound – sound waves at frequencies below 20 hertz. Since infrasound is below human hearing range, the noises can only be heard when the recording is sped up.

"It sounds kind of like 'The X-Files,'" Bowman said. He added that the intensity of the sounds came as a shock, stating that he was “surprised by the sheer complexity of the signal.”

WATCH: High-altitude infrasound recorded for the first time in 50 years.

Capturing the eerie noises wasn't exactly a simple task – it involved infrasound microphones dangling from a helium balloon which flew above the US states of New Mexico and Arizona last year.

Launched on August 9, 2014, the flight was part of an annual project conducted by NASA and the Louisiana Space Consortium. Bowman's experiment was one of 10 payloads flown as part of the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) last year.

During its nine-hour flight, the balloon floated some 450 miles (725 km) and reached a height of more than 123,000 feet (37,500 meters). This is a distance of 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth's surface – an area above where airplanes fly, but below the boundary which marks the top of the stratosphere. It was the first time an infrasound study has reached such heights.

The source of the noises, which were captured 22 miles above Earth, remain a mystery to scientists, though many have speculated about the cause.

Those speculations include ocean waves, gravity waves, clear air turbulence, noise from the balloon cable itself, and even a wind farm under the balloon's path.

Natural occurrences such as storms and earthquakes can also cause infrasounds.

Regardless of the cause, the fact the recording exists is a big step forward, as it marks the first time acoustic recordings have taken place in the stratosphere in 50 years, according to Bowman.

Scientists are hoping more information will be revealed during this year's HASP balloon launch, scheduled to take place this summer.

"I think this work has opened new ground for more research," said Omar Marcillo, a geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who was not involved in the study. "It's very important for the entire [infrasound] community." - RT.


INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes In St. Vincent In The Caribbean - Two Persons Survive With Minor Injuries!

What was left of the plane. (Photo: stlucianewsonline.com)

May 12, 2015 - ST. VINCENT
- Two men survived, reportedly suffering only soft tissue injuries, after the small private plane they were flying in crashed in Georgetown, on the windward side of St Vincent, yesterday.

The pilot, St Lucian Wayne McDiarmed, and his co-pilot, Marvin Fabian Peka of Grenada, remained in hospital overnight.

They were on board a Cessna C-337 Skymaster on their way to Carraicou from St. Lucia when the plane went down after 2:30 p.m.

Several people went to the aid of the crash victims. (Photo: stlucianewsonline.com)

A man who said he saw the crash told I-Witness News that the plane seemed to have lost power and was gliding before it clipped some trees and went down.

Leon Yearwood, a security officer at the Langley Park Airstrip, said he rushed to the scene to help the crash victims, assisted by other residents.

 WATCH: Light aircraft crashes in St. Vincent.

Another man, who did not want to be named, told the online news site that by the time he arrived, one of the men was already out and people in the community came out and “did a good job in saving the [other] guy’s life”.

Investigators from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority visited the site. - Caribbean 360.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Global Seismic Uptick Continues As The Black Celestial Event Nears - Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Japan's Honshu Island; No Tsunami Warning Issued!

Earthquake 3D map.

May 12, 2015 - JAPAN
- A powerful 6.8 earthquake has struck off the eastern coast of Japan’s Honshu island, USGS and Japan Meteorological Agency report. Shaking has been felt in Tokyo.

The quake struck at 6:13am local time at a depth of almost 50 kilometers. While USGS originally reported the quake at 6.9 magnitude, JMA measured it at 6.6. No casualties or damage have yet been reported.

USGS earthquake location.

No tsunami warning was issued by JMA and according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, based on all available data a “destructive pacific-wide tsunami” is not expected. No warning has been issued for the US state of Hawaii.

No abnormalities were reported at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

USGS shakemap intensity.

However, some trains were reportedly delayed on the Tohoku Line between Fukushima and Sendai prefectures following tremors.

Onagawa and Higashidori nuclear power plants also reported no abnormalities. - RT.

WATCH: Strong Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake Strikes Off Japan Coast (near Fukushima).


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. [PDF]

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.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics


INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: United States Navy Jet Crashes In The Persian Gulf - Pilots Ejected Safely!

An F/A-18E Super Hornet (Reuters / Scott Pittman)

May 12, 2015 - PERSIAN GULF
- A US Navy Super Hornet has crashed in the Persian Gulf shortly after taking off from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, the US Navy said in a press release.

Both crew members survived and are reported to be conscious, alert and not seriously injured.

Both pilots were quickly rescued by search and rescue personnel from the Theodore Roosevelt.

The Navy is investigating the cause of the incident but “the crash was not a result of hostile activity,” a Navy spokesman said.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt was operating in the north of the Persian Gulf in support of airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The aircraft involved in the crash was an F/A-18F Super Hornet, belonging to Strike Fighter Squadron 211, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia and assigned to Carrier Air Wing One.

The Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet is a twin seat twin engine multi-role fighter aircraft, which first flew in 1995 and has been in service with the Navy since 1999. - RT.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Large Sinkhole Opens Up In Burnaby, British Columbia!


- A large sinkhole has opened up in Burnaby near the 4800 block of Albert Street on Monday evening.

Metro Vancouver crews estimate the sinkhole is 16 feet long, six feet wide and three to four feet deep.

An investigation is underway into what caused the road to collapse, says Metro Vancouver spokesman Don Bradley.

"There has been a considerable amount of infrastructure, work performed in the area over the past several years but the investigation will determine the cause and appropriate next steps," he said.

Albert Street is closed for one block between Gamma and Delta Avenues. A security crew will watch over the sinkhole overnight and cleanup crews will be back Tuesday morning. - CBC.

DELUGE: Extensive, Widespread Reports Of Flooding In Arkansas!

Lake Hamilton, Arkansas. © Esther Chapman

May 12, 2015 - ARKANSAS, UNITED STATES - The Arkansas River Trail on the North Little Rock side is "basically closed" due to the high water from the Arkansas River. As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, the river is at 15 feet and beginning to encroach on the trails. By Tuesday night the river will be at 21 feet and most of the trails will be completely underwater. Specifically, the trail is closed from the entrance to the Big Rock Quarry to the Big Dam Bridge. The closure is expected to last for at least a few days.

Toad Suck Park in Bigelow, just outside of Conway, was evacuated Monday due to increased flow of the Arkansas River. No flooding has been reported yet, but the Corps of Engineers says it is anticipating flooding overnight into Tuesday.

National Weather Service meteorologists continue to monitor releases from Remmel Dam in Hot Spring County. The water is rushing from Lake Catherine down to the Ouachita River. Officials are warning residents of significant flooding downstream.

Highway 23.  © Franklin County
Boone Road in Bryant, Arkansas. © Melissa Burkhead

In Garland County, officials are also monitoring the waters flowing from Carpenter Dam into the Ouachita River. There are several reports of flooding at Lake Hamilton, with water covering many boat docks and rising over yards. Several county roads have been washed out.

County officials have declared a state of emergency in Franklin County after waters have reportedly wiped out some bridges and roads. Emergency personnel had to rescue several people caught up in the rising waters. According to the sheriff's department, a woman was rescued Monday morning after attempting to drive her car through a flooded area. Crews were brought in to temporarily fix the roads. The deputy coordinator with Franklin County's Office of Emergency Management says if the damage becomes more costly, the county will consider requesting a Federal Disaster Declaration in addition to the state assistance request.

The Yell County Sheriff's Department says every county road has flooding. Eight people were rescued overnight, including four teenage girls who ended up in a creek. Two of the girls were injured and were transported to a hospital in Russellville. Yell County authorities say they have run out of signs to close roads.

WATCH: Arkansas floods.

Flood damage has closed part of Highway 234 in Little River County, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department officials. Crews will replace a damaged drainage structure on Highway 234 near Winthrop, between Ashdown and DeQueen. Detour routes will be indicated using Highway 41 South and Highway 108 East. It's estimated the road will be closed until Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., weather permitting.

Flooding is reported in other counties, including Pulaski, Saline, Perry, Clark, Johnson, Ouachita, Searcy, Sebastian, and Nevada counties. - KATV.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Major Global Seismic Uptick As The Black Celestial Event Nears - Powerful Magnitude 7.3 And 6.3 Earthquakes Strike Nepal Close To Mount Everest; At Least 37 People Killed; 16 Others Killed In India; Over 1,000 Injured; Widespread Infrastructure Collapse!

Earthquake 3D map.

May 12, 2015 - NEPAL
- A 7.3-magnitude quake has rocked Nepal, followed by two major aftershocks. At least 37 people have been killed in the country and over 1,000 injured. It comes weeks after a disastrous quake left over 8,000 people dead, affecting millions.

The US Geological Survey initially said another quake with a magnitude of 6.3 also struck 21 miles of Ramechhap, Nepal with a depth of 9.3 miles.

Shockwaves were felt as far away as the Indian capital, Delhi, and Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

WATCH: Strong earthquake shakes Nepal.

Sixteen others were killed in India after rooftops or walls collapsed onto them, according to the country's Home Ministry. Chinese media reported one death in Tibet.

USGS earthquake location.

The quake hit near the town of Namche Bazaar, close to Mt. Everest. It was originally given a magnitude of 7.4 by the US Geological Survey (USGS), but was later downgraded to 7.3.

"This is a really big one," Prakash Shilpakar, the owner of a handicrafts shop in Kathmandu, told Reuters. Shilpakar was trying to call his parents in the town of Bhaktapur, which was destroyed in the devastating April earthquake.

USGS shakemap intensity.

Rescue helicopters have been sent to mountain areas, where landslides and collapsed buildings may have buried people, the Nepalese government said. The
Sindhupalchowk and Dolkha districts were the worst hit, according to Home Ministry officialLaxmi Dhakal.

It comes just a few weeks after a devastating 7.8-magnitude quake left over 8,000 people dead and almost 18,000 injured.

Around eight million people in Nepal, which has a total population of 28 million, have been affected by the disaster, the UN estimated.

Patients are carried out of a hospital building in Kathmandu after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Nepal on Tuesday. © Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Local residents walk past collapsed houses after the April 25 earthquake in Sankhu on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, May 11, 2015. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

Some two million people still need tents, drinking water, food and medicine.

The latest tremor struck near the base camp for Everest, and was felt across the country, including the capital, Kathmandu. Everest Base Camp was evacuated after an avalanche caused by the last quake killed 18 climbers. Mountaineers subsequently canceled this year's Everest season.

Shockwaves were also felt as far away as northern India and Bangladesh.

Subway services have been halted in India’s New Delhi and Calcutta following the latest quake.

Tuesday’s quake was deeper than the one in April, measuring at a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) versus the earlier one at 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage. - RT.

Tectonic Summary

The May 12, 2015 M 7.3 Nepal earthquake (SE of Zham, China) occurred as the result of thrust faulting on or near the decollément associated with the Main Himalayan Thrust, which defines the interface between the underthrusting India plate and the overriding Eurasia plate to the north. At the location of this earthquake, approximately 80 km to the east-northeast of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, the India plate is converging with Eurasia at a rate of 45 mm/yr towards the north-northeast Рa fraction of which (~18 mm/yr) is driving the uplift of the Himalayan mountain range. The May 12, 2015 event is the largest aftershock to date of the M 7.8 April 25, 2015 Nepal earthquake Рknown as the Gorkha earthquake - which was located 150 km to the west, and which ruptured much of the decollément between these two earthquakes.

While commonly plotted as points on maps, earthquakes of this size are more appropriately described as slip over a larger fault area. Events of the size of the May 12, 2015 earthquake are typically about 55x30 km in size (length x width). The April 25, 2015 M 7.8 mainshock had approximate dimensions of ~120x80 km, directed from its hypocenter eastwards, and towards Kathmandu. The May 12, 2015 earthquake is located just beyond the eastern end of that rupture.

The boundary region of the India and Eurasia plates has a history of large and great earthquakes. Prior to April 25, four events of M6 or larger had occurred within 250 km of this area over the past century. One, a M 6.9 earthquake in August 1988, 140 km to the south-southeast of the May 12 event, caused close to 1500 fatalities. The largest, an M 8.0 event known as the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake, ruptured a large section of the fault to the south of this May 2015 event, and east of the April 2015 mainshock, in a similar location to the 1988 earthquake. It severely damaged Kathmandu, and is thought to have caused around 10,600 fatalities. Prior to the 20th century, a large earthquake in 1833 is thought to have ruptured a similar area as the April 25, 2015 event. To date, there have been close to 100 M3+ aftershocks of the Gorkha earthquake. In the first two hours after the May 12 event, six further aftershocks have occurred, to the southwest-to-southeast of that earthquake.

Seismotectonics of the Himalaya and Vicinity

Seismicity in the Himalaya dominantly results from the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. The surface expression of the plate boundary is marked by the foothills of the north-south trending Sulaiman Range in the west, the Indo-Burmese Arc in the east and the east-west trending Himalaya Front in the north of India.

USGS plate tectonics for the region. (PDF)

The India-Eurasia plate boundary is a diffuse boundary, which in the region near the north of India, lies within the limits of the Indus-Tsangpo (also called the Yarlung-Zangbo) Suture to the north and the Main Frontal Thrust to the south. The Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is located roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin. The narrow (less than 200km) Himalaya Front includes numerous east-west trending, parallel structures. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults. Examples of significant earthquakes, in this densely populated region, caused by reverse slip movement include the 1934 M8.0 Bihar, the 1905 M7.5 Kangra and the 2005 M7.6 Kashmir earthquakes. The latter two resulted in the highest death tolls for Himalaya earthquakes seen to date, together killing over 100,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The largest instrumentally recorded Himalaya earthquake occurred on 15th August 1950 in Assam, eastern India. This M8.6 right-lateral, strike-slip, earthquake was widely felt over a broad area of central Asia, causing extensive damage to villages in the epicentral region.

The Tibetan Plateau is situated north of the Himalaya, stretching approximately 1000km north-south and 2500km east-west, and is geologically and tectonically complex with several sutures which are hundreds of kilometer-long and generally trend east-west. The Tibetan Plateau is cut by a number of large (greater than 1000km) east-west trending, left-lateral, strike-slip faults, including the long Kunlun, Haiyuan, and the Altyn Tagh. Right-lateral, strike-slip faults (comparable in size to the left-lateral faults), in this region include the Karakorum, Red River, and Sagaing. Secondary north-south trending normal faults also cut the Tibetan Plateau. Thrust faults are found towards the north and south of the Tibetan Plateau. Collectively, these faults accommodate crustal shortening associated with the ongoing collision of the India and Eurasia plates, with thrust faults accommodating north south compression, and normal and strike-slip accommodating east-west extension.

Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the India plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range. Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes. The active, left-lateral, strike-slip Chaman fault is the fastest moving fault in the region. In 1505, a segment of the Chaman fault near Kabul, Afghanistan, ruptured causing widespread destruction. In the same region the more recent 30 May 1935, M7.6 Quetta earthquake, which occurred in the Sulaiman Range in Pakistan, killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

On the north-western side of the Tibetan Plateau, beneath the Pamir-Hindu Kush Mountains of northern Afghanistan, earthquakes occur at depths as great as 200 km as a result of remnant lithospheric subduction. The curved arc of deep earthquakes found in the Hindu Kush Pamir region indicates the presence of a lithospheric body at depth, thought to be remnants of a subducting slab. Cross-sections through the Hindu Kush region suggest a near vertical northerly-dipping subducting slab, whereas cross-sections through the nearby Pamir region to the east indicate a much shallower dipping, southerly subducting slab. Some models suggest the presence of two subduction zones; with the Indian plate being subducted beneath the Hindu Kush region and the Eurasian plate being subducted beneath the Pamir region. However, other models suggest that just one of the two plates is being subducted and that the slab has become contorted and overturned in places.

Shallow crustal earthquakes also occur in this region near the Main Pamir Thrust and other active Quaternary faults. The Main Pamir Thrust, north of the Pamir Mountains, is an active shortening structure. The northern portion of the Main Pamir Thrust produces many shallow earthquakes, whereas its western and eastern borders display a combination of thrust and strike-slip mechanisms. On the 18 February 1911, the M7.4 Sarez earthquake ruptured in the Central Pamir Mountains, killing numerous people and triggering a landside, which blocked the Murghab River.

Further north, the Tian Shan is a seismically active intra-continental mountain belt, which extends 2500 km in an ENE-WNW orientation north of the Tarim Basin. This belt is defined by numerous east-west trending thrust faults, creating a compressional basin and range landscape. It is generally thought that regional stresses associated with the collision of the India and Eurasia plates are responsible for faulting in the region. The region has had three major earthquakes (greater than M7.6) at the start of the 20th Century, including the 1902 Atushi earthquake, which killed an estimated 5,000 people. The range is cut through in the west by the 700-km-long, northwest-southeast striking, Talas-Ferghana active right-lateral, strike-slip fault system. Though the system has produced no major earthquakes in the last 250 years, paleo-seismic studies indicate that it has the potential to produce M7.0+ earthquakes and it is thought to represent a significant hazard.

The northern portion of the Tibetan Plateau itself is largely dominated by the motion on three large left-lateral, strike-slip fault systems; the Altyn Tagh, Kunlun and Haiyuan. The Altyn Tagh fault is the longest of these strike slip faults and it is thought to accommodate a significant portion of plate convergence. However, this system has not experienced significant historical earthquakes, though paleoseismic studies show evidence of prehistoric M7.0-8.0 events. Thrust faults link with the Altyn Tagh at its eastern and western termini. The Kunlun Fault, south of the Altyn Tagh, is seismically active, producing large earthquakes such as the 8th November 1997, M7.6 Manyi earthquake and the 14th November 2001, M7.8 Kokoxili earthquake. The Haiyuan Fault, in the far north-east, generated the 16 December 1920, M7.8 earthquake that killed approximately 200,000 people and the 22 May 1927 M7.6 earthquake that killed 40,912.

The Longmen Shan thrust belt, along the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, is an important structural feature and forms a transitional zone between the complexly deformed Songpan-Garze Fold Belt and the relatively undeformed Sichuan Basin. On 12 May 2008, the thrust belt produced the reverse slip, M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, killing over 87,000 people and causing billions of US dollars in damages and landslides which dammed several rivers and lakes.

Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau are the right-lateral, strike-slip Red River and the left-lateral, strike-slip Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang fault systems. The Red River Fault experienced large scale, left-lateral ductile shear during the Tertiary period before changing to its present day right-lateral slip rate of approximately 5 mm/yr. This fault has produced several earthquakes  greater than M6.0 including the 4 January 1970, M7.5 earthquake in Tonghai which killed over 10,000 people. Since the start of the 20th century, the Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang Fault system has generated several M7.0+ earthquakes including the M7.5 Luhuo earthquake which ruptured on the 22 April 1973. Some studies suggest that due to the high slip rate on this fault, future large earthquakes are highly possible along the 65km stretch between Daofu and Qianning and the 135km stretch that runs through Kangding.

Shallow earthquakes within the Indo-Burmese Arc, predominantly occur on a combination of strike-slip and reverse faults, including the Sagaing, Kabaw and Dauki faults. Between 1930 and 1956, six M7.0+ earthquakes occurred near the right-lateral Sagaing Fault, resulting in severe damage in Myanmar including the generation of landslides, liquefaction and the loss of 610 lives. Deep earthquakes (200km) have also been known to occur in this region, these are thought to be due to the subduction of the eastwards dipping, India plate, though whether subduction is currently active is debated. Within the pre-instrumental period, the large Shillong earthquake occurred on the 12 June 1897, causing widespread destruction. - USGS.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Extreme Drought, Water & Food Crisis - California Drought Causes Lake Mead To Fall To Lowest Level ON RECORD!

© Rex_Shutterstock

- If California's prolonged dry spell is eventually recognised as a megadrought, no one can say we weren't warned.

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US, has hit its lowest level ever.

Feeding California, Nevada and Arizona, it can hold a mind-boggling 35 cubic kilometres of water. But it has been many years since it was at capacity, and the situation is only getting worse.

"We're only at 38 per cent full. Lake Mead hasn't been this low since we were filling it in the 1930s," said a spokeswoman for the US Bureau of Reclamation in Las Vegas.

© Rex_Shutterstock

If it gets much lower - and with summer approaching and a dwindling snowpack available to replenish it, that looks likely - official rationing will begin for Arizona and Nevada. The hydroelectric output of the Hoover dam (below), to which the lake owes its existence, could also suffer.

Water restrictions are already in place in California, but some hydrologists say rationing there must start soon to avert disaster.

A drought must last at least two decades to be considered a megadrought. California's dry spell isn't quite there yet - it has endured for 15 years - but has already been classed as the worst drought of the last 1200 years.

- New Scientist.


MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Australia's Bureau Of Meteorology Declares Onset Of Powerful El Nino Weather Pattern As Black Celestial Event Nears - Phenomenon Could Cause Havoc For Farmers And Global Agricultural Markets!

El Nino weather phenomenon, which can spark deadly and costly climate extremes, is underway in the tropical Pacific
for first time in five years, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.  © AFP / Francesco Degasperi

May 12, 2015 - AUSTRALIA
- Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Tuesday warned the El Nino weather phenomenon, which can spark deadly and costly climate extremes, will pack a punch this year after declaring its onset in the tropical Pacific.

El Nino is associated with drought conditions in Australia and occurs when the trade winds that circulate over waters in the tropical Pacific start to weaken and sea surface temperatures rise.

It is the weather system's first appearance in five years.

"This is a proper El Nino effect, it's not a weak one," David Jones, manager of climate monitoring and prediction at the Bureau of Meteorology, told a media briefing.

"You know, there's always a little bit of doubt when it comes to intensity forecasts, but across the models as a whole we'd suggest that this will be quite a substantial El Nino event.

An El Nino had been predicted to start in 2014 and officials said it was a "near miss", but thresholds have now been hit in the tropical Pacific for the first time since March 2010.

"The onset of El Nino in Australia in 2015 is a little earlier than usual. Typically El Nino events commence between June and November," the bureau's Neil Plummer added in announcing the onset.

The El Nino weather phenomenon is expected to bring drier conditions to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and parts of Southeast Asia. © AFP / Romeo Gacad
The El Nino weather phenomenon is expected to bring drier conditions to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and parts of Southeast Asia
"Prolonged El Nino-like conditions have meant that some areas are more vulnerable to the impact of warmer temperatures and drier conditions."

In Australia, El Nino is associated with below average rainfall and warmer temperatures in much of the country and a higher bushfire risk -- a particular concern for parts of the country already in drought.

It is also expected to bring drier conditions to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and parts of Southeast Asia, and heavier rainfall in the eastern Pacific and South American nations, raising the spectre of floods and landslides.

The phenomenon can cause havoc for farmers and global agricultural markets. - AFP.


DELUGE: 10 Inches Of Rainfall In Corsicana, Texas - One Person Killed!

Flooding in Navarro County, 11 May 2015.  © Navarro County Office of Emergency Management

- Huge amounts of rain fell in Corsicana, Texas during the late hours of Sunday 10 May into the early hours of Monday 11 May 2015.

Corsicana Fire department say they responded to 16 flood-water rescues involving a total of 29 people, many of them trapped in their vehicles. One man died after his car became stranded in flood water. According to local reports, the man got out of his car and was then swept away by the floods.

The heavy rain was brought by a line of thunderstorms that tracked over Navarro County for more than five hours. Flooding was reported in Navarro and Henderson counties.

By 10:47 pm on Sunday 10 May, NWS Dallas / Fort Worth reported that 9.83 inches (249 mm) of rain had fallen in Corsicana since about 8:30pm.

Corsicana rainfall is up to 9.83" since about 8:30pm. Major flash flooding in progess in #Navarro and #Henderson cos. #txwx #ctxwx

— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) May 11, 2015

WATCH: Heavy flooding in Corsicana, Texas.

Navarro County requests disaster declaration

The Navarro County Office of Emergency Management (NCOEM) yesterday said that the storm and flood damage had been so bad, a disaster declaration and request for public assistance had already been submitted by County Judge Davenport to Texas Division of Emergency Management (TXDEM).

One week of floods, storms and tornadoes

The floods in Corsicana and Navarro county follow a week of severe weather in the mid-section of USA.

One person was killed in flash floods in Texas after his vehicle had been dragged into the flooded Red River at Cooke County on the evening of Thursday 07 May 2015.

Flash floods were also reported in Denton County, where around 6 people had to be rescued in dramatic fashion by Texas Army National Guard helicopters near Krum.

The US National Weather Service issued an unprecedented "flash flood emergency" for Oklahoma City after storms dumped record amounts of rain on Wednesday 06 May 2015.

Parts of Nebraska saw over 8 inches (200 mm) of rain in 24 hours on 07 May 2015. Storm and flood damage was so severe that Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts declared a State of Emergency for the affected areas.

In Granbury, North Texas, flooding on Sunday 10 May caused a sinkhole said to be 40 feet (12 metres) in diameter in a supermarket parking lot.

The town of Seagraves in Texas endured severe flooding on Monday 04 May 2015. Initial assessments by the Red Cross say that 41 homes were damaged in the floods. Many homes in the town are still surrounded by flood water over 1 week after the floods struck. - Floodlist.

EXTREME WEATHER: Waterspout Rips Through Manteo, North Carolina!

Vista Lake damage. © Lisa Davis

- A waterspout that formed with a thunderstorm over the Croatan Sound ripped across Roanoke Island Monday evening, leaving behind damaged roofs and downed tree limbs before continuing into the Roanoke Sound.

Garnette Guyton of Duck Cottage Downtown Books captured dramatic video of the waterspout moving parallel to the Nags Head-Manteo Causeway.

Damage has been found so far in the Vista Lake Drive neighborhood and along U.S. 64 on the south end of Manteo. No injuries have been reported.

The National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City it will be Tuesday or Wednesday before they could get a meteorologist in the area to determine the exact strength of the twister.

But according to our video and photos, they would classify it unofficially as an EF-0 or low-end EF-1 tornado.

WATCH: Waterspout at Nags Head.

- Outer Banks Voice.

DELUGE: Heavy Rains Strike Nairobi, Kenya - Ten People Killed, Seven Injured!

Sections of Nairobi experienced flooding on Monday night. Heavy rains also rendered many city roads impassable during last month's downpour.   © File/Standard

May 12, 2015 - NAIROBI, KENYA
- At least ten people were killed and seven injured during Monday night's heavy rains in Nairobi.

Eight of the victims were killed after a perimeter wall collapsed on their structures in Mukuru Fuata Nyayo area, South B. Seven others were injured in the incident, in which the wall of a mosque went down following the heavy rains.

Police said two other people were swept away by floods in Dagorretti area and along Jogoo Road. Their bodies were discovered after midnight.

Nairobi police boss Benson Kibui said the wall is believed to have soaked with water before it went down.

"Eight people died while seven others were taken to hospital after the wall collapsed on their structures. There were also two drowning incidents in the city," said Kibui.

He said among those who died at Fuata Nyayo were two juveniles, four women and two men.

WATCH: Widespread flooding in Nairobi.

Kibui said there were heavy floods in the city after the rains that lasted over six hours. This is the second time in less than a month that similar flooding is happening in Nairobi.

Commuters and other motorists in the city were stuck in traffic jams following the heavy downpour that started at 6pm.

The rains led to flooding on major roads, which affected traffic flow since Monday night.

However, Nairobi traffic commandant Edward Mwamburi said most roads' drainage system had improved.

"Unlike in the past when we had bad flooding, this time round the engineers had done better work," said Mwamburi.

He however said some motorists arrived home late after their vehicles were stuck in floods or broke down.

Uhuru Highway, Moi Avenue, Kimathi Street, Kenyatta Avenue and major roads were flooded by 9pm, resulting to heavy traffic jams.

Residents of major slums of Kibera, Mukuru and Mathare were also affected as the rains rendered some of them homeless.

According to the meteorological department the rains are expected to continue for the next month. - Standard Media.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Flooding Causes Massive 40-Foot Wide Sinkhole To Open Up In Granbury, Texas!

© wfaa.com

- The dramatic scene unfolding in front of the Brookshire's supermarket in Granbury on Sunday is evidence of the power of water.

A large chunk of the parking lot along Morgan Street was washed away by flooding, leaving a deep, gaping hole in the pavement estimated at 40 feet across.

WATCH: Storm causes massive sinkhole in Granbury.

By Sunday afternoon, the Granbury City Council convened an emergency meeting at the site of the sinkhole/landslide to discuss the damage here and elsewhere.

Council member Rose Myers showed up with pizza for workers who had been at the scene through the night.  - WFAA.