Saturday, May 23, 2015

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Nepal Landslides Spark Fear Of Flash Floods!

As survivors of the Nepal earthquakes struggle with the aftermath, a landslide has caused fears of flash flooding. 
© Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

May 23, 2015 - NEPAL
- Villagers evacuated after landslips block fast-flowing river, with emergency workers hoping to drain water masses before they destroy scores of homes

Thousands of people have been told to evacuate their homes in Nepal after massive landslides blocked a river in the west of the country, sparking fears of flash flooding.

Two powerful earthquakes devastated Nepal on 25 April and 12 May, killing nearly 8,700 people and injuring 16,800 others.

Authorities fear tremors could unleash a flash flood that could destroy dozens of villages in the remote Myagdi district, 80 miles (130km) north-west of Kathmandu, the capital.

Emergency workers are hoping to drain the lake created behind the debris now blocking the normally fast-flowing Kali Gandaki river.

Kamal Singh Bam, a spokesman for Nepal police, said at least 123 people had already been evacuated from areas flooded by the newly formed lake. "Luckily they are safe, but the water level has risen covering all the houses up to around a kilometre upstream of the landslide," Bam said.

Nepal's quake-shattered villages: 'there's nothing to stay for now'

Sesh Narayan Poudel, a senior bureaucrat, said at least 10 villages had been evacuated overnight. "The water level of Kali Gandaki flowing below the dam is dropping, and that's not a good sign," Poudel said.

Although police and army teams have reached the site, the threat of new tremors has prevented work to drain the lake and ease the pressure on the natural dam. Continuing aftershocks and the effect of the first major earthquake have left many areas in Nepal unstable.

"Once the landslides have stopped, our technical team in the area will assess the situation, and once we get their report we can try and get the water flowing again," Rishiram Sharma, head of the department of hydrology and meterology, said.

There have also been warnings that natural dams holding back massive glacial lakes high in the Himalayas could have been damaged in the earthquake last month. If one such dam gave way, flood water could kill thousands and destroy huge numbers of homes.

Two lakes in particular - one close to Everest and the other about 18 miles (30km) from the mountain - have caused concern in the past. But specialists say that unless there is a further tremor with an epicentre close to the lakes, they are safe for now.

"We have assessed all the glacial lakes potentially under threat, but there is no any difference in the assessment before and after the earthquake," Sharma said.

There are 1,466 glacial lakes in Nepal, with 21 big enough to cause serious concern. Many are swollen with glacial meltwater as a result of climate change, scientists say.

Myagdi district, where the villagers were evacuated on Saturday night, is in the west of the south Asian country and some distance from the areas worst affected by last month's tremor.

Geologists say the case should be a "a wakeup call for the Nepal", especially with summer rains forecast. "With the coming monsoon it's sure that Nepal will see several such landslides," Ranjan Kumar Dahal, a geologist said. - The Guardian.


WEATHER PHENOMENON: Huge Apocalyptic Thunderstorm Cloud Engulfs San Luis Potosi, Mexico!

May 23, 2015 - MEXICO
- This apocalyptic thunderstorm cloud suddenly appeared in the sky of San Luis Potosi surpising its residents!

That's really a giant cumulonimbus!

This type of giant and angry clouds are more than common in arid or desert areas. But not in San Luis Potosi!

WATCH: Apocalyptic clouds over Mexico.

- Strange Sounds.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Man Is Swallowed Up By A Massive Sinkhole In Gran Canaria, Canary Islands!

The car at the bottom of the sinkhole in which a man almost drowned and the van on top of it. Sinkhole in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

- A man of 63 years has been about to drown on Friday May 15 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria after being eaten by a 6-meter-deep sinkhole in the industrial area of ​​Las Torres.

The man was on the verge of drowning, six meters under, when firefighters arrived and rescued him. The cause of the cavity is unknown.

One car has been swallowed and another was left hanging at the top of the hole.

As shown in the picture, the bottom of the cavity is full of water.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole in Gran Canaria.

- Strange Sounds.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Hear Costa Rica's Turrialba Volcano Rumble - Volcanologists Expect The Eruptions Will Get More Frequent And More Violent In Coming Months!

May 23, 2015 - COSTA RICA
- Ever wondered what the inside of a volcano sounds like? The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) has you covered.

OVSICORI took a selection from a seismograph registered inside Turrialba Volcano's central crater and converted it into a sound file. The effect allows you to "hear" the volcano's sub-audible rumbling.

This particular example was mostly for fun, but Dr. Javier Pacheco, a seismology expert at OVSICORI, said that the technique had practical uses for scientists too.

Converting the seismographs into audio files can help scientists identify variations in the frequency of seismological activity that would be difficult to identify visually from the readouts alone, he explained.

Turrialba Volcano has been active during the last several months, closing Juan SantamarĂ­a International Airport several times after large eruptions of ash that blew across the Central Valley.

Volcanologists expect that the eruptions will get more frequent and more violent in the coming months and the National Emergency Commission (CNE) has maintained a yellow alert in the area. The Commission recently expanded the evacuation zone around the volcano from 2 km to 5 km.

Pacheco said that Turrialba Volcano was calm on Friday.

- The Tico Times.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Massive 85 Feet Wide Sinkhole Opens Up At Golf Course In Branson, Missouri!

The chasm is 85ft wide and 35 ft deep

- A mysterious giant sinkhole opened up at a golf course in what could be the world's easiest hole-in-one.

The 80ft-wide pit formed on Friday at the Jack Nicklaus designed Top Rock Golf Course in Missouri.

And remarkably, the main course, which hosted a Champions Tour event in April, is unaffected and still open for play.

An estimated 7,000 cubic feet of material has been displaced by the phenomenon, with experts speculating that recent heavy rain collapsed the pathway to an undiscovered underground cave.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole opens up on golf course.

The huge hole is close to the driving range at the par-three course, which is close to the town of Branson.

However one wisecracking golfer remarked that the course had a 'challenging new bunker'. - Daily Mail.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Global Seismic Uptick - 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Nevada!

USGS map shows the area of Calienta, Nevada where an earthquake struck on Friday, May 22, 2015.

- An earthquake that struck a rural area of southern Nevada has been downgraded to magnitude 4.8.

The U.S. Geological Survey revised its earlier report that pinned the magnitude of Friday's earthquake at 5.4.

The temblor hit around midday about 24 miles southwest of the small town of Caliente, Nevada. It could be felt about 100 miles away in Las Vegas.

The Nevada Highway Patrol reported damage to one of the state's busiest highway transition ramps.

The ramp from southbound U.S. 95 to Interstate 15 near downtown Las Vegas has been shut down indefinitely.

The Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada Reno says several aftershocks, from magnitude 1.0 to 3.8, followed the larger temblor.

The USGS website recorded hundreds of reports from people who say they felt the shaking. - ABC7.


RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Noise Rattles Residents In Cheyenne, Wyoming?!

- The streets of Cheyenne are usually pretty quiet, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing paranormal, until late Saturday night.

"I was called by the dispatch center with a siren like noise about 11:30 at night," said Rob Cleveland, the director of the Laramie County Emergency Management Agency

A sound rang through the city that can best be described as a siren noise.

"I had them check the siren system that we control that the dispatch center uses to see if there were any alerts, and they showed no alerts," said Cleveland.

So we began an investigation, researching and making calls to the big organizations in town.

We reached out to FE Warren, the Air National Guard, Holly Frontier, and Emergency Management Services here in Cheyenne and got the same answer from everyone.

"It was not our system that made the noise," said Cleveland.

We then turned to Facebook and heard from more than 100 people who heard the noise. From the east side to the south side, and even downtown, it was heard throughout the city.

Union Pacific was our last local reach as many people believed it could have been train emergency breaks, but they responded with no recorded incidents that night. But the search didn't stop there. People all over the world have been hearing these noises and posting videos online

Suggesting everything from religious theories to geographical ones, and yet the head of the geology department a the University of Wyoming had no answer. So it's up for you to decide, is it just train brakes? Or could something more paranormal be in the skies above Cheyenne? - CBS5v News Channel.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Global Seismic Uptick As The Black Celestial Event Nears - Two Powerful Earthquakes, 6.8 Magnitude And 6.9 Magnitude, Strikes Off Solomon Islands; The Third Day In A Row Islands Rocked By 6.0 Or Higher Magnitude Tremors! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake locations.

May 23, 2015 - SOLOMON ISLANDS
- It is the third day in a row that the Solomons have been rocked by a quake of 6.0-magnitude or higher.

Two strong 6.8-magnitude earthquakes struck off the Solomon Islands early Saturday, May 23 US geologists said, but there were no initial reports of damage and no tsunami warnings were issued.

The first quake hit at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), 205 kilometers from Kirakira and 448 kilometers from the capital Honiara and the second shallow quake struck just over two hours later about 159 kilometers from Kirakira.

The Solomons have been rocked by several quakes of 6.0-magnitude or higher in recent days, with the most recent a 6.0 magnitude quake which hit the islands early Friday, May 22 and a 6.9 magnitude tremor the day before. No major damage was caused by the earlier tremors.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami from the Saturday tremors. Geoscience Australia initially estimated the two latest quakes at the magnitudes of 7.1 and 6.9 but said they were unlikely to cause local tsunamis in the quake-prone region, in part due to their location.

Seismologist Mark Leonerd said it was slightly unusual to have two big quakes “right next to each other” but that seismic activity was common in the region. The quakes have been followed by fairly typical aftershocks, he said, adding there had also been recent activity in nearby Papua New Guinea.“That sort of area is putting on a little bit of activity at the moment,” he said.

The Solomons are part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a zone of tectonic activity known for its frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In 2013, the Solomons were hit by a tsunami after an 8.0-magnitude quake, leaving at least 10 people dead and thousands homeless after buildings were destroyed. - Rappler.

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".

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics



WEATHER PHENOMENON: Omen - Utah Storms Bring Sun Halos And Sundogs!


May 23, 2015 - UTAH, UNITED STATES
- With recent storms moving through Southern Utah on a weekly basis, conditions have been good for seeing two fascinating sights in the sky: sun halos and sundogs.

St. George resident Janna Fox was lucky enough to spot a sun halo Sunday, from her driveway at around 900 South and River Road.

"My 13-year-old son saw it first and came in and told us," Fox told St. George News. "I had never seen a sun halo before, in my 35 years! It was neat!"

Both sun halos and sundogs are caused by sunlight passing through ice crystals in the high, thin cirrus clouds that often move in before a storm system. Sunlight reflects and bends, or refracts, causing these sometimes spectacular sights.

These ice-crystal displays can be seen year-round, because the upper atmosphere always below a freezing temperature.

A ring or circle of light around the sun or moon is called a halo, or, for the more scientifically minded, a parhelic circle or ring.

Sundogs are rainbow-colored splashes often seen to the left or right of the sun. Sundogs are also known as parhelions, and are formed by plate-shaped ice crystals drifting in the clouds, according to

© Janna Fox, St George News

Cirrus clouds are made of millions of hexagonal ice crystals 3 miles to 6 miles up in the atmosphere. Each ice crystal acts as a tiny prism bending the sun's light and throwing it elsewhere into the sky. The spectacular displays in the sky depend on the size and tilt of the ice crystals.

There's an old weather saying, "ring around the moon means rain soon," and there is truth to that, according to High thin cirrus clouds often precede a storm system, at 20,000 feet. These clouds contain ice crystals, by the millions. The halos are caused by both refraction and reflection of sunlight.

Sundogs and sun halos are just two of nearly four dozen different kinds of effects produced by sunlight interacting with ice crystals in the sky.

So when's the best way to catch one of these beauties in the sky? Both sun halos and sundogs may be seen whenever and wherever there are cirrus clouds in the sky.

The best displays are most commonly seen in the fall, winter and spring when the northern jet stream descends southward, drawing down Arctic air masses that carry ice crystals.

Sundogs are found at or more than 22 degrees to the left or right of the sun and at the same height above the horizon as the sun.

Because sundogs and sun halos are found near the sun, viewers should protect their eyes while viewing. - St. George Utah.


EXTREME WEATHER: Small Tornado Strikes Southern Netherlands!

Small tornado in Asten. © YouTube

May 23, 2015 - NETHERLANDS
- A small tornado struck southern Netherlands on Tuesday night. The Tornado was spotted in Asten and Liessel.

A portion of a chicken shed on Gevlochtsebaan in Heusden, Asten was blown away, Omroep Brabant reports.

Small tornado in Asten

It is believed that the shed contained asbestos and the surrounding area has been closed down as a precaution.

According to Reinier van den Berg of Meteo Group, the trunk of the tornado touched the ground near Liessel.

WATCH: Tornado in Asten.

The weatherman said on Twitter that the thunderstorm that moved from Antwerp along Eindhoven had "supercell characteristics", the most serious type among thunderstorms.

This type of storm is often accompanied by high winds, lightning and heavy rain. - NLTimes.


MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Extreme Weather - Ten Tornadoes Reported In One Day In North Texas!

Runaway Bay tornado damage. © NBC

- The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that a total of 10 tornadoes touched down Tuesday across North Texas, including three EF-1 tornadoes and seven EF-0 tornadoes.

NWS survey teams said one tornado touched down in each Mineral Wells and Runaway Bay, both rated EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale.

Tornadoes rated an EF-1 can have wind speeds up to 110 mph and cause moderate damage.

Four tornadoes occurred in Wise County, including an EF-1 near Balsora and another EF-1 east of Decatur.

Elsewhere, one tornado was reported in Waxahachie in Ellis County and another tornado occurred in Jack County, according to the National Weather Service.

Considerable damage appears to have been caused by the tornadoes with roofs ripped off, cars destroyed and homes moved from foundations and flattened.

Mineral Wells police reported Tuesday an abandoned bank building collapsed and the police headquarters was damaged after a tornado touched down there.

"It was huge, and it was just funneling down. And it went up two or three times and came down. But every time it came down, it seemed like it was just getting bigger," said Mineral Wells resident Tammie Matson, who witnessed the reported tornado.

Damage in Mineral Wells was so widespread the Texas Department of Public Safety advised people to avoid the downtown area due to downed power lines and other scattered debris.

Wise County volunteer firefighters reported damaged homes, debris and downed trees along Farm-to-Market Road 920 in Bridgeport -- where NWS crews confirmed the tornado touched down southeast of Runaway Bay.

A community of about 15 mobile homes was flattened and a number of cars were damaged beyond repair. One woman suffered a minor injury to her wrist while trying to escape her mobile home.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at the First Baptist Church, 513 Port O Call Drive in nearby Runaway Bay, according to spokeswoman Anita Foster. The Red Cross is currently working on a disaster assessment plan. - NBCDFW.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteors Makes Sonic Booms Over New Zealand!

Screen Capture

May 23, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND - A picture of two near earth meteors taken near Omanawa this week is being offered as an explanation for mysterious bangs heard in the sky over the lower Kaimai area.

Omanawa resident and EOL CEO Terry Coles heard what sounded like two large explosions last Saturday night. He wondered at the time if they were sonic booms from a meteor.

His suspicions were confirmed on Tuesday when he set up a camera on the balcony to take continuous exposures for a timelapse video he's working on about the night sky over the Kaimais.

"I left the camera running as I needed several thousand consecutive images and went inside where it was warm," says Terry.

"Just after 11pm I heard three more explosions in quick succession, louder this time as if they were close by."

Suspecting he had missed something special he sifted through hundreds of images from Tuesday night and found something in just one frame.

"Two beautiful meteors one behind the other with an amazing green tail. The timestamp on the image coincided with when I had heard the booms."

"A stroke of luck that I had the camera pointing at the right bit of sky, even if it was only a wide angle lens so not a close up view unfortunately."

The colour is caused by the super-heating of magnesium atoms.

"They glow when they get hot and come into contact with oxygen atoms. A bit like auroras do," says Terry.

It could be rock or metal. The tail could be dust fragments off the head of the meteor or smoke. He's got images of that as well. He made a little slow-mo time lapse of the next 22 frames which show a smoke trail twisting and twirling in the wind.

"It makes it look quite close," says Terry. "I wouldn't imagine the camera would have picked up the smoke trail if they were too far away. It's night, pitch black, and smoke doesn't glow.

"The lens was only a wide angle lens so they were a lot closer than they look in the photo. But without actually standing out there and seeing them it would be pretty hard to tell what size they were, and how far away they were."

The camera was pointing south.

Reputable internet sites say a meteor has to be larger than a football to produce a sonic boom, says Terry.

The larger the object the louder the boom. Larger objects make two distinct booms - two ahead, and one behind that is usually not heard from the ground. He heard three distinct booms in rapid succession.

"If you zoom in on the photo you can see the head of the meteor is split in two, that's probably when the sonic boom happened," says Terry. "There's a lot of theory on the internet about sonic booms and when it happens. It probably happened quite a while before, but took a while to get to us.

"It could have happened when it was quite elevated. It's hard to know really without actually seeing it, just looking at a photo."

The camera was facing south with an elevation of 45-50 degrees above the horizon. Each image is a ten second exposure.

"It's hard to know in that ten seconds when it was passing the frame. It could have been the last second or it could have been half, at five seconds which would have made the tail look longer than it was."

It may have struck earth south of Omanawa on the Kaimai range, or even in the Waikato

"Someone might find themselves a million dollar space rock if they look hard enough." - SunLive.