Saturday, December 19, 2015

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS:Enormous Sinkhole Opens Up In Tver, Russia - Swallows Up Car With Mother And Daughter! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

© Evil_Sheen49

December 19, 2015 - RUSSIA - And suddenly the road opened up just under their car.

A mother and her girl were swallowed by a giant sinkhole in Tver, Russia and were saved by a passing by family on December 14, 2015.

A car transporting a mother and her girl was swallowed by the ground on December 14, 2015 in Tver.

A family passing by heard a noise and saw the car beginning to fall into a large pit.

The husband ran to the car and pulled out of the trunk the child and then the woman.

Luckily they didn't get seriously injured. However, the child is still under shock.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole in Tver.

- Strange Sounds.

CYBER WARS: The DOOMSDAY Plan - Military Bosses Reveal Survival System That Is In Place If America's Power Systems Are Wiped Out By Cyber Attacks!

Darpa has launched a new program to target security threats to critical infrastructures in the US.
It wants to focus on infrastructure that is vital to the Department of Defense's missions

December 19, 2015 - UNITED STATES - The US is at an ever growing risk of a cyber attacks, with energy infrastructure likely to be hackers' prime target.

This was the stark warning made by General Keith Alexander, the retired general and former chief of the National Security Agency, earlier this year.

Now, the Pentagon says it has a plan to do something about the threat.

Its research division, Darpa, has launched a new program to target security threats that have the potential to wipe out all of America's power systems.

Initially, however, it will focus on infrastructure that is vital to the Department of Defense's missions.

Dubbed Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization (RADICS), its goal is to develop automated systems to deal with a loss of power.

They say these systems should help utilities engineers restore power within seven days of an attack.

'If a well-coordinated cyber attack on the nation's power grid were to occur today, the time it would take to restore power would pose daunting national security challenges,' said John Everett, Darpa program manager.

'Beyond the severe domestic impacts, including economic and human costs, prolonged disruption of the grid would hamper military mobilisation and logistics, impairing the government's ability to project force or pursue solutions to international crises.'

An early warning capability for power suppliers could prevent an attack entirely or blunt its effects, such as damage to equipment.

One of the aims of RADICS is to develop detection systems with high sensitivity and low false positive rates, by studying exactly how power grid's dynamics.

RADICS also calls for the design of a secure emergency network that could connect power suppliers in the moments after an attack.

'Isolating affected utilities from the internet would enable recovery efforts to proceed without adversary surveillance and interference,' Everett said.

'Providing an alternative means for online coordination would enable a more orderly restoration of power among affected organisations.'

Finally, the RADICS will research systems that can localise and characterise malicious software.

'The greatest risk is a catastrophic attack on the energy infrastructure. We are not prepared for that,' General Keith Alexander said earlier this year.

The US is at an ever growing risk of a cyber attacks, with energy infrastructure likely to be hacker's prime target. This was the stark warning made
by General Keith Alexander, the retired four-star general and former chief of the National Security Agency, earlier this year

Nuclear power plants throughout the world are in denial over the risk of a serious cyber attack, a report has warned.

The study claims that the civil nuclear infrastructure in most countries is unprepared for such attacks.

The consequences could be devastating, as even a small-scale attack, it found, could release deadly radiation into the local area.

The report claims that cyber criminals could trigger an incident similar to that seen at Fukushima Daichi in Japan in 2011.

Nearly 16,000 people lost their lives in the natural disaster and subsequent devastation.

Published by think tank Chatham House, it looked at cyber security in power plants over a period of 18-months and cites 50 incidents globally, of which only a handful have been made public.

The report found a worrying lack of security protocols at nuclear plants throughout the world.

For instance, standard factory-set passwords, such as '1234', were found to be on a range of computer systems that control a power plant's critical system.

He envisioned a worst case-scenario where hackers targeted oil refineries, power stations, and the electric grid. The payments nexus of the major banks could also be paralysed he warned.

'We need something like an integrated air-defence system for the whole energy sector,' he said.

The current NSA chief Michael Rogers testified late last year that China is capable of cyber attacks that could cause 'catastrophic failures' of the water system or the electricity grid. - Daily Mail.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Avalanche Hit Svalbard, Norway - Buries About 10 Houses!

Search and rescue crews work after an avalanche hit several houses in Longyearbyen, Norway, Saturday Dec. 19. 2015. It is unclear about the number of people
caught in the avalanche but authorities are calling for volunteers with shovels to help in the search to locate victims. AP

December 19, 2015 - NORWAY - Several people were injured and several others missing on Saturday after an avalanche buried about 10 houses on the Svalbard archipelago in the heart of the Norwegian Arctic, local officials said.

"Several people have been injured and hospitalised. Some people are also missing," the region's government said on its website. "All available human resources are mobilised for the rescue operation."

A spokesman for the rescue services said four adults and two children were hospitalised but that their injuries were not life threatening.

Around 10 brightly-coloured wooden houses, typical of the style found in the archipelago, were buried by the avalanche which happened at around 11:00 am (1000 GMT).

Dangerous ... Houses are snow covered as an avalanche hit several houses in Longyearbyen, Norway. © AFP

Witnesses said the snow had shifted the houses set on hillsides about 20 metres.

One resident, Kine Bakkeli, told NRK public television that she had managed to escape through a window. "It's complete chaos here," she said.

Rescuers, police and residents using spades raced to clear houses buried under a thick layer of snow in the hope of finding the missing. It was not known how many people were missing.

A team of doctors was planning to set out from the Norwegian city of Tromsø for Longyearbyen, Svalbard's main town.

Emergency accommodation has been set up in a youth centre and the town's church.

Weather conditions have been harsh since Friday with authorities warning people to take care in high winds. - The Local.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Disaster Precursors - Thousands Of Dead Fish Found On Brevard County Beaches, Florida?!

Dead fish on Brevard County beach

December 19, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - Thousands of dead fish have washed ashore on Brevard County beaches.

The fish were first seen at daybreak on Wednesday in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach, but have spread further along Brevard County and continue to wash ashore on Thursday.

The fish appear to be American Shad which are typically found offshore except during late winter spawning run into east coast rivers, especially the St. Johns River.

WATCH: Thousands of dead fish wash up on Brevard County beach.

A Herring species, Shad typically die after spawning in warm Florida waters, but survive after spawning in colder waters in northern states.

Although onlookers have suspected a bout of red tide as the cause of the fish kill, no other fish species except Shad have washed ashore. - Brevard Times.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Huge Sinkhole Opens Up Near House In West Houston, Texas - Measures 30 Feet Across; Grew 300 PERCENT In A Week And A Half!

Houston sinkhole.

December 19, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - A sinkhole grew right outside George McLellan's backyard. He shot video of the rushing water at the bottom, as the hole grew over the last 30 days.

"It's probably grown 300 percent in the last week and a half," said McLellan.

The hole measured about 30 feet across. He said he first called the city and county.

"City sewer line on county property. Ping pong. 'Well it's not our problem, it's the county.' The county goes, 'Well it's not our sewer line.' So I got frustrated and that's why I called Channel 2 News. I figured somebody might be able to get something done," McLellan said.

Harris County confirmed it is a sewer line that is within the city of Houston's easement on the county property on Terry Hershey Park near Wilcrest. On Wednesday the county put up a cyclone fence to keep people out.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole opens up in west Houston.

"It's primarily a safety and health issue. We have a major, open sewer line that's been uncovered for a month. It stinks," McLellan said.

The City of Houston's Public Works Department confirms it owns the line. The department said engineers were aware of the problem and were working on a solution.

McLellan said it cannot happen fast enough.

"I'd just like to get it fixed. I mean, I got a pool on the other side of that fence and that's going to be a very expensive fix if it grows the way it's growing. By Christmas or New Year's, I may have a sinkhole in my backyard," he said. - C2H.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Whale Found Off Maldives Atoll?!

  • The dead whale that had drifted off to the surf break of Meedhoo late Friday evening. PHOTO/ HAVEERU USER

December 19, 2015 - MALDIVES - Residents of Meedhoo in the southernmost atoll of Addu are working on salvaging a dead whale that had drifted in Saturday morning.

Ali Mohamed, a member of the council in Hulhu-Meedhoo ward of the city, told Haveeru that residents had come to notice the dead whale at around 7.30am. It measures about 50 feet in length, he added.

The councillor stressed that soldiers, policemen and employees of the port in the city are helping the residents salvage the dead whale.


"If they don't succeed in doing so, we'll have to bring the body ashore and dump it," he said.

A resident from Meedhoo said the head of the whale is mostly visible from the surface. Rest of its body is believed to have been decomposed, he added.

According to the resident, the dead whale had drifted in to the surf break of Meedhoo late Friday evening. - Haveeru Online.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Weather Phenomenon - Halo Surrounds The Sun Over Manitoba, Canada! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

 A sundog illusion appears in the sky after a Manitoba snowstorm. Newsflare video screenshot

December 19, 2015 - MANITOBA, CANADA - A group of Canadian storm chasers captured footage of a "phantom sun," or sundog, in the sky over Manitoba after a snowstorm.

The video, posted to YouTube by the NZP Chasers group, shows the "phantom sun," a phenomenon known as a sundog, in the sky over southern Manitoba after a snowstorm Thursday.

Newsflare video screenshot

Newsflare video screenshot

The video shows the sun with a large halo and what appears to be a spare star to its left.

The sundog phenomenon results from the rays of the real sun reflecting off ice crystals in the atmosphere.

WATCH: Sun halo over Manitoba.

A suspected sundog was caught on camera over Florida in October, and a triple-sun illusion was recorded over Mongolia in January. - UPI.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Marina Baru Ship Feared Sunk Off Indonesian Island - Over 100, Including 14 Children, May Be Missing!

December 19, 2015 - INDONESIA - Over 100 people are missing as a boat traveling between two ports of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi failed to dock at the destination city of Siwa.

Local media report that the boat may have sunk.

Police have dispatched patrol boats to look for the ship that listed some 108-120 people on board before its departure from Kolaka in southeast Sulawesi, according to

Police believe the ship, named Marina Baru, went underwater 12 miles (19 kilometers) away from its destination, Detiknews website reports.

Port authorities lost contact with the vessel after its engine broke down in stormy seas, Reuters reports.

At least 14 children were aboard the ship, according to Detiknews.

However, there are some indications the ship may still be afloat.

This is far from being the first incident of its kind in the region, as just on Wednesday six Filipino crewmen went missing after their cargo ship collided with a chemical tanker and sank off Indonesia's Batam Island.

Back in 2009, a ferry with 300 passengers on board was struck by a tropical cyclone and sank off Majene, western Sulawesi. Over 260 people were proclaimed missing. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – December 14-19, 2015! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Eruption lightning from Colima on December 14, 2015 (Image: Sergio Tapiro)

December 19, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

Colima (Western Mexico): Activity at the volcano remains elevated. Moderate to strong vulcanian explosions occur every few hours.

WATCH: Spectacular explosion at Colima.

According to the National Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente, columns of ash and smoke reached 3,000 meters above and a number of explosions have taken place in the last three days. Some of the settlements in the outskirts of 3,839 meter-long volcano were evacuated after the incident.

There are over 3,000 active volcanoes in Mexico and Colima has exploded more than 40 times since the year 1576.

Attached above, is a fantastic image showing volcanic lightning during such an explosion on December 14, taken by Sergio Tapiro.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): The eruption, characterized by slow extrusion of viscous lava, continues well into its second year.

Explosion at Sinabung volcano this morning (Image: Endro Lewa / facebook)

Glowing rockfalls and explosion on December 17 (Photo: Endro Lewa / facebook)

Moderately large pyroclastic flow from Sinabung on December 15 (Photo: Endro Lewa)

During the past days, incandescent avalanches, but also explosions (from pressurized gas-rich magma) have occurred, producing small to moderate ash plumes rising up to 2-3 km.

Dukono (Halmahera, Indonesia): Ash emissions from the volcano continue to be intense and near continuous. A plume extending 100 nautical miles (180 km) to the east was reported this morning (Darwin VAAC).

Egon (Flores): Seismic unrest has been detected at the volcano. On 15 Dec, VSI raised the alert level of the volcano from 1 to 2 ("waspada", watch), on a scale of 1-4.

It is recommended not to approach the crater within a radius of 1.5 km, as unexpected explosions could occur.

Fuego (Guatemala): Effusive activity increased yesterday, when 3 lava flows descended from the summit, reaching 1500 m length on the southern flank (Trinidad ravine), 1500 m on the SW flank (Las Lajas) and 1200 m on the western flank (Santa Teresa ravine).

Fuego volcano

Over night, activity seems to have decreased a bit.

On December 14, another phase of strong increased activity (paroxysm) started at the volcano. The volcano observatory reports that explosions became more intense and frequent, 4-6 per hour.

Ash plumes rose up to 1 km and loud shock waves accompanied many of them. Two new lava flows, 800 m long, started to head towards the Santa Teresa (west flank) and Trinidad (south flank) drainage.

Fuego volcano on December 14 (Image via MAXIMO NIVEL ‏@maximoabroad / twitter)

This is the 13th paroxysmal episode during 2015, and if activity increases further, dangerous pyroclastic flows are likely to occur in the coming days. In particular, river beds and valleys at the feet of the mountain should be avoided at all times, as these are high-risk areas.

Dallol (Danakil desert, Ethiopia): We present a photograph taken on the 23rd of November 2015 during our first Danakil volcano expedition of this winter season!

It seems that this phenomenal hydrothermal system is increasingly becoming drier (more shades of yellow-orange-brown and less green colours) in comparison to a few years ago, e.g. December 2010 following a particularly rainy period.

Kirishima (Kyushu): New fumaroles have been detected on the SW flank of the Iozan Ebino crater and a strong sulfur smell was reported.

Thermal imagery and photo of the new fumarole field at Kirishima (JMA)

No other signs of significant unrest have been detected at the volcano.

Rinjani (Lombok): It seems that the eruption at the Barujari cone is over.

MODIS thermal signal from Rinjani (MIROVA)

After a period of intermittent, sometimes quite strong vulcanian-type explosions at the end of Nov and early Dec, no explosive activity has occurred since 3 December and no thermal signal is being recorded on satellite data.

Bromo (East Java, Indonesia): Ash emissions of varying intensity continue from the volcano, producing a plume that rises approx. 500-1500 m above the crater:

Ash emissions from Bromo on December 15 (Photo: Oystein L. Andersen @OysteinLAnderse / twitter)

WATCH: Eruption at Bromo.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: The Effects Of Magnetic Polar Migration - The Latest Incidents Of Plane Crashes Across The Globe!

The plane crashed while attempting to land this morning around 8am in the 2200 block of Airline in the Polly Ranch subdivision.

December 19, 2015 - EARTH - Here are the latest incidents of plane crashes across the planet over the last few days.

Small plane crash lands in Friendswood

A small planed crashed Thursday morning just feet from a home near an airstrip in Friendswood.

The single-engine plane crash landed about 8 a.m. in the 2200 block of Airline in the Polly Ranch subdivision, said Trooper Stephen Woodard of the Department of Public Safety.

No injuries were reported.

Woodard said the plane came to rest about seven feet from a home in a backyard.

The pilot, a 45-year-old man, was the only person aboard the Roman America aircraft. It appeared, Woodward said, the pilot lost control in gusty conditions.

The plane clipped a small tree and slammed to the ground about 30 feet away from the side of the runway. - CHRON.

Two killed in Madison County plane crash

RV-4 (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Two people died in a plane crash in rural Madison County Thursday night.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating what caused the crash, but officials said dreary weather conditions and poor visibility across the Florida peninsula heading into Friday may have been a factor.

Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart identified the pilot of the RV-4, two-person plane as 32-year-old William Swiggart and the passenger has been identified as 18-year-old Maitland Harvey of Ocoee.

Swiggart is a military pilot who was most recently stationed at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi, Stewart said.

The plane left Jim Taylor Field at Ocala International Airport for the 170-mile flight to Tallahassee International Airport around 6 p.m., but air traffic controllers lost contact with the Swiggart two hours later as it headed north, FAA officials said.

On Thursday night, MCSO officials and New Home volunteer firefighters started to search for the plane but were unsuccessful. It was located around 10 a.m. by a Leon County Sheriff’s helicopter in a heavily wooded area off Mosley Hall Road about 10 miles south of I-10 in Madison County.

Stewart said it was quickly determined Swiggart and Harvey, who are cousins, had died in the crash. NTSB investigators are coming in from Atlanta to investigate what may have led to the plane crash. - Tallahassee Democrat.

Plane crash reported at Hayward airport

Twitter: Hayward Fire News

A plane crash has been reported at the Hayward Airport Friday afternoon, according to firefighters.

Hayward fire said the pilot and the passenger did not sustain any injuries from the crash.

This occurred on the landing, but it is unclear exactly what went wrong. - KRON4.

Plane Plunges 32,000 Feet, Wing Part Falls Off Mid-Flight, and More Incidents

Technical issues forced a Gulf Air plane to descend 32,000 feet in just a few minutes. (Photo: Gulf Air/Facebook)

It’s been a scary week for air travel — and the timing couldn’t be worse, right before the busiest travel season of the year.

A Gulf Air flight to London this week plunged 32,000 feet in eight minutes after a loss in cabin pressure, reportedly leaving passengers terrified.

Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and emergency procedures were put into effect as a result of “technical issues.”

Flight GF003, an Airbus 330, was en route from Bahrain to Heathrow, when the emergency occurred; the plane and all 89 passengers eventually landed safely at Heathrow.

In a series of tweets, Gulf Air released this statement: “Gulf Air can confirm that flight GF003, an Airbus 330, flying from Bahrain to London on 13 December, experienced technical issues that resulted in the airline’s experienced cockpit crew successfully executing an emergency descent and safely landing at Heathrow International.”

“The safety, protection and comfort of our passengers and employees are of utmost importance and Gulf Air crew are trained to handle such incidents as evidenced by the level of professionalism shown by both the pilots & cabin crew as well as all of our teams on the ground.”

This came just a day after another horrifying in-flight incident. On Sunday, a piece of a plane wing fell off of a Southwest Airlines flight over Texas. Fortunately, the plane made an emergency landing with no one harmed.

Flight from 987 from Austin to Harlingen was carrying 109 people when, as passenger Lorenzo Hernandez Jr. posted on Facebook, “on the left side of the plane, fasteners came or broke off the wing. I heard a few people to the side of me scream to the aircrew, a piece broke and flew off and a panel was hanging.”

Hernandez posted photos of the faulty wing on Facebook. He said when it happened he felt “the worst turbulence ever,” and that passengers were praying, but “I am glad to say the great staff and pilots kept calm and stabilized the plane after a few minutes.”

The plane touched down in San Antonio without incident. A Southwest spokesperson told the Daily Mail the issue was “a flap track canoe fairing appearing to be at an irregular angle.” Southwest said it would take the flight out of service for further inspection.

On Tuesday, another Southwest Airlines flight encountered problems, when a Boeing 737 arriving from Houston Hobby Airport skidded off the runway at Nashville International Airport. At least nine people were injured, and passengers used the emergency slides to exit the plane. The airport released video footage showing the plane skidding off the runway and landing in grass.

And on Wednesday at India’s Mumbai airport, a technician for Air India was tragically sucked into a jet engine and killed. According to reports, the co-pilot accidentally started the engine after misunderstanding a signal from the ground crew. The incident took place just as the plane was pushing back from the gate to take off. - Yahoo.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: "There Is A BOMB Underneath You" - The LARGEST RELEASE Of Methane In California's History; A GIANT STREAM Of Climate-Warming Methane Gas Is Blowing HUNDREDS OF FEET Into The Air In Los Angeles County And NO ONE CAN STOP IT! [VIDEO]

December 19, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A giant stream of potent climate-warming gas - methane - is blowing hundreds of feet into the air in Los Angeles County for the seventh week.

The release cancels out hundreds of smaller efforts over more than a decade to clamp down on escapes of the gas, a priority because in the short term, methane is a far more powerful climate-warming gas than carbon dioxide.

Pilots flying low have been told by the FAA to stay clear of the plume for fear of ignition.

More than 1,800 families have sought relocation due to the vapors.

Southern California Gas Co. officials say it will be months before it can be stopped.

The mainly methane gas is pouring out of the ground near a damaged well used to inject gas into an old sandstone oil field for storage.

"I think what we are seeing is probably one of the single largest releases of methane in California history," said Tim O'Connor, who used to inspect major facilities like refineries for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and works for the Environmental Defense Fund.

"People I speak with who are experts in the field say this is biggest, most complex leak that they have ever seen."

Authorities estimate the rupture in the well, perhaps more than a mile deep, is sending 100,000 pounds of methane into the air per hour.

Methane traps heat more powerfully than carbon dioxide during its approximately 20-year stay in the atmosphere, giving it an outsize role in rising sea levels and disrupted weather.

The Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Field, covered with wells, is owned by Southern California Gas Co., a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, based in San Diego.

"We have never had an escape this large," said Gillian Wright, vice president for customer services for Southern California Gas.

"I have to really emphasize this is an extremely rare event.

The extent and the difficulty of resolving this leak are highly, highly unusual."

All the methods the company has tried so far to kill the well have failed.

Now experts who fought the Kuwaiti oil field fires have joined the effort.

The safety of the some 100 workers on the site is also a concern.

Wright said that is why on some days, the company cannot perform certain work.

If the wind is blowing methane over certain equipment, crews cannot start that equipment, she said.

As of the weekend, 1,800 families, ill or frightened by sulfurous gas drifting down from the site, have been relocated from Porter Ranch, paid for by the gas company.

An additional 1,433 families have asked to be moved, with some still deciding, said Melissa Bailey, a company spokeswoman.

Among those who have left are George Chang and Susan Gorman-Chang. Gorman-Chang said the first time she felt the full impact of the unfolding events was midway through her habitual five-mile run, when she felt the strong smell of gas, or to be precise, an additive intended to give an odor to the otherwise odorless gas.

With no alternative, she ran through it until she reached home.

"I was really, really dizzy the next morning." she said.

Then on Sunday, Nov. 22 before church, she said, she opened the back door to let the dog out and was sickened by gas.

Now the Changs reside in an extended stay hotel with a mini kitchen, but no oven.

Some of her fellow refugee neighbors are considering getting air filters, but she has mixed feelings. Several lawsuits have been filed.

Marquee environmental litigators are partnering in the effort.

They liken the release to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

At a gathering Dec. 9 organized by lawyers, they struck at residents' deepest fears.

"Everyone here has suffered a huge property loss," said trial attorney R. Rex Parris.

"The secret is out.

There is a bomb underneath you."

He invited those in attendance to sign up to be represented by counsel.

He also announced he was adding co-counsel, including lawyers who represented plaintiffs in the BP case and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who in his remarks called the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources a "sock puppet."

Steve Bohlen, the scientist who heads up the agency, said making sure that Southern California Gas seals the well quickly and appropriately has "consumed the attention" of his division.

"We have directed them to build a relief well.

We have directed them to prepare a second relief well," he said. But the oil and gas chief said if the state is too directive, it risks assuming liability for the consequences.

"This is Southern California Gas' problem to fix," Bohlen stressed.

Some researchers say not enough attention has been paid to to underground gas storage fields, a mainstay of the natural gas distribution system, if little known to the average gas customer.

In the western United States these storage areas often consist of older oil fields where the original production wells have been converted to injection wells for gas.

Sometimes new injection wells are drilled.

The natural gas is gathered from remote areas, in this case Texas, New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains or Canada.

Pipelines bring it to places like Aliso Canyon where it is compressed and pushed into formations until it is withdrawn when Southern Californians fire up their heaters in winter.

Aliso Canyon is the largest such facility on the West Coast, according to Wright.

Withdrawals continue as the gas escapes and in fact the company is withdrawing gas as quickly as possible to diminish the pressure that is forcing the gas to escape.

Aliso Canyon can hold 86 billion cubic feet of gas.

"It is the heart of our system in terms of supplying and managing demand," Wright said.

Officials who have focused on reducing methane emissions because of the impact on Earth's atmosphere have paid more attention to regulations on pipelines and wells and the other places from which methane escapes.

O'Connor of Environmental Defense Fund said the gas gushing from Aliso Canyon is roughly equal to that emitted by six coal-fired power plants or 7 million extra cars.

"I think we have found a regulatory gap," he said.

Officials at both the federal and state level are formulating new rules for reducing emissions of methane. Underground natural gas storage is likely to get more scrutiny.

WATCH: New video shot with a highly specialized Optical Gas Imaging camera shows time-lapse image of Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon gas leak. Video depicts an ominous cloud of methane gas flowing down from the gas well over the community of Porter Ranch. The video shows the gas cloud at 60x speed.

- TBW.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - The Global Financial Order Could UTTERLY COLLAPSE On December 21!

December 19, 2015 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - The world is entering a chaotic phase. There have been recent claims that the US has begun to create «manageable chaos» globally. But events in the Middle East have dispelled the illusion that the instigator of this chaos is capable of managing it. And that unmanageable chaos may very soon overtake the world of international finance. The US is once again guilty of having ushered in unmanageable financial chaos, and Ukraine’s $3 billion debt to Russia will serve to detonate the process.

It is no coincidence that problems are mounting around that debt. Washington is deliberately exploiting the debt to try to inflict damage on Russia. The final destruction of the global financial order that was established during the international conference at Bretton Woods in 1944 could end up as collateral damage of the anti-Russian policy.

The US devised the Bretton Woods monetary system, then inflicted the initial damage on it during the 1970s when Washington stopped exchanging dollars for gold. Gold was demonetized, the world transitioned to paper money, and fixed exchange rates were eliminated. The financial markets, as well as financial speculation, began to expand at a frantic pace, which significantly reduced the stability of the global economy and international finance. Financial chaos was already at hand, but at the time it was still at a manageable level. The International Monetary Fund, which was created in December 1945, remained the tool for managing international finance.

Yet today we are eyewitnesses to the IMF’s destruction, which threatens to magnify the instability of global finance in the midst of global financial chaos. The IMF’s role in maintaining relative financial order in the world not only consisted of issuing loans and credits to specific countries, but also in the fact that it acted as the final authority, writing the rules of the game for global financial markets. After the United States – the IMF’s main shareholder (controlling approximately 17% of the voting power within the fund) – dragged the IMF into the games it was playing with Ukraine, that international financial institution was forced to break its own rules that it had developed and honed over the course of decades. The fund’s recent decisions have created a precedent for a game played without rules, and it is almost impossible to calculate the consequences for international finance.

The most recent ruling of this type was issued on Dec. 8. It was timed to correspond with the final maturity date for Ukraine’s $3 billion debt to Russia – Dec. 20. Washington continues to urge the Ukrainian government not to repay its Russian debt. But if Kiev fails to pay back what it owes, this will almost automatically lead to a full-scale sovereign default, and thus the IMF, in accordance with the rules that have been in place almost since the fund’s birth, will no longer have the right to make loans to Ukraine. In order to continue transferring funds from the IMF’s loan to Ukraine (a loan agreement for $17.5 billion was signed in April 2015), Washington ordered the fund to rewrite the rules so that even if Kiev defaults on what it owes Moscow, the IMF could still lend Ukraine money. The fund – ever submissive – fulfilled this seemingly unfulfillable command.

Aleksei Mozhin, the IMF director for the Russian Federation, reported that on Dec. 8 the fund’s Executive Board approved reforms that would allow lending to debtors even in the event of a default on sovereign debt. Everyone knows perfectly well that the fund made such a revolutionary decision specifically in order to prop up the moribund regime in Kiev and to needle Russia. Speaking to reporters, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov stated, «The decision to change the rules appears hasty and biased. This was done solely to harm Russia and to legitimize the possibility of Kiev not paying its debts».

There have been few decisions of such a radical nature in the IMF’s history. For example, in 1989 the fund won the right to make loans to countries even if the recipients of those funds still had unpaid debts to foreign commercial banks. And in 1998 the fund was permitted to lend to countries with outstanding liabilities on sovereign bonds held by private investors. However, the repayment of debts to sovereign creditors has always been a sacred duty for the IMF’s clients. Sovereign creditors are the saviors of last resort, who come to the aid of states that are being turned away by private lenders and investors.

Under the IMF’s rules, a state’s liabilities to a sovereign creditor (i.e., another state) are just as «sacred» as liabilities to the fund itself. This is, in a manner of speaking, a cornerstone of international finance. And here we see how, at an ordinary meeting of the IMF’s Executive Board, this cornerstone has been hastily pulled out from under the edifice of international finance. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov drew particular attention to this aspect of the Executive Board’s ruling: «The rules for financing the fund’s programs have existed for decades and have not changed. Sovereign creditors have always had priority over commercial ones. The rules have emphasized the special role of official creditors, which is especially important in times of crisis, when commercial lenders are turning countries away, depriving them of access to resources».

The submissive posture of the fund and the audacity of its main shareholder (the US) can be seen in the way the Dec. 8 decision was quickly rubber-stamped, while for five years Washington has blocked efforts to reform the fund (to review the quotas of the member states and to double the fund’s capital). According to Siluanov, given the IMF Executive Board’s Dec. 8 decision, «America’s unwillingness to address the issue of the ratification of the agreement to replenish the IMF’s capital appears particularly egregious, especially when that capital would be very useful in solving Ukraine’s debt problems».

On Dec. 10, a 34-page report was published containing details of the reform that had been approved by the IMF’s Executive Board on Dec. 8. According to that document, some of those changes apply to debt to sovereign creditors that is not covered by the Paris Club agreements. However, a debtor country must meet a number of conditions in order to maintain its access to IMF funds, including «making good faith efforts» to restructure its debt.

The reference to «good faith efforts» raises a very interesting point. So far Kiev has made no efforts at all in its capacity as a debtor state. The statements by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk do not count. Those were not attempts at «good faith efforts,» but rather ultimatums made to Russia, a sovereign creditor: in other words, you will either join the restructuring talks we are holding with our private creditors or else we will not pay you anything at all. It’s also typical that these statements were not even made through the official channels of correspondence but were issued verbally on television. I found one statement by Yatsenyuk particularly moving, when he claimed that he had not received any formal proposals from Moscow regarding Ukraine’s debt.

This is something new, in intergovernmental relations in general and in international monetary and credit relations in particular. Almost since the birth of the IMF, a rule has existed (and still does), according to which: a) any initiative to alter the original terms of a loan must come from the debtor, not the creditor; and b) that initiative (request) must be issued in writing and sent to the creditor via official channels.

If Mr Yatsenyuk is unaware of these rules, perhaps the officials of the IMF could explain them to him. However, nothing like this has been done.

Let’s return to the Dec. 8 decision. Whether Kiev wants to or not, if it is to continue obtaining credit through the fund, Ukraine must at least show evidence of an attempt to negotiate with its creditor, i.e., with Moscow. It must provide evidence of «a good faith effort,» so to speak. And of what should that evidence consist? There must be at least three steps: a) a formal request to begin talks to review the terms of the loan must be drafted and sent to the creditor; b) the debtor must receive an official response from the lender; and c) if the creditor agrees – negotiations must be held to revise the terms.

Of course Kiev’s negotiations with its private creditors regarding the restructuring of its debt began almost immediately after the latest IMF loan agreement was signed, i.e., they lasted from March 2015 until late August 2015. The negotiation process lasted until October, which means that the debt restructuring dragged on for six months.

Don’t forget that the deadline to repay the debt to Russia (Dec. 20) falls on a Sunday. Kiev has very little time left to demonstrate «a good faith effort» and even in a best-case scenario could not possibly manage more than the first two of the three steps I have listed. There is no time for the third and most important step.

It will be very interesting to hear what the IMF has to say on Monday, Dec. 21. Where will it be able to find evidence of Kiev’s «good faith efforts»? Or will it wait for its cue from the main shareholder? Although that main shareholder is not renowned for its mental finesse, it makes up for its doltishness with sheer nerve.

Dec. 21 promises to be the most shameful day in the history of the IMF, which could be followed by the death of this international financial institution. Unfortunately, the IMF would still be capable of blowing up the global financial system before its own demise, using Ukraine’s debt to Russia as the detonator. Of course, Washington is the one really playing the game – the fund is merely a toy in its hands. But why would Washington want this to happen? Strictly speaking, it is not even official Washington that wants this, but the «money masters» (the Federal Reserve’s main shareholders), and every official connected with the White House, US Treasury, and other US government agencies is on their payroll. The money masters have been forced to defend the weakening dollar using proven tools – the creation of chaos outside America’s borders. Any kind of chaos will work – political, military, economic, or financial.

After the ruling by the IMF’s Executive Board on Dec. 8, 2015, which was made in order to prop up the bankrupt regime in Kiev and solely for the purpose of harming Russia, some financial experts have cautiously expressed their opinion that there will soon be little reason for Russia to remain in the IMF. I can only endorse their position, although Russia’s withdrawal from the IMF would be a necessary but insufficient prerequisite for bolstering Russian statehood. Russia must still create a reliable defense against global financial chaos, which, after Dec. 21, will quickly grow unmanageable. - SCF.

MONUMENTAL WEATHER ANOMALIES: Unusual And Unprecedented Oceanographic Conditions - Leads To Record Levels Of Algal Toxin Domoic Acid Found In Wide Range Of Marine Organisms And Commercial Fish Species?!

Cells of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia, a type of single-celled algae, produce the neurotoxin domoic acid under certain conditions.
This image is from a water sample collected in Monterey Bay in 2015.  © Alyssa Gellene

December 19, 2015 - PACIFIC OCEAN - Researchers monitoring the unprecedented bloom of toxic algae along the west coast of North America in 2015 found record levels of the algal toxin domoic acid in samples from a wide range of marine organisms. The toxin was also detected for the first time in the muscle tissue or filet of several commercial fish species.

Investigations led by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, help explain the extraordinary duration and intensity of the 2015 domoic acid event, the spread of the toxin through the marine food web, and its persistence in Dungeness crab months after the algal bloom disappeared from coastal waters. Ocean scientist Raphael Kudela, the Lynn Professor of Ocean Health at UC Santa Cruz, will present the latest research findings at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a type of microscopic algae called Pseudo-nitzschia that occurs naturally in coastal waters. Blooms of the toxic algae along the California coast typically occur in the spring and fall and last just a few weeks. This year, however, unusual oceanographic conditions (unrelated to El Niño) led to the largest and longest-lasting bloom ever recorded.

"The duration of the bloom and the intensity of the toxicity were unprecedented, and that led to record levels of the toxin in species such as anchovies, razor clams, and crabs," Kudela said. "We also saw the toxin in organisms and parts of organisms where we thought it was not supposed to be, like the filets of fish."

Monitoring programs are in place to ensure the safety of seafood for human consumption, leading to the closure of several west coast fisheries and the delayed opening of the Dungeness crab season. In humans, domoic acid poisoning is also known as amnesic shellfish poisoning because it may cause permanent loss of short-term memory, as well as neurological and gastrointestinal symptoms. In 1987, four people died of domoic acid poisoning in Canada after eating contaminated mussels, but such cases are rare.

The levels of toxin detected this year in the filets of salmon, rockfish, and ling cod were well below the regulatory limits, Kudela said. But once the toxin gets into the muscle tissue, it will stay in the fish and in the food web much longer than if it is just in the intestinal track.

"Before this year, it was a big question whether it gets into the filet at all," he said. "We think what happened is the bloom lasted so long and was so toxic that the prolonged exposure allowed the toxin to perfuse into the muscle tissue, and it also worked its way into the food web to an extent that we hadn't seen before."

The prolonged bloom probably also allowed a lot of toxin to build up in sediments on the seafloor, which would explain why Dungeness crabs are still showing high levels of toxin. Previous studies by Kudela's team showed that sediments on the seafloor can hold a reservoir of toxin that lasts for months after the algal bloom goes away. "The crabs are feeding on the seafloor, and all the things they would typically eat can hold the toxin for months," he said. "It could be another month or longer before the toxin in crabs drops below the regulatory limit everywhere in California."

The good news, Kudela said, is that scientists now have a much better understanding of the factors that lead to Pseudo-nitzschia blooms. His lab has developed a forecasting model that has performed well at predicting where and when domoic acid will be a problem.

A combination of warm water and nutrients creates ideal conditions for a toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia, Kudela said. That's a relatively uncommon combination along the west coast, where wind-driven upwelling of cold deep water is a major source of nutrients in coastal ecosystems. When there's no upwelling of cold water, the layer of warm water on the surface tends to be low in nutrients. Pseudo-nitzschia blooms typically occur during the transitional periods in the spring and fall, when upwelling is getting started or winding down and nutrients mix with warm water for a few weeks.

In 2015, however, the usual patterns were disrupted by a warm-water anomaly known as the 'warm blob,' which first appeared in the North Pacific west of Seattle in late 2013. In 2014, a second warm blob developed off of southern California, and in 2015 they spread into the coastal waters. "We had two pools of warm water hitting the coast in the Pacific Northwest and southern California and merging, so all at once there were warm waters over the whole west coast," Kudela said.

That warm water then interacted with coastal upwelling to create perfect conditions for Pseudo-nitzschia. Normally, the northerly winds that start in the spring blow the warm surface waters offshore, driving the upwelling of cold deep water and creating a regime of cold, nutrient-rich coastal waters that lasts until fall. In 2015, weak upwelling provided periodic injections of nutrients, but every time the upwelling got started the warm blob pushed back onto the coast.

The result was a record-breaking toxic algae bloom that started in April and lasted into early October. The size of the bloom was also unprecedented, extending from Santa Barbara to Alaska. Even in December, water samples were still occasionally showing up with domoic acid, Kudela said. "We think it's just moving offshore, and each time conditions are right it comes back in to the coast," he said. "Once a series of big winter storms comes through, that's when we'll see it go away until the following spring."

Now the big question is what the impact of El Niño will be in 2016, because El Niño also brings warm water conditions that can favor toxic algae blooms. Most of the warm water along the California coast in 2015 was from the warm blob, although El Niño probably began contributing to it later in the summer. Historically, El Niño periods have been associated with larger than normal blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia, Kudela said.

"The predictions are for this El Niño to be as strong as the one in 1997-98, when the warm water lasted through 1998. So we could be looking at a big bloom again next year," he said. - Science Daily.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake Hits Near Vanuatu Islands, Pacific Ocean - USGS; No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

December 19, 2015 - VANUATU ISLANDS - A magnitude-6.2 earthquake has struck north-east of the Vanuatu chain of islands, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake had a depth of 10 kilometres, it said.

Nearby cities to the impact zone include Isangel, Port-Vila, We, Luganville and Dumbea.

USGS shakemap intensity.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. - ABC Australia .

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