Wednesday, January 13, 2016

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Frozen Waterfall The Width Of Football Pitch Captured In China, As Temperatures Dipped Below -15 Degrees Celsius! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

© People's Daily 人民日报 / YouTube

January 13, 2016 - CHINA - Whether it was Elsa, Bobby “Iceman” Drake, or just good ole Mother Nature, an amazing sight was created in northern China when a waterfall the width of a football pitch and the height of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue froze into a vertical super-highway of ice.

Temperatures dipped below -15 degrees celsius (+5 F) in the Shanxi capital Taiyuan, but it wasn’t enough to keep away locals (and a video-recording drone) from witnessing the winter wonder.

Locals weren’t adventurous enough to climb the icy waterfall, even though ice climbing is a global activity with its own grading system.

© People's Daily 人民日报 / YouTube

© People's Daily 人民日报 / YouTube

© People's Daily 人民日报 / YouTube

© People's Daily 人民日报 / YouTube

While the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls in Venezuela, is located in a place where (hopefully) it will never dip below freezing, the award for best frozen waterfall goes to Niagara Falls on the US-Canadian border, with one daredevil climbing it last year.

WATCH: Frozen waterfall in China.

Waterfalls are not the only piece of winter art made by Elsa, Iceman, or Mother Nature.

A car in Buffalo, New York was found covered in a unique ice sculpture after being parked by the great lake of Erie. - RT.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Zika Virus Case Confirmed In Texas - Person Traveled To Latin America!

Male Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are seen in this picture. Zika virus is among the viruses spead by the species. REUTERS/Ma Qiang/Southern Metropolis Daily

January 13, 2016 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - A traveler who recently returned to the Houston area from El Salvador has a confirmed case of Zika, a virus borne by mosquitoes, health officials in Harris County, Texas, said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said it has confirmed 22 cases of the disease among returning U.S. travelers since it was first reported in 2007, and is still receiving specimens for testing from travelers who recently became ill.

There is no indication that mosquitoes in the continental United States are spreading Zika.

But in December Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, confirmed the first locally acquired case of Zika virus in a person who had not traveled outside the island.

The Zika virus has gained attention recently because Brazil is investigating a possible link between the infection and cases of infants born with microcephaly, abnormally small head size associated with incomplete brain development, the CDC said.

Harris County health officials said they were urging travelers to take protective measures against mosquitoes, such as netting and repellent, if they travel to areas where the infection is present.

Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and have been reported in some countries in the Americas, the CDC said.

It is transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes, which also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses and are common in Texas, Florida and elsewhere in the United States.

Zika is usually a mild illness with fever, rash and joint pain.

There is no preventive vaccine, according to the CDC. - Yahoo.

WAR DRUMS: Tensions Escalate On The Korean Peninsula - North Korea Says Its H-Bomb Is "CAPABLE OF WIPING OUT WHOLE UNITED STATES AT ONCE"!

January 13, 2016 - NORTH KOREA - North Korea claims it’s ready to detonate its H-bomb capable of wiping out the whole of the US “all at once.”

The comments come amid increased week-long tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang’s claim about its latest underground nuclear test.

“The scientists and technicians of the DPRK are in high spirit to detonate H-bombs … capable of wiping out the whole territory of the US all at once,” North Korean KCNA news agency said.

Along with the ‘wiping-out-US’ comments, Pyongyang added that the test “was neither to ‘threaten’ anyone nor to ‘provoke’ someone for a certain purpose.”

“It was a process indispensable for carrying out the WPK's line on simultaneously carrying out the economic construction and the building of nuclear force to cope with the US ever-more undisguised hostile policy toward the DPRK,” the agency said.

North Korea has recently made the headlines after it claimed to have carried out hydrogen bomb test. The announcement raised concerns over the security of the region.In the meantime, experts doubt that Pyongyang did test the H-bomb and later agreed the device was an atomic bomb similar to those in three previous tests.

Pyongyang says developing a nuclear weapon was important in order to protect itself against US interference in North Korean affairs, and that the bomb can defend it against any invasion.

The UN Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea’s most recent nuclear test.

The test alerted neighboring Seoul. On Monday US troops stationed in South Korea were put on the highest alert ever to deter “any provocation coming from North Korea”. Earlier Washington deployed a strategic B-52 bomber on a low altitude demonstration flight over South Korea, to flex the alliance’s muscle. - RT.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Rupture Under Kathmandu May Cause Major Earthquake - Study!

The study shows that a kink in the regional fault line below Nepal explains why the highest mountains in the Himalayas are seen to grow between earthquakes.

January 13, 2016 - KATHMANDU, NEPAL - An underground rupture 11km below Kathmandu is continuously building up more pressure as India continues to collide into Nepal, a new study has found, indicating that another major earthquake may take place earlier than expected.

The study sheds light on the earthquake that devastated Nepal in April 2015, killing more than 8,000 people. It shows that a kink in the regional fault line below Nepal explains why the highest mountains in the Himalayas are seen to grow between earthquakes.

This kink has created a ramp 20km below the surface, with material constantly being pushed up and raising the height of the mountains. The researchers, from the UK's Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET), also demonstrate that the rupture on the fault stopped 11km below Kathmandu.

This indicates that another major earthquake could take place within a shorter time-frame than the centuries that might be expected for the area, researchers said. "Nepal has some of the highest mountain ranges in the world that have been built up over millions of years because of the collision of India with Asia," said lead author John Elliott of Oxford University, a member of the COMET team.

"We have shown that the fault beneath Nepal has a kink in it, creating a ramp 20km underground," he said. "Material is continually being pushed up this ramp, which explains why the mountains were seen to be growing in the decades before the earthquake," he said. "The earthquake itself then reversed this, dropping the mountains back down again when the pressure was released as the crust suddenly snapped in April 2015," Elliott said.

Another key finding of the study shows that the rupture in the fault stopped 11km below Kathmandu, leaving an upper portion that remains unbroken. "This is surprising for such a big earthquake, which we would normally expect to leave a major fault trace in the landscape," Elliott said.

"We found that the rupture from April's earthquake stopped 11km beneath Kathmandu, and that this sudden break is because of damage to the fault from interactions with older faults in the region," said Elliott.

"This is important because the upper half of the fault has not yet ruptured, but is continuously building up more pressure over time as India continues to collide into Nepal," he said. "As this part of the fault is nearer the surface, the future rupture of this upper portion has the potential for a much greater impact on Kathmandu if it were to break in one go in a similar sized event to that of April 2015," he said.

"Work on other earthquakes has suggested that when a rupture stops like this, it can be years or decades before it resumes, rather than the centuries that might usually be expected," he said. The study was published in the journal Nature Geoscience. - IBN Live.

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.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Landslide At Waterville, Wenatchee, Washington - Triggers The Closure Of A 9-Mile Stretch Of U.S. Highway 2!

The slide that has U.S. Highway 2 closed for at least a few days is roughly 7,000 cubic yards in volume -- that's about 700 dump truck loads of material.
(Photo courtesy WSDOT)

January 13, 2016 - WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - A massive rock and mud slide that began Sunday afternoon has triggered the closure of a 9-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 2 near Waterville, about 18 miles east of Wenatchee.

The closure is likely to last at least a few days, challenging drivers in an area with few easy options for detours, said Jeff Adamson, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Crews from WSDOT spent most of Monday assessing the slide and making sure no vehicles or people were trapped under the massive pile of rock that covered the highway just east of the interchange with U.S. Highway 97.

They found nothing in the pile but rock and mud, Adamson said.

The size of the slide -- roughly 7,000 cubic yards or the equivalent of about 700 dump truck loads of material -- makes it a challenge for WSDOT crews that are already needed for avalanche and slide work elsewhere this time of year, so the department will likely hire an outside contractor to help clear the road, Adamson said.

Another photo from WSDOT showing the hefty slide that has U.S. Highway 2 closed for at least a few days. (Photo courtesy WSDOT)

"We pretty well need help if we're going to get this thing open pretty soon," he said.

A recent deluge of wet weather likely caused the slide, and a team from WSDOT's Olympia office will make sure the hillside is stable before any workers or equipment are put in the slide zone, he added.

Detours for drivers are not easy, with the best options to either head north to Brewster (about an hour drive) to pick up state Route 17 and work their way back to Waterville, or a similarly long detour south to Quincy and then state Route 28, Adamson said.

WSDOT will issue an update Tuesday morning, with the hope of getting the slide cleared in two or three days. - Seattle PI.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Geological Upheaval Risk High In Oregon If A Mega-Quake Hits - Professor Says That It Will Collapse Buildings And Generate Large Number Of Landslides!

  Portland's west hills. (Photo: KGW)

January 13, 2016 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - A geotechnical engineering professor at Oregon State University says when the "big one" hits, not only will it collapse buildings, it will likely generate a large number of landslides.

For years, scientists have said a major magnitude 9.0 earthquake could strike the Pacific Northwest at any time.

That is something Jill Ward understands. She has lived in her Portland West Hills home for 30 years.
She knows if a major earthquake hits, there will likely be landslides.

"My house is probably going to slide too and slide on top of my neighbors," Ward said. "I guess I'm just hoping it doesn't happen."

"It's got huge consequences say for the west hills of Portland," said Ben Mason.

Mason is a engineering professor at Oregon State University and was a member of a team that recently went to Nepal to study quake-caused slides.

"The Katmandu Valley is not very dissimilar than say the Willamette Valley," said Mason.

Last April, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, killing thousands.

While collapsing structures killed many, massive landslides buried entire towns.

Mason says the fault that caused the Nepal quake is very similar to the Cascadia Subduction Zone off Oregon and Washington's coast.

The only difference?

Ours could produce a much bigger magnitude 9.0 quake.

Mason says the hills most at risk here are those in the Coast Range.

"The land-sliding we expect in Oregon is going to be mainly focused on those center coastal hills," he said.

And our nine months of rain a year doesn't help.

"The fact our hills are going to be wetter more of the time is going to lead to an increased risk of land-sliding," he said.

But Mason adds the extent of landslides in Portland's West Hills is a bit more of an unknown, which is why he says studying earthquake damage elsewhere will help scientists and citizens better understand what could happen. - KGW.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Rare Tornado Hits Maidenhead, United Kingdom - Several Buildings Damaged!

© Chanellina Daniella

January 13, 2016 - UNITED KINGDOM - Homes in Maidenhead have been left damaged by what eyewitnesses described as a "tornado".

Residents described hearing loud crashing noises and strong winds at about 02:30 GMT.

Wessex Primary School has reported damage including a hole in the roof, dislodged canopies and solar panels upended.

The Met Office said it could not "confirm or deny" reports of a tornado.

'Rubble rain'

Resident Josie Pass has described seeing plastic sheeting "flying around in circles" outside her bedroom window.

She added: "The noise was deafening and the house was vibrating, it must have lasted for 30 seconds.

"The windows were shaking and my first thought was that we are about to be hit by an aircraft.

"There was a huge bang and the sound of rubble raining on the roof," she said.

Leanne Norcott, who lives in the town, was woken up by a noise and also described seeing plastic sheeting "flying around in circles".

Solar panels have been dislodged and canopies damaged at Wessex Primary School in Cox Green, said head teacher Nick Stevens.

The school has remained open as usual.

The Met Office said there have been observations of heavy showers and locally strong winds in certain areas, but a tornado was "highly unlikely" and may have been squally winds, which can have a similar sort of effect.

The area between Reading and London is the "most likely place in the UK to be hit by a tornado", according to research by University of Manchester in June 2015, which revealed there is 6% chance every year of a tornado occurring in the area. - BBC News.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Whale Removed From Beach In Portugal; And Unusual Stranding Of 2 Giant Sperm Whales On Same Beach At Wangerooge, Germany?!

January 13, 2016 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Dead whale removed from beach in Portugal

The removal of a whale from Parede beach in Cascais last night resulted in the closure of the busy Marginal for around four hours between Carcavelos and Parede.

Maritime Police took the decision to close the road between 5pm and 9pm as it was low-tide, which they said would assist them in hoisting the ten-ton carcass onto a truck from the beach below.

The ten-metre long whale had beached on Saturday afternoon.

WATCH: Dead whale washes up at Portugal.

- The Portugal News.

Unusual stranding of 2 giant sperm whales on same beach at Wangerooge, Germany

Head of a sperm whale. © Hal Whitehead

Two sperm whales have washed up together on the German North Sea coast. The double stranding of sperm whales took place on the shores of Wangerooge, an island off Germany's North Sea coast, and is an unusual event.

It is thought that the pair may have got lost and mistakenly moved into shallow waters between Britain and Europe, where their navigational sonar may not have work as efficiently as it would in the deeper ocean.

Sperm whales can reach over 18 metres in length and are one of the deepest diving mammals in the world. - Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - SOTT Earth Changes Video Summary For December, 2015!

January 13, 2016 - EARTH - A year of astonishing weather events and devastating natural disasters came to a dramatic end last month, ruining Christmas celebrations for many. Unusual atmospheric conditions and a severely looping northern jet stream brought record warmth to the Arctic and Western Europe, where back-to-back storms pummeled the UK, Ireland and Norway with record-breaking rainfall and hurricane-force winds. A similar situation developed on the opposite side of the globe, where, for the second year running, the most intense North Pacific storm ever recorded slammed into Alaska and brought intense flooding to the US Northwest.

December 2015 was a 'tale of two USAs', with the western half generally experiencing record cold, record snowfall, and ice storms, while the eastern states experienced record warmth, fatal tornado outbreaks and record flooding. Incredibly, it was warmer on Christmas Day in Boston and New York City than it was on July 4th. Severe flooding affected all continents, with over 100,000 people displaced in the capital of Congo, Kinshasa; another 160,000 displaced in central Latin America; and 300 killed by 'the worst flooding in over a century' in southern India.

There were also multiple volcanic eruptions last month, spectacular meteor fireball sightings, gaping sinkholes swallowing homes, and localized storms of such intensity that falling hail turned streets into rivers of ice in northern Argentina, while tornadoes touched down in New Zealand. The animal kingdom is also feeling the effects of global upheaval: mass fish kills continue apace; enormous whales continue washing up on sea shores; and, for the second time in 5 months, a giant squid was filmed coming up to the surface... Does something stir in the deep?

WATCH: These were the signs of the times in December 2015.