Sunday, February 21, 2016

DELUGE: Torrential Rainfall Hits Northern Morocco - Causes Widespread Flooding And Major Traffic Disruption! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Floods in Morocco. © Stoplydec

February 21, 2016 - UNITED STATES - Torrential rainfall between Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 February caused flooding in areas of northern Morocco, in particular in the Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, including the provinces of Tetouan and Chefchaouen.

In the harbour city of Larache, Larache province, 99 mm of rainfall was recorded in 24 hours between 20 and 21 February.

In Tangier, around 29 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 21 February.

The city of Tetouan recorded 22.1 mm in 24 hours on 20 February and 25.9 mm the next day.

Roads were blocked and the flooding caused major traffic disruption

Residents criticised the city's drainage system for its inability to cope. Some damage to buildings was also reported in both provinces of Tetouan and Chefchaouen.

WATCH: Floods in Morocco.

There are also unconfirmed reports that a woman drowned in a remote area of Tetouan province after a group she was travelling with became trapped by the flood water.  - Floodlist.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors - Dozens Of Dead Birds Found Along Highway In Youngstown, Ohio?!

Dead birds.

February 21, 2016 - OHIO, UNITED STATES - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is investigating the death of dozens of birds found Saturday along Interstate 680 in Youngstown.

Passers-by spotted the carcasses of large black birds along the north bound lane near Midlothian Boulevard.

ODNR Wildlife Officer Jesse Janosik told 21 News that he would take photographs of the dead birds and collect samples for testing.

Janosik says he expects it will take a couple of days before it is determined what caused the animals to die.

According to the Division of Wildlife website, ODNR actively follows up on reports of any wildlife diseases in Ohio and monitors the health of wildlife populations to ensure their long-term conservation.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife website lists several diseases affecting birds including Avian Flu, West Nile Virus and Conjunctivitis.

There is no indication if any of those diseases played a part in the death of these birds.


FIRE IN THE SKY: They Are Coming Fast And Furious - Bright Meteor-Fireball Observed Over Southern Spain And Portugal!

© SMART Project (screen capture)

February 21, 2016 - SPAIN  PORTUGAL - Amazing fireball observed over the South of Spain and Portugal on 21 Feb. 2016, at 2h42m UT.

The event was produced by a meteoroid that impacted the atmosphere at about 120.000 km/h. It started at an altitude of about 100 km and ended at a height of about 42 km.

The event was recorded by the meteor recording stations that the University of Huelva operates at the astronomical observatories located at La Hita (Toledo), Sevilla and Huelva.

WATCH: Meteor-fireball over Spain and Portugal.

- YouTube.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: #LavaLove - Yosemite's Bizarre Firefall Returns To Delight Social Media! [PHOTOS]

February 21, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Nature is one of the top 50 hashtags on Instagram, and no wonder when the earth gifts amateur snappers remarkable views like Yosemite’s golden ‘firefall’.

The firefall phenomenon is one of the many wonders found at California’s Sierra Nevada mountain park, occuring only at the end of February - and even then, only if conditions are right.

While it may look like lava cascading down a molten cliffside, the glowing stream is actually more likely to freeze you than turn anything in its path into a smoldering mess.

A photo posted by Alopex Eco Adventures (@alopexadv) on

That’s because the firefall is the result of a setting sun reflecting off the park’s Horsetail waterfall and El Capitan rock face.

Due to a lull in rainfall coupled with overcast conditions, the magnificent illusion had been absent in recent years, report CBS Local.

But recent rainfall and melting ice means it is back, and as fiery looking as ever. (Cue an Instagram ‘lava’ love in!)

According to National Park Geek, conditions around the El Capitan cliff waterfall must be “warm enough to produce snowmelt”.

The clouds must also be situated in such a way that the sun’s rays hit the surging water at the “right angle”.

Here’s what the rocky fountain usually looks like without the firefall ‘filter’:

- RT.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Bizarre Deep Sea Fish Found Off Victoria Coast, Australia; And Dead Whale Found In Waters Off Zambales, Philippines?! [PHOTOS]

The bizarre deep sea creature is the second in the past few weeks to be caught in Australian waters

February 21, 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.

Bizarre deep sea fish found off Victoria coast, Australia

A bizarre deep sea creature with bug eyes and dozens of needle-like teeth has been pulled ahsore - the second sea monster to appear in Australian waters in less than a week.

The outlandish creature was caught off the Victoria state coast by a fishing trawler, the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association said.

Growing to 38cm, this species can be found around the south-eastern and western margins of Australia's continental shelf in waters ranging from 275-500m deep

Experts said the animal may be an Endo's Goosefish - Lophiodes endoi, also known by some people as 'monkfish' - is a deepwater member of the anglerfish family.

Growing to 38cm, this species can be found around the south-eastern and western margins of Australia's continental shelf in waters ranging from 275-500m deep. Angler fishes possess some of the most impressive teeth and ensure that once prey enters their mouths, there is no chance of escape.

Last week, another peculiar deep sea creature which looks like a cross between a crocodile and a dolphin washed ashore on the banks of an Australian lake. - Daily Mail.

Dead whale found in waters off Zambales, Philippines

A pygmy sperm whale that beached in San Narciso, Zambales, on Sunday died on Monday. © OCEAN ADVENTURE

A dead whale was found in the waters off the coastal town of Candelaria in Zambales province on Saturday morning, local police said.

Residents of Barangay (village) Dampay discovered the carcass of the whale floating some 100 kilometers from the coastline at 9 a.m., said SPO4 Tomas Mejos, team leader of a unit deployed by the Candelaria Police Station.

"The whale was about the size of a minibus," Mejos said in a telephone interview.

The species of the whale has yet to be identified, Mejos added.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Luzon has sent a team to determine the cause of the whale's death, said Nelson Bien, chief of the agency's fisheries resources and management division.

As of 1 p.m., residents were still towing the animal to the shore, Mejos added. - Inquirer.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Summer Snowfall Surprise For Tasmanians After A Season Of Weather Extremes! [VIDEO]

With a temperature of -2C there was a fair dusting of snow on Mount Wellington and its lookout. © ABC News/ Kieran Jones

February 21, 2016 - AUSTRALIA - Fires, flood and now snow: Tasmania has had a summer of weather extremes.

After weeks of warm and dry weather, there has been a sprinkling of snow in Tasmania's Great Lakes district and on Hobart's Mount Wellington.

The temperature dipped to zero at Liawenee in the Central Highlands overnight, with light rain turning to snow early this morning.

Kaylee Hattinger at the Great Lakes Hotel said it started snowing there about 6:00am, but it quickly melted away.

"It covered the cars, it was enough to go 'oh, snow!'," she said.

© Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

"But it's very fine, but more than hail, and fluttering down.

"I get really excited with snow, even in winter. But in summer it's even more special, I think."Mrs Hattinger said snow had been forecast down to 1,100 metres so it wasn't a complete surprise.

"I had been keeping an ear out for it," she said.

"How we know is it gets really quiet, so at about 5:40 this morning it got really quiet and I stuck my nose out and it was snowing."

She said many guests at the hotel missed the wintery display with the snow melting as the sun came up.

"I did feel like going and knocking at the door saying 'oh look, snow!'," she said.

The Great Lakes District bore the brunt of snowfall during one of Tasmania's coldest winters in decades in 2015.

The snow has been spurred by a cold front moving across the state.

WATCH: Snow and fires lash parts of Tasmania.

While it is not uncommon to see summer snow in parts of Tasmania the Bureau of Meteorology is not expecting any further flutters.

"We've seen the cold front move well away to the east now over the Tasman sea," forecaster Debbie Tabor told 936 ABC Hobart.

"We're left with this south-westerly air stream for the rest of today and tomorrow, easing right off late tomorrow and into Thursday.

"We'll see a cold day in the south today and cool in the north — a little bit different, flushing out that heat and humidity." - ABC Australia.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Northern Afghanistan, Tremors Felt In Kabul - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

February 21, 2016 - AFGHANISTAN - A 5.5-magnitude earthquake has struck northern Afghanistan, USGS reported. The tremors were felt in the country's capital, Kabul, local media said.

The quake happened 43km south of the village of Jarm, 64km and 75km from the city of Fayzabad, the provincial capital and largest city in Badakhshan Province in northern Afghanistan. The city has a population of about 50,000.

The quake was at a depth of 176.7km, USGS added.

The tremors were also felt in neighboring Pakistan, according to reports on social media.

USGS shakemap intensity.

The Himalaya region, which includes northern Afghanistan, is one of the most seismically active regions on Earth. The area is right where the India and Eurasia plates collide.

In December 2015, dozens were injured in a powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border region.

In October 2015, more than 270 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in a 7.5-magnitude earthquake, which struck northern Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Massive tremors jolted New Delhi, Islamabad and several other major cities. - RT.

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.

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 M8.1 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.

USGS plate tectonics for the 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.