Wednesday, April 13, 2016

FUK-U-SHIMA: Japan Prepares For Release Of Tritium From Fukushima Plant Into The Pacific Ocean - The Radioactive Substance Could Pose SEVERE HEALTH RISKS, Prolonged Exposure Increases Occurrence Of CANCER; Release Could DEVASTATE Local Fisheries!

In this Feb 10 file photo, a worker, wearing protective suits and masks, takes notes in front of storage tanks for radioactive
water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP

April 13, 2016 - JAPAN - To dump or not to dump a little-discussed substance is the question brewing in Japan as it grapples with the aftermath of the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima five years ago. The substance is tritium.

The radioactive material is nearly impossible to remove from the huge quantities of water used to cool melted-down reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which was wrecked by the massive tsunami in northeastern Japan in March 2011.

The water is still accumulating since 300 tons are needed every day to keep the reactors chilled. Some is leaking into the ocean.

Huge tanks lined up around the plant, at last count 1,000 of them, each hold hundreds of tons of water that have been cleansed of radioactive cesium and strontium but not of tritium.

Ridding water of tritium has been carried out in laboratories. But it’s an effort that would be extremely costly at the scale required for the Fukushima plant, which sits on the Pacific coast. Many scientists argue it isn’t worth it and say the risks of dumping the tritium-laced water into the sea are minimal.

Their calls to simply release the water into the Pacific Ocean are alarming many in Japan and elsewhere.

Rosa Yang, a nuclear expert at the Electric Power Research Institute, based in Palo Alto, California, who advises Japan on decommissioning reactors, believes the public angst is uncalled for. She says a Japanese government official should simply get up in public and drink water from one of the tanks to convince people it’s safe.

But the line between safe and unsafe radiation is murky, and children are more susceptible to radiation-linked illness. Tritium goes directly into soft tissues and organs of the human body, potentially increasing the risks of cancer and other sicknesses.

“Any exposure to tritium radiation could pose some health risk. This risk increases with prolonged exposure, and health risks include increased occurrence of cancer,” said Robert Daguillard, a spokesman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The agency is trying to minimize the tritium from U.S. nuclear facilities that escapes into drinking water.

Right after the March 2011 disaster, many in Japan panicked, some even moving overseas although they lived hundreds of miles (kilometers) away from the Fukushima no-go zone. By now, concern has settled to the extent that some worry the lessons from the disaster are being forgotten.

Tritium may be the least of Japan’s worries. Much hazardous work remains to keep the plant stabilized, and new technology is needed for decommissioning the plant’s reactors and containing massive radioactive contamination.

The ranks of Japan’s anti-nuclear activists have been growing since the March 2011 accident, and many oppose releasing water with tritium into the sea. They argue that even if tritium’s radiation is weaker than strontium or cesium, it should be removed, and that good methods should be devised to do that.

Japan’s fisheries organization has repeatedly expressed concerns over the issue. News of a release of the water could devastate local fisheries just as communities in northeastern Japan struggle to recover from the 2011 disasters.

An isotope of hydrogen, or radioactive hydrogen, tritium exists in water form, and so like water can evaporate, although it is not known how much tritium escaped into the atmosphere from Fukushima as gas from explosions.

The amount of tritium in the contaminated water stored at Fukushima Dai-ichi is estimated at 3.4 peta becquerels, or 34 with a mind-boggling 14 zeros after it.

But theoretically collected in one place, it would amount to just 57 milliliters, or about the amount of liquid in a couple of espresso cups - a minuscule quantity in the overall masses of water.

To illustrate that point, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, showed reporters a small bottle half-filled with blue water that was the equivalent of 57 milliliters.

Public distrust is running so high after the Fukushima accident that Tokyo Electric Power Co, or TEPCO, the utility that operates the Fukushima plant and oversees its decommissioning, has mostly kept quiet about the tritium, pending a political decision on releasing the water.

Privately, they say it will have to be released, but they can’t say that outright.

What will be released from Fukushima will be well below the global standard allowed for tritium in the water, say Tanaka and others favoring its release, which is likely to come gradually later this year, not all at once.

Proponents of releasing the tritium water argue that tritium already is in the natural environment, coming from the sun and from water containing tritium that is routinely released at nuclear plants around the world.

“Tritium is so weak in its radioactivity it won’t penetrate plastic wrapping,” said Tanaka. - Japan Today.

DELUGE: Record Breaking Rainfall Causes Flash Floods In Las Vegas - Over A Hundred Road Crashes!

Flooding in Las Vegas.

April 13, 2016 - NEVADA, UNITED STATES - Record-breaking rain drenched Las Vegas throughout the weekend, causing flooding and more than a hundred crashes on the roads.

Flash flood warnings were issued Saturday, when 0.81 inch of rain was recorded at the National Weather Service's official measuring site at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. That handily beat Sin City's previous record for the day, which was set at 0.17 inch in 1943, said Andrew Gorelow, a meteorologist.

It now also ranks as the third-highest total amount of rain ever for a single day for the month of April.

"April is one of our driest months of the year," Gorelow said. "We only average 0.15 (inch) for the average month (total)."

Sunday also broke the day's record with 0.14 inch of rain, washing out the previous record of 0.13 inch set in 1943.

Gorelow said the rain was caused by a low pressure system that had picked up a lot of moisture on the way in from Southern California.

WATCH: Flooding in Las Vegas.

There's a 40 percent chance of more showers Monday after 11 a.m. before it clears out by Tuesday and temperatures return to the upper 70s.

That will be a welcome reprieve for emergency crews who slogged through the weekend.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that the Nevada Highway Patrol responded to 127 crashes, including seven hit-and-run incidents Saturday.

Most were caused by a single vehicle hydroplaning

A total of 43 injuries and 77 cases of property damage were noted.

The Clark County Fire Department also rescued seven people caught in the flooding Saturday.

Four adults believed to be homeless were rescued near the washes along Dean Martin Drive, including one man south of Tropicana Avenue and three others found north of Flamingo Road.

One was hospitalized for a minor leg injury.

Two adults and an infant child were also rescued from their vehicles stuck in standing water just east of the Strip.

The Vegas-based fire department also responded to flooding in Warm Springs, about 200 miles north, to assist a mobile home area.

People in four houses found themselves surrounded by flood water for about four hours Saturday evening until the water receded to safer levels around 8 p.m.

The homes were raised so no significant damage was reported.

"They had to sit and watch the water go by," said Larry Haydu, Clark County's assistant fire chief.

In northern Nevada, a recent bout of rainfall brought better news.

Lake Tahoe's water level hit its natural rim for the first time in 10 months, with National Weather Service reporting that the lake is now over its rim by half an inch.

The lake last reached its natural rim in June 2015. Tahoe hasn't spilled over into the Truckee River since before October 2014.

Lake Tahoe had hit a two-year low this past winter. - Las Vegas Now.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Unprecedented Heatwave Continues In India - Over 100 People Killed With Temperatures Over 115 Degrees Fahrenheit (46°C)!

A man drinks water to cool off during a hot day as temperatures soared above 110 degrees on April 10, 2016 in Allahabad, India. © Sipa via AP Images

April 13, 2016 - INDIA - Dozens of deaths have been reported in India as temperatures soared to 115 degrees (46°C) in recent days.

The intense heat has come earlier and is more widespread than normal, according to Triple-digit temperatures have been reported all over the country's southern states as west winds prevail in areas like Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, preventing sea breezes from relieving coastal cities from stifling heat along the Bay of Bengal, the report added.

The heat wave was responsible for at least 111 deaths through Saturday in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Xinhua reported. A year ago, a heat wave killed some 2,300 people in those two states, said.

On Monday, the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar reported a high temperature of 114.5 degrees, clinching its hottest April day on record, also reported. Many other cities in eastern India have been above 100 degrees for many consecutive days, the report added.

These temperatures are well above early-April averages for India, according to Xinhua, and local officials said they've made drinking water booths available in addition to other measures intended to keep residents safe from the heat.

The nation's monsoon season generally lasts from June through September, according to NOAA, and there's usually a period of dry, hot weather before it begins.

This year, the dry heat started earlier than expected, and when paired with parched ground dried out by a disappointing 2015 monsoon season, the warmth is even more intense, added.

There's little relief coming in the next week. According to meteorologist Chris Dolce, much of India will continue to see high temperatures above 100 degrees in the coming days. - Weather Channel.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Unprecedented Heatwave Continues In India - Over 100 People Killed With Temperatures Over 115 Degrees Fahrenheit (46°C)!

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Massive Sinkhole Open Up On Street In California! [VIDEO]

April 13, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A large sinkhole has appeared on a street in California causing the roadway to collapse.

Video of the incident was posted online by the City of Madera Police.

"A large portion of the roadway on Schnoor Avenue, north of Howard Avenue and south of 5th Street, has collapsed."

"The street fell into the sewage line. So far about 12 ft. by 15 ft. section of roadway has collapsed, and it is approximately 15 to 20 feet deep."

It is believed that the damage was due to recent heavy rain in the area.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole in California.

- Independent.

OMEN: Plagues & Pestilences - Two-Headed Snake Found In Kansas?!

Without working together the snake was unable to bite anything effectively. © Jason Talbott/Caters

April 13, 2016 - KANSAS, UNITED STATES - Two snakes with different personalities isn't that big a story - until you realise these different reptile heads are attached to the same slinky body.

The two-headed snake has one head which is more aggressive and physically attacks the other one.

Jason Talbott snapped the slithery serpent when his mates found it living in the wild, before taking it into captivity.

The 42-year-old from Kansas says that without working together the snake was unable to bite anything effectively as both heads were required to move the body.

Although it looked like a fearsome beast, the snake was harmless and Jason admitted that its bite would not be enough to break a human's skin.

Jason said: "It is estimated that it is 1 in 10,000 but it is hard to know a true number as they are wild and elusive animals and survival rate is very low.

The two-headed snake was found in Kansas by Jason Talbott's friends.
© Jason Talbott/Caters

"I'm a massive fan of creepy crawlies and snakes - I've photographed hundreds of them and received a fair few bites along the way. Fortunately they were non-venomous ones.

"The snake had been found by a few of my friends in the wild and when I heard about it, I jumped at the opportunity to get some photos.

"What was funny about the snake was that the two-heads had different personalities. One of the heads was very aggressive and kept trying to bite at objects.

"But the problem was, because they both shared the same body, the aggressive head needed the other one's cooperation to move. It was quite funny to watch, really." - Daily Mirror.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes India And Myanmar - USGS! [MAPS + PHOTOS + VIDEOS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 13, 2016 - ASIA - A powerful earthquake, measuring 6.9 magnitude, struck the border of India and Myanmar on Wednesday at 7:25 p.m. local time.

Tremors were reportedly felt across the region in Kolkata and as far as Delhi.

The United States Geological Survey reported the magnitude of the earthquake in a tweet and identified it was 74 kilometers (45 miles) southeast of Mawlaik, Myanmar.

People crowd onto the street during an earthquake in Agartala, capital of India's northeastern state of Tripura, on April 13, 2016. © AFP/Getty Images

Prelim. Report M6.9 - 74km SE of Mawlaik, Burma You can report feeling the earthquake at:
British seismologist Steven J. Gibbons tweeted an image of the earthquake's seismic signals.

WATCH: Scenes during the tremor.

Seismic signal recorded in Karasjok, Norway, from the #Myanmar #earthquake #EQ

USGS shakemap intensity.

Given the earthquake actually occurred well below the Earth's surface — approximately 134 kilometers (83 miles) below, according to BNO News — the event is not as devastating as it could have been. Thus far, there have been no casualties reported. - Mic.

Tectonic Summary

The April 13, 2016 M 6.9 earthquake southeast of Mawlaik, Burma, occurred as the result of oblique reverse faulting at an intermediate depth, approximately 140 km beneath western Burma. The epicenter of the earthquake is located some 500 km to the northeast of the Sunda Trench, where lithosphere of the India plate begins subducting to the northeast beneath Sunda and Eurasia. Focal mechanisms indicate rupture occurred on either a west-striking fault dipping steeply to the north, or on a southeast striking structure dipping moderately to the southwest. The location, depth and faulting parameters all indicate this earthquake occurred within the lithosphere of the subducting India plate. At the location of this earthquake, the India plate moves north-northeast with respect to the Sunda and Eurasia plates, at a velocity of 44-49 mm/yr. Regionally, the subducted India plate is seismically active to a depth of about 150 km.

Earthquakes like this event, with focal depths between 70 and 300 km, are commonly termed "intermediate-depth" earthquakes. Intermediate-depth earthquakes represent deformation within subducted slabs rather than at the shallow plate interface between subducting and overriding tectonic plates. They typically cause less severe shaking on the ground surface directly above their foci than is the case with similar magnitude shallow-focus earthquakes, but large intermediate-depth earthquakes beneath populated regions may nonetheless cause damage and casualties, and they may be felt at great distance from their epicenters.

The Burma region experiences earthquakes somewhat regularly, and 38 other events of M 6 or larger have occurred within 400 km of the April 13, 2016 event over the preceding century. Eleven of these occurred at intermediate depths. The largest nearby earthquake was a M 8.0 event in September 1946, 130 km to the northeast of the April 2016 earthquake, at a depth of 15 km. Little is known about the effects of that earthquake. At intermediate depths, the largest nearby historic event was a M 7.3 earthquake in August 1988 in northern Burma, 200 km to the north of the April 2016 event. The 1988 earthquake caused several fatalities and dozens more injuries.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

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.

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.


MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFFS: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Bryde's Whale Spotted Off Thailand Coast; And 10,000 TONS Of Dead Sardines Found Along River In Chile?! [VIDEOS]

The whale's body was found by tour groups at Similan National Phuket.
© Medsye Travel

April 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 Bryde's whale spotted off Thailand coast

Officials are on the lookout for the body a 20-metre long Bryde's whale that is expected to reach the Sarasin Bridge, at the northern tip of Phuket, late this afternoon (Apr 13).

The remains were reported by a tour company at about 6pm yesterday, which spotted the remains about 12 nautical miles from Tab Lamu Pier.

"From the pictures we received, we believe the whale died three to four days before earlier," said Nat Kongkesorn, Chief of Similan National Park.

"We have been looking for the whale since this morning, but have yet to find it. Depending on weather conditions, it might reach Sarasin Bridge this afternoon," he said.

"I have informed the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC). If the whale is found, the PMBC will examine the remains to try to determine the cause of death," Chief Nat added.

The PMBC confirmed their officers have launched a search for the whale.

Any persons who seen the whale's remains are urged to call the PMBC at 076-391128.

10,000 tons of dead sardines found along river in Chile

Dead sardines. © Eugenio Tuma Zed├ín
10,000 tons of dead sardines wash ashore in an environmental mystery.

Residents of Queule, Chile, are calling for government action after dead sardines are washed up on their river.

WATCH: Mass sardine die-off in Chile.

- YouTube | The Phuket News.