Thursday, April 14, 2016

WORLD WAR Z: "Turning Point In Zika Outbreak" - CDC Confirms Virus Causes Microcephaly!

© Daniel Becerril / Reuters

April 14, 2016 - HEALTH - After months of studying the Zika virus, the US health watchdog concluded that mounting evidence has proven that the decease causes microcephaly in newborns. Meanwhile a separate study by Brazilian doctors found “severe” birth defects associated with Zika. The Zika virus drew international attention after the World Health Organization (WHO) reported its rapid spread across the Americas last year. The virus is carried by the same mosquitoes which also spread dengue and yellow fevers, along with some other diseases.

The virus, which is now considered a global public health emergency by the WHO, can also be transmitted through sexual interaction.

The symptoms of the Zika are relatively mild but the disease is believed to be highly risky for pregnant women, as it may cause microcephaly, a rare condition that causes babies to be born with small heads and damages the brain.

After months of scientific study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there is now enough evidence to clearly establish that the Zika virus causes microcephaly in the newborn offspring of infected mothers.

To determine the cause and effect link between adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, the team of scientists evaluated available scientific data.

“On the basis of this review, we conclude that a causal relationship exists between prenatal Zika virus infection and microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies,” the report published by the New England Journal of Medicine said.

Among the evidence that clinched the case for the CDC was that virus has been found in the spinal fluid, the brain tissue, and amniotic fluid of microcephaly babies.















“This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak,” CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly.”

Yet at the same time, the CDC stressed that the new report notes that “no single piece of evidence provides conclusive proof that Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and other fetal brain defects.”

Instead, the US watchdog said that the conclusions were based on “increasing evidence” from studies that when examined using “established scientific criteria” support the authors’ conclusions.

“The finding that Zika virus infection can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects means that a woman who is infected with Zika during pregnancy has an increased risk of having a baby with these health problems. It does not mean, however, that all women who have Zika virus infection during pregnancy will have babies with problems. As has been seen during the current Zika outbreak, some infected women have delivered babies that appear to be healthy,” CDC stressed in their press release.

The timing of the CDC’s conclusions may exert additional pressure on Congress to allocate nearly $2 billion in emergency funding that President Obama requested to contain the outbreak.

In the meantime, a clinical study by the Brazilian scientists published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday, found “severe” birth defects associated with Zika in kids born in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco between July and December 2015.

Led by Professor Maria de Fatima Vasco Aragao, the medical team at the center of the Brazilian epidemic focused on analyzing computed tomography (CT) and resonance imaging (MRI) scans in some 23 new born kids from Zika-infected mothers.

“The brain damage caused by Zika virus infection in these children was extremely severe, indicating a poor prognosis for neurological function. This scenario might be the worse one in the disease severity spectrum,” the scientists said in their report.

After reviewing the CT scans in 22 kids, the doctors determined that “all had calcifications in the junction between cortical and subcortical white matter.”

Some 21 new-born had malformations of cortical development, while 20 of them showed decreased brain volume. Nineteen babies had ventriculomegaly, and half of those examined had hypoplasia of the cerebellum or brainstem.

The eight MRI scans also proved that all had “calcifications in the junction between cortical and subcortical white matter, malformations of cortical development occurring predominantly in the frontal lobes, and ventriculomegaly.”

Seven scans showed enlarged cisterna magna, and delayed myelination, while six of the MRI scans pointed to severe decrease in brain volume, simplified gyral pattern, and abnormalities of the corpus callosum.

On Tuesday, Brazil’s health ministry said the total number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in the country was 4,949. The officials have also announced that they will temporarily let lose genetically modified mosquitoes developed by a British firm to battle the infected mosquito population.

Oxford-based Oxitec welcomed the a special temporary registration (RET, Registro Especial Temporário) and will soon let lose their GM creations into the wild. Its genetically engineered male mosquito, OX513A, known as Friendly Aedes aegypti is designed to pass on faulty genes to Zika-infected females, so that their offspring won’t be able to reproduce, halting the spread of the disease. - RT.






DISASTER IMPACT: Japan Earthquake Update - Tens Of Thousands Flee In Fear Of Aftershocks And Volcanoes; 9 People Killed And Over 850 Injured! [VIDEO]

A collapsed house is seen after an earthquake in Kumamoto, southern Japan.
© REUTERS/Kyodo

April 14, 2016 - JAPAN - Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from earthquake-hit southern Japan as dozens of aftershocks struck and officials monitored nearby volcanoes for signs of activity.

A total of 44,000 people were evacuated late on Thursday in the town of Mashiki after a magnitude-6.4 earthquake collapsed buildings and damaged other infrastructure. Nine people have been confirmed dead, ranging in age from 29 to 94. A further eight are in serious condition, and more than 850 were injured.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has warned there are likely to be strong aftershocks for the next week and advised people to stay away from any buildings that look unstable.

There are also concerns about volcanic activity in the wake of the quake.

The island of Kyushu, where the earthquake happened, is a highly volcanic area. A level 2 warning - meaning people should not approach a volcano's crater - has been in place for Asosan in Kumamoto prefecture on the island since November 2015.


WATCH: Japan quake damage being assessed as mass evacuation continues.




Head teacher Sosuke Tanaka hosted about 300 people at West Hiroyasu elementary school, which was turned into an evacuation centre, and said many in Kumamoto suffered a sleepless night. "We saw earthquakes through the evening, so many did not manage to get a proper night's rest," he said. About 120 aftershocks have been observed since the initial earthquake, more than 15 of which measured 3 or higher on the Japanese intensity scale.

At the Mashiki gymnastics centre, Yoko Marume said more and more people have been evacuating since the earthquake. "We had about 200 overnight, but now, I would say there are about 500," she told the Guardian. "People have been gathering here from across the city, it's a big space. Most are shaken, many believe that their houses could fall down."

Junko Seto, an 80-year-old woman, told the Asahi Shimbun: "My husband returned to our house to see how things looked, and he says there isn't room to stand because of the mess caused."

"I want to go home and get things in order, but with the aftershocks I am too scared to go home yet."

Japan's Self Defense Forces have entered Hiroyasu, in a mountainous region of Kumamoto prefecture, to inspect the damage caused to roads and housing by the earthquake. "There has been significant damage to wooden housing around here," Tanaka told the Guardian.

Rations of bread and water were distributed to evacuees in the early hours of Friday. Marume said lunch boxes had arrived for evacuees at the gymnastics centre.

The initial temblor measured a maximum 7 on the Japanese intensity scale, equivalent to the force of the 1995 Kobe disaster and the March 11, 2011, earthquake in east Japan. So far, however, the damage caused in Kyushu seems low in comparison.

A spokeswoman for the JMA said: "We are watching closely, but we have seen no change in Asosan or other volcanoes since the earthquake."

Sakurajima, in neighbouring Kagoshima prefecture, erupted in February. - Guardian.







DELUGE: Heavy Rains And Flooding Hits Saudi Arabia - 18 People Killed, With 900 Rescued From Cars! [VIDEOS]

Heavy rains have struck Saudi Arabia this week, including in the desert capital Riyadh where schools closed on Wednesday
after floods caused traffic chaos during a severe storm.
© Fayez Nureldine (AFP)

April 14, 2016 - SAUDI ARABIA - Rains and flooding have killed 18 people throughout Saudi Arabia and 915 had to be rescued from inside their vehicles, the General Directorate of Saudi Civil Defense said on Thursday.

Floodwaters inundated roadways in Riyadh, Mecca and the mountainous south of the mostly desert kingdom, the directorate said in a statement.






Videos posted on social media showed cars submerged in water in the southwestern city of Abha.

Heavy rains have lashed Saudi Arabia for several days and the education ministry closed schools in and around the capital Riyadh on Wednesday.
















- Reuters.




PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Global Seismic Uptick - Strong Magnitude 6.5 And 6.0 Earthquakes Strike Off Vanuatu Islands! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 14, 2016 - VANUATU ISLANDS - The earthquake, which struck at 8:50 a.m. local time on Friday, was centered about 101 kilometers (62.8 miles) northwest of Port-Olry, or 147 kilometers (91 mi) northwest of Luganville. It struck at a shallow depth of just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured Friday's earthquake at a preliminary 6.5 and estimated that some 183,000 people on nearby islands may have felt the shaking, including some 2,000 people who may have experienced "moderate" to "strong" shaking.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the earthquake, though shaking would have been felt across much of the nearby islands. No tsunami warnings were issued as earthquakes below magnitude 7.5 do not tend to generate tsunamis.


USGS shakemap intensity.

Earlier a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Vanuatu late Thursday, April 14, the USGS said. The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles) some 86 kilometers (53 miles) away from the town of Port Orly, USGS said. There was no immediate tsunami warning.

Vanuatu is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. On average, the island nation and the surrounding waters are struck by about three powerful earthquakes every year. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

In August 2011, two powerful earthquakes measuring 7.1 and 7.4 on the Richter scale struck about 63 kilometers (39 miles) south-southwest of Port-Vila. Tsunami waves of up to 1.05 meter (3.4 feet) were observed on the island of Efate, but there were no reports of damage.



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


- BNO News | USGS.







 

EXTREME WEATHER: Baseball-Sized Hail Slams Texas - For Second Consecutive Day! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Giant hailstone. © Stephanie C. @urbancowgirl305

April 14, 2016 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - For the second day in a row, a major hail storm slammed parts of Texas Tuesday, causing widespread damage across the state.

The National Weather Service received over 30 hail reports from the Lone Star State Tuesday, ranging from 1" to 3.5" (bigger than baseball-size).

"High CAPE values and steep lapse rates allowed for the formation of very large hail in Texas over the last two days," explains Weather Network meteorologist Dayna Vettese. "CAPE is 'Convective Available Potential Energy', which is the energy available in the atmosphere for storms to use. Lapse rate is a term used to describe the temperature change as you going up from the surface into the atmosphere. The bigger (or steeper) that temperature change, the stronger the rising motion in the atmosphere. In order for large hail to form, you need strong rising motion; strong enough to keep hail stones suspended in the air long enough to grow large."

The storm was part of an ongoing system that's been slamming the Texas and the Gulf States with heavy rain and strong winds for the last couple of days.

The city of Wylie, located about 28 miles northeast of Dallas, was among the hardest-hit areas on Monday.

The National Weather Service said there were reports of nearly softball-sized hail. Windows in cars and homes were destroyed -- and several solar panels were damaged.

The damage was so widespread, Wylie's school district canceled classes Tuesday because damage was so widespread, CNN reported
.


In Flowood, Mississippi, heavy rains caused part of the roof at Jackson Prep school to collapse on Monday, CNN reported.




 























Surveillance video showed water rushing through the ceiling, flooding the hallway.

No one was injured, but the school was dealing with major damage to the lobby and gymnasium, according the news network.
On Wednesday, storms will be centered mainly around the southern Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.

A few inches of rainfall will be possible for some areas, and flooding remains a localized concern. - The Weather Network.







PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 6.4 And 6.0 Magnitude Earthquakes Strike Japan - Tsunami Warning Issued, But Later Cancelled; Several AFTERSHOCKS; Rescuers Battle To Free People Trapped Under Rubble; Fires Breakout; At Least 19 HOMES COLLAPSED! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY + PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

USGS earthquake location.

April 14, 2016 - JAPAN - A 6.4 magnitude earthquake has struck east of Kumamoto, Japan, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It had a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

The quake hit at 9:26 p.m. local time (12:26 GMT), eight kilometers (4.97 miles) from the city of Tamana.


USGS shakemap intensity.


The earthquake left behind damage to buildings, as well as a fire.


Keisukei Urata, an official in Uki, told AP that he saw walls around houses collapsing.


"Papers, files, flower vases and everything fell on the floor," Kasumi Nakamura, an official in the village of Nishihara, located near the epicenter, told NHK. He said the rattling started small but then grew violent, lasting about 30 seconds, adding that there were aftershocks.















One aftershock measuring 5.7 struck about 40 minutes after the quake, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) put the quake at a 6.2 magnitude.

The Japan Meteorological Agency originally issued a tsunami warning, but later canceled it.


WATCH: Dozens injured after 6.4-strong earthquake hits east of Kumamoto.





Second large earthquake hits Japan measuring 6.0 in magnitude as rescuers battle to free people trapped in rubble

Fires burn after a second quake hit Japan.
© Sky News

A second huge earthquake has hit Japan measuring 6.0 in magnitude.

This comes as the nation was coming to terms with the destruction caused by the 6.4 tremor which struck earlier today.
It is unclear how much damage the latest quake has caused but there is reportedly, currently no tsunami warning in place.

Fires were seen breaking out after nineteen homes reportedly collapsed near to the site of the tremor.


Rescue workers are currently battling to free those trapped in the rubble. After the first tremor, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said there were no irregularities at three nuclear plants on the southernmost island of Kyushu and nearby Shikoku.

Some high-speed trains were halted as a precaution. Japanese media showed watermelons falling from shelves at asupermarket in Kumamoto.

A quake of magnitude 9 struck offshore north of Tokyo in March 2011, causing tsunami waves along the coast which killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered a meltdown at a nuclear powerplant.


The first tremor caused widespread damage.
© Getty

The earlier quake struck 11 km (7 miles) east of the city of Kumamoto, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It initially said the magnitude was 6.2 but revised it down. Japanese public broadcaster NHK said the quake registered 6.4.

There was no tsunami warning, but Japan's chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said several buildings had collapsed. He gave no more details. Footage captured some dramatic scenes during the earlier quake with one camera catching officer workers diving for cover as the quake hit.

Watermelons fell from store shelves and lay crushed on the floor of a supermarket in Kumamoto city, near the epicentre, NHK footage showed.

Objects fell from shelves and staff ducked under desks as the quake shook the NHK office in Kumamoto, video showed.

Tectonic Summary

The April 14, 2016 M 6.4 earthquake north of Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu in southwest Japan, occurred as the result of strike-slip faulting at shallow depth. Focal mechanisms for the earthquake indicate slip occurred on either a left-lateral fault striking to the northwest, or on a right-lateral fault striking northeast. While the earthquake occurred several hundred kilometers northwest of the Ryukyu Trench, where the Philippine Sea plate begins its northwestward subduction beneath Japan and the Eurasia plate, the shallow depth and faulting mechanism of this earthquake indicate it occurred on a crustal fault within the upper Eurasia plate. At the location of this event, the Philippine Sea plate converges with Eurasia towards the northwest at a velocity of 58 mm/yr.

Moderate-to-large, shallow earthquakes in Kyushu are infrequent – most seismicity in the region is related to the subduction of the Philippine Sea plate at depth. Thirteen M 5+ earthquakes have occurred at shallow depths (> 50 km) within 100 km of the April 2016 event over the past century. In January and April of 1975, two shallow events with magnitudes of M 5.8 and M 6.1 - 40 km and 65 km to the northwest of the April 2016 earthquake, respectively – caused injuries, but no known fatalities. A shallow M 6.6 earthquake in March 2005, just off the north coast of Kyushu and 110 km north of the April 2016 event, caused over 1000 injuries and at least one fatality.

Mapped faults in the region generally trend east-west or northeast-southwest, in agreement with the right-lateral plane of preliminary focal mechanisms, and the trend of early aftershocks. In the first three hours after the M 6.4 event (12:26:36 UTC), 7 aftershocks have been located, the largest of which is a M 6.0 event at 15:03:47 UTC.


Seismotectonics of the Philippine Sea and Vicinity

The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

South of the Mariana arc, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Yap Islands along the Yap trench. The long zone of Pacific plate subduction at the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea Plate is responsible for the generation of the deep Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of circum-pacific island arcs. Similarly, the northwestern margin of the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasia plate along a convergent zone, extending from southern Honshu to the northeastern coast of Taiwan, manifested by the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) trench. The Ryukyu Subduction Zone is associated with a similar zone of back-arc extension, the Okinawa Trough. At Taiwan, the plate boundary is characterized by a zone of arc-continent collision, whereby the northern end of the Luzon island arc is colliding with the buoyant crust of the Eurasia continental margin offshore China.


USGS plate tectonics.

Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda Plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to the Celebes Islands in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by active volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger et al., 1983). On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller less well-developed Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south (Cardwell et al., 1980). At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active. The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007).

Relative plate motion vectors near the Philippines (about 80 mm/yr) is oblique to the plate boundary along the two plate margins of central Luzon, where it is partitioned into orthogonal plate convergence along the trenches and nearly pure translational motion along the Philippine Fault (Barrier et al., 1991). Profiles B and C reveal evidence of opposing inclined seismic zones at intermediate depths (roughly 70-300 km) and complex tectonics at the surface along the Philippine Fault.

Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map. The plate boundaries are most accurate along the axis of the trenches and more diffuse or speculative in the South China Sea and Lesser Sunda Islands. The active volcanic arcs (Siebert and Simkin, 2002) follow the Izu, Volcano, Mariana, and Ryukyu island chains and the main Philippine islands parallel to the Manila, Negros, Cotabato, and Philippine trenches.

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (Magnitude greater than 7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics



- RT | Daily Mirror | USGS.






MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, Widespread Flooding, And Catastrophic Storms - DEVASTATING MUDFLOW Sweeps Cars Away And DESTROY Shops In Jizan, Saudi Arabia; And Flash Floods In 2 Regions Leave 9 Dead In Somalia! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]


April 14, 2016 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Devastating mudflow sweeps cars away and destroys shops in Jizan, Saudi Arabia

This biblical mudflow devastated the Aldair Bani Malik governorate in Jizan region, Saudi Arabia on April 13, 2016.

Cars, trucks, trees, rocks, houses... Everything was swept away. 

The furious water swept everything on its path!

And sirens or alarms were ringing loud!

A real apocalypse!









Saudi Arabia is experiencing extremely bad weather since a week.


The Jizan Region is situated in the southwest corner of Saudi Arabia and boarders Yemen. Its capital, Jazan City sits on the coast of the Red Sea and serves a large agricultural heartland that has a population of 1.5 million.

Jazan has a hot desert climate and average annual temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F). Heavy rain thus rapidly produce flash floods and mudslide resulting such rare and insane weather pictures.


WATCH: Monumental Earth Changes.












According to Saudi media, one person was killed and 32 others injured during the extreme rains on Wednesday.

This is not much considering that the mudflow and flashfloods unexpectedly swept through an open market, broke into shops, houses and mosques while sweeping away a number of vehicles.


Flash floods in 2 regions leave 9 dead in Somalia

Torrential rainfall in Somalia has triggered deadly flash floods in 2 regions of the country in the last week. Despite the recent rainfall, many parts of the country, in particular northern areas, are suffering from the worst drought in years. UNICEF recently announced it is providing 50,000 households with access to safe water.

Flash Floods in Awdal Region

Heavy downpours brought flash floods to northwestern town of Dilla on 07 April, leaving six people dead and injuring nine others, Awdal Governor Mohamud Ali Saleban has confirmed.

The rain and flooding continued for hours, wreaking havoc in the town and inundating vast tracts of land. The torrential rain is a dramatic swing from the drought conditions that have affected the area where deaths from malnutrition have been reported since March this year.

“Really, a disaster has happened. So far we’ve recovered six bodies. The national army, police and local people joined forces to carry out rescue operations. Nine people were injured and 13 people climbed trees to escape the floods… We share mourning with the affected households, a father had survived his entire family.” said Mr. Saleban during an interview with Somali channel, Horn Cable TV.

“A torrential downpour flooded Dilla. The victims include three women and a child. Shops and hotels have been damaged, and 17 people were rescued,” Dilla District Commissioner Ibrahim Abdi Haji told Somali media.

The heavy rain in northwestern Somalia forced streams to quickly overflow, catching destitute residents unprepared for the intense intensity of floods.

The Somaliland government has initiated rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of flooding, and a delegation has visited Dilla.

Ruling Kulmiye Party Chairman and candidate for Somaliland Presidency in 2017 election, Musse Biihi Abdi along with Public Works and Housing Minister Ali Hassan Mohamed and Somaliland Road Development Agency Director-General Hassan Ali Osman has been briefed on the magnitude of havoc wreaked by the torrential rains in Dilla.

Abdi tasked Public Works Ministry and Road Authority to take immediate steps including construction of flood mitigation structures and renovation of existing water infrastructure dilapidated by years of conflict.

Rainfall – Figures and Forecast

Heavy storms were reported in parts of Awdal and Wooqoyi Galbeed regions in Somaliland between 06 and 07 April 2016.

According to Somali Water and Land Information Management Network (SWALIM), which is managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), say that Dilla recorded 86mm of rain between 06 and 07 April, Jufa 100mm and Kalabaydh 148mm.

On Friday 08 April, SWALIM said in its latest forecast that “Wet conditions with moderate to heavy rains are expected to persist in the next three days in most parts of Somaliland and Puntland as well as Ethiopian highlands.”

South-central regions, where the Shabelle River ran dry a few weeks ago, will record light to moderate rains within the same period.

Floods in Gedo Region

Local media are reporting further flooding has struck in the country, this time in the south west region of Gedo.

Heavy rain fell between 10 and 11 April, triggering flash floods that left 3 young children dead in Garbaharey town, the regional capital of Gedo region.

Somalia Drought

The country was hit by floods from tropical storms in late 2013 , followed by severe weather conditions brought by Tropical Cyclone Chapala in 2015.

More recently however, the country has experienced severe drought conditions. Somalia has faced drought from October last year into this month, increasing the risk of famine and acute malnutrition, in particular for children. Many parts in the country, people have been struggling with a shortage of water for consumption.

In northern Somalia, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) are stepping up efforts to help communities cope with a severe drought exacerbated by El Niño conditions in Somaliland and Puntland.

“The communities have lived through four successive poor rainy seasons. Their ability to cope with the drought has been stretched to the limit,” said UNICEF Representative for Somalia, Steven Lauwerier. “Our concerted efforts are needed now to save the lives of tens of thousands of children and their families. Any delay from the international community will put their lives further at risk of hunger and disease.”

UNICEF says it is strengthening services at community level, deploying joint mobile health and nutrition teams to reach pastoral and other hard-to-reach groups. Malnourished children will receive an essential package of primary health care interventions, including emergency immunization. UNICEF is also providing 50,000 households with access to safe water via vouchers in the affected areas, and have repaired seven boreholes.

“The people of Somalia know all too well the dangers of drought, but a drought does not have to mean a disaster – the world must recognize that we can save lives if we act in time,” said WFP Country Director Laurent Bukera. “It is absolutely critical that we are able to sustain assistance to the people affected by this crisis, so we can stem the damage of undernutrition for mothers and children before it has lifelong consequences.”


WATCH: Report on the floods in Dilla, Awdal.




- Strange Sounds | Floodlist.







PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Rattles Zamboanga, Philippines -3 People Injured, 4 Houses Partially Destroyed! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 14, 2016 - PHILIPPINES - Three people were injured while four houses were partially destroyed early Thursday when a magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook the Zamboanga Peninsula region.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the tremor occurred at 2:21 a.m. Thursday and traced its epicenter at 17 kilometers northwest of Baligiuan, Zamboanga del Norte, which also felt the quake at intensity 4.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, city disaster risk reduction and management officer, said the victims are all residents of Kalinaw Urban Poor Association in Barangay Sinunuc, 9.30 kilometers west of City Hall.

Apolinario identified the victims as Arcina Natividad, 56, injured in the head; Raymond Natividad, 23, abrasions in the right hand, foot, right shoulder and bruises at the back; and, Juliana Makahibag, 13, hand and head injuries.


USGS shakemap intensity.

The victims were injured when the concrete divider of their house, which is still under construction, collapsed while they were asleep at the living room.

No one was hurt in the three other houses, owned by Natividad's neighbors, damaged by the earthquake.

Intensity 4 was recorded in Baliguian and Labason in Zamboanga del Norte, Dipolog City posted intensity 2, while intensity 1 was recorded in Liloy.

Phivolcs, in its earthquake bulletin posted at 3:47 a.m., warned the public against possible aftershocks. - InterAksyon.



Seismotectonics of the Philippine Sea and Vicinity

The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

South of the Mariana arc, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Yap Islands along the Yap trench. The long zone of Pacific plate subduction at the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea Plate is responsible for the generation of the deep Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of circum-pacific island arcs. Similarly, the northwestern margin of the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasia plate along a convergent zone, extending from southern Honshu to the northeastern coast of Taiwan, manifested by the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) trench. The Ryukyu Subduction Zone is associated with a similar zone of back-arc extension, the Okinawa Trough. At Taiwan, the plate boundary is characterized by a zone of arc-continent collision, whereby the northern end of the Luzon island arc is colliding with the buoyant crust of the Eurasia continental margin offshore China.


USGS plate tectonics.

Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda Plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to the Celebes Islands in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by active volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger et al., 1983). On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller less well-developed Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south (Cardwell et al., 1980). At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active. The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007).

Relative plate motion vectors near the Philippines (about 80 mm/yr) is oblique to the plate boundary along the two plate margins of central Luzon, where it is partitioned into orthogonal plate convergence along the trenches and nearly pure translational motion along the Philippine Fault (Barrier et al., 1991). Profiles B and C reveal evidence of opposing inclined seismic zones at intermediate depths (roughly 70-300 km) and complex tectonics at the surface along the Philippine Fault.

Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map. The plate boundaries are most accurate along the axis of the trenches and more diffuse or speculative in the South China Sea and Lesser Sunda Islands. The active volcanic arcs (Siebert and Simkin, 2002) follow the Izu, Volcano, Mariana, and Ryukyu island chains and the main Philippine islands parallel to the Manila, Negros, Cotabato, and Philippine trenches.

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (Magnitude greater than 7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS.