Monday, October 31, 2011

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.0 Quake Hits Northern Xinjiang, China!

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck Northern Xinjiang, China at a depth of 27.9 km (17.3 miles). The quake hit at 00:21:28 UTC (8:28 a.m. Local time), Tuesday 01st November 2011 and was located at 43.633°N, 82.383°E.

USGS Map of the earthquake.
The epicentre was 95 km (59 miles) southeast of Yining, Xinjiang, China; 289 km (179 miles) southwest of Karamay, Xinjiang, China; 302 km (187 miles) southwest of Shihezi, Xinjiang, China; and 2837 km (1762 miles) northwest of Beijing, Beijing, China.

EMSC Seismicity of the region.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) registered the tremor as a magnitude 6.1, with several stations recording it as high as 6.9 and others at a low of 5.4. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has issued a Yellow Alert with the following note:
Alert Information: 
Yellow alert level for economic losses. Some damage is possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of China. Past events with this alert level have required a local or regional level response. Green alert level for shaking-related fatalities. There is a low likelihood of casualties.
Meanwhile, another quake struck the region bordering Sichuan and Gansu provinces at 6 a.m. at a magnitude of 5.5.
A moderate earthquake in remote northwestern China has destroyed dozens of houses and damaged many more, but there have been no reported casualties, government officials and state media said Tuesday. More than 50 houses collapsed and hundreds of homes were damaged after the 5.4-magnitude quake jolted the border area of Yining and Gongliu counties in Xinjiang, the local earthquake bureau said on its official microblog.

The quake, which the US Geological Survey revised down to 5.4 from an initial reading of 6.0, struck at 8:21am (0021 GMT) around 96 kilometres (59 miles) east of the city of Yining, at a depth of 27 kilometres. The China Earthquake Administration said the quake was believed to have caused "major damage" and "strong shaking" was felt in neighbouring counties, the official Xinhua news agency reported. A special working group had been dispatched to the area to assess the damage and coordinate relief efforts, it added. Xinjiang is a vast region with a population of around 20 million, of which roughly nine million are Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking mainly Muslim ethnic minority. - AFP.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Monumental Earth Changes - Turkey Quake, 601 Dead, 4,100 Injured, 8,500 Buildings Damage & 1,309 Aftershocks!

The death toll from an earthquake that struck eastern Turkey a week ago was at 601 as of Sunday, the Turkish state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

More than 4,100 people were injured in last Sunday's 7.2-magnitude quake, which struck Turkey's Van province. At least 455 people died in the town of Ercis, where rescue efforts have been under way throughout the week, a crisis center in Van province reported Saturday. However, some 231 people have been found alive in the rubble, despite temperatures nearing the freezing mark at night, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said Saturday, according to Anatolia. Two teenagers were pulled out of the rubble alive late Thursday and early Friday, more than 100 hours after the quake. Eighty-four buildings have collapsed in Ercis and six more in the city of Van, Atalay said.

Relief crews have distributed 40,721 tents -- including 6,088 from abroad -- and 159,360 blankets to survivors, authorities said. A total of 1,309 aftershock quakes have occurred since Sunday's main temblor, officials said. Turkey's government plans to present a new law to parliament by the end of December which would see the evacuation of settlements in areas at high risk of natural disaster, Anatolia reported. Laws governing construction and property management would also be revised under the so-called Urban Transformation Law, the agency said. The United States and China are the latest countries to offer help to Turkey's quake survivors. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the U.S. European Command to provide humanitarian relief supplies including blankets, cots, sleeping bags and hygiene kits, the Pentagon said Friday.
- CNN.
WATCH: Turkish workers begin clearing debris.

EARTH CHANGES: A Season of Storms Ahead for Queensland!

In the following interview, conducted by Jenny Woodward of ABC News Australia, Climatologist of the University of Southern California, Professor Roger Stone indicates that the patterns suggests that a season of storms is ahead for the already disaster-ravaged Queensland region of Australia.

Flooding experienced in Queensland, earlier this year.
JENNY WOODWARD:So the pattern that's emerging at the moment, what impact do you think that's going to have on Australia as a whole over the coming season?

ROGER STONE: Well the coming few months to start with, varying impacts. Some areas getting excessive rain, others not so bad for a start because as we mentioned this pattern is probably still evolving to a fair extent. We should update this as we get closer to summer but it's worth pointing out that some of the more sophisticated models from the US and the UK that are based on the pure dynamics of what is happening in the atmosphere and the ocean, are suggesting quite a high risk of rain over Eastern Queensland and a lot of eastern Australia as we go into the core summer months: December, January and February and so on. So I think that period yet again is one for us to be very wary of and to take a fairly cautious approach as we say to risk management. This is all about risk management. These same models this time last year were showing five times the normal risk of having excessive rain. This time they're showing two or three times the normal risk of having excessive rain. Not quite as high as last year but that risk is still there.

JENNY WOODWARD:We've had some wild weather around Queensland in the last week or two and now torrential rain up in the tropics. What's that all about?

ROGER STONE:I think it's part of that transition phase that we were talking about beforehand. I think the development of this la Nina is partly responsible for the excessive rain in North Queensland. This is about the time when one would expect this to occur and exactly where it's occurring as well is right, if you like, in the danger zone, where la Nina tends to first hit in Australia that's the north east Queensland coast, the sugar regions of Queensland are probably right in the bull's eye of where the impact of this particular pattern can move. So yes, it's part of this developing la Nina pattern and I think it's a reasonable foretaste, if I can put it that way, of the coming months and certainly as we get into summer certainly part of the cause of the excessive rain is due to this developing pattern in the Pacific Ocean, this return of la Nina. - NewsOnABC.
WATCH: Full interview with Roger Stone.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.0 Quake Hits Rat Islands, Alaska!

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck the Rat Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska at a depth of 160.4 km ( 99.7 miles). The quake hit at 07:16:21 UTC, Monday 31st October 2011.

USGS map of the earthquake.
The epicentre was 40 km ( 24 miles) northeast of Kiska Volcano, Alaska; 67 km (41 miles) northwest of Little Sitkin Island, Alaska; 2963 km (1841 miles) west of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada; and 3518 km (2185 miles) northeast of Tokyo, Japan.

Seismicity of the region.
The magnitude of the tremor was later reduced to 5.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who also issued a Green Alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses, with a low likelihood of casualties and damage. There were no tsunami warnings issued and there are currently no reports of any damage or injuries.

Several stations showing a magnitude as high as 6.8.

MASS OYSTER BED DIE-OFF: Mysterious Deaths in Florida Panhandle!

State scientists will head to the Florida Panhandle this week to check on East Bay oyster beds where oystermen are reporting a die-off.

Oyster season opened Oct. 1. Oystermen have reported pulling up dead oysters from beds that had been filled with large, healthy oysters at the end of the last harvest season on June 30. "We're finding very few alive," Pasco Gibson, a main supplier of the East Bay oysters, told the Pensacola News Journal ( "This time of the year, we should be catching 500 to 1,000 pounds per boat a day. We're not even catching a hundred pounds." Gibson's six oyster boats are mostly idle, and some of his freelance oystermen are heading to Apalachicola to look for work. He said the meager harvests have cost him 40 percent of his income.

Depending on what's killing the oysters, once they start growing back, it could take up to three years to grow them large enough to harvest, he said. "Something happened in August, and it had to be massive because some of these beds are 10 miles apart," Gibson said of the beds scattered near the shorelines of East Bay. Scientists from the Department of Agriculture's Division of Aquaculture will check the oyster beds this week. Oyster die-offs are not unusual, said Leslie Palmer, director of the Aquaculture Division in Tallahassee. A variety of causes could potentially be responsible, including drought, extreme heat, warmer-than-normal water temperatures, or high salinity and low oxygen in the water, she said. Diseases and parasites also can wipe out an oyster bed. Storm water runoff from Tropical Storm Lee, which hit the area Labor Day weekend, could have pushed silt over the beds, smothering the oysters, said Robert Turpin, Escambia County's marine resources manager. "That could be easily confirmed by jumping into the water and checking out the beds to see if it is silt or something else," he said.
- Miami Herald.

EXTREME WEATHER: High Temperatures Spark Fears in Zimbabwe!

Last week Zimbabwe experienced record breaking temperatures, not felt since 1962, prompting climate change scholars to claim that this was a sure sign that global warming had indeed set in.

In recent years, climate change has become an increasing phenomenon with scholars arguing that temperatures had gone up by as much as two degrees on average and this spelt doom for developing countries in particular. Some of the signs of climate change, scholars say, are increased famines and flooding in some areas. Glaciers in the Atlantic regions are also expected to thaw, increasing flooding risks and endangering polar wildlife. Several meetings have been held to come up with a global response to the threat posed by climate change, but so far a consensus has been elusive. Zimbabwe has been at the throes of continuous droughts and others claim that this is a sure sign that climate change has set in. Recent flooding in the Okavango Delta in Botswana seems to have affirmed the climate change theory, as the delta last flooded in the 1970s, but burst its banks recently.

An expert, however, warned last year, that scholars should be wary of declaring climate change as the reason for the extreme weather patterns. Piotr Wolski, a hydrology expert based in Bostwana said he was able to accurately predict the flooding of the Okavango, as this was part of a 30-year cycle that moved from extreme dryness to flooding over a defined period. The expert defined this phenomenon known as Pacific Decadal Oscillation, as a shift between phases of warmer and cooler surface temperatures half a world away in the Pacific Ocean. “There has been no cyclicity change,” Wolski noted. “A change in climate would be a modification of the cycle, and so far we have not seen that.” Wolski did not deny the existence of climate change, but rather called for further inquiry into the area. So in this case the extreme heat being experienced in Zimbabwe and most of southern Africa could be a result of cyclic weather patterns, but further studies into this phenomenon still need to be carried out. As the meteorological department pointed out that this is the hottest October since 1962, 49 years ago, it fits perfctly into the oscillation phenomenon that has a range of between 20 to 50 years for a cyclic weather pattern. However, critics of climate change are often labeled as dissidents and denialists, raising need to further study into the global warming phenomenon
. - The Standard.