Friday, November 11, 2011

GLOBAL ALERT: SOLAR WATCH - Earth Directed CMEs, Possibility of Geomagnetic Storms as Monstrous Sunspot Rotates Toward Earth!

There's a storm brewing on the Sun's surface and it could unleash its magnetic fury on Earth within the next five days.

That ominous warning comes from solar scientists at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center who are tracking a huge group of sunspots that are slowly rotating to face our planet. As imaged by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in Friday, this is the largest group of sunspots seen on the sun since 2005. The largest sunspot (pictured right) is 17-times the width of the Earth. Active region 1339 has been crackling with flare activity -- for now blasting the majority of its energy away from us -- but on Thursday, it showed solar astronomers what it's capable of; erupting with the most powerful type of flare.

The effects of the X-rays generated by the Nov. 3 X-class flare were detected in our upper atmosphere as waves of ionization altered the propagation of radio waves over Europe and the Americas, according to Sunspots are the result of intense magnetic stress inside the sun. As we approach solar maximum (expected around 2013), we can expect to see more sunspots as intense magnetic fields break through the surface, exposing the cooler solar interior -- dark spots are the result. Sunspots are found in regions of intense magnetic activity on the sun -- unsurprisingly known as "active regions." And it is active region 1339 that could put on an impressive fireworks display as it rotates across the disk of the sun, pointing directly at us at the halfway point. But will it erupt? For now, we have no idea -- it remains a risky game of (solar) Russian Roulette. - Discovery News.
WATCH: Solar Watch Alert.

Here is the volcano and earthquake watch alert for the next couple of days:
Targeting the remnants of a filament eruption in the Southern Hemisphere. After analysis I have isolated 30° (+- 2°) N Latitude with solar symmetry to earth. Best fit regions for a possible 7+ Magnitude Earthquake are: Kermadec Islands-New Zealand Region, Easter Islands Region, Santiago del Estero-Argentina, San Juan-Argentina or the Coquimbo-Chile Region. Time frame for this event suggests Nov 13-14. Second region for the Southern Hemisphere is mapped at 9° (+- 2°) Latitude. Best mapped regions with solar symmetry to earth are: Solomon Islands or the Santa Cruz Islands Region with a time frame Nov 12-13.

A strong magnetic filament in the Northern Hemisphere extending well over the north eastern limb of the solar corona indicates the likelihood of a strong earthquake. Targeting a coronal depression adjacent to active regions located 28-34° N Latitude. Best fit regions with solar symmetry to earth are: The South Japan Islands (Bonin Islands-Izu Islands-Ruyukyu Islands or Kyushu), Gulf Of California-Mexico, Baha California-Mexico or the Southern California Region. Possible magnitude 6.8.Time frame suggest towards the end of the watch (Nov 15). OLR anomalies are this week located : Luzon Philippines, Carlsberg Ridge, Gulf Of Aden, China, Atlantic Ocean, Azores Islands, France and Spain. Ionospheric anomalies continue to show the South America region and the South Pacific Islands regions with large concentrations.
- Solar Watch Channel.
WATCH: Volcano / Earthquake Watch Nov 12-15.

The following constitutes the latest update from Space
INCOMING CME: A CME is heading for Earth. It left the sun on Nov. 9th when a magnetic filament in the vicinity of sunspot complex 1342-1343 erupted. The M1-class explosion hurled a bright cloud of plasma into space, shown here in a movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Although the eruption was not squarely aimed at Earth, the CME is likely to deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field on Nov. 11th or 12th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of high-latitude geomagnetic storms. The decay of sunspot 1339 is accelerating, but it still poses a threat for M-class solar flares.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Turkish Quake Death Toll Rises to 24!

Recuers on Friday recovered the dead body of one of the two journalists missing underneath the rubble of an earthquake-shattered hotel as the death toll in the second earthquake to hit eastern Turkey in about two weeks rose to at least 24.

A colleague identified a body found in the rubble of the collapsed hotel in the eastern city of Van as that of Cem Emir, a reporter for the Dogan news agency, who had rushed to the region in the aftermath of a more powerful earthquake, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. A second reporter for the agency, Sebahattin Yilmaz, was still missing beneath the debris of the Bayram Hotel, one of the two hotels that fell apart when the 5.7-magnitude quake hit Van late Wednesday. "In our profession we always come across disasters," Dogan agency's general manager, Ugur Cebeci, told The Associated Press earlier as he watched rescuers in red overalls search through the debris of the once five-story hotel. "But we are grappling with helplessness here." Relief workers — who had arrived in the city to help survivors of the earlier, more powerful earthquake that hit the region on Oct. 23 — also became victims when the hotel, weakened by the earlier temblor, collapsed Wednesday. The fatalities include a Japanese relief worker who had come to distribute aid to quake survivors and eight employees of a company who were in Van to assemble temporary housing units for survivors.

Rescuers pulled out 12 bodies from the wreckage of the Bayram Hotel as well as the low-budget Aslan Hotel on Friday, raising the death toll to 24, according to state-run TRT television. Authorities called off rescue operations at the Aslan by the late afternoon, but rescuers continued their search for possible survivors at the Bayram, their work made more difficult by heavy snow that began to fall in the evening. It was not known Friday how many people remained buried in the rubble of the Bayram Hotel. "We are not able to hear any voices," said Disaster management official Askit Dayi. "But still we are removing layers of concrete in a way as if there are survivors." He said the search efforts at both sites could end by midnight Friday. Recep Salci of the rescue group Akut told NTV television that freezing temperatures at night were also posing a threat to any possible survivors. Rescue teams were using an emergency evacuation plan to determine possible escape routes within the pancaked building, said Bulent Gunduz of the Siemens private rescue team. "We can see all escape routes and fire stairs," said Gunduz. "The emergency floor plan has become like a compass for us." On Friday, Turkey notified countries offering help to deal with the new quake that it would accept tents and prefabricated homes to house survivors through the winter. - ABC News.
WATCH: Turkey struggles to find quake survivors.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Puyehue Volcano Forces Flight Delays to Chile!

Buenos Aires City's two main air terminals Ezeiza and Aeroparque faced flight disruptions and complications following ash cloud from the Chilean Puyehue volcano - affecting particularly Patagonia to the south of Argentina and links with Santiago de Chile, the capital.

The disruptions to schedules, after two weeks of calm, were affecting various flights toward the south of Argentina, source said. One service to Neuquen was cancelled, others suffered delays and Lan Argentina reported that six flights between Buenos Aires and Santiago had been delayed waiting for improved air conditions. Likewise with a flight from Los Angeles with a previous stop in the Peruvian capital, Lima. Aerolineas Argentinas and Austral also had flights delayed or cancelled but all of them to the south of Argentina in places such as Bariloche which during the peak of the Puyehue volcano ashes last June had to remain closed for a hundred days and only resumed activities Sept 17.

However towards mid afternoon yesterday conditions begun to improve and flights were reprogrammed trying to recover schedules. Nevertheless Argentina's Public Works Highways department warned drivers heading south through western Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Rio Negro Neuquen and Chubut to exercise extreme precaution because of the limited visibility caused by the volcanic ash. "Vehicles should move at a maximum speed of 80 km on routes 5, 7, 8 and 33 and be aware to have all lights on", the Highways department said. Puyehue first erupted last June 4 covering most of Patagonia with a thick carpet of volcanic cash and forcing to cancel hundreds of flights across the region - Argentina, Uruguay, south of Brazil, areas of Chile and in some cases as distant as Australia and New Zealand, sources said. - Bernama.
Here is the summary of the recent activities at volcanic complex from the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program:
Based on seismicity during 3-8 November, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the eruption from the Cordón Caulle rift zone, part of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex, continued at a low level. During 3-6 November plumes observed with an area web camera rose 5 km above the crater, and satellite imagery showed active plumes drifting 30-120 km N, NE, E, and SE. Ash plumes dispersed as far as 300 km NE and SE. Area cameras showed a plume rising 2 km above the crater on 7 November. Cloud cover prevented observations of the plume with the area camera the next day and from satellite during 7-8 November. The Alert Level remained at Red.

Geologic Summary: The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC) is a large NW-SE-trending late-Pleistocene to Holocene basaltic-to-rhyolitic transverse volcanic chain SE of Lago Ranco. The 1799-m-high Pleistocene Cordillera Nevada caldera lies at the NW end, separated from Puyehue stratovolcano at the SE end by the Cordón Caulle fissure complex. The Pleistocene Mencheca volcano with Holocene flank cones lies NE of Puyehue. The basaltic-to-rhyolitic Puyehue volcano is the most geochemically diverse of the PCCVC. The flat-topped, 2236-m-high Puyehue volcano was constructed above a 5-km-wide caldera and is capped by a 2.4-km-wide summit caldera of Holocene age. Lava flows and domes of mostly rhyolitic composition are found on the eastern flank of Puyehue. Historical eruptions originally attributed to Puyehue, including major eruptions in 1921-22 and 1960, are now known to be from the Cordón Caulle rift zone. The Cordón Caulle geothermal area, occupying a 6 x 13 km wide volcano-tectonic depression, is the largest active geothermal area of the southern Andes volcanic zone.
WATCH: Raw Video of Chilean volcano sparks lightning.

WATCH: Lightning and ash as Chile volcano erupts.

WATCH: Lightning inside Chile Puyehue volcano ash cloud.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Oklahoma Earthquakes - Seismicity Raises Concerns in Prague About the Stability of Dam in Lincoln County!

Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency Wednesday as Oklahoma copes with a rare earthquake swarm, November tornadoes and even flooding. The declaration includes 20 counties across the southern portion of the state.

Since Saturday, Oklahoma has experienced four big quakes; the strongest one registering a 5.6 magnitude. The recent earthquake swarm is now prompting concerns over the stability of a dam in Lincoln County. The concern is that the earth may have moved a little too much, possibly making Meeker Lake, a flood control lake, unstable. Now engineers are keeping an eye on it to make sure people near Meeker don't end up getting washed away. Town Administrator Jim Howard said, "If for some reason the dam was to bust, there's 16 residences downstream that would be affected, just washed away, so it's definitely something to be concerned about."

Sandy Diedloff lives downhill from the dam. She's lived in her home for 11 years and moved to Oklahoma from California. She said, "A quake of this magnitude would not have bothered me at all in California. But here they give you a tornado shelter but they don't build the houses to take all that sway. Tornadoes, hail and earthquake in one day was a tad much." The uncertainty has city officials keeping an eye on the place just to make sure the Quapaw Valley doesn't end up under water. Howard said, "I really feel confident that there's not going to be a problem, but you don't want to get overconfident either. When you're talking about the lives and livelihoods of families, you don't want to get too overconfident about anything. So we will keep an eye on it and keep checking on it." Diedloff said, "We're insured. But there's nothing we as homeowners can do. Do I hope that the county, city, powers that be, take care of it? Oh yes." Engineers have also been looking at other dams in the area. So far they have not discovered any serious problems. - KFOR.
Officials gathered in Prague on Thursday night to assure residents concerned about the recent earthquakes that the worst is most likely over, and that they're prepared as they can be for any possible disaster in the area. The American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma helped organize the meeting, which was held in the Prague Community Center and featured officials from the Oklahoma Geological Survey, state Emergency Management Department, Lincoln County emergency management office, state Insurance Department, Salvation Army and other groups. Local Red Cross spokesman Rusty Surette said 400 to 500 people attended the two-hour meeting. Surette said some residents were passionate about their concerns. “A lot of residents expressed frustration and concern,” he said. “I think a lot of that comes from not having a clear-cut answer for the cause of the earthquakes. I think a number of residents were hoping for an answer, but there wasn't a clear-cut answer.” Still, most who attended were glad to have the opportunity to hear from experts on earthquakes. “This was an opportunity for a lot of people to come together in one room with every agency and organization that plays a role in earthquake response and to ask questions,” he said. “It allowed for a great educational opportunity on how to best prepare for and react to earthquakes.”

Lincoln County Emergency Manager Joey Wakefield said rumors had run amok in Prague and other communities affected by the weekend's earthquakes, including a rumor that another, larger quake sure to strike soon was being denied by authorities who knew it was coming. “We just wanted to help address those rumors and reassure people that we're on top of things,” Wakefield said. There should be no bigger quake coming, said G. Randy Keller, director of the OGS. The magnitude 5.6 quake that struck Saturday night along a known fault line near Prague, the largest quake in Oklahoma's history, was almost certainly the biggest that will be associated with this outbreak, he said. Minor aftershocks will continue for weeks, but most will not be felt, Keller said. The biggest aftershocks Wednesday and Thursday were two magnitude 3.0 quakes, one near Prague and the other near Meeker, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The big quake Saturday caused damage to numerous homes and other buildings in the area, and so damaged a school in Meeker that it was closed until Thursday, Wakefield said. - NewsOK.
WATCH: Prague worried about dam quake damage.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Heavy Mudflows Threaten Villages Near Mount Merapi - Eruption of Millions of Tons of Ash and Debris in Indonesia!

The arrival of the rainy season has triggered the time bomb experts have long feared: volcanic mudflows comprised of millions of tons of ash and debris blanketing Mount Merapi’s slopes after last year’s eruptions.

The impact is spreading this week. Mudflows are affecting not just residents of Sleman’s north and east, but those in the west as well as the Progo River threatens Kisik 1 village, which sits about 1.2 kilometers from its edge. The river has experienced extreme shallowing due to the sedimentation of ash. Volcanic mud has repeatedly spilled over its banks and flooded residents’ homes, gardens and rice fields. Past experience has made Kisik 1 resident Samirin wary. “If there’s mudflow in the Putih and Krasak rivers, it is bound to end up in the Progo River,” he said. “Almost all the levees are damaged or have been washed away. Even the east bank of the river, which was four meters high, has been washed out.”

Residents said Kisik 1 has been hit by five mudflows already this year, damaging homes and smothering rice fields and gardens in sand. Village official Isdiyanto said a significant area had been affected. “Around six hectares of rice fields failed to bear harvest as a result of the flooding,” he said. Widi Sutikno, who heads the water resources agency in Sleman, said addressing the mudflows was difficult because of limited funding. “The best solution may be to construct retaining walls, but we don’t have the money,” Widi said. Reports in August said that Rp 444 billion ($49.7 million) had been set aside by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) to deal with the mudflows. Roughly Rp 181 billion of that was said to be earmarked for water resources infrastructure, including the stabilization of river banks, on the Putih River and other areas located downstream of Merapi ash depos its. - Jakarta Globe.