Friday, May 30, 2014

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "Phenomenon Is So Uncommon,... Feel Like We Are On Another Planet" - Ethiopia's Blue Volcano Burns Sulphuric Gas!

May 30, 2014 -  ETHIOPIA - It's a volcano, but not as we know it. This cerulean eruption takes place in the Danakil Depression, a low-lying plain in Ethiopia. The volcano's lava is the usual orange-red – the blue comes from flames produced when escaping sulphuric gases burn.

(Image: Olivier Grunewald)

French photographer Olivier Grunewald creates such images without using colour filters or digital enhancement, which is no simple task. To get this shot he had to wait until dusk, when the electric blue flames were visible, but before all the daylight had ebbed away. Then the wind had to be blowing away from him so he could get close enough.

Photographing the similarly sulphurous Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia, where he worked inside the crater, was even more treacherous. "We have to take care when the winds push the flames close to us," he says. "In Danakil it is easier to escape as the land is flat."

Grunewald works in a gas mask to avoid breathing in the deadly fumes – but photographing Kawah Ijen still left him with peeling skin and clothes smelling of rotten eggs for weeks afterwards.

Another drawback of Grunewald's subject matter is that the acidic gases don't agree with his cameras. But it's worth it, he says. "The phenomenon is so uncommon – we really feel like we are on another planet." - NewScientist.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Amanda Becomes The Strongest- EVER Eastern Pacific Hurricane In May - Claims Three Lives In Mexico!

May 30, 2014 - MEXICO -  Torrential rains from tropical storm Amanda claimed the lives of three people in Mexico, authorities said Wednesday.

Waters rushing down mountainsides caused flash floods that swept away two people in the town of Zitacuaro in the western state of Michoacan, said the state's director of civil protection, Nicolas Alfaro.

The fatalities were a 50-year-old man and a girl of eight.

Roads and cars were damaged, and authorities warned homes might need to be evacuated if the rains continued.

Amanda, located far off Mexico's Pacific coast, reached hurricane strength over the weekend before being downgraded.

In the neighboring state of Guerrero, one person died in a road accident blamed on the storm. A tree fell on a road and the man drove right into it, dying instantly.

Amanda was the first named storm of the season.

On Saturday, Amanda became the first hurricane-strength tropical storm of 2014, crossed the 120 km/h wind speed threshold as it made its way through the Pacific.

But by Sunday morning, the storm had strengthened to category 4 status, with winds up to 250 km/h, just shy of the 252 km/h threshold that would make it a category 5.

The National Hurricane Centre says this is the strongest hurricane ever recorded during the month of May.

Pacific hurricane season is considered to run from May 15 to November 30. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a near normal to above normal hurricane season in the eastern Pacific. Forecasters say up to 20 named storms could form, including up to 11 hurricanes. Three to six of those are expected to be category 3 or higher.

The Atlantic hurricane season, in contrast, is expected to be quieter. NOAA's 2014 Atlantic hurricane outlook predicts is a near-normal to below normal season.

The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season saw 14 tropical storms, including 2 hurricanes.

In 2013, Mexico was hit simultaneously by hurricanes Ingrid in the Gulf of Mexico and Manuel on the Pacific coast, with a toll of 157 dead. 


RATTLE & HUM: "It Was Extremely Loud" - Strange Boom, Flashes Of Light Reported Northwest Of Toronto, Canada?!

May 30, 2014 - TORONTO, CANADA -  Was it a blown hydro transformer, a meteor flying through the atmosphere? It couldn't have been a UFO, could it?

Whatever it was, few people seem to know, at least not yet.

Numerous reports from local residents seeing a flashing light and hearing a loud sonic boom began running rampant on Orangeville-centric social media sites on Wednesday night (May 28).

Residents in a radius as wide as Howard Crescent near the Headwaters Health Care Centre to College Avenue near Credit Meadows Elementary School reported hearing the unidentified noise at about 9:30 p.m.

"Although I did not see a "flash," I did hear the very loud sound," Brett D Hancock posted on Facebook from Murray Court. "And it was extremely loud."

"By the hospital," echoed Jada Doucette. "My big bully went ballistic. Even made my daughter and myself jump. It was so loud."

Before jumping to rash conclusions about aliens, UFOs, meteors or any other phenomena, The Banner sought to eliminate some of the more plausible scenarios first.

According to Rob Koekkoek, engineer with Orangeville Hydro, the local utility has no evidence that one of its transformers blew last night. There is no evidence of any field issues either..

"There have been no related calls from our customers," Koekkoek said in an email. "It appears the noise is not related to our equipment."

Police and firefighters appear stumped as well. Neither Dufferin OPP nor Orangeville firefighters received any emergency calls about a sonic boom or flash of light, although fire chief Andy Macintosh admitted to hearing it.

"It didn't make me jump or anything," he said. "It was just a bang of some type. Don't know what it was."

Orangeville police Const. Scott Davis confirmed officers were called to investigate a report of a loud noise and flash of "white light" near Howard Crescent at 9:41 p.m. Responding officers, however, were unable to determine the cause or find any explanation for the apparent phenomena.

"We checked the area. We couldn't come up with a source for the noise or the white light, and that was it," Davis said. "That is the only report that we had."

That seems to strengthen the possibility of meteor flying through the atmosphere. As Orangeville Coun. Jeremy Williams pointed out on Facebook, the area is at the tail end of a unique astrological event involving thousands of meteors.

"It is possible, although nothing has been confirmed," Williams suggested. "Again, this is speculation at this point."

Jeff Renaud, senior media relations officer at the University of Western Ontario, told The Banner a loud boom and flashes of light are consistent with what scientists would investigate as a possible meteor flying through the atmosphere, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

"I'm not a scientist," Renaud pointed out. "But it sounds like something they would investigate."

If a meteor were to fall to the ground, Williams suggested the impact would register on seismic detectors. As he noted further, the United States Geological Survey isn't reporting any significant seismic activity in this region.

So, what actually caused the loud boom, and a flash of light? It's anybody's guess at this point.   - Orangeville Banner.