Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PLANETARY TREMORS: 7 Earthquakes Rock Texas In Less Than 7 Hours - Seismologists Investigating Increased Activity!

USGS earthquake location map

January 6, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES
- A lot of shaking going on Tuesday in the state of Texas.

As of 10:35 p.m. there have been seven earthquakes in Texas, five of those centered in or near the Irving area. The latest two earthquakes confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey were near Farmers Branch and Irving — the first at 9:54 p.m. and the latter at 10:05 p.m.

The sixth earthquake, just before 10 p.m., had a magnitude of 1.7. The seventh earthquake, the fifth to hit Irving in one day, registered 2.4.


WATCH: Earthquakes rock Texas.




The shaking started early in the afternoon wit the first North Texas earthquake reported in Irving. The USGS later confirmed a second 3.5 magnitude quake near Snyder, about 230 miles west of Fort Worth. Then a third earthquake was confirmed near Irving again, just before 7 p.m.

A fourth and fifth earthquake hit North Texas around 8:15 p.m.

The fourth quake was a 2.9 magnitude and the fifth registered 2.7, according to the USGS. Both were smaller than the third, and strongest, Irving quake that registered 3.6. That happened at 6:52 p.m.

The second Irving quake was east of the first tremor, with the epicenter near the Elm Fork of the Trinity River.

Rafael Abreu, a geophysicist with the USGS, spoke with NewsRadio 1080 KRLD and said while the Irving earthquakes happened only hours apart, given the strength and intensity, “we’re not calling it an aftershock.”


USGS shakemap intensity

At last count Tuesday night, there had been 22 earthquakes in the Irving area since November 1, 2014.

The third earthquake is only the third in the DFW area, since 2008, to register 3.6 on the Richter Scale. The other two were in the Azle-area in November and December of 2013.

People from Dallas to Irving, and Grapevine to Plano reported feeling the first 3:10 p.m. earthquake. The USGS confirmed that a quake registered at 3.5 magnitude was centered east-northeast of Irving.


WATCH: January 6 Earthquake Inside Irving Apartment (Warning: Strong Language).




Physicist John Bellini with the USGS said earlier in the afternoon there should be little or no damage from quakes of this size.

USGS geophysicist Jana Pursley says Tuesday’s quakes were the “largest since the earthquakes started happening there in the last year.”

Several calls were also made to the Irving Police via 9-1-1 of people asking about the earthquake. - CBS Dallas.


Texas seismologists investigate quakes near old Cowboys stadium

Texas Stadium is seen before the start of the last NFL football game to be played there in Irving, Texas December 20, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

Seismologists installed a new earthquake-monitoring device in the Dallas suburb of Irving this week after a series of minor temblors rocked an area near the site of the former Dallas Cowboys football stadium.

Irving was hit by a magnitude 3.5 quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was the strongest in a series of nearly 20 minor quakes to hit around Irving since September.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

But the seismic series has left residents on edge, wondering if the situation will get worse and what has been behind an uptick in quakes over the last several years.

"The safety and security of our residents is paramount for the city of Irving," said Irving City Manager Chris Hillman.

Some residents believe the implosion of Texas Stadium in 2010 may have exacerbated problems. There is also speculation the quakes might be related to hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," an energy extraction technique that has a long history in north Texas.

Irving, headquarters of Exxon Mobil's XTO unit that helped pioneer hydraulic fracturing in the region, has two gas wells that were fracked in 2010, according to city officials.


The study by seismologists from Southern Methodist University in Dallas is aimed at pinpointing the quakes' epicenters, said SMU seismology professor Brian Stump.


About 40 miles west of Irving, a series of small earthquakes rattled the town of Azle a year ago, causing sinkholes and cracks in house foundations. Residents blamed fracking and injection disposal wells for drilling waste as the cause but an official finding is still pending.

Energy industry officials have said fracking is safe and causes no significant seismic damage. - Yahoo.


Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the Stable Continental Region



Natural Occurring Earthquake Activity

Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes. Here and there earthquakes are more numerous, for example in the New Madrid seismic zone centered on southeastern Missouri, in the Charlevoix-Kamouraska seismic zone of eastern Quebec, in New England, in the New York - Philadelphia - Wilmington urban corridor, and elsewhere. However, most of the enormous region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the west. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area more than ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. It would not be unusual for a magnitude 4.0 earthquake in eastern or central North America to be felt by a significant percentage of the population in many communities more than 100 km (60 mi) from its source. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake in eastern or central North America might be felt by much of the population out to more than 500 km (300 mi) from its source. Earthquakes east of the Rockies that are centered in populated areas and large enough to cause damage are, similarly, likely to cause damage out to greater distances than earthquakes of the same magnitude centered in western North America.

Most earthquakes in North America east of the Rockies occur as faulting within bedrock, usually miles deep. Few earthquakes east of the Rockies, however, have been definitely linked to mapped geologic faults, in contrast to the situation at plate boundaries such as California's San Andreas fault system, where scientists can commonly use geologic evidence to identify a fault that has produced a large earthquake and that is likely to produce large future earthquakes. Scientists who study eastern and central North America earthquakes often work from the hypothesis that modern earthquakes occur as the result of slip on preexisting faults that were formed in earlier geologic eras and that have been reactivated under the current stress conditions. The bedrock of Eastern North America is, however, laced with faults that were active in earlier geologic eras, and few of these faults are known to have been active in the current geologic era. In most areas east of the Rockies, the likelihood of future damaging earthquakes is currently estimated from the frequencies and sizes of instrumentally recorded earthquakes or earthquakes documented in historical records.

Induced Seismicity

As is the case elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that some central and eastern North America earthquakes have been triggered or caused by human activities that have altered the stress conditions in earth's crust sufficiently to induce faulting. Activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth's crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations. In much of eastern and central North America, the number of earthquakes suspected of having been induced is much smaller than the number of natural earthquakes, but in some regions, such as the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced. Even within areas with many human-induced earthquakes, however, the activity that seems to induce seismicity at one location may be taking place at many other locations without inducing felt earthquakes. In addition, regions with frequent induced earthquakes may also be subject to damaging earthquakes that would have occurred independently of human activity. Making a strong scientific case for a causative link between a particular human activity and a particular sequence of earthquakes typically involves special studies devoted specifically to the question. Such investigations usually address the process by which the suspected triggering activity might have significantly altered stresses in the bedrock at the earthquake source, and they commonly address the ways in which the characteristics of the suspected human-triggered earthquakes differ from the characteristics of natural earthquakes in the region. - USGS.




FIRE IN THE SKY: Mystery Of The Glowing Orb Over California - Bizarre Fireball That Splits In Two, Moves In Opposite Directions, Could Be A Meteorite Burning Up In Earth's Atmosphere?!

Mystery balls: The orb broke apart and two pieces moved in opposite directions above southern California

January 6, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- A mysterious glowing orb has been filmed breaking away from an unidentified meteorite-like object as it streaked across the sky above California.
The unusual object can be seen moving through the sky leaving a long tail behind that is characteristic of space debris or a meteorite burning up in the atmosphere.

But after a few seconds a second round object separates from the main fireball and moves off in the opposite direction.

UFO hunters have claimed the bright orb may have been some sort of escape pod from a crashing ship.

However, others have said it is more likely to have been a meteorite breaking apart in the atmosphere.

There have been several sightings of meteorite fireballs in the US over the past week, with many reports coming from California.

The past couple of days have also seen astronomers enjoying the peak of the annual Quadrantids meteor shower.


WATCH: Fireball over California.




The fireball was spotted by Ken Roberts while he was driving home from work in southern California.

He said: 'I was driving home after work when this UFO or whatever you call it caught my eye.

'I pulled over in front of somebody's house to film it. I would have got a better shot but I didn't want to jump these people's fence.

'Anyway I don't know what the hell to make of it. Couldn't have been a plane cause there was no noise. And I never heard a crash after either.

'The Orb thing flew straight up into the sky and disappeared.'

He posted the video on YouTube on Monday evening but did not say when or where the footage had been filmed, other than the general area of California.

‘I think it could be something re-entering and bits coming off it,’ said Ben Biggs, editor of All About Space magazine.

‘However, if it was a big spacecraft then we’d probably know about it.

‘Could it be a meteorite? It’s a bit slow to be one as they normally travel much faster through the atmosphere, although we are at the peak of the Quadrantids meteor shower.

‘It could also simply be some clever photoshop, especially considering there don’t seem to be any other videos of the event which would surely have been seen by many people.

'Also, California is right next to Nevada, home of the top secret base inside Area 51. There's always a chance that this is some military project gone awry.'



Reports of a fireball above California were received by the American Meteor Society on 3 January 2015

WHAT IS THE MYSTERY ORB
There have been some suggestions that this may be a meteorite passing through Earth's atmosphere - especially considering the Quadrantids meteorite shower is currently at its peak.

However, most experts think it is travelling too slow to be a meteorite - they usually travel much faster.


It could also be a man-made spacecraft re-entering Earth's atmosphere but, as Ben Biggs of All About Space points out, if it was a large spacecraft then we'd probably know about it.


California is also near Nevada, home of the top secret base Area 51, so it could be some sort of military project.


The predominant theory at the moment, though, is that it is simply a hoax - all the more likely as there are no other videos of the event.


If it had been real, it is likely that it would have been seen and captured on video by many people, not just one.
The video shows around 30 seconds of footage of the UFO before cutting off abruptly and showing a black screen for the final two minutes.

According to the UFO news site OpenMinds, the smaller orb breaking away from the main fireball is 'peculiar'.

It said: 'The smaller orb UFO in this video behaves differently than typical meteorite debris.'

According to the American Meteor Society, there have been several reports of meteorites across the US over the past week.

It received more than 1,500 eyewitness accounts - mainly in New York but some as far away as Maine and California - of a bright fireball passing through the sky on 29 December.

The society also said it has also received 17 reports from eyewitnesses in northern California of a fireball in the sky on 3 January.
UFO SIGHTINGS AND THE CIA
The Central Intelligence Agency has said that they are responsible for at least half of the UFO sightings reported in the 1950s and 60s.

The US agency explained that many UFO sightings over that period were directly correlated to tests on the U-2 spy plane.


The plane was being flown at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet, once thought an impossible height to fly at.


Analysts at the CIA soon realized that UFO sightings lined up with the place and time the U-2 planes were flying.


However, they purposefully chose not to let people know that what they were seeing were not aliens but spies.

The CIA admitted that many UFO sightings in the 1950s and 60s were tests on its U-2 spy plane (shown)

Now U-2 planes are flown by the United States Air Force and 104 have been built in total.


In 2013 the CIA officially acknowledged the existence of Area 51.


The site, a badly kept secret for decades, has fueled the imaginations of conspiracy theorists and UFO hunters around the world.


Documents released by the CIA confirmed the mysterious airbase existed and revealed its exact location in Nevada.


Official maps usually only show a disused mine at the site or a large area of restricted airspace, however it does feature on Google Maps and in satellite images.


The documents also revealed some strange goings on at the secret base - but not the kind that UFO hunters have believed.


They revealed that among the jobs staff at the site had to perform during the 1960s was a routine of vacuuming the runway to allow the experimental U-2 aircraft to take off without damaging their engines.
Eyewitnesses reported briefly seeing a fireball (top right) in the skies above New York on 29 December 2014

Mike Hankey, from the American Meteor Society, said: 'This video looks fake. It was published on Jan 5th and we had no reports of fireballs in southern california on Jan 5th or Jan 4th.'

One eyewitness calling themselves Subramanian N described the fireball as having a green colour.

They said: 'I saw a secondary little fireball (very light) at the time of maximum brightness of the first fireball.'

Others reported seeing a small flash as the fireball faded from view.

One said: 'Some fragments seemed to emanate from the tail as it fell.'

One man from Eagen, Minnesota, reported seeing what he thought was a satellite in the sky that appeared to break into two objects.

Writing on UFO website Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), he said: 'As the object came next to the moon there was an extremely brief flash from its right side and a momentary trail and secondary object, that looked like a yellow/green fireball slightly larger than the first object, as if shot out or ejected, was observed for less than a second.

'The primary light continued on its straight path for another second or two and then disappeared.

'I am unsure if what I observed and laid out in my narrative is what happened or if some light phenomenon caused by the satellite passing by the brilliantly lit half moon created an effect that I saw.'

However, some commentators have have questioned whether the latest video is genuine and may have been digitally edited after filming.


The annual Quandratid Meteor Shower (seen here above Banff National Park, Canada) reached its peak on Monday and may be
responsible for the increase in sightings of fireballs and meteorites in recent days


Mr Roberts did not respond to questions put to him by the MailOnline.

His YouTube account contains only one other video that was uploaded on the same day as the UFO video and claims to be a film of seagulls in New York.

Nigel Watson, author of the UFO Investigation Manual, said regardless of what it was, the video has got UFO believers excited.

He said: 'This could be a meteor or space junk crashing back to Earth, but what the so-called 'white orb' leaving it has certainly got UFO believers excited.

'They wonder if it is an escape pod being ejected from a crashing UFO.

'At first it just looks like something falling out of the trail of the object, but it carries on under its own power rather than falling away as you might expect.

'It makes me wonder if it is a completely different object that just looks as if it is coming out of this fireball trail.

'Whatever these events are, they are very unusual even if they are not flying saucers occupied by little green men plunging to Earth in a spectacular fashion.'

Giles Sparrow, a space and astronomy journalist, said that while unusual, the orb was probably part of a meteorite fireball breaking apart as it entered the atmosphere.

He said: 'It's almost certainly a fireball breaking apart in the upper atmosphere.

'These things have been floating about in space for billion of years, and their interiors are very, very cold.

'They formed from dust grains clumping together in the solar system, and often have cracks and weak spots that can break them apart when their surfaces suddenly heat up - it just so happens that in this case, the crack was in the right place enough to send a large fragment flying off in the other direction.'

He added that the fireball appears to be moving slowly across the sky due to perspective it is filmed from and because of the time of day it was filmed.

He said: 'Meteoroids approaching Earth's 'trailing' hemisphere as it moves through space have to 'catch up' with our planet before they enter the atmosphere.'

Nick Howes, Pro-Am coordinator at the Faulkes Telescope Project, added: 'I'd guess a re-entry of some space junk if I were a betting man.

'It's burning up in the upper atmosphere, indicating a high velocity, it does appear to be moving "slowly" which may be due to the angle from which footage was taken.' - Daily Mail.
 


DISASTER PRECURSORS: Omen – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Mass Animal Die-Offs, Appearance Of Rare Creatures And Warnings From Mother Nature!

January 6, 2015 - 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.


Spate of deep sea beaked whale deaths puzzle experts in Scotland

The Cuvier's beaked whale is the world's deepest diving mammal.  © AP


Experts say they are baffled by a spate of mystery deaths around the west coast of Scotland by the world's deepest diving mammal.

Scientists at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust says it has received many reports over the past two weeks from members the public of stranded cetaceans. Five were of Cuvier's beaked whales, a species that is rarely seen due to its offshore distribution.

"Despite being rarely seen however, they are native to Scotland, preferring offshore deep-water canyons and seamounts where they hunt for squid," said the trust.

"To our southwest in Ireland, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have recorded similarly high numbers of Cuvier's beaked whales. In December, five were found dead along the west and north coast which accounts for almost 10 per cent of all the records of this species since records began.

"This brings to 10 the number dead Cuvier's beaked whales found in Scotland and Ireland since December. Many more will go undetected as the carcasses may sink or end up in very remote locations.

"There are no obvious clues as to what is causing such a sudden increase in strandings of this species. While the very intense storms of mid-December may be partly to blame, this does not explain why we are finding just one deep-diving species in such high numbers.

"A similar peak in strandings during 2008 comprised a mix of species - including Sowerby's beaked whales and pilot whales - but the underlying cause of this unusual mortality event (of 57 whales) was never determined."

The HWDT appealed to people to report any dead cetaceans to it.

"Strandings provide a rare an unique insight into the lives of these poorly understood animals, and may help us to establish more effective conservation measures towards their protection," it said.

Among the places where Cuvier's beaked whales have recently beached are at Borve Point on Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme has only 37 records of strandings of the species in Scotland in the past 25 years.

The whale can grow up to 23 feet and is widely distributed in tropical to cool temperate waters. Northern Scotland represents their northern-most limit.

The species is the current world-record holder for the longest and deepest dive for a mammal - down to 2992 metres for a staggering two hours and 17 minutes. The pressure at this depth is 300 kg per square centimetre.

Squid form the main part of the Cuvier's beaked whale diet, although they also consume fish and crustaceans.

They can dive for over 30 minutes to reach deep-dwelling prey. Other than the pair of teeth in adult males, beaked whales are toothless and are thought to use suction to catch their prey.

There are no global population estimates for the Cuvier's beaked whale although they are generally thought to be one of the most abundant of the beaked whale species.

The main threats include the accumulation of toxic pollutants in whale tissue and organs, entanglement in fishing nets and marine litter, and noise disturbance.

They may also swallow plastic bags mistaken for prey, which can accumulate in the stomach of the animal causing starvation and eventual death. - The Scotsman.


Coyote attacks two residents in Groveland, Massachusetts, United States

A coyote attacked at least two people outside their homes in a northern Massachusetts town on Monday night, sending one man to hospital with bite wounds, according to local police.

The Groveland police department issued a warning on Tuesday to residents of the town located about 35 miles north of Boston, saying the animal is on the loose and likely to have rabies.

"We are asking all residents to be watchful and when outside use extra care for your safety and the safety of your children and pets," said deputy chief Jeffrey Gillen.

Coyote attacks on humans are generally rare, but incidents have increased in some parts of the country in recent years alongside suburban encroachment on wild areas.

Police said the coyote bit one man as he was entering his home with his 4-year-old daughter, leading him to seek emergency treatment at a local hospital.

The coyote later attacked another homeowner in his front yard. That resident "had to kick the animal several times before it left the area," the police said in a press release. - Reuters.


Deer attacks and injures animal keeper at zoo in India



In a surprise attack, the first of its kind at the Nehru Zoological Park, a deer injured an animal keeper who went to administer medicine to it here on Sunday.

According to zoo officials, the animal keeper, Akbar went to the deer enclosure and after releasing them into the display area, sought to administer medicine that were prescribed to a male deer.

In what the officials describe as mock attempt at aggression, the deer hit the keeper and pressed him to the compound wall with its antlers.

"There were no major external injuries but as he was pressed with antlers, Akbar had some discomfort and a bit of internal dislocations. We rushed him to Yashoda hospital at Malakpet and got him treated.

The zoo is taking care of his treatment costs," the zoo curator, B.N.N.Murthy said.

Usually, deer are reticent in nature and not known to attack, officials said adding that the mock attempt could have been a defensive response when the animal keeper went with medicine. - The Hindu.


Elephant tramples tea garden guard to death in Dooars, India

A night guard of a Dooars tea garden was killed by a wild tusker while he was patrolling the estate last night.

According to a forest department source, Parbat Dorjee, 50, was working in Hope Tea Estate in Nagrakata.

"While Dorjee was walking in the plantation, a tusker came out of the adjoining forests of Sipchu and trampled him to death. The jumbo then went back to the forest. This morning, local people found the body and informed us," said a forest officer.

In another incident, a tusker came out of the Diana forest last night and damaged two huts in Kalikhola village.

The wild elephant later entered Luksan, a locality nearby, and damaged another house.

The animal's next destination was Grassmore Tea Estate where it damaged 12 huts.


"We fled with our families as the tusker was roaming around damaging one hut after another. Some of us burst crackers and beat empty containers, which made the animal move towards the forest," a worker of Grassmore garden said.

Tapas Das, the conservator of forests (wildlife, north Bengal), said the department would give compensation to the deceased night guard's family as well as those whose huts had been damaged.

In another development, officers of Kathambari forest beat in the Dooars today trapped an adult female leopard in a small tea plantation at Kranti near Lataguri.

"The animal had been roaming around in the plantation for some days. We were informed by local people and accordingly, a trap was set up. The leopard has been taken to Gorumara National Park and will be released into the wild after a medical examination," said Das. - Telegraph.


Man found dead near New Mexico reservation may have been attacked by dog pack



A Native American man found dead in a New Mexico field last week near the Navajo Nation reservation may have been mauled by a pack of as many as 10 dogs, police said on Monday.

Gallup Police Department spokesman Rick White said the man, who did not have identification on him but appeared to be in his mid-40s, was found by a passer-by.

"We do not have a definitive cause of death yet but it appears he was attacked by dogs," White said, although he could not give a precise cause of death. "There definitely were defense wounds from dog bites."

White said the man may have fought off the dogs then succumbed to the single digit temperatures in Gallup on Thursday night before his body was found on Friday. The body was taken to Albuquerque for an autopsy.

Police said animal control officials had received complaints about a pack of 10 dogs prior to the fatal incident and were trying to catch them with traps.
The death is not the first such fatal mauling in the Gallup area and comes after an elderly man walking in a westside community was mauled by a pack of dogs four years ago.

Similarly in November, a woman on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming died from hypothermia and blood loss tied to severe injuries inflicted by "multiple dogs,"
Fremont County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Stratmoen said in a statement at the time. - Yahoo.


Hundreds (possibly thousands) of dead snapper fish found, 'a mystery' in Doubtless Bay, New Zealand

One of hundreds, possibly thousands, of snapper seen floating on the surface in Doubtless Bay on December 21. Photo / Mark Osborne


Taipa man Mark Osborne wasn't as quick as some to point the finger at commercial fishermen after he found hundreds of dead snapper floating over a wide area at the entrance to Doubtless Bay.

He wasn't able to think of any other plausible explanation, however, when he found the fish on December 21.

The water had looked a little odd, he said, possibly as the result of an algal bloom or some such phenomenon.

However, that would not explain why only snapper had succumbed.

Mr Osborne's experience came exactly seven days after scores of dead snapper were found on Tokerau Beach.

Fish were also reported, by other sources, at Maitai Bay and Karikari Beach late last week.

Some of the fish found at Tokerau were described by locals as fresh, as were some seen by Mr Osborne a week later, making it unlikely that they all came from the same source.

Others at both locations had clearly been dead for some time.

Mr Osborne said the fish he saw were exclusively snapper, ranging from legal size to around 3.6kg. He saw no evidence that they had been hooked or suffered net damage.

"There was nothing to suggest they had been thrown overboard from a boat, but given that there were no other species I can't think of any other explanation. It's a bit of a mystery," he said.

"We saw hundreds of them, but I imagine that all up there would have been thousands," he added.

Whatever the cause, a reliably productive fishing spot had that day yielded just one snapper, smaller than the legal minimum.

Meanwhile, further angry contributions have been made to Facebook following the discovery earlier this month of a pile of snapper frames on 90 Mile Beach and dozens of empty paua shells at Tauroa, none of the latter reportedly being of legal size.There is no defence for taking excess or undersized paua, but anyone who had fish frames they didn't want might go to www.freefishheads.co.nz to be put in touch with someone who would appreciate them, one incensed local said. - NZ Herald.


Wild elephant kills man in Odisha, India

Following the killing of a man by a wild elephant, irate villagers of Rasasingha under Sadar police station blocked the national highway No. 55 paralysing traffic for more than two hours today.

A female elephant, according to forest department sources, killed Birabar Parida(50) after she turned furious over the death of her three-year-old baby last night near the village. The baby elephant was killed by another tusker.

The shocked mother elephant stayed with the body of the baby elephant and refused to go away even in the morning. When the villagers tried to chase her away, she strayed into the village and found Birabar in her way and killed him instantly.

Enraged over the incident, more than 200 people, who staged the blockade between Cuttack-Sambalpur, demanded adequate protection against the attack from a herd of elephants.

"We are at the receiving end as a herd of wild elephants has created havoc in our village for some time. They killed a villager last week and now took one more life. There is no safeguard to our village people on behalf of forest department who are callous to our woes. We live in constant fear and threat from wild animals. We demand full proof security against the menace," said a villager.

The blockade continued from 11 am to 1 pm till the senior forest department authorities reached the spot and assured to take all steps to safeguard the village from recurrent attacks from the elephants roaming in that area for some time, according to Inspector-in-Charge of Sadar police station P. K. Jena.

Divisional forest officer of Dhenkanal P.K. Sahu who rushed to the spot where the baby elephant died said all steps are being taken to provide security to the people and drive away the elephants from the area.

The calf apparently died in the attack by a tusker in the herd last night after which the mother elephant became hostile, Sahu added. - Odisha Channel.


Thousands of fish have died in Sher Shah lake in India

Thousands of fish have died in historical Sher Shah Suri Lake in Lal Bangla area of the city since Sunday evening.

Local corporator Aditya Shukla said that residents of the area saw dead fish floating in Sher Shah Suri lake. "Again on Monday morning, we found thousands of fish lying motionless in the river," he added.

A team from the zonal office of Kanpur Municipal Corporation visited the spot and spread chlorine in the lake.
The residents expressed apprehension about the fish being given poison which proved fatal. "There may be chances of fish being poisoned as even big fish too have died. The count being high and it is not possible for pollutant or contamination in water to cause such a high number of deaths," they added.

The municipal authorities had assured for cleanliness of the lake but action was missing. After much persuasion, sanitary workers sprinkled chlorine in the lake.

The locals helplessly watched the fish dying. According to residents, over a quintal of dead fish were taken out from the lake on Monday evening and buried in four big pits near the water body.

The locals were seen using submersible pumps to rotate water in the lake. - Times of India.




FIRE IN THE SKY: Increasing Numbers Of Cosmic Bodies Raining Down - Huge Asteroid Filmed Breaking Up Into Hundreds Of Meteor Fireballs Over Southern Brazil!



January 6, 2015 - BRAZIL
- Early morning December 28, loud booms accompanied the break-up of a large asteroid/comet fragment into hundreds of meteors over Southern Brazil, over the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, Paraná and even in Paraguay. People on the ground were startled, amazed and scared by the spectacular display.

Local media and 'experts' were quick to throw the 'space junk' hypothesis on the table to account for at least one of the sightings, as what looked like a charred or carbonized gas cylinder had been found in a field in Santa Rita do Pardo, about 300 km from Campo Grande.

Space junk may of course fall, yet it cannot account for the increasing numbers of actual cosmic bodies raining down on us these days. The usual 'space junk did it' explanation is an obvious reaction to cover up any possible threat or omen coming from without our globe, as well as a calming agent to a very deep seated fear in the collective human psyche; the association of meteors and large scale human suffering.

Enjoy the show:

WATCH: Huge asteroid seen over Brazil.







- SOTT.




INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Cargo Ship Sinks Off Scotland - 8 Crew Members Presumed Dead!

The Cemfjord sank after capsizing with a crew of eight on board

January 6, 2015 - SCOTLAND
- The wreck of the cargo ship Cemfjord, which sank in the Pentland Firth with eight men on board, has been located on the seabed.

It was found in the eastern approaches to the Firth by the lighthouse tender, Pharos, using sonar equipment.

The upturned hull of the Cemfjord - which was carrying cement - was spotted by a passing ferry on Saturday and sank the following day.

No trace was found of its crew despite a huge search operation.

The seven Polish nationals and one Filipino who were on board did not have time to send out a distress signal.

A liferaft from the cargo ship has also been discovered drifting in the Pentland Firth, but coastguards said there were no signs of life on board and that the liferaft had not been used.

The Shetland coastguard helicopter was sent to investigate at 14:00 on Monday after a passing vessel reported seeing the liferaft.

The sinking happened in the Pentland Firth

A winchman was lowered on board but found no signs that anyone had used it.

The ship was carrying 2,000 tonnes of cement and had been sailing from Aalborg in Denmark to Runcorn in Cheshire when it sank. It had been due to arrive on Monday.

Operators Brise of Hamburg expressed "great sadness" that the extensive air and sea search had found no trace of the missing crew.

The last confirmed sighting of the ship was at about 13:00 on Friday.

It is understood the alarm was raised by the crew of the ferry Hrossey at 14:30 on Saturday.

The Hrossey, which was sailing to Aberdeen, spent time in the area looking for survivors.

An investigation into the circumstances of the accident is ongoing.

The Scottish government is expected to update the parliament on the accident during topical questions after 2pm. - BBC.


TWILIGHT ZONE: Mystery - Sandy Hook Victim Dies (AGAIN) In Pakistan; Photo Of Child Killed In Sandy Hook Shows Up At Pakistani School Shooting?!

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man ... a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. Next stop The Twilight Zone." - Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone.


Image Credits: ASPACS

January 6, 2015 - PAKISTAN
- A large-scale attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, last month left 132 school children and 10 teachers dead.

Among the alleged victims emerged the familiar face of Noah Pozner, one of the children supposedly killed in the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.


Photo of Noah Pozner, 6, one of the victims of the
2012 Sandy Hook school massacre.

Without explanation, Pozner’s image has appeared in multiple photos and reports of the high-profile Army Public School shooting, reportedly carried out by 9 members of an elite Taliban terror group on December 16.


Here, and in several other photos, Peshawar residents seem genuinely convinced Pozner was a victim of their recent massacre, as his photo hangs
directly beneath the microphone of a speaker’s podium surrounded by mourners. / Image credit: APSACS Facebook

Despite his death over two years ago, Pozner also managed to be memorialized on a wall dedicated to the APSACS massacre victims, according to a photo taken by Agence-France Press.


Pozner makes an appearance as a victim of yet another school shooting. / Image credit: StraitTimes.com

Pozner’s smiling face is also prominently displayed in a photo meme appearing on the website aworldatschool.org, who lists among its supporters the globalist NGO USAID and several United Nations sub-branches, and his photo is also tagged with the name “Huzaifa Huxaifa” on the “Army Public School & College – Boys Peshawar” Facebook page.



A large poster-sized image of Pozner also appears on a memorial wall in Peshawar, and can be spotted in at least two BBC world news reports.


BBC reporter stands near Pozner’s image at 0:09 in the video featured here.

Same image appears in another BBC report, this time at 0:45, here.

The BBC and its American counterpart “CNN also played a central role in publicizing the Sandy Hook massacre,” notes Florida Atlantic University Professor James Tracy. “The emergence and apparent use of the well-known photo to memorialize the December 16 Taliban school attack victims calls into question the authenticity of both events.”

A journalist with Pakistan’s Express Tribune spotted the image of Pozner early on:




As yet, no official explanation has emerged as to why Pozner’s photo has been inserted among the APSCS victims, but the BBC speculates that internet “recycling” of images is to blame, as another photo featuring a bloody shoe was also misattributed to the same event.

Can the photo’s misuse simply be brushed off as another bumbling Google image search mistake? Is it be willful subterfuge aimed at poking fun at those who question the validity of the Sandy Hook event?

Professor Tracy also notes the massacre enabled Pakistani authorities to pass some rather draconian legislation:
Pakistan’s political and military leaders have seized upon the mid-December incident to force through drastic measures targeting political prisoners and anti-government militants. One day after the massacre event the Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cited the event as it lifted a six-year moratorium on capital punishment in a vow “to eliminate terrorists in Pakistan irrespective of whether they targeted it or neighboring Afghanistan or India,” McClatchey News reports. “Officials said those 23 terrorists would be executed within days, and they’re likely to be followed by dozens more hangings at prisons around the country.” Pakistan presently has over 3,000 prisoners on death row. [4]

On December 26 Pakistan’s politicians lifted formal constraints on the army to pursue a two year military campaign against “Islamist terrorists.” “We owe it to our coming generations to eliminate this scourge of terror, for once and for all,” army chief of staff General Raheel Shariftold advised political leaders gathered at the prime minster’s residence. Almost immediately following the December 16 massacre, Shariftold advised “unchallengeable powers for the military to pursue, detain and pass verdict on Islamist militants and their abettors.”[5]
 - Info Wars.



GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Ruble Loses 5 Percent As Oil Rout Worsens; U.S. Stocks Sink, 10-Year Treasury Yield Below 2%; U.S. DEBT UP $7,500,000,000,000 UNDER OBAMA; Over 30 BILLION POUNDS Wiped Off UK Markets Over Greece Euro Exit Fears; $5 MILLION Worth Of Bitcoin Missing Major Cryptocurrency Exchange Hack; Global Business Growth At Weakest Rate In Over Year!

Reuters/Ilya Naymushin

January 6, 2015 - GLOBAL ECONOMY
- Here are more evidence that the global economy is increasingly spiraling towards a monumental financial collapse:


Ruble loses 5 percent as oil rout worsens

The Russian ruble lost 5 percent on Tuesday on the first day of post-holiday trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange. Sliding oil prices, which dropped below $50 per barrel on Monday, continue to weigh on the currency.

The ruble lost 5 percent against the dollar, trading above 64 rubles midday, before settling to just below 62.9 at 6:00pm in Moscow. The ruble has already lost about 8 percent to the US dollar in 2015.

The ruble also suffered a loss against the euro, losing more than 5 percent at 76.32 at 1:30pm in Moscow.

Equities and indices were mixed, as the ruble-based Micex index gained 2.4 percent and the dollar-denominated RTS index dropped 4.3 percent.

Brent crude dropped below $52 per barrel on Tuesday after a WTI slide to $50 per barrel for the first time in nearly six years on Monday. Six months ago, at peak oil values, it was trading for more than double today’s price.

The oil-price sensitive ruble has tumbled in tandem with other prices, which have both lost about 50 percent in 2014. Oil is Russia’s main export earner, as well as contributor to the national budget. The Ministry of Economy has had to slash their 2015 oil forecast from $100 per barrel down to $80 per barrel.

Urals crude, Russia’s key export blend, usually trades slightly lower than Brent.

In the worst case scenario, the Russian economy will contract by 4.5 percent in 2014, according to the Central Bank.

Last month, the Central Bank hiked the main lending interest rate to 17 percent in an effort to stem the ruble’s dramatic slide. The Bank has also already burned through more than $80 billion in foreign currency reserves trying to prop up the ruble.

Neither tactic has managed to calm investor worries over the geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine, which led to Western sanctions against many Russian banks. More than $120 billion in capital is thought to have left Russia in 2014.

The plight of the ruble has spread beyond Russian borders, especially to neighboring countries that have close economic ties with Moscow. On Monday, both Belarus and Turkmenistan devalued domestic currencies in response to the decline of the Russian ruble. - RT.


Triple-digit drop for Dow as stocks derailed by oil




Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 29, 2014.  Lucas Jackson | Reuters

U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 falling below 2,000 for the first time in nearly four weeks, as investors fretted the implications of crude's failure to find a floor.

"Oil hasn't found a bottom yet, and that's a concern for investors," said Paul Nolte, senior vice president, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management.

Crude prices fell further, with U.S. oil down 4.1 percent and just below $48 a barrel.

"Lower gasoline costs are a boost for consumers, bolstering discretionary spending and income levels. On the negative side, it's a headwind for companies within and around the energy patch, elevating concerns about lower earnings estimates, which translates into some valuation concerns," Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said.

The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, jumped 13 percent to 22.50.

Newmont Mining rallied with the price of gold; Michael Kors Holdings dropped sharply after Credit Suisse Group downgraded the handbag maker.

Erasing a 79-point gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped as much as 239 points, and was lately off 210.77 points, or 1.2 percent, at 17,290.88, with JPMorgan Chase pacing losses that included 24 of 30 components.




Dipping beneath 2,000 for the first time since Dec. 17, the S&P 500 was lately off 25.95 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,994.63, with energy and financials hardest hit among its main sectors.

The Nasdaq declined 75.39 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,577.18.

For every two share rising, roughly three fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 427 million shares traded as of 1:35 p.m. Eastern. Composite volume surpassed 2.4 billion.

The U.S. dollar climbed against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the 10-year Treasury yield fell 10 basis points to 1.9236 percent.

Oil futures for February delivery dipped $1.97, or 3.9 percent, to $48.07 a barrel; gold futures rose $16.80, or 1.4 percent, to $1,220.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Tuesday's economic reports had the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index declining to 56.2 last month from 59.3 in November.

Separate data had factory orders down in November.
On Monday, U.S. stocks fell sharply, with the S&P 500 extending losses into a fourth session, as energy companies took it on the chin as the price of oil fell to its lowest since April 2009. - CNBC.


UNITED STATES DEBT UP $7,500,000,000,000 UNDER OBAMA

House Speaker John Boehner gives a
thumb's up at President Obama's State
of the Union Address. (AP Photo)
The federal government drove $789,473,350,613.20 deeper into debt in calendar year 2014, an increase that equaled  $6,875 per household, $7,458 per full-time year-round worker, and $8,853 per full-time year-round private-sector worker.

According to the Treasury, the debt started calendar year 2014 at $17,351,970,784,950.10 and ended it at $18,141,444,135,563.30.

When Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08. Since then, it has increased $7,514,567,086,650.22--which is $65,443 per household, $70,985 per full-time worker and $84,266 per full-time private-sector worker.

In 2013, according to the Census Bureau there were 105,862,000 full-time year-round workers in the United States. The $789,473,350,613.20 increase in the federal debt during 2014 worked out to $7,457.57 for each of those full-time year-round workers.

Those 105,862,000 full-time year-round workers included 16,685,000 federal, state and local government workers and 89,177,000 private-sector workers.




The $789,473,350,613.20 in new federal debt in 2014 equaled $8,852.88 for each of the 89,177,000 full-time private-sector workers in the country.

As of December 2013, there were 114,826,000 households in the country, according to the Census Bureau. The $789,473,350,613.20 in new debt equaled $6,875.39 per household.Ten years ago, at the end of 2004, the federal debt was $7,596,142,802,424.14. Since then, it has grown by $10,545,301,333,139.16—an average pace of $1,054,530,133,313.92 per year. - CNS News.


More than £30bn wiped off UK markets over Greece euro exit fears

Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

The value of UK firms plummeted more than £30 billion on Monday as world markets reacted to Greece potentially leaving the euro currency.

London’e FTSE 100 index fell by 130.64 points to 6417.16, wiping out around £33.2 billion from the UK’s leading blue chip firms.

Value was also obliterated from other stock exchanges in European cities due to uncertainty over the future of the eurozone, including speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) is planning another round of quantitative easing (QE) to stabilize the currency.

The euro has fallen to a nine-year low since the beginning of 2015, as recessions continue to hit the weakest countries in Europe, notably France, Portugal and Spain. According to the latest figures, the euro is now worth around $1.186 US dollars.

“The eurozone economy has been in the doldrums for years now. Markets are expecting the euro to become weaker,” Dr Dennis Novy, Associate Professor of Economics at Warwick University, told the Daily Mail.

Last week, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi told the German newspaper Handelsblatt the bank may start buying up government bonds from indebted EU countries. This would be a short-term measure to stimulate their economies, imitating the techniques used by the UK and the US.


Greek parliament (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)

“We are making technical preparations to alter the size, pace and composition of our measures in early 2015,” he said.

Markets are also bracing themselves for a possible Greek eurozone exit, after the country announced a snap election scheduled for January 25. It is widely expected that Syriza, the country’s new left wing party, will lead a coalition government and force a renegotiation of the country’s €240 billion bailout agreement.

Other European leaders, including French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have said Greece’s choice to exit would be their own, but that they would still be bound by the conditions of the EU bailout package.

“Europe cannot continue to be identified by austerity,” President Hollande told Der Speigel magazine.

Global markets are also being affected by other factors including the continuing fall of oil prices. On Tuesday, oil prices fell to their lowest level in six years, now selling at just over $50 a barrel.

According to analysts at Citigroup, global oil prices will continue to fall in the first quarter of 2015, with the company predicting more “oversupply, more volatility and turmoil” in the short term. - RT.


$5mn worth of bitcoin missing in major cryptocurrency exchange hack

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

About $5.1 million in virtual currency, or 19,000 units, went missing from Bitstamp, a major bitcoin exchange, after a colossal security lapse forced it to halt services. The heist follows bitcoin’s more than 50 percent collapse in value.

The missing bitcoins have forced the company to freeze all user activity, from deposits to withdrawals, reported Coindesk, a bitcoin news website.

“We have temporarily suspended Bitstamp services. Bitstamp customers can rest assured that their bitcoins held with us prior to temporary suspension of services on January 5th (at 9am UTC) are completely safe and will be honored in full,” a statement on the company’s website says.

The hack is another blow to the company after it suspended all bitcoin services when a wallet was “compromised” on January 4. Customers were warned to halt deposits and withdrawals.

Bitstamp became the world’s second biggest bitcoin US dollar-denominated exchange after the fall of Mt. Gox in 2013.

2014 wasn’t easy on bitcoin, which lost more than 50 percent of its value over the course of the year. In January, the cryptocurrency was fetching $770 per unit compared to $275 (https://winkdex.com/) per coin at the time of publication. In

November 2013, the price soared above $1100, piquing the interest of investors worldwide. Similar to gold, bitcoin is traded as a commodity among those looking for a hedge against traditional currencies.

The peak price era was followed by a series of clamp downs in some of bitcoin’s hottest market, including China, which has essentially banned it.
Since its invention in 2008 by a man using the alias “Satoshi Nakmoto”, bitcoin has gone mainstream and can be used to buy coffee, pay for online dating services, and can even be retrieved from an ATM. There are nearly 14 million bitcoins in circulation worldwide. - RT.


Global business growth at weakest rate in over year

Employees work at a factory run by PIKO, a model railway manufacturer, in the eastern German town of Sonneberg, October 9, 2014. REUTERS/Michelle Martin

The pace of global business growth eased to its weakest rate in over a year at the end of 2014 as rates of expansion slowed in both the manufacturing and service industries, a survey showed on Tuesday.
JPMorgan's Global All-Industry Output Index, produced with Markit, fell to a 14-month low of 52.3 in December from November's 53.1 but has now held above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction for more than two years.

"The latest PMI data point to a further easing in the rate of global economic growth at the end of last year," said David Hensley at JPMorgan. "The underlying dynamics of the survey are weaker across the board, with indices for output, new orders, backlogs and employment all tracking lower."

A global PMI covering the service industry also fell to a 14-month low, coming in at 52.3 compared to November's 53.4. Global manufacturing activity expanded at its weakest pace in more than a year at the end of 2014, a similar survey showed on Friday.
The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. - Yahoo.



GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - MASSIVE SINKHOLE Swallows Up STREET In Sioux City, Iowa! [STUNNING PHOTOS]

© Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal

January 6, 2015 - IOWA, UNITED STATES
- An overnight watermain break has left about 15 homes without water service Monday in the Morningside area of Sioux City.

The break is in the 2800 block of Macomb Avenue.

Overnight temperatures dipped below zero in advance of an approaching snowstorm, but City Utilities Department worker Randy Solomon said a cause hasn't been determined.

It is not known how soon service will be restored.


© Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal

© Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal


Solomon said it was a major break of a 16-inch watermain, in the middle of the street.

"It is a major blowout," he said. "From curb to curb, it looked like the street collapsed."

Other utilities were also impacted with the incident. - Sioux City Journal.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Swarm - Spate Of Moderate To Strong Earthquakes Rattle New Zealand's South Island! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

This GNS map shows the location of the 6.4 magnitude quake in red, with some of the first 'felt reports' it received from around the region.
© GNS Science

January 6, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- A spate of strong earthquakes have struck the central South Island this morning.

Four quakes measuring between 6.4 and 4.1 in magnitude hit the Methven and Arthur's Pass area between 6.48am and 6.59am.

The first tremor, measuring 6.4, struck 35km north of Methven at 6.48am, GNS Science reported.  USGS has the first earthquake as being 5.6 magnitude.

The tremor, which was 11km deep, was classified as severe.

A southern police communications spokesman said they had not received any reports of damage.

Four minutes later at 6.52am, a second quake measuring 4.1 in magnitude rocked the region.

It was centred 30km west of Arthur's Pass and was 5km deep.

GNS classified the quake as strong.

At 6.58 a third quake, measuring 4.1 hit the same spot, GNS said.


USGS shakemap intensity.


It was 5km deep.

Then, a minute later at 6.59am, another strong quake hit the same location, measuring 4.2 in magnitude. It was also shallow, centred 5km deep.

St John spokesman Ian Henderson said there had not been any calls relating to this morning's earthquakes and there had not had any increase in calls because of them.

There were also no reports of injuries, he said.

Seismologist: Another big aftershock possible


GNS seismologist John Ristau told Radio New Zealand the quakes were widely felt, with so far nearly 2000 people reporting feeling the tremors.

The initial 6.4 quake generated the aftershocks, he said.

"With an earthquake of this size it wouldn't be unexpected that an aftershock above magnitude 5 [would hit] - so it's quite possible that we could see an aftershock of that size at some point."

The tremors were felt in Canterbury and the West Coast, he said.

Landslides could also have been triggered from the quakes.

"We'll probably end up sending people down there to have a look."

Residents describe early morning shakes

New Zealand Herald readers have been sending in their experiences of the earthquakes.

Tony Foote said the quakes were "disturbing".

"It rolled on a bit, quite heavily and I felt a bit sea sick as my chair moved about. A bit like being on a rising and falling wave in a small boat.

"There was a worry it might be something bigger on the way as an ornament I hung to see when quakes were happening swung 100mm side to side for several minutes, and the water in my cats bowl moved up and down 20mm or so."

Graham Walker said he felt the quakes in Timaru.

"As I was eating breakfast house was rolling around for about 10-15 seconds."

Brian Feary tweeted: "Big earthquake here in Arthur's pass! My dog ran in from outside and jumped on bed... No damage so far #eqnz".

The Queen of Cobden wrote: "That #eqnz just felt like the house was at sea (in Christchurch)".  - NZ Herald.


Tectonic Summary - 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". - USGS.