Friday, February 27, 2015

ICE AGE NOW: "It Was Like The Most Sick Month You Can Think Of" - February Is The Coldest Month In New York City In 80 YEARS!

 Thomas Mangrum bundled up in his Statue of Liberty costume as he held a sign advertising Liberty Tax Service on Thursday in Brooklyn.
"It's been brutal out here," Mr. Mangrum said. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

February 27, 2015 - NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- It will end. Allegedly.

It will get warmer. One day. Someday.

Won’t it?

We have reached the 69th day of winter. It seems like the 6,669th. Pretty much the same nonsense is reprised day after day. Miserable, punishing, obnoxious, teeth-rattling, bone-numbing weather. Unmitigated, merciless, are-you-kidding-me cold.

New Yorkers cannot recall the last time they walked with their eyes trained forward, rather than watching for ice patches waiting to send them flying, which leaves them vulnerable to ice sliding off buildings from above. And in the evenings the snowplows screech past, drowning out the television in the middle of a Letterman cold joke.


WATCH: Winter doesn't want to end.



Throughout the parks, on the edges of sidewalks, ice just sits with defiant, assertive permanency. It will not melt, just keeps getting icier and more discolored. The whole city feels like a giant ice cube. People lean into the wind, pull hard to get doors open, to get out of this weather already, as the whistling wind pushes back.

As it limps away, February will not be missed. With the average temperature for the month lingering around 24 degrees, some 11 degrees shy of normal by the National Weather Service’s calculation, this insult of a month looks as though it will clock in as the coldest recorded February in New York City since 1934. That is 81 years of weather. That is all the way back to the Depression, when there were so many more dire things to worry about than whether 7-Eleven had salt or whose turn it was to walk the dog.

That year, February averaged 19.9 degrees and included the lowest daily reading ever registered for New York: On Feb. 9 the mercury sank to a ridiculous 15 degrees below zero.

“It was like the most sick month you can think of,” said Jay Engle, a meteorologist with the Weather Service who was well aware that this February had been particularly ill. Aside from 1934, he said the only other chillier February on record than the present one was in 1885, when the temperature averaged 22.7 degrees and when people did not yet have hand warmers.

Sure, the entire East Coast has been beaten up. Sure, Boston was slammed. But it’s still give-me-a-break cold in New York.

Shawn Nicholls, 34, who works in book publishing in the financial district, spoke for much of the populace when he declared understatedly, “I’m getting tired of it.”

The numbing weather has extinguished his night life. A resident of Kensington, Brooklyn, Mr. Nicholls customarily is found in restaurants on weekends. “But this winter I’m giving the delivery guys a workout,” he said.

It has been so cold that it is cold in places where it is not usually cold. Like subway platforms. It has been so cold people feel as if they are under house arrest on their days off. It has been so cold that you need so much time to pile on the layers of clothing and then time to remove the layers when you get there that you need to factor in extra hours for all the body enclosure work. It has been so cold that children want to be home-schooled.

It is warmer in a meat locker.

Every day, another war against hat hair, the pathetically flattened nest that makes you look really weird when you give your PowerPoint presentation before the boss.

There is positive news. It appears that alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations have been abolished. And, of course, some people actually relish the cold. It pumps them up. Makes them feel alive.

The North Pole still has room for them.

So, while huddled cross-legged before the space heater, everyone has a story to tell, something dusted with snow or icicles or sinful cold.

The woman in Midtown Manhattan who was wearing four hats, topped by a sombrero, presumably willing to accept an onset of hat hair.

The toddler walking mitten in mitten with her mother, inquiring, “Mommy, why isn’t the heat working outside?”

The couple on their way to a restaurant for dinner.

He: “Why are we going out in this weather?”

She: “Because there’s no food in the house, smart guy. It’s too cold to shop.”

He: “So why isn’t it too cold to go out to eat?”


 A seagull walking along a pier next to a frozen portion of the East River this week. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times


She: “Don’t start.”

The cold brings about peculiar decisions. Ariadna Urbina, 21, of Corona, Queens, is a student who has been hunting for work. Her preference had been an art gallery, but she found it impossible to put on nice clothes and then add the multiple layers necessary to combat the cold. So the other day she was on her way to apply to be a waitress.

“People ask you to dress professionally, but you can’t dress professionally,” she said. “I’m sick of it.”

Stories happen in emergency rooms, one place where winter shows its malevolence.

Dr. John Marshall, the head of emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said his hospital was averaging 336 patients a day this winter, 20 more than last winter. On Jan. 19, he saw something unlike anything he had seen before. In a single hour, 30 people showed up after having slipped on ice, most of them with wrist and arm fractures, with some ankles thrown in.

“We had a whole family of seven come in with carbon monoxide poisoning,” Dr. Marshall said. They are all right.

Add to it flu patients, pneumonia patients, people with psychiatric issues linked to the cold. Sledding accidents. Heart attacks from shoveling snow.

An alcoholic who is a “frequent flier” at the emergency room, ranking as one of its top three visitors, was brought in a few weeks ago nearly frozen to death, his body temperature down to 82 degrees. The hospital thawed him out. He has since returned several more times. He might lose a toe.

“I don’t know that I’ve seen any snowball lacerations this year, but we get them,” Dr. Marshall said. “And I haven’t seen any icicle stabbings.”

As for himself, Dr. Marshall is unfazed by the weather. He is from Michigan. “I’ve always liked a good winter,” he said. “It’s my favorite season. I only wish there was a bit more snow.”

Has he made any concessions to the cold? “I’ve worn a scarf a couple of times,” he said.

Want an awful winter job? Talk to Ralph Valdez. He shivers on sidewalks for hours at a time, hawking tickets for bus tours of Manhattan.

Mr. Valdez, 36, has been at this for a decade. This crushing winter has really done a number on him. Since Christmas, he has called in sick, he believes, something like seven times. Last winter, which was hardly balmy, he called in sick three times.

“I have a torn rotator cuff, and it really, really starts to hurt when it gets cold,” he said, standing in downtown Manhattan. He wore a scarf and jacket over a hooded sweatshirt, and also remembered thermal underwear.

“If you’re going to be outside, you got to go for the thermals,” he pointed out, unnecessarily.

Bogdan Lekan, 50, a pediatrician, tossed salt chunks on the ice in front of his office door on 67th Avenue in Queens. Stethoscope dangling around his neck, he kicked at the crumbling ice with his leather shoes, which instantly became soaked.

“If this happens through April — wow,” he said. “I have a 3-year-old in the house who is anxious to go out.”

Now a new month beckons. March, often a roller-coaster month, is not always charitable with its weather either. But it represents a dash of hope. The forecast for Monday in New York City is for the temperature to crawl into the 40s. It has to get warmer someday. - NY Times.





RATTLE & HUM: "Bombs Or Birdshot" - Mysterious Booms Fill The Skies Over Central North Texas?!



February 27, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES
- After earthquakes and ice storms, what’s next for North Texans who’ve seen just about everything?

Booms, it turns out. Big, mysterious booms that filled the sky from south Grand Pairie to Southlake on Tuesday afternoon. And while they may have been nothing more than building demolition, they made for a dramatic diversion from the cold weather.

Dogs howled, cats freaked out and Facebook feeds exploded about 4 p.m., when what sounded like a half-dozen distant bombs echoed around the suburbs.

In her north Irving dining room, Judy Howard had flashbacks to the city’s recent spate of earthquakes, which could cause booms when seismic waves collided.

But Irving’s last quake was over a month ago, and Howard’s floor wasn’t shaking. So like many others, she could only wonder.

“I’m used to the roar of the jets,” she said, speaking from her house, which is just a few miles Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. “But those were not jet engines, unless one was backfiring.”

If not earthquakes, how about ice quakes? Scientists have pinned mysterious booms in other frigid cities on cryoseisms — a phenomenon in which quickly falling temperatures cause the ground to crack. But North Texas’ deep freeze came hours before the booms, and National Weather Service officials doubted the theory.

As the afternoon dragged on with no official answers, residents started making their own. So did some pets.

“Dogs have been going crazy thinking that people keep slamming doors,” Joy Goodrum wrote to an Irving Facebook group. “Sounds like a cannon going off or big power boxes exploding.”


Residents eventually tracked the noise to Arlington, where police dismissed a popular theory that they were training at a bomb range.

“There was a guy getting rid of birds in a neighborhood on the north side of town,” a police spokeswoman said in an email, by way of alternative explanation. “He was hired to do so.”

But birdshot in Arlington could hardly startle dogs in Las Colinas. By evening, police dispatchers who kept hearing about the booms were honing in on a more likely suspect: heavy demolition at a National Semiconductor plant in north Arlington.

Although that seemed a logical answer, the company couldn’t be reached for comment after hours. Residents were happy to keep guessing.

“Probably our collective minds exploding from all this snow and ice,” Cameron J. Smith quipped on Facebook.  - Dallas Morning News.



GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Massive Sinkhole Opens Up In St. Petersburg, Florida; Swallows Street Corner And Part Of A Building!

Photo: Twitter/St Pete PD

February 27, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- A water main leak caused a road in downtown St. Petersburg to erode, creating a large hole, which also led to the partial collapse of a nearby building's wall. The west part of the building is used by Underground Ministries.

The original plan was to cut off the damaged area and demolish it. But now engineers will survey the building. 
"Our ultimate goal in the morning is going to be try to salvage the rest of the building versus cutting into it, so they're not going to be doing all the sawing," Fire Rescue Lt. Steven Lawrence said.
The large hole formed on Central Avenue at 7th Street South in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg Police have closed Central Avenue between 6th and 8th Streets due to the hole.

The street closure and lack of water  affected Max Hagyan's small deli.

"I can't prepare food and wash my hands. I can't wash my hands and prepare food. I've got to wash dishes and I can't wash prep area so I can serve people and I can't do that," Hagyan said.

Photos: Twitter/St Pete PD












The collapsed wall is having an even greater impact on Underground Ministries.

"We don't have very much money. I mean, when you do this type of work you don't have a bank account that's full," Associate Director Jeremy Stephens said.

Underground is a coalition of ministries that helps a variety of people in St. Petersburg.

"Some people work with the homeless, some people have mentorship with middle school girls, some people work with the sexually abused and some people work with the sex industry, trying to help people get away from the sex industry," Stephens said.


WATCH: Water main leak erodes road, collapses building wall in St. Pete.



Two  large forklifts are in place to make the building stable. The lead is no longer spewing water. Utility crews bypassed it and dirt has been placed into the hole.

Water was restored during the afternoon.

Police say they were alerted to the collapse around 8 a.m. The building was unoccupied at the time of the collapse and there are no injuries.  - WFLA.




MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Geological Upheaval - New Volcano Island Getting Bigger In Japan; Erupting SIX TIMES A MINUTE; Now At 2.46 SQUARE KILOMETRES, The Size Of 345 FOOTBALL PITCHES! [VIDEO]

The newly created volcanic Nishinoshima island at the Ogasawara island chain, 1000 km south of Tokyo. (Japan Coast Guard, AFP)

February 27, 2015 - JAPAN
- Famously crowded Japan is getting a bit more space as a newly-formed volcanic island just keeps on growing.

New footage of the remote Nishinoshima, some 1 000km south of Tokyo, shows a volcano erupting up to six times a minute, spewing huge volumes of magma, and scientists say there is plenty more still to come.

A tiny islet emerged in November 2013 right next to the original Nishinoshima, when molten rock cooled and began to poke its head just above the water.

That speck of land grew as the volcano kept going, and soon engulfed its once larger neighbour.


A remote Japanese island in the Pacific Ocean has grown more than 11 times its size in 15 months. (Source: CNN)

The new super-island is now a respectable 2.46 square kilometres, the Japan Coast Guard says -- roughly the size of 345 football pitches, while the still-spewing volcano is now a healthy 100m tall.

Kenji Nogami of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who helped conduct the latest of the coastguard's monthly observations, said volcanic activity is likely to continue for the time being.

"There have not been any significant changes at the volcanic vent of the pyroclastic cone, where eruptions of lava are seen several times a minute," he said in a statement.

WATCH: New volcano island getting big in Japan.




"Magma has risen to shallow areas of the vent, and lava flows to the east have continued to stretch out.

"Therefore, I conclude a stable supply of magma is continuing," he said.

The coastguard has asked sailors to stay away from the island.

Japan sits on the Pacific ring of fire, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are relatively commonplace. - News24.


INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Major Motor Vehicle Collision In St. Catherine, Jamaica - 11 People Injured, Rushed To Hospital In Serious Condition!

People look at what is left of the Hiace bus after the crash yesterday morning.

February 27, 2015 - JAMAICA
- Eleven people were yesterday rushed to hospital following an early morning motor vehicle collision in Christian Pen, Portmore, St Catherine.

Police report that about 5:45 am a Hiace bus with several passengers was travelling along the Christian Pen main road, heading towards Spanish Town, when it collided with a Jamaica Urban Transit Company bus travelling in the opposite direction.

People alleging to be eyewitnesses said the driver of the Hiace swerved to avoid a pothole in the road.

The impact of the crash caused the Hiace bus to overturn, pinning the driver and several other passengers inside for several hours.

It took the combined effort of residents, firefighters, and police to remove the injured from the mangled wreck.

Leroy Tomlinson, whose mother was trapped in the bus, was one of the residents who responded to the desperate cries for help.

"I was in my house preparing to go on the road and I heard the loud collision; when I ran out to look I saw the people trapped in the bus. I did not hesitate, I just started to do what I could to help," said Tomlinson.


TRAGEDY

Damage to the JUTC bus that was involved in yesterday’s early morning crash on the Christian Pen main road in Portmore, St Catherine.

A woman points to a section of the overturned Hiace bus after the crash yesterday morning. (PHOTOS: GARFIELD ROBINSON)

It was while he was trying to save lives that Tomlinson learnt that his mother was among the trapped victims.

"When mi go over there and look and see the people them I could hardly stand, but what made it worse was when I saw my mother among the injured," Tomlinson said.

"When mi look and see how mi mother stay I couldn't hold back," said Tomlinson, as he broke down in tears.

Yesterday, police said the crash was the second to take place in the area since the start of the year.

Earlier this year, a girl was struck down by a motor vehicle while she was on her way to school.

Residents yesterday said they have been calling on the authorities for months to fix the pothole that has been causing problems for motorists travelling in the area. - Jamaica Observer.



ICE AGE NOW: Denver Breaks 103-YEAR February Snowfall Record - 22.2 INCHES Recorded At Denver International Airport!

Dave Blanton of Arvada digging out his truck. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

February 27, 2015 - COLORADO, UNITED STATES
- Snow overnight Thursday in Denver led to a new snowfall record for the month of February with 22.2 inches recorded at Denver International Airport in 2015, breaking a 103-year-old mark.

The National Weather Service in Boulder announced overnight the new mark surpassed the previous record of 22.1 inches set back in February of 1912.

The weather service recorded 3.3 inches at DIA on Thursday to break the record.

The snow left roads slick and snow-covered for another day, which could lead to problems during the morning commute.

Denver International Airport says airlines will be deicing on Friday though all operations are normal.

With two days left this month, there is a chance to pad the new record. Forecasters are calling for a 10 percent chance of light snow Friday in Denver, mainly before 8 a.m., the weather service said.


Snow piles up on the swings at South Lakewood Elementary School in Lakewood, February 26, 2015. Schools in Jefferson County were canceled due to the
storm. Forecast are calling for a chance of snow the rest of the week. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

The sun rises over a snow covered field in Lakewood, February 26, 2015. Forecast are calling for a chance of snow the rest of the week.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

Traffic moves slow along 6th Ave. in Lakewood, February 26, 2015. Forecast are calling for a chance of snow the rest of the week.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

A strong band of snow moved through downtown Denver just before 9 a.m., but forecasters say it wasn't expected to last very long, likening it to an anomaly.

Skies are expected to be partly sunny with a high near 20 degrees Friday, 29 degrees colder than the seasonal average.

"Overall we're not really expecting much in terms of snow (Friday)," said Frank Cooper, a weather service meteorologist. "Most of it is going to be just winding down."

Overnight on Friday, there's a 10 percent chance of snow with lows dipping near 5 degrees.

On Saturday, the chance for additional snow increases to 50 percent, mainly after 11 a.m. Skies are expected to be cloudy with a high near 22 degrees. Less than an inch of new accumulation is expected. - Denver Post.




PLAGUES & PESTILENCE: "Cases Continue To Arise From Unknown Chains Of Transmission" - WHO Says 99 Ebola Cases In The Past Week, Nearly Two-Thirds In Sierra Leone; Emergency Responders Investigate Possible Case In Virginia, United States!

In this Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 file photo, healthcare workers load a man suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus onto an ambulance in Kenema, Sierra
Leone. Sierra Leone imposed a quarantine in a fishing district of the capital city, Freetown, after at least five new Ebola cases were confirmed there,
an official said Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/ Tanya Bindra, File)

February 27, 2015 - THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone reported 99 new confirmed Ebola cases in the week to Feb. 22, down from 128 the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Sierra Leone accounted for the bulk of the latest infections with 63, signalling a halt to a steep decline recorded from December through January, followed by Guinea with 35 and Liberia just a single case, the U.N. agency said in its weekly report.

"Cases continue to arise from unknown chains of transmission," the WHO said. Sixteen of the new cases were identified in Guinea and Sierra Leone after post-mortem testing of people who died in the community "indicating that a significant number of individuals are still either unable or reluctant to seek treatment."

In all, more than 23,500 cases have been reported in the three West African countries, with more than 9,500 deaths, since the world's worst outbreak began in December 2013.


Emergency responders investigate possible Virginia Ebola case

Medics, firefighters and a hazardous materials team investigated a possible case of the deadly Ebola virus in a Virginia suburb of Washington on Thursday, an official said.

Emergency crews transported a patient from an apartment in the Clarendon section of Arlington County to Virginia Hospital Center using Ebola precautions, said Lieutenant Sarah-Maria Marchegiani of the county's fire department.

Marchegiani said the patient had recently traveled to a country affected by Ebola and exhibited symptoms of the disease.

The patient was unlikely to be suffering from the disease, Marchegiani said.

Nearly 10,000 people have died from Ebola in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

At least 10 people are known to have been treated for Ebola in the United States, and two people are known to have contracted the virus in the United States.

Calls to the hospital were not immediately returned. - Yahoo.


Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteor Event Or Thundersnow - Spectacular Flashes And Mysterious Booms In The Arctic Sky Over Alaska?!

Thundersnow

February 27, 2015 - ALASKA
- Facebook lit up almost as brightly as the sky over Kotzebue and other areas of the Arctic last Sunday morning, as people speculated about what the bright flashes in the sky were.

More than a dozen people reported seeing several bright flashes in the sky, unexplained by air traffic or other human activity. One thought neighborhood children were pulling a prank at first. Another suggested a meteor had split into three parts. Another reported hearing booms.

Then came a post showing a Chicago-based meteorologist on The Weather Channel standing in a blinding snowstorm with the sky flashing behind him. The ecstatic reporter hooted as he and his camera man captured "thundersnow" on camera several times in the course of a few minutes.

Though rare, thundersnow is a real phenomenon, a snow thunderstorm that occurs under circumstances similar to a thunderstorm as a cold or warm front moves into an area. The thunder is often muffled by the snow, but the flashes may still be visible.

"It's pretty rare, but it's not out of the question in the winter," said John Lingaas, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. "The conditions have to be just right."

According to Lingaas, thundersnow occurs when warm, moist air is trapped below colder air at the upper levels. That produces cumulonimbus clouds and the two air masses turn over, producing lightning.

Lingaas said conditions in Kotzebue and surrounding areas did include some warmer air moving north that could have created enough instability to give rise to thundersnow.

"It doesn't happen every day, even in the Lower 48," he said. "It's pretty remarkable."

Lingaas said thundersnow is typically short-lived. It's not surprising that many theories existed about its source given the rareness of the event.
"I'm sure there was all kind of wondering," he said, adding that the weather service doesn't monitor meteor events, so he couldn't rule that out as a possible source of the early morning flashes. 
- Alaska Dispatch News.




PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 5.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Northwest Pakistan - Damaging Several Houses; Injurying 5 People!

USGS earthquake location

February 27, 2015 - PAKISTAN
- A 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck northwest Pakistan early on Friday, injuring at least five people and causing minor damage, officials and seismologists said.

The quake hit 37km (23 miles) north-northeast of the city of Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, at a depth of 28.9km, the US Geological Survey said.

It was followed by two aftershocks with a magnitude of 3.2 and 4, Pakistan's meteorological department said.

The quake was also felt in surrounding towns and districts, including the capital Islamabad and in parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Zarif Ul Maani, a senior official in Batgram district neighbouring Mansehra told AFP that at least five people were injured and taken to hospital.


USGS shakemap intensity

USGS population exposure map

Two houses were also damaged, Maani said. Pakistan straddles part of the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country susceptible to earthquakes.

It was hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005 that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

A 7.7-magnitude earthquake devastated several areas in southwestern Baluchistan province in September 2013, killing at least 370 people and leaving 100,000 homeless.  - Times of India.



Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Himalaya and Vicinity

Seismicity in the Himalaya dominantly results from the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. The surface expression of the plate boundary is marked by the foothills of the north-south trending Sulaiman Range in the west, the Indo-Burmese Arc in the east and the east-west trending Himalaya Front in the north of India.

The India-Eurasia plate boundary is a diffuse boundary, which in the region near the north of India, lies within the limits of the Indus-Tsangpo (also called the Yarlung-Zangbo) Suture to the north and the Main Frontal Thrust to the south. The Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is located roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin. The narrow (less than 200km) Himalaya Front includes numerous east-west trending, parallel structures. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults. Examples of significant earthquakes, in this densely populated region, caused by reverse slip movement include the 1934 M8.1 Bihar, the 1905 M7.5 Kangra and the 2005 M7.6 Kashmir earthquakes. The latter two resulted in the highest death tolls for Himalaya earthquakes seen to date, together killing over 100,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The largest instrumentally recorded Himalaya earthquake occurred on 15th August 1950 in Assam, eastern India. This M8.6 right-lateral, strike-slip, earthquake was widely felt over a broad area of central Asia, causing extensive damage to villages in the epicentral region.

The Tibetan Plateau is situated north of the Himalaya, stretching approximately 1000km north-south and 2500km east-west, and is geologically and tectonically complex with several sutures which are hundreds of kilometer-long and generally trend east-west. The Tibetan Plateau is cut by a number of large (greater than 1000km) east-west trending, left-lateral, strike-slip faults, including the long Kunlun, Haiyuan, and the Altyn Tagh. Right-lateral, strike-slip faults (comparable in size to the left-lateral faults), in this region include the Karakorum, Red River, and Sagaing. Secondary north-south trending normal faults also cut the Tibetan Plateau. Thrust faults are found towards the north and south of the Tibetan Plateau. Collectively, these faults accommodate crustal shortening associated with the ongoing collision of the India and Eurasia plates, with thrust faults accommodating north south compression, and normal and strike-slip accommodating east-west extension.
Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the India plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range. Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes. The active, left-lateral, strike-slip Chaman fault is the fastest moving fault in the region. In 1505, a segment of the Chaman fault near Kabul, Afghanistan, ruptured causing widespread destruction. In the same region the more recent 30 May 1935, M7.6 Quetta earthquake, which occurred in the Sulaiman Range in Pakistan, killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

On the north-western side of the Tibetan Plateau, beneath the Pamir-Hindu Kush Mountains of northern Afghanistan, earthquakes occur at depths as great as 200 km as a result of remnant lithospheric subduction. The curved arc of deep earthquakes found in the Hindu Kush Pamir region indicates the presence of a lithospheric body at depth, thought to be remnants of a subducting slab. Cross-sections through the Hindu Kush region suggest a near vertical northerly-dipping subducting slab, whereas cross-sections through the nearby Pamir region to the east indicate a much shallower dipping, southerly subducting slab. Some models suggest the presence of two subduction zones; with the Indian plate being subducted beneath the Hindu Kush region and the Eurasian plate being subducted beneath the Pamir region. However, other models suggest that just one of the two plates is being subducted and that the slab has become contorted and overturned in places.

Shallow crustal earthquakes also occur in this region near the Main Pamir Thrust and other active Quaternary faults. The Main Pamir Thrust, north of the Pamir Mountains, is an active shortening structure. The northern portion of the Main Pamir Thrust produces many shallow earthquakes, whereas its western and eastern borders display a combination of thrust and strike-slip mechanisms. On the 18 February 1911, the M7.4 Sarez earthquake ruptured in the Central Pamir Mountains, killing numerous people and triggering a landside, which blocked the Murghab River.

Further north, the Tian Shan is a seismically active intra-continental mountain belt, which extends 2500 km in an ENE-WNW orientation north of the Tarim Basin. This belt is defined by numerous east-west trending thrust faults, creating a compressional basin and range landscape. It is generally thought that regional stresses associated with the collision of the India and Eurasia plates are responsible for faulting in the region. The region has had three major earthquakes (greater than M7.6) at the start of the 20th Century, including the 1902 Atushi earthquake, which killed an estimated 5,000 people. The range is cut through in the west by the 700-km-long, northwest-southeast striking, Talas-Ferghana active right-lateral, strike-slip fault system. Though the system has produced no major earthquakes in the last 250 years, paleo-seismic studies indicate that it has the potential to produce M7.0+ earthquakes and it is thought to represent a significant hazard.

The northern portion of the Tibetan Plateau itself is largely dominated by the motion on three large left-lateral, strike-slip fault systems; the Altyn Tagh, Kunlun and Haiyuan. The Altyn Tagh fault is the longest of these strike slip faults and it is thought to accommodate a significant portion of plate convergence. However, this system has not experienced significant historical earthquakes, though paleoseismic studies show evidence of prehistoric M7.0-8.0 events. Thrust faults link with the Altyn Tagh at its eastern and western termini. The Kunlun Fault, south of the Altyn Tagh, is seismically active, producing large earthquakes such as the 8th November 1997, M7.6 Manyi earthquake and the 14th November 2001, M7.8 Kokoxili earthquake. The Haiyuan Fault, in the far north-east, generated the 16 December 1920, M7.8 earthquake that killed approximately 200,000 people and the 22 May 1927 M7.6 earthquake that killed 40,912.

The Longmen Shan thrust belt, along the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, is an important structural feature and forms a transitional zone between the complexly deformed Songpan-Garze Fold Belt and the relatively undeformed Sichuan Basin. On 12 May 2008, the thrust belt produced the reverse slip, M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, killing over 87,000 people and causing billions of US dollars in damages and landslides which dammed several rivers and lakes.

Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau are the right-lateral, strike-slip Red River and the left-lateral, strike-slip Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang fault systems. The Red River Fault experienced large scale, left-lateral ductile shear during the Tertiary period before changing to its present day right-lateral slip rate of approximately 5 mm/yr. This fault has produced several earthquakes greater than M6.0 including the 4 January 1970, M7.5 earthquake in Tonghai which killed over 10,000 people. Since the start of the 20th century, the Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang Fault system has generated several M7.0+ earthquakes including the M7.5 Luhuo earthquake which ruptured on the 22 April 1973. Some studies suggest that due to the high slip rate on this fault, future large earthquakes are highly possible along the 65km stretch between Daofu and Qianning and the 135km stretch that runs through Kangding.

Shallow earthquakes within the Indo-Burmese Arc, predominantly occur on a combination of strike-slip and reverse faults, including the Sagaing, Kabaw and Dauki faults. Between 1930 and 1956, six M7.0+ earthquakes occurred near the right-lateral Sagaing Fault, resulting in severe damage in Myanmar including the generation of landslides, liquefaction and the loss of 610 lives. Deep earthquakes (200km) have also been known to occur in this region, these are thought to be due to the subduction of the eastwards dipping, India plate, though whether subduction is currently active is debated. Within the pre-instrumental period, the large Shillong earthquake occurred on the 12 June 1897, causing widespread destruction.
- USGS.



MASS SHOOTINGS: Gunman Goes On A Shooting Rampage In Missouri - Killing Seven People, Before Turning The Gun On Himself?!



February 27, 2015 - MISSOURI, UNITED STATES
- A man has gone on a shooting spree in rural Missouri, killing seven people before turning the gun on himself, local media report.

The rampage occurred in the rural Missouri community of Tyrone, which is located roughly 40 miles north of the Arkansas border in Texas County.

According to a statement released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at 10:15 p.m. on the evening of February 26, the Texas Country Sheriff’s Department received a phone call from a female juvenile indicating she was in a residence in Tyrone and had heard gunshots. When police responded to the call, they found two bodies. The girl, meanwhile, had fled to a neighboring house.

“Further investigation revealed five additional victims who were deceased and one additional victim who was deceased and one additional victim who was wounded in three additional residences. All three residences were in Tyrone,” the statement read.


One of the crime scenes in Tyrone


Multiple killings under investigation in southern Missouri

An elderly female who had died of natural causes was also found at another residence. A total of nine deceased individuals, including the shooter and the elderly female, were discovered. The individual who sustained injuries in the rampage was taken to an area hospital, AP reports.

Texas County Sheriff James Sigman told the Houston Herald there are four confirmed crime scenes in Tyrone. A fifth and six location have also been identified in nearby Shannon County.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed the death of the alleged shooter to the paper. The 36-year-old assailant was reportedly found dead in a parked car in Shannon County, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Staff at schools in the area were told to arrive early to provide counseling to students.

Authorities have yet to identify the victims or the gunman.

The Missouri Highway Patrol is set to hold a news conference on Friday to provide further details.
A motive behind the killings or any potential connection between the shooter and his victims remains unclear.
- RT.



PARADIGM SHIFT: BRICS Rising And Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The Ultimate Collapse Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - India Follows Russia, Ratifies $100 BILLION BRICS Development Bank!

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd R) poses for a group photo with Russian President Vladimir Putin (1st L), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd L),
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (C), and South African President Jacob Zuma during the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, July 15, 2014 [Xinhua]

February 27, 2015 - INDIA
- After the Russian Parliament ratified it last week, the Indian government has also cleared the establishment of the new $100 billion development bank and the $100 billion BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).

The BRICS Bank launched last year will fund infrastructure projects in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.

“The new development bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development,” read an Indian government statement on Wednesday.

“The establishment of the bank would also reflect the close relations among BRICS countries, while providing a powerful instrument for increasing their economic cooperation,” it said.

The Agreement will enter into force and the Bank will begin operations only after all member countries deposit their instruments of ratification with Brazil.

Central Banks of the member countries will also have to finalize an Inter-Central Bank Agreement containing the operational details of swap transactions and the Standing Committee’s Operational Procedures (SCOP) before the arrangement can be operational.

Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion dollars from the federal budget for the bank over the next seven years.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is likely to become the bank’s first Chairman of the Board of Governors while India will nominate the first President of the BRICS Bank.

The first board meeting is supposed to take place in April in the Russian city of Ufa and the Bank is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015, according to the Russian Finance Ministry.

South African Trade and Industry Rob Davies said last year that although the capital of the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement had been set at $100 billion each, this did not mean that this capital would necessarily be held in US dollars.

“We want to move away from the same old, same old way of doing things. What currencies the capital will be held in is something that will be part of the Sherpa process with the pace set by Brazil, but we expect substantive progress by the time of the next BRICS summit in Russia in June 2015,” he said.

The BRICS combined GDP grew 300 per cent in the last decade as opposed to 60 per cent growth registered by the developed world.

BRICS launched a $100 billion development bank and a currency reserve pool in July this year in their first concrete step toward reshaping the Western-dominated international financial system.

“For the past 15 years, the BRICS have been seen as the world’s best hope for sustainable growth. These five countries, representing 40 per cent of the world’s population and 25 per cent of its GDP in 2013, recorded growth rates 4 to 5 times greater than those of the US, Europe and Japan, and threatened to displace them as the world’s most important economic powers in another 20 years or so,” say Prof. Ingo Walter and Prof. Roy C. Smith of the New York University, writing for The BRICS Post. - The BRICS Post.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Strikes The Flores Sea, Near Indonesia - No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

February 27, 2015 - FLORES SEA, PACIFIC OCEAN
- A powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake has just hit the Flores Sea region, 132km north of Nebe, Indonesia according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The tremor occurred at 13:45:05 UTC and was located at 7.277°S 122.534°E.

The depth was 547km. Due to the depth of the hypocenter, preliminary depths are varying in between 550 and 600 km, this earthquake will normally not be damaging. Therefore, no tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.


USGS shakemap intensity

Google Maps

Google Maps


Light to moderate shaking will be felt over a wide area of a couple of thousand km, but no damage will be inflicted.

USGS initially measured the temblor as a 6.6 magnitude, but later upgraded it.

Indonesia lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Java Region

The Sunda convergent margin extends for 5,600 km from the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, both located northwest of the map area, towards Sumba Island in the southeast, and then continues eastward as the Banda arc system. This tectonically active margin is a result of the India and Australia plates converging with and subducting beneath the Sunda plate at a rate of approximately 50 to 70 mm/yr. The main physiographic feature associated with this convergent margin is the Sunda-Java Trench, which stretches for 3,000 km parallel to the Java and Sumatra land masses and terminates at 120° E. The convergence of the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates produces two active volcanic arcs: Sunda, which extends from 105 to 122° E and Banda, which extends from 122 to 128° E. The Sunda arc results solely from relatively simple oceanic plate subduction, while the Banda arc represents the transition from oceanic subduction to continental collision, where a complex, broad deforming zone is found.

Based on modern activity, the Banda arc can be divided into three distinct zones: an inactive section, the Wetar Zone - bound by two active segments, the Flores Zone in the west and the Damar Zone in the east. The lack of volcanism in the Wetar Zone is attributed to the collision of Australia with the Sunda plate. The gap in volcanic activity is underlain by a gap in intermediate depth seismicity, which is in contrast to nearly continuous deep seismicity below all three sections of the arc. The Flores Zone is characterized by down-dip compression in the subducted slab at intermediate depths and late Quaternary uplift of the forearc. These unusual features, along with GPS data interpretations, show that the Flores Zone marks the transition between subduction of oceanic crust in the west and the collision of continental crust in the east.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.


The Java section of the Sunda arc is considered relatively aseismic historically when compared to the highly seismically active Sumatra section, despite both areas being located along the same active subduction margin. Shallow (0-20 km) events have occurred historically in the overlying Sunda plate, causing damage to local and regional communities. A recent example was the May 26, 2006 M6.3 left-lateral strike-slip event, which occurred at a depth of 10 km in central Java, and caused over 5,700 fatalities. Intermediate depth (70-300 km) earthquakes frequently occur beneath Java as a result of intraplate faulting within the Australia slab. Deep (300-650 km) earthquakes occur beneath the Java Sea and the back-arc region to the north of Java. Similar to other intermediate depth events these earthquakes are also associated with intraslab faulting. However, this subduction zone exhibits a gap in seismicity from 250-400 km, interpreted as the transition between extensional and compressional slab stresses. Historic examples of large intraplate events include: the 1903 M8.1 event, 1921 M7.5 event, 1977 M8.3 event, and August 2007 M7.5 event.

Large thrust earthquakes close to the Java trench are typically interplate faulting events along the slab interface between the Australia and Sunda plates. These earthquakes also generally have high tsunamigenic potential due to their shallow hypocentral depths. In some cases, these events have demonstrated slow moment-release, and have been defined as ‘tsunami’ earthquakes, where rupture is large in the weak crustal layers very close to the seafloor. These events are categorized by tsunamis that are significantly larger than predicted by the earthquake???s magnitude. The most notable tsunami earthquakes in the Java region occurred on June 2, 1994 (M7.8) and July 17, 2006 (M7.7). The 1994 event produced a tsunami with wave run-up heights of 13 m, killing over 200 people. The 2006 event produced a tsunami of up to 15 m, and killed 730 people. While both of these tsunami earthquakes were characterized by rupture along thrust faults, they were followed by an abundance of normal faulting aftershocks. These aftershocks are interpreted to result from extension within the subducting Australia plate, while the mainshocks represented interplate faulting between the Australia and Sunda plates.
- USGS.