Tuesday, May 19, 2015

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Chile's Villarrica Volcano Violent Eruption Creates APOCALYPTIC SKIES - The Entire Landscape Is Bathed In BLOOD RED! [PHOTOS]

More astonishing, apocalyptic images of a volcanic eruption have emerged from Chile, this time from Villarrica in the south of the country

May 19, 2015 - CHILE
- More astonishing, apocalyptic images of a volcanic eruption have emerged from Chile, this time from Villarrica in the south of the country.

A band of cloud had wrapped itself around the peak as lava spewed into the air, giving the entire landscape an eerie blood-red glow.

Villarrica, located near the popular tourist resort of Pucon around 750 km (460 miles) south of the capital Santiago, is among the most active in South America.

On March 3 a short-lived eruption of ash and rock led to the evacuation of thousands from the nearby area.

Britain's Met Office told MailOnline that the clouds wrapped around the volcano are lenticular clouds, which are formed, it said, when the air is stable and winds blow from the same or similar direction at many levels of the troposphere.


A band of cloud had wrapped itself around the peak as lava spewed into the air, giving the entire landscape an eerie blood-red glow

Villarrica, located near the popular tourist resort of Pucon around 750 km (460 miles) south of the capital Santiago, is among the most active in South America

Interest is peaked: From a distance the glow around the peak of the volcano almost looks artificial

This stunning image shows lava pouring out of the cone, the bands of clouds having lifted

Way to glow: The Villarrica Volcano seen at night in Pucon town, around 460 miles from Santiago, on May 10

It said: 'As the wind blows across hilly or mountainous regions, the air undulates in a downstream train of waves. If there is enough moisture in the air, these waves will condense to form the unique appearance of lenticular clouds. The clouds can be seen as far as 60 miles downwind of the hills or mountains that led to their formation and they are believed to be one of the most common explanations for UFO sightings across the world.'

In late April Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted, releasing a large column of smoke in a towering arc, just over a week after it spectacularly roared to life following half a century of inactivity.

'As predicted, the third eruptive pulse at the Calbuco volcano has arrived. Red alert,' the National Geology and Mines Service wrote on its official Twitter account at the time.


Up in smoke: The Calbuco eruption, in southern Chile, forced 1,500 residents from Ensenada, about 10 miles away, to flee their homes
(pictured, a view of the eruption from Puerto Montt, a small city around 20 miles from the volcano)

A large plume of dark gray smoke and ash rose from the crater, prompting authorities to evacuate a 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius around the volcano, where workers and residents had been granted limited access to begin the clean-up effort.

'All of a sudden they ordered us to evacuate again so we left in our cars. But it was calmer than last time,' said Horacio Camano, a resident of La Ensenada, a town of 1,500 people at the foot of the volcano.

TV images showed thousands of people rushing to schools to pick up their children or lining up at gas stations to fill up their cars in the cities closest to the volcano, Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas. - Daily Mail.



 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Dallas-Area Earthquakes Are Likely Due To Fault Lines, Rather Than Drilling Practices - Geologist Says!


May 19, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES
- The frequent but mild earthquakes giving shivers to the Irving area — but not other areas in North Texas — likely should be blamed on geologic fault lines rather than gas drilling practices, a geologist said Tuesday.

“Based on known geology and known science, the most likely explanation is that it’s occurring in a known faulted zone of an old buried mountain range,” Craig Pollard, vice president of exploration for Cinco Resources, said after a presentation hosted by the Institute for Policy Innovation.

IPI is an nonprofit pro-economic-growth organization that has been fighting municipal efforts to restrict drilling and fracking.

The correct message hasn’t been getting out, Pollard said during his 90-minute speech and discussion to an audience of about 50 people, including many geologists.

“The media is working on sensationalism,” Pollard said. “For it not to be water injection, for it not to be fracking, is not news.”

But he said the different formations west of the Metroplex, including Cleburne and other Johnson County communities, point more toward wastewater injections into old wells than to fracking, the technique of high-pressure pumping of water and chemicals to crack shale and release its oil or gas.

He noted that Dallas sits on an ancient mountain range buried in sediment from the Cretaceous period, which ended 66 million years ago along with the dinosaurs. Mountains, because of the way they’re formed, indicate a web of fault lines. Tarrant County sits on a flat formation, indicating few faults.

But he said the culpability of wastewater or saltwater injections is limited because of underground pressure that resists the water. Pumping power is the key.

“Three miles is the farthest anybody has done scientific experiments to determine how far water can be pumped away from a well,” he said.

Irving has been near the epicenters of many recent quakes. A 3.3-magnitude earthquake hit northwest Dallas on Monday afternoon, the latest of more than 50 in the past 18 months.

The earthquake occurred at 1:14 p.m. Its epicenter was 4 miles north of Irving and 5 miles southwest of Farmers Branch, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The largest earthquake, which measured 4.0-magnitude, led the Texas Railroad Commission to send in a team of inspectors. The agency, which regulates the oil and gas industry, also asked the operators of five disposal wells in the area to run pressure tests. Scientific studies have linked oil and gas operations to a string of earthquakes near Reno and Azle.

Ramona Nye, a spokeswoman for the state agency, said tests on the wells in Johnson County are still being conducted, but since there are no disposal wells in Dallas County, there are no plans to dispatch inspectors to the area of Monday’s quake. - Star Telegram.

 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strike Northwest Of Pangai, Tonga - No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

May 19, 2015 - TONGA
- According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Tonga archipelago was rocked by a large earthquake today. The 6.0 magnitude tremor, struck 128 kilometres west of Pangai late Tuesday.

The under-sea quake struck at 19:30:51 UTC, with coordinates at 19.303°S 175.461°W.

The earthquake had a depth of 180.3 km (112.0 miles).


USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.


According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no threat to any land mass.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no threat of a tsunami.

Tonga, almost 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) northeast of New Zealand, lies on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic activity. 


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".

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS.



 

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Explosion Rocks Centurion, South Africa?!



May 19, 2015 - CENTURION, SOUTH AFRICA
- Residents from Centurion are baffled by a mysterious explosion that rocked parts of the area during the early hours of Sunday.

Numerous attempts by Rekord to establish exactly what had caused the loud blast, which woke residents from their sleep, proved futile.

Residents from Rooihuiskraal, Wierdapark, Amberfield, The Reeds and other connecting areas all heard the same sound and felt the rumbling.

Some readers speculated that it was yet another ATM bombing, while others believed the tremors had been caused by a light earthquake, but authorities contacted by Rekord could shed no light on the cause or the origin of what sounded to residents like a loud blast.

Vanessa Jacobs, armed response manager for Orange Fox Security, said as soon as information came through about the mysterious explosion, reaction vehicles had immediately been dispatched to various ATM sites in the affected area.

"The reaction officers visited all the areas where residents said they had heard the noise. All of the ATMs were however secure. One of our reaction officers said it might have been what is commonly referred to as a 'cricket' (CO2 cartridge) bomb. Although still unconfirmed, the reaction officer saw a red light go up in the area followed by a loud sound," she said.

Cricket bombs are improvised explosive devices, also known as cartridge bombs or CO2 bombs. They are made by taking empty CO2 canisters (like what might be used to power a BB gun), and filling it with gunpowder or flash powder and attaching a fuse.

The police in Centurion also could shed no light on the blast, and to date, no reports of damage to property or any injuries had been received that could be connected to the early morning hour occurrence. - Centurion Rekord.





EXTREME WEATHER: Storm Chasers Blasted By Baseball-Sized Hail While Filming Tornado In Elmer, Oklahoma!


May 19, 2015 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES
- As if driving through America's Tornado Alley wasn't hard enough, try dodging hail stones the size of baseballs.

Two wild-weather researchers have recorded their harrowing escape from a supercell tornado they were monitoring in the US state of Oklahoma.

The researchers were driving as they filmed some roiling clouds off in the distance, near the town of Elmer, when a vortex of air and moisture combined and started hurling large chunks of ice at them.



WATCH: Tornado and hail storm in Elmer, Oklahoma.








Loud blows start to rock their car and soon their windscreen is smashed by two large hail stones. "Whoa, there goes the windshield," says one of the researchers.

"We are getting demolished here," the other says, with glass all over him.


The video posted by Midwest Storm Chasers and Researchers later shows the chasers watching the storm from a safe distance, trying to figure out where the next twister might form and how they could avoid it.

This particular tornado was caused by a storm system that pushed cold air from the Rocky Mountains east across the lower, warmer air of the Plains States.

It was one of 28 tornados reported over the weekend in nine US states. - 9 News.



 

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Sinkhole Closes Street In Traverse City, Michigan!

Elmwood Ave closed due to sinkhole

May 19, 2015 - MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES
- Motorists who drive up and down Elmwood Avenue will need to find a new way to get where they're going while a large sinkhole blocks their route.

The roughly four-foot deep sinkhole broke up the roadway just south of Medical Campus Drive at about 1:30 p.m, said Dave Green, Traverse City's director of public services.

A plywood board covered the hole Monday afternoon, supporting a traffic barrier and surrounded by orange cones and yellow caution tape. Elmwood Avenue was closed to through traffic between Seventh and Eleventh streets as work crews marked utility infrastructure locations for future repair work.

Crews plan to begin fixing the the sinkhole first thing Tuesday morning.

"We've got the road closed now and plan to attack it first thing in the morning," Green said.

Crews likely will keep the road closed for two days as they work to repair the hole, Green said. Limited lane closures likely will follow as crews repave the street.

Green said the exact cause of the sinkhole remained unclear late Monday, but he said an old 15-inch clay tile running under the road south of Medical Campus Drive appeared to have collapsed. A stream also runs under the road through a culvert near where the hole opened.

Green said he did not believe the sinkhole injured anyone or damaged any vehicles.

"Luckily nobody got injured," Green said. "That stuff on that side of town is old." - Traverse City Record-Eagle.




 

MASS BEES DIE-OFF: Beemageddon - Obama Administration Reveals National Strategy To Tackle Honeybee Decline And The Habitats Of Pollinators!

Reuters / Dominic Ebenbichler

If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.
- Albert Einstein.

May 19, 2015 - WHITE HOUSE, UNITED STATES
- The dwindling number of honeybees in the US has been a constant worry for farmers in recent years – and now the White House is buzzing into action. On Tuesday, the Obama administration unveiled a new strategy aimed at protecting honeybees’ habitat.

The National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators will seek to manage the way forests are burned by wildfires and replanted, how offices are landscaped, and how roadside habitats where bees feed are preserved.

Drawing on the work of 14 agencies, along with the private sector, it aims to reduce honeybee colony losses during winter to no more than 15 percent within a decade. It also states that the government and private entities will restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next five years.

The strategy is based on findings from the Pollinator Health Task Force, created by the White House in 2014 to study the honeybees' decline.

“I have to say that it is mighty darn lovely having the White House acknowledge the indigenous, unpaid and invisible workforce that somehow has managed to sustain all terrestrial life without healthcare subsidies, or a single COLA, for that past 250 million years,”
said Sam Droege, a US Geological Survey wildlife biologist and an expert on native bee identification, as quoted by The Washington Post.
 
But 'Beemageddon' has actually been on the White House's agenda for some time. In fact, the federal government launched an action plan on the dwindling honeybee population as long ago as 2007.

President Obama himself has also expressed ongoing concern about the insects' ever-decreasing numbers.

During an Oval Office meeting in 2013, Obama asked White House science adviser John Holdren: “What are we doing on bees? Are we doing enough?” That discussion started turning the wheels for the White House Pollinator Health Task Force.

The president also signed off on the placement of a beehive on the South Lawn of the White House in 2009. The approval of a pollinators' garden later followed.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) stated in an interview that preventing the honeybee genocide was “an essential thing [that] we need to pay attention to.”

The plight of the bees – described as a potential ecological disaster by some environmentalists and experts – has been a source of ongoing stress for beekeepers, farmers, and environmentalists, as the insects are relied upon to pollinate the plants that produce a quarter of the food consumed by Americans.

A government report released last month found that 42.1 percent of the US honeybee population died last year.

However, the exact cause of the mass deaths remains unknown – and has sparked fierce debate in the US.

Some have pointed the finger at a class of insecticide known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, which is used on crops such as corn, as well as on standard garden plants. Others have blamed the varroa mite parasite, along with the stresses that bee colonies endure while being carted from farm to farm during growing seasons.

The Obama administration has proposed spending $82.5 million on honeybee research in the upcoming budget year – up from the current $34 million.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a series of studies on the effects of neonics on bees and plants; the first in a series of assessments is expected to be released later this year. The agency will also implement new restrictions on which pesticides farmers can use when commercial honeybees are pollinating their crops. - RT.



 

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes In Southwest Virginia - Wreckage Found With No Survivors!

Model of the Beech BE-55 aircraft.

May 19, 2015 - VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES
- An aircraft that was reported missing in Southwest Virginia has been found in a remote part of Smyth County east of Saltsville,Va., several miles northeast of the Tazewell County Airport. There were no survivors, a media representative with the Virginia State Police said Tuesday afternoon.

The Virginia State Police will hold a press conference Tuesday at the Saltville Rescue Squad to discuss the discovery of the aircraft.

The FAA says the Beech BE-55 airplane was about seven miles northeast of Tazewell County Airport in Richlands when controllers lost contact at 12:40 p.m. Monday, according to the Associated Press.

According to the FAA, the twin-engine plane left Spruce Creek Airport near Daytona Beach, Florida, and was headed to Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport in Ohio.

The Virginia Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Richmond was first notified by the military of a possible small, private aircraft crashing in the area of Smyth or Grayson counties. The EOC notified the Virginia State Police and search efforts were immediately underway on the ground and by air, according to Corinne N. Geller, public relations director for the Virginia State Police.

As of late Monday night, there were no confirmed reports of any plane or wreckage being found, Geller said. The area’s dense foliage, rocky terrain, and rugged cliffs have made search efforts by vehicle and foot challenging for search crews. There was no aircraft distress radio/emergency beacon detected in the region.

During the daylight hours, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) established a command post in Saltville to assist with coordinating search and rescue ground teams to conduct grid searches around the GPS coordinates provided by the military. State troopers followed up on various tips that have been called in by the public concerning possible sightings.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Conservation Police assisted on the ground through the use of ATVs, Geller said. In addition, Virginia State Police aviation flew over the area. - BDT Online.


 

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: WHO Says Ebola "Won't Go Quietly" As New Case Numbers Edge Up - Guinea And Sierra Leone Report 35 New Cases In The Past Week, FOUR TIMES As The Week Before!


May 19, 2015 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Guinea and Sierra Leone reported 35 new Ebola cases in the past week, four times as many as the week before, in a reminder that the virus "will not go quietly", a top World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.

"It will take an extraordinary effort to finish the job," the WHO's special representative for Ebola, Bruce Aylward, told a briefing attended by health ministers.

"With the start of the rainy season today, the doubling of effort will be that much more difficult," he added, referring to increased logistical challenges.

Ghana president John Dramani Mahama said on Tuesday that the West African regional bloc ECOWAS expected zero ebola infection in West Africa "in the next couple of months, if not weeks".

The 35 cases in the week to May 17 were in six districts of Guinea and Sierra Leone, with most in Guinea, Aylward said. Nine were confirmed the previous week.

Liberia, the other worst-hit country, was declared Ebola-free earlier this month.

"The virus has shown how easy it is for a single cross-border traveller or unsafe burial to reignite the epidemic again," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

The WHO said on Monday it is setting up a $100 million contingency fund to ensure that it will not be "overwhelmed" by a major crisis again as it was with Ebola, which has killed more than 11,000 people since December 2013.

The United States, Britain and the European Union, all top donors, called for deep WHO reforms.

"We need to keep up pressure and momentum both to get to zero (cases) and help with the rebuilding after that," said U.S. health secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. "We need a WHO that can put the right people in place to deal with these issues."

Sally Davies, chief UK medical officer, and the European Union's Claus Sorensen said problems in sharing epidemiological data had slowed responses during the outbreak.

Guinea's health minister, Remy Lamah, said authorities were searching out cases but traditional cultural practices, such as washing dead bodies, were still proving hard to overcome.

"There are certain cases of dissent with respect to measures taken in parts of the country but it is going down," he said.

Sierra Leone's chief medical officer Brima Kargbo said there were "signs that our strategy is working" to get to zero cases, such as fewer people dying in quarantine homes.

"We need continued vigilance with a focus on hotspot districts," he said.

Tim Evans, health director at the World Bank, said that Ebola was also a development crisis. "Getting seeds for farmers, reopening schools, embracing infrastructure projects that had been put on delay are critical parts of the recovery." - Trust.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak




 

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: High-Rise Building Combusts In Seconds In Azerbaijan - 17 People Killed; Over 60 Injured!

A strong fire occurred at a sixteen-storey building in Baku’s Binagadi district on May 19.

May 19, 2015 - AZERBAIJAN
- Seventeen people are dead and more than 60 injured, after an apartment block in Azebaijan’s capital Baku went up in flames in just seconds. Officials blame cheap plastic paneling for the rapid escalation of the fire.

“We received an emergency call about the fire 10:57 am. It was difficult for the fire vehicles to get right up to the building, as it was blocked and the fire spread to the top floors,”
said deputy emergencies minister Etibar Mirzoev.





As the fire consumed the 16-story Soviet-era high-rise, which had been renovated in recent years, a traffic jam formed as on-lookers gathered on the surrounding streets. Gas canisters kept by the building’s inhabitants began to explode. Eventually more than forty fire vehicles and ambulances were called to the scene.

Two helicopters circled the top floor, though officials say they were “ineffective.” Footage showed panicking residents begging the emergency staff to let them back inside the building, where their relatives remained trapped.


WATCH: Smoke rises from a multi-storey residential building on fire in Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19, 2015.

video


It took four hours to put out the fire by which time most of the victims, including three children, were long dead.

Zakir Garalov, the Prosecutor General in the Muslim Caucasian republic, blamed the polyurethane paneling that was applied to the housing block for the spectacular speed of the blaze. The head of the company in charge of tiling the building, Global Construction, was arrested later on Tuesday afternoon.



An emergency worker carries a girl evacuated from a multi-storey residential building on fire to an ambulance in Baku, Azerbaijan,
in this still image taken from video shot on May 19, 2015. (Reuters/Reuters TV)

A burnt multi-storey residential building is seen in Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19, 2015. (Reuters/Ehtiram Jabi)

A woman tries to get the attention of emergency workers inside a multi-storey residential building on fire in Baku, Azerbaijan,
in this still image taken from video shot on May 19, 2015. (Reuters/Reuters TV)

More than 800 mostly pre-independence buildings in Baku have been clad in similar gaudy panels, despite previously voiced concerns from the media.

The city’s mass redecoration has been spurred by an oil and gas boom in recent years. State television showed footage of workers removing the paneling from several apartment blocks just hours after the fire was extinguished.

Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, which is due to host its biggest-ever public event, the European Games, next month, said he was taking personal control of the investigation.

"Individuals and institutions who have committed violations, will be severely punished,"
asserted his aide Ali Hasanov. He also reported that the former residents of the charred building had been re-housed, and promised they would be compensated by the state. - RT.



 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Shallow 6.5 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Pacific-Antarctic Ridge - No Tsunami Threat! [MAPS]

Earthquake 3D map.
May 19, 2015 - PACIFIC OCEAN - The U.S. Geological Survey says a strong and shallow earthquake has struck the Pacific-Antarctic ridge, but a tsunami is unlikely.

The USGS says the quake’s epicenter was located 1337 miles of Mount Siple, Antarctica and 2,418 miles southwest of Puerto Natales, Chile at a depth of 7.5 miles.

The quake hit at 8:25 a.m. PDT Tuesday.


USGS earthquake location map.

USGS shakemap intensity.


There is no tsunami threat from this earthquake, according to NOAA’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and the Japan Meteorological Advisory.

LIVE QUAKE MAP: Track Real-Time Hot Spots
 
Strong earthquakes with an epicenter off the coast can trigger tsunamis, depending on the size and type of the fault movement.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tracks earthquake data for the West Coast.- CBS.



MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors And Warnings From Mother Nature – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Migratory Patterns, Attacks, Deaths, And Appearance Of Rare Creatures!

May 19, 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.


Mystery over 1,300 birds found dead on Chilean beach

Workers put dead birds into plastic bags on the beach in Concepcion, Chile on May 18, 2015.  © AFP

Chilean authorities said Monday they are investigating what killed some 1,300 seabirds that mysteriously turned up dead on a beach.

The birds, which belong to the Procellariidae family, may have drowned after getting trapped in fishing nets or died from a disease such as bird flu, which is not endemic to Chile, said the country's Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG).


Image:  Daniel Oses (RBB)

Image:  Daniel Oses (RBB)

Image:  Daniel Oses (RBB)

They were found Sunday afternoon by visitors to a small black-sand beach in the southern town of Lenga, a cove with several hundred inhabitants who live mainly on fishing and tourism.

SAG said it was analyzing samples taken from the birds to try to determine the cause of death.

Hundreds of birds were found dead in the same area in 2010. Authorities determined they had been caught in fishing nets. - France 24.


Mass death of seabirds in Western U.S. is ‘unprecedented’ – unexplained changes within ocean to blame

Blue-footed diving seabirds called cassin's auklets, including this one, have been washing up dead by the thousands on beaches
from San Francisco to central British Columbia.Photograph by C. Moses, COASST
In the storm debris littering a Washington State shoreline, Bonnie Wood saw something grisly: the mangled bodies of dozens of scraggly young seabirds. In the storm debris littering a Washington State shoreline, Bonnie Wood saw something grisly: the mangled bodies of dozens of scraggly young seabirds. Walking half a mile along the beach at Twin Harbors State Park on Wednesday, Wood spotted more than 130 carcasses of juvenile Cassin’s auklets—the blue-footed, palm-size victims of what is becoming one of the largest mass die-offs of seabirds ever recorded. “It was so distressing,” recalled Wood, a volunteer who patrols Pacific Northwest beaches looking for dead or stranded birds. “They were just everywhere. Every ten yards we’d find another ten bodies of these sweet little things.”

Cassin’s auklets are tiny diving seabirds that look like puffballs. They feed on animal plankton and build their nests by burrowing in the dirt on offshore islands. Their total population, from the Baja Peninsula to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, is estimated at somewhere between 1 million and 3.5 million. Last year, beginning about Halloween, thousands of juvenile auklets started washing ashore dead from California’s Farallon Islands to Haida Gwaii (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) off central British Columbia. Since then the deaths haven’t stopped. Researchers are wondering if the die-off might spread to other birds or even fish.

“This is just massive, massive, unprecedented,” said Julia Parrish, a University of Washington seabird ecologist who oversees the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that has tracked West Coast seabird deaths for almost 20 years. “We may be talking about 50,000 to 100,000 deaths. So far.” Although there doesn’t appear to be a link to the virus that killed tens of millions of sea stars along the same shores from California to Alaska over the past 18 months, some scientists suspect a factor in both cases may be uncharacteristically warm waters. The U.S. Geological Survey and others have performed animal autopsies, called necropsies, on several of the emaciated Cassin’s auklets.


Volunteers have been counting and tagging emaciated juvenile Cassin's auklets like these, which washed ashore near Pacific City, Oregon.
Photograph by J. Forsythe, COASST


They’ve found no evidence of disease or trauma—no viruses or bacteria, no feathers coated with spilled oil. The birds appear simply to have starved to death. “There’s very little evidence of food in their GI [gastrointestinal] tracts or stomachs,” said Anne Ballmann, with USGS’s National Wildlife Health Center. At first scientists weren’t too surprised by the carcasses washing ashore. When young auklets fledge in late summer, they all enter the water at the same time and start competing for food—shrimp-like krill and tiny crustaceans called copepods. For various reasons, last summer’s birth class of Cassin’s auklets was gigantic. Researchers expected a higher death toll, too. But they now are perplexed by the sheer numbers of dead birds and the spreading geographic extent of the die-off. “Death at this level and over this much real estate has to be from more than just that,” Parrish said.

By comparison, not one of the five largest U.S. bird mortality events tracked by USGS since 1980 is estimated to have topped 11,000 deaths. In Europe, according to the U.K.-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the worst die-off on record occurred in 1983, when 57,000 guillemots, razorbills, puffins, and other seabirds perished in the North Sea and washed up on the British coast. “You get some of this with seabirds every year,” said David Nuzum, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “You get so many juveniles out there, and they’ve got this steep learning curve for feeding after being separated from their parents, so you always get a die-off in winter. But I’ve never seen anything like this, ever, and I’ve been here since 1985. - National Geographic.


Herd of elephants trample man to death in Bengal, India

Soren was gored to death by the elephants
With shrinking forests owing to increasing human pressure, the man-animal conflict is on the rise. The latest in this regards is the killing of a man by a wild elephant in the forests of Bankura district of West Bengal on Monday.

This unfortunate incident occurred in Gokul Mathura village under Barjora Forest Range in the district when a herd of elephants gored a man to death in Bankura district, said a forest official.

He said that an old man whose name was Biswanath Soren and was around 65 years old, was sleeping under bamboo thickets on the edge of forest when a herd of at least a dozen elephants while passing through the area attacked him.

Soren was gored to death by the elephants, said Divisional Forest Officer of Bankura (North).

Earlier in April, a forest guard was killed in tusker attack in Onda under Panchet Forest Division in Bankura district.

Prior to the present incident, a forest official was attacked and injured by an elephant in Jalpaiguri district on Sunday (May 10).


Referring to the Sunday's incident, a forest official said that a herd of elephants had entered the Bhandiguri tea estate. While efforts were on by forest staff to drive them away, range officer Sanjay Dutta was attacked by one of the elephants. He sustained minor injuries on his hand, said a forest official of the Jalpaiguri forest division. - Indie Leak.


A tidal wave of starving sea lion pups has washed up on the shores of California

One of over 430 sea lions that the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro has taken in since January 1. His shaved marking happens to spell out “LA.”
Photo by Caroline Anderson

[An unusually large number of sea lions stranding in 2013 was a red flag] there was a food availability problem even before the ocean got warm.” Johnson: This has never happened before…

It’s incredible. It’s so unusual, and there’s no really good explanation for it. There’s also a good chance that the problem will continue, said a NOAA research scientist in climatology, Nate Mantua.

Experts blame a lack of food due to unusually warm ocean waters. NOAA declared an El Nino, the weather pattern that warms the Pacific, a few weeks ago.

The water is three and a half to six degrees warmer than the average, according to Mantua, because of a lack of north wind on the West Coast. Ordinarily, the north wind drives the current, creating upwelling that brings forth the nutrients that feed the sardines, anchovies and other fish that adult sea lions feed on. - ERN.


The ocean off the coast of California is “turning into a desert” – marine ecosystem crash is unprecedented

 A cart of deceased malnourished and dehydrated sea lions that had been stranded along the northern California coast, await their turn for necropsy.
Photograph: Peter Dasilva/EPA

The waters of the Pacific off the coast of California are a clear, shimmering blue today, so transparent it’s possible to see the sandy bottom below. Viewing the ocean from the state’s famous craggy headlands, it’s impossible to know that the ocean’s unusual clarity is hiding a cruel beauty: clear water is a sign that the ocean is turning into a desert, and the chain reaction that causes that bitter clarity is perhaps most obvious on the beaches of the Golden State, where thousands of emaciated sea lion pups are stranded.

Sea lions are a ubiquitous part of the Californian landscape – they’re up and down beaches, piers and wharfs, with an overall population estimated at around 300,000. They have the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to thank for their existence, passed by Congress in response to concerns about dwindling populations of marine mammals, including sea lions.

Now, the familiar creatures have become victims of their own success, with some arguing that their population may have reached natural capacity, and others blaming it on changing environmental conditions in California. Over the last three years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has noticed a growing number of strandings on the beaches of California and up into the Pacific north-west.

In 2013, 1,171 sea lions were stranded, and 2,700 have already stranded in 2015 – a sign that something is seriously wrong, as pups don’t normally wind up on their own until later in the spring and early summer. The problem, explains Justin Viezbicke of NOAA, is those crystal-clear waters. “The main contributing factor that we’re looking at right now and talking about with the biologists and climatologists on the Channel Islands [a major sea lion rookery] is the lack of upwelling. We haven’t had the strong north winds that drive the currents that create it, and because it hasn’t materialized – it’s moved the prey further and deeper from the moms that are foraging.” - Guardian.


Dead pygmy sperm whale found near Melbourne Beach, Florida

A pgymy sperm whale beached Monday morning at Spessard Holland Park. © Tim Shortt/Florida Today

Biologists suspect severe heart disease, coupled with 10 feet of rope and piece of a plastic bag in its stomach, caused a 10-foot pygmy sperm whale to beach itself Monday at Spessard Holland Park.

"It's really, really sick," Megan Stolen, a research scientist with the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, said shortly before the whale was euthanized. "It's very, very skinny."

The whale showed signs of severe heart disease, Stolen said.

But biologists plan to examine the whale's remains to test for the so-called morbillivirus. They'll test whether that measles-like virus, which killed more than 1,600 dolphins since July 2013, also contributed to the pygmy sperm whale's death.

The virus has been killing bottlenose dolphins along the Atlantic Coast for more than two years in the worst outbreak of the virus in almost three decades.


The virus claimed 740 dolphins from New Jersey to Florida in 1987.

Monday's was one of three recent whale to beach themselves in the region in the past few weeks, but the deaths are not considered related.

On May 7, Hubbs researchers received a report from Canaveral National Seashore staff that the whale had stranded alive on the beach within the national park.

The whale washed out for a while but then washed back onto the beach at Kennedy Space Center.

Hubbs staff euthanized that whale, too. Whales rarely survive beaching. But NOAA Fisheries also mandates all whales and dolphins that beach during a morbillivirus outbreak must be euthanized to prevent spread of the virus.

The dolphins infected with the virus wash up with lesions on their skin, mouth, joints, or lungs.

Since July 2013, the virus has killed more than 1,660 bottlenose dolphins, from New Jersey to Brevard, more than 300 of them in the Florida, according to NOAA Fisheries.

Stolen said about 30 dead bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon region have tested positive for the virus. But as many as 100 in the region may have died from the virus, the Hubbs researchers suspect.

If tests continue to show no morbillivirus infections, NOAA Fisheries may soon consider declaring a formal end to the unusual die-off, Hubbs officials said earlier this month. That would also end the mandatory euthanizing of the stranded dolphins and whales. - Florida Today.


Mass die off of fish washes ashore in Canakkale, Turkey



Canak
kale 's bell township Büyükpaş hit the village at the edge of the shore after the mass fish deaths occurred in the hundreds of fish started to smell Kocabas tea with the effect of heat.

Bell township Büyükpaş village on the edge of passing Karabiga the sea spilled Kocabas tea return to red in color with the waste in mass fish deaths occurred in previous days, pike, carp and yellowfin species of fish are still hitting the shore along the 15 kilometers of tea from Etili Katrandere.


Kocabas remaining plugged in Büyükpaş village bridge protection set on the tea 1 meter in the dead pike Agriculture Tayhan of the villagers said the smell began, "In 2007, the waters of the Kocabas tea was dead blue, turning the fish.

We could not open our windows the smell of dead fish for a month. 5 days Today before continuing to shoot dead fish ashore in flowing red color Kocabas tea. Dead fish began to smell the warm weather, "he said.
- Milliyet. [Translated]



PLANETARY TREMORS: The Seismic Hazards Of The Hikurangi Margin - Geologists Warn Mega-Quake And Tsunami Could Hit Central New Zealand!

The study area was salt marsh flats on the edge of Big Lagoon near Blenheim.  Mark Cornell

May 19, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- Scientists finally have proof that central New Zealand could be ticking down to a highly damaging "megathrust" earthquake.

Earlier research has suggested the seabed between the Wairarapa and Marlborough is capable of generating magnitude 7-plus quakes.

Now researchers have found solid geological evidence that an area off the coast of Wairarapa and fringing Cook Strait causes "megathrust" quakes and tsunami similar to, but probably smaller than, the devastating magnitude 9.0 March 2011 event in Japan.

The work, out Tuesday morning, highlights the active threat the southern Hikurangi margin - where the Pacific Plate is being dragged down below the Australian Plate - poses to life and livelihood from Hawke's Bay south to the Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough.

The Alpine Fault, which extends further south from that plate boundary, is also a hazardous feature that will generate a magnitude 8 quake when it ruptures, possibly some time in the next 50 to 100 years.


To look for evidence of past earthquakes on the margin, the researchers performed a painstaking examination of the geologic layers contained within
a salt marsh at Big Lagoon in the southeastern Wairau River valley on South Island.   GNS SCIENCE
 
The scientists, from GNS Science, the University of Texas and Geomarine Research, have calculated that in the past 1000 years two subduction quakes of at least magnitude 7 occurred – one between about 880 to 800 years ago and the other between 520 and 470 years ago."This is the first evidence that the southern Hikurangi margin ruptures in large (7-7.9) to great (8+) earthquakes, and the relatively short time interval between the two events has significant implications for seismic hazard in New Zealand," they said in Tuesday's Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

 
A map showing the area when the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates collide. Researchers warn a 'megaquake' of magnitude 8 or more could occur in this area.  
Philip Carthew

They cited an earlier paper that said for a magnitude 8.9 Hikurangi subduction quake, losses in the Wellington region alone were estimated to be about $13 billion, with about  3550 deaths and 7000 injuries.

Their findings would allow better modelling of the impacts and help communities prepare to cope with such an event, they said.

The Hikurangi margin, which runs from east of East Cape to offshore of the Marlborough coast, is one of the few subduction zones around the Pacific that has not generated a "great", above magnitude 8, quake in historic times.
 
Data shows that in the southern Hikurangi margin the Australian and Pacific plates are locked and accumulating strain where they meet, about 25km beneath Wellington and Blenheim.

Previous research suggests this locked patch between Cook Strait and Cape Turnagain could generate a quake of between 8.5 and 8.7 magnitude.

In their search for subduction-quake evidence, the researchers used a salt marsh on the edge of Big Lagoon near Blenheim to recover sediment that could be aged by radiocarbon dating.

They collected 48 sediment cores, from 0.5m to 2.2m deep. Analysis and dating of the buried soils in the cores showed there had been two occasions of sudden subsidence of the lagoon in the past 1000 years, indicative of two large quakes.


Jamie Howarth, William Ries and Delia Strong, of GNS Science, using a piston corer to recover sediment cores from salt marsh at Big Lagoon, Blenheim,
to determine the dates of the last megathrust earthquake off the Wairarapa coast.  Kate Clark, GNS Science

The older event was accompanied by a tsunami at least 3.3m high that swept more than 360m inland.

There was no evidence of a tsunami hitting Big Lagoon in the more recent quake, although there were tsunami deposits around Cook Strait, at Abel Tasman and on Kapiti Island about the same time as that event, researchers said.

Lead researcher Dr Kate Clark, of GNS Science, said the findings did not greatly change the actual level of risk to people in central New Zealand.

The National Seismic Hazard Model used a recurrence interval of 550 to 1000 years for a magnitude 8.1-8.4 quake but the researchers had found an actual interval of about 350 years between the two quakes.

While that was different, it was not an irreconcilable difference, given the average was only based on two events. - Stuff.




 

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes In Laughlin, Phoenix - One Person Killed, 3 Others Injured!

A small plane that crashed in Laughlin on Sunday, killing one, went down soon after taking off, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

May 19, 2015 - ARIZONA, UNITED STATES
- A pilot didn't radio a distress call before the fiery crash of a single-engine airplane that killed one person and injured three others heading from Laughlin to the Phoenix area, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said Monday.

The four-seat Rockwell Commander 114 crashed and burned about 6 p.m. Sunday on Needles Highway just moments after takeoff and less than 5 miles southwest of Laughlin-Bullhead International Airport, NTSB spokesman Nicholas Worrell said.

One person died in the crash, and three others were hospitalized, including at least two with burn injuries, Deputy Clark County Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan said.

The NTSB says all of the passengers are from Arizona.

Family confirms to ABC15 that two of the victims who survived are retired New York Police Department officers Gregory Torres and Diana Soto. The couple lives in Goodyear.


The growing fire is seen in a video posted on Facebook just after 8:00 p.m. May 17, 2015.

Airplane crash victims being loaded onto helicopter for transport to hospital. The crash has caused a large brush fire to erupt at Big Bend S R A south of Laughlin.
4 people were on board.

Smoke rises Sunday over the site of a small plane crash near Laughlin, Nevada.

“It’s surreal,” said Soto’s brother, William Soto. He said the family is hoping for a quick recovery. Torres and Soto suffered burns in the crash, he said.

Torres and Soto were with another couple for a day trip to Laughlin, William Soto said. The names of the other two people on board, including the person, who died, have not been released.

The aircraft had been bound for Phoenix Goodyear Airport, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor in California.

"Once he took off, there was no further communication," Worrell said, adding that witnesses described the aircraft flying unusually low and reported hearing sounds suggesting engine trouble before the crash.

The crash occurred near Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area, about 100 miles south of Las Vegas. - ABC15.



 

ICE AGE NOW: Two Cold Temperature Records Broken In Saskatchewan, Canada - Previous Low Mark For North Battleford Was 120 YEARS AGO!

© Neil Longmuir/Global News

May 19, 2015 - SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA
- Environment Canada says a couple of cold temperature records were established on the May long weekend in Saskatchewan. It released a weather summary early Monday morning.

An arctic high pressure ridge settled over southern areas of the province last night producing clear conditions and widespread frost.

A new record low temperature was set in North Battleford at -4.5°C. The previous mark was set in 1895 at -3.3°C.

Swift Current also broke a record at -5.9°C, beating out -5.6°C, which was set in 1923.

The federal agency says these figures may be preliminary and do not constitute a final report. - Global News.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Hawaiian Volcano On The Brink Of Eruption - Halemaumau Lava Lake At Kilauea Volcano Drains Partially, Seismic Activity Under Southwest Rift Zone!

© Thinkstock

May 19, 2015 - HAWAII
- Kilauea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is one of the more active shield volcanoes in the Aloha State and observers at the United States Geological Survey are saying that the odds of a major eruption have increased significantly in recent days.

"Activity at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano continues to change, as shown by a pronounced drop in the level of the lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, a change in the summit area deformation pattern, and the concentrated earthquake activity in the southern part of the caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone," a recent statement from the USGS said.

A lake of molten rock near the summit of the volcano had risen to record-high levels, but, as the USGS statement pointed out, the lava level has subsided, dropping almost 500 feet. As lava levels have been rising and falling, a series of earthquakes have radiated out from Kilauea.

These eruptions are impending

USGS scientists also said deformations of the ground could point to impending eruptions.

"Clearly the lava, by dropping out of sight, it has to be going somewhere," said Steven Brantley, deputy scientist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory told the AP.

According to reports, two minor volcanic activities are already taking place on Kilauea. First, lava has been flowing into Halemaumau Crater, which is located in the much larger summit caldera of Kilauea. Second, is the eruption at Puu Oo vent, a feature in the volcano's east rift zone that streamed lava toward the town of Pahoa last year. Lava flows stopped just outside a shopping center.

In their statement, USGS researchers said earthquakes have been centered on the southern part of the volcano, and this could mean that an eruption is coming from southwest of the Halemaumau Crater. An eruption in the volcano's upper Southwest Rift Zone would be the first in more than 40 years.

Researchers also conceded that all this activity could lead to nothing.

"We don't know what the outcome of this activity might be," Brantley said. "That is the challenge. [We are] trying to interpret what this activity really means in terms of the next step for Kilauea." - Red Orbit.



Kilauea volcano update: Halemaumau lava lake drains partially, seismic activity under SW rift zone

The lava lake today (USGS thermal webcam)

The summit lava lake has dropped significantly during the past week and is now again 50 m below the rim of the pit crater inside Halema'uma'u.

After a few days of repeated small overflows at the end of April until early May, the lake had been perched for a few days at its highest level, started to drop after 10 May, first slowly, then more rapidly. During the past days, it has stabilized at approx. 50 m depth.


The same view during an overflow on May 8

The process was accompanied by rapid deflation. Where the lava drained is not easy to say with certainty. But on one hand, no significantly new or increased activity has been observed at the Pu'u 'O'O vent on the active Eastern Rift zone; on the other hand, increased earthquake activity has occurred under the SW rift zone during the same time as the deflation and lava lake draining. The latter suggests that a part of the lava lake migrated into new underground fractures beneath that area.

Whether or not this could lead to a new eruption on the SW rift zone is speculation at the moment. The SW rift zone saw its last eruption in 1974. - Volcano Discovery.