Thursday, April 28, 2016

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Very Strong 6.9 Earthquake Hits Northern East Pacific Rise, Off Mexico! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 28, 2016 - MEXICO - A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has struck the northern East Pacific Rise in the Pacific Ocean, centered far southwest of Mexico, seismologists say.

There is no threat of a tsunami.


The earthquake, which struck at 8:33 p.m. CT on Thursday, was centered about 597 kilometers (371 miles) east of France's Clipperton Island, or 842 kilometers (523 miles) southwest of Acapulco de Juarez in Mexico.

The United States Geological Survey put the earthquake's preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said it struck at a shallow depth of just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).


USGS shakemap intensity.


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a tsunami to Pacific coastlines of Mexico, Central America and South America, while the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center added that there also isn't any threat along the western coastlines of the United States and Canada.

Because the earthquake was centered far from land, there should be no damage or casualties.




USGS Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity

Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Colombia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake.

References for the Panama Fracture Zone:
Molnar, P., and Sykes, L. R., 1969, Tectonics of the Caribbean and Middle America Regions from Focal Mechanisms and Seismicity: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 80, p. 1639-1684.

- USGS | BNO News.





 

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Sinkhole Opens Up Near Highway In Ufa, Russia - Measured 30 Meters By 7 Meters! [VIDEO]


April 28, 2016 - UFA, RUSSIA - A huge sinkhole measuring 30 meters by 7 meters almost swallowed a busy federal highway in Ufa, Russia.




The karstic ground collapsed on April 27, 2016 during the day after heavy rains.

Just after the formation of the hole, it was filled with underground water.


WATCH: Massive sinkhole in Ufa.





- Strange Sounds.





 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits The Vanuatu Islands - Prompts Tsunami Alert! [MAPS + VIDEO + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 28, 2016 - VANUATU ISLANDS - A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 has struck the Vanuatu Islands, seismologists say. There was no immediate word on damage or casualties but a tsunami alert has been issued for the islands.

The earthquake, which struck at 6:33 a.m. local time on Friday, was centered about 31 kilometers (19.3 miles) east-southeast of Lakatoro, or 182 kilometers (113 miles) northwest of the capital Port-Vila. It struck at a shallow depth.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which measured the earthquake at a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, issued a tsunami alert for Vanuatu. "Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300 km of the epicenter along the coasts of Vanuatu," it said.

Other details were not immediately available.



USGS shakemap intensity.

Vanuatu is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. On average, the island nation and the surrounding waters are struck by about three powerful earthquakes every year. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

In August 2011, two powerful earthquakes measuring 7.1 and 7.4 on the Richter scale struck about 63 kilometers (39 miles) south-southwest of Port-Vila. Tsunami waves of up to 1.05 meter (3.4 feet) were observed on the island of Efate, but there were no reports of damage.


 WATCH: 7.3 earthquake felt in Mele, Vanuatu.



USGS Tectonic Summary

The April 28, 2016, M 7.3 earthquake beneath the island of Melampa in the Vanuatu island chain of the southwest Pacific Ocean occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the boundary between the Australia and Pacific plates. The preliminary location, depth and focal mechanism of the event indicate rupture occurred on an east-dipping thrust fault consistent with the location and orientation of the subduction zone interface at depth in this region. The earthquake is located nearly 100 km to the east of the New Hebrides Trench, the bathymetric expression of the plate boundary between the Australia and Pacific plates, where lithosphere of the Australia plate subducts into the mantle beneath the North Fiji Basin. At the location of this earthquake, the Australia plate moves east-northeast with respect to the Pacific plate at a velocity of approximately 84 mm/yr.

The Vanuatu region frequently experiences large earthquakes; 23 events of M 7 or larger have occurred within 250 km of the April 28, 2016 event over the preceding century. The largest was a M 7.7 earthquake in May 1965, 130 km to the north of the April 28 event. The April 28 event also follows a sequence of moderate-sized earthquakes roughly 200 km to the northwest, the largest of which was a M 6.9 earthquake on April 3rd. To date, that sequence involved 48 events of M 4.5 or greater, including the April 3 M 6.9 event, two M 6.7 earthquakes and one M 6.4 shock. Because of the remote location of these earthquakes, few have caused any significant damage or fatalities.


USGS 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 | BNO News.







PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 4.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Lima, Peru - Experts Say The Capital Is Overdue For A Major Earthquake! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

The quake hit last night at 11:02 p.m.
El Comercio/AP

April 28, 2016 - LIMA, PERU - The earthquake's epicenter was located 46 km west of San Vicente de Cañete and registered late last night.

An earthquake of 4.2 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Cañete in the region of Lima last night, according to the Geophysical Institute of Lima (IGP).

The quake was registered at 11:04 p.m. with an epicenter located 46 kilometers west of San Vicente de Cañete.

The earthquake had a depth of 63 kilometers and had an intensity of III Cañete, II Lima.

Earlier this month, three earthquakes of the same magnitude hit the region of Lima within three days. Neither caused harm or damages.

The authorities have not reported personal or material damages due to the earthquakes.




Lima Overdue For A Major Earthquake - However, Peru Is Unprepared For Potential Devastation!

The earthquake all but flattened colonial Lima, the shaking so violent that people tossed to the ground couldn’t get back up. Minutes later, a 15-meter wall of Pacific Ocean crashed into the adjacent port of Callao, killing all but 200 of its 5,000 inhabitants. Bodies washed ashore for weeks.  Plenty of earthquakes have shaken Peru’s capital in the 266 years since that fateful night of Oct. 28, 1746, though none with anything near the violence. 

The relatively long “seismic silence” means that Lima, set astride one of the most volatile ruptures in the Earth’s crust, is increasingly at risk of being hammered by a one-two, quake-tsunami punch as calamitous as what devastated Japan last year and traumatized Santiago, Chile, and its nearby coast a year earlier, seismologists say.  Yet this city of 9 million people is sorely unprepared. From densely clustered, unstable housing to a dearth of first-responders, its acute vulnerability is unmatched regionally. Peru’s National Civil Defense Institute forecasts up to 50,000 dead, 686,000 injured and 200,000 homes destroyed if Lima is hit by a magnitude-8.0 quake.

“In South America, it is the most at risk,” said architect Jose Sato, director of the Center for Disaster Study and Prevention, or PREDES, a non-governmental group financed by the charity Oxfam that is working on reducing Lima’s quake vulnerability.  Lima is home to a third of Peru’s population, 70 percent of its industry, 85 percent of its financial sector, its entire central government and the bulk of international commerce. 

“A quake similar to what happened in Santiago would break the country economically,” said Gabriel Prado, Lima’s top official for quake preparedness. That quake had a magnitude of 8.8.  Quakes are frequent in Peru, with about 170 felt by people annually, said Hernando Tavera, director of seismology at the country’s Geophysical Institute. A big one is due, and the chances of it striking increase daily, he said. The same collision of tectonic plates responsible for the most powerful quake ever recorded, a magnitude-9.5 quake that hit Chile in 1960, occurs just off Lima’s coast, where about 3 inches of oceanic crust slides annually beneath the continent.  A 7.5-magnitude quake in 1974 a day’s drive from Lima in the Cordillera Blanca range killed about 70,000 people as landslides buried villages. Seventy-eight people died in the capital.

In 2007, a 7.9-magnitude quake struck even closer, killing 596 people in the south-central coastal city of Pisco. A shallow, direct hit is the big danger.  More than two in five Lima residents live either in rickety structures built on unstable, sandy soil and wetlands, which amplify a quake’s destructive power, or in hillside settlements that sprang up over a generation as people fled conflict and poverty in Peru’s interior. Thousands are built of colonial-era adobe.  Most quake-prone countries have rigorous building codes to resist seismic events. In Chile, if engineers and builders don’t adhere to them they can face prison. Not so in Peru. 

“People are building with adobe just as they did in the 17th century,” said Carlos Zavala, director of Lima’s Japanese-Peruvian Center for Seismic Investigation and Disaster Mitigation.  Environmental and human-made perils compound the danger.  Situated in a coastal desert, Lima gets its water from a single river, the Rimac, which a landslide could easily block. That risk is compounded by a containment pond full of toxic heavy metals from an old mine that could rupture and contaminate the Rimac, said Agustin Gonzalez, a PREDES official advising Lima’s government.  Most of Lima’s food supply arrives via a two-lane highway that parallels the river, another potential chokepoint.

Lima’s airport and seaport, the key entry points for international aid, are also vulnerable. Both are in Callao, which seismologists expect to be scoured by a 6-meter tsunami if a big quake is centered offshore, the most likely scenario.  Mayor Susana Villaran’s administration is Lima’s first to organize a quake-response and disaster-mitigation plan. A February 2011 law obliged Peru’s municipalities to do so. Yet Lima’s remains incipient. 

“How are the injured going to be attended to? What is the ability of hospitals to respond? Of basic services? Water, energy, food reserves? I don’t think this is being addressed with enough responsibility,” said Tavera of the Geophysical Institute.  By necessity, most injured will be treated where they fall, but Peru’s police have no comprehensive first-aid training. Only Lima’s 4,000 firefighters, all volunteers, have such training, as does a 1,000-officer police emergency squadron.  But because the firefighters are volunteers, a quake’s timing could influence rescue efforts. “If you go to a fire station at 10 in the morning there’s hardly anyone there,” said Gonzalez, who advocates a full-time professional force. 

In the next two months, Lima will spend nearly $2-million on the three fire companies that cover downtown Lima, its first direct investment in firefighters in 25 years, Prado said. The national government is spending $18-million citywide for 50 new fire trucks and ambulances.  But where would the ambulances go?  A 1997 study by the Pan American Health Organization found that three of Lima’s principal public hospitals would likely collapse in a major quake, but nothing has been done to reinforce them.  And there are no free beds. One public hospital, Maria Auxiliadora, serves more than 1.2 million people in Lima’s south but has just 400 beds, and they are always full.  Contingency plans call for setting up mobile hospitals in tents in city parks. But Gonzalez said only about 10,000 injured could be treated. Water is also a worry. The fire threat to Lima is severe – from refineries to densely-backed neighborhoods honeycombed with colonial-era wood and adobe. Lima’s firefighters often can’t get enough water pressure to douse a blaze. 

“We should have places where we can store water not just to put out fires but also to distribute water to the population,” said Sato, former head of the disaster mitigation department at Peru’s National Engineering University.  The city’s lone water-and-sewer utility can barely provide water to one-tenth of Lima in the best of times.  Another big concern: Lima has no emergency operations center and the radio networks of the police, firefighters and the Health Ministry, which runs city hospitals, use different frequencies, hindering effective communication.  Nearly half of the city’s schools require a detailed evaluation to determine how to reinforce them against collapse, Sato said.  A recent media blitz, along with three nationwide quake-tsunami drills this year, helped raise consciousness. The city has spent more than $77-million for retention walls and concrete stairs to aid evacuation in hillside neighborhoods, Prado said, but much more is needed.



USGS Seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region)

The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

Most of the large earthquakes in South America are constrained to shallow depths of 0 to 70 km resulting from both crustal and interplate deformation. Crustal earthquakes result from deformation and mountain building in the overriding South America plate and generate earthquakes as deep as approximately 50 km. Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world. Other notable shallow tsunami-generating earthquakes include the 1906 M8.5 earthquake near Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the 1922 M8.5 earthquake near Coquimbo, Chile, the 2001 M8.4 Arequipa, Peru earthquake, the 2007 M8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru, and the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake located just north of the 1960 event.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Large intermediate-depth earthquakes (those occurring between depths of approximately 70 and 300 km) are relatively limited in size and spatial extent in South America, and occur within the Nazca plate as a result of internal deformation within the subducting plate. These earthquakes generally cluster beneath northern Chile and southwestern Bolivia, and to a lesser extent beneath northern Peru and southern Ecuador, with depths between 110 and 130 km. Most of these earthquakes occur adjacent to the bend in the coastline between Peru and Chile. The most recent large intermediate-depth earthquake in this region was the 2005 M7.8 Tarapaca, Chile earthquake.

Earthquakes can also be generated to depths greater than 600 km as a result of continued internal deformation of the subducting Nazca plate. Deep-focus earthquakes in South America are not observed from a depth range of approximately 300 to 500 km. Instead, deep earthquakes in this region occur at depths of 500 to 650 km and are concentrated into two zones: one that runs beneath the Peru-Brazil border and another that extends from central Bolivia to central Argentina. These earthquakes generally do not exhibit large magnitudes. An exception to this was the 1994 Bolivian earthquake in northwestern Bolivia. This M8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 631 km, which was until recently the largest deep-focus earthquake instrumentally recorded (superseded in May 2013 by a M8.3 earthquake 610 km beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia), and was felt widely throughout South and North America.

Subduction of the Nazca plate is geometrically complex and impacts the geology and seismicity of the western edge of South America. The intermediate-depth regions of the subducting Nazca plate can be segmented into five sections based on their angle of subduction beneath the South America plate. Three segments are characterized by steeply dipping subduction; the other two by near-horizontal subduction. The Nazca plate beneath northern Ecuador, southern Peru to northern Chile, and southern Chile descend into the mantle at angles of 25° to 30°. In contrast, the slab beneath southern Ecuador to central Peru, and under central Chile, is subducting at a shallow angle of approximately 10° or less. In these regions of “flat-slab” subduction, the Nazca plate moves horizontally for several hundred kilometers before continuing its descent into the mantle, and is shadowed by an extended zone of crustal seismicity in the overlying South America plate. Although the South America plate exhibits a chain of active volcanism resulting from the subduction and partial melting of the Nazca oceanic lithosphere along most of the arc, these regions of inferred shallow subduction correlate with an absence of volcanic activity.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS | Living in Peru. | National Post.







 

EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Increasing Magnetic Polar Migration - Lightning Bolt Kills Man And Horse In Mantachie, Mississippi!


April 28, 2016 - MISSISSIPPI, UNITED STATES - A Mantachie man was killed Wednesday afternoon after being struck by lightning.

Tim Edge, 37, was riding horses with his father when lightning struck him and his horse, according to Itawamba County Coroner Sheila Summerford.

Summerford said Edge's father had gone into the barn while Edge stayed outside. While in the barn, he heard a loud boom and that's when the lightning hit.

Both Edge and his horse were killed.

Edge leaves behind a wife, Lacie Wiygul Edge, and a daughter, Selah.


- DJournal.





PLANETARY TREMORS: "Felt Like Being Hit By A Freight Train" - Strong 4.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Fiordland, New Zealand! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

GNS says the quake struck at 9.44pm 30km northeast of Milford Sound at a depth of 15km. iStock

April 28, 2016 - NEW ZEALAND - A strong 4.7 magnitude earthquake has rocked Fiordland tonight.

GNS says the quake struck at 9.44pm 30km northeast of Milford Sound at a depth of 15km.

Darren McKinney said he felt a slight rocking in his house at Frankton, Queenstown.

Richard Lewis, who is a honeymoon with his wife, said the couple felt the earthquake from their hotel room at Scenic Suites in Queenstown.

"It honestly felt like the hotel was hit by a freight train. Was very short, but very violent. Felt like jelly," he said.


He said if the earthquake had been any longer he wouldn't have been surprised if things started falling off shelves.



USGS 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.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.


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.

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 | New Zealand Herald.








PLANETARY TREMORS: "Room Shaking" - Very Notable Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake Strikes Southwestern France Near La Rochelle!

USGS earthquake location.

April 28, 2016 - FRANCE - An earthquake registering 5.0 on the Richter scale has struck the southwest of France near the city of La Rochelle. The quake hit at 08:45 local time at a depth of 15 kilometers.

Writing on Twitter, Laurent Simon from Bordeaux said the earthquake was "a very small one," but it was an "interesting feeling." Sophie Thurlow mentioned that she woke up to her "room shaking."

The epicenter of the quake was eight kilometers southeast of La Rochelle, which is a port on the Bay of Biscay with a population of just over 75,000. There are no reports of any damage so far.

On Monday, a small earthquake struck Austria near the capital Vienna. The quake measured 4.4 on the Richter scale.






Earthquakes in the area are rare, but geologists have warned that Vienna risks being struck by a large quake in the future. An active fault line runs deep under the Vienna Basin, which covers the city's area, as well as parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

"There are half a dozen known fault lines under the Vienna Basin, which are moving at a very slow rate, but we believe that every 20,000 years or so they are capable of causing an earthquake on the scale of 6.0 or 7.0 on the Richter scale," geologist Dr Kurt Decker from the University of Vienna told the Local.


USGS shakemap intensity.


The last time France was hit by a deadly earthquake was in 1909, when the town of Lambesc near Marseille was struck by a magnitude-6 tremor, which killed 46 people and injured a further 250.

However, speaking in April 2014 after an earthquake on the French Rivera, seismologist Remy Bossu from the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) in Paris said the south of France was at risk of serious damage from earthquakes in the future, due to antiquated designs of many buildings, which would not be able to withstand a powerful quake.






"If it's magnitude 6 then it can cause damage up to 15 kilometers away. What is key is how far it will be from the nearest town or city. If it's 10km then the impact will be limited, but if it's close to a town like Nice then it's a different story. It can have a huge impact. Then we are looking at a similar quake to what happened in L'Aquila," he said, in reference to 2009 quake in Italy, which killed 308 people, despite only registering 5.9 on the Richter scale.



- RT.





 

FUK-U-SHIMA: Ice Wall WON'T STOP All Radioactive Groundwater From Seeping Out Of Fukushima Nuclear Plant - Chief Architect!

Toru Hanai / Reuters

April 28, 2016 - JAPAN - An ice wall being built at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant won't completely prevent groundwater from flowing inside the facility and leaking out into the earth as radioactive water, according to a chief architect of the project.

Chief architect Yuichi Okamura told AP that gaps in the wall and rainfall will still allow for water to creep into the facility and reach the damaged nuclear reactors, which will in turn create as much as 50 tons of contaminated water each day.

"It's not zero," Okamura, a general manager at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said. "It's a vicious cycle, like a cat-and-mouse game...we have come up against many unexpected problems."

The wall, which will be 1.5km (1 mile) long, will consist of an underground pipe network stretching 30 meters (100 feet) below the surface, around the reactor and turbine buildings. The pipes are designed to transport refrigerant cooled to -30° Celsius (-22°F) to chill the nearby soil until it freezes.

The barrier is being turned on in sections for tests, and the entire freezing process will take eight months since it was first switched on in late March. The process requires an amount of electricity that would power 13,000 Japanese households.

Despite its current efforts, TEPCO - the operator of the Fukushima plant - has been fiercely criticized by those who say the groundwater issue should have been forecasted and dealt with sooner.

Shigeaki Tsunoyama, an honorary professor and former president of University of Aizu in Fukushima, said that building a concrete wall built into the hill near the plant after the disaster would have minimized the contaminated water issue.

Okamura acknowledged that the option of building a barrier at a higher elevation near the plant was considered in the days following the disaster, but defended the actions of TEPCO, stressing that the priority is on preventing contaminated water from escaping into the Pacific Ocean.

Others have criticized the US$312 million wall, which is being built by construction company Kajima Corp., as a waste of taxpayer money.

TEPCO has repeatedly faced criticism for its handling of the Fukushima crisis, which occurred after a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to a meltdown of reactors at the facility in March 2011. The disaster was the worst nuclear accident to take place since Chernobyl in 1986.






The company has admitted that it did not act properly during the disaster, confessing in February that it announced the nuclear meltdowns far too late. It also stated in a 2012 report that it downplayed safety risks caused by the incident, out of fear that additional measures would lead to a shutdown of the plant and further fuel public anxiety and anti-nuclear campaigns.

Despite the ongoing problems encountered following the meltdowns, TEPCO has set 2020 as the goal for ending the plant's water problem - an aim which critics say is far too optimistic.

However, the water problem is just part of the monumental challenges faced at the facility. Controlling and dismantling the plant is expected to take 40 years. Robots have been tasked with taking photos of the debris, as the radiation levels are too high for humans to complete the job.


- RT.





 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Eastern Taiwan Shaken By 26 Earthquakes In ONE NIGHT - No Reports Of Damage Or Injuries! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]


April 28, 2016 - TAIWAN - Eastern Taiwan was rattled with as many as 26 earthquakes overnight, with three of them being identified as main earthquakes, Shin Tzay-chyn (辛在勤), director-general of the Central Weather Bureau said Thursday.

It is a coincidence that three main earthquakes occurred in one night in three different places along Taiwan's eastern coast, Shin said, adding that the region is known for frequent tremors.

A total of 26 earthquakes were recorded between 11:17 p.m. Wednesday and 8:00 a.m., Thursday, with one main earthquake each occurring near the border of Yilan and Hualien Counties and in Hualien's Hsiulin and Fuli Townships, according to the bureau. The rest were aftershocks.

There were no reports of damage or injuries.




The first earthquake, which occurred off the coast at a depth of 10 kilometers, was the strongest, with a magnitude of 5.6, said Shin. An intensity of five was felt in parts of Yilan and Hualien Counties during that main earthquake.

In parts of New Taipei, Taichung Cities and Yilan, Hualien and Nantou Counties, the intensity level was three. In Taoyuan and central Taipei, the intensity level was 2.

The two main earthquakes that occurred early Thursday had a magnitude of 4.3 and 5.5, respectively.



USGS Seismotectonics of the Philippine Sea and Vicinity


The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

South of the Mariana arc, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Yap Islands along the Yap trench. The long zone of Pacific plate subduction at the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea Plate is responsible for the generation of the deep Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of circum-pacific island arcs. Similarly, the northwestern margin of the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasia plate along a convergent zone, extending from southern Honshu to the northeastern coast of Taiwan, manifested by the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) trench. The Ryukyu Subduction Zone is associated with a similar zone of back-arc extension, the Okinawa Trough. At Taiwan, the plate boundary is characterized by a zone of arc-continent collision, whereby the northern end of the Luzon island arc is colliding with the buoyant crust of the Eurasia continental margin offshore China.


USGS plate tectonics.

Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda Plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to the Celebes Islands in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by active volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger et al., 1983). On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller less well-developed Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south (Cardwell et al., 1980). At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active. The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007).

Relative plate motion vectors near the Philippines (about 80 mm/yr) is oblique to the plate boundary along the two plate margins of central Luzon, where it is partitioned into orthogonal plate convergence along the trenches and nearly pure translational motion along the Philippine Fault (Barrier et al., 1991). Profiles B and C reveal evidence of opposing inclined seismic zones at intermediate depths (roughly 70-300 km) and complex tectonics at the surface along the Philippine Fault.

Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map. The plate boundaries are most accurate along the axis of the trenches and more diffuse or speculative in the South China Sea and Lesser Sunda Islands. The active volcanic arcs (Siebert and Simkin, 2002) follow the Izu, Volcano, Mariana, and Ryukyu island chains and the main Philippine islands parallel to the Manila, Negros, Cotabato, and Philippine trenches.

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (Magnitude greater than 7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS | Focus Taiwan.






 

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Weather Chaos As Austria Is Hit By Unseasonal Heavy Snowfall; Winter Weather Returns To Iceland With A Vengeance! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Ischgl, Austria

April 28, 2016 - EARTH - The following articles constitutes several of the latest reports on heavy snowfall, low temperatures and snow storms as global cooling continues across the Earth.

Weather chaos as Austria is hit by unseasonal heavy snowfall

Tens of thousands of homes in Austria were left without electricity and some residents had to be evacuated after areas of the country were hit by unseasonal heavy snowfall.

On Wednesday 15,000 homes in Carinthia and 6,500 in Styria lost electricity due to the weather and the whole of the country was affected by road blocks.


There are also concerns among the agricultural businesses that fruit and vegetable crops could be lost in the millions due to frost.

Experts warn the coldest day is yet to come, however, with temperatures expected to be as low as -10 degrees in some areas on Thursday - just days before the outdoor swimming pools are due to open for the summer season.

Trains were also affected with commuters left stranded at Klagenfurt's main train station after the line between Friesach and Villach went down, with national rail operators OeBB telling people they had to find their own way home as there is no replacement service.

In Klagenfurt traffic came to a stand-still and around Carinthia there were traffic accidents and congestion, with many drivers stuck for hours.

Twenty-five people had to be evacuated from a house in Klagenfurt after a snow-covered tree threatened to collapse onto the building, with authorities warning pedestrians that even a small branch can be life-threatening if it falls from a tree.


Serious snowfall in parts of Austria this morning. This is Zauchensee

A one and five-year-old child had to be brought to hospital in the city suffering minor injuries following an accident involving two buses, where one driver failed to brake quick enough on the icy road.

Event organisers were left with damages of around €150,000 after a large tent at the centre of the Camping Arneitz event in Faak am See collapsed due to snow.

Police also advised residents to stay at home where possibly to avoid any risk to their life.


 WATCH: April snow in Austria.




Snow fell the entirety of Wednesday on the stretch of the Pack Saddle road between Styria and Carinthia, causing an accident at the Herzogbergtunnel involving seven vehicles and eventually blocked the road. In Knittelfeld one person was injured in a crash between two vehicles.

There were also problems on the Tauern Autobahn with the A10 between Gmünd and Rennweg blocked by stuck traffic.

Huge crop damage feared

Growers fear huge damages to vegetable and wine crops following frosty temperatures, with the Styrian Chamber of Agriculture saying that East, South-west and Western Styria are all affected and "massive failures" in crops such as apples, pears, cherries, plums and apricots are expected.

Speaking to the ORF, a director of plant production at the Chamber of Agriculture Markus Tschischej described the cold weather conditions in Carinthia as "a medium sized catastrophe".




Winter weather returns to Iceland with a vengeance

Rax / Ragn­ar Ax­els­son

Winter struck Iceland again with a vengeance last night, as heavy snow hit parts of the north-east.

Police and rescue services were called out several times during the night to assist with vehicles mired in snow on impassable roads. The national ring road was closed near Mývatn.

Temperatures dropped well below freezing in the northern town of Akureyri and conditions this morning there are described as wintry.


You can check out the status of road conditions in real time on the website of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration here. Iceland Monitor also has a weather forecast section available for readers here.


- The Local | Iceland Monitor.





WORLD WAR Z: Plagues & Pestilences - "Marked Increase" In Zika Cases Likely, Warns WHO!


April 28, 2016 - HEALTH - As some 600 disease experts from 43 nations convene in the French capital to pour over increasingly troubling data about Zika, it appears that there’s not much room for optimism anytime soon.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned yesterday of the potential for a “marked increase” in Zika infections as well as the spread of the virus to new parts of the world.

At present largely confined to Latin America and the Caribbean, Zika’s range is thought likely to expand as summer arrives in the northern hemisphere, bringing with it virus-transmitting mosquitoes.

“As seasonal temperatures begin to rise in Europe, two species of Aedes mosquito which we know transmit the virus will begin to circulate,” WHO assistant director general Marie-Paule Kieny told the Zika science conference in Paris.

Add to that the risk of Zika-infected men passing the virus on to women via sex, and the world “could see a marked increase in the number of people with Zika and related complications,” Kieny said, describing Zika as a “global emergency” and a “growing threat.”

AFP reports that despite a flurry of research, very little is known about the virus — how long it can hide out in the human body, the degree of risk of sexual transmission, the full list of diseases and disorders it may cause, and all the mosquito types capable of transmitting it.







Recent scientific consensus is that Zika causes microcephaly, a form of severe brain damage in new-borns, and adult-onset neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which can cause paralysis and death.

But as infectious diseases professor David Heymann of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told AFP on the conference sidelines: “It’s not what we know but what we don’t know that is concerning.

“We can’t make recommendations (for prevention) if we don’t understand the full potential of a virus or bacteria.”

Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, which in most people causes only mild symptoms – a rash, joint pain or fever.

But according to Kieny, the most urgent priority, was for new tools for quickly diagnosing Zika, particularly in pregnant women whose babies risk severe disability.

Kieny said that developers in the United States, France, Brazil, India and Austria are working on 23 vaccine-development projects, but it could take years, and the feasibility of an “emergency-use” vaccine was being examined.

The experts said that until then, the first line of defence remained mosquito control and bite prevention, and advising women in endemic regions to postpone pregnancy.

Duane Gubler of the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, said Zika “surprised” the world, just as Ebola before it, despite both viruses having been known about for decades.

“I think we should take this as a wakeup call and start developing our surveillance systems so we can monitor these viruses a little more effectively,” he told the conference.

Kieny said particular vigilance was required in Africa, where the virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1947.

The virus can be introduced to a new region when a local mosquito picks it up from an infected human, such as someone returning from a vacation in South America.

Provided the mosquito lives long enough, it then infects people from whom it takes a blood meal, starting a vicious cycle.







The current Zika outbreak in Brazil began early last year, followed nine months later by a surge of infants born with microcephaly, and an increase in Guillain-Barre cases.

Brazil has reported some 1.5 million infections out of an estimated global total of two million in more than 40 countries.


- Caribbean 360.





 

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcanic White Island Erupts In The Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand - Alert Level Raised To 3 And Aviation Color Code To Orange!

White Island eruption in 2013. John Borren

April 28, 2016 - NEW ZEALAND - White Island erupted last night.

The volcanic island, off the coast of the Bay of Plenty, erupted yesterday between 9.30pm and 11pm, GNS Science said.

As a consequence of this activity the Volcanic Alert Level is now raised to Level 3 (Minor Volcanic Eruption) and the Aviation Colour Code to Orange.

No eruptive activity has been seen since about 11pm yesterday.

The eruption was accompanied by a moderately elevated seismic activity, GNS said. The seismic activity is now back to normal.

Material appears to have been deposited over north side of the crater floor and up onto north crater wall. There is not yet a clear view of crater area visible from cameras.

Volcanologists are monitoring the volcano and further information will be released as soon as it is available.

Over the last couple of weeks, GNS scientists have observed a fall of 2m in the water level of the crater lake.

However, they have not noted any changes in other monitored parameters, like the amount of volcanic gas being emitted, fumarole temperatures and the presence of volcanic tremor or earthquakes.

During a visit last week by GNS volcanologist Brad Scott he was able to confirm the lake level had dropped 2m in the last 2 weeks. The lake was now about the same level as it was in 2014. The drop in water level of the crater lake has revealed several islands or crater outlines and the lake temperature has increased 2C, from 56C to 58C, since February.

There had been a small decrease in the temperature of the hottest fumarole (169C to 161C) since February. The SO2 gas output has ranged between 90 and 480 tonnes per day (1.0 to 5.5 kg per second) of gas during the last 5 weeks. These are typical values for White Island.

The level of volcanic tremor continues to vary, but remains below those observed in 2012 when unrest was stronger and small eruptions occurred.



- New Zealand Herald.




ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up On Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts?!

New England Aquarium

April 28, 2016 - MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - Biologists and veterinarians have spent the last two days trying to determine what killed a 27-foot-long humpback whale yearling that washed up on Duxbury Beach on Monday afternoon.

The New England Aquarium said the female whale, which was most likely 14 to 16 years old, had no visible scars and was not tangled in marine gear.

After it was moved to higher ground with construction vehicles, aquariums staff and volunteers removed several tons of blubber and tissue from the carcass as they dissected it in an effort to determine what killed.

The aquarium is now working with the Center for Coastal Studies to identify the whale through unique markings on its tail fluke. - The Patriot Ledger.




FIRE IN THE SKY: "It Was Majestic" - Fireball Spotted Over Okayama, Japan! [VIDEOS]

Fireball spotted over Okayama, Japan, possibly part of the Lyrids.

April 28, 2016 - JAPAN - On April 22, 2016 at about 11:25 pm, there was a fireball of Lyra meteor shower.

The fireball had an absolute magnitude of -5.5, as calculated by Ueda of Osakan.

The actual path length was 330.5 km., entering the atmosphere approximately 80.8 km over the border over the Kitsuki vanishing point at km 141.2.

It was majestic, as it was flying over 7.1 seconds between Oita Prefecture Bungotakada and Hyogo Prefecture Sayo-cho. You can see that was a brilliant meteor from Okayama Prefecture.


WATCH: Fireball over Japan.




- Lunar Meteorite Hunter.