Earthquakes

6.9 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands near the tip of the Aleutian Island chain off Alaska. No tsunami or damage has been reported, although there is a watch for larger than usual waves.

5.3 Earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Island region.

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Two massive quakes off Indonesia’s Sumatra island in April showed something scientists have long been trying to prove – that large earthquakes can trigger a swarm of more tremors around the globe.

The latest findings could eventually help efforts to predict some earthquakes.

Over the six days after the quakes hit on April 11, the number of tremors of magnitude greater than 5.5 jumped nearly five-fold globally.

“This is the first time that we’ve seen these remote aftershocks at this magnitude and to this extent,” said Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore, author of a number of studies on earthquake hazards in the Sumatra region.

The first quake on April 11 was 8.7 magnitude, nearly as large as the one which triggered a massive tsunami and nuclear disaster in eastern Japan just over a year earlier.

The second one was also huge, at 8.2. Both occurred under the Indian Ocean several hundred kilometres west of Sumatra, in a zone where the Indo-Australian tectonic plate is slowly tearing itself apart.

Drought

The recent drought in Texas, USA killed 301 million trees. The latest count was determined after a three-month, on-the-ground study of hundreds of forested plots, as well as satellite imagery from before and after the drought.

Disease

Syphilis outbreak in Houston and Harris County, Texas, USA. From January to August this year, there were 318 cases. Houston’s last syphilis outbreak occurred in 2007. Syphilis begins with a raised sore. Three weeks later, that goes away and a rash begins and after that, it can go internal, but still affects the brain, heart and skin. It is easily cured with a single shot of penicillin.

Ebola

Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo continues. A total of 79 cases had been recorded, including 19 confirmed positive after laboratory analysis, 32 probable cases and 28 suspected cases, while 33 deaths were registered by September 25. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with blood, faeces and sweat, by sexual contact and by unprotected handling of contaminated corpses. There is no known cure. Currently, 167 people who have been in contact with the 79 reported cases are under surveillance.

Another 400 West Nile cases have been reported in U.S. during the past week according to the CDC.

Volcanos

Mexico’s Popocatepetl Volcano has registered at least 26 eruptions accompanied by steam and gas, as well as a volcano tectonic quake.

Mount Marapi volcano has erupted on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, spewing thick grey smoke up to 1.5 kilometres into the sky.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storm Nadine continues to spin in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Nadine just won’t give up. The storm has been spinning in the eastern Atlantic Ocean in varying stages of intensity, since September 11.

In the Western Pacific:

– Super Typhoon Jelawat is located approximately 430 nm south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Expected to make landfall in Honshu, Japan. All models now track across Japan and into the Sea of Japan, but historically storms are not able to cross Japan’s mountainous geography.

– Tropical storm Ewiniar – was located approximately 345 nm south-southeast of Yokosuka, Japan. No threat to land.

A tornado has been reported Tuesday evening near the town of Okawville, just outside Saint Louis, Illinois, USA.

Poachers killed two rhinos and chopped off their horns as they had strayed out of flood-hit Assam’s Kaziranga National Park in northern India to escape floodwaters on Wednesday.