Earthquakes

5.5 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.4 Earthquake hits Minahasa, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Flores Sea.

5.2 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Sangihe, Indonesia.

Environment

The Dead Sea is slowly dying as industrial and agricultural extraction of water causes the lake to shrink at record rate over the last year.

NASA satellite images illustrating the decline of the Dead Sea over the past 40 years:

dead sea

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The week’s hottest temperature was 121.1 degrees Fahrenheit (49.5 degrees Celsius) at Kaedi, Mauritania.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 79.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.0 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

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Every rainy season, the Guna people living on the Panamanian white sand archipelago of San Blas brace themselves for waves gushing into their tiny mud-floor huts.

Rising ocean levels caused by global warming and decades of coral reef destruction have combined with seasonal rains to submerge the Caribbean islands for days on end.

Once rare, flooding is now so menacing that the Guna have agreed to abandon ancestral lands for an area within their semi-autonomous territory on the east coast of the mainland.

Volcanos

An increased number of earthquakes have been noted beneath Askja volcano in Iceland during the recent days.

A strong SO2 plume is visible from Nyiragongo, in the DR Congo. The Goma Volcano Observatory has reported continuous ash emissions. This could suggest a new eruptive phase at the volcano has begun.

The seismic swarm in the Tjörnes Fracture Zone north off Iceland that had started nearly 2 weeks ago continues as well although at somewhat reduced pace. Quakes are contentrated in 2 main areas at the western and eastern sides of the fault system.

Elevated seismic activity including a swarm of quakes in mid October and ongoing slight deflation continued at Yellowstone caldera volcano during October. There are no signs of a possible reawakening in a near future.

Popocatépetl’s activity [Mexico] has been showing a weak increasing trend with more than 2 exhalations per hour during 30 Oct – 1 Nov. Glow from the crater remains visible at night, indicating that the lava dome continues to grow slowly there.

Fuego volcano in Guatemala has mild infrequent strombolian explosions and continues to feed its lava flow, which however has decreased to 200 m length.

The lava flows from Santiaguito lava dome were reported calm this morning [Guatemala]. Few weak explosions are sometimes observed from the dome.

Pacaya volcano [Guatemala] is steaming only, but continues to show some elevated seismic activity.

Seismic swarms of low energy continue to occur at Cumbal volcano in Colombia. Nevado del Ruiz volcano continues to emit significant amounts of steam and gas, and sometimes small amounts of ash. Galeras volcano has had small intermittent ash explosions recently. The country’s other volcanoes currently on yellow alert have not shown significant variations in their activity during the past week.

MODVOLC detected a hot spot at Pagan volcano in the Marianas on 31 Oct, the first time since August 2012. According to USGS, the volcano continues to show only steaming, but it cannot ruled out that the new thermal anomaly might be caused by near-surface lava.

Alaid volcano (Northern Kuriles, Russia) continues to show a thermal hot spot as well. The volcano is not monitored on ground.

Raung volcano in East Java might have been erupting on a small scale already since 19 Oct. A video from a visit at the local volcano observatory shows strong seismic activity, but no visible plumes rising from the volcano’s summit.

An explosion from Kizimen volcano in Kamchatka today produced an ash plume rising to 17,000 ft (5.2 km) altitude, VAAC Tokyo reported.

Disease

Mauritania declares an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever. A total of 34 cases have been confirmed, including 17 deaths in 6 regions.

Wildfires

Dozens of residents fled their homes last night after a bushfire jumped containment lines and burnt within metres of their properties in the Newcastle suburb of Edgeworth, New South Wales, Australia.

Storms and Floods

The US death toll from Sandy stands at 98 as swathes of the East Coast battle to recover, three days after being battered by the massive storm. The death toll from Sandy is continuing to rise, as swathes of the US East Coast battle to recover from the massive storm that hit three days ago. At least 38 people are now known to have died in New York City alone, and others are missing. About 4.5 million people in 12 states are still without power, and chronic fuel shortages persist. The National Guard is to deliver a million meals and bottled water to New Yorkers affected by the storm.

High tides have again flooded Venice, Italy, leading Venetians and tourists to don high boots and use wooden walkways to cross St. Mark’s Square and other areas under water.

Torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Nilam have left vast stretches of croplands in Chittoor, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and East Godavari districts, Southern India under water and claimed the lives of six people.