Earthquakes

5.6 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Strait of Gibraltar.

5.2 Earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit Tonga.

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity:

The eruption of Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador is becoming increasingly dangerous. This morning, a phase of strong activity occurred with explosions every 5 minutes and another pyroclastic flow was observed going through the Cusua ravine. During the past days, ash emissions and frequent explosions produced ash columns rising 2-2.5 km. THe explosions ejected incandescent lava up to about 400 m above the crater and produce loud cannon-fire noises and roars that can be heard in all towns near the volcano and sometimes cause buildings vibrate.

The eruption of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka continues with strong tremor and vigorous lava emission.

Lava has been recently also seen at Klyuchevskoi volcano, that still has strombolian activity in its summit crater, and sporadic weak explosions continue to occur from Karymski volcano in Kamchatka. Activity at Kizimen volcano instead has recently decreased a lot; its lava dome seems to have stopped growing (for now).

Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico: After increasing to 5 weak steam and sometimes ash emissions per hour during 17-18 Dec, the rate has dropped to about 3 per hour during 18-19 Dec. Glow remains visible at night.

On the morning of 18 December, Pacaya volcano in Guatemala had 3 small explosions of gas-and-ash that left a new small crater. Since then, the volcano has remained calm, but this is the volcano’s first surface activity since late 2010, and could indicate its re-awakening.

In Indonesia, reports that the new lava dome of Paluweh volcano now produces pyroclastic flows that reach the sea on the south side. Vegetation in the surroundings of the lava dome has all been killed.

Ash emissions from Ulawun volcano in Papua New Guinea ceased on 11 December, the Rabaul Volcano Observatory reported to USGS. During the past days, only steaming was observed.

Manam volcano has been having mild strombolian activity and producing a small lava from two vents located on the upper slopes of the SE valley during 8-14 Dec.

Wildfires

Bushfires are ravaging Ruvubu National Park located in Muyinga and Karuzi provinces in south-eastern Burundi. The park is near the border with Tanzania.

Storms and Floods

Major blizzards in United States

-Heavy winter snowstorm has blanketed the US Midwest today. The region’s first big storm of the season dumped more than 30 centimetres of snow in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has issued a state of emergency.

-Storm has cut power to more than 40,000 households and businesses in Iowa.

-Blizzard warnings were also issued in Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois.

-Airlines cancelled more than 150 flights at Chicago’s bustling O’Hare airport. Flights through smaller airports in Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota were also cancelled Thursday morning.

A tornado peeled the roofs from buildings, toppled trucks, and blew down oak trees and limbs in the Mobile area, Alabama, USA early Thursday, leading to road closures but there were no reports of major injuries.