Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.8 Earthquake hits Atacama, Chile. The earthquake shook offices, toppled supermarket shelves and broke windows on Wednesday in north-central Chile, where people fled some buildings in panic. However, no serious damage was reported.

6.2, 6.0, 5.6, 5.6, 5.4, 5.1, 5.0, 4.9 Earthquakes hit the Santa Cruz Islands.

6.0 Earthquake hits south eastern Alaska.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.


South Africa Commuter Trains Collide Near Pretoria

At least 300 people, including many school children, have been injured when two passenger trains collided near the South African capital, Pretoria. Medical workers say 28 people were seriously hurt.

The theft of copper cables used for signalling, compounded by human error, caused the crash, said the head of South Africa’s rail authority.

The early morning accident happened when a train crashed into a stationary train near Attridgeville, a township west of Pretoria.

SA Train


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity has generally decreased over the past days, with less tremor and weaker explosion signals. Today, tremor seems to be stronger again.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Vigorous eruptive activity has started at the Bocca Nuova crater and produced a short phase of violent strombolian activity.

Santorini (Cyclades, Greece): According to the latest seismic and satellite data, the uplift at the Santorini volcano (2011-2012) has has come to an end.

Tjörnes Fracture Zone (North of Iceland): Earthquakes continue with typically 10-20 quakes recorded in the TFZ. The swarm that had started 20 Oct last year has now been going on for over 3 months and shows no signs of stopping.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): (30 Jan) The eruption continues unchanged.

Taal (Luzon, Philippines): Elevated seismic activity continues. During yesterday-today, PHILVOLCS detected 13 volcanic earthquakes. Two of these events, which occurred at 7:03 and 7:04 PM yesterday, were felt at intensity II and accompanied by rumbling sound as reported by residents of Barangay Calauit located at the southeast sector of the volcano island.

Tongariro (North Island, New Zealand): Some small earthquakes have appeared again today, but generally, seismic activity has been showing a decreasing trend over the past weeks.

White Island (New Zealand): (30 Jan) Activity remains elevated and fluctuates between stronger and weaker phases. In its latest bulletin, GNS reports that the hot lake has dried out and a small tuff cone has started to form on the former floor of the lake: The active vent continues to produce vigorous bursts of mud, rock, steam and gas from 50-100 m high. Ash is not being carried into the plume. This activity is intermittent as is the seismic activity. Current activity is not sufficient for Volcanic Alert Level 2.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity today remained low. Only few and very weak explosions and small block avalanches from the active flows were reported by INSIVUMEH.

Fuego (Guatemala): Explosions have been becoming more frequent (now 12 during the past day vs a previous average of only 5). They produce light gray ash plumes drifting south and SE for about 5 km. The lava flow is still weakly active, but was only 150 m long this morning.

San Cristobal (Nicaragua): (30 Jan) Numerous tiny volcanic earthquakes and weak volcanic tremor reflect internal unrest.

Masaya (Nicaragua): (30 Jan) Seismic activity remains at more or less stable levels, showing normal background activity of continuous internal fluid movements.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina border): (30 Jan) Seismic and degassing activity is on the increase, Sernageomin reported in its latest bulletin (29 Jan). During 28-29 Jan, a total of 345 volcanic earthquakes (plus more than 400 not counted ones because below threshold) and 6 hours of volcanic tremor were recorded. The seismic swarm was accompanied by an increase in the degassing activity, creating a column of 500 m during pulses of more intense activity. No glow or ash emissions were seen.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Felleng

Heavy rains and gale force winds pelt northeastern Madagascar as strengthening TC Felleng barrelled toward the island’s east coast. Winds were around 175 kilometres an hour.

Cyclone Felleng has become the strongest cyclone of the South Indian 2012-2013 storm season.

Heavy storms across south and central U.S.

Storm in Nashville, Tennessee has killed one person.

Tornado in Mount Juliet, Nashville damaged the top floor of a three-story building.

Lightning injured a person in Monticello, Arkansas.

Storm damaged more than 20 homes in eastern Greene County in Indiana.

Tornado also damaged houses in Elkins and Goshen in Washington and Berryville in Carroll County.

The National Weather Service is currently investigating reports of at least four more tornadoes in Arkansas and Mississippi.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Philippine Islands region.

5.3 Earthquake hits off the coast of Oregon, USA.

5.3 Earthquake hits the mid-indian ridge.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Xizang-Qinghai border, China.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Santa Crux Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Atacama, Chile.


Wildfires Tear Through South Africa’s Scenic Wine Region

Large wildfires are burning through South Africa’s winelands, prompting authorities to declare a code red emergency and dispatch over 200 firefighters to overwhelmed areas. More than 7 200 hectares of fynbos were burned.


Third World Reaction to Disease!

When the banana disease Bunchy Top broke out in Malawi last year, the person in charge, former Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Andrew Daudi allowed the disease to spread throughout the country’s banana plantations because he feared the country’s leadership at the time would not like the news.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Fellang situated off the coast of Madagascar.

Fellang 5day

Australian Floods

Parts of Sydney have been drenched in their heaviest daily rainfall totals in more than a decade as a wild storm system washed over the city on Monday night after causing havoc in the north of the state and in Queensland. Sydney was saturated in widespread rainfall totals of between 80 and 150 millimetres overnight, causing localised flooding in some areas.

Death toll in Queenland rises to four, with two still missing.

Thousands of people evacuated and rescued by helicopters.

Mozambique Floods

150 000 people now affected, with more than 38 deaths.

Graphic pictures of the extent of the floods – before and after:

Mozambique ast 2005042

Mozambique ast 2013025


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 Earthquake hits eastern Kazakhstan.

5.0 and two 4,6 Aftershocks hit eastern Kazakhstan.

5.2 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

4.9 Earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Passenger Plane Crash in Kazakhstan

A passenger plane crashed in thick fog near Kazakhstan’s commercial capital Almaty on Tuesday and broke into pieces when it hit the ground, killing all 21 people on board.


Forest Wildfires in China

China has issued an orange alert for latest forest fires in the southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.

Arsonist Convicted – USA

A wildfire arsonist was sentenced to death in California. The man was convicted of setting a massive wildfire that killed five people and damaged 1,000 plus homes in San Bernardino.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Stromboli has returned to more normal levels of activity during the past days and not produced any new lava flows. Our colleague Marc Szlegat ( reports from his recent visit that the NE vent still was the site of powerful explosions that were accompanied by shock waves.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): Slightly elevated earthquake activity continues.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka, Russia): The eruption continues with little changes. Lava continues to be erupted from the southern fissure vent and feeds large lava flows. KVERT reports strong tremor that obscures seismic recordings from nearby Bezymianny volcano.

Sakurajima (Kyushu): Small to moderately sized explosions continue at relatively high frequency (up to 5-6 per day), with ash plumes rising 5-10,000 ft (1.5-3 km).

Taal (Luzon, Philippines): Earthquake activity remains elevated (20 during the past 3 days), but no other parameters suggest an eruption could be imminent. Alert status remains yellow.

Manam (Papua New Guinea): An eruption produced an ash cloud rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) earlier today, VAAC Darwin reported.

White Island (New Zealand): Earthquakes continue to occur in pulses, and tremor remains elevated, but less stable. It just seems to have dropped sharply. A recent webcam image shows pulsating steam ejections from the crater vent.

Katmai (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The earthquake swarm which began early on 26 Jan has ended.

Colima (Western Mexico): Infrequent small ash explosions and rockfalls have continued during the past days.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Emission numbers dropped drastically during yesterday and are down to 1 per hour, but degassing remains intense and glow can be seen at the summit. During one of the stronger steam/gas explosions yesterday at 09:18 h local time, the plume reached 2 km height above the crater.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity has remained the same: 1-2 explosions per hour with ash plumes rising up to 800 m and weak avalanches from the active flows descending the flanks of the lava dome.

Fuego (Guatemala): Yesterday seems to have been a more “explosive” day at the volcano. INSIVUMEH reports 9 with ash columns up to 500 m height and drifting 6 km west and SW. As a response to the more explosive nature, it seems that the rate of effusion feeding the flow has dropped. The flow decreased to only 200 m length this morning.

Reventador (Ecuador): Seismic activity remains high with continuous, fluctuating tremor and explosion signals. Bad weather mostly prevents direct observations.

Cotopaxi (Ecuador): What seems to be a strong seismic swarm has been visible on recent seismograms, but IGPEN has not issued any notes about this otherwise interesting activity, it is suspected that the VC1 station at the NE base of the volcano is either malfunctioning, showing something else or simply having a very strong magnification of normal backgroud seismicity.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Internal unrest continues in the form of moderate seismic activity including numerous long period events (72 during 26-28 Jan) and tremor pulses (3). Probable gas and steam emissions could not be observed due to cloud cover.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina border): Seismic and surface activity remained low. However, SERNAGEOMIN also recorded 2 deep seated tremor pulses yesterday morning at 08:36 and 11:43 local time, wich could reflect magma movements at depth.

Nyiragongo (DRCongo): A strong SO2 plume appears on today’s NOAA satellite data image. The lava lake is still active, but the safety situation in the area is still critical and visits are currently not recommended.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): (28 Jan) Activity has dropped again abruptly (and so the tremor signal). A new eruptive phase has started at Bocca Nuova. Since this morning (28 Jan), small ash emissions have been observed and now at night, glow can be seen. The tremor signal has been rising as well.

Karkar (Northeast of New Guinea): An explosion occurred this morning. An ash plume rising to 14,000 ft (4.3 km) and extending 20 nautical miles NE was spotted on satellite data by VAAC Darwin.

White Island (New Zealand): Seismic activity has changed from continuous volcanic tremor to a pattern of intermittent tremor. When occurring, the volcanic tremor remains strong. GNS does not think that an eruption is imminent, but reports that the vigorous hydrothermal activity is throwing out rocks and mud and might be followed by ash emissions:

Mammoth Mountain (California, USA): Another small earthquake swarm occurred under the (dormant) volcano during 28-29 Jan. Numerous tiny quakes were registered at shallow depths (mostly 1-5 km).


Drought in Spain

Extremely dry conditions in Spain have caused a failure in the olive harvest. Spain is by far the biggest producer of olive oil in the world, accounting last year for around 50% of the total production worldwide. However farmers in southern Spain believe their crop of olives this year is down by as much as 80%, and some think it is inevitable that the price of this increasingly sought-after commodity will rise.


Swine Flu Pandemic – Report

Swine flu infected at least 20% of all people worldwide, including half of schoolchildren, during the first year of the pandemic in 2009, according to data from 19 countries. It is thought the virus killed 200,000 people around the world.

Although large numbers of people were infected, not all would have developed full-blown flu. The H1N1 virus first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread around the world. Approximately 24% of people had been infected overall, but half of school-age children showed signs of infection. Fewer than two in every 10,000 people infected died during the pandemic.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Felleng

(13s) was located approximately 460 nm north of La Reunion. Felleng is predicted to continue to intensify as it nears Madagascar. Felleng will travel between eastern Madagascar and La Reunion Island by Feb. 1.

Landslide in Turkey

At least seven people have been killed in a landslide in Turkey. The landslide also hit a football pitch in Sirnak, Turkey.


Flooding in UK

Flooding has been reported in Devon, Somerset and south-east Wales. Heavy rain and strong wind warnings have been issued in these regions.

Flooding in Ireland

Heavy rainfall has caused flooding in the Spanish Arch, Galway city of Ireland.

The gale force winds, high tides and heavy rain caused flash flooding in Galway city. Galway city is currently on high alert.

Floods also closed Wolfe Tone Bridge and Lough Atalia Road.

Flooding in Queensland, Australia

Massive summer floods have killed four people and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes across two Australian states on Tuesday, disrupting air and rail travel and coal production.

A deluge fed by the ex-tropical cyclone Oswald dumped more than 200 millimetres (8 inches) of rain in some areas of the Queensland and New South Wales states over the past three days, swelling rivers and swamping towns.

The worst-hit areas were around Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Ipswich in the Queensland state, and around the northern New South Wales towns of Grafton and Lismore.

A fleet of 14 helicopters rescued more than 1,000 people across Queensland overnight and rescue efforts continued on Tuesday.

Natural disaster areas have been declared in ten local government areas hit by flooding in northern NSW.