Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the south coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits north eastern Sakha, Siberia, Russia.

5.1 Earthquake hits north eastern Sakha, Siberia, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits north eastern Sakha, Siberia, Russia.

Space Events

Meteorite Crash in Russia

A series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals region, reportedly caused by a meteorite shower, has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones have stopped working.

According to unconfirmed reports, the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. A missile salvo reportedly blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers. A bright flash was seen in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria and in northern Kazakhstan. At least one piece of the fallen object caused damage on the ground in Chelyabinsk. According to preliminary reports, it crashed into a wall near a zinc factory, disrupting the city’s Internet and mobile service.

Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunder had struck at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth. Police in the Chelyabinsk region are reportedly on high alert, and have begun ‘Operation Fortress’ in order to protect vital infrastructure. Office buildings in downtown Chelyabinsk are being evacuated. Injuries were reported at one of the city’s secondary schools, supposedly from smashed windows.  At least 500 people have been injured.

15rdv meteorite tmagArticle

Environment

Thawing Permafrost May Be “Huge Factor” in Global Warming

Thawing permafrost is emitting more climate-heating carbon faster than previously realised. Scientists have now learned that when the ancient carbon locked in the ice thaws and is exposed to sunlight, it turns into carbon dioxide 40 percent faster.

There are 13 million square kilometres of permafrost in Alaska, Canada, Siberia and parts of Europe. A 2011 study estimated that global warming could release enough permafrost carbon to raise global temperatures three degrees C on top of what will result from human emissions from oil, gas and coal.

Human emissions are headed for four degrees C of global heating, warned the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week. A rapid “decarbonization of electricity supply” is needed to avoid that future.

Crack patterns in Arctic permafrost as viewed from a helicopter:

Permafrost pattern 640 629x441

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Three fires burning in plantation forest and grassland are joining into one and racing towards a small town in central Victoria.

The large, fast-moving fire is expected to impact Middle Creek and Buangor anytime.

Twenty tankers and two aircraft are on scene.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The volcano remains in a state of elevated activity with the magma column literally overflowing the crater rim. Lava flows are active on the upper slopes of the NE crater. Tremor and explosion signals are sometimes reaching medium-high levels.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Weak strombolian activity has been taking place from the New SE crater since last night. At the moment, the tremor signal is still low. It will be interesting to see whether (and when) this activity will increase in the near future.

Kamchatka: There are no significant changes in activity at any of the volcanoes in Kamchatka: Fluid lava continues to erupt from Tolbachik volcano, accompanied by stable, still relatively high tremor levels. Moderate seismicity suggests ongoing lava extrusion and dome building at Sheveluch and Kizimen. Low seismic activity was reported from Karymski and Klyuchevskoi volcano. The strong seismicity from Tolbachik obscures the signals from Bezymianny, which also continues to slowly build a lava dome. Gorely continues to show medium levels of tremor caused by fluid movements and strong degassing.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): A report published by the Indonesian Volcanological Survey (VSI) indicates that the intense eruptive phase on 3 Feb caused the collapse of about 1/4 of the volume of the dome, a little more one million cubic meters. VSI points out that the main hazard zones for pyroclastic flows, if the dome continues to grow, include now also the valleys to the west and south-east, in addition to the open valley to the south.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): Not much has changed recently at the ongoing eruption. At the summit, the lava lake level stabilized at 31 m (100 ft) below the Halema`uma`u Crater floor. At Pu`u `O`o cone on the east rift zone, lava flows continued to spread out on older flows to the north of the cone. To the southeast of Pu`u `O`o, lava continues to enter the ocean in multiple areas both inside and outside the National Park boundary. (HVO daily update)

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Strong gas emissions (SO2) and night-time glow indicate continuing magma supply. The number of emissions has decreased to less than 1 every 2 hours on average.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): A pyroclastic flow occurred from the NE side of the lava dome and reached the base of Santa Maria mountain. Visual observations over the past days were generally poor due to cloud cover. The same goes for Fuego volcano, from which only weak rumblings were heard.

Reventador (Ecuador): After a phase of more intense activity yesterday, the volcano has been quieter today. Tremor has decreased, but there are still many volcanic earthquakes and explosion signals. A MODIS hotspot indicates that some lava extrusion probably continues at the summit.