Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Tohoku, Japan, in 2011 was so powerful that its rumble was ‘heard’ from space. Scientists in France and the Netherlands have found that sound waves from the quake reached as far as an orbiting satellite, 260 kilometres above the Earth.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): With the seismic stations and some of the webcams (in particular, the ones at Belvedere) being unavailable for the time being (they were overrun by lava flows from Friday’s paroxysm), it is getting more difficult to have live data from Etna. However, the Bocca Nuova and several other webcams are still functional and observers on GeoForum collected some image that show that strombolian activity from Voragine continued this night, and also ash eruptions from the New SE crater were seen this morning. This could be a precursor of a new paroxysm.

Ruapehu (North Island): Unrest at the volcano is decreasing. GNS scientists have been able to confirm that the temperatures at depth of the crater lake have started to decline, although still remain elevated. The Crater Lake temperature remains static at 22-25°C, which might indicate that a partial blockage between the deeper hydrothermal system and the Crater Lake remains.

White Island (New Zealand): (4 Mar) After its short period of elevated activity with some ash emissions, the volcano has calmed down and GNS Science has lowered the alert level back to 1 (unrest). New observations show the activity past week has built up a small ash cone in the “hot lake” crater, which is the current focus of activity. The ash cone is surrounded by a small moat of water. The spiny dome from late last year remains.

Disease

Lethal, Drug-resistant Bacteria Spreading in U.S. Healthcare Facilities

Drug-resistant bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are on the rise and have become more resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, according to a new CDC report. These bacteria are causing more hospitalized patients to get infections that, in some cases, are impossible to treat.

CRE are lethal bacteria that pose a triple threat:

Resistance: CRE are resistant to all, or nearly all, the antibiotics we have – even our most powerful drugs of last-resort.

Death: CRE have high mortality rates – CRE germs kill 1 in 2 patients who get bloodstream infections from them.

Spread of disease: CRE easily transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria. For example, carbapenem-resistant klebsiella can spread its drug-destroying weapons to a normal E. coli bacteria, which makes the E.coli resistant to antibiotics also. That could create a nightmare scenario since E. coli is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in healthy people.

Currently, almost all CRE infections occur in people receiving significant medical care. CRE are usually transmitted from person-to-person, often on the hands of health care workers.

During just the first half of 2012, almost 200 hospitals and long-term acute care facilities treated at least one patient infected with these bacteria.

Wildfires

Forest fire in Mumbai, India

A huge forest fire has affected the area of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and a part of Film City (Bollywood) in Mumbai.

The fire which started from tribal areas near the forest has not yet destroyed any structure or caused injury.

Wildfire in Florida, USA

Wildfire in Ocala National Forest in Florida. The Park has been closed due to the fire.

Bushfires in Ghana

Persistent bush fires are threatening the shea nut sector which could directly affect the livelihoods of 70 percent of women in the Upper East region of Ghana.

Storms and Floods

Avalanches in the Alps

At least seven people have died in avalanches in the French and Austrian Alps.

Avalanche in the southern French Alps: Four climbers died in Hautes Alpes region. The area is close to Italy.

Avalanche in Tyrol Austria: Three skiers killed including a German skier near the Hoher Riffler peak in Tyrol.

Massive Winter Storm Pounds The Northern United States

The storm has grounded 2600 flights, closed hundreds of schools and made roadways and highways impassible. At least four people were killed on Tuesday in accidents on icy and snow covered roads and highways. More than a dozen states from Minnesota to Virginia were in the path of the huge storm, which had already dumped as much as 60cm of snow in Montana and 38cm in North Dakota.

Another 1162 flights scheduled for Wednesday had already been cancelled, mainly in the Washington area. The storm was expected to hit the nation’s capital late Tuesday or early Wednesday, and some Congressional meetings were already being called off.

Floods swamp thousands of homes in Jakarta

More heavy rains have fallen in Jakarta causing floods upstream of Bogor Dam, swamping areas of the capital that had only just recovered from January’s major flood. Nearly 6,000 homes have been affected this time, with water up to 2.5 metres deep in places.

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