Transportation

Bullet Train Derails in Japan

A Japanese bullet train carrying about 130 passengers and crew has derailed in heavy snow in northern Japan, although there were no reports of injuries. The six-carriage train was travelling at a drastically reduced speed of around 20 kilometres per hour due to the snow, when a number of wheels skipped off the track.

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Wildfires

Winds Fuel Wildfires in Central Florida, USA

Evacuations have been ordered for 300 homes in north Volusia County, Florida as one of three wildfires in Central Florida caused havoc today. Interstate 95 was shutdown in both directions.

Storms and Floods

Avalanche in Torghar, Pakistan

An avalanche in Chum Jabba village in Torghar district has killed three people, a woman and two girls.

The Avalanche was caused by heavy rainfall.

Floods – Queensland, Australia

An emergency flood alert has been issued for parts of Dalby in southern Queensland. Dozens of homes are believed to have been flooded when Myall Creek peaked at 3.21 metres at midnight (AEST), breaking its banks at north Dalby.

Floods, fallen trees after heavy storm hits Buenos Aires, Argentina. One person drowned.

A renewed round of flooding in Thailand’s southern region has claimed one life, but the situation is expected to improve in the next few days.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.7 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

6.4 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.8 Earthquake hits the north Pacific Ocean.

5.5 Earthquake hits the India-Bangladesh border.

5.2 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

Wildfires

Wildfire in California

A California wildfire continues to blaze, having burned more than 300 acres in and around Rancho Jurupa Regional Park.

Wildfire California

Storms and Floods

Landslide in geothermal power plant in Philippines kills 5

Heavy downpours from several days has caused a landslide disaster at the Upper Mahiao geothermal plant in Leyte, Philippines. The landslide killed five workers and injured other 11 with at least seven people still reported as missing.

Landslide

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): After its brief surge in activity 2 days ago, the volcano has calmed down and not produced new overflows.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Seismic and eruptive activity have gradually declined, after the lava flows from yesterday’s paroxysm continued to advance for a while and strombolian activity took place from Voragine during the night. The Radiostudio 7 Belvedere Webcam has barely escaped destruction from the flows, but unless moved, it is probably only a matter of time until it suffers the same fate as the INGV seismic station.

Tjörnes Fracture Zone (North of Iceland): An earthquake swarm is in progress east of Grímsey Island. So far, the largest quakes are below magnitude 3.

Gorely (Southern Kamchatka): Moderate seismic activity, and moderate to strong degassing activity of the volcano were observed last week. Satellite data showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano.

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): Weak seismic activity related to possibly weak strombolian activity in the summit crater of the volcano continues.

Kizimen (Kamchatka): Moderate seismic activity of the volcano continues. Video and satellite data showed a growth of an extrusion at the volcano summit continues. Incandescence of the volcano summit, hot avalanches on the western and eastern volcanic flanks and strong gas-steam activity accompany this process.

Karymsky (Kamchatka): Moderate seismic activity of the volcano continues. Satellite data showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano on February 21 and 25-28.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): A viscous lava flow continues to effuse on the eastern flank of the lava dome. Strong and moderate fumarolic activity and incandescence of the dome summit and hot avalanches accompanies this process. (KVERT weekly update).

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): The eruption continues with little changes: very fluid lava flows are erupted from the Southern fissure at Tolbachinsky Dol and are moving to the southern, eastern and western slopes of Tolbachinsky Dol. Cinder cones continue to grow on the Southern fissure. Gas-steam plumes with ash rose up to 11,500 ft (3.5 km) a.s.l. and extended to different directions of Tolbachinsky Dol last week. (KVERT weekly update)

Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): A viscous lava flow continues to be active on the lava dome flank. Weak and moderate gas-steam activity accompany this process.

Hakone (Honshu): The latest bulletin of the Japan Meteorological Agency mentions that an increase in seismicity since January 11 near the intra-caldera dome Komagatake is beginning to worry scientists about a possible new activity. This increased seismicity is accompanied by deformation (inflation) detected since the end of 2012. No tremor has been recorded at the moment.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano had a series of stronger vulcanian explosions over the past days, with ash plumes rising up to 3.7-4.3 km altitude. A new webcam video from youtube user cubhf137 shows a strong eruption with lightning in the ash column on the evening of 27 Feb:

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): While the rate of gas-steam(-ash) emissions remains low, the intensity of some of them and overall degassing activity have increased. A strong SO2 plume and some emission tremor are visible on current satellite and seismic data.

Fuego (Guatemala): A new lava flow has appeared from the summit crater of Fuego volcano and is traveling towards Trinidad canyon and about 300 m long. Weak explosions occur from time to time as well, with plumes rising only a few 100 meters. The current seismic signal shows an increase of activity over the past hours.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.9 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands. No reports of injuries or damage.

5.7 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands region.

Wildlife

Monarchs Go Missing During Kiwi Summer

New Zealanders are wondering where the country’s iconic monarch butterflies have gone this southern summer. They failed to return in some areas after a cold and tough winter dampened their breeding grounds on the South Island.

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While related to their North American cousins, New Zealand monarchs don’t migrate vast distances.

They instead adapt to local conditions, often wintering along the coast where temperatures seldom fall below 50 degrees.

Experts say climate change may be what has affected the monarchs recently.

“Monarchs are an indicator species, telling us a lot about how other insects are going, and this is something to watch closely as we need our insects,” said an expert.

Experts say the colorful insects are likely to rebound in the years to come as colonies recover from last winter’s adverse conditions.

Environment

Global Hottest and Coldest Temperatures

The week’s hottest temperature was 115.5 degrees Fahrenheit (46.4 degrees Celsius) at Gobabeb, Namibia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 72.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57.9 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Space Events

Planetary Meteor Defense Shield Proposed

Russia is proposing a unified international monitoring system to prevent Earth from being struck with a catastrophic blast from space.

Following the destructive meteor breakup over southern Russia on February 15, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev assigned a deputy, Dmitry Rogozin, to find ways to prevent far worse disasters.

Rogozin had proposed in 2011 an “international initiative” to prevent such threats by harnessing the “intellectual and technological efforts of industrial nations.”

Anti-missile and aerospace defense technologies in use today are mostly ground-based and designed to detect incoming objects launched from the ground, rather than those coming from space.

A network structured under the umbrella of the United Nations to detect and deflect meteors or asteroids long before they reach the planet is proposed.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Firefighters are being brought in from around Western Australia to help battle a 1 200 Ha bushfire raging through Perth’s semi-rural northeast amid fears that stronger winds will increase its intensity. More than 150 firefighters tackled the blaze near Shady Hills and Bullsbrook.

After burning more than 85,000 hectares of land for over six weeks, the last two bushfires burning in Victoria’s Gippsland region have been contained.

Storms and Floods

Mudslide in Ipoh, Malaysia

Heavy rainfall has caused huge mudslide in Taman Kledang Permai in Ipoh, Malaysia. The mudslide has blocked Ipoh-Lumut highway.

Thailand authorities have declared Narathiwat a natural disaster zone. Continuous rainfall from some days has flooded almost the entire area of Narathiwat.

Mudslide

Tropical Cyclone Rusty

Tropical cyclone Rusty has damaged the power infrastructure in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, leaving thousands without electricity. Fallen trees and high winds have led to power outages in almost all districts. Kupang suffered a power blackout on Tuesday evening after the storm damaged the electricity cable network and forced the shutdown of a local power station.

The remnants of tropical cyclone Rusty are causing major flooding in the Pilbara catchment areas and river levels are expected to remain high for days. Around 4pm yesterday, two hours after all cyclone warnings were cancelled, emergency services said minor to major flood levels had been reached in the Nullagine, Oakover, Coongan and De Grey rivers, with further peaks possible in coming days.