Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits southern Iran.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Zane

TC Zane is expected to hit far northern Queensland tonight or early tomorrow bringing a dangerous storm tide, heavy rain and winds up to 160km/h. But the weather bureau has cancelled a cyclone warning for parts of Queensland’s Cape York after Tropical Cyclone Zane weakened rapidly overnight into a tropical low.

Floods in Saudi Arabia

Floods in Saudi Arabia have claimed the lives of at least 13 people. Four are still reported to be missing.

Flight services were disrupted at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh.

It is believed to be the heaviest rainfall experienced by the desert kingdom in more than 25 years.

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Other News:

Flooding in Kasese, Uganda-Flooding in Kasese, Uganda has claimed four lives.

Flooding in Ironwood, Michigan, USA.

Winter Storm Achilles is expected to bring 6 – 9 inches of snow by Thursday morning from Colorado to Wisconsin, USA.

Wildfires

Wildfire in Southern California, USA.

Wildfire near Banning in Riverside County, southern California, USA is out of control and has burned approximately 3 000 acres. At least on house has been destroyed.

425 firefighters with six helicopters and six air tankers are struggling to control the fire.

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Disease

China Bird Flu – Update

TH7N9 bird flu is a ‘serious threat’ – researchers warn. The outbreak of a new type of bird flu in China poses a “serious threat” to human health, but it is still too soon to predict how far it will spread. H7N9 is the ‘nastiest virus in humans in years.’

Of the 126 people known to be infected so far, 24 have died, with many more still severely ill in hospital. The H7N9 virus has not, however, yet proved able to spread between people – which limits its global threat. The threat should be “treated calmly, but seriously”, researchers advise.

There is concern over both the pace and severity of the outbreak. There has been a relatively high number of known infections since the first case was detected in April.

How the virus spreads is key. As long as it can spread only from a bird to a person through direct contact it posses a relatively small risk globally – particularly in richer countries where such contact is rare. If it can spread from one person to another then the threat becomes much more potent. This has not yet happened and it is impossible to tell whether it will happen tomorrow or never.

The infection results in severe pneumonia and even blood poisoning and organ failure. “The WHO considers this a serious threat, but we don’t know at this stage whether this is going to spread from human to human.” So far nearly all cases have been traced back to contact with poultry. If the virus adapts to spread readily between people it will pose a much greater threat and scientists warn that the virus is mutating rapidly.

Meningitis in Sudan

An outbreak of Meningitis in South Sudan’s Upper Nile has been declared by local authorities, after the disease reportedly killed two people in its Malakal county. At least 38 suspected cases have been confirmed.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): After decreasing a bit yesterday, the overflow of lava from the NE vents has gained in strength this morning again, accompanied by constant rockfalls, relatively strong explosions and higher tremor.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVER reports no change in the ongoing eruption of the volcano and ongoing high tremor values at levels similar to the past weeks. Recent field reports however suggest that the eruption continues its slowly declining trend and might actually be ending soon. A group who visited the volcano on 29 April could not see lava flows or explosions at the active cone on the southern fissure. It was even possible to walk on the now cooling lava flows. However, weak incandescence and a MODIS hot spot remain visible. It is likely that the still elevated tremor signal indicates that the magma continues to be fed into lava tubes and emerges in places that are difficult to see or access. Although it would not come at all as a surprise if the eruption ends, after almost half a year, it is certainly still too early to announce its end right now.

Telica (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has declined and is now again near normal levels (which include frequent earthquakes typical for Telica volcano’s behavior).

Poas (Costa Rica): A small earthquake swarm occurred yesterday, probably caused by fluid movements bringing heat into the crater lake. Seismicity has calmed down today again.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): A shallow (5 km depth) earthquake of magnitude 3.8 occurred yesterday at 10:24 local time north of the Arenas crater and has been followed by an ongoing earthquake swarm. The quake was felt in nearby areas including Manizales and Villamaria. Possibly, this could mean a new magmatic intrusion, but so far no reports of increased surface activity have become known.

Reventador (Ecuador): Activity remains moderate with frequent small explosions detected on seismic signals and strong degassing producing a plume that was observed yesterday rising 800 m.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Ash emissions and explosions of moderate size have continued and generated a plume averaging 1-2 km in height above the crater. During the night, incandescence is visible at the summit. Some of the stronger explosions are accompanied by cannon-shot noises.