Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits northern Algeria.

5.1 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

A second 5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Gas Extraction in the Netherlands Causes Earthquakes

As earthquakes become more intense and more frequent in the north of the Netherlands, there is mounting pressure on the government to reduce the amount of gas being extracted there. It is a curse for thousands of inhabitants of an area blessed with vast mineral wealth. Homes are crumbling as the country profits from the Groningen gas fields, the largest in Europe.

There exists a consensus among all parties – including the gas companies – that the process of extracting the gas is causing earthquakes, but the country is thriving on the proceeds. In 2012 the Dutch government made about 14bn euros (£12bn; $18bn) from the Groningen gas fields. Without these revenues, the Netherlands’ deficit would be similar to that of crisis-struck Cyprus (6.3%).

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Mahasen – After Effects

Cyclone Mahasen has spared Bangladesh from the worst extent of deaths and damage although it left 48 killed in its wake. This time there was early warning and most of the deaths occurred as victims ignored do’s and don’ts issued by local authorities. More than 49,000 thatched houses were destroyed.

Indonesia – Monsoon set to break over Andamans under ‘Mahasen’ effect. The onset of the rains is expected to be normal this year, with raging cyclone Mahasen having played a big role facilitating it. The cyclone has churned up the seas and is trailed by strong band of southwesterly flows from South of the Equator.

Kathmandu – Cyclone Mahasen brings rain in Himalayas. It seems the Mahasen Cyclone in the Bay of Bengal has had a slight affect in the weather pattern of the Kathmandu Valley as the temperature has remained below normal for the past few days.

Avalanche on Mount Saipal, Nepal

At least seven people are reported to be missing in an avalanche in the Mount Saipal region of far-western Nepal. The avalanche hit a yarsagumba collectors group of nine people on Mt Saipal. Two people survived and reported the tragedy to locals at Kanda VDC.

Landslide in the Democratic Republic Congo

At least 47 people are missing following a landslide in in Rubaya in North Kivu province of Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). A rescue team has been working in the landslide zone but no survivors or bodies have been found.

Guangdong Hit as Deadly Floods Sweep Southern China – Update.

Flooding and landslides across nine southern Chinese provinces have killed more than 50 people and left 14 missing.

Guangdong was hardest hit, reporting 36 deaths after days of heavy rain. Six people have died in Jiangxi.

And further bad weather is forecast for Guangdong, with warnings of heavy wind and rain causing more flooding in the next few days.

Teams of relief workers have been sent to oversee the recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas, officials said.

Heavy rainstorms in Guangdong reportedly caused widespread flooding in the province’s mountainous areas and affected nine cities including the provincial capital, Guangzhou.

Nearly 900,000 people had been affected across the state, with floods destroying 2,675 houses.

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Space Events

Powerful Solar Flares

As Earth’s magnetic field reverberates from one CME strike which hit on the 18th and sparked a G1-class geomagnetic storm, a second more potent CME is on the way. It was propelled in our direction by sunspot AR1748, which unleashed an M3-class solar flare on May 17th (0858 UT).

Although this is not the strongest flare we’ve seen from AR1748, it could be the most geoeffective; the sunspot was almost squarely facing Earth when the blast occurred. NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the cloud arrives.

NASA Announces Brightest Lunar Explosion Ever Recorded

A boulder-sized meteor slammed into the moon in March, igniting an explosion so bright that anyone looking up at the right moment might have spotted it, NASA announced Friday.

NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office is reporting the discovery of the brightest impact seen on the moon in the eight year history of the monitoring program.

Some 300 lunar impact events have been logged over the years but this latest impact, from March 17, is considered many orders of magnitude brighter than anything else observed.

The blast lasted only about a single second and shone like a 4th magnitude star—making it bright enough to see with just the unaided eye.

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Wildfires

Wildfires Persist in California, USA

A pair of tamed but persistent wildfires still burned in the hills and mountains around Interstate 5 after a wild week of burning brush in the area north of Los Angeles.

Wildfires in Arizona, USA

Wildfires covering over 1,400 acres sparked up in the northwest and southern areas of the state, fire officials said. One fire in Black Rock was sparked by lighting and spread to 950 acres about 25 miles southwest of San Carlos.

Drought

Namibia declares state of emergency as drought bites

Namibia’s president declared a state of emergency for the whole of the desert-fringed country on Friday, due to a severe drought.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Kizimen (Kamchatka): The lava dome remains active and produces hot avalanches on the western and eastern flanks. KVERT reports moderate seismic activity, incandescence of the volcano summit and medium to strong degassing.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The activity of the growing lava dome continues with little changes. KVERT reports moderate seismic activity, moderate gas-steam activity and incandescence.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): According to the latest KVERT report, the eruption has gained again in strength. Tremor levels have risen and lava continues to effuse from the southern fissure vent, feeding a broad lava flow field.

Pavlov (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption continues with lava fountaining, an active lava flow and ash emissions, accompanied by continuous seismic tremor. Aerial observations suggest that the interaction of lava and ice on the upper slope of the volcano create mud flows and pyroclastic flows. A narrow plume of steam, ash, and gas, occasionally up to 20,000 ft. above sea level, and extending southeast from the volcano over the North Pacific Ocean was visible in satellite images yesterday. Minor to trace ash fallout could be occurring on the north, east and southeast flanks of the volcano and possibly on parts of Pavlov Bay and adjacent waters southeast of the volcano. Nearby communities have not reported any ash fall over the past 24 hours. (AVO)

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity remains elevated, but the number and size of explosions have decreased during the past 2 days. CENAPRED made an overflight and found that the series of recent explosions since 14 May, in particular the two that occurred on the night of the 16th to 17th, have excavated a crater of approx. 200 m diameter and 40 m depth in the lava dome. The rest of the dome’s surface is covered by fragments from the explosions.