Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): Eruptive activity continues, with fluid lava flows from the southern fissure being still emitted. However, also a very slow trend of decreasing tremor is visible. KVERT reports no significant changes in activity at any of the other volcanoes in Kamchatka: lava extrusion and dome building continue at Sheveluch and Kizimen. No seismic data are available at the moment from Karymski and Bezymianny, which also continues to slowly build a lava dome. Gorely produces medium levels of seismicity caused by fluid movements and strong degassing.

Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): Explosive (strombolian) activity level has been increasing recently, the latest bulletin of Geohazard today indicates. The alert level remains at 2, but an increase to 3 is possible in the near future. Elevated risk of impacts remains near the volcano’s crater, as bombs have started to fall near and in the parking area. A thick steam and ash plume is being emitted from the active vents, and there is ash fall in communities downwind.

Pavlov (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption might have ended already, or is at least pausing for the moment. Over the past few days, the eruptive and seismic activity have greatly declined, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reports. There are no longer volcanic tremor or small explosions detected and satellite observations show no evidence of elevated surface temperatures, volcanic gas or ash emissions. There have been no visual observations from pilots or web cameras of any eruptive activity. “Consequently, the Aviation Color Code is being reduced to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Since yesterday morning’s explosion, the volcano has been relatively quiet and only produced about 1 weak emission of mostly steam per hour. No significant new earthquakes or tremor pulses have occurred.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): Small earthquake swarms at shallow depth continue to plague the volcano. They suggest ongoing (small) magmatic intrusions. The other 5 volcanoes in Colombia currently on alert have not shown significant variations in activity (Galeras: degassing, occasional small ash venting, Cumbal, Machin, Sotará: seismic unrest but no surface activity, Nevado del Huila: degassing/steaming).

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): The earthquake swarm has increased and continues today, but the volcano has not yet erupted. The earthquakes are occurring at very high frequency (130 per hour) and are mostly “hybrid”, i.e. related to both rock-fracturing and fluid-movements within the volcanic edifice. Evacuations in the area have progressed, but faced serious difficulties due to heavy snowfall and also because many residents in nearby villages are reluctant to leave their homes and live stock, especially in the municipalities of Butalelbùn (north side) and El Barco (south-west).

Nyiragongo (DRCongo): A significant SO2 plume is visible today on NOAA satellite data, suggesting continuing lava lake activity at the volcano. Unfortunately, security issues in the Goma-Virunga area continue to prevent us from organizing expeditions for the time being.

Two volcanos are erupting in Alaska: Pavlof and Cleveland.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

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

5.2 Earthquake hits Georgia, Russia.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

Storms and Floods

Flooding in the Yukon River community, Alaska

At least 100 people have been evacuated due to flooding in the Yukon River community, Alaska. Two emergency shelters have been set up in Galena at the old school and the Air Force base.

Flood warnings are in effect for Galena, Hughes, and Buckland.

Landslide in Hidalgo, Mexico

Landslide in Hidalgo state in Mexico has claimed the lives of at least seven people.

Heavy rainfall and hailstorm in Tepeji del Rio caused the landslideL on a road which buried several vehicles and people when part of a hill fell down.

Flooding in Accra, Ghana

Heavy rainfall has caused flooding in Accra, the capital and largest city of Ghana.

Environment

Moss reanimates after 400 years in Deep Freeze

Ancient plants have been brought back to life, despite having been frozen inside a glacier for over 400 years.

Researcher Catherine La Farge, director and curator of the Cryptogamic Herbarium at the University of Alberta, snagged moss which carbon-dating estimated was aged between 400 and 600 years old, frozen during the “Little Ice Age” between 1550 and 1850.

The scientists picked the plants from an area around the Teardrop Glacier in the Canadian Arctic, because La Farge noticed that some of them appeared to be regrowing once the ice had retreated. Glaciers in the region have been receding at a rate of around three to four metres a year, uncovering land that hasn’t seen the Sun since the 1500s.

Once they got the plants back to the lab, La Farge and her co-authors successfully regenerated four species from the original parent material in 11 cultures from seven subglacial samples.

Frozen moss revived

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Etna today is free of clouds, but strong winds with gusts up to 70 km/h speed prevail. No further significant earthquakes occurred. The only activity remains degassing, and occasional small explosions, not visible, deep inside Bocca Nuova, based on seismic observations (OPEC).

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano has been relatively productive with 2-4 explosions daily over the past days. Maximum ash plume heights were reported as 10,000 ft (3 km) (VAAC Tokyo).

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): Although degassing and ash emissions have decreased, seismic activity at the volcano has picked up, SERNAGEOMIN reported. An average of 356 earthquakes per hour, sometimes merging into what looks as volcanic tremor, has been recorded recently. This could be related to intruding magma from a new batch of magma rising at the moment and as a result, phreatomagmatic or magmatic activity could occur at the surface in the near future. The hazards from the volcano to populated areas are only significant in the case of a larger eruption creating a large ash plume, possible pyroclastic flows and lahars capable of travelling greater distances. Ash fall in particular would mainly threaten the areas to the east (ie. the Argentine side) because of the prevailing westerly wind directions.

Red alert for Copahue volcano

A red alert has been declared by Chilean and Argentine authorities and ordered the mandatory evacuation of a 25-km (15.5-mile) radius around the Copahue volcano. Around 2,240 people are expected to be evacuated in Chile. Similarly in Neuquen province of Argentina, some 900 people have been ordered to evacuate the area. All schools are closed in the municipality.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Owen fracture zone region in the northern Indian Ocean.

5.6 Earthquake hits the Panama-Costa-Rica border.

5.3 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits Maule, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern Algeria.

5.0 Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kalimantan, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Java, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Landslide in Kashmir, India

Heavy rainfall caused flooding and landslides in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir valley. The Jammu-Srinagar highway was closed after 4 bridges washed away. A landslide hit the Seeri area in Ramban. One person was reported to have died in the floods.

Flooding in South China

A yellow alert has been issued for rainstorms in south China. Up to 200 mm rainfall has been forecast over a period of 24 hours in Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Etna today is free of clouds, but strong winds with gusts up to 70 km/h speed prevail. No further significant earthquakes occurred. The only activity remains degassing, and occasional small explosions, not visible, deep inside Bocca Nuova, based on seismic observations (OPEC).

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano has been relatively productive with 2-4 explosions daily over the past days. Maximum ash plume heights were reported as 10,000 ft (3 km) (VAAC Tokyo).

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): Although degassing and ash emissions have decreased, seismic activity at the volcano has picked up, SERNAGEOMIN reported. An average of 356 earthquakes per hour, sometimes merging into what looks as volcanic tremor, has been recorded recently. This could be related to intruding magma from a new batch of magma rising at the moment and as a result, phreatomagmatic or magmatic activity could occur at the surface in the near future. The hazards from the volcano to populated areas are only significant in the case of a larger eruption creating a large ash plume, possible pyroclastic flows and lahars capable of travelling greater distances. Ash fall in particular would mainly threaten the areas to the east (ie. the Argentine side) because of the prevailing westerly wind directions.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits eastern Uzbekistan.

5.2 Earthquake hits south of Panama.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of Easter Island.

5.0 Earthquake hits west of MacQuarrie Island.

Storms and Floods

Flooding in San Antonio, Texas

Flooding in San Antonio, Texas has killed one and left another missing. A flash flood emergency has been declared for San Antonio. Heavy rainfall also delayed several flights at San Antonio International Airport. San Antonio International Airport received about 9.57 inches of rain during Saturday morning.

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Flooding in Auckland, New Zealand

Strong winds, king tides and flooding are predicted to occur Saturday night and Sunday morning in Auckland, New Zealand. A flood warning has been issued for drivers in Thames, Auckland travelling on low-lying roads close to the Waitemata Harbour.

Flooding in Alaska

After a late spring, breakup began in mid-May along the ice-clogged Yukon River, causing flooding in Alaska villages, including Circle and Eagle.

Alaska

Dyke collapse floods 30 villages – Bangladesh

The embankment of the river Meghna collapsed at different points in Bhola Sadar and Borhanuddin upazilas on Friday, inundating at least 30 villages.

Locals said the dyke collapsed at the vulnerable points during high tide under the impact of full moon. In Sadar upazila, at least 20 villages have been flooded as water entered through different points of the dyke from Tulatoli of Dhania union to Miar Haat of Elisha union.

The worst affected villages are Tulatoli, Baliakandi, Guramiar Hat, Chouddoghar, Tobgi, Bhabanipur, Sahamdar, Nich Kachiya, and Miar Hat.

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Wildfires

Wildfire – Florida, USA

An 80-acre wildfire in southwest Pensacola closed several roads and forced mandatory evacuations for dozens of residents on Saturday.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity continues at moderately elevated levels. Spectacular explosions especially from the NE crater can often be seen on the webcam as well.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): The earthquake swarm on the SE flank seems already to have come to an end. No eruptive activity is currently occurring at the summit craters. Strong wind and cloud cover prevented a field visit today. A swarm of shallow (3-6 km depth) earthquakes including several felt ones (magnitudes 2.9-3.5) occurred yesterday and today under the SE flank near Zafferana town. So far, no other unusual signs of activity have been reported, but the swarm could indicate something in the making, and the monitoring agency INGV is certainly following these events closely.

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): An explosion produced an ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude and drifting 20 nautical miles to the NW earlier today. (VAAC Darwin)

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): (24 May) Ash plumes rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude have been observed yesterday and today. The lava dome obviously continues to be active and regularly produces explosions and/or rock avalanches that cause ash plumes.

Lassen (California): (24 May) A shallow magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred Fri, 24 May at 04:58 UTC km WNW of Greenville, California, about 50 km SE of Lassen volcano. Hundreds of aftershocks, some of them felt, have occurred. It is unlikely that the earthquake has any relation with the volcano. The status of Lassen volcano remains therefore at green.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has not changed much, but perhaps decreased a bit today. During the last 24 h, CENAPRED recorded 3 explosions of moderate intensity, yesterday at 15:40 h, this early morning at 06:46 h and at 10:00 h (local time). All of them were accompanied by a column of gas and ash of 1.5, 1 and 2 km height, respectively. Several episodes of tremor were registered as well: 3 h of harmonic tremor of low amplitude, 5 h 40 min of spasmodic tremor of low amplitude and 2 h 30 min of spasmodic tremor or medium amplitude. This seismic signal was accompanied by a constant emission of steam, gas and small amounts of ash, that reached between 500 to 900 m and travelled to the southwest, and by moderate to strong incandescence over the crater rim. Some incandescent fragments could be sporadically be observed falling on the highest parts of the north and northeast flanks.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity remains low. A moderate explosion occurred last night at 17:55 h (local time) erupting an ash plume rising 600 m and drifting SW and causing light ash fall in Finca La Florida and Parcelamiento Monte Claro. Otherwise, the dome is degassing and a few weak avalanches occurred from the lava flow on the southern flank of the dome.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Strombolian activity from the Mackenney is gradually intensifying and continues to fill the crater. Explosions reach 75 m height above the vents and some of the ejecta fall outside the crater and produce audible booms. This activity and volcanic tremor is visible on the seismic recording as well.

Fuego (Guatemala): Explosive activity has picked up a bit. INSIVUMEH reported strong degassing noises and 5 weak and 4 moderate explosions since yesterday, some of which produce plumes of about 1 km height and drifting 10 km to the W and NW. Light ash fall occurred in the areas of Panimache 1 and 2, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El porvenir and Yucales.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): The volcano remains restless and shows significant degassing activity. Elevated SO2 emission visible on the latest NOAA satellite data is probably the result of the recent magma intrusions. Seismic recordings show internal fluid movements, degassing tremor and occasional small quakes.

Sangay (Ecuador): (24 May) A possible ash emission occurred yesterday at 17:15 GMT, VAAC Washington reported. A pilot observed an ash plume at 25,000 ft (7.5 km) altitude drifting west from the volcano, but no ash could be detected on satellite data.

Reventador (Ecuador): No significant changes have occurred recently. The volcano remains active at moderate levels and produces a steam plume 800-1000 m high and occasional small explosions.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Activity continues to be very low (steaming / degassing).

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): A steam and ash plume is rising about 1-1.5 km from the crater where it is emitted by 3 vents. Two of these emit only gas and steam. The third one erupts some ash as well, Chilean scientists found out during an helicopter overflight. It seems that (for now) this activity is phreatic, i.e. involves no fresh magma, only overheated water from the hydrothermal system, that can fragment rock into ash during explosive decompression. Temperature measurements gave a value of only 200°C at the vents.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.7 Earthquake hits the Sea of Okhotsk.

5.6 Earthquake hits the Timor Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits eastern Uzbekistan.

5.3 Earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.2 Earthquake hits west of MacQuarrie Island.

5.1 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

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

Storms and Floods

Floods in Norway

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes in parts of Norway because of flooding caused by heavy rainfall aggravated by the spring melting of snow in the mountains, Norwegian media reported on Thursday.

Some 50 roads were also shut and two railway lines were closed because of the flooding and landslides.

Southeastern Norway has experienced several days of heavy rains.

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Tornado in South Cotabato, Philippines

A Tornado in South Cotabato, in the Philippines has destroyed eight houses affecting 33 families.

Flooding in Nawalparasi, Nepal

Floods swept away a road at Lokaha of Nawalparasi district. The Mahendra Highway, the national highway has been closed in this section.

Avalanche in Nepal

At least five mountaineers have been killed in an avalanche while returning from the peak of Mt Kanchenjunga in Nepal. Rescue helicopters have failed to locate them due to bad weather. Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world located in Nepal.

China colliery flood kills 9

At least nine miners are dead and one reported missing in coal mine flooding in Zhangqiu in Shandong Province of China. The coal mine flood occurred on May 23, 2013 but local authorities confirmed the news today. Colliery owner and others involved in the accident have been taken in custody. Chinese coal mines are notoriously unsafe.

Other News:

Washington Bridge Collapses

An interstate highway bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State collapsed Thursday evening (May 23), injuring three.

The bridge, located about 60 miles (nearly 100 kilometers) north of Seattle on I-5, collapsed after being struck by an 18-wheel truck carrying a drill rig, various news sources reported.

The bridge, which was built in 1955, was rated as functionally obsolete — basically old — and fracture critical. That designation means there was no redundancy built into the structure of the bridge, so that if any structural component was damaged, the bridge could not support itself. About 18,000 bridges in the United States are designated as functionally obsolete.

Bridge collapse

Wildlife

Pesticides Not Main Cause of Bee Disappearance: U.S.

Despite a push in Europe to restrict the use of three pesticides in an attempt to stop the disappearance of honeybees, a new U.S. report says there is no single factor contributing to the ongoing decline of the pollinating insects.

A report issued jointly by the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency blames so-called “colony collapse disorder” on a wide range of factors.

They include viral and bacterial infection, habitat loss, industrial farming practices, pesticides and a lack of genetic diversity.

The single biggest cause, according to the report, is varroatosis, a disease carried by the parasitic mite, varroa destructor.

Colony collapse syndrome has ravaged bee colonies across both the United States and Europe since at least 2006.

In any given year, as many as one-third of all bees in the nation bees are lost to the mysterious ailment.

This month, EU policy makers voted to impose temporary restrictions on the agricultural use of three neonicotinoids, a pesticide related to the stimulant nicotine.

As a relatively new form of pest-agent, neonicotinoids are pointed to by many environmental groups as the chief culprit behind colony collapse disorder.

Regulators in the United States are not considering adopting similar restrictions any time soon.

According to the recent report, though pesticides are considered to be one threat to bee health, with as many as 100 different chemicals present in any given colony, it is impossible to narrow the culprit to one class of compound.

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Monarch Swarms Wintering in New Zealand Trees

Nature lovers across New Zealand are reporting large numbers of overwintering monarch butterflies.

During the last southern summer, the butterflies failed to return to some areas after a tough and cold spell dampened their breeding grounds.

New Zealand monarchs don’t migrate long distances like their North American cousins.

Instead, they find their way to trees in well-sheltered areas where they rest during the winter months.

Breeding will start in the spring once the colourful creatures have rested up.

The Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust is asking residents to log any monarch sightings they may have on the group’s website, especially if the butterfly is tagged.

That allows the trust to generate a map showing the origin of the butterfly and the time it took to get to its destination.

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