Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

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

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Landslides and flooding across Central Europe

Homes were evacuated across southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland as rivers reach dangerous levels following days of heavy rain. The Czech capital Prague is on high alert as a swell of floodwater moves in from the south. Both Germany and Austria are deploying their armies to help emergency services.

Flooding and landslides in Austria have claimed the life of at least one person and left two missing. Upper Austria, Tyrol and Styria province in Austria were hardest hit by the floods.

Parts of the old town of Passau in Bavaria are under water. Bavaria’s flood alert service warns that the forecast of continuing heavy rain is likely to worsen the flooding affecting the Danube and the Inn, among other rivers in the area. The German cities of Passau and Rosenheim have declared a state of emergency.

Bavaria is not the only German state to be affected; towns and cities in Saxony, Thuringia and Baden-Wuerttemberg are also inundated. The German army is to be deployed in Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia to support the flood-affected areas.

Floods europe

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Severe Storms Move Across USA

Heavy rain, thunderstorms, high winds and hail moved through sections of the Northeast on Sunday afternoon, knocking out power to more than 40,000 in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Flights were delayed in New York City and a tornado touched down in South Carolina as the East Coast weathered the remnants of violent storms that claimed 13 lives in Oklahoma.

Mississippi River floods Grafton

Waters rose Sunday along the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, sending high water into some small towns that had just begun to dry out from the floods of just a few weeks ago.

Wildfires

Wildfires California, USA

A wildfire that destroyed at least six homes, damaged 15 others and threatened hundreds more grew quickly Sunday as it triggered evacuations for nearly 3,000 people and burned dangerously close to communities in the parched mountains north of Los Angeles.

The blaze had burned about 35 square miles of very dry brush in the Angeles National Forest mountains and canyons, some of which hadn’t burned since 1929. The fire was growing so fast, and the smoke was so thick, that it was difficult to estimate the size.

The fire, which was 20 percent contained, appeared to be the fiercest of several burning in the West, including two in New Mexico, where thick smoke covered several communities and set a blanket of haze over Santa Fe on Saturday. Crews fighting the two un-contained wildfires focused Sunday on building protection lines around them amid anticipation that a forecast of storms could bring moisture to help reduce the intensity of the fires.

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Wildfires – Alaska

Wildfires are igniting statewide thanks to a delayed spring that offered little time for vegetation to grow and dead grasses to disappear. A lightning-caused fire in Interior Alaska had burned an estimated 1,000 acres by Saturday afternoon.

Archeology

World’s First Bird?

The skeleton of a Jurassic dinosaur from China could be the oldest known bird, scientists report.

First bird reconstruction

The fossil of Aurornis xui was found last year in a museum at the Fossil and Geology Park in Yizhou, China, long after a farmer first dug it up in the Liaoning Province. The feathery specimen represents the most ancient of the avialans, the group that includes birds and their relatives since their split from nonavian dinosaurs.

First bird fossil

The research also reconfirms the birdlike fossil Archaeopteryx as an avialan, a classification that was challenged by some recent research.

Not everyone agrees that the new specimen is strictly a bird. “In my opinion, it’s a bird,” study author Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, told Nature News. Even so, he added, “The differences between birds and [nonavian] dinosaurs are very thin.”

Disease

Novel Coronavirus – Update

Health officials in Italy have confirmed two new cases with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Mayon (Luzon Island): The alert level for the volcano has been raised by PHILVOLCS. A weak incandescence is sometimes observed at the summit, and slight inflation has been detected, suggesting that magma has started to intrude into the volcanic edifice. On the other hand, SO2 and seismic parameters have not shown a significant increase, which probably means that an eruption is not imminent.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): The volcano remains active with often powerful strombolian explosions, and perhaps the effusion of a lava flow. An elongated thermal hot spot as well as a weak white steam plume visible on recent satellite images suggest that a lava flow might be active from the crater of the volcano these days.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): The lava dome remains active with occasional explosions and rock avalanches / pyroclastic flows travelling through the two main valleys to the SW and S.