Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

Oil Companies Begin ‘Fracking’ in China’s Most Dangerous Earthquake Zone

The Chinese want to join the shale gas revolution, even if it means drilling for oil in China’s earthquake hot bed in the Sichuan region, where nearly 70,000 died in an earthquake in 2008.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and China National Petroleum have started ‘fracking’ operations in the province.

China hopes to boost annual shale gas production to 6.5 billion cubic meters by 2015, and reserves are estimated at about 1,115 trillion cubic feet, according to the US Energy Information Administration, higher than the estimated 665 trillion gas reserves on American soil.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical storm Gil is located about 985 mi (1585 km) SW of the southern tip of Baja, California. Gil could become a hurricane by Thursday. Not yet a threat to Hawaii.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm Jebi forms in the South nChina Sea and is located approximately 567 nm southeastward of Hanoi, Vietnam. Tropical Storm Jebi is unlikely to threaten Taiwan directly.

Other News:

Floods have hit seven provinces in Thailand claiming the lives of at least three people since Monday. Around 25,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps.

Floods in Vietnam have claimed the lives of at least five people and left one other missing. The floods also injured seven others and damaged more than 200 houses.

25,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps after floods in Karen State, Myanmar. The evacuees are living in 80 different relief camps.

A team from the National Weather Service has confirmed the touchdown of a small tornado in southeast Kansas, USA this week.

Environment

Heat Wave in China

More than ten people have died in a record heat wave in Shanghai, prompting a level two emergency heat alert for the first time.

Heat alerts have been issued in nine different provinces of China, including Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Shanghai and Chongqing. Shanghai temperatures have been recorded as being the hottest in 140 years.

On July 26, Xujiahui meteorological observation station in Shanghai observed 40.6℃, which is the highest since 1872.

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Global Warming

Lake at the North Pole – Update

The North Pole lake that had started forming at the North pole in mid-July has had its fill of Internet notoriety. The stunning blue meltwater lake that formed on the Arctic ice disappeared on Monday (July 29), draining through a crack in the underlying ice floe.

Now, instead of 2 feet (0.6 meters) of freshwater slopping against a bright-yellow buoy, a remote webcam shows only ice and clouds.

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Disease

Rabies outbreak jumps species in Taiwan

Health authorities on the island have been battling to contain a rabies outbreak among so-called ferret-badgers, with at least 18 cases among the weasel-like animals confirmed so far.

On Wednesday officials confirmed the disease had spread to a shrew, fuelling fears that it could mutate further to affect domestic pets – greatly increasing the risk to humans.

Drought

Australia

Waste water set to ‘drought proof’ Perth. Treated waste water from toilets, showers and washing machines will be pumped back into Western Australia’s water system following a three-year trial.

The state took another step towards becoming the first in Australia to rely on recycled waste water for drinking, after the trial at a $50 million treatment plant was successfully completed. Officials are satisfied the treated water is safe for human consumption – with every one of the 62,300 water samples passing strict health and safety guidelines. They have now revealed progression to the next stage, where seven billion litres of treated water will be returned to the system via ground aquifers.

The recycled water will start flowing in 2016. The Water Minister countered the “yuck factor” by confirming it will be about 30 years before the water is actually being consumed. “The water is actually pure before we put it back in the aquifers for naturalisation – it will be there for potentially up to 30 years before it will flow out of taps again. By the time the water is extracted, it will be the same as any other groundwater.”

Since 1992, concerns over Perth’s future water supply have become increasingly urgent, with increased water consumption coupled with a drastic reduction in the flows into dams. Desalination plants have bridged some gaps, but by 2060 it is feared Perth’s water usage will overtake supply by a massive 365 gigalitres. So the state government, the CSIRO and water bosses embarked on the ambitious trial, which treated 2533 megalitres of water through micro filtration, reverse osmosis and ultra-violet disinfection to produce high quality recycled water. As much as 28 billion litres a year could be recycled from the Craigie facility if the scheme is given the full green light.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Pacaya (Guatemala): A surge in activity with increased strombolian explosions and the effusion of a lava flow occurred during 4 hours on 30 July, similar to the event from 30 May. Explosions from the Mackenney crater reached heights of 250-300 m and a new lava flow started to flow onto the south side of the mountain through a deep notch in the crater.

Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): Recent satellite images suggest that a lava lake is most likely currently active in the summit crater of Mawson Peak. NASA satellite infrared images show a very hot circular object of about 100-150 m in diameter that plausibly could only be produced by the strongly heat-radiating surface of a lava lake. Currently, no lava flows seem to be present on the other hand.