Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits eastern Kashmir.

5.1 Earthquake hits Oaxaca, Mexico.

5.1 Earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

A massive dust storm that formed over the Sahara Desert early this week has now pushed out over the tropical Atlantic, and will sharply reduce the odds of tropical storm formation during the first week of August. The peak of hurricane season is approaching later this month, but storm activity is now unlikely for the first half of August.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Hurricane Gil is located about 1230 mi (1975 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja, California.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical strom Jebi is located approximately435 nm east-southeastward of Hanoi, Vietnam in the South China Sea, west of the Philippines, and is moving westward. Jebi is forecast to strike China on Friday, August 2.

Other News:

A landslide in Norway has isolated more than 500 residents in a village in central Norway. The landslide blocked the access road to Todalen in Nordmøre. The landslide also downed power poles and disturbed communication lines.

A landslide in Uttarakhand, India has claimed the lives of at least nine people. Another landslide in Sulat division of Almora district damaged nine houses. Relief efforts are being hampered by heavy rain.

Flash flooding in the Bagh and Chitral regions of Pakistan have claimed the lives of at least four people and left two missing.

Landslide in Panama has claimed the lives of four members of a single family, including a six-year-old girl.


Orca Spotted with Plastic Bag in Mouth

Researchers snapped a picture of a baby killer whale in the Pacific Northwest holding a plastic bag in its mouth, just the latest example of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Last month, scientists from the Centre for Whale Research monitoring orcas in the Salish Sea say they spotted a calf playing with what at first looked like a small scrap of blubber. When the baby whale dropped the item from its mouth, they realized it was actually a plastic bag.

Rogue plastic trash can be a problem when it gets into the mouths of the ocean’s animals like whales, turtles and seals, but it can even harm creatures deep beneath the surface. One group of researchers recently published a database of trash on the seafloor from California to Canada and offshore of Hawaii. They found that most garbage in their catalogue was plastic, and of those items, more than half were plastic bags, some choking corals nearly 7,000 feet (2,115 meters) below.

Baby orca

Global Warming

Global Warming’s New Natural Disaster: “Himalayan tsunamis”

This summer’s devastating “Himalayan tsunami” is a grim omen for the future of the millions of people living downstream from the majestic mountain range.

The June floods wiped out the Hindu pilgrimage town of Kedarnath and may have killed as many as 6,000 people.

According to preliminary studies, dozens of houses were smashed and hundreds of religious pilgrims were swept away when a lake above the eighth century Kedarnath Temple burst its natural dam of loosely packed glacial sediment, sending a sudden deluge of water down on the town.

Many now believe it was an accident waiting to happen — and similar accidents will happen again and again as the region gets warmer.

Rising temperatures due to global warming are fast creating thousands of glacial lakes across the region. The growing volume of meltwater is dangerously increasing the risk of sudden glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF), according to the Kathmandu-based International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

As the volume of water increases, so does the pressure on the dams of ice or glacial sediment, called moraine, which hold the lake in place on the side of the mountain. Once that pressure reaches the tipping point, heavy rainfall from a sudden cloudburst, a landslide, or an earthquake can breach the dam, sending a deadly torrent of ice, rock and water down on the people living below.

The results can be catastrophic.

In the weeks following the June 17 flood disaster, tens of thousands of residents, tourists and religious pilgrims were successfully evacuated. But officials still believe there are at least 5,748 people missing across the north Indian state of Uttarakhand.

India floods jpeg22 620x412


Wildfires in Spain

About 130 residents have been evacuated after a wildfire in Spain raged out of control. The fire is burning near Valdepenas de la Sierra, some 80 kilometres northeast of Madrid.

Nearly 350 emergency workers with 21 aircraft and 43 ground vehicles are struggling to control the blaze.

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A fire has burned an ecological reserve in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve, Reserva Ecológica de Buenos Aires is considered as the “lung” of Buenos Aires and lies on the Río de la Plata riverbank on the east side of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires CBD.

Wildfires – Washington, USA

A wildfires in Kittitas County, Washington has caused the evacuation of residents of about 75 homes and cabins.

The wildfire is burning across 93 square miles of grass, sagebrush and timber in Chelan and Kittitas counties.

Fire danger is expected to remain high in Eastern Washington through Thursday.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): A cluster of earthquakes of magnitudes 2-3 occurred yesterday under the eastern flank near Sant Alfio, at depths around 7-8 km.

Tjörnes Fracture Zone (North of Iceland): A (probably tectonic) swarm of earthquakes has been occurring since yesterday in the eastern part of the TFZ, about 10-15 km north of the shore at various depths mostly below 15 km. It includes more than 100 quakes yesterday including 6 above magnitude 3 (up to 3.8 yesterday morning).

Avachinsky (Kamchatka): A (so far small) seismic crisis has started about a week ago. The earthquake hypocentres are currently located at depths around 30 km SE of the volcano. The new quakes superimpose to the normal seismic activity at shallow depth. It is not clear whether this indicates that magma has started to accumulate at the mantle-crust boundary beneath the volcano, or whether the seismic activity there is purely tectonic and related to the subduction of the Pacific Plate.

Yellowstone (Wyoming, USA): The famous Steamboat Geyser erupted again during the past night breaking a 8 years period of dormancy. Known as the currently largest geyser in the world, its jets are known to reach up to 90 m height. It is located in the Norris Basis in the northern part of Yellowstone. Its eruptions are very irregular, with intervals ranging between several weeks (29 eruptions in 1964) to decades (record was 50 years pause with no eruption).