Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.9 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.2 Earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

5.1 Earthquake hits Greece.

The earthquake collapsed chimneys and cracked walls in Amfikleia.


Greece earthquake today damage photo

5.1 Earthquake hits Guerrero, Mexico.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Eastern Pacific:

Hurricane Henriette is located about 1485 mi (2390 km) E of Hilo, Hawaii. Gradual weakening is expected to begin on Wednesday.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm Mangkhut is located approximately 240 nm southeastward of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Other News:

Floods in Russia’s Amur region have damaged more than 300 homes causing the evacuations of some 1,500 people. A state of emergency has been declared by Russia’s Ministry for Emergency Situations.

Floods in Missouri, USA kill a child and damage more than 50 houses.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images:

This stunning picture of Supercell thunderstorm in Nebraska was taken last may by photographer Jeremy Holmes, an avid storm chaser.

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Global Warming

Some Unexpected Effects of Climate Change

Desert bacteria dies

Desert soil may appear desolate and void of life, but it actually teems with bacteria. Bacterial colonies can grow so thick that they form sturdy layers called biocrusts that stabilize soil against erosion.

A study of these biocrusts across deserts in the United States showed that different types of desert bacteria thrive in different temperature regimes. Some prefer the sweltering heat of Arizona and New Mexico, while others fare better in the cooler climate of southern Oregon and Utah. As temperatures become more erratic with climate change, desert bacteria may struggle to adapt, leaving desert soil more prone to erosion.

Soil 1

Volcanic eruptions explode

As glacial meltwater floods into oceans and the global sea level rises with climate change, the distribution of weight on the Earth’s crust will shift from land to sea.

This shift in weight distribution could cause volcanoes to erupt more often, some studies suggest. Evidence of this phenomenon has been detected in the rock record, with remnants of more abundant volcanic eruptions correlating with periods of glacial melt at several points in Earth history. Humans in the 21st century probably won’t experience this shift, however, since this effect seems to lag by up to about 2,500 years.

LS 121018 HawaiiLava

Oceans darken

Climate change will increase precipitation in some regions of the world, resulting in stronger-flowing rivers. Stronger river currents stir up more silt and debris, which all eventually flows into the ocean and makes the ocean more opaque. Regions along the coast of Norway have already experienced increasingly darker and murkier ocean water with increased precipitation and snow melt in recent decades. Some researchers have speculated that the murkiness is responsible for changes in regional ecosystems, including a spike in jellyfish populations.


Allergies worsen

As climate change causes springtime to spring out earlier in the year, sneeze-inducing pollen will ride the airwaves that much earlier in the year as well. This will increase the overall pollen load each year, and could make people’s allergies worse. Some temperature and precipitation models have shown that pollen levels could more than double by the year 2040.

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Ant invasions slow

Pheidole megacephala, also known as the big-headed ant, is one of the top 100 most invasive species on Earth. Hoards of these insects thrive in South America, Australia and Africa, and their voracious populations spread rapidly. As invasive animals, they steal habitat and resources from native species, disrupting regional ecosystems and jeopardizing biodiversity. They have even been known to hunt bird hatchlings.

Researchers have estimated that 18.5 percent of the land on Earth currently supports the big-headed ant. But as temperatures shift in the coming decades, the habitat range of these cold-blooded animals will likely shrink substantially. Some climate models suggest that the ant’s range will decrease by one-fifth by the year 2080. How native insects will respond to these changes, however, remains unclear.

Ant distribution

Space Events

The Sun’s Magnetic Field is about to Flip

According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun’s vast magnetic field is about to flip. “It looks like we’re no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal. This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system.”

The sun’s magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years. It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself. The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of ‘Solar Max’ will be behind us, with half yet to come.

The poles are a herald of change. Just as Earth scientists watch our planet’s polar regions for signs of climate change, solar physicists do the same thing for the sun. Magnetograms have been tracking the sun’s polar magnetism since 1976, and they have recorded three grand reversals – with a fourth in the offing.

A reversal of the sun’s magnetic field is, literally, a big event. The domain of the sun’s magnetic influence (also known as the “heliosphere”) extends billions of kilometres beyond Pluto. Changes to the field’s polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space. The heliospheric current sheet becomes more wavy when the sun’s magnetic field flips. As Earth orbits the sun, we dip in and out of the current sheet. Transitions from one side to another can stir up stormy space weather around our planet.


Wildfire in Lebanon

Firefighters are battling forest fire in Lebanon. The fire is burning on a hill between the villages of al-Bira and Sendyaneh.


Bird Flu – China – Update

Researchers report the first case of human-to-human transmission of the new bird flu strain that has emerged in China.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Karymsky (Kamchatka): After months with probably only smaller explosive activity, a powerful vulcanian eruption took place last night (22:35 UTC), producing a 3-4 km tall ash plume rising to 20,000 ft (6 km) elevation. The plume was observed by a helicopter pilot and on satellite imagery drifting east. About 5 hours after the eruption, the plume was 50 miles (80 km) ESE of the volcano.

Tongariro (North Island, New Zealand): During the past two weeks, GeoNet has been recording very small earthquakes beneath the volcano. The quakes were too small to be located but show up on local seismic stations. GNS Science said the earthquakes could simply be part of the background unrest typical of most active volcanoes. However, in this case they are of interest at this time because there have been so few at Tongariro since November 2012 and potentially could signal changes occurring inside the volcano.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): A series of stronger explosions occurred this morning from the Caliente lava dome. The explosions produced several small pyroclastic flows on the flanks of the dome and ash plumes of more than 1 km height rose to 3-3.5 km a.s.l. Ash fall occurred in Coatepeque, Malacatán, El Rodeo, Tacana, Sibinal, and other places.