Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.4 Earthquake hits Crete.

6.2 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands off New Zealand.

6.0 Earthquake hits offshore Sucre, Venezuela.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern California.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Typhoon Nari is now west of Luzon in the northern Philippines. Satellite estimates indicate Nari has already dropped double-digit rainfall northeast of Manila, on the east side of the island’s mountainous terrain. Nari is forecast to gain strength over the South China Sea and will head toward Vietnam by early next week.

Wipha is nearing typhoon strength in the western Pacific a few hundred miles west of Guam. The storm will intensify as it moves northwestward over the next few days but is no immediate threat to land.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Invest 94-E south of the Pacific coast of Mexico remains disorganized. Some moisture could get peeled off into Mexico as it parallels the coast into early next week, but significant development appears unlikely.

In the Indian Ocean:

Super Cyclonic Storm Phailin (pronounced Pie-leen) is the North Indian Ocean equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane bearing down on the east coast of India. The centre of Phailin is forecast to make landfall shortly somewhere between northern Andhra Pradesh and southern Odisha, two very populous states along the subcontinent’s east coast.

As many as 500,000 people in India have been evacuated as the massive cyclone sweeps through the Bay of Bengal towards the east coast.

Phailin has the potential of wreaking catastrophic damage as it moves ashore, with the deadliest threats being severe storm surge and flooding from torrential rainfall. The exact magnitude of the surge is difficult to pinpoint given the meteorological uncertainty and incomplete modelling in this part of the world but suffice it to say the impacts will be extreme, especially in low lying areas to the right of where Phailin makes landfall. Although the peak winds may come down it’s also quite possible Phailin will continue to grow in size which would exacerbate the surge threat.

Wildlife

Japan’s Infamous Dolphin Slaughter Town Wants ‘Marine Park’

The Japanese fishing town notorious for its savage slaughter of dolphins each year now says it wants to open a marine park that will also feature whale cutlet burgers and dolphin meat as snacks for visitors.

Taiji and its bloody dolphin kill were highlighted in the 2009 documentary “The Cove,” which won an Oscar for best documentary the following year.

Organizers there want to fence off a portion of the cove to create the park in which people can swim and kayak alongside small whales and dolphins.

Town official Masaki Wada assures critics that the dolphin slaughter, carried out by stabbing the marine mammals with stakes, will continue.

“Our town will proceed with the concept that there is food culture, as well as tourism, when it comes to whales,” Wada told The Australian.

“We are not doing anything wrong, and we do not aim to cease our legitimate business because of criticism from outside.”

Wada says proceeds from the new marine park will help endow the fishing fleet, which carries out the slaughter, as well as the capture of dolphins sold to marine parks around the world.

The town caught 1,277 dolphins in 2012 and has license to capture 2,026 this season, which began in September.

Scene from “The Cove” in which so many dolphins are slaughtered that the surrounding water turns red.

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Starfish ‘Melting’ Off Vancouver, BC

Experts at Canada’s Vancouver Aquarium say they are puzzled by what is causing thousands of sunflower starfish, or sea stars, to die in the waters of Vancouver Harbor and Howe Sound.

What is even more startling is the way the creatures perish — by quickly dissolving in a phenomenon the aquarium has dubbed Sea Star Wasting Syndrome.

“They have disintegrated, and now there is just goo left,” says research diver and taxonomist Donna Gibbs.

But she says that young starfish have been seen in the same area that look healthy, providing hope that the population could rebound.

Aquarium staff say they have had trouble gathering specimens for testing since some starfish that looked healthy in the ocean were goo by the time they reached the lab.

A similar string of starfish deaths was reported in July in the North Atlantic from New Jersey to Maine.

In both the British Columbia and Atlantic areas affected by the die off, there had been a population bloom of the creatures in recent years.

“We think it is disease. It is overpopulation and pestilence,” Gibbs told Global News. “The numbers grew so out of control and then a disease hit them and just wiped them out. That is what we think. We are not sure yet, but that is the first thought.”

A dying sea star photographed off Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 2, 2013.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): (10 Oct) A swarm of shallow earthquakes occurred yesterday under the SE flank, below Monte Arcimis near Tarderia (Pedara) at depths of 2.7-5.6 km. The two largest events were magnitude 2.7 and felt by local residents.

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): The KVERT reported this morning that a new flank eruption between the volcanoes Kliuchevskoi and Kamen began at around 8:20 UTC. The flank eruption consisted of a strong explosion that lasted around 10 minutes and ejected an ash plume 6-7 kilometres high which then drifted east.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): (10 Oct) The increase of activity continues. The Ecuadorian Instituto Geofísico (IGPEN) reported that seismic and visual activity increased since Sunday. The volcano currently produces mild to moderate strombolian activity, ejecting fresh lava bombs onto the upper slopes of the summit cone. The seismic recordings show in increase in the number of events associated with internal fluid (magma) movements as well as emission/explosion signals.