Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Izu Islands off Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the central Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

Quiet in the Atlantic – An area of low pressure over the Central Caribbean is bringing disorganised heavy rain showers to the region. None of the reliable models for tropical cyclone formation is predicting development during the coming five days.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical Storm Haiyan is gathering strength over the warm tropical waters east of the Philippines. Haiyan’s formation brings the tally of named storms in the Western Pacific in 2013 to 28, making it the busiest season in that ocean basin since the 32 named storms of 2004.

Philippines – Tropical cyclone Wilma weakens, Yolanda follows. After making a landfall on Mindanao, Tropical Depression “Wilma” weakened into a low-pressure area (LPA) Monday afternoon. People should always be careful and should remain vigilant especially since another weather disturbance will probably hit the region by Thursday or Friday this week. Once it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, it will be named “Yolanda”. Yolanda has a wider coverage compared with Wilma.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical Storm Sonia, the eighteenth named storm of the 2013 Eastern Pacific hurricane season, made landfall near midnight EST on Sunday near El Dorado, Mexico, as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds. Heavy rains of 3 – 6 inches were expected in Mainland Mexico along the path of Sonia on Monday, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides. Moisture from Sonia is being drawn to the northeast, where it will contribute to rains over the Central U.S. later in the week.


Massive landslide in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea has claimed lives of at least nine people. A huge slip of earth, trees and debris crashed down a mountain side into Kenagi village.

Rare tornado sweeps through Arnhem in the Netherlands.


More Than 30,000 Miles of Roads Built in Amazon in 3 Years

How long does it take to build a little more than 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometres) of new roads through the rain forest? A new study finds that, in the Brazilian Amazon, such development can happen in just three years.

While roads cover only a tiny fraction of the total land surface of South America’s largest nation, their effect on local ecosystems — particularly rain forests — may be huge. In an attempt to better understand road-building’s effect on the Amazon, researchers from Imperial College London used road maps and satellite images to track the recent development of the Amazon road network.

The team’s report, which was published this month in the journal Regional Environmental Change, concluded that approximately 10,000 miles (17,000 km) of roads were built every year in Brazil between 2004 and 2007. Not surprisingly, road networks were found to spread the most quickly in newly settled areas, as well as in areas experiencing renewed economic growth.

This rampant road-building may be a major contributor to deforestation and habitat loss in one of planet Earth’s most biologically diverse regions. But by mapping road construction, researchers think they can aid future efforts to stop destruction of the Brazilian rain forest.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

WHO has been informed of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from Saudi Arabia.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): While the summit craters have remained calm, seismic activity shows continuing unrest at the volcano. A number of relatively shallow earthquakes occurred this morning under the volcano. The only quake located by an international agency was a 2.9 magnitude event at 05:30 (GMT) at 18 km depth under the SW flank, while the other earthquakes were too small to be included, but appear to be shallower. More precise data will hopefully be available soon from INGV Catania.

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): Tremor and degassing have increased with respect to the last report from KVERT. A steam plume rises about 2 km above the crater and a thermal anomaly over the volcano is visible on satellite data. This suggests that some volcanic activity (perhaps strombolian) has resumed (or continues).

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): A relatively large SO2 plume from the volcano today indicates a surge in activity (ash explosions, strombolian activity?).

Manam (Papua New Guinea): Elevated SO2 emissions are visible today on NOAA satellite data.

White Island (New Zealand): No further eruptive activity has occurred since the moderate eruption on the evening of 11 October 2013. Seismic activity and gas flux from the volcano have been at a low level since the eruption. The Aviation Colour Code has been lowered from Yellow to Green. (GeoNet)

Fuego (Guatemala): The volcano observatory of INSIVUMEH reports an increase in activity today: A new lava flow started to descend on the southern flank towards the Trinidad canyon and currently has a length of 100 m. Another branch towards the Ceniza canyon is 50 m long. From both flow fronts, incandescent avalanches detach with run-out lengths of up to 500 m. The risk of pyroclastic flows triggered by collapse of the steep lava flow fronts is elevated. Accompanied by elevated seismic activity, more and stronger explosions have occurred today. Ash plumes rose up to 800 m height above the crater and often produced loud shock waves that rattled roofs and windows of houses in villages Panimaché, Morelia and Panimaché II.