Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.7 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.7 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.5 Earthquake hits offshore Chiapas, Mexico.

5.3 Earthquake hits offshore Chiapas, Mexico.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the coast of Aisen, Chile.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits offshore Valparaiso, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm Faxai is located approximately 308 nm east-southeast of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

In the Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Kofi is located approximately 661 nm southeast of Suva, Fiji.

NewsBytes:

U.S. – Winter storm shuts down federal, local offices in Washington DC. A massive winter storm packing cold air, snow and freezing rain was bearing down on the US East Coast, causing federal and local offices in Washington to close on Monday after it pummeled the central United States over the weekend.

Marshall Islands – A high king tide energised by storm surges has flooded many parts of Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands.

Disease

Monsanto’s Roundup may be linked to fatal kidney disease: Study

A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water.

Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with “hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.

The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world. The hypothesis helps explain a global rash of the mysterious, fatal Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology (CKDu) that has been found in rice paddy regions of northern Sri Lanka, for example, or in El Salvador, where CKDu is the second leading cause of death among males.

Furthermore, the study’s findings explain many observations associated with the disease, including the linkage between the consumption of hard water and CKDu, as 96 percent of patients have been found to have consumed “hard or very hard water for at least five years, from wells that receive their supply from shallow regolith aquifers.”

The CKDu was discovered in rice paddy farms in northern Sri Lanka around 20 years ago. The condition has spread quickly since then and now affects 15 percent of working age people in the region, or a total of 400,000 patients. At least 20,000 have died from CKDu there. CKDu does not share common risk factors as chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and glomerular nephritis, or inflammation of the kidney.

Fresh typhoid outbreak hits Zimbabwe

AN outbreak of typhoid is feared in Mabvuku township in Harare amid reports that nine cases of the disease have so far been treated at a council clinic in the suburb.

Typhoid is a systemic bacterial disease that is characterised by a fever, headache, malaise, spots on the chest, and a non-productive cough in the early stages of the illness. Constipation and diarrhoea are also common.

The mode of transmission is the faecal-oral route, through ingestion of bacteria in food or water contaminated with faeces or even the urine of infected persons.

This happens in conditions with poor sanitation and inadequate supply of clean water.

However, typhoid used to be a very rare condition in Zimbabwe but the progressive deterioration of the water and sewerage reticulation infrastructure resulted in the disease becoming common.

The local authorities however deny the existence of any disease outbreak.

Rare case of brain disease discovered – New Zealand

An Auckland patient is the latest person to be diagnosed with the incurable brain disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a condition that became notorious because of its association with Britain’s “mad cow disease” outbreak of the mid-1990s.

CJD is a neurological disease in which misfolded proteins in the brain, called “prions”, create tiny holes throughout the brain tissue, leaving it resembling a sponge when seen under the microscope.

Victims suffer swift memory loss, dementia, hallucinations and personality change. Some types of CJD occur spontaneously, while others spread through contact with infected tissue.

An Auckland District Health Board spokesman confirmed a patient had been admitted to Auckland City Hospital last month with the “sporadic” form of CJD.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Pacaya volcano (Guatemala), eruption update – new paroxysm continues The latest eruptive phase of the volcano continues at decreased strength. The second paroxysm of Pacaya this year, only about 6 weeks after the previous one in January, started yesterday morning with lava fountains, associated ash emissions, as well as a new lava flow that quickly reached about 2 km length. The current seismic signal suggests that activity continues at a decreasing trend. Images from later during yesterday showed that lava fountaining and lava effusion had already decreased significantly after the first hours. According to local news, a first increase in explosive activity at the summit vent of the Mackenney crater occurred already on the evening of 1 March at 17:00 local time, followed by a loud explosion at 05h15 the next morning, which opened a new vent between the old cone of Cerro Chino and the Mackenney crater. A lava flow began to issue from this new vent and satellite images about 5 hours later showed that it reached about 1 km length to the NW in that time. A video on facebook shows lava fountains from the summit vent. An ash plume, well visible from Guatemala city and on satellite imagery, rose about 2 km above the volcano and drifted more than 100 km to the west-southwest. Light ash fall occurred in areas such as Escuintla (22 km to the SW). Authorities are evaluating the need to evacuate residents near the villages El Patrocinio and El Rodeo on the SW foot of Pacaya. CONRED raised the civil alert level for the area to yellow.