Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits near the coast of central Peru.

5.4 Earthquake hits south of Africa.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Nicobar Islands off India.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Volcano Islands off Japan.

5.3 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Mentawai, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Owen Fracture Zone region.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Philippine Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits southeast of Easter Island.

5.0 Earthquake hits Zulia, Venezuela.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

Ex-tropical Cyclone Gillian coming back to life over the Top End. Ex-tropical Cyclone Gillian is roaring back to life, the low pressure system expected to reform this afternoon and cross the Northern Territory coast of Australia. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Gillian had weakened to a remnant low pressure area after making landfall in the Western Cape York Peninsula of Queensland.

Remnants of Tropical Cyclone Lusi are likely to pass by Wellington and the lower North Island of New Zealand on Sunday. The storm may make weekend driving dangerous. Christchurch braces for ‘mean and ugly’ storm – What remains of severe Tropical Cyclone Lusi has an already saturated Christchurch putting emergency precautions in place ahead of this weekend’s storm.

Environment

Threatened Sargasso Sea Ecosystem Earns Protections

Governments of several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Bermuda, the Azores and Monaco, have signed a declaration to protect the Sargasso Sea, according to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“This is a truly historic occasion,” David Freestone, executive director of the Sargasso Sea Alliance, said in a statement. “It is the first time an international alliance has been formed to protect an iconic high seas ecosystem, using existing legal international frameworks,”.

The “Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea” seeks to protect the area, whose abundant floating Sargassum seaweeds shield around 30 species of fish, as well as whales, dolphins and turtles, according to the IUCN report.

The Sargasso Sea is a calm patch of the North Atlantic Ocean isolated by ocean currents. The currents bring in algae and marine debris that help create and sustain the area’s characteristic seaweed layer.

Despite being isolated by currents, the Sargasso Sea is subject to numerous ecological hazards, such as pollution, seabed mining and climate change, the report said. And, unlike some other ecologically vulnerable marine regions such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Southern Ocean, the Sargasso Sea is not officially protected by a specific regional organization.

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Disease

Measels in the USA

New York City is currently grappling with a measles outbreak. Health officials have identified 16 cases of the highly contagious infectious disease, resulting in at least six hospitalizations, and are now warning unvaccinated individuals that they need to get their shots.

And New York isn’t the only place where measles — which was once so rare that it was virtually eradicated in the U.S. back in 2000 — is cropping up again. Within the past two months, health officials have also identified cases in the Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dallas areas. Measles have also recently been reported in suburban areas in Connecticut and Illinois.

Just one case of measles can pose a huge public health threat, since it has the potential to be transmitted quickly. It can spread through the air when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. For instance, last month, thousands of California commuters were potentially exposed to the disease after an unvaccinated man with the measles rode public transportation.

Many of the measles outbreaks here in the U.S. originate after an unvaccinated individual has traveled abroad and contracted the disease there. Then, when they return to this country, they can spread measles among pockets of other unvaccinated people.

Officials say the underlying problem is that parents are not vaccinating their children.

Philippines: South Cotabato Declares Rabies Outbreak

In the aftermath of a human rabies death in Sto. Nino town in South Cotabato, Mindanao, provincial health officials declared a rabies outbreak.

Officials have launched a massive anti-rabies vaccination among pet animals in Barangay Poblacion of Sto. Nino in a bid to prevent the possible spread of the disease to other areas after a 44 year old man died of rabies.

Though a relatively rare cause of death in developed countries, 55,000 people die globally from this dreaded disease, mostly in Africa and Asia. That’s at a rate of one person every 10 minutes.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Cerro Negro de Mayasquer (Colombia): More than 11,000 micro-earthquakes at shallow depths were recorded beneath the volcanoes of Cerro Negro de Mayasquer and Chiles during the past few months, INGEOMINAS Pasto volcano observatory reported. The seismic record for Cerro Negro volcano goes only back to past November when a small network of seismometers and tiltmeters was installed, so it is not known whether the observed seismic activity is abnormal or part of the normal behavior of the volcano, which last might have erupted in 1936 and has only fumarolic activity at present. In absence of stronger signs of unrest, the alert level of Cerro Negro remains at green for the moment. The report mentions that a decrease in earthquakes was observed in the first months, while the numbers increased again this March. All quakes were tiny, not exceeding magnitude 1.2. Their hypocenters are located in a cluster a few km SE of Cerro Negro de Mayasquer and mostly between 3 and 5 km depth beneath the summit.

Ubinas (Peru): Weak ash emissions could be occurring at the volcano, recent webcam images suggest. VAAC Buenos Aires (one of the less busy VAAC centers) issued an alert in any case.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): A new swarm of earthquakes started yesterday. So far, almost 200 tiny quakes (none above magnitude 3 so far) have occurred in a broad N-S oriented area beneath the NE part of the island at around 18 km depth. A possible explanation includes a new magmatic intrusion at depth (magma accumulating at the lower crust-mantle boundary).

Kilauea (Hawai’i): (14 Mar) Spatter cones on the floor of Pu`u `O`o crater displayed persistent glow with an open lava pond within the collapsed northeast spatter cone!