Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Babuyan Islands in the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit the Carlsberg ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

The mellow 2014 Atlantic hurricane season ends Today (Nov. 30), marking another year without major hurricanes hitting the Eastern United States.

Tropical storm 21w (Sinlaku), located approximately 138 nm south-southeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, and is tracking west-northwestward at 14 knots.

Disease

WHO reports sudden spike in Ebola death toll

The World Health Organization said that almost 7,000 people have died of Ebola in west Africa, adding a further 1,200 to a toll from two days earlier.

Of the 16,169 people who contracted the disease, 6,928 died in the three countries most affected by the outbreak: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the WHO said.

The sudden increase in number of deaths, mostly in Liberia, were because of a “a reconciliation of historical numbers” and not to new deaths in recent days, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

Given the difficulty in collecting figures, the agency has previously said it believes there have been far more deaths than those registered.

The virus, which hit Liberia the hardest, is said to have been slowing down, according to observer.

Nonetheless, Liberia accounts for the lion’s share of the new deaths tallied, now standing at 4,181 out of 7,244 cases. Sierra Leone, which according to the WHO is still seeing a rapid spread of Ebola in many parts of the country, now counts 1,461 deaths out of 6,802 cases, up from 1,398 deaths and 6,599 cases on November 26.

Guinea, where the outbreak began nearly a year ago, meanwhile counted 1,284 deaths out of 2,123 cases, up from 1,260 deaths and 2,134 cases two days earlier.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bardarbunga (Iceland):  As the lava field continues to expand, new branches of red hot rivers reach its edge and cascade down on the sandy plain below in a spectacular ‘water’fall of glowing lava. Scientists report that by now the Holuhraun lava field covers almost 75 square kilometres which represents an area bigger than the Reykjavik metropolitan area. The intensity of the eruption declined so that the present amount of emitted lava is only a quarter of what it was at the eruption’s most intense phase. But according to Ármann Höskuldsson, volcanologist at the University of Iceland Earth Science Institute, there are no indications that the volcanic activity will stop anytime soon. He points out that it remains a very intense eruption despite the recent (temporarily?) weakening of its activity. Scientists observed fluctuations in the eruption plume last week due to sporadic emission of powerful lava jets. The lava flow discharge pulsated accordingly.

Nyamuragira (DRCongo): For the first time in 75 years, a new lava lake appeared on some of Africa’s most active stratovolcanoes: Mount Nyamuragira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The neighbouring volcanoes of Nyamugira and Nyiragongo are both part of the Virunga volcanic chain in the East African Rift, situated along DR Congo’s border with Rwanda. They are famous as two of the few volcanoes on Earth that have sustained lava lakes for several decades. The previous lava lake at Nyamuragira emptied in 1938 as its lava poured out of the summit and flowed more than 30 kilometres down to Lake Kivu. The new lava lake seems to have formed at the bottom of the 500 m deep crater that was left behind by this 1938 lava flood. Nyamuragira’s last eruption started in November 2011 and ended in March 2012 by the partial emptying of the magma chamber through the effusion of large lava flows. This eventually resulted in the collapse of the pit crater, an event after which the magma is likely forced to follow a new route higher up to the volcano’s summit. Such reconstruction of the volcano’s plumbing system with transport of magma higher in the volcano’s cone could trigger the formation of a lava lake. Nyamuragira’s past eruptions all seem to follow a typical eruptive cycle of lava being progressively emitted from the volcano’s base to its summit, ending in the formation of a lava lake.