Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

5.4 Earthquake hits Fiji.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone Nathan is located approximately 225 nm east-northeast of Cairns, Australia and is tracking westward at 02 knots.

Tropical storm 03w (Bavi), located approximately 489 nm northwest of Yap, and is tracking westward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Indonesia – A dam burst in West Java, Indonesia which triggered floods that affected over 15,000 people and caused evacuations. The dam on the Cimanuk river at Pilangsari village in the Indramayu district burst on Monday and forced at least 4,000 people to flee their homes.

Space Events

St. Patrick’s Day Solar Storm Bombards Earth, Sparks Auroras

A massive solar storm is bombarding Earth today (March 17), sparking stronger than normal auroras for St. Patrick’s Day. The solar storm poses no threat to satellites, but may affect GPS and radio signals.

Disease

Typhoid fever – Uganda

In a belated report, on 24 February 2015, the Ministry of Health of Uganda notified WHO of a typhoid fever outbreak.

The outbreak started in Kampala City at the beginning of 2015. As of 5 March 2015, a total of 1940 suspected cases have been reported. From the first epicentre in downtown Kampala, the outbreak has now spread to all divisions in the capital city and to neighbouring districts. The most affected groups are young males aged between 20 and 39 years. The majority of cases work in the business sector or as casual labourers. Food and juice vendors and cooks are also affected, hence the potential for wide spread of the disease. At the beginning of the outbreak Salmonella Typhi was laboratory-confirmed in 4 of 16 tested specimens. Further specimens have been tested during the outbreak identifying 5 isolates of Salmonella paratyphi group A. Contaminated drinking water and juices have been identified as the main sources of infection. The majority of water sources that have been tested were heavily contaminated with Escherichia coli and fecal matter.

Wildfires

Wildfires – USA

About a dozen people have been evacuated from their homes because of wildfire in Oklahoma today that has burned 37 square miles. The fire is 16 miles long and has destroyed one home.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker said the fire is 20 percent contained and helicopters will be used to drop water on the flames.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): An explosion occurred a few hours ago. Webcam images show bright blow from incandescent material ejected. VAAC Tokyo estimates an ash plume was produced that rose to 25,000 ft (7.5 km) altitude.

Turrialba (Costa Rica): The volcano has remained calm at the surface, but seismic activity continues to be elevated. According to OVSICORI-UNA, new explosions with strong ash emissions should be expected in the near future.

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): Mild activity is again occurring at the summit vent of the tall stratovolcano. Aviation color code is orange. KVERT reports that the “moderate explosive eruption of the volcano continues: gas-steam plumes containing small amount of ash are observing. Satellite data showed: ash plumes rose up to 5 km a.s.l. and drifted about 90 km to the north-east and east of the volcano; a weak thermal anomaly was noted over the volcano.”

Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): Tokyo VAAC reports an eruption this morning that produced an ash plume at approx. 23,000 ft (7 km) altitude and extending NE.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano remains in a very active phase with 5-10 daily explosions. An eruption on 16 March produced an ash plume to 14,000 ft (4.2 km) altitude, i.e. rising approx. 3 km above the Showa crater.

Raung (East Java): Strombolian activity continues from the vents inside the summit caldera of the volcano. Raung’s alert level of the volcano was raised to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) a week ago. An increasing number of volcanic-tectonic earthquakes had been detected. These quakes are indicators of rock breaking at depth, which can be caused by pressurized fluids, such as magma, intruding into the system.

Villarrica (Central Chile): Activity at the volcano is again increasing, which could again culminate in another paroxysm. Since 14 March, degassing and seismic activity have been observed to rise. Phases of mild strombolian activity appeared again on 16 March. SERNAGEOMIN described projections of incandescent material to up to 150 m. ONEMI and SERNAGEOMIN maintain alert level yellow (which might be raised in the case the activity further increases). A 3 km exclusion zone is in place around the summit.