Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 Earthquake hits South Island, New Zealand.

5.4 Earthquake hits off the coast of northern California, USA.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Java – Floods inundated thousands of homes in Surakarta, Central Java, and hundreds of others in neighboring Yogyakarta province on Thursday after rain drenched the regions overnight from Wednesday afternoon. In Surakarta, flooding, which was in part caused by the overflowing Pepe River in the city’s north, inundated a number of regions by up to 1 meter, forcing residents to flee their homes.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115.7 degrees Fahrenheit (46.5 degrees Celsius) at Nawabshah, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 88.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 67.0 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

Amazon Tribe Reveals Western Life Is Killing Good Germs

Samples of germs taken from a tribe of once-isolated indigenous people in Venezuela’s Amazon region found that the tribesmen’s seclusion from the outside world until recently has allowed them to keep the highest diversity of bodily bacteria ever observed among humans.

The trillions of mainly beneficial bacteria our body uses for digestion and immunity have come under assault over the past 75 years by the use of antibiotics, and they are also diminished by the sanitary conditions people mainly enjoy in modern life.

Writing in the journal Science Advances, researchers say that comparing bacterial DNA from the Amazon’s Yanomami villagers with samples from U.S. residents reveals that microbes are about 40 percent less diverse in the American population.

The findings support the theory that lower microbial diversity now found in the developed world may be linked to immune and metabolic diseases like allergies, asthma and diabetes.

“The challenge is to determine which are the important bacteria whose function we need to be healthy,” said researcher M. Gloria Dominguez-Bellow of New York University.

Wildlife

Massive Poison Spray in New Zealand Wipes out Pests

New Zealand’s contentious program to eradicate rats, possums and stoats by dropping toxins and placing traps has brought the populations of those pests to undetectable or very low levels at most sites, officials say.

The country’s Department of Conservation announced that its field monitoring of sites across the South Island shows that a small number of the endangered birds the program was intended to protect died during the poisoning.

But they said a 1-in-15-year bumper crop of beech seeds would have fueled a huge population explosion of the invasive pests had the poisoning program not been launched last year.

The department also said the breeding success of rock wren, robin and other bird species was significantly higher in areas treated with the controversial poison known as 1080.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry told reporters that the program’s success is “a welcome victory for endangered native species.”

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Villarrica (Central Chile): SERNAGEOMIN reported weak strombolian activity during the past days and the presence of a small oscillating lava lake in the summit crater’s inner pit.

The explosions were limited to the crater area and ejected material to up to 100 m from the vent. A slight increase in activity was noted yesterday morning by local media. Bright glow is visible at the volcano’s summit at night.

The Alert Level remained at Orange and (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and a 5 km access restriction zone is in place. A major risk could be lahars caused by sudden melting of snow if more intense activity sets in.

Calbuco (Southern Chile and Argentina): The volcano has so far stayed calm, but the alert level remains at red because another explosion could occur. A major problem in this situation seems to be that eruptions such as the recent one are likely to remain something impossible to predict – at least in some cases.

It seems that the eruption on Wednesday evening was only preceded by 15 minutes (!) of an intense intense earthquake swarm that could reasonably have been served as a clear warning sign.

The twin blasts from the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile sent vast clouds of ash into the sky, covering this small town with thick soot and raising concerns on Thursday that the dust could contaminate water, cause respiratory illnesses and ground more flights.

Ensenada, in the foothills of the volcano, looked like a ghost town but for an occasional horse or dog roaming its only street. Most of the 1,500 residents had evacuated after the initial eruption Wednesday, with only about 30 people refusing to leave out of worry for their homes and animals.

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