Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

Nepal Earthquake Lifted Kathmandu, but Shrank Everest

According to Home Ministry, at least 5,017 died and around 10,224 people have been injured as of Wednesday evening.

The first good view of the aftermath of Nepal’s deadly earthquake from a satellite reveals that a broad swath of ground near Kathmandu lifted vertically, by about 3 feet (1 meter), which could explain why damage in the city was so severe. The new information comes from Europe’s Sentinel-1a radar satellite.

According to the early analysis, a region 75 miles (120 kilometres) long by 30 miles (50 km) wide lifted upwards by as much as a 3 feet during the earthquake, said Tim Wright, a geophysicist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. This uplift peaked only 10 miles (17 km) from Kathmandu, even though the city was relatively far from the earthquake’s epicentre. That’s one of the reasons why Kathmandu has so much damage.

The radar images reveal that some of the world’s tallest peaks — including Mount Everest — dropped by about 1 inch (2.5 cm)

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 24s (Quang), located approximately 358 nm northwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking southeastward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

Australia – A new low pressure weather system off Australia’s east coast has parts of southern Queensland and northern NSW bracing for heavy falls and near-cyclonic wind this weekend. South-east Queensland including the Fraser Coast, Gold Coast and inland to the Darling Downs is set to receive falls of up to 400mm this afternoon and tomorrow.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Ukraine

Ukraine’s emergency services appealed for calm Wednesday as wildfires raged in the exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine that went into meltdown in 1986.

“Levels of background radiation are normal … don’t panic! Everything is in order,” Ukrainian emergency services head Zoryan Shkiryak was cited by Russian media as saying, adding “the situation is 100 percent under control.”

There had been concerns that wildfires in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl accident would release radioactive elements back into the air that would travel with the smoke and contaminate new areas, potentially posing an increased cancer risk to the inhabitants of those areas.

A 30 kilometre radius around the old power plant marks the exclusion zone, an area in which parts of land exceed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s radioactive contamination standard. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the blaze was under control and had been contained to an area 20 kilometres from the plant, The Associated Press reported.

Environmental organization Greenpeace on Wednesday expressed concern that the Ukrainian government could be downplaying the extent of the fire. The AP cited officials as saying the blaze had swept through 400 hectares (1.5 square miles) of woodland on Tuesday. Greenpeace said in a statement that the affected area — including woodland, drained peat bogs and fields — extended to some 10,000 hectares.

Sunday marked the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster that caused the deaths of at least 28 people from acute radiation sickness, increased the incidence of cancers in areas of today’s Ukraine and Belarus and contaminated vast areas of land, according to the UNSCEAR report on the accident.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): A series of strong pyroclastic flows occurred yesterday 28 April 2015, reaching 3-4.5 km distance. The largest, at 18:20 local time touched and burnt the (evacuated) village of Guru Kinayan on the southern slope of the volcano. The flows, at least 9 in total, were results of the partial collapse of the recently emplaced lava lobe on the steep upper flank. They occurred at 17:02, 17:20, 17:33, 17:44, 17:47, 17:50, 18:03, 18:20 (probably the largest one), and at 19:52 local time.

Dempo (Sumatra): PVMBG raised the alert level of the volcano to 2 (waspada, “watch” on a scale of 1-4) because of increased seismic activity (mainly tremor and volcanic-tectonic earthquakes). It is recommended not to approach the crater within 1 km.

Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion): A new eruption could be on its way at the volcano. A sharp increase in volcanic CO2 emissions, significant deformation of the Dolomieu crater, and a migration of earthquakes from deep to shallow (7 km) levels, as well as earthquakes near the surface itself that have appeared over the past weekend suggest new magma is on its rise to a possible new eruption, which would be the second in 2015.