Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Sumbawa, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the coast of Jalisco, Mexico.

5.2 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

Oklahoma, USA – A swarm of more than 70 small earthquakes has rattled Oklahoma in the past week, raising concerns that the state’s quake problem is getting worse. The largest quake measured magnitude 4.8 and struck around midnight Wednesday near the town of Fairview. No significant damage has been reported, although it shook pictures and crockery.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 06p (Ula), is located approximately 317 nm west of Suva, Fiji, and is tracking southwestward at 06 knots.

Tropical Storm Pali is located about 1380 mi…2225 km SW of Honolulu Hawaii and about 660 mi…1060 km SSW of Johnston Island with maximum sustained winds…60 mph…95 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 300 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

NewsBytes:

Albania – Two days of heavy rain in Albania has caused flash floods, river overflow and landslides in several parts of the country, including the counties of Tirana, Durrës, Lezhë, Shkodër and Dibër.

Kenya – Update – 3 Months of Flooding Leaves 112 Dead and Over 100,000 Displaced.

Environment

New Geologic Epoch Declared

A group of 24 geoscientists on Thursday released a bracing assessment, suggesting that humans have altered the Earth so extensively that the consequences will be detectable in current and future geological records. They therefore suggest that we should consider the Earth to have moved into a new geologic epoch, the “Anthropocene,” sometime circa 1945-1964.

The current era (at least under present definitions), known as the Holocene, began about 11,700 years ago, and was marked by warming and large sea level rise coming out of a major cool period, the Younger Dryas. However, the researchers suggest, changes ranging from growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to infusions of plastics into marine sediments suggest that we’ve now left the Holocene decisively behind — and that the proof is already being laid down in polar ice cores, deep ocean sediments, and future rocks themselves.

Disease

Microcephaly – Brazil

On 4 January 2016, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brazil provided PAHO/WHO with an epidemiological report regarding the increase of microcephaly cases in the country.

As of 2 January, 3,174 suspected cases of microcephaly, including 38 deaths, had been identified at the national level. The cases are distributed across 684 municipalities of 21 federal units. The Northeastern region continues to report the highest number of suspected cases.

Zika virus infection – United States of America – Puerto Rico

On 31 December 2015, the National IHR Focal Point (NFP) of the United States of America notified PAHO/WHO of the first laboratory-confirmed case of Zika virus infection in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The patient is a resident of Puerto Rico and had no travel history outside the island in the three months prior to the onset of illness. A blood sample obtained from the patient tested positive for Zika viral RNA by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).