Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

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

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

5.2 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

Wildlife

Dead Sperm Whales Found on German Beach

Eight dead sperm whales have washed up on a German beach, just weeks after 12 of the giant mammals were found dead at other sites on the North Sea, officials said on Monday.

The eight whales found near the northern town of Friedrichskoog were young bulls, around the same age as the animals discovered three weeks ago at various North Sea spots.

Since the 1990s, a total of 82 sperm wales have been found stranded in the Wadden Sea in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany. The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales, and the largest toothed predator.

During their migrations, individual animals mistakenly wind up in the shallow and nutrient-poor North Sea. The shallow water makes it difficult for them to use their acoustic orientation to navigate and many become beached.

Wildlife protection groups also blame the underwater noise from sea traffic and oil platforms for interfering with acoustic signals.

1a016e5f517e42dfa8cb8cc7f374a953

Disease

WHO Declares Global Emergency – Zika virus

A disease linked to the Zika virus in Latin America poses a global public health emergency requiring a united response, says the World Health Organization. Experts are worried that the virus is spreading far and fast, with devastating consequences. The infection has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains. The WHO alert puts Zika in the same category of concern as Ebola. It means research and aid will be fast-tracked to tackle the infection.

WHO director general, Margaret Chan called Zika an “extraordinary event” that needed a coordinated response. “I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014 constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”

Screen Shot 2016 02 02 at 1 49 07 PM

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Masaya (Nicaragua): INETER reported ongoing strong seismic and surface activity. There here are currently two small lava lakes active contained in two pits inside the Santiago crater. Access to Masaya’s crater rim, a very popular tourist destination, was closed to the public on Saturday. An earthquake of magnitude 3 on Friday, felt by many residents, probably accompanied the opening of the second vent in the NE section of the crater. A third vent is in the process of forming in the SE section of the crater, the latest INETER report stated.

Nevados de Chillán (Central Chile): A series of new explosions with small to moderate ash emissions occurred at the volcano during the end of last week. This activity formed a second new crater, approx. 25×30 m wide and located 50 m beneath the northeast flank of Arrau crater, as SERNAGEOMIN staff observed on an overflight on 30 January. According to Chilean scientists, the activity is caused by phreatic (steam-driven) explosions in the shallow hydrotermal disturbances, not by fresh magma. Temperatures in the crater areas were found to be relatively low (approx 120 deg C), which supports this interpretation as well. It is likely that more explosions occur in the near future and an exclusion zone of 2 km around the crater was put in place.

Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): An eruption was observed by crew on board the CSIRO research vessel Investigator in late January. A lava flow was seen descending the NW flank of Mawson Peak. Weak thermal anomalies were also detected on satellite data at the end of January. Whether the activity is still going on or not is impossible to determine – most of the days, the volcano is hidden beneath thick clouds preventing satellite observations.