Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits the Samoa Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Rota region in the North Mariana Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Taiwan, Update – The death toll in yesterday’s powerful earthquake in Taiwan has risen to 26, with more than 100 people still missing, trapped in the rubble of the 17 storey collapsed building.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Cornwall, England – The highest level of flood warning, indicating a danger to life, has been issued for Portreath, a Cornish fishing port, following heavy rainfall across the South West. he Environment Agency said conditions in Portreath were “deteriorating quickly”. People have been warned against driving through Bridge to reach the village. Floods have blocked numerous roads, causing traffic chaos across Cornwall.

Queensland, Australia – Heavy rains caused flooding in central Queensland from Friday. One driver drowned while a Monto farmer died while mustering cattle away from the floodwaters.

Global Warming

Europe’s shift to dark green forests stokes global warming: study

An expansion of Europe’s forests toward dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures.

Forest changes have nudged Europe’s summer temperatures up by 0.12 degree (0.2 F) since 1750, largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruce whose dark colours trap the sun’s heat, the scientists said.

Lighter-Coloured broad-leafed trees, such as oak or birch, reflect more sunlight back into space but have lost ground to fast-growing conifers, used for everything from building materials to pulp.

Overall, the area of Europe’s forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750. Conifer forests expanded by 633,000 sq. km, while broad-leaved forests shrank by 436,000 sq. km. Over the period, Europeans have harvested ever more wood from the forests, reducing their role in storing carbon.

Disease

Lassa Fever Outbreak in Nigeria – Update

The growing Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has killed 101 people, as West Africa battles to contain a flare up of the virus, according to data from the nation’s health authorities released Saturday.

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) statistics show that reported cases of the haemorrhagic disease — both confirmed and suspected — stood at 175 with a total of 101 deaths since August.

While health authorities assure Africa’s most populous country of more than 170 million they have the virus under control, there are fears the actual scale of the outbreak is under-reported.

The outbreak of Lassa fever was only announced in January — months after the first case of the disease happened in August — with subsequent deaths reported in 10 states, including Abuja.

In neighbouring Benin at least nine people have died in a Lassa outbreak, with a total of 20 suspected cases, health authorities said Tuesday.

The number of Lassa fever infections in West Africa every year is between 100,000 to 300,000, with about 5,000 deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lassa fever belongs to the same family as Marburg and Ebola, two deadly viruses that lead to infections with fever, vomiting and, in worse case scenarios, haemorrhagic bleeding.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Alaid (Northern Kuriles): The ´most recent eruption of the volcano, which began in October last year, can be regarded as over and the aviation color code was lowered back to green. Satellite data compiled by Culture Volcan show no more heat emission from the volcano since January and visible satellite imagery now show that the crater has been partially filled with fresh lava from the eruption.

Chirpoi (Kurile Islands, Russia): Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, during 25, 27-28, and 30-31 January. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Egon (Flores): Volcanic unrest has decreased at the volcano, making the likelihood of an impending eruption smaller. The volcano’s alert level was lowered from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): A larger explosive eruption was reported to have occurred about an hour ago (11:45 UTC). Darwin VAAC issued alerts to aviation about an ash plume that rose to estimated 23,000 ft (7 km) altitude and is drifting NW. Aviation color code was immediately raised to RED.

Pagan (Mariana Islands): Satellite data and ground-based observations from a field crew and local residents near Pagan indicated that steam-and-gas emissions have significantly decreased since March 2015. The Aviation Colour Code and Volcano Alert Level were lowered to Unassigned on 30 January.

MacDonald (Austral Islands, ): Some activity might be occurring at the remote volcano: Scientists and crew aboard CSIRO’s (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator observed a plume rising from McDonald Island (the largest island) during the last week of January. Visual observations of the McDonald Islands are very rare due to its remote location.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): (5 Feb) A strong explosion occurred from the active Caliente lava dome this morning around 10:30 local time. It generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled down the southeast flank of the dome complex reaching a length of approx. 2-3 km. No damage or injuries were reported. Ash plumes from both the explosion and the pyroclastic flow rose to an elevation of 17,000 ft (5.5 km) and produced moderate ash falls in the southern sectors of the volcano, in particular in the village and coffee farm of El Palmar. Authorities ordered preventive evacuations in areas to the S and SE closest to the volcano.

Cotopaxi (Ecuador): On 29 January IG reported that in recent weeks superficial activity at Cotopaxi was characterized by minor steam emissions from the crater and sporadic gas emissions with minor amounts of ash. Sulfur dioxide emissions were less than 1,000 tons per day (pre-eruptive levels) and seismicity had almost returned to baseline levels. At 1843 on 24 January a plume with low-to-moderate levels of ash rose 700 m above the crater and drifted W. The emission coincided with a hybrid earthquake.