Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits the Aukland Islands, New Zealand.

5.7 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.4 Earthquake hits near the coast of southern Peru.

5.2 Earthquake hits southern Greece.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 11p (Winston), located approximately 332 nm southwest of Pago Pago, American Samoa, is tracking east-northeastward at 11 knots.

Tropical cyclone 13s (Uriah), located approximately 682nm west-southwest of Cocos Island, Australia, is tracking southwestward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

Papua New Guinea – Police in Papua New Guinea have revealed a mother and her baby and a young girl died when they were buried in a landslide which hit a village in Chimbu on Friday. There were also reports at the weekend of another six deaths as a result of the floods. Eleven schools in parts of Jiwaka province remained closed because of landslides caused by flooding. The bad weather had affected more than 27,000 people.

Wildlife

Anti-whaling activists fail to find Japan fleet

Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd says it has not been able to find the Japanese fleet which is hunting whales in the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shepherd sends its boats out every hunting season to try to interfere with the Japanese fleet and protect whales. But it said Japan had “greatly expanded their area of illegal operations” this year, making it hard to find them.

The statement called on Australia and New Zealand to help by passing on the co-ordinates of the fleet.

From the late 1940s to the mid-1960s whale meat was the single biggest source of meat in Japan. At its peak in 1964 Japan killed more than 24,000 whales in one year, most of them enormous fin whales and sperm whales.

Today Japan can afford to import meat from Australia and America. There is no deep-sea commercial whaling in Japan. The fleet that is now hunting in Antarctic waters is paid for by Japanese taxpayers to carry out what the Japanese government describes as “scientific research”.

Japan’s other justification is that it needs to kill hundreds of whales each year to study them. But the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has systematically dismantled that argument. In 2014 it ruled that there was no scientific case for Japan’s programme of “lethal research” in the Southern Ocean, and ordered Tokyo to stop.

Japan resumed its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean in December last year, after a one-year break, despite a global moratorium on whaling.

The four-vessel fleet is aiming to catch 333 Antarctic Minke whales – about one-third of previous targets – and Japan says the hunt is for scientific research, which is allowed under the ban.

But activists say the programme is inhumane, unsustainable and illegal.

 

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Missing Antarctic Penguins – Update

The news was previously reported — that some 150,000 Adélie penguins have died in Antarctica because a colossal iceberg cut off their sea access.

But according to other experts, there’s no proof yet that the birds are dead. No one has actually found 150,000 frozen penguins. In fact, some experts think there’s a less horrific explanation for the missing birds: When the fishing gets tough, penguins simply pick up and move. It wouldn’t be the first time Adélie penguins marched to new digs. When an iceberg grounded in the southern Ross Sea in 2001, penguins on Ross Island relocated to nearby colonies until the ice broke up.

While the Adélie population has dropped along the Antarctic Peninsula, the colonies in East Antarctica are growing. As of 2011, there were approximately 7 million Adélie penguins in Antarctica. Losing 150,000 birds — even if that were true — is hardly considered to be apocalyptic, according to the opposing experts.

Disease

Parechovirus Infects 50 Babies in Queensland, Australia

An outbreak of a rare and potentially fatal virus has left 55 newborns sick, with most of the infected babies under three months old.

The respiratory and gastrointestinal infection parechovirus has swept through parts of Queensland, including Brisbane and the Gold Coast, leaving newborns with lethargy, diarrhoea, a temperature and a refusal to eat.

Last month, two infants from Toowoomba were almost killed by the virus and were left fighting for life in intensive care, with one even having her chest cut open and given painful spinal taps.

The virus initially broke out in Brisbane in September, but there have been reported cases on the Gold Coast, and in Toowoomba, Townsville, Mackay and Bundaberg

There is currently no specific treatment for the potentially fatal disease but doctors are trying to work on a vaccine.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Telica (Nicaragua): Nicaragua’s volcanoes remain in a particularly active state. A series of approx. 12 small explosions occurred at Telica volcano on Saturday morning, the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies INETER reported. Ash columns from the eruptions rose from 300 to 1000 meters above the crater.

Masaya (Nicaragua): The lava lake inside the volcano’s main crater (Santiago crater) not only remains active, but its activity has been gradually increasing during the past week or so. A few days ago, between 9-10 Feb INETER had recorded a seismic crisis including 10 significant shallow earthquakes with magnitudes between 2 and 4.1, many of them felt in nearby areas, the strongest ones even in several tens of km distance. It is thought that these quakes were the result of a new injection of magma into the volcano’s shallow plumbing system underneath the Masaya caldera.

Cerro Negro (Nicaragua): An unusual number of earthquakes have been noted near the volcano recently, prompting authorities to warn tourists and locals not to climb the volcano, local press reports. Whether the earthquakes are precursors of a possible new eruption is uncertain, but Cerro Negro is one of the country’s most active volcanoes with at least 23 recorded historical eruptions, last in 1992, 1995 and 1999. Cerro Negro’s eruptions are often violent with tall lava fountains and tall ash plumes, and often preceded by earthquakes.

Momotombo (Nicaragua): Another moderately strong explosion occurred from the summit crater yesterday 13:08 local time, ejecting an ash plume that rose approx. 1000 m and many incandescent bombs that ignited bush fires on the upper flank of the volcano. Bright glow at the crater at night suggests that new magma has present there.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): No significant changes in activity have occurred in the ongoing eruption of Kilauea. In recent weeks, lava from Pu’u ‘O’o continued to aliment lava tubes feeding the large pahoehoe flow field to the NE. Active outbreaks occurred mainly at its NW margins 2-5 km distance from the vent, where the lava field has been slowly eating away at the forest.