Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits Seram, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 11p (Winston), located approximately 90 nm west-northwest of Suva, Fiji, is tracking westward at 16 knots.

Tropical cyclone 13s (Uriah), located approximately 1080 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking south-southeastward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

Fiji – Tropical Cyclone Winston has made landfall on the island of Viti Levu in Fiji. The storm, which is the most powerful ever to hit the island nation, was tracked moving through the narrow waterway ocean in between the country’s main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The capital city, Suva, is without electricity. Tropical Cyclone Winston was packing winds of 180 mph with gusts over 220 mph — the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane — according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. It is the strongest storm on record to make a direct hit on the main islands, which are home to a majority of Fiji’s 900,000 people and are smaller than Connecticut.

South Africa – Harding – Three more people have died in lightning strikes in KwaZulu-Natal, bringing to 10 the number of people killed in one week, the provincial co-operative governance and traditional affairs department said on Saturday.

Texas, USA – Volunteers with Texas Search and Rescue are picking up their search efforts for two children lost during a major flood along the Blanco River.

Wildlife

30-Year Deep Freeze

After being locked in a deep freeze for more than 30 years, two microscopic creatures called tardigrades have been resuscitated, with one of the adults getting busy with reproduction “immediately” and “repeatedly,” scientists reported.

Scientists were even able to revive a tardigrade egg after it spent the past three decades cooling its jets alongside the mature duo in a researcher’s freezer.

Their findings shattered the previous preservation and revival record for tardigrades and their eggs, which had been eight years for frozen tardigrades and nine years for dried eggs stored at room temperature.

Scientists retrieved the two microscopic Acutuncus antarcticus hitchhikers and one egg from a piece of frozen moss that had been collected in Antarctica in 1983. For years, the moss was kept frozen at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Celsius.) During that time, the tardigrades maintained a state known as “cryptobiosis,” showing no visible signs of life and with their metabolic processes at a standstill.

But after more than 30 years in this suspended state, they were brought back to life. Scientists rehydrated them and video-recorded the results, observing that after just one day, a revived tardigrade was tentatively stretching a pair of its stubby legs. Six days after rehydration, the tardigrade was moving its body, as though it were trying to lift itself, the researchers noted. After 13 days had passed, the animal was eating algae, its first meal in decades, And after 22 days, eggs were visible inside the tardigrade’s chubby body.

It eventually laid 19 eggs. A. antarcticus reproduce through parthenogenesis, which means that their embryos grow and develop without fertilization, and in this instance, a total of 14 hatchlings emerged.

The other tardigrade survived for just 20 days after rehydration, and died without reproducing. But the frozen egg hatched and produced a larva that went on to lay 15 eggs, of which seven hatched successfully.

Frozen tardigrade revived

Disease

Lassa Fever – Benin

On 25 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Benin notified WHO of an outbreak of Lassa fever.

The outbreak was initially detected on 21 January following reports of unexplained fever within a cluster of health workers from the district of Tchaourou, Borgou department. On 3 January, these health workers provided care to a patient suffering from haemorrhagic fever.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Oklahoma, USA

Wildfires spread through 20 Oklahoma counties, including LeFlore, on Thursday, scorching at least 40,000 acres, according to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Residents were evacuated in Pawnee, Okmulgee, and Harper counties, and the department reported several structures were destroyed by Thursday’s fires. The largest single fire was near Weleetka, which burned nearly 5,000 acres.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Momotombo (Nicaragua): Activity at the volcano has been increasing. During the past days, explosions have become frequent, with intervals of only few hours. The largest on Wednesday evening at 20:50 local time showered almost the cone with incandescent ejecta and produced ash plumes up to 1 km tall. Unconfirmed reports suggest that some of the eruptions also have produced small pyroclastic flows. Mild ash fall was reported in the communities of La Concha, Matuzán, Boca de Cántaro, Flor de la Piedra and Puerto Momotombo. According to the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INET) reported that microseismic activity remains high, suggesting that more eruptions are likely to occur in the near future.