Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits Unimak Island, Alaska.

5.7 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.6 Earthquake hits offshore Valparaiso, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Unimak Island, Alaska.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific: Post-Tropical Cyclone Seymour is located about 820 mi…1325 km W of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h, Present movement…N or 10 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h

Wildlife

Coast of Antarctica Will Host World’s Largest Marine Reserve

The world’s biggest marine reserve, almost as large as Alaska, will be established in the Ross Sea in Antarctica under an agreement reached by representatives of 24 nations and the European Union in Australia on Friday.

The policy makers and scientists agreed unanimously to create a zone that will encompass 600,000 square miles of ocean. Commercial fishing will be banned from the entire area, but 28 percent of it will be designated as research zones, where scientists can catch limited amounts of fish and krill, tiny invertebrates that provide food for whales, penguins, seals and other animals.

The area, which is mostly contiguous and hugs the coast off the Ross Sea ice shelf, will come under protection on Dec. 1, 2017, and remain a reserve for 35 years. The agreement was reached in Hobart, Tasmania, at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

The reserve includes the Ross Sea shelf and slope, the Balleny Islands and the ocean around two seamounts, one known as the Scott seamount. Seamounts, or underwater mountains, are habitats and foraging areas for mammals, birds and fish, including Weddell seals, killer whales and emperor penguins.

This Bird Can Remain Airborne For 10 Months Straight

Scientists have long suspected that the common swift remains airborne for extraordinary amounts of time during its annual migration.

Now, a team of scientists in Sweden has proved that these birds fly for tremendously long periods of time. They affixed data loggers onto a total of 19 of the master fliers in 2013 and 2014, and recaptured the birds months or years later. Researchers found that the birds can spend almost their entire 10-month nonbreeding period on the wing.

The data loggers gathered information on acceleration and flight activity, and those installed in 2014 also included light trackers for geolocation.

The results were astonishing. For example, according to research published in Current Biology, one of the birds stopped for just four nights in February in 2014 — and the next year it stopped for only two hours. Other birds stopped for longer periods of time. But “even when swifts settle to roost,” the researchers say, “the amount of time not flying is very small.”

The birds are known to travel from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa — but they apparently don’t touch down there, as National Geographic reports. Researchers say they have never found roosting sites in sub-Saharan Africa.

The scientists say that the rarity of the stops during nonbreeding season suggests that the bird may only take a pause because of bad weather. The fact that some birds fly continuously during nonbreeding periods indicates that the species may not actually need to land for sleep. In fact, it’s unclear “when and to what extent swifts need to sleep,” the paper states.

“They feed in the air, they mate in the air, they get nest material in the air,” researcher Susanne Åkesson from Lund University in Sweden tells National Geographic. “They can land on nest boxes, branches, or houses, but they can’t really land on the ground.”

The birds’ shape contributes to this finding; their “wings are too long and their legs are too short to take off from a flat surface,” the magazine reports.

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Environment

One of the Oldest Oak Trees in the US Dies

Basking Ridge, N.J. is a quintessential small town. Like all good small towns, it has a defining feature. Or at least it did. This summer, heat stress and heavy rain conspired to fell a 600-year old oak tree at both the town’s literal and cultural centre — the tree sits at the point where West Oak Street turns into East Oak Street, hanging over the Presbyterian Church’s graveyard.

What precipitated the oak’s rapid decline was a two-week stretch when the average temperature was higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit in late July. The heat stress made the tree’s pores essentially go on lockdown during the hot, dry period to keep its water availability up. Unfortunately the stretch of hot weather was followed by two separate days where heavy rain fell in mid-August.

Rob Gillies, an arborist in Basking Ridge who has tended to the tree, told the New York Times that “the roots were soaking because it couldn’t process the water,” ultimately dealing the fatal blow.

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Global Warming

Methane Sinks

The ocean floor off Washington, Oregon and California is riddled with deep-sea vents that spew the greenhouse gas methane.

The discovery was made by researchers on the Ocean Exploration Trust’s submersible ship Nautilus. The organization told the National Ocean Exploration Forum in New York that it expects to find other ocean seeps elsewhere.

Methane traps atmospheric heat 40 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide.

Planetary Cameras

A startup company has launched a fleet of tiny earth-observing satellites designed to photograph every part of the world every day to help reveal how the planet is changing.

The company, Planet, has so far put 133 of the satellites in orbit, and says they can be calibrated to observe every single tree on the planet to allow unprecedented visual evidence of deforestation no matter where it occurs.

Planet is currently sharing its data with groups such as Amnesty International, the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project and the U.S. government’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was again 108.0 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) in Linguere, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 86.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 65.5 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

Leptospirosis kills four in Udupi, India

Four deaths have recently been attributed to leptospirosis in the Coastal Karnataka city of Udupi, causing fear among the population. Health officials are currently trying to ease the tension among the public by creating awareness programs about the bacterial disease.

Leptospirosis is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Leptospira interrogans, is often referred to as “rat fever” due to the principal role rats play in spreading the disease.

Australia: Cats found carrying superbug

The first evidence of a superbug in a domestic cat that could infect humans and livestock has been discovered in Australia.

The Salmonella strain is resistant to carbapenems, a drug used as the last line of defence in Australian hospitals. Experts believe this resistance may pose a serious threat to public health. This is the first time that a Salmonella strain with resistance to most antimicrobial drugs has been reported in any Australian domestic animal and it is a significant concern to public health.

Thailand teenagers dig up rabid dog and eat it

In what is clearly one of the most bizarre and potentially tragic stories today, 13 teenagers in Thailand’s Northeast province of Mukdahan dug up a dog that was buried and ate it, not aware all along, the animal was put down by officials because it was rabid.

The dog was killed because it had attacked a number of locals recently. The teens were sent to Mukdahan Hospital for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Eating dog meat is considered taboo in most of Thailand.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bulusan | Luzon (Philippines) | 12.77°N, 124.05°E | Elevation 1565 m

PHIVOLCS reported that a phreatic explosion occurred at 0458 on 19 October from the vents on Bulusan’s upper SE flank. The seismic network recorded the event as an explosion-type earthquake that lasted nine minutes. Dense weather clouds obscured views although limited observations indicated that the plume rose 1 km. A 20-minute-long phreatic explosion occurred from the summit crater at 1234 on 21 October. A thin layer of ash was reported in Casiguran and Gubat, and trace amounts of ash fell in barangays in Barcelona, Casiguran, and Gubat. At 1531 on 23 October a 15-minute-long phreatic explosion from the summit vent produced an ash plume that rose 2.5 km and drifted WSW. Small pyroclastic flows traveled about 2 km down the flank. Trace ashfall was reported in multiple barangays in Irosin Town, ashfall 0.5 mm thick was reported in the municipality of Juban, and the most ash, 1 mm thick deposits, were found in barangay Puting Sapa, Juban. A second and much smaller explosion was recorded at 1539 from the SE vent and generated an ash plume that rose 500 m. Rumbling and a sulfur odor was noted in several nearby areas. The Alert Level remained at 1, indicating abnormal conditions and a 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) | 52.825°N, 169.944°W | Elevation 1730 m

AVO reported that an explosion at Cleveland was detected at 1310 on 24 October by both infrasound (air pressure) sensors and seismometers. Residents in Nikolski (75 km E) reported hearing the explosion. Weather clouds obscured satellite views although no eruption plume was detected above the cloud deck at 8.5 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l. AVO raised the Level of Concern Color Code to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch. Clear webcam views on 25 October showed intermittent, minor steam emissions possibly containing slight amounts of ash rising just above the crater rim.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | 54.049°N, 159.443°E | Elevation 1513 m

On 19 October KVERT stated that moderate steam-and-gas emissions and an occasional weak thermal anomaly at Karymsky continued to be detected in satellite images. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow.

Ulawun | New Britian (Papua New Guinea) | 5.05°S, 151.33°E | Elevation 2334 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 19-21 and 23-25 October ash plumes from Ulawun rose to altitudes of 2.7-23 km (9,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 25-110 km NW, W, and SW.