Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Volcanic Seismic Swarm

Washington’s infamous Mount St. Helens shook more than 100 times during a single week with what volcanologists describe as signs the mountain is recharging toward an eventual eruption. The seismic swarm occurred between 1 and 2 miles below the surface and was too weak to be felt.

“Each of these little earthquakes is a clue and a reminder we are marching toward an eruption someday,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Weston Thelen.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

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Queensland, Australia – Torrential overnight rain has caused extensive flash flooding across Mount Isa and surrounding areas in the state’s north-west. Many local roads had gone under as well as all of the city’s small bridges. The highest fall was recorded at the Mt Isa mine, where 97.6 millimetres fell in the 24 hours to 9:00am.

California, USA – Flash flood warnings and advisories were issued for parts of the North Bay Thursday as a potent storm front slammed into the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing with it heavy rains and strong winds. The heavy precipitation from the storm system prompted numerous warnings over the course of the day.

Wildlife

Ant Supercolony Threat

A species of ant living in ancient forests of Ethiopia has begun exhibiting signs of supercolony formation, a development experts say could lead to the insects invading other parts of the world.

Supercolony formation is rare in ants, but Ethiopia’s Lepisiota canescens have formed one colony that stretches for 24 miles, according to researchers with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. They warn the ants could hitch a ride in plant material or even in the luggage of tourists to wind up ravaging the ecology of other parts of the world.

“All it takes is one pregnant queen,” said researcher D. Magdalena Sorger. “That’s how fire ants started!”

Shrinking Reindeer

While Santa now has a greater number of reindeer to choose from for his Christmas Eve travels, with populations of the animals having increased over the past two decades, the average weight of the iconic grazers is declining under the influence of climate change.

Scientists from Scotland’s James Hutton Institute found that the weight of adult reindeer in Norway’s Svalbard Arctic archipelago dropped by 12 percent since 1994.

Warmer winters are bringing more rainfall, which falls on snow and freezes so thick that the reindeer can’t reach their main winter diet of lichen on the ground below.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 108.0 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) in Ceduna, South Australia..

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 60.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 50.0 degrees Celsius) in Oimyakon,Siberia.

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.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 7 December-13 December 2016

Bagana | Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 8-13 December ash plumes from Bagana rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, SW, S, and NE.

Colima | Mexico : Based on webcam and satellite images, and information from the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes from Colima rose to altitudes of 4.6-7.3 km (15,000-24,000 ft) a.s.l. during 7-11 December and drifted almost 170 km in multiple directions.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, VONAs issued by the Dukono Volcano Observatory, and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 7-13 December ash plumes from Dukono rose as high as 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 305 km NE, E, and SE.

Fuego | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 6-7 December the number of explosions at Fuego increased to 3-5 per hour. Ash plumes rose 1 km above the crater and drifted 12 km W and SW, causing ashfall in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km N). Incandescent block avalanches reached vegetated areas. Activity continued at the same level through 12 December, although 4-6 explosions per hour were detected during 12-13 December. Ash plumes from explosions during 8-12 December rose as high as 1.1 km and drifted 12-15 km W, SW and S. Ash fell in the same areas downwind. During 8-9 and 11-12 December incandescent material was ejected 200 m above the crater, causing avalanches of material in the crater and towards the main ravines.

Katmai | United States : According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite image acquired on 2 December of the Katmai area showed a plume of re-suspended ash which had been deposited during the 1912 eruption.