Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
5.9 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.
5.3 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.
5.1 Earthquake hits the Loyalty Islands.
5.0 Earthquake hits central Peru.
5.0 Earthquake hits Samar in the Philippines.
Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit New Ire4land, Papua New Guinea.
Earthquake forms the Great Wall of New Zealand
In last month’s M7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand earthquake, at least 9 separate faults ruptured in the largest quake in New Zealand since the 1855 M8.2-8.3 Wairarapa earthquake. In a matter of seconds the New Zealand landscape changed forever. Shore platforms along the coast were uplifted, landslides blocked rivers and roads, and large intermittent surface ruptures extended for over 120 km. At this site, the amount of vertical uplift exceeded 3 m, while lateral offset was approximately 1.8 m.
Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:
In the western Pacific:
Tropical Storm 30w (Nock-Ten), located approximately 1,380 kilometres east of Mindanao, in the Philippines is tracking west-northwestward towards Luzon at 12 knots.
In the South Indian Ocean:
Tropical cyclone 02s (Yvette), located approximately 441 nm northwest of Port Hedland, Australia, is tracking eastward at 01 knots.
Snow in the Sahara
Amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata says he took the incredible pictures of snow covering the sand in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on December 19. The unforgiving red dunes looked pristine and picturesque.
Reports suggest that it is only the second time in living memory that snow has fallen on this desert. The last record is for February 18, 1979, when the snow storm lasted just half an hour.
California Forests Failing to Regrow After Intense Wildfires
There are warning signs that some forests in the western U.S. may have a hard time recovering from the large and intense wildfires that have become more common as the climate warms.
After studying 14 burned areas across 10 national forests in California, scientists from UC Davis and the U.S. Forest Service said recent fires have killed so many mature, seed-producing trees across such large areas that the forests can’t re-seed themselves. And because of increasingly warm temperatures, burned areas are quickly overgrown by shrubs, which can prevent trees from taking root.
Historically, severe fires were uncommon in the forests covered by the study, largely made up of yellow pines and mixed conifers, but extended drought and heatwaves have exacerbated fire conditions across the West. The changing climate is also seen as a factor in recent wildfires in the Southeast, which is also mired in drought.
Mumps cases top 5,000 in the US
The mumps outbreak in the United States has eclipsed 5,000 cases with two weeks left in 2016, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments.
CDC data shows that through Dec. 17, 4,915 cumulative provisional cases have been reported from 46 states and Washington DC. However, the CDC numbers do not reflect the most up-to-date numbers provided by the states.
For example, CDC shows that Arkansas, the state with the most cases, has 1,900; however, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) puts the total at 2,270 through Dec. 20. This alone puts the national total well over 5,000.
A number of colleges and universities have been through and are currently experiencing outbreaks of mumps. At the University of Missouri, one of the most active college outbreaks currently, school health officials put the total at 265 cases since the beginning of the Fall semester.
India – Acute diarrhoeal disease outbreak
As many as 150 people have fallen sick so far after the outbreak of an acute diarrhoeal disease (ADD) in Taramani, Chennai allegedly due to water contamination. They have been admitted to the local hospital since December 15-20.
Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 14 December-20 December 2016
Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that lava-dome extrusion likely continued at Bezymianny during 14-16 December. A gas-and-steam plume containing a small amount of ash drifted about 118 km W on 15 December. The Tokyo VAAC noted that ash plumes rose as high as 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. that same day. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange.
Bogoslof | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported that a short-lived explosive eruption at Bogoslof, observed and reported by several pilots around 1600 on 20 December, produced an ash plume that rose to 10.3 km (34,000 ft) a.s.l. A subsequent pilot report made 50 minutes later indicated that activity had decreased. Satellite data showed a discrete, short-lived explosion just prior to 1600, and a detached plume that drifted S. AVO raised the Aviation Colour Code to Red and the Volcano Alert Level to Warning.
Colima | Mexico : Based on information from the National Civil Protection coordinator, news articles reported that an explosion at Colima occurred at 0943 on 16 December, generating an ash plume that rose 2.3 km above the crater rim and drifted NNW. At 0807 on 17 December an explosion sent an ash plume 1 km above the crater that then drifted NE. Later that day at 2058 a strong explosion (the strongest registered within the past 16 months) ejected incandescent material onto the flanks and ash plumes as high as 2 km. Lava flows and rolling incandescent material traveled as far as 1.7 km down the flanks. Explosions on 18 December produced ash plumes that again rose as high as 2 km above the crater.
Copahue | Central Chile-Argentina border : According to ONEMI, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during the first two weeks of December activity at Copahue continued to be dominated by weak Strombolian explosions, likely from a pyroclastic cone forming on the floor of El Agrio crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (second highest level on a four-colour scale); SERNAGEOMIN recommended no entry into a restricted area within 1.5 km of the crater. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the municipality of Alto Biobío. Based on satellite and webcam images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 13-20 December gas-and-ash plumes from Copahue rose to altitudes of 3-3.9 km (10,000-13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, ENE, E, and SE.
Fuego (Guatemala): (21 Dec) The 16th paroxysm of the volcano (violent episode with lava fountaining and lava flow emission) in 2016 has started. Activity gradually increased during the past days and new lava flows have started to descend the SE and SW flanks. Collapsing parts of the lava emplaced on the upper slopes has generated pyroclastic flows that were about 300 m wide and reached up to approx. 3500 m length, generating dense ash plumes of 1-2 km height.