Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the South Pacific: Tropical cyclone 08p (Eight), located approximately 388 nm south-southwest of Tonga, is tracking southeastward at 35 knots.

Newsbytes:

California, USA – Flooding in San Jose, Calif., has prompted the evacuation of at least 14,000 residents. The mandatory evacuation orders began overnight, and will remain in effect for at least another day. Flooding along Coyote Creek came after a series of heavy rainstorms combined with water rushing down the spillway of nearby Anderson Reservoir, which is now filled to capacity. In addition to the 14,000 mandatory evacuations, some 22,000 people were encouraged to leave their homes.

Global Warming

Global warming, overfishing threaten Earth’s “super-zoos,”

The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds.

An international team looked at more than 2,100 species of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and even tiny plankton to calculate Earth’s hot spots of marine biodiversity.

These underwater super-zoos are in patches of ocean that are overfished and warming fast, and these pressures hurt the lush life there, according to a study appearing in Wednesday’s journal Science Advances.

While scientists in the past have identified key areas of biodiversity, the new work is more detailed. Researchers found the liveliest ocean hot spot also happens to be where the science of evolution sprouted: the Pacific Ocean off the central South American coast. It includes the area around the Galapagos Islands.

Other hot spots include the southwestern Atlantic Ocean off Argentina; the western Indian Ocean off the African coast; the central western Pacific Ocean surrounding Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines; the southwestern Pacific off Australia’s southern and eastern coast; and the Oceania region of the Pacific around the international date line. Four of the six hot spots are in the Pacific; all are either in the southern hemisphere or just north of the equator.

Space Events

Astronomers Find 7 Earth-Size Planets Where Life Is Possible

Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, bolstering the prospect of discovering extra-terrestrial life, research published on Wednesday showed.

The star, known as TRAPPIST-1, is a small, dim celestial body in the constellation Aquarius. It is located about 40 light years away from Earth, close by astronomical standards, but about 44 million years away at the average cruising speed of a commercial passenger jet.

Researchers said the proximity of the system, combined with the proportionally large size of its planets compared to the small star, make it a good target for follow-up studies. They hope to scan the planets’ atmospheres for possible chemical fingerprints of life.

“The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when,” Nasa chief scientist Thomas Zurbuchen said at a news conference on Wednesday.

This is the first time that so many Earth-sized planets are found around the same star,” lead researcher Michael Gillon, with the University of Liege in Belgium, told reporters.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Chile’s wildfires continue to burn

Chilean authorities said that 40 homes and almost 3,500 hectares of forest were destroyed by fires overnight. The Parral region, he said, some 345 kilometres south of Santiago, remained on red alert.

Disease

Mystery outbreak on São Tomé and Príncipe

An unknown disease that has afflicted some 2,000 people on the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe remains a mystery as Portuguese doctors try to figure out the etiology and cure, according to Portugal media.

WHO sent a specialist from Benin because the pathology was similar to a common disease in Africa, particularly in Benin; however, a conclusion has yet to be met.

Earlier this month, media accounts reported the mystery disease may have been Buruli ulcer.

Mumps outbreak reported in Toronto

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is currently investigating 14 lab-confirmed cases of mumps involving individuals 18 to 35 years of age. While TPH continues to follow up with exposed individuals who are known to the confirmed cases, the investigation to date has identified that many of these cases have frequented bars in the west downtown core area.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

On 4 February 2017, Taipei Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported one laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus. This is the fifth human case with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus reported from Taipei CDC.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 15 February-21 February 2017

Barren Island | Andaman Islands (India) : The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), reported that a new eruption at Barren Island began on 23 January. Scientists aboard a research vessel were collecting sea floor samples when they observed a sudden ash emission. The team moved closer, about 1.6 km from the volcano, and noted small eruptive episodes lasting 5-10 minutes. Ash emissions were visible in the daytime, and lava fountains feeding lava flows on the flanks were visible at night. The team revisited the volcano on 26 January and observed similar activity during the four hours they stayed. They sampled sediments and water in the vicinity of the eruption and recovered volcanic ejecta.

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that seismicity at Anak Krakatau increased on 17 February, with earthquakes indicating emissions slowing transforming into continuous tremor. Harmonic tremor began to be recorded at 1810 on 19 February. Almost an hour later, at 1904, Strombolian explosions ejected incandescent material 200 m high.

Lanin | Central Chile-Argentina border : Servicio Nacional de Geología and Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) reported that beginning at 1524 on 15 February a seismic swarm at Lanin, consisting of 59 volcanic-tectonic, long-period, and spasmodic tremor events, lasted for 45 minutes. The largest volcano-tectonic event was a M 1.8. The Alert Level was raised to Yellow (second highest level on a four-colour scale); ONEMI declared an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the community of Curarrehue (32 km N).

Pacaya | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 14-21 February small Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney cone periodically generated small lava flows (200 m long on 21 February) that were active for hours at a time. CONRED noted that at night on 15 February residents in Los Positos in Villa Canales (13 km NE), and in Mesillas Altas and Bajas in Amatitlán (12 km N) reported vibrations and rumbling.

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that volcanic tremor at Piton de la Fournaise fluctuated during 14-21 February. Lava was mainly transported through a lava tube, and a few branches at end of tube were active.