Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.3 earthquake hits the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii.

5.3 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 earthquake hits the Ceram Sea, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm 06e (Emilia), located about 590 mi…955 km sw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…50 mph…85 km/h. Present movement…wnw or 300 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.

In the western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm (ts) 09w (Prapiroon), located approximately 427 nm south-southeast of Kadena AFB, is tracking westward at 03 knots.

NewsBytes:

Boston, USA – The heavy downpours that drenched the region Thursday morning flooded roads in the Boston area, but no injuries or crashes were reported, officials said.

Wildlife

Someone Just Killed One of the Last Remaining Jaguars in the USA

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One of just three jaguars known to be living in the U.S. was recently killed by poachers. Experts identified the jaguar’s pelt in a recent photo and say it is Yo’oko, a male jaguar (Panthera onca) that was known to roam the Huachuca Mountains in southern Arizona.

The rosette patterns on a jaguar’s pelt are unique to each individual, a trait that allowed officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to identify Yo’oko’s pelt in a photo sent to them from the Tucson-based Northern Jaguar Project. The endangered carnivore had been photographed near the Mexican border in Arizona several times in 2016 and 2017.

It’s unclear when Yo’oko died or who killed him, but the Arizona Daily Star reported today (June 28) that he may have been killed by a mountain lion hunter. A local rancher, Carlos Robles Elias, told the Arizona Daily Star that he heard from a friend that the jaguar was trapped and killed six months ago somewhere in Sonora, Mexico, near the U.S. border.

Orange, cave-dwelling crocodiles found in Gabon

Scientists looking for traces of ancient human life stumbled upon the unusual reptiles decade ago as they searched in the gloom of isolated caves in Gabon’s southern Omboue region. The scientists discarded other theories before speculating that lack of light in the Abanda caves may have caused depigmentation and urea in bat droppings may then have induced an orange hue.

Dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis) are a well-studied species, but the ones in the cave complex stand out in the way they have adapted to their habitat. “We think these… crocodiles have been in the Abanda caves for around 3,000 years, which correlates fairly well with a time when the sea level fell and this coastal zone became terrestrial once again,” the scientists said. Mapping the cave complex, the scientists found four orange specimens in a community of 40.

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Global Warming

Bees Affected by Rising Temperatures

The survival of bees is hanging in the balance. Some species are dying off at a record pace, and toxic agricultural chemicals might be to blame. There seem to be many threats to these winged creatures, but climate change may be the final straw for some bee species. If the Earth continues to warm and bees don’t find a way to adapt, some populations could face extinction, according to new research.

A team of scientists found that 30 to 70 percent of mason bees died when they heated up the bees’ environments. This reveals that if temperatures continue to climb, bee populations could begin to die off at faster rates, disrupting ecosystems worldwide, said Paul CaraDonna, an ecologist at Northwestern University.

In the tests conducted in the research, the bees that survived the heat became smaller, lost much of their body fat and suffered from disruptions to their hibernation. These results suggest bees that survived were not healthy and might struggle to find food or a mate.

Local bee populations could possibly substantially decrease or even go extinct in the future because of climate change, according to the research.

Historic Shift Means the Arctic Ocean Could Become Part of the Atlantic

A region in the Arctic Ocean is undergoing a historic identity crisis, as recent climate change has warmed it so much that it might as well be considered part of the Atlantic.

All of the Arctic has been heating up in recent decades, but nowhere is it as dramatic as in the Barents Sea, northeast of Finland. There, temperatures are climbing faster than anywhere else in the Arctic Ocean — not only in the atmosphere but down through the water column, scientists recently reported in a new study.

The northern Barents is also becoming saltier as it warms, mostly because there’s little seasonal melt of sea ice to dilute the water body. These temperature and salinity changes nudge the northern Barents to a state that more closely resembles that of the neighboring Atlantic Ocean, rather than the Arctic, which could have dramatic implications for its marine ecosystems, according to the study.

Space Events

Visitor from another solar system accelerated away from the Sun

Last year, the Solar System was treated to its first known tourist. ‘Oumuamua, an odd, cigar-shaped body, shot through our neighborhood at high speed, following an orbit that indicates it arrived from somewhere else. Although bodies ejected from other solar systems are expected to make regular visits, this was the first one that we’d imaged sufficiently to determine that its origins were elsewhere.

The imaging, however, didn’t resolve a somewhat different debate: what, exactly, is ‘Oumuamua? Its odd orbit had initially had it categorized as a comet, as these tend to have more extreme orbits. But imaging didn’t show any indication of gas and dust being released, as is typical when a comet approaches the Sun. That imaging also revealed that it had an elongated, cigar-like shape. Combined with its relatively rapid rotation, this would indicate that ‘Oumuamua had to be fairly robust, leading to the conclusion that it was probably an asteroid.

But now, a large international team of researchers is weighing in with another vote for comet. The argument, says the team, is based on the odd behavior of ‘Oumuamua, which appears to have been accelerating away from the Sun.

Scientists explain the acceleration to be caused by warming-induced gas release from particles on the body of the comet which appears to be the least-worst of the possible explanations. It should generate a consistent force and one that scales with proximity to the Sun, which is what seems to be happening.

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Environment

Hottest Night in Recorded History

The day of June 26 was a scorcher in the town of Quriyat, Oman. Temperatures in the town, which is weathering a miserable heat wave, peaked at 121.6 degrees Fahrenheit (49.8 degrees Celsius) during the day, according to Weather Underground. That’s just shy of the Omani record-high temperature of 123.4 degrees F (50.8 degrees C), set on May 30, 2017. But anyone in Quriyat hoping for an evening respite from the extreme heat would have been disappointed: Temperatures fell to a low of just 108.7 degrees F (42.6 degrees C.) That’s a world record: The highest “low” temperature ever recorded in history.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Martian Sand Dune

A big sand dune blazes in an electric blue on the Red Planet in a gorgeous photo by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The large, complex dune is embedded within a field of classic, crescent-shaped dunes on the floor of the 147-mile-wide (236 kilometers) Lyot Crater, which lies about 50 degrees north of the Martian equator.

“This particular dune, appearing like turquoise blue in enhanced color, is made of finer material and/or has a different composition than the surrounding” sand, NASA officials.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49.4 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 97.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 71.7 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Utah, USA

A number of wildfires erupted across the state of Utah within 24 hours of each other, beginning on Wednesday afternoon.

The Black Mountain Fire: Estimated 5,000 acres as of 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Rough Canyon Fire: Estimated 5,142 acres as of 9 p.m. on Thursday.

West Valley Fire: The fire was estimated to have burned 7,200 acres as of 9 p.m. Thursday.

Trail Mountain Fire: Estimated 17,767 acres as of 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Fruitland Shed Fire: Estimated 20 acres as of 8:25 p.m. on Thursday. At least three structures were destroyed.

Wildfires – Colorado, USA

A rapidly moving wildfire in Costilla County has destroyed buildings and grew to 3,724 acres by Thursday morning, forcing evacuations in the Forbes Park area and triggering an emergency declaration. A number of structures have been destroyed.

Disease

Measles – France – Update

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in France, health officials continue to report a decrease in cases in the current outbreak. During the past month, an average of 50 cases have been reported weekly. As of June 24, 2018, 2567 cases reported since November 6, 2017. In addition, health officials have reported a second measles death.

Parasitic infection, Strongyloidiasis – Northern Australia

A life-threatening parasitic worm could be quietly infecting up to 60 percent of vulnerable Australians in remote northern communities. Flinders University researchers are warning it should be listed as a nationally notifiable disease because the true extent of its spread remains unknown because basic testing isn’t widespread. Strongyloidiasis is an infection caused by parasitic worms which crawl in through human skin and reproduce inside stomachs and digestive organs indefinitely.

Leprosy – Brazil

The bacteria that causes leprosy, a chronic disease that can lead to disfigurement and nerve damage, is known to be transmitted to humans from nine-banded armadillos. A new study in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases reports that 62% of the armadillos in the western part of Pará state in the Brazilian Amazon are positive for the leprosy bacteria.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 20 June – 26 June 2018

Fernandina | Ecuador : On 21 June Parque Nacional Galápagos reported that lava flows at Fernandina were no longer reaching the ocean, though white plumes continued to rise from flows at the coastline.

Great Sitkin | Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported continuing low-level unrest at Great Sitkin during 20-26 June; seismic activity remained at or near background levels. A recently analyzed satellite image acquired on 11 June, one day after short-duration explosive event was recorded, showed a minor ash deposit on the snow extending 2 km from a vent in the summit crater. The Aviation colour Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 0857 on 21 June an event at Ibu generated an ash plume that rose at least 600 m above the crater rim and drifted N. Signals indicating an explosion and rock avalanches were detected in seismic data. During 22-26 June ash plumes rose as high as 850 m and drifted WNW and W. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Kadovar | Papua New Guinea : According to the Darwin VAAC an ash plume from Kadovar identified by a pilot and in satellite images rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. on 20 June and drifted W.

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG and BNPB reported that an eruption at Anak Krakatau began on 18 June, along with increased seismicity, and reminded residents that the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); visitors were warned not to approach the volcano within 1 km of the crater. Foggy conditions hampered visual observations during 19-20 June, but on 21 June gray plumes were observed rising 100-200 m above the summit. An event at 0714 on 25 June produced a dense ash plume that rose about 1 km and drifted N.

Sierra Negra | Isla Isabela (Ecuador) : On 22 June IG reported increased seismic activity at Sierra Negra on the S end of Isabela Island; the largest event, a M 4.2, was recorded at 0624 and felt in El Cura and San Joaquín, NE of the volcano. A M 5.3 earthquake was detected at 0315 on 26 June, occurring at a depth of 5.3 km below Sierra Negra. The event was strongly felt on the upper flanks and in Puerto Villamil (23 km SE). Several aftershocks and subsequent tremor were recorded. An earthquake swarm began at 1117, characterized by events located 3-5 km depth. A M 4.2 earthquake was recorded at 1338, and followed by increasing amplitudes of seismic and infrasound signals. Parque Nacional Galápagos staff heard noises described as bellows coming from Volcán Chico fissure vent, and coupled with the seismicity and infrasound data, suggested the start of an eruption. An IG report posted 20 minutes later described a thermal anomaly identified in satellite images in the N area of the caldera, near Volcán Chico. Park staff observed lava flowing towards the crater’s interior as well as towards the N flank.

Telica | Nicaragua : INETER and SINAPRED reported that an eruption at Telica began at 0708 on 21 June. Explosions produced an ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted E, S, and SW, and ejected tephra that was deposited within a 1-km-radius of the volcano. Ashfall was reported in areas including La Joya, Las Marías (7 km NNW), Pozo Viejo (10 km NNW), Ojo de Agua, San Lucas (11 km NNW), Las Higueras, Las Grietas (12 km NNW), and Posoltega (16 km WSW).