Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the Bismarck Sea.

5.7 earthquake hits the Dodecanese Islands, Greece.

5.2 earthquake hits Kepulauan Mentawai, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits Romania.

5.1 earthquake hits northern Peru.

5.0 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48.3 degrees Celsius) in Linguére, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 91.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57.2 degrees Celsius) at Verkhoyansk, 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.


Missing Monarchs 2020

The number of wintering monarch butterflies along the coast of California has not recovered significantly from last year’s record low.

While about 4.5 million of the colourful monarchs fluttered through forest groves there in the 1980s, that number had plunged to about 27,000 last year and has risen by only 2,000 since.

The disappearance is being blamed on destruction of the milkweed they feed on along their migratory route, as well as agricultural use of pesticides and herbicides.

The western monarchs migrate from areas west of the Rockies to winter at more than 200 sites in coastal California each year.

Their eastern counterparts migrate to Mexico from summer habitats in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.

Desert Survivous

Scientists are scrambling to save a species of critically endangered frog that lives in a tiny oasis of water and reeds in Chile’s otherwise parched Atacama Desert, the world’s driest.

Because pollution, habitat loss and an expanding nearby mining city threaten what few of the tiny, dark-spotted amphibians that have survived, 14 of the last remaining Lao River water frogs were airlifted to Santiago’s Metropolitan Zoo. Only one failed to survive the move.

Osvaldo Cabeza, the zoo’s herpetology supervisor, says a team will work to encourage the survivors to feed and reproduce in captivity as the species’ only chance of survival.

The range of Telmatobius dankoi is now limited to just 4 square miles of dried-up riverbed outside of the city of Calama.

Unique pink slug feared wiped out by Australia’s bushfires found alive and well

A bright pink slug species, found only on one mountain in Australia, has survived the devastating bushfires that ripped through much of its habitat. The unique, eye-catching creature only lives on the slopes of an isolated inactive volcano in New South Wales, Mount Kaputar, from which they take their name.

After recent rainfall, rangers from New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service found “about 60” Mount Kaputar slugs alive.

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Ebola – DR Congo

From 22 to 28 January five new confirmed cases were reported in the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Novel Coronavirus

World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

China – As the official death toll tops 200, additional cases have been reported in England, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Japan and Grand while the USA has reported the first case of human to human transmission.

Nipah Virus – Bangladesh

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Bangladesh has reported six Nipah virus infections, including four deaths in 2020.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 22 January 2020 – 28 January 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 20-27 January there were 27 explosions and nine non-explosive eruptive events detected by the Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) seismic network. Ash plumes rose as high as 2.2 km above the crater rim and material was ejected 1-1.7 km away from the crater. Crater incandescence was visible at night. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was very high at 4,400 tons/day on 20 January. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, and information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 22-28 January ash plumes from Dukono rose to 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 19-20 January that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l.; ash plumes drifted E and caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk on 19 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported continuing eruptive activity at Etna’s Voragine Crater (VOR), New Southeast Crater (NSEC), and Northeast Crater (NEC) during 21-26 January. The cone in VOR produced Strombolian explosions which increased in frequency and resulted in rapid cone growth (especially the N part). Lava traveled down the S flank of the cone and into the adjacent Bocca Nuova Crater, filling the E crater (BN-2). Activity at NEC was characterized by discontinuous Strombolian activity and periodic emissions of very diffuse ash plumes. During 21-22 January there were several episodes of ash emissions at NSEC, originating from the vent that had opened on 11 December 2019 on the side of the saddle area. Ash emissions rarely rose form the E vent.

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 20-26 January lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main Crater (S), traveling as far as 1.8 km down the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense drainages on the SW and W flanks. Sometimes dense white plumes rose 150 m above the summit. Incandescence from both summit craters was visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Kerinci | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that on 24 January a brown ash plume rose 500 m above Kerinci’s summit and drifted NW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 17-24 January. Strombolian activity was visible daily, and Vulcanian activity was evident on 22 January. Explosions produced ash plumes that rose 5-6 km (16,400-19,700 ft) a.s.l.; an ash plume drifted 460 km E on 22 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Nishinoshima | Japan : Based on satellite images, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 25-26 January ash plumes from Nishinoshima rose 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW, W, and NW.

Sangeang Api | Indonesia : The Darwin VAAC reported that on 23 January an ash emission from Sangeang Api rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NNE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Semeru | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that an eruption at Semeru continued during 20-26 January, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 500 m above the crater rim and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale from 1-4); the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the active crater and 4 km away on the SSE flank.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 17-24 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported that seismic activity at Shishaldin remained above background levels during 22-28 January. Elevated surface temperatures continued to be identified in satellite images, though became weak during 26-28 January. Infrasound data suggested that minor explosions were occurring at the summit during 22-23 January. Small steam plumes from the summit were visible on 22, 23, and 26 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that white plumes rose as high as 700 m above the rim of Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater during 17-24 January. Crater incandescence was visible nightly. No changes in crater morphology were observed during an overflight on 21 January compared to 21 February 2019 observations; white plumes rose 400 m above the rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Villarrica | Chile : SERNAGEOMIN reported low levels of activity at Villarrica during 1-15 January, characterized by whitish gas plumes rising 250 m above the crater rim and nighttime crater incandescence observed during periods of clear weather. Sulfur dioxide gas emissions averaged around 349 tons per day, peaking at 468 tons per day on 3 January. Low-energy thermal anomalies were identified on 11, 13, and 14 January. POVI reported that lava fountaining from 4-5-m-diameter vents was visible during 18-20 and 22 January. Low levels of activity and minor explosions were noted on 27 January. SERNAGEOMIN maintained the Alert Level at Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-colour scale. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli, and changed the exclusion zone for the public to a radius of 500 m around the crater.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.9 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.5 earthquake hits the Dodecanese Islands, Greece.

5.4 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits Tajikistan.

5.1 earthquake hits Cuba.

5.1 earthquake hits Guerrero, Mexico.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Indonesia – Floods and landslides on Indonesia’s Sumatra island have claimed the lives of at least seven people and displaced thousand others. Also, 22 have been injured in Central Tapanuli Regency when the Aek Sirahar river burst its banks. More than 2,000 people have been forced to leave their flooded homes.


Half a Billion Animals Killed in Australia Wildfires

Ecologists now say wildfires that have scorched huge swaths of Australia have killed half a billion animals, revising a previous estimate of more than 2 billion animals killed. Nearly a third of the continent’s koalas has been wiped out—and some other species face total extermination as high temperatures and drought fuel the blazes. “Many of the affected animals are likely to have been killed directly by the fires, with others succumbing later due to the depletion of food and shelter resources and predation from introduced feral cats and red foxes,” the team from University of Sydney said.

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Wildfires – Australia

A wildfire sparked by a military helicopter helping firefighting efforts was blazing out of control and threatening homes on the outskirts of Australia’s capital on Wednesday as fire danger escalated across the country’s southeast.

The fire had spread over 23,500 acres since it was started by a transport helicopter landing light that ignited grass in a national park south of Canberra on Monday afternoon, authorities said.


Novel Coronavirus

Philippines – The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) confirmed today the first imported novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) case.

Finland – The Finland National Institute of Health and Welfare reported today a traveler has been diagnosed with Wuhan coronavirus infection at the Central Hospital of Lapland. He is currently in isolation.

China – On Wednesday, 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 1737 new confirmed cases (the first confirmed case in Tibet), 131 new severe cases, and 38 new deaths. As of January 29, the National Health and Health Commission has received a cumulative report of 7711 confirmed cases, 31 cases of severe cases, 170 death cases.

Guinea Worm Disease – Chad

The Carter Center announced today that a provisional total of 53 cases of Guinea worm disease were reported in 2019, up from 28 cases reported in 2018.

Meningococcal Disease – Benin

An outbreak of meningococcal disease has been reported in the Banikora District of the Republic of Benin. Meningococcal disease includes infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections. The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease is spread through respiratory secretions, such as saliva, says the CDC


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 22 January 2020 – 28 January 2020

Fernandina | Ecuador : A reported from IG on 23 January noted that seismicity increased after the approximately nine-hour long 12 January eruption at Fernandina, characterized by sporadic earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 3 and small swarms. The strongest earthquake was a M 4.2 recorded on 21 January. Most of the earthquakes were shallow though occasionally some were located at depths greater than 10 km. Deformation of about 35 cm was detected around the fissures that produced the lava flows. The lava flows emitted on 12 January covered an approximate area of 3.8 square kilometers; no new thermal anomalies nor gas emissions have been recorded since the eruption.

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : Very small eruptive events recorded at Kuchinoerabujima on 20, 23, and 24 January produced grayish-white plumes that rose 500 m above the crater rim. Ashfall 2 km NE of the crater was confirmed during aerial observations on 23 January. The number of volcanic earthquakes increased during 25-26 January. An eruptive event was recorded at 0148 on 27 January, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation; volcanic tremor, changes in tilt data, and infrasound signals accompanied the event. Sulfur dioxide gas emissions were 200-1,000 tons per day during 20-27 January; JMA characterized emissions of 600-1,000 tons per day as high.

Reykjanes | Iceland : IMO reported possible magma accumulation beneath Reykjanes, centered along the plate boundary below the Svartsengi fissure system, just W of Thorbjorn. Deformation began on 21 January and was unusually rapid, with the rate of inflation occurring at 3-4 mm per day (3 cm total by 29 January), as detected by InSAR and continuous GPS data. Magma accumulation, if that was causing the inflation, was small with an estimate volume of 1 million cubic meters, at 3-5 km depth. Deformation on the Reykjanes peninsula had been measured for three decades with no previously comparable signals. An earthquake swarm accompanied the deformation, just E of the center of the inflation. The largest earthquakes were M 3.6 and 3.7, recorded on 22 January, and felt widely on the Reykjanes peninsula and all the way to Borgarnes region. Earthquake swarms are relatively common, though coupled with deformation caused IMO to raise the Aviation Code to Yellow on 26 January. The swarm was declining by 26 January. On 29 January IMO stated that data showed continuing uplift and the earthquake swarm was ongoing.

Taal | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that white steam-laden plumes rose as high as 800 m above Taal’s main vent during 22-28 January and drifted SW and NE; ash emissions ceased around 0500 on 22 January. Remobilized ash drifted SW on 22 January due to strong low winds, affecting the towns of Lemery (16 km SW) and Agoncillo, and rose as high as 5.8 km (19,000 ft) a.s.l. as reported by pilots. PHIVOLCS stated that since the 12-13 January phreatomagmatic eruption activity has generally weakened. Both the number and magnitude of volcanic earthquakes declined; by 21 January hybrid earthquakes had ceased and both the number and magnitude of low-frequency events had diminished. GPS data had recorded a sudden widening of Taal Caldera by ~1 m, uplift of the NW sector by ~20 cm, and subsidence of the SW part of Volcano Island by ~1 m just after the main eruption phase. The rate of the deformation patterns was smaller during 15-22 January, and generally corroborated by field observations; Taal Lake had receded about 30 cm by 25 January but about 2.5 m of lakewater recession (due to uplift) was observed around the SW portion of the lake, near the Pansipit River Valley where ground cracking had been reported. The Alert Level was lowered to 3 (on a scale of 0-5) on 26 January and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns W of the island within a 7-km radius. Sulfur dioxide emissions were low at 140 tonnes per day on 22 January but averaged around 250 tonnes per day through 26 January; emissions were 87 tonnes per day on 27 January and below detectable limits the next day. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 125,178 people in 497 evacuation centers as of 2020 on 28 January.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.2 earthquake hits Cuba.

5.5 earthquake hits the Cayman Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits northwest of the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.3 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits the Dodecanese Islands, Greece.

5.1 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits western Turkey.

5.0 earthquake hits the Adriatic Sea.

5.0 earthquake hits the Nicobar Islands off India.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Iran.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Madagascar – The government of Madagascar has declared a national emergency after a week long flooding claimed the lives of 31 people and displaced more than 16,000 people. Flooding has inundated more than 10,000 homes. At least seven regions in the north of the country have been affected, with Boeny, Sofia and Alaotra Mangoro hardest hit.

Brazil – The death toll in the sever flooding in southeastern Brazil has risen to 58 with more than 40 000 people displaced. The worst-hit states are Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo, where torrential downpours have wreaked havoc since late last week.

Global Warming

Antarctica’s Largest Glacier Is Slowly  Approaching Its Demise

The days of Antarctica’s Pine Island glacier are numbered, but no one really knows what that number is. New models could help to shed some much-needed light on the matter.

In the past four decades, this slow-moving monstrosity of ice has contributed more to sea level rise than any other glacier on Earth, and recently, scientists have noticed signs it might be accelerating and thinning unusually fast.

Using high-resolution satellite observations from the European Space Agency (ESA), researchers at the University of Bristol have tracked the ebbs and flows of Antarctica’s largest glacier

In short, the data suggests the Pine Island glacier is going to lose mass, but not any faster than it already is. Under present-day thinning rates, the glacier has retreated by 20 kilometres in 50 years, and this, according to the authors, is ‘negligible’ compared to more extreme estimates and although the glacier will continue to lose mass, it will do so at present rates and not any faster – which essentially is some good news.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.2 earthquake hits east of Severnaya Zemlya, Russia.

5.1 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.1 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.