Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.9 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 13s (Francisco), located approximately 114 nm east of Antananarivo, Madagascar, is tracking southwestward at 04 knots.

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NewsBytes:

England – Stormy weather and a high tide have combined to cause flooding in coastal towns in Cornwall. Some businesses have been affected in Looe, with streets underwater, and in Fowey. Roads across Devon and Cornwall have been flooded after torrential rain battered the region overnight. Earlier, the Torpoint Ferry service – which connects the two counties – had been suspended “due to extreme flooding”.

Environment

Radiation Eating Fungus

Scientists say they have begun to experiment with a type of fungus that feeds on radiation around Ukraine’s crippled Chernobyl nuclear power plant and shows promise of protecting humans and equipment from radiation.

While Cryptococcus neoformans has been known to science for more than a century, it was only recently found to have properties that can block radiation.

The fungus contains melanin that absorbs radiation and turns it into chemical energy. It can also decompose radioactive materials such as the hot graphite debris from the Chernobyl blasts.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station recently received samples of the melanin derived from C. neoformans and are testing to see if it can protect against radiation in space.

Wildlife

Climate Confusion

As one research station on the Antarctic Peninsula experienced its hottest temperature on record with a high of 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit, freak warmth in Siberia awakened badgers early from hibernation.

The animals typically remain in slumber until late February. But above-freezing temperatures 46 degrees warmer than a year ago have caused them to stir.

An unusually warm December caused similar hibernation confusion among bears in Russia and Ukraine.

Last winter, hundreds of brown bears in a southern Russian reserve didn’t hibernate at all due to the unusual warmth.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Vredendal. South Africa.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 62.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.2 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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

After months of bushfires raging across the Australian coast, elated firefighters have just announced that they have managed to contain all of the fires. The news comes after a week of historic rainfall in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Although there are still 24 active fires burning in the region, they are small enough for firefighters to manage accordingly.

Disease

Novel Coronavirus

Vietnam – Villages in Vietnam with 10,000 people close to the nation’s capital were placed under quarantine on Thursday after six cases of the deadly new coronavirus were discovered there, authorities said. The locking down of the commune of Son Loi, about 40 kilometres from Hanoi, is the first mass quarantine outside of China since the virus emerged from a central Chinese city late last year.

Japan – Japan has announced its first death from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, taking the global total to 1,710.

Lassa fever – Nigeria

Nigerian National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday reported that the death toll from an outbreak of Lassa fever has risen to 70, and 472 confirmed cases have also shot up.

Ebola – DR Congo

This week, the case incidence continued to be low in the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Figure 1). From 5 to 11 February, three new confirmed cases were reported in Beni Health Zone, North Kivu Province.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 5 February 2020 – 11 February 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 3-7 February there were 16 explosions and 21 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 1,000-1,300 m away from the crater. Crater incandescence was visible at night. An explosion at 0126 on 10 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.4 km and ejected material as far as 1.8 km away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 5-11 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1-2.4 km (7,000-8,000 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 1-7 February that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l.; ash plumes drifted E and S. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : The Darwin VAAC reported that during 5-6 February multiple discrete ash plumes from Ibu, identified in satellite images, rose to 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE and E. An ongoing thermal anomaly was also visible. 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 : RVO reported that the eruption at Kadovar continued during 1 January-7 February with frequent (hours to days) Vulcanian explosions from Main Vent at the summit. The explosions ejected rocks and ash plumes that rose 300-400 m above the vent and drifted NE and E. Residents on Blup Blup (15 km N) reported rumbling and nighttime summit incandescence. Volcanic plumes were sometimes observable in Wewak (105 km W). The Darwin VAAC stated that on 6 February an ash plume rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 31 January-7 February, and a thermal anomaly was identified those same days in satellite images. Vulcanian activity was recorded on 31 January and 4 February; explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 145 km E. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that during 6-10 February a series of eruptive events at Anak Krakatau generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km-radius hazard zone from the crater.

Popocatepetl | Mexico : CENAPRED reported that each day during 5-11 February there were 57-154 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl, some of which contained minor amounts of ash. An explosion at 1754 on 5 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NNE. A minor explosion at 0029 on 9 February ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. An explosion at 0233 on 10 February produced an ash plume that rose 1 km and drifted NE, and ejected incandescent material as far as 500 m down the flanks. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-colour scale).

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 1-7 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : On 6 February AVO reported that seismicity at Shishaldin decreased during the previous week (though remained slightly above background levels), along with the surface temperatures at the summit identified in satellite data. AVO lowered the Aviation colour Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory since the eruption appeared to have paused or ceased.