Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits near the east coast of Kamchatka.

5.4 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.1 earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 17p (Vicky), located approximately 84 nm south of Pago Pago, is tracking southward at 09 knots.

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Environment

Ice Volcanos

A phenomenon that might seem more likely on an alien world was captured by a photographer from the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A pair of ice “volcanoes” were spouting through the expanding ice shelf of Lake Michigan during a frigid blast from the north. The formations spewed water as waves on the lake passed under the ice shelf, forcing the water up through the cracks in the previously formed cones.

The spewing water froze almost instantly in the bitter chill, causing the ice volcanoes to grow even larger. Lake-goers were warned not to venture near the dangerous hollow structures.

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Global Warming

Seafood Soup

Freakishly warm water off the northern tip of New Zealand during early February cooked up to 500,000 wild mussels alive in an event linked to climate change.

Auckland resident Brandon Ferguson discovered the dead mollusks as he waded through water choked with mussel shells. Similar die-offs have been observed in New Zealand during recent years involving clams and cockles.

“The common denominators seem to be really hot conditions with lots of sunlight and unusually calm waters for an extended period,” said Waikato University marine ecologist Chris Battershill.

Wildlife

Insect Invaders

Researchers say they have found different types of insects that have managed to get a foothold in Antarctica, apparently able to survive on and around the frozen continent.

It is not known if Eretmoptera murphyi, the subantarctic flightless chironomid midge, arrived by boat or plane, in the clothing of scientists or from larvae in a container of water. But scientists say it presents a potential danger to the delicate ecosystem and can’t be eradicated with insecticide.

Uruguayan polar scientists found an invasive crane fly, Trichocera maculipennis, which also threatens to expand its territory.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45.0 degrees Celsius) in Vredendal. South Africa.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 67.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 55.0 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.

Disease

COVID-19

China – Mainland China had 118 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak by the end of Thursday, the national health commission reported on Friday, pushing the number of deaths nationwide to at least 2,236. Beijing also reported 1,109 new confirmed cases of the disease during the same period, sharply up from 349 cases the previous day, reversing three days of decline.

Canada – Officials in British Columbia reported on the sixth COVID-19 case in the province this week, the ninth in Canada.

Iran – Iranian health officials have reported three additional coronavirus cases, bringing the total to five.

Ebola – DR Congo

During the past week, the incidence of new Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases has remained low. From 12 to 18 February, one new confirmed case was reported.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 12 February 2020 – 18 February 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 10-17 February there were 13 explosions and seven non-explosive eruptive events detected by the Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) seismic network. Ash plumes rose as high as 1.4 km above the crater rim and material was ejected 600-900 m away from the crater. Crater incandescence was visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Asosan | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that eruptive activity at Asosan was recorded during 10-17 February. Ash plumes rose 900-1,300 m above the crater rim and caused ashfall in areas downwind. The sulfur dioxide emission rate continued to be at a high level. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 13-17 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.4 km (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 12-13 February that sent ash plumes up to 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted E and caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Fuego | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that there were 8-16 explosions per hour recorded at Fuego during 12-18 February, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and generally drifted 10-22 km SW and W. Ashfall was reported in several areas downwind including Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Alotenángo (8 km ENE), and La Soledad (11 km N). Explosions sometimes produced shock waves that rattled houses in communities within an 8-km radius. Incandescent material was ejected 150-500 m high and caused avalanches of material that occasionally traveled long distances (reaching vegetated areas) down the Seca (W), Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), Honda, and Las Lajas (SE) ravines. Lava flows in the Ceniza drainage were 700-800 m long during 13-17 February and lengthened to 1.2 km during 17-18 February.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that on 16 February an ash plume from Ibu rose at least 800 m above the summit (6,800 ft a.s.l.) and drifted W. The Darwin VAAC stated that on 17 February an ash plume rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. 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.

Kerinci | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that at 0600 on 16 February and at 0048 on 17 February brown ash emissions rose 400 m above Kerinci’s summit and drifted SW. 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 Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 7-14 February, and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images those same days. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 7-12 February white plumes rose as high as 400 m above Merapi’s summit lava dome. The volume of the dome was an estimated 407,000 cubic meters on 12 February based on drone photos, similar to 19 November 2019 measurements. An eruption at 0516 on 13 February lasted two and a half minutes and produced an ash plume that rose about 2 km above the summit and drifted NW. Ashfall was reported in areas within a 10-km radius especially to the S, including the villages of Hargobinangun, Glagaharjo, and Kepuharjo. Video of the event showed incandescent material being ejected above the lava dome and lightning in the ash cloud. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to stay outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Nishinoshima | Japan : Based on satellite images and a pilot observation, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 15 February an ash plume from Nishinoshima rose to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E.
Sangay | Ecuador | 2.005°S, 78.341°W | Elevation 5286 m

IG reported that a permanent monitoring station located near the base of Sangay was repaired during 26 January-1 February and had begun to again transmit data in real time. The technician reported constant ash emissions during the expedition. A high level of activity persisted at Sangay during 12-18 February, though weather clouds often prevented visual confirmation. Ash, steam, and gas plumes rose 570-870 m above the summit and drifted W and SW according to Washington VAAC advisories. A webcam recorded lava blocks descending the SE flank on 17 February.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 7-14 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 7-14 February incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly. Very small eruptions during 9-10 February produced ash plumes that rose 700 m above the crater rim. Rumbling and ashfall was reported in a village 4 km SSW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).