Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.6 earthquake hits the Russia-Mongolia border.

5.1 earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Indonesia – An estimated 50,000 people have been affected by flooding in Solok City, West Sumatra Province, Indonesia. Flooding struck after heavy rain that began on 11 January 2021. Indonesia’s meteorological agency BMKG reported 86.4mm of rain in 24 hours to 12 January in the nearby city of Padang, capital of West Sumatra Province. Over 1,000 homes were submerged after flooding in Banjar Regency, South Kalimantan Province, Indonesia on 12 January 2021. Heavy rainfall caused flooding that affected around 25 villages across 7 sub-districts in the regency.

Namibia – Heavy rain has continued to fall in parts of Namibia, with flash flooding reported in the capital, Windhoek from 11 January, 2021. Flooding has affected the city since late December. In a statement of 07 January, the city government said emergency response teams attended to 14 flood-related incidents from 30 December 2020 to 05 January 2021. Around 80 households, mostly in areas of Otjomuise, were affected. The city plans to relocate at least 65 households adversely affected by flooding. Further flash flooding struck in the city from 11 January, blocking roads and causing problems for motorists. Several rivers broke their banks, including the Gammams river.

USA – Stormy weather caused floods and landslides in parts of Oregon and Washington states in the Pacific Northwest, USA, from 13 January 2021, thousands of homes were without power across the region. Two fatalities were reported as a result of wind damage.

Tanzania – Flash flooding has caused widespread damage in parts of Mtwara Region in southern Tanzania after heavy rain over the last few days. Mtwara, capital city of Mtwara Region, recorded 478mm of rain in 48 hours to 13 January 2021. Authorities reported 1 person died after being swept away by flash floods in Mtwara-Mikindani municipality on 12 January. Many people have moved from their homes to safer areas, including in makeshift shelters in local schools.

Turkey – Heavy rainfall caused flash flooding in western Turkey from 12 January 2021. Media reported that a short period of torrential rain caused flash flooding in parts of Izmir Province, in particular the Metropolitan Municipality of Izmir where streets, houses and shops were inundated, while vehicles were dragged by flood waters.


Octopuses Adapt to Climate Change

With the impact of climate change increasing by the day, scientists are studying the ways in which human behavior contributes to the damage. A recent study at Walla Walla University, by a collaboration of researchers from Walla Walla University and La Sierra University, examined the effects of acidic water on octopuses, potentially bringing new insight into both how our activities impact the world around us, and the way that world is adapting in response.

The study focused on the metabolic rate of octopuses exposed to water acidified by carbon dioxide, and the changes it made to the animals. CO2 is a key indicator of the growing acidity of our oceans because much of the gas released into the air by humans is dissolving into the seawater.

For instance, studies on cuttlefish show no significant change in their metabolism after exposure to increased OA, while squid subjected to the same conditions showed a reduction in aerobic metabolism, indicating reduced oxygen circulation in the subjects. The results demonstrated a surprising amount of adaptability in the subjects.


Wildfires – Nepal

The winter coupled with the drought for the last few months has triggered wildfires in different parts of Nepal along the Himalayan range.

The forest fire in Annapurna Conservation Area in Manang district that started on Nov. 26 is yet to put out. The fire in the bushes in the district’s Tachai area has destroyed hundreds of hectares of the forest in the mountainous region.

Not only in Manang, hundreds of hectares of the forest in Kalinchowk in Taplejung district were destroyed in fire last month. The local administration used a helicopter to disperse water in order to bring the wildfire there under control.

The fire in Gatlang area in Rasuwa district in the Langtang conservation area has also destroyed the vegetation in a large scale. Similarly, a forest area in Kaski near the Machhapuchhre mountain range too saw a huge forest fire recently.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 6 January 2021 – 12 January 2021

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that lava effusion from vents on a cone on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater continued to feed a growing perched lava lake during 6-12 January. Lava flowed through a crusted channel into the lake during most of the week. A dome fountain of upwelled lava at the partially submerged inlet was 5 m tall early on 6 January. Dome fountaining had weakened early on 7 January, giving way to spattering at the top of the vent and the formation of a second cone. Dome fountaining was possibly visible again on 8 January. The lake was perched at least 1-2 m above its narrow edges, though late on 10 January the stagnant, eastern part of the lake had subsided and was 3-4 m shallower. Overall the lake had deepened just 2 m by 11 January, reaching 196 m, and the lake volume was estimated at more than 27 million cubic meters. An island of cooler, solidified lava and the 11 smaller islands were relatively stationary in the E part of the lake. The dimensions of the largest island remained unchanged (250 m long and 135 m wide), though on 8 January the W end was 9 m above the lake’s surface and the high point was 23 m above the lake, suggesting that the island was rising. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 2,700 and 2,300 tonnes/day on 7 and 10 January, respectively.

Langila – New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 9 January a short-lived eruption at Langila produced an ash plume that rose 4.9 km (16,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Merapi – Central Java (Indonesia) : BPPTKG reported that a new lava dome, first observed on 4 January, continued to emerge just below Merapi’s SW rim during 5-12 January. Incandescent avalanches were observed 19 times during 4-7 January with material traveling as far as 800 m down the Krasak River drainage on the SW flank. At 0802 on 7 January a block-and-ash flow traveled down the upper part of the Krasak; the total distance was not observable due to weather clouds, though the seismic data suggested it was small and was not more than 1 km in length. The event also produced a 200-m-high ash plume. Similar events were recorded that same day at 1250, 1315, and 1402. Deformation continued; electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) data continued to measure a distance shortening between points in the NW at a rate of 15 cm per day. On 7 January BNPB noted that 1,342 residents were housed in evacuation centers. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public were warned to stay 5 km away from the summit.

Martinique (France) – L’Observatoire Volcanologique et Sismologique de Martinique (OVSM) reported that seismicity related to volcanism has typically remained low at Pelée since 1980, when monitoring instrumentation was first installed, with a few dozen earthquakes recorded per year. Swarms were recorded in 1980, 1985-1986, 2007, and 2014, though the latter two swarms were associated with tectonic events. Volcanic seismicity appeared in April 2019 centered 4-5 km below the summit and deeper (more than 10 km below sea level). In addition, tremor-type signals were recorded during 8-9 November 2020, possibly signifying a reactivation of the hydrothermal system. The seismic data recorded since April 2019 represented an increase above baseline levels recorded during 1 January 2015 to April 2019. As a result of this activity OVSM raised the Alert Level to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) on 4 December 2020. Seismicity remained above background levels during 18 December 2020-1 January 2021, with at least 14 volcano-tectonic earthquakes detected with magnitudes less than or equal to 1. Scientists did not observe fumarolic activity during an overflight on 29 December 2020. The number of high-frequency, volcano-tectonic earthquakes (M 1 or less) totaled 65 during 1-8 January. A significant number (249) of long-period earthquakes in a volcanic tremor-type signal were distributed over two periods, 0000-0200 on 3 January and between 2100 on 3 January and 0200 on 4 January. Two isolated, low-frequency, long-period signals were also recorded. The data suggested ongoing perturbation of the hydrothermal system.

Sarychev Peak – Matua Island (Russia) : KVERT raised the Aviation Color Code to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) for Sarychev Peak on 10 January, noting that the temperature of a thermal anomaly was 79.8 degrees Celsius above background temperatures, possibly indicating lava in the crater.

Soufriere St. Vincent – St. Vincent : University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) and National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) reported that the lava dome in Soufrière St. Vincent’s main crater that first formed on 27 December continued to grow during 6-12 January. Observations were made during a field visit on 5 January, during a helicopter overflight on 6 January, and based on 9 January drone video. During that time the dome grew and expanded to the W, produced small, hot rockfalls, had a blocky appearance, and continued to emit gasses and steam. Gas-and-steam plumes were also visible from Belmont Observatory. The Alert Level remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly during 4-11 January. Two explosions on 5 January produced ash plumes that rose 1.2 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 400 m away from the crater. Two explosions during 9-10 January generated ash plumes that rose 1 km and again ejected bombs 400 m away. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).