Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.1 earthquake hits the Sannta Cruz Islands.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


ST Vincent and Grenadines – Heavy rain has caused floods, landslides and lahars (volcanic mudflows) in several areas the Caribbean island country of St Vincent and the Grenadines. As of 30 April the worst affected areas were in parts of the main island of St Vincent. NEMO reported rainfall accumulations ranging from 75 to 125 mm during a 6 hour period on 29 April 2021. Flooding brought traffic to a standstill after roads were swamped in areas around the capital Kingstown. Landslides blocked roads on the city’s outskirts. At least 2 houses collapsed and several others were damaged in areas around the capital.

Global Warming

Polar Drift

Earth’s axis is being shifted by the human activities causing the current climate emergency and the redistribution of water resources through the pumping of groundwater for irrigation.

An international team of researchers says the shift started in the 1990s when global heating began to melt glaciers, sending much of the runoff into the oceans. Earth’s axis naturally drifts a little bit each year due to changes in winds, ocean currents and atmospheric pressures. But the redistribution of water from land to the oceans accelerated the drift between 1995 and 2020 by about 17 times. Vincent Humphrey of the University of Zurich says the drift is tiny and imperceptible to humans.

Melting Hazards

Boulders and rocks long frozen in place high across the world’s mountainous regions are now tumbling downslope due to the glacial melt brought on by global heating.

A tragic example occurred in February when rock and ice broke loose from a Himalayan peak, killed more than 200 people and destroyed a hydroelectric dam. Researchers in Switzerland have begun releasing “test rocks” from high in the Alps to better understand the dangers posed to humans and the landscape by the growing phenomenon. “Where a rock will land, how it will bounce, how high it will jump … we can answer all that,” said physicist Andrin Caviezel, one of the scientists involved in the experiments.



Lion Famine – Namibia

A protracted drought and unbridled livestock grazing, which have parched parts of Namibia, are also causing desert-adapted lions to perish or appear emaciated near human settlements in the southwest African nation.

There was an outcry after images of an emaciated lioness, too weak to get up next to a goat enclosure on a communal farm, appeared on social media. Philip Stander of Desert Lion Conservation told The Namibian daily that the hyper-arid conditions have caused several of the big cats to either die from starvation or be euthanized by the environment ministry.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in Kayes, Mali.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 93.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 69.4 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.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 21 April 2021 – 27 April 2021

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 19-26 April incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible nightly. There was a total of 16 explosions, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 2.3 km above the summit and ejected bombs 1-1.3 km away from the crater. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was somewhat high at 1,800 tons per day on 21 April. An explosion at 0109 on 25 April produced what was initially thought to be a pyroclastic flow, triggering JMA to warn residents beyond a 2-km radius to be cautious and vigilant. Scientists conducting field observations later that day did not observe pyroclastic flow deposits or damaged vegetation, and concluded that the plume phenomenon was generated by winds. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and residents were warned to stay 2 km away from the crater.

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 16-18 and 22 April that sent ash plumes to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, and SW. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk on 16 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Etna – Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that during 19-25 April activity at Etna was mainly characterized by gas emissions rising from the summit craters, though inclement weather conditions often prevented visual observations. Bocca Nuova in particular produced frequent steam puffs. A strong explosion at 0030 on 25 April from the E vent of Southeast Crater (SEC) ejected incandescent material up to 350 m above the crater rim. An ash plume dispersed to the S.

Fuego – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that 5-14 explosions were recorded per hour during 21-27 April at Fuego, generating ash plumes as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim. Shock waves rattled buildings around the volcano, especially in areas as far as 20 km W and SW. Block avalanches descended the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), Las Lajas (SE), and Honda drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Ashfall was reported on most days in several areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). Explosions ejected incandescent material 100-400 m above the summit almost daily.

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that the W vent on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater continued to supply the lava lake during 21-27 April. Lava flowed at a low rate from the main vent into the lake through crusted-over channels and submerged inlets. The depth of the lake was about 226-227 m and lava continued to circulate in the W part, though the active area continued to shrink; the E half of the lake remained solidified. Lava sometimes overflowed the margins of the lake. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 350, 550, 300, and 350 tons/day on 21, 22, 23, and 24 April, respectively. The rates were the lowest measured during the eruption, though elevated above the levels recorded in the months before the start of the eruption (20 December 2020). The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Krysuvik-Trolladyngja – Iceland : IMO reported that the fissure eruption in the W part of the Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, continued during 21-27 April. A M 4.1 earthquake was recorded at 2305 on 21 April about 6 km WSW of the fissures and followed by several aftershocks; it was the largest on the Reykjanes Peninsula since 15 March, before the eruption began. The average lava-flow rate was calculated by the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences using photographs most recently collected during an overflight on 26 April. They reported that during the previous five days the flow rate from all of the active craters averaged just over 6 cubic meters per second; the average rate during the 38 days of the eruption was 5.6 cubic meters per second. The area of the flow field was 1.13 square kilometers, the total volume was over 18.4 million cubic meters, with an average thickness of just over 16 m. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange due to the lack of ash and tephra emissions.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 20-27 April. Black, gray, and white plumes rose as high as 1 km above the summit and drifted E, SE, and W on most days. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 3 km away from the summit crater.

Merapi – Central Java (Indonesia) : BPPTKG reported that the lava dome just below Merapi’s SW rim and the lava dome in the summit crater both continued to extrude lava during 16-22 April. The SW rim lava-dome volume was an estimated 1,069,600 cubic meters on 21 April, with a growth rate of about 11,900 cubic meters per day; the dome continued to shed material down the flank. A total of nine pyroclastic flows traveled a maximum of 1.8 km down the SW flank. Incandescent avalanches, recorded 144 times, traveled as far as 1.6 km down the SW flank and twice down the SE flank as far as 400 m. The volume of the summit lava dome was 1,794,000 cubic meters on 22 April. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay 5 km away from the summit.

Pacaya – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 20-21 April explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney Crater generated minor gas-and-ash plumes that rose 250 m above the summit and drifted S and SW. The lava flow on the SW flank continued to be active, though did not advance. White gas plumes were visible the next day rising as high as 200 m. On 23 April lava effusion ceased. The lava flows on the SW flank remained hot and gas plumes rose from parts of the flow; no advancement was visible through 27 April. Gray-and-white emissions were visible during 24-27 April, rising 100-200 m above the summit and dispersing S and SW. Occasional minor explosions ejected incandescent material 50-150 m high during 26-27 April.

Semeru – Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 21-22 and 24-25 April ash plumes from Semeru rose 500-700 m above the summit and drifted SW, S, and SE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 1 km and extensions to 5 km in the SSE sector.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 16-23 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Sinabung – Indonesia : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Sinabung continued during 21-27 April. Weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations of the volcano, though white fumarolic plumes were visible almost daily rising as high as 700 m above the summit and drifted E and SE. Pyroclastic flows traveled 2 km on 21 April. Avalanches of material traveled 1 km E and SE during 23-24 April. Ash plumes rose 2 km above the summit on 24 April and to 1 km on 25 April, drifting ESE both days. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions to 5 km in the SE sector and 4 km in the NE sector.

Stromboli – Aeolian Islands (Italy) : INGV reported that during 19-25 April activity at Stromboli was characterized by ongoing explosive activity from Area N (North Crater area) and in Area C-S (South-Central Crater area), though sometime weather conditions prevented visual observations. Explosions from two vents in the N1 vent (Area N) ejected lapilli and bombs 250 m high, and produced minor ash emissions. Explosions at N2 vents (Area N) averaged 11-14 events per hour. Periods of visible spattering were most notable on 24 April. Explosions from at least three vents in Area C-S occurred at a rate of 1-5 events per hour and ejected coarse material more than 250 m high.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was occasionally visible at night during 16-23 April. Five explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 600 m away. The Alert Level remained at 2 and the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the crater.

Villarrica – Chile : SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 1-15 April gas-and-steam emissions with no or very small amounts of ash rose from Villarrica to heights less than 1.2 km above the crater rim. Crater incandescence was not visible at night and sulfur dioxide emissions were low. Observations from multiple sources suggested that the lava lake level was lower, decreasing the likelihood that material ejected by minor explosions would reach beyond 100 m from the crater. The Alert Level was lowered to Green on 23 April, the lowest level on a four-colour scale. ONEMI declared a “Preventative Early Warning” for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli, and the exclusion zone for the public of 100 m around the crater.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the Krmedec Islands.

5.5 earthquake hits Bio-Bio, Chile.

5.5 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.2 earthquake hits off the coast of Oregon, USA.

5.1 earthquake hits Guerrero, Mexico.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit off the coast of Oregon, USA.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Pagan region, North Mariana Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Peru.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Philippines – Hundreds of people have moved from their homes to evacuations centres after flash flooding in parts of Davao City. Heavy rains caused by a localized thunderstorm on 26 April triggered flooding in Bunawan and Buhangin-B districts. As many as 3,280 people were affected by the flooding incident in four and 162 families or 419 people evacuated to temporary shelter in 5 evacuation centres. Over 265 mm of rain fell at Davao Airport in 24 hours to 27 April 2021.


Massive DDT Dumping Ground off California Coast

The sea bottom near southern California has been hiding a very dirty secret: decades of discarded chemicals in thousands of barrels. And the toxic debris field is even bigger than anyone expected, containing at least 27,000 drums of DDT and industrial waste, scientists recently discovered.

High concentrations of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, an insecticide that was widely used for pest control during the 1940s and 1950s) were previously detected in ocean sediments between the Los Angeles coast and Catalina Island, in 2011 and 2013. At the time, scientists who searched the seafloor in the area identified 60 barrels (possibly containing DDT or other waste) and found DDT contamination in sediments, but the full extent of the area’s contamination was unknown.

Now, a research expedition presents a clearer picture of the deep-sea dump site. Their findings reveal a stretch of ocean bottom studded with at least 27,000 industrial waste barrels — and possibly as many as 100,000.

Screen Shot 2021 04 29 at 3 21 12 PM

Global Warming

Glaciers are Shrinking

Earth’s glaciers are shrinking, and in the past 20 years, the rate of shrinkage has steadily sped up, according to a new study of nearly every glacier on the planet.

Glaciers mostly lose mass through ice melt, but they also shrink due to other processes, such as sublimation, where water evaporates directly from the ice, and calving, where large chunks of ice break off the edge of a glacier, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). By tracking how quickly glaciers are shrinking, scientists can better predict how quickly sea levels may rise, particularly as climate change drives up average global temperatures.

The team found that, between 2000 and 2019, glaciers collectively lost an average of 293.7 billion tons (267 billion metric tonnes) of mass per year, give or take 17.6 billion tons (16 billion metric tonnes); this accounts for about 21% of the observed sea-level rise in that time frame.



Wildfires – Siberia

Russian emergency services have reported an abnormally high number of fires in the Omsk oblast of southwest Siberia. On April 22, 2021, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of fires in the region. As of April 28, smoke from the fires was still visible.

Russiafires amo 2021112


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 21 April 2021 – 27 April 2021

Karymsky – Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images 16-17 and 22 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Piton de la Fournaise – Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise continued during 21-27 April, though inclement weather conditions obscured visual observations most of the week. The average lava-flow rate was between 1.2 and 8.3 cubic meters per second during 16-23 April. The flow rates were estimated based on the gas-emission rates, though weather conditions may have affected the accuracy of the measurements. Lava continued to mostly flow in lava tubes; some flows thickened and parts of the flow field widened. The longest flow was 3.2 km long and the maximum width was 750 m, unchanged from the previous week. The flow field was mapped using a satellite image acquired on 24 April. The Alert Level remained at 2-2.

Semisopochnoi – Aleutian Islands (USA) : Eruptive activity at Semisopochnoi gradually increased during 21-22 April based on satellite and infrasound data; ash emissions were first seen in satellite images at 1800 on 21 April and were continuous at least through 1348 on 22 April. Plumes rose to 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 80 km S. Sulfur dioxide emissions were also detected in satellite images on 22 April. Cloud cover mostly obscured views during 23-24 April, though possible minor ash emissions were sometimes visible. Low-level ash plumes drifting S were occasionally identified in satellite images during 24-26 April. Dense weather clouds prevented views for most of 26 April and the next day. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Soufriere St. Vincent – St. Vincent : University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) reported that eruptive activity at Soufrière St. Vincent (often simply referred to as “La Soufriere”) was relatively low during 21-27 April with the exception of one explosive period. During 20-21 April seismicity was characterized by a few rockfalls and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes, and an increasing number of small long-period (LP) and hybrid earthquakes. Sulfur dioxide emissions were again measured from a boat near the W coast, revealing a flux of 350 tons per day. At around 1108 on 22 April explosions produced an ash plume that rose as high as 8 km (26,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted mainly N over the sea. High-level seismic tremor began at 1109 and lasted for about 20 minutes. Pyroclastic flows were generated early in the eruption and traveled down the W flank, reaching the sea within five minutes. Lahar signals were recorded later that day at about 2100. According to National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) the total number of displaced people was 13,154 by 21 April, with 6,208 people in 85 public shelters and 6,790 people (1,618 families) in private shelters. There were no casualties caused by the eruption. In a 22 April press release the Argyle International Airport announced that the ash cleanup was ongoing and that the Cargo Terminal was scheduled to open the next day. Seismicity dropped to low levels after the explosive event and remained at low levels through 27 April; only a few LP, hybrid and VT earthquakes were recorded. On 23 April the sulfur dioxide flux was 992 tons per day, recorded again from the W coast. A diffuse steam plume rose from the crater on 24 April. Satellite data most recently from 24 April, and seismic data suggested likely cycles of crater dome growth and destruction. During an overflight on 26 April scientists observed white steam plumes rising from several locations on the crater floor, though visibility was poor. No lava dome was visible, but a possible spine-like protrusion was seen through the clouds. Seismic signals indicating lahars were again recorded. Lahars in the Red and Orange zones were recorded by the seismic network at 0900 and 1000 on 27 April, during and after rainfall. The volcano Alert Level remained at Red.

Veniaminof – United States : AVO reported that eruptive activity at Veniaminof had declined during the previous few weeks; no emissions were visible after ash emissions on 5 April and seismicity continued to decline. On 21 April the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory and the Aviation colour Code was lowered to Yellow.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 earthquake hits Assam, India.

5.5 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Two 5.3 earthquakes hit the Kermedec Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits near the north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Two 5.1 earthquakes hit the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the southern mid-Atlantic ridge.