Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits northwestern Iran.

5.0 earthquake hits Alberta, Canada.

5.0 earthquake hits the State of Yap, Micronesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border.


Croc Tragedy

Approximately 10,000 rare white crocodiles have died of starvation and thirst as Kenya’s Lake Kamnarok, Africa’s second-largest crocodile habitat, dried up during the past year.

A shift in climate has also caused many other lakes across the East African nation, as well as the rivers that feed them, to became parched landscapes.

Kamnarok’s surviving crocs have been forced to move upstream in the lake’s diminishing watershed. This is increasing their sometimes violent contacts with the human population and livestock.

Spider Wars

A growing population of invasive brown widow spiders is wiping out native black widows in southern parts of the United States even though there seems to be enough food and space for both species to coexist. Since arriving in Florida from what’s believed to be their native Africa, the more aggressive brown widows have quickly expanded across the country, outbreeding and killing off their darker cousins.

This should be of some comfort to residents in the region since brown widow bites are far less venomous to humans than those of black widows, with symptoms usually limited to mild skin irritations.


Early Cherry Blossoms

The famed cherry trees of Tokyo began to blossom on March 14, matching the earliest date on record since observations began in 1953. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the “Somei Yoshino” variety buds appeared at the Yasukuni Shrine on the same day in 2020 and 2021 as well, which is 10 days earlier than the longterm average.

The agency says the trees should be in full bloom across the capital in the next week and should soon burst forth earlier than normal in other parts of the country, due to rising temperatures. Residents will be able to gather in public spaces to enjoy the blooms for the first time since the pandemic.

Oceans of Plastic

The amount of microplastic debris littering the world’s oceans has undergone a dramatic surge since 2005, with researchers saying there are now 2.5 million tonnes of it in the sea. Marcus Eriksen and Lisa Erdle at the 5 Gyres Institute in Santa Monica, California, and their colleagues say scarce data on plastic pollution between 1979 and 1990 make it impossible to see how fast it was increasing during that period.

Observations between 1990 and 2004 show it was fluctuating with no clear trend. But concentrations have risen in recent years to more than 10 times their levels in 2005. A legally binding treaty among 175 countries to control plastic pollution is expected to be drafted and debated by 2024.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 46.0 degrees Celsius (115 degrees F) at Matam, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 59.0 degrees Celsius (-74 degrees F) 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 8 March – 14 March 2023

Ahyi – Mariana Islands (USA) : Unrest at Ahyi Seamount continued during 8-14 March. A few events per day were detected by pressure sensors on Wake Island, 2,270 km E, during 7-11 March. Almost continuous hydroacoustic signals from roughly the direction of Ahyi were recorded by the sensors during 11-13 March, and then signals stopped abruptly on 14 March. Discolored water was visible in satellite images during 12-14 March; the discoloration extended about 35 km at the end of the week.

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported ongoing eruptive activity at Minamidake Crater and Showa Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 6-13 March. Incandescence at Minamidake was visible nightly. Five eruptive events at Minamidake were recorded and explosions occurred on 8 and 11 March. Ash plumes rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim, and during 10-13 March large blocks were ejected as far as 500 m from the vent. Seven eruptive events occurred at Showa during 6-10 March, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 2.7 km above the crater rim and ejecting large blocks 800 m from the crater.

Chiles-Cerro Negro – Colombia-Ecuador : A seismic swarm at the Cerro Negro de Mayasquer and Chiles volcanoes, called the Chiles-Cerro Negro volcanic complex (CCNVC), began on 9 March according to the Instituto Geofísico de la Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IGEPN) and the Observatorio Vulcanológico de Pasto (OVP-Colombia). A noted increase in the intensity of seismic signals occurred at 0430 and was followed by an increase in the number of volcano-tectonic events (indicating fracturing rock) at 0900. By 1630, there were around 2,200 earthquakes recorded by the seismic network, and 520 of those events had epicenters located within 2.5 km S of Chiles at depths of 1-6 km below the summit (4,700 m elevation). The swarm was accompanied by deformation which was first detected on 28 February. The swarm intensified during 9-10 March, and 86 earthquakes were above M2. At 2010 on 9 March a M 3.4 earthquake was felt by residents in nearby towns in both Colombia and Ecuador; earthquakes recorded at 0137 and 0526 on 10 March were also felt. On 10 March earthquakes were occurring at a rate of around 200 events per hour and were mostly comprised of volcano-tectonic events (indicating fracturing rock) and very-low-frequency earthquakes (indicating fluid movement). At least 4,500 events had been recorded by 1214 on 10 March. There were 4,244-4,915 daily earthquakes during 11-13 March.

Cotopaxi – Ecuador : IG reported that the eruption at Cotopaxi continued during 8-14 March. Gas-and-steam emissions were visible on most days rising as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifting in multiple directions. On 10 March a gas-and-steam plume with low ash content rose as high as 1 km and drifted S. Weather clouds sometimes prevented observations, especially on 11 March.

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing during 2-9 March. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 3, 5-7, and 9 March generated ash plumes that rose as high as 3.6 km (11,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images on 7 and 9 March. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 3 March.

Great Sitkin – Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported that slow lava effusion at Great Sitkin likely continued during 8-14 March. Satellite images and web camera views were mostly cloudy, though elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images during 8-9 March. Seismicity was low.

Krakatau – Sunda Strait : The Darwin VAAC reported that during 1240-1300 on 10 March continuous ash emissions from Anak Krakatau rose 1.5-1.8 km (5,000-6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and NW based on satellite images, weather models, and PVMBG webcams. Only steam-and-gas emissions were visible on webcam images on 11 March.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing during 8-14 March. Daily white gas-and-steam plumes rose as high as 700 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. A few webcam images posted with the observatory reports showed incandescence at the summit.

Sabancaya – Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported moderate levels of activity at Sabancaya during 27 February-5 March with a daily average of 46 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.6 km above the summit and drifted NW, W, and SW. Four thermal anomalies originating from the lava dome in the summit crater were identified in satellite data.

San Miguel – Eastern El Salvador : MARN reported increased emissions at San Miguel during 7-9 March. Gas emissions began increasing along with seismicity at 2252 on 7 March and were continuous at least through the morning of 8 March. A total of 12 emissions were recorded, with the last one occurring at 1210 on 9 March. Some of the gas emissions contained ash, with the most intense period causing minor ashfall in El Tránsito (10 km S), La Morita (6 km W), and La Piedrita (3 km W), and a sulfur odor in Piedra Azul (5 km SW).

Semeru – Eastern Java : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 8-14 March. Weather clouds sometimes prevented views of the volcano, though ash plumes were visible each day. On 8 March white-and-gray ash plumes that were sometimes dense rose as high as 300-700 m above the summit and drifted N and NE. During 9-10 March dense white, gray, and brown ash plumes rose 500-600 m and drifted SW and S. At least six white-and-gray ash plumes of variable densities were visible on 11 March rising 600-800 m and drifting N, W, and S. White-and-gray ash plumes rose 500-700 m and drifted N, NE, and SW during 12-14 March.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch was generally characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, lava-dome extrusion, and strong fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images during 2-9 March and ash plumes drifted as far as 118 km E during 4-5 March.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that the eruption at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater continued during 6-13 March. A total of 18 explosions were recorded, sending ash plumes as high as 2.3 km above the crater rim and ejecting large blocks as far as 400 m from the vent. Crater incandescence was visible at night. Occasional ashfall was reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW). On 8 March grayish-white plumes were seen rising from the vent during an overflight. No other changes were noted compared to the last overflight conducted on 29 September 2022.

Villarrica – Central Chile : SERNAGEOMIN reported that the eruption at Villarrica was ongoing during 8-14 March. Webcam images on 13 March showed incandescence above the crater rim from Strombolian activity.

Whakaari/White Island – North Island (New Zealand) : On 10 March GeoNet reported continuing unrest at Whakaari/White Island characterized by significant gas-and-steam emissions and increasing gas emissions. Significant amounts of steam and gas at temperatures of around 240 degrees Celsius were measured during an observation flight on 2 March and a gas flight on 9 March. Gas emissions had increased but remained within normal limits. Large steam plumes, which were likely enhanced due to weather conditions, were visible from the mainland rising above the volcano on 5 March. Significant rain during the previous month raised the water levels in the crater lake and some of the smaller pools; geysering and bubbling from underwater fumaroles was visible.