Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the State of Yap, Micronesia.

5.1 earthquake hits the State of Yap, Micronesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 22s (Twenty-two), located approximately 919 nm west-northwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking westward at 23 knots.

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Newsbytes:

Australia – Torrential rain caused flooding in Mid North Coast area of New South Wales (NSW) Australia from late 24 February 2021. Parts of a freight train derailed near Nana Glen after tracks were flooded. According to Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) figures, 310 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Nana Glen in 24 hours to 25 February 2021. Meanwhile further north, around 250 people are being evacuated after flooding in areas near Mataranka in Northern Territory (NT), Australia. Rapidly rising waters have surrounded Jilkminggan community near Mataranka, and as a precaution, the Local Emergency Committee has decided to evacuate the community.

Indonesia – A landslide occurred at an illegal mining site located in Burangga Village, Ampibabo District, Parigi Moutong Regency, Central Sulawesi in Indonesia on 24 February, causing at least 3 fatalities. This is the second deadly landslide reported in the country on the same day. The landslide at the Ampibabo mine was caused by heavy rain falling on unstable ground. Meanwhile flooding has also affected over 90,000 people in Semarang City, Central Java, Indonesia over the last few days. One person died after flood waters caused parts of a wall to collapse. According to local disaster authorities, 90,590 people from over 18,000 families have been affected. As many as 9,169 houses were inundated.

Environment

Arctic Open for Navigation

Global heating has melted so much of the thick multi-year ice off the coast of Siberia that Russia has for the first time been able to navigate a cargo ship from Asia to a home port on the Arctic Ocean in winter. By using the newly opened Northern Sea Route (NSR) instead of the traditional path around Asia and the Middle East, through the Suez Canal and around Europe, the Sovcomflot shipping company saved millions of dollars and days of travel time. Traffic through the NSR has exploded during summer in recent years but has remained closed from November until July. Russia now has plans to use its expanding fleet of civilian nuclear-powered icebreakers to make the path available year-round.

Wildlife

Power Line Hazard

The electrocution of 11 giraffes from low-hanging transmission lines in a Kenyan conservation area has the country’s power company promising to raise the cables and check its entire network for safety. Conservationists demanded immediate action after three rare Rothschild’s giraffes were killed in the Soysambu Conservancy within three days. Only about 1,600 of the species, which do not have spots on their legs, roam freely in the wild. The Soysambu Conservancy currently hosts about 125 giraffes.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Rivadavia, Argentina.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 71.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57.2 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

The countries with the 10 greatest number of Covid-19 cases:

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Ebola – Guinea

As of Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported nine confirmed and probable Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases, including five deaths. While no confirmed cases of Ebola have been recorded outside of the country, the latest outbreak in N’Zerekore prefecture is close to porous borders with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 17 February 2021 – 23 February 2021

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 15-22 February incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible nightly. An explosion on 16 February generated an eruption plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 1-1.3 km away from the crater. That same day the sulfur dioxide emission rate was extremely high, at 4,300 tons per day. An ash plume from an explosion at 2253 on 21 February rose 1.6 km and entered weather clouds. Large bombs were ejected 800-1,100 m away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 12, 14-15, and 17 February that sent ash plumes to 2.1 km (6,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 15 February and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images on 17 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level

Fuego – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that 4-12 explosions were recorded per hour during 17-23 February at Fuego, generating ash plumes as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim. Shock waves rattled buildings around the volcano. 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 (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). Notably, on 17 February ash plumes drifted as far as 50 km E, causing ashfall in local communities as well as in Guatemala City (city center is about 40 km ENE). Ash plumes drifted 40 km SW on 18 February. Curtains of old ash deposits remobilized by strong winds were observed during 19-21 February. Incandescent material was ejected 100-400 m above the summit during 19-22 February.

Ibu – Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that on most days during 17-23 February gray-and-white ash plume from Ibu were seen rising 200-800 m above the summit and drifting in multiple directions. Weather conditions sometimes hindered observations. The report stated that during 16-17 February there were a total of 88 eruptive events. 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.

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that a vent on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater continued to supply the lava lake during 17-23 February. The depth of the western part of the lake fluctuated between 215 and 218 m and the lake surface actively overturned at “plate” boundaries. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was elevated at 1,000 tons/day on 19 February.

Lewotolo – Lomblen Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 16-23 February; weather conditions sometimes hindered visual observations. Gray-and-white ash plumes rose 50-500 m above the summit and drifted E and SE. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 4 km away from the summer crater.

Merapi – Central Java (Indonesia) : BPPTKG reported that the 2021 lava dome just below Merapi’s SW rim and the new lava dome in the summit crater both continued to grow during 12-18 February. The 2021 lava dome volume was an estimated 397,500 cubic meters on 17 February, with a growth rate of about 25,200 cubic meters per day; it was 258 m long, 133 m wide, and 30 m high. The summit lava dome was an estimated 426,000 cubic meters, with a growth rate of about 10,000 cubic meters per day; it was 160 m long, 120 m wide, and 50 m high. Seismicity was less intense than the previous week. Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) data showed no notable deformation. PVMBG noted that foggy conditions often prevented visual observations during 18-23 February, though sometimes white emissions were observed rising up to 400 m above the summit. 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.

Sabancaya – Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported a daily average of 71 explosions at Sabancaya during 15-21 February. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 3.2 km above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. Ten thermal anomalies originating from the lava dome in the summit crater were identified in satellite data. Minor inflation continued to be detected in areas N of Hualca Hualca (4 km N). The Alert Level remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale) and the public were warned to stay outside of a 12-km radius.

Semeru – Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 17-23 February, though weather conditions often prevented visual confirmation. At 0601 on 17 February an ash plume rose 300 m and drifted N. A white-and-gray ash plume rose 100 m and drifted N, NE, and E on 18 February. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 1 km and extensions to 4 km in the SSE sector.

Semisopochnoi – United States : AVO reported that no significant activity at Semisopochnoi was recorded after several ash deposits were visible in satellite images during 6-7 February. On 19 February the Aviation colour Code and the Volcano Alert Level were lowered to Yellow/Advisory, respectively.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) :KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 12-19 February. 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 17-23 February, though weather conditions sometimes prevented visual confirmation. White plumes rose as high as 1 km above the summit and drifted in multiple directions. On 21 February pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 2 km down the E and SE flanks. 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.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported intermittent eruptive events at Ontake Crater during 12-19 February. These events produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 300 m away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Whakaari/White Island – North Island (New Zealand) : GeoNet reported that beginning around 0220 on 19 February a series of short-lived, low-energy steam explosions at Whakaari/White Island were recorded for about 100 minutes by local seismic and acoustic instruments. Webcam images were dark due to the time of day; no trace ash deposits were visible. Tremor had begun around 2100 the night before and then ceased at 0550 when the steam explosions ended. Visual observations and gas flux measurements taken during an overflight on 18 February showed no changes compared to the previous month. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 and the Aviation colour Code remained at Green.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Iceland.

5.3 earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

5.2 earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.1 earthquake hits Guam.

5.0 earthquake hits Iceland.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Indonesia – Heavy rainfall triggered deadly landslides in Pamekasan Regency, East Java Province, Indonesia, on 24 February 2021. The landslides struck in the early hours, affecting the villages of Jepun and Bindang in Pasean District. Disaster authorities reported at least 5 people were killed. Two houses are thought to have been buried, while around 20 other homes and a school were also damaged. Surabaya City recorded 78mm of rain in 24 hours to 24 February, while Semarang City in Central Java recorded 155mm.

Wildlife

Wildlife Severely Affected in Texas Freeze

Bats and birds were among the wildlife pummeled during the Southern freeze. Starving and disoriented, the winged mammals tumbled to the snow-coated ground as temperatures plunged to levels rarely seen in the region. Bats are among numerous wildlife believed to have taken a beating in the South, a region unaccustomed to such a severe and prolonged cold snap. Many species migrate there for winter precisely because of its normally mild weather.

Fish kills were feared in Arkansas and Louisiana. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said it expected casualties among exotic deer and antelope. Across the Gulf of Mexico coast as far east as Florida, naturalists worried about monarch butterflies and the milkweed plants essential to their survival as they prepare to migrate northward. Milkweed provides spots for female monarchs to lay eggs and food for their larvae. If the plants’ growth across the South is stunted, more young would not survive.

Sea turtles stunned by frigid Gulf coastal waters were still being cared for at facilities this week. More than 10,600 had been found and officials were tabulating how many died.

Disease

Covid-19

The countries with the 10 greatest number of Covid-19 cases:

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Lassa fever – Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported an additional confirmed Lassa fever cases the week ending February 21, bringing the country total to 102. In addition, three additional deaths were reported–bringing the death toll to 22 for the first seven weeks of 2021.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 17 February 2021 – 23 February 2021

Etna – Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that a series of paroxysmal events separated by relative calm periods at Etna began on 16 February and continued at least through 23 February. The first episode began late on 16 February, characterized by gradually increasing Strombolian activity at the E vents of the Southeast Crater (SEC). Overflows of lava from the crater at 1805 caused a partial collapse of the cone and a pyroclastic flow that traveled 1.5 km along the W wall of the Valle de Bove. Lava fountains afterwards rose 500-600 m high. An eruptive plume rose several kilometers and drifted S, causing ashfall in areas as far as Syracuse, 60-80 km SSE. Lava flows advanced into the Valle de Bove and the Valle del Leone, and produced explosions in areas where they interacted with snow cover. Activity ended around 1900.

Klyuchevskoy – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 1100-1150 on 18 February a new vent opened on Klyuchevskoy’s lower NW flank, near Erman glacier at elevations of 2,500-2,700 m, based on satellite images. Snowfall in the area of Klyuchi during 18-19 February inhibited webcam views. Bright incandescence was visible in webcam images beginning at 0323 on 21 February, likely indicating an advancing lava flow. On 23 February the Kamchatka Volcanological Station team reported that lava was flowing from two vents and bombs were being ejected 50 m high. A lahar along the Krutenkaya River was visible in an area 7 km E of Klyuchi Village (30 km NNE). Bright incandescence over the two flank vents was identified in satellite and video images on 24 February. KVERT raised the Aviation colour Code to Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Krysuvik – Iceland : IMO raised the Aviation colour Code for Krýsuvík to Yellow on 24 February based on recent increased seismicity. Intense seismic activity had been detected for the previous few days and since midnight through the generation of the report at 1107 more than 500 earthquakes had been recorded. At 1005 a M 5.7 earthquake occurred 5 km W of Krýsuvík and at 1027 a M 4.2 was located in Nupshlidarhals, less than 1 km NW of Krýsuvík. The seismic unrest was unusual for the area in the context of the unrest in the Reykjanes peninsula that began in January 2020.

Laguna del Maule – Central Chile-Argentina border : SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 1-16 February the seismic network at Laguna del Maule recorded a total of 533 volcano-tectonic earthquakes. Two earthquake swarms were recorded during 15-16 February; the largest events were local magnitude 3.1, and were located 9.1 and 8.8 km SW of the lake at a depth of 1.9 km. The epicenters were near the area producing anomalous carbon dioxide emissions. Swarms were recorded in June and December 2020, and January and February 2021, with the largest events occurring during the most recent swarm. The highest rate of inflation during the previous 30 days was 2.3 cm/month, recorded at a station closest to the center of deformation. The highest horizontal displacement was an estimated 1.4 cm/month from a station just SW of the center. InSAR data mostly showed agreement in the magnitude and distribution of the ground-based deformation data. Overall, the deformation rates were higher than maximum averages. On 22 February the Alert Level was raised to Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-colour scale. ONEMI declared a Yellow Alert for San Clemente and recommended restricted access within a radius of 2 km from the center of elevated carbon dioxide emissions.

Pacaya – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that seismicity at Pacaya increased around 0900 on 18 February. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m above Mackenney Crater and explosions produced gas-and-ash plumes that rose 450 m and drifted mostly NE and S. An active lava flow on the SSW flank was 1.1 km long and generated hot block avalanches from the flow front. A lava flow emerged on the SW flank on 19 February. During 19-20 February periods of increased activity lasted 3-5 hours; moderate-to-loud explosions were accompanied by rumbling and sounds resembling trains. Ballistics were ejected 300- 500 m from the crater and ash plumes rose as high as 450 m and drifted SW. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including El Rodeo and El Patrocinio. A lava flow on the S flank was 800 m long and produced incandescent blocks from the flow front that descended 500 m.

Raung – Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that daily gray and sometimes black ash plumes rose 200-1,200 m above Raung’s summit during 17-23 February. Ash plumes were sometimes dense and drifted mainly N, NE, E, and S. 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.

Sarychev Peak-Matua Island (Russia) : SVERT noted that thermal anomalies over Sarychev Peak were identified in satellite images during 9-10 and 12-14 February. KVERT reported on 19 February that the effusive eruption was over, though lava continued to advance in the summit crater and a thermal anomaly remained visible. KVERT lowered the Aviation colour Code to Green (the lowest level on a four-colour scale).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits northern Algeria.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

South Africa/Zimbabwe – Flash floods were reported in towns close to the South Africa and Zimbabwe border after a thunderstorm brought heavy rain from 21 to 22 February 2021. In South Africa, flooding affected parts of Vhembe District, Limpopo Proince, in particular the town of Musina, where roads and homes were damaged along with electricity and water infrastructure. Flooding also affected areas the border town of Beitbridge in Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe, damaging roads and some buildings.

Wildlife

Beached Whales

Hundreds of people in New Zealand worked together to successfully “refloat” 40 long-finned pilot whales that stranded on a remote beach. The whales did not swim out into the deeper ocean, however, so some conservationists are worried that the animals may beach themselves a second time. The 40 whales initially stranded Monday morning (Feb. 22) on Farewell Spit, a beach on South Island, along with nine other whales that died during the stranding.