Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.4 Earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Iceland region.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

Quakes Push Canary Islands Up 11cm

Multiple earthquakes over the Easter weekend around El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, have raised some parts of the island by as much as 11 centimetres (4.3 inches). A 4.9 quake on Sunday was the most powerful in a wave of seismic activity that has swept the archipelago in the past two weeks, with many moderate quakes and 129 quakes below 1.3 magnitude through Saturday.

Storms and Floods

Summer Storm Hits Chiang Rai, Thailand

A severe summer storm in Chiang Rai province of Thailand has damaged more than 1,400 houses. It is the biggest summer storm in 50 years.

Flash Flood in Jonglei State in Sudan

A flash flood in Jonglei state in Sudan has displaced more than 12,000 people.

The Nile River flooding in Sudan has affected Jalle, Twic East, Maar and Lith payams districts.

Flooding in Kajiado, Kenya

Flooding in Kajiado district of Kenya has claimed at least four lives.

The floods have mainly affected Nkoroi, Magadi and Kiserian areas of Kajiado district in Kenya.

Other News:

Heavy rains with hailstorms have hit Islamabad and Rawalpindi areas in Pakistan.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The NE crater continues to produce spectacular and relatively large explosions of bursting lava bubbles. Tremor as well is elevated.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): (31 Mar) Etna volcano might have begun a process of deep transformation in its eruption style, new scientific studies suggest. During a recent field trip in order to sample the lava erupted during the latest New SE crater paroxysm on 16 March 2013, members of OPEC (Osservatorio Privato Etneo di Catania) found, along with the usual basaltic black lava commonly erupted pieces of the extremely rare so-called “white lava”.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): The situation has been a bit calmer today, with still continuing earthquakes, but their frequency and strength has become less compared to yesterday (when there were two earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 and 4.9.) Tremor pulses also have become weaker and shorter, and currently, tremor is near absent. Whether this means that the end of the crisis is slowly approaching remains to be seen.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

Not much happened during this period.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Pacific Antarctic ridge.

4.9 Earthquake hits off the coast of Central America.

Storms and Floods

Flash floods in Port Louis, Mauritius

The death toll from the flooding in Port Louis has risen to 11. Officials have declared April 1, 2013, a mourning day and a public holiday.

Other News:

Tornado in Peterborough, England. The tornado hit around 2:30 p.m along Fane Road, Walton. It lasted for a maximum of four minutes and only caused minor damage.

Supercell storms caused severe hail storms in Norman, western Oklahoma City, Mustang and Noble, Oklahoma.

Environment

Global Warming – Seas Freeze More Off Antarctica

One of the apparent contradictions of global warming is the increased melting of ice in the Arctic, but in Antarctica the extent of ice cover is increasing. A recent study looks for answers.

It seems that global warming is expanding the extent of sea ice around Antarctica in winter in a paradoxical shift caused by cold plumes of summer melt water that re-freeze fast when temperatures drop. Melted ice re-freezes faster than sea water in winter.

An increasing summer thaw of ice on the edges of Antarctica, twinned with less than expected snowfall on the frozen continent, is also adding slightly to sea level rise in a threat to low-lying areas around the world.

Climate scientists have been struggling to explain why sea ice around Antarctica has been growing, reaching a record extent in the winter of 2010, when ice on the Arctic Ocean at the other end of the planet shrank to a record low in 2012.

“Sea ice around Antarctica is increasing despite the warming global climate,” said Richard Bintanja, lead author of the study at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. “This is caused by melting of the ice sheets from below.”.

Ice is made of fresh water and, when ice shelves on the fringes of Antarctica thaw in summer because of upwellings of warming sea water, the meltwater forms a cool layer that floats on the denser, warmer salty sea water below.

In winter, the melt water readily turns to ice because it freezes at zero degrees Celsius, above sea water at -2C (28.4F).

At a winter maximum in September, ice on the sea around Antarctica covers about 19 million sq kms (7.3 million sq miles), bigger than Antarctica’s land area. It then melts away into the ocean as summer approaches.

On the other hand, among other scientists, Paul Holland of the British Antarctic Survey stuck to his findings last year that a shift in winds linked to climate change was blowing a layer of melt water further out to sea and this was adding to winter ice.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): At the surface, Etna remains calm. The current seismic signal and tremor values at the moment don’t suggest a new paroxysm from the New SE crater is be expected very soon (although some paroxysms have shown build-up phases of less than a few hours only). Interestingly, two weak earthquake swarms have occurred two days ago under the flanks of the volcano at opposite sides of the mountain: the first, weaker one, was at depths around 25 km under Monte Spagnolo on the NW flank, the second occurred shortly after at depths around 15 km under the area of Milo on the SE flank. The largest quake was a magnitude 2 event.

Santorini (Cyclades, Greece): Seismic activity has showed a small increase again: a small swarm of earthquakes has occurred just east of the island at depths between 6 and 15 km. The “largest” quake (not felt) was a small magnitude 2.4 event at 12.5 km depth yesterday. For now, this small swarm probably means nothing unusual.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): IGN places the earthquake that just occurred also at magnitude 4.9, but at the “usual” 20 km depth and in the “usual” area about 10 km west of the island. So far, this has been the strongest quakes during the whole crisis! A (for El Hierro) powerful earthquake has just occurred; EMSC places it at magnitude 4.9 and depth at 10 km with a location off to the north of the island. These data are preliminary. IGN’s more detailed earthquake information might correct this.

Long Valley (California): Some felt earthquakes have occurred recently along the southern boundary of Long Valley Caldera, the latest a 3.8 magnitude quakes yesterday. This is not unusual for the volcanic system and does not mean any volcanic eruption should be expected in a near future. The alert status remains green (normal).

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): After the period of increased emissions (sometimes near continuous small to moderate explosions) and seismic activity during 28-29 March, the volcano has calmed down again to levels similar to before. During yesterday, the rate of emissions dropped to 1-2 per hour again, and ash plumes and explosions were significantly smaller.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity has remained weak. Only few small explosions occurred from the dome and the block lava flows on the flanks of the dome showed little movement recently, in the form of small avalanches from their steep fronts. Light ash fall occurred in the areas of Finca San José and Finca La Quina.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Weak strombolian activity continues, accompanied by white-bluish degassing (SO2). So far, no new lava flow has appeared.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has remained stable, with occasional strombolian explosions ejecting glowing lava bombs to about 100 m height above the crater. Ash plumes rose 600-800 m and drifted about 10 km into southerly directions. Weak avalanches of blocks were observed rolling down towards the Ceniza and Taniluyá canyons.

Telica (Nicaragua): The earthquake swarm still continues, accompanied by near continuous tremor, although at reduced intensity.

Masaya (Nicaragua): Periods of elevated volcanic tremor continue to appear regularly at the volcano. At the moment, seismic activity is again relatively calm.

Reventador (Ecuador): IG observed a steam column rising 700 m yesterday and glow at night from the summit, indicating that weak effusive activity continues there. Seismic activity remains elevated with fluctuating intensity, dominated by signals corresponding to internal fluid movements.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Seismic activity, including volcanic-tectonic and long period earthquakes have increased in number and magnitudes during the past 2 days, suggesting new magma might have started to rise within the volcano and could herald a new phase of explosive activity soon. As of yesterday (IG’s latest report), no particular surface activity (such as explosions, ash venting) has been observed.

Wildfires

Forest Fire – New Zealand

Firefighters with the help of five helicopters are fighting a forest fire east of Martinborough in the Wairarapa area, New Zealand.

Other News:

Wildfires still burn in St. Lucie County, Florida, USA.

Firefighters are still battling to control the wildfires in Scotland.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Guam region.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the coast of northern Peru.

5.1 Earthquake hits off the coast of northern California.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits Myanmar.

Storms and Floods

Flash floods in Mauritius

Massive flash flooding in Mauritius has claimed eight lives. The floods have injured 82 others. Six people died in the flooding in Caudan underground tunnel.

Several accidents have been reported across Mauritius. Dozens of vehicles collided each other at Port Louis.

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Lightning strikes in Uttar Pradesh, India

Lightning strikes have claimed eight lives and injured nine others. Lightning claimed three lives in Chandauli and Meerut each, two in Ghazipur and one in Sambhal.

Avalanche close to the Glencoe Ski Centre, Scotland

One person is reported to be missing in an avalanche in the Etive Glades, close to Glencoe Ski Centre.

Around 30 people including Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team are involved in the search operation.

Other News

North Dakota Governor has declared a state wide flood emergency. The worst spring flooding is expected on the Red River in eastern North Dakota, USA.

Tornado in Hokitika, New Zealand has injured one person. The twister touched down about at 12.30am and tore off roofs from several houses including Railway Hotel Motel in Weld Street.

Disease

Bird Flu – China

Two people in Shanghai, one of China’s largest cities, died this month after contracting a strain of avian influenza that had never been passed to humans before.

The two men, aged 87 and 27, became sick late February and died in early March. Another woman in nearby Anhui province also contracted the virus in early March and is in a critical condition.

The strain of the bird flu virus found in all three people was identified as H7N9, which had not been transmitted to humans before.

Swine Flu – India

52-year-old woman succumbed to Swine-flu at civil hospital in Rajkot.

Civil hospital sources said that she was admitted into civil hospital three days ago as a suspected Swine-flu patient and her samples were sent for H1N1 laboratory test which came positive.

At least 49 people have succumbed to Swine flu in civil hospital in Rajkot since January 2013.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity remains elevated. A small lava overflow has started from the NE crater, accompanied by relatively strong tremor and explosion signals visible on the seismic signal.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): A visit to the summit area and current tremor levels showed the volcano is currently calm. No explosive activity was heard or seen from any of the summit craters. The area of bomb impacts from the last New SE crater paroxysm on 16 March was impressive – the whole area between Torre del Filosofo, the 2002-03 craters and the area of Cisternazza NE of the Cono del Lago was littered with bombs of various sizes (20-50 cm mostly). The Belvedere was found totally covered with scoria and bombs.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): The situation to the west of the island had not changed much and the islanders are in for an uneasy Easter weekend: the seismic swarm continues with frequent and increasingly strong earthquakes and tremor pulses. 15 quakes with magnitudes between 4-4.7 were recorded yesterday alone, the total number of quakes is in the hundreds. A further migration of the hypocenters to the south can be seen, and most quakes remain in the 18-20 km depth layer, with a few in the upper layer at about 10-12 km depth. Inflation has slowed down a bit, but reaches now 12 cm in the western part of the island itself.

Grozny (Iturup Island): Tokyo VAAC reported a possible eruption occurred yesterday around 11:00 GMT. A volcanic ash plume was observed at 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude and drifting eastwards.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The frequency of explosions has been comparably low, with 0-2 events recorded per day. Yesterday and today, two stronger ones occurred that produced ash plumes rising up to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An ash plume rose to an altitude of 10,000 ft (3 km) earlier today, sign that sometimes strong explosions continue from the volcano, in permanent eruption for more than 6 years now.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): The lava dome remains very active and produces ash plumes (by a mix of effusive-explosive activity comprising ash venting, explosions, rockfalls and pyroclastic flows from the dome) on a daily basis. The height of the plumes varies mostly between 8-12,000 ft (2.4-3.6 km) altitude.

Colima (Western Mexico): The “Volcano of Fire” has become a tourist attraction with now up to 200 weak to moderate explosions per day, and frequent incandescent rockfalls / small pyroclastic flows that descend the flank of the volcano to a length of up to 1.5 km and are a spectacular view at night. Melchor Ursua Quiroz, director of the State’s Civil Protection unit, said that the Fuego de Colima volcano is currently the most active of the country, and has recently increased its explosive activity. In an article in the El Universal newspaper, he “rules out” any risk for the population. A 8 km exclusion zone is in place around the volcano and the governments of Colima and Jalisco are on permanent alert.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits the Philippine Islands region.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of Easter Island.

5.0 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua, New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Landslide in Tibet

Landslide in Tibet has trapped at least 83 mine workers in the gold mining area of Maizhokunggar county of Lhasa.

Drought

Drought in Brazil Intensifies

Brazil’s northeast interior has been experiencing a severe drought in what should be the rainy season.

Private trucks are selling potable water. Some people travel 100km in search of drinkable water, though many cannot afford to pay the price.

“What falls from the sky does not fill a glass of water,” Raimundo, a farmer, said. Natural vegetation, which would normally provide food for livestock, has dried up and many ranchers cannot afford to buy imported feed for their herds. Many farmers are on the brink of collapse, while others have given up on ranching and have moved to other parts of the country in search of work.

$1bn in aid to all of those affected by the drought has been announced by the Government, but many ranchers are having trouble feeding themselves and their cattle are dying in record numbers.

This river is normally full from bank to bank at this time of year:

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