Space Events

Meteor Shower – USA

More than 500 people from along the Atlantic coast ranging from Maine to North Carolina have reported a bright meteor in east of United States.

The sky flash was spotted as far south as Florida and as far north as New England.

Heat map of witness sightings: [American Meteor Society]

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About Asteroids, meteors and meteorites

Asteroids orbit the Sun. They are small bodies.

Planetoids or minor planets are also called large Asteroids.

Once these Asteroids enter our planet’s atmosphere, they become Meteors.

If any any of these Meteors impact the Earth, they become Meteorites.

Disease

Global Alert Over Deadly Bat Virus

Experts on infectious diseases have warned people to stay away from bats worldwide after the recent death of an eight-year-old boy bitten in Australia.

The boy last month became the third person in the country to die of Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV), for which there is no effective treatment.

The boy was bitten during a family holiday to Queensland in December 2012, but did not tell his parents.

Three weeks later he began to suffer convulsions, abdominal pain and fever, followed by progressive brain problems.

Doctors frantically tried to establish what was wrong and on day 10 of his admission the lyssavirus was detected.

He fell into a coma and died on February 22.

The warning to avoid bats around the world was issued not just because of the danger posed by the animals themselves, but due to the risk, however remote, that the virus could be spread between humans.

Human to human transmission of lyssaviruses has not been well documented, but it is theoretically possible.

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Novel Coronavirus Infection – Update

The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has informed the WHO of another new confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (nCoV).

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): Earthquakes and tremor have continued through the day, and continued to migrate a bit to the NW off the NW tip of the island. So far, 62 quakes above magnitude 2 have been recorded today. In addition, the average depth of the latest earthquakes has become a bit shallower and is now around 13 km (compared to 17-20 km before). This suggests that magma is still moving and has risen a bit closer to the surface, and, thus, a possible eruption. A third, intense pulse of quakes and harmonic tremor started late last night and is going on at the moment. A magnitude 3.8 quake early today marks the so far largest event. The location of the latest quakes moved again a bit further to the west, and is now clustered at about 15-17 km depth beneath the western tip of the island.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Activity remains elevated. Another explosion today produced an ash plume rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude, VAAC Darwin reported.

Ambrym (Vanuatu): Elevated SO2 emissions remain elevated, suggesting that the lava lakes remain active.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The volcano’s activity has stayed rather calm and not changed much. Yesterday, the rate of emissions was down to less than 1 per hour, but seems to have increased a bit today, as the current seismic signal suggests.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity at the dome has decreased compared to last week. INSIVUMEH reported only weak explosions with ash rising 400 m, and few and small avalanches from the lava flows today.

Fuego (Guatemala): The volcano has been considerably calmer today, with only 5 mostly weak explosions detected, which produced ash plumes rising 400-800 m above the craters. The (mostly now cooling) lava flow erupted two days ago still produces frequent rock falls and small avalanches.

Telica (Nicaragua): The seismic swarm at the volcano continues, with many small tremors registered beneath the eastern sector of the volcano. There has not been any apparent surface activity reported (so far).

Nyiragongo (DRCongo): A strong SO2 plume is drifting westwards from Nyiragongo volcano, which contains the world’s largest active lava lake.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

No Earthquakes 5.0 or higher.

Another moderate Earthquake cluster hits the Canary Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Tim

Ex-tropical Cyclone Tim has crossed the coast near Innisfail in far north Queensland overnight Wednesday. Up to 300 millimetres of rain could be dumped across the Cassowary Coast over the next couple of days.

Tornadoes in Victoria, Australia

Two tornadoes hit Victoria, injuring 17 people, three in critical condition. The tornadoes hit along the Murray river and damaged several buildings in Yarrawonga, Bundalong, Rutherglen, Koonoomoo and Mulwala.

Victorian Tornado picture

Lightning in Nepal

At least five people have died in lightning strikes in Nepal. Lightning claimed lives in Sindhupalchowk, Sindhuli, Kaski and Gorkha districts.

Strong winds and scattered rain were reported across Nepal throughout the day.

Extreme Weather in Britain

Severe flooding has hit towns in west Cornwall as heavy rainfall sweeps across the county. The worst affected areas were Newlyn, Penzance, Mevagissy and St Ives.

Much of Britain faces a white weekend with widespread snow storms and strong winds, with Wales and Scotland expected to be most affected.

Wildlife

Record Manatee Deaths Spread in Florida

A new wave of manatee deaths has struck Florida following a string of fatalities among the marine mammals due to red tide algae blooms along the state’s southwestern beaches. But marine biologists say they don’t know exactly what’s killing the manatees along the eastern coast since there have not been any reports of red tide there, and the weather hasn’t been cold enough to account for the deaths.

Nearly 200 manatees have died due to red tide along Florida’s Gulf Coast so far this year.

While lacking physical evidence to prove it, wildlife experts believe the deaths in eastern Florida are due to different types of algae blooms that have killed off vast amounts of sea grass the manatees typically feed on.

That may have caused the lumbering sea animals to instead ingest large amounts of macroalgae, which sent them into fatal toxic shock.

The east coast algae blooms were due to storm runoff that flushed fertilizers and other manmade nutrients into waterways.

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State biologists are also trying to determine what has killed about 100 brown pelicans so far this year in the same area where the Atlantic coast manatees perished. The birds were found emaciated and full of parasites.

There is so far no connection between the pelican deaths and those of the manatees.

Environment

Global Hottest and Coldest Temperatures

The week’s hottest temperature was 113.9 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) at Matam, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 90.9 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 68.3 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

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.

Drought

Drought to Continue in USA

Lingering snow and colder-than-normal temperatures in much of the United States will give way to warmer-than-average weather and continued drought in areas that need moisture most, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s spring outlook.

Fifty-one percent of the continental United States is already in moderate to exceptional drought and that is expected to continue in California, the Southwest, the southern Rocky Mountain states, Texas and Florida, NOAA said.

The Midwest, the northern and central Great Plains, Georgia, the Carolinas and northern Alaska may see some relief from drought during April, May and June.

That could be an improvement over 2012, when two-thirds of the country experienced drought conditions and the vast majority of the United States saw record-high temperatures.

Wildfires

Forest Wildfire in China

A forest fire broke out in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of SW China. Firefighters are currently fighting the fire in Wuzhou city.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Magma levels inside the conduit of the NE vent remain very high, shown by frequent small overspills. Tremor is elevated and mixed with small to moderate explosion signals.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): A second, but weaker pulse of earthquakes combined with harmonic tremor started today. The quakes were located in the same area as the last quakes from the first swarm, i.e. at around 17 km depth just north of the western tip of the island below the El Golfo valley. At the moment, it seems that this pulse also is ending.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no significant changes, but apparently the tremor amplitude has risen again a bit (by about 20% compared to previous days). Lava flows continue to be fed from the active vent on the southern fissure. For the other volcanoes in Kamchatka, there is not much new is to report: Moderate seismicity accompanies ongoing lava extrusion and dome building at Sheveluch and Kizimen. Low seismic activity was reported from Karymski and Klyuchevskoi volcano remains currently calm at green level.

White Island (New Zealand): The strong tremor has suddenly dropped. A possible explanation might be that the conduit below the vent area has “dried out”, with less water entering the system to produce the previous “loud” tremor and possible deep-seated phreatic explosions.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): Activity has remained essentially unchanged and stable. At the summit, the Halema’uma’u lava lake is very active, and rises and falls during alternating inflation and deflation cycles. On the east rift zone, activity continues from the Pu’u O’o vent where 4 hornitos are active from time to time (less than some weaks ago). Most lava is being diverted into lava tubes feeding two main flow fields: The most recent (Kahauale’a) is spreading from the northeast base of Pu’u O’o and currently covering the flows from 1983 to 1986 (i.e. the oldest of this eruption). Its most advanced lobe is 4 km from its source.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Not much has changed overall. Emissions decreased again somewhat (about 2 per hour yesterday), and seismic activity has been weaker today as well.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has calmed down a bit again. INSIVUMEH reported 18 explosions (10 weak and 8 moderate) with ash plumes reaching 600-1200 m above the crater and drifting S and SE. The lava flow that emerged on 19 March had split into two lobes towards the Ceniza and Taniluya canyons and advanced to a total length of 1500 m. It was still weakly active this morning and had produced weak to moderate avalanches.

Telica (Nicaragua): The seismic swarm continues to increase in intensity. The earthquakes are still small (below magnitude 3), but some already show up on INETERS country-wide earthquake list, and are mostly located 5-10 km east of the volcano. No updates about unusual activity have been posted by INETER, so it is likely that this is (so far) only an intrusion at some depth with no significant surface activity.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): An impressive SO2 plume was visible on the latest NOAA satellite image, suggesting that degassing activity has remained elevated.

Reventador (Ecuador): Strong steaming was observed during a window of clear weather. The seismic activity remains moderately high, with numerous moderate long period earthquakes, harmonic tremor pulses and signs of moderate explosions.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Activity has remained relatively low. IG reported small explosions seen during the night 19-20 March and emissions of steam and minor ash amounts rising up to about 1 km.

Soufriere Hills (Montserrat, West Indies (UK)): MVO reported that during 8-15 March activity at the Soufrière Hills lava dome was at a low level. During a helicopter overflight on 8 March, scientists observed a large fissure in the cliff on the E side of the lava dome, part of which had existed since 2007. This fissure was the result of slow cooling and erosion of the dome. It was parallel to the cliff face and estimated to be 2 m wide, suggesting that a large slab was slowing moving away from the dome. The Hazard Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Reykjanes Ridge.

5.2 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

Storms and Floods

Tornado in China – Update

The death toll from yesterday’s tornado in Dongguan City, Hunan Province has risen to 8 with at least 136 people injured.

Rainstorm in Walewale, Ghana

A heavy rainstorm in Walewale in Mamprusi district of Ghana has killed four and injured 41 others.

Wildlife

Wave of Prawn Deaths Baffles Chile City of Coronel

Thousands of dead prawns have washed up on a beach in Chile, sparking an investigation.

Hundreds of dead crabs were also washed ashore in Coronel city, about 530km (330 miles) from the capital, Santiago.

Fishermen suggested the deaths may have been caused by local power stations that use seawater as a cooling agent. The power firms have not commented.

Experts are looking into water temperature and oxygen levels and other details to explain the deaths.

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On a lighter note:

A Rat May Have Caused Outage at Fukushima

A rat may have been to blame for a power cut that knocked out cooling systems at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, in an episode that highlighted the jerry-rigged nature of the fix.

Equipment keeping used nuclear fuel at a safe temperature in four different pools was out for up to 39 hours from Monday, with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admitting their recovery work was sometimes less than perfect.

The incident served as a reminder of the precarious state of the plant two years after the tsunami which sparked meltdowns in three reactors, spewing radiation over the land and sea and forcing tens of thousands from their homes.

“We suspect a small animal may have caused a short circuit in a switchboard” leading to the outage and disabling cooling systems for spent fuel pools, a spokesman for TEPCO said.