Wildfires in Chile

Dozens of homes were destroyed in Valparaiso, Chile by wildfires that burned out of control along several sections of the densely populated hills of the city; about 600 people were affected and evacuated to emergency shelters.

At least 75 houses were totally consumed by the flames in the Rodelillo and Los Placeres neighbourhoods of Valparaiso. The fire started Thursday, early afternoon, in bushy vegetation in the ravines that separate some of the city hills and quickly spread to the houses.

Incendio Valparaiso


Novel Coronavirus Infection – Update

The United Kingdom has informed the WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV). This is the third case confirmed in the country this month and is in the same family cluster as the two recently confirmed cases.

see: previous post

Bird Flu on Poultry Farm – Germany

German authorities said a case of H5N1 bird flu had been discovered during initial tests on a poultry farm in the eastern state of Brandenburg.

The case was discovered in a duck farm, which was carrying out its own tests, the Brandenburg state agriculture ministry said on Friday.

However, the bird flu virus could not be confirmed in final testing.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Lava continues to overflow from the NE crater, which also sometimes produces quite strong explosions.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Residents of San Francisco de Sales (San Vincente) village at the foot of the volcano reported having heard explosion sounds overnight.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the south coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits north eastern Sakha, Siberia, Russia.

5.1 Earthquake hits north eastern Sakha, Siberia, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits north eastern Sakha, Siberia, Russia.

Space Events

Meteorite Crash in Russia

A series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals region, reportedly caused by a meteorite shower, has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones have stopped working.

According to unconfirmed reports, the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. A missile salvo reportedly blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers. A bright flash was seen in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk regions, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria and in northern Kazakhstan. At least one piece of the fallen object caused damage on the ground in Chelyabinsk. According to preliminary reports, it crashed into a wall near a zinc factory, disrupting the city’s Internet and mobile service.

Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunder had struck at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth. Police in the Chelyabinsk region are reportedly on high alert, and have begun ‘Operation Fortress’ in order to protect vital infrastructure. Office buildings in downtown Chelyabinsk are being evacuated. Injuries were reported at one of the city’s secondary schools, supposedly from smashed windows.  At least 500 people have been injured.

15rdv meteorite tmagArticle


Thawing Permafrost May Be “Huge Factor” in Global Warming

Thawing permafrost is emitting more climate-heating carbon faster than previously realised. Scientists have now learned that when the ancient carbon locked in the ice thaws and is exposed to sunlight, it turns into carbon dioxide 40 percent faster.

There are 13 million square kilometres of permafrost in Alaska, Canada, Siberia and parts of Europe. A 2011 study estimated that global warming could release enough permafrost carbon to raise global temperatures three degrees C on top of what will result from human emissions from oil, gas and coal.

Human emissions are headed for four degrees C of global heating, warned the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week. A rapid “decarbonization of electricity supply” is needed to avoid that future.

Crack patterns in Arctic permafrost as viewed from a helicopter:

Permafrost pattern 640 629x441


Wildfires – Australia

Three fires burning in plantation forest and grassland are joining into one and racing towards a small town in central Victoria.

The large, fast-moving fire is expected to impact Middle Creek and Buangor anytime.

Twenty tankers and two aircraft are on scene.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The volcano remains in a state of elevated activity with the magma column literally overflowing the crater rim. Lava flows are active on the upper slopes of the NE crater. Tremor and explosion signals are sometimes reaching medium-high levels.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Weak strombolian activity has been taking place from the New SE crater since last night. At the moment, the tremor signal is still low. It will be interesting to see whether (and when) this activity will increase in the near future.

Kamchatka: There are no significant changes in activity at any of the volcanoes in Kamchatka: Fluid lava continues to erupt from Tolbachik volcano, accompanied by stable, still relatively high tremor levels. Moderate seismicity suggests ongoing lava extrusion and dome building at Sheveluch and Kizimen. Low seismic activity was reported from Karymski and Klyuchevskoi volcano. The strong seismicity from Tolbachik obscures the signals from Bezymianny, which also continues to slowly build a lava dome. Gorely continues to show medium levels of tremor caused by fluid movements and strong degassing.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): A report published by the Indonesian Volcanological Survey (VSI) indicates that the intense eruptive phase on 3 Feb caused the collapse of about 1/4 of the volume of the dome, a little more one million cubic meters. VSI points out that the main hazard zones for pyroclastic flows, if the dome continues to grow, include now also the valleys to the west and south-east, in addition to the open valley to the south.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): Not much has changed recently at the ongoing eruption. At the summit, the lava lake level stabilized at 31 m (100 ft) below the Halema`uma`u Crater floor. At Pu`u `O`o cone on the east rift zone, lava flows continued to spread out on older flows to the north of the cone. To the southeast of Pu`u `O`o, lava continues to enter the ocean in multiple areas both inside and outside the National Park boundary. (HVO daily update)

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Strong gas emissions (SO2) and night-time glow indicate continuing magma supply. The number of emissions has decreased to less than 1 every 2 hours on average.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): A pyroclastic flow occurred from the NE side of the lava dome and reached the base of Santa Maria mountain. Visual observations over the past days were generally poor due to cloud cover. The same goes for Fuego volcano, from which only weak rumblings were heard.

Reventador (Ecuador): After a phase of more intense activity yesterday, the volcano has been quieter today. Tremor has decreased, but there are still many volcanic earthquakes and explosion signals. A MODIS hotspot indicates that some lava extrusion probably continues at the summit.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.7 Earthquake hits north eastern Sakha, Siberia, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.


Yellow Fever in Chad

The Ministry of Health of Chad is launching an emergency mass-vaccination campaign against yellow fever from 22 February 2013, following laboratory confirmation of two cases in the country in December 2012.


Wildfires – Australia

Two homes have been destroyed and others are under threat from bushfires burning in the shires of Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Nannup and Donnybrook-Balingup in south-west Western Australia. A string of bushfires sparked by lightning strikes on Tuesday have swept through the region.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits the Ceram Sea.

5.6 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar region, Indonesia.

5.5 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.5 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Nevada, USA.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Scotia Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): (11 Feb) The volcano has been in a phase of elevated activity during the past days. Several moderate to large explosions occurred with ash plumes rising up to 12,000 ft (3.7 km) altitude. At least 6 explosions were counted yesterday alone and VAAC Tokyo reports phases of continuous ash emission.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): A phase of near continuous steam / gas emissions took place yesterday, with some explosions ejecting ballistics onto the crater’s outer flanks and producing plumes with some ash rising up to 1 km. Activity declined again in the evening.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): No significant changes have occurred over the past days. Explosions from the lava dome occur at rates of about 1-2 per hour and produce ash plumes rising a few 100 m. The lava flows descending the dome, in particular on the SE side, are weakly active and produce small avalanches.

Fuego (Guatemala): After a short period with little effusive activity, a new lava flow has started to descend towards the Ceniza drainage. Strombolian activity at the summit remains weak.

Storms and Floods

Snow and Floods Batter Venice

Rain, snow and 40mph gusts have pummeled Venice in the runup to Valentine’s Day. The Italian city, a popular destination for lovestruck couples, has also been hit by the 15th highest tide, or Acqua Alta, in its history.

St Marks square is covere 003

People walk on a flooded 005

Tugela Floods Sweep Away Homes And Families – South Africa

Two bodies have been recovered and at least four people are still missing after the Tugela River and its tributaries burst their banks, flooding homes after heavy rain in the Msinga area of northern KwaZulu-Natal this week.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.7 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.4 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.4 Earthquake hits northern Qinghai, China.

5.1 artificial earthquake hits North Korea at North Korea’s nuclear test site. The artificial tremor was a nuclear test. North Korea says it has successfully carried out its third underground nuclear test.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.