Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 Earthquake hits northeastern Sakha, Russia.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): No significant changes in activity and no new lava flows have occurred. The tremor signal fluctuates between low to medium and high levels. Explosion signals are generally relatively weak.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no significant changes in the ongoing eruption. Tremor continues to be strong and lava still erupts from the southern fissure. The other erupting / restless volcanoes in Kamchatka also have not shown big changes in their activity: moderate seismicity suggests ongoing lava extrusion and dome building at Sheveluch and Kizimen.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The volcano was producing a constant plume of steam and gas drifting to the southeast, interrupted by a few small to moderately sized ash explosions such as the attached image from yesterday morning. Glow remains visible at the crater at night.

Fuego (Guatemala): The eruption continues with the near-constant strombolian explosions reaching some 300 m above the crater and generating constant avalanches and rumbling sounds. An ash plume is rising to an altitude of 4600 m and moving south at a distance of 10 kilometers. On the western and southern flanks of the volcanic complex two lava flows are active and reach 1300 meters in the direction of the Trinidad canyon, and 200 m southwest towards the Taniluya canyon, respectively.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): The volcano has been producing continuous low-level ash emissions drifting W-NW, interrupted by explosions that generated cannon-shot sounds and rumblings of various intensity. Incandescent blocks were seen rolling down the upper flank for about 300 m, and light ash fall was reported from the areas of Penipe and El Manzano. Visual observations were mostly impossible due to cloud cover.


Dead Mouse Paratroopers Combat Guam Snakes

In what is likely to be remembered as one of the strangest pest control policies ever pursued, Guam has decided to combat the island’s ongoing snake infestation by parachuting painkiller-laced dead baby mice into the jungle canopy.

For over 60 years, officials have been waging war against the brown tree snake, an invasive species that has killed off much of Guam’s native bird population, and which some experts fear may spread to Hawaii.

If all goes according to plan, infant mice corpses, wearing small parachutes and laced with the pain reliever acetaminophen, will be flung from helicopters flying over the jungle. Acetaminophen is deadly to snakes.


Storms and Floods

Avalanche near Haines, Alaska

An avalanche in the mountains near Haines, Alaska has killed a guide for a heli-ski operationone and injured two others.

Extreme Snowfalls

Japan has had a record winter for snow, and northern Japan is currently coated by unprecedented volumes of snow – more than five meters at higher altitudes, with houses turned into igloos and roads into snow tunnels. In the Hakkoda Mountains the depth of snow has been measured at 5.61 meters – a record for Japan. Even lower down, in the city of Aomori, snow is standing at almost 1.5 meters and bulldozers have to work round the clock.

This has also been a record winter for snow in parts of Russia – a couple of weeks ago snow piles of more than five meters caused gridlock in Moscow.

Switzerland has also been experiencing dramatic snowfalls, with depths of up to three meters.

These snowfalls, especially those in northern Japan, are remarkable by any standards. But they still fall well short of the all-time record-breakers. Tamarack in California claims the record for the deepest snow ever recorded: 11.5 meters on 11 March 1911. That year, Tamarack also recorded the largest snowfall in a single month in the US: almost 10 meters.