Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.6 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.4 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

Storms and Floods

Russian coal mine flooding disaster: 4 missing

At least four miners are missing in a coal mine flooding disaster in the Kemerovo region, Russia. The flooding was caused by construction work at the Osinnikovskaya.

139 other miners however, managed to escape the flooding. Three of the miners sustained minor injuries.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Hekla (Iceland): The Icelandic Meteorological Office has informed authorities about unusual seismicity at Hekla volcano, which could be a precursor to a new eruption, and increased the volcanic alert level to yellow. Monitoring of the volcano will be intensified, as Hekla is not only one of the most active, but also one of the potentially most hazardous volcanoes of the country. The last eruption was in March 2000. On average, the volcano has been erupting about every 10 years, and it would statistically seen be due for a new one. “Uncertainty level” was declared by Civil Protection as the lowest of 3 alert levels in case of natural hazards.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): Earthquakes (more than 120 > M2 today so far) and volcanic tremor continue to be intense, and inflation has reached 10 cm on stations (HI05) located in western El Hierro. The foci of the quakes remains at about 15 km depth 5-10 km NW off the western top of the island, i.e. at the boundary to the crust beneath the island, suggesting that the still moving magma is for now not rising siginficantly into the harder layers that compose the islands’ edifice. Whether and when this changes, i.e. magma starts to move vertically towards an eruption, is impossible to day, but a real possibility. The situation has not changed much. The seismic swarm continues with pulsating medium to strong tremor and frequent earthquakes, in more or less the same area as yesterday, 5-10 km NW off the island at depths mostly between 13-20 km. The average magnitudes of quakes has continued to increase: yesterday alone, there were almost 50 earthquakes >magnitude 3 – probably a record number for El Hierro, including 2 quakes of M4 and 4.1. This trend is continuing today.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): The volcano has again become a regular visitor in today’s eruption list. A new ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) was spotted today on satellite data by VAAC Darwin.

White Island (New Zealand): In recent days, seismic activity including volcanic tremor have risen again. In its latest statement, GNS Science reported that “a pattern of repeating minor activity has become established at White Island over the last month.” “Periods of passive steaming and degassing have been accompanied by very low levels of volcanic tremor. This activity has alternated with minor mud and steam explosions from the active crater when there has been strong volcanic tremor. Tremor episodes have lasted from less than one day to over a week.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has been showing a weakly increasing trend. Yesterday, the rate of explosions climbs to almost 2 per hour, with the largest ejecting glowing bombs to up to 500 m distance and producing plumes of steam and some ash rising 1.5 km above the crater. Satellite data continue show significant degassing. Today’s seismogram shows the strong trace of some of the regional M4-5 earthquakes that hit Mexico today.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH reports no significant changes in activity. The lava dome has been a little bit less explosive recently but continues to effuse blocky lava flows that descend its flanks and produce weak to moderate avalanches.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Weak strombolian activity continues at the McKenney crater.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity is characterized by occasional weak to moderate strombolian explosions producing ash plumes rising 600-1000 m above the crater. Fine ash fall has been recorded in Panimaché I y II, Morelia and Santa Sofía.

Telica (Nicaragua): The earthquake swarm, presumably caused by a magmatic intrusion at shallow depth, still continues with hundreds of tiny quakes up to about magnitude 2 each day.

Reventador (Ecuador): Activity has remained stable at fluctuating moderate levels, but can rarely be observed directly due to near-constant cloud cover. Explosions and volcanic tremor, sometimes strong as earlier today, are visible on seismic recordings.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): The volcano has continued to calm down, both internally (seismicity) and externally. IG reported only weak steaming in recent days.

Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): The Smithsonian / GVP monthly Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network for Jan 2013 confirms that Heard Island volcano is in eruption. A series of satellite images compared side by side show that the volcano started to produce lava (over-)flows from the summit crater of the Mawson Peak on the SE flank since December past year.


Europe money crisis leads to poor health

Harsh spending cuts by debt-crippled European governments are also being partly blamed for outbreaks of diseases not normally seen in Europe and a spike in suicides, new research shows.

Since the crisis struck in 2008, state-run welfare and health services across Europe have seen their budgets cut, medical treatments rationed and unpopular measures such as hospital user fees introduced.

Those countries that have slashed public spending the hardest – Greece, Spain and Portugal – have fared the worst medically.

“Austerity measures haven’t solved the economic problems and they have also created big health problems,” said Martin McKee, a professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the research.

He said worsening health was driven not just by unemployment, but by the lack of a welfare system to fall back on.

“People need to have hope that the government will help them through this difficult time,” he said.

The paper was published online on Wednesday in a special series of the journal Lancet.

McKee said Greece in particular was struggling.

Based on government data, he and colleagues found suicides rose by 40 per cent in 2011 compared to the previous year.

Last year, the country also reported an exponential rise in the number of HIV cases among drug users, due in part to addicts sharing contaminated syringes after needle exchange programs were dropped.

In recent years, Greece has also battled outbreaks of malaria, West Nile virus and dengue fever.


Novel Coronavirus Infection – Update

The Robert Koch Institute has informed WHO of a new confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (nCoV). The patient was a 73-year-old male from United Arab Emirates.

To date, WHO has been informed of a global total of 17 confirmed cases of human infection with nCoV, including 11 deaths.


Newcastle Disease Outbreak in Israel

The Israeli veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of Newcastle disease at a breeding farm in Hazafon.

Out of a total of 10680 susceptible birds, 30 deaths were reported. The remaining 10650 birds were destroyed.