Millions of dead jellyfish are washing up around the world

The by-the-wind sailor jellyfish (Velella velella) spends its days drifting aimlessly through the open sea, gorging itself on an endless buffet of complementary morsels.

Every year, on beaches around the world, colonies of sailor jellies become stranded by the thousands. There, they dry up and die, becoming a “crunchy carpet” of dehydrated corpses covering the sand. Sailor jelly strandings are common when seasonal winds change course, but some — like a 2006 event on the west coast of New Zealand — are on another level entirely, with the jellyfish corpses numbering not in the thousands, but in the millions. During spring months from 2015 to 2019, dead jellyfish littered more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of continuous coastline

These exceptional jellyfish die-offs coincided with a massive marine heat wave known as “the blob.” Beginning in 2013, surface waters off the Pacific coast began heating up to levels never recorded before. The intense warming continued through 2016, tampering with every level of the marine food chain and resulting in mass die-offs of seabirds, baleen whales, sea lions and other creatures. According to a new study, it’s likely that the blob drove the mass die-offs of by-the-wind sailor jellyfish reported during those years.

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Space Events

Daytime Meteor

A rare daytime fireball meteor triggered a loud sonic boom across parts of the United Kingdom and France over the weekend. The sonic boom occurred at 2:50 p.m. local time on Saturday (March 20) and was reportedly heard in southwest England, Wales and northern France. However, a handful of people said they had witnessed a bright flash of light across the sky at the same time, and thanks to satellite images, it was later confirmed to be a fireball meteor.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 17 March 2021 – 23 March 2021

Cleveland – Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that on 10 March an earthquake at Cleveland was large enough to be recorded by seismometers 100 km away on Umnak Island. On 17 March volcanic gas emissions increased and elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images. The Aviation colour Code was raised to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was raised to Advisory.

Etna – Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported continuing episodes of lava fountaining at Etna’s Southeast Crater (SEC) on 15, 17, and 19 March, though weather conditions often prevented visual observations. Strombolian activity at SEC began at 2110 on 14 March and turned into lava fountaining at 0048 on 15 March. Lava traveled towards the Valle de Bove and an eruption plume drifted E. Lava fountaining ceased by 0343 and only weak Strombolian activity followed. The lava flows continued to advance. Weak Strombolian activity at SEC on 17 March began to intensify at 0155 and changed into lava fountaining at 0319. An eruption plume drifted SE and lava flow advanced. Fountaining activity ceased at 0717 and was followed by explosive activity. By 1859 the lava flows had reached 2,200 m elevation. Explosions at SEC and the lava flow in the Valle de Bove were visible at 2142 on 18 March when the weather conditions allowed for partial visibility of the summit. Explosive activity at SEC was visible at 0734 on 19 March. The activity intensified at 0915 and ash emissions were visible. Lava fountaining started at 0935 and an ash plume drifted ENE. Lava fountaining activity ceased at 1136 and changed to Strombolian activity which gradually decreased; by 1350 only sporadic explosions were visible along with minor ash emissions. Lava flows were noted late in the morning.

Krysuvik-Trolladyngja – Iceland : IMO reported that a small eruption in the western part of the Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, began at around 2045 on 19 March. The eruption was first visible in webcam images and confirmed by satellite data, and an orange glow in clouds on the horizon was seen from Reykjanesbaer and Grindavík (10 km SW). The Aviation colour Code was raised to Red. Reykjanesbraut, the main road from the capital region to Reykjanesbaer and the international airport at Keflavík, was closed. A fissure, 500-700 m long, had opened on a slope in the Geldingadalur valley about 4.7 km N of the coast and just off the SE flank of Fagradalsfjall mountain. Small lava fountains rose as high as 100 m above the fissure, and by 1110 on 20 March, the lava had covered an area less than 1 square kilometer and was approximately 500 m across. The extrusion rate was an estimated 5 cubic meters per second. The Aviation colour Code was lowered to Orange because there was little to no ash production that would affect aircraft. Reykjanesbraut reopened, but Sudurstrandarvegur, the road along the S coastline, was closed between Grindavík and Thorlakshofn. The eruption continued during 21-23 March with a consistent extrusion rate. About three cones had formed along the fissure; the tallest and widest was situated at the higher part of the fissure. Lava flows, mainly from the largest cone, fanned out to the NW, W, and SW, and also flowed S and fanned out to the E. Spatter was ejected above the cones. Video captured by visitors showed parts of the largest cone collapsing and rebuilding. The IMO periodically issued warnings about weather conditions that would cause high concentrations of volcanic gases to settle near the eruption site, causing hazardous conditions for visitors. IMO noted that through the night of 22-23 March night sulfur dioxide levels in Reykjavík had increased, though not to unsafe levels.

Pacaya – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported periods of intense activity at Pacaya’s Mackenney Crater during 17-18 March. Explosions produced dense ash plumes that rose 500-1,000 m above the crater rim and drifted 25-30 km S, SW, W, NW, and N. Incandescent material was ejected 300-500 m above the crater and fell within a 600 m radius of the crater. Lava flows on the S flank were 1.5 km long and set fire to vegetation at the advancing edge. Two new lava flows were visible; one traveled 400 m E and the other traveled 500 m S. Ashfall was reported in El Rodeo (4 km WSW), Patrocinio (about 5 km W), El Cedro (9 km NNW), San Francisco de Sales (5 km N), Amatitlán (12 km N), and Villa Nueva (16 km N). Strong explosions during 21-23 March generated dense ash plumes that rose as high as 1.5 km above the summit. The plumes drifted 25-30 km NE, E, SE, and S, causing ashfall in Los Llanos, Los Pocitos (5 km S), Los Dolores (6 km SE), El Rodeo, Patrocinio, Mesías Alta and Mesías Baja, and Santa Elena Barillas (6 km ENE). Incandescent material was ejected 500 m above the crater and fell within 300-600 m of the crater. A lava flow on the SW flank was 1.5 km long, a flow on the S flank was 300 m long, and the E-flank lava flow had lengthened to 500 m. On 23 March ash plumes drifted 50 km NW, N, and NE, causing ashfall in Pepinal San Francisco de Sales, Los Pocitos, Los Dolores, Mesías Altas and Mesías Bajas, Santa Elena Barillas, Villa Nueva, and in the capital of Guatemala City (25-30 km NNE). Ash fell at Guatemala’s international airport, Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora, 50 km N of Pacaya, causing the airport to close. Soldiers swept ash off of the runway and incoming flights were diverted to El Salvador.

San Cristobal – Nicaragua : The Washington VAAC reported that on 19 March a notable ash cloud from San Cristóbal rose at least to 12.2 km (40,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted over 80 km ENE based on satellite data, ash dispersion models, and weather models.

Semisopochnoi – Aleutian Islands (USA) : AVO reported that satellite data showed minor ash deposits on Semisopochnoi’s flanks and a possible gas cloud on 14 March. Two small explosions on 19 March, at 0350 and 0534, were recorded by regional infrasound sensors and prompted AVO to raise the Aviation colour Code and the Volcano Alert Level to Orange and Watch, respectively. A small explosion at 0230 on 21 March was followed by a series of smaller explosions. A volcanic gas cloud was visible in satellite data during the previous day. Three small explosions were detected during 22-23 March, though high weather cloud cover, at 9.1 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l., prevented satellite confirmation; no ash was visible above the cloud deck.

Taal – Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that at Taal during 16-23 March there were 36-193 daily volcanic earthquakes and 27-156 daily periods of volcanic tremor with variable durations (1-15 minutes). Three hybrid earthquakes were recorded each day on 18 and 19 March. Diffuse steam plumes from fumarolic vents in Main Crater rose as high as 100 m. Daily measurements of sulfur dioxide emissions were 603-1,184 tonnes per day. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5). PHIVOLCS strongly recommended no entry onto the island, and access to the Main Crater and Daang Kastila fissure (along the walking trail) was strictly prohibited.

Veniaminof – United States : AVO reported that the eruption at Veniaminof continued during 17-23 March. Low surface temperatures were visible in satellite images along with steam-and-gas plumes. Low-level tremor was recorded in local seismic data. During the morning of 21 March small explosions were identified using seismic data and infrasound sensors in Chignik Lagoon. A volcanic gas cloud drifted SE at or below 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. Small explosions were detected again during 21-23 March. Sulfur dioxide plumes were identified in satellite data. Minor ash emissions rose hundreds of meters and rapidly dissipated, though on 23 March a pilot saw an ash plume rise to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Satellite data during 22-23 March showed highly elevated surface temperatures and subsidence of the glacial ice over the flank vent where lava was erupting. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits southern Xinjiang, China.

5.3 earthquake hits the Greenland Sea.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Colombia – More heavy rain caused severe flooding in the municipality of Dabeiba in Antioquia Department on 22 March. The departments disaster agency Dagran Antioquia reported 237 buildings damaged, 10 vehicles damaged along with road and infrastructure, including a local market square. As of 185 families affected. No major injuries were reported.

Pakistan – Heavy rain fell in parts of northern Pakistan from 22 March 2021. Authorities reported severe material damages and fatalities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A total of 38 houses were completely destroyed while one person was electrocuted by downed power lines.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 earthquake hits Easter Island.

5.0 earthquake hits the southeast Indian ridge.

5.0 earthquake hits north Island, New Zealand.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits eastern Xizang, China.

5.0 earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Colombia – At least 8 houses were destroyed after heavy rain in Santiago de Cali (also known as Cali), capital of Valle del Cauca department in southwestern Colombia early 22 March, 2021. Authorities said 116mm of rain fell in the space of a few hours, causing flash floods and landslides. Widespread damage was reported across several points of the city, including falling trees, damaged roads and collapsed houses.

Australia – Australian authorities are planning to evacuate thousands more people on Monday from flood-affected suburbs in Sydney’s west, which is set for its worst flooding in 60 years with drenching rain expected to continue for the next few days. Unrelenting rains over the past three days swelled rivers in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW), causing widespread damage and triggering calls for mass evacuations.


More than 50 new environmental chemicals detected in people

Researchers have detected more than 50 new environmental chemicals lurking in people’s bodies, the vast majority of which are little known or unknown compounds. The findings are concerning given that very little is known about these chemicals and their potential health effects.

Of these newly detected chemicals, two were perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. These chemicals, used in consumer products such as nonstick cookware and pizza boxes, stay in the human body for a long time and can accumulate, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ten of the newly detected substances were plasticizers, or chemicals used in the production of plastics. For example, one of the detected plasticizers, a group of chemicals called phthalates, are often found in fast-food packaging and have been associated with adverse health effects. Two of the newly detected chemicals are used in cosmetics; one in pesticides. But most — 37 — of these newly detected chemicals are ones that researchers have little to no information on.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 earthquake hits Chiuquisaca, Bolivia.

5.1 earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.0 earthquake hits potosi, Bolivia.

5.0 earthquake hits Colombia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Peru – Heavy rain has caused severe flooding in parts of northern Peru over the last few days. As many as 3,000 homes were flooded after a short period of torrential rain caused flooding in the city of Yurimaguas, capital of Alto Amazonas Province in Loreto region. The city recorded around 160 mm of rain in 24 hours to 20 March. Much of that total fell in a 3 hour period, according to media reports. Some areas of the city were under 2 metres of water as a result of the floods which affected 7 districts of the city in particular around Yurimaguas Airport. Heavy rain also caused flooding in parts of San Martín region in recent days. In Amazonas region, heavy rain triggered a landslide in Bagua Grande district, Utcubamba province on 17 March, damaging 7 homes and affecting 28 people. Meanwhile 10 homes were damaged after a landslide in the district of Corosha, Bongará province, displacing 6 people. On 18 March, heavy rain caused a landslide in the district of Camporredondo, province of Luya. Five homes were left uninhabitable and 5 families displaced. In Cajamarca region, heavy rain caused a landslide in the district of Chirinos, province of San Ignacio on 16 March 2021 where 20 homes were damaged. On the same day 5 homes, roads and infrastructure were damaged by a landslide in Jorge Chávez district, Celendín province. On 21 March heavy rainfall caused the Chililique canal to overflow, flooding 15 homes in the district of Jaén, province of Jaén and affecting around 45 people. Also on 21 March heavy rain caused the overflow of the Monzón River and a landslide in Monzón district, Huamalíes province, affecting around 10 people.


Mice Plague – Eastern Australia

Mice in the cabinets. Mice in the streets. Thousands upon thousands of mice in the barn, pooing so much it takes six hours to clean up their waste.

These are scenes from Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, where an out-of-control mouse infestation is making life miserable for farmers, grocers and other citizens of the eastern Australian states. One farmer described the rodent frenzy as “an absolute plague,” more severe than anything locals have seen in decades.

Some farmers have already lost entire grain harvests to the rampaging mice, according to local media reports, while hotels have had to close because they can’t keep the critters out of the rooms. Staff at a grocery store in a small town northwest of Sydney reported catching as many as 600 mice a night. So far, at least three people have visited the hospital with rodent bites.



The countries with the 10 greatest number of Covid-19 cases:

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Lassa fever – Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 30 confirmed Lassa fever cases the week ending March 14, bringing the country total to 191 for the year to date.

HIV-Aids – Ukraine

Ukrainian health officials reported in February 2021, 1,395 new cases of HIV infection were officially registered in Ukraine. In addition, 389 patients were diagnosed with AIDS, and 123 people died of AIDS.