Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

5.1 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storm systems.

Newsbytes:

DR Congo – Several people have died after heavy rain triggered floods and landslides in the city of Bukavu in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). Heavy rain fell in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province in the far east of the country on Wednesday 04 January 2023. There have been reports of enormous material damages in the city. Dozens of homes have been damaged and at least 4 completely destroyed, leaving many people homeless. Roads in the city and the nearby municipality of Kadutu are impassable. Several people had to be rescued from flood waters and there are reports of at least 8 people injured, with some hospitalized. Local media, quoting police sources, initially reported that at least 3 people, all minors, had died in Kadutu. Other media sources later reported at least 9 fatalities.

Environment

River Crisis

The flow of South America’s Paraguay River is nearing its third consecutive all-time low, threatening to cut off all river shipping from the Atlantic near Buenos Aires to Bolivia.

Three consecutive seasons of La Niña in the Pacific are blamed for ongoing low flows in the waterway.

The Paraguay is the only major river in South America that has not been dammed for hydroelectric power, meaning it can be used for shipping over long distances to provide an important trade corridor to the otherwise landlocked nations of Paraguay and Bolivia. While some urge that the river be dredged to improve flows, hydrology experts say only the return of regular and significant rainfall can resolve the problem.

Snowless Alps

As Europeans from Poland to France enjoyed sporting short-sleeved shirts around New Year’s Day, many ski slopes in the Alps were green with grass when they should normally be deep with wintertime snow. This has caused a crisis for some Alpine resort operators and threatened the World Cup skiing competition held at Switzerland’s Adelboden, which was run entirely on artificial snow.

French meteorologists say slopes above 2,200 metres have seen close to normal snowfall so far this winter, but snow is noticeably absent at lower elevations of the northern Alps and across the Pyrenees range that separates France and Spain.

Wildlife

Aggressive Fish

Hungry fish living among reefs that suffer from mass coral bleaching are more frequently getting into fights over food, which could threaten their survival. Researchers from Britain’s Lancaster University made the discovery after observing 38 species of butterflyfish, which are especially vulnerable to bleaching since they eat the coral.

When a butterflyfish wants to signal to a competitor that a particular bit of coral is theirs, they point their noses down and raise their spiny dorsal fins. But when the confrontation doesn’t resolve the dispute, one fish will chase the other until one gives up. With less food due to coral bleaching, they are forced to expend precious energy during far more chases over food.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 45.0 degrees Celsius (113 degrees F) at Dampier, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 55.0 degrees Celsius (-67 degrees F) at Oimyakon, Siberia.

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.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week 28 December 2022 – 03 January 2023

Ahyi – Mariana Islands (USA) : Unrest continued to be detected at Ahyi Seamount during 28 December 2022-3 January 2023. Daily signals possibly indicating explosions were detected by hydrophone sensors on Wake Island (2,270 km E of Ahyi). No activity was visible in mostly cloudy satellite images.

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported ongoing eruptive activity at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 26 December 2022-2 January 2023. Crater incandescence was visible nightly. Sulfur dioxide emissions were slightly elevated at 1,700 tons per day on 27 December. Two explosions, on 27 and 29 December, produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim and ejected blocks as far as 900 m from the vent. An explosion at 1423 on 2 January produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim.

Alaid – Kuril Islands (Russia) : Ash plumes were last observed on 26 November and the temperature of the thermal anomaly was at background levels since 1 December.

Cotopaxi – Ecuador : IG reported that the low-level eruption at Cotopaxi continued during 28 December 2022-3 January 2023, characterized by daily steam-and-gas emissions with occasional low ash content. Several gas-and-steam emissions with low ash content were visible on 28 December rising 600-900 m above the summit and drifting W. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 1,314-2,550 tons per day during 27-28 December based on satellite data. Only gas emissions were visible during 29 December-2 January, though weather clouds often prevented webcam and satellite observations. At 1740 on 3 January a diffuse ash plume rose 1 km above the summit and drifted W, based on a satellite image. Minor ashfall was possible in areas to the W.

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing during 22-29 December. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 27-28 December generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE and SE.

Great Sitkin – Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported that slow lava effusion likely continued at Great Sitkin during 28 December 2022-3 January 2023, though weather clouds mostly obscured satellite and webcam views. In general, a few small daily local earthquakes were recorded, though there were many during 1-2 January. A large steam plume was seen rising from the lava flow on 29 December and slightly elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images during 2-3 January.

Ibu – Halmahera : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Ibu continued during 28 December 2022-2 January 2023. Daily white-and-gray emissions of variable densities rose 200-800 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions.

Kerinci – Central Sumatra : The eruption at Kerinci was ongoing with brown or white-and-brown ash plumes rising as high as 200 m above the crater rim on most days during 20 December 2022-3 January 2023. The amplitude of continuous tremor increased during 28-29 December, suggesting increased fluid flow or rising magma.

Krakatau – Sunda Strait : PVMBG reported that at 1638 on 3 January a dense gray-to-brown ash plume rose 100 m above Anak Krakatau’s summit and drifted NE.

Merapi- Central Java : BPPTKG reported that the eruption at Merapi continued during 23-29 December and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced two lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1.5 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Kali Bebeng drainage) and were heard from the Babadan observation post. No significant morphological changes to the central and SW lava domes were evident.

Sabancaya – Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported moderate levels of activity at Sabancaya during 26-31 December with a daily average of 67 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.6 km above the summit and drifted SW and W. Six thermal anomalies originating from the lava dome in the summit crater were identified in satellite data. Minor inflation continued to be detected near Hualca Hualca (4 km N).

Semeru – Eastern Java : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 28 December 2022-3 January 2023. At 0635 on 28 December a somewhat dense white-to-brown ash plume rose 600 m above the summit and drifted N. At 0733 on 31 December a dense white-to-gray ash plume rose at least 500 m and drifted N.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch during 22-29 December was generally characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, lava-dome extrusion, and strong fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images, and gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash were visible drifting 90 km SW, S, and NE during 26-29 December.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that the eruption at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater continued during 26 December 2022-3 January 2023. No explosions were recorded. Eruption plumes rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim, and blocks were ejected as far as 200 m from the vent. Ashfall was occasionally reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW) during 28-30 December.

Villarrica – Central Chile : POVI counted 21 Strombolian events that ejected incandescent material onto Villarrica’s upper SW flank from 2200 on 28 December to 0540 on 29 December. More than 100 Strombolian events ejected incandescent material onto the upper W and NW flanks during 30-31 December. Observatorio Argentino de Vigilancia Volcánica (OAVV) reported that an explosion at 2356 on 31 December ejected incandescent material onto the upper NW flank as far as 480 m from the crater rim, and an explosion at 0219 on 31 December ejected incandescent material onto the same flank as far as 150 m. Both explosions ejected incandescent material as high as 120 m above the crater rim. SERNAGEOMIN reported that at 1307 on 1 January a long-period earthquake was recorded but weather clouds prevented visual confirmation of possible emissions.

Yasur – Vanuatu ” On 29 December the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) reported that activity at Yasur continued at a high level of “major unrest,” as defined by the Alert Level 2 status (the middle level on a scale of 0-4). Recent observations confirmed continuing low-to-moderate explosions that ejected bombs within the crater and produced ash, gas, and steam emissions.