Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits North Island, New Zealand.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Alaska.

5.0 earthquake hits Guadeloupe, Leeward Islands.


Seaweed Farms

A new Australian study finds that expanding seaweed farming around the world could help feed the planet’s growing human population and livestock while also being a sustainable source of fuel. “Seaweed has great commercial and environmental potential as a nutritious food and a building block for commercial products, including animal feed, plastics, fibers, diesel and ethanol,” said researcher Scott Spillias from the University of Queensland. Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, Spillias says millions of acres of ocean territory have already been identified around the world where at least 22 commercially viable species of seaweed could be harvested. But the report warns that care should be taken to avoid harming marine habitats.

Lake Titicaca Level Drops

Bolivian officials say a prolonged drought has caused the water levels of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, which straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru, to plunge to historic low levels. Bolivia’s National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology forecaster Ana Luz Mendoza warned that the drop directly affects the aquatic fauna, birds and human populations settled around this lake. This includes the indigenous Uros, who have lived on human-made islands on parts of the lake for centuries.

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Drought – Argentina

One of Argentina’s worst droughts in 60 years and accompanying record heat have left many rivers and lakes littered with dead fish, and its staple crops ravaged. The climate disaster has been fueled by the third consecutive year of La Niña cooling across the tropical Pacific, according to meteorologists. But a shift from La Niña to a fresh El Niño this year promises to break the drought and deadly heat during the next few months. “Precipitation will pick up (slowly), improving soil moisture reserves and moderating the intensity of heat waves,” writes the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange.


Shark Recovery

The decline in the number of some shark and ray species in the northwestern Atlantic appears to have been reversed, thanks to improved fisheries management and conservation efforts.

Shark and ray populations have crashed by as much as 71% over the past 50 years, with about one-third of those marine creatures threatened with extinction. But writing in the journal PNAS, Nathan Pacoureau of Simon Fraser University says the implementation of the 1993 U.S. Fishery Management Plan for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean is responsible for the turnaround. That act mandates catch reports and a ban on the catching of some species.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 42.0 degrees Celsius (107 degrees F) at Port Hedland, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 53.0 degrees Celsius (-63 degrees F) at Sholohonsky, 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.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing activity for the week 25 January – 31 January 2023

Ahyi – Mariana Islands (USA) : Unrest at Ahyi Seamount continued during 24-31 January. Pressure sensors on Wake Island, 2,270 km E of Ahyi Seamount, detected a possible explosion signal on 25 January. Plumes of discolored water were identified in satellite images during 27-31 January.

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported ongoing eruptive activity at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 23-30 January and crater incandescence was visible nightly. Two explosions were recorded on 24 January, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation. Sulfur dioxide emissions were high at 2,800 tons per day on 26 January. An explosion at 2342 on 28 January produced an ash plume that rose 2.2 km above the crater rim and ejected large blocks as far as 700 m from the crater.

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing during 19-26 January. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 20-24 January generated ash plumes that rose as high as 3.7 km (12,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, NE, and N. An ash plume was identified in satellite images drifting 40 km NE on 21 January and a thermal anomaly was visible during 21-22 January.

Etna – Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that the vents at the NE base of Etna’s SE Crater, in the Valle del Leone at about 2,800 m elevation, continued to feed lava flows during 23-29 January, without notable changes compared to the week before. Intense gas emissions rose from Bocca Nuova Crater while gas emissions at Northeast Crater (NEC) and Voragine were minimal. Activity at Southeast Crater was characterized by fumarolic activity localized along the crater rim and from the May-June 2022 eruptive vent which also occasionally produced flashes of incandescence at night. Diffuse ash emissions rapidly dispersed with the wind.

Cotopaxi – Ecuador : IG reported that the eruption at Cotopaxi continued during 24-31 January, characterized by almost daily gas-and-steam and ash emissions; inclement weather conditions prevented views of the volcano on 29 January. During 24-25 January steam-and-gas plumes rose to the crater level and drifted W. During 26-27 January gas-and-ash plumes rose less than 1 km above the crater rim and drifted SW and W. Minor ashfall was reported in San Agustín de Callo (18 km WSW), Lima Villacís, Mulaló, Barrancas, Ticatilín and Caspi (20 km WSW), and San Ramon (127 km W). Steam-and-gas emissions rose 600 m and drifted S on 28 January. A significant increase in the size and density of ash emissions was evident in satellite images at 0820 on 30 January. The plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SW, S, and SE. Minor amounts of ash fell in Mulaló and Latacunga (18 km WSW). Ash plumes rose as high as 1.7 km and drifted S and SE on 31 January.

Great Sitkin – Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported that slightly elevated surface temperatures at Great Sitkin were identified in satellite images during 25-26 January. Seismicity was low during 25-31 January and a few small earthquakes recorded during 27-28 January. Satellite and webcam views were mostly cloudy. A 26 January radar image confirmed growth of the flow field to the E.

Kaitoku Seamount – Volcano Islands (Japan) : Discolored water around the Kaitoku Seamount was visible in a 26 January Sentinel 2 satellite image. The plume was diffuse and dispersed a few kilometers E. No discolored water was visible in a 31 January image.

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA): HVO reported that lava continued to erupt in the E portion of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater floor during 24-31 January. Activity was concentrated in the E half of the crater in a large, perched lava lake with well-defined levees, covering about 10 hectares. A smaller lake to the W was active in the basin of the 2021-2022 lava lake. One dominant lava fountain, 6-7 m high, was active in the E lake. Small daily overflows occurred along the margins of the E lake.

Krakatau – Sunda Strait : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Anak Krakatau continued during 24-31 January. Eruptive events at 0231 and 2256 on 25 January and 0003 on 26 January ejected incandescent material from the vent, based on webcam photos. Eruptive events at 0512, 0633, and 0732 on 26 January and 1312 on 27 January produced dense gray ash plumes that rose 300-500 m above the summit and drifted NE, E, and SE. Webcam images showed incandescent ejecta at 2135, 2144, and 2328 January.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing during 24-31 January. Nighttime webcam images captured near-daily incandescent material that was ejected above the summit crater. Almost daily emissions that were white and gray and had variable densities rose as high as 600 m above the summit and drifted SE, E, and NE.

Merapi – Central Java : BPPTKG reported that the eruption at Merapi continued during 20-26 January and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced 14 lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1.8 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Kali Bebeng drainage). Avalanche sounds were heard on seven occasions. No significant morphological changes at the SW dome were observed but the central dome decreased in height based on webcam images.

Popocatepetl – Mexico : CENAPRED reported that there were 81-238 steam-and-gas emissions, often containing ash, rising from Popocatépetl each day during 24-31 January and explosions occurred almost daily. Two explosions were recorded at 1424 and 1426 on 24 January. Minor ashfall was reported on 25 January in San Nicolás de los Ranchos (15 km ENE). Later that day, at 2231, an explosion ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. An overflight was conducted by Instituto de Geofísica de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Guardia Nacional on 27 January to observe the crater. They saw a small lava dome that was about 30-40 m in diameter and 5-10 m tall on the inner crater floor. The inner crater floor had remnants of the previous domes mixed with fine tephra deposits and was 160-180 m deep. The rim of the inner crater was 390-410 m in diameter, similar to previous observations. A minor explosion later that day at 2214 produced an ash plume, based on a webcam image. Minor explosions were recorded at 0451, 0521, 1828, and 2232 on 28 January. A webcam image from 0343 on 29 January showed deposits of incandescent material that was ejected onto the flanks. Another explosion occurred at 2254. Explosions were noted at 0141 and 0621 on 30 January; minor ashfall was recorded in Amecameca (19 km NW), Temamatla (32 km NW), and Tenango Del Aire (28 km NW). A moderate explosion at 0029 on 31 January produced an ash plume that rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and ejected incandescent material onto the flanks almost 2 km from the crater rim. Minor explosions occurred at 0533, 0619, and 0721.

Sabancaya – Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported moderate levels of activity at Sabancaya during 23-29 January with a daily average of 59 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.1 km above the summit and drifted SW and W. Four 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 24-31 January. Dense white-and-gray ash plumes rose 500-600 m above the summit at 0450 and 0540 on 25 January and drifted N. A dense gray ash plume rose 600 m at 0534 on 27 January and drifted NW, and at 0802 a dense white-and-gray ash plume rose 500 m and drifted N. At 0602 and 0639 on 29 January dense gray ash plumes rose 500-600 m and drifted NE.

Semisopochnoi – Aleutian Islands (USA) : AVO reported that eruptive activity at Semisopochnoi’s Mount Young was ongoing during 24-31 January. Seismicity was elevated and daily weak tremor was recorded. Minor steam emissions were visible in webcam images on 24 January and 29-30 January. Discolored snow observed at the summit in webcam images during 28-29 January possibly indicated minor, low-level explosive activity at the vent.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch during 19-26 January was generally characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, lava-dome extrusion, and strong fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images, and minor ash plumes from explosions and lava-dome collapses drifted 25 km SW on 22 January.

Stromboli – Aeolian Islands (Italy) : INGV reported that both explosive and effusive activity at Stromboli occurred during 23-29 January at four vents in Area N, within the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco, and at two vents in the Area C-S (South-Central Crater area) in the crater terrace area. Explosions at vents N1 and N2 in Area N were variable in intensity and ejected coarse material (bombs and lapilli) 80-150 m at a rate of 4-6 explosions per hour. Intense spattering occasionally occurred at N2 vents. Explosive activity at the Central-South area (CS) ejected fine-to-coarse material as high as 150 m above the vent at a rate of 6-7 explosions per hour during 23-27 January; the rate decreased to less than one event per hour the rest of the week. At 1419 on 24 January lava overflowed vents in the N2 area after a period of intense spattering. The lava flowed partially down the Sciara del Fuoco, and by the next morning, they were cooling. A major explosion began at 1007 on 30 January that lasted three minutes long. Coarse pyroclastic material was ejected several hundred meters high and was deposited on the crater terrace and the upper parts of the Sciara del Fuoco. An ash cloud quickly dispersed to the S.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that the eruption at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater continued during 23-30 January. The number of explosions increased on 26 January; a total of 13 explosions were recorded during the week. The explosions produced eruption plumes that rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim and entered weather clouds. Large blocks were ejected as far as 400 m from the crater’s center. Nighttime crater incandescence was observed starting on 26 January. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW).