Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.5 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.8 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Two 5.5 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Five 5.3 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Four 5.2 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Tarapaca, Chile.

Three 5.1 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Crete.

5.0 earthquake hits the Philippine Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 19s (Fabian), located approximately 224 nm southwest of Diego Garcia, is tracking southwestward at 05 knots.

Screenshot 2023 05 19 at 11 53 59


Bosnia and Herzegovina – Heavy rainfall and elevated river levels in the Una and Sana basins have resulted in widespread flooding across various regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last few days. According to reports from the Red Cross, approximately 10,000 individuals have been affected by the flooding, with 10 people displaced and 10 others sustaining injuries. More than 500 homes have been flooded.

Somalia – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that over 460,000 people have been affected by devastating floods in Somalia since March this year. Most recently thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, seeking refuge from the rising waters of the Shabelle River in Hirshabelle State. In a report released on 14 May, OCHA revealed that the floods, which persisted from March to May, had ravaged shelters, latrines, farmland, and livestock. The education of thousands of children has suffered, with school buildings sustaining damage causing temporary closures. Preliminary estimates indicate that 460,470 people have been affected across the country, out of which nearly 219,000 have been displaced from their homes.

Italy – Older and disabled people were trapped in their homes as rescuers worked under pounding rain throughout the night to save people in the most catastrophic flooding to affect Italy in 100 years. The floods in the northern Emilia-Romagna region have claimed 13 lives as of Thursday evening. An estimated 20,000 have been left homeless in a disaster that caused 23 rivers to burst their banks and 280 landslides, engulfing 41 cities and towns. Roads remained blocked, including the A1, after a landslide in Sasso Marconi on Thursday afternoon, and trains were cancelled or disrupted.


European Countries Set Wind and Solar Records

Solar and wind produced more than half of Portugal’s electricity for the first time last month, according to new data from clean energy think tank Ember. April saw the renewables reach 51 per cent of electricity production – beating the previous monthly record of 49 per cent in December 2021. Strong solar deployment, electricity imports from Spain and lower demand kept energy generated by fossil fuels to just 24 per cent – despite a drought-driven dip in hydropower.

Locusts in Afghanistan

Northern Afghanistan’s breadbasket is being carpeted by a new generation of Moroccan locusts, which the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says could ravage the region’s crops should they mature. Villagers and farmers have been collecting the young “hoppers” and killing them before they can fly and swarm across the land.

“You kill millions of locusts that way. The problem is there are billions of locusts,” said FAO representative Richard Trenchard. An invasion of Moroccan locust in 1981 wiped about a quarter of Afghanistan’s national harvest.

Urban Cloud Formation

New analysis of satellite data reveals that clouds form more often above cities and their suburbs than in surrounding rural landscapes, especially at night and during summer. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researcher say they found that skies above urban areas, regardless of their size, saw 3% to 6% more cloud cover than in the countryside.

They believe that since summer nights and temperatures, in general, are warmer in cities due to the urban heat island effect, that warmth pulls up moisture from the landscape, creating the clouds. The effect disappears or is lessened during winter.


Seals make Comeback in Belgium

Seals are becoming an increasingly common sight on Belgium’s beaches. At the end of last century, there were almost none of these marine mammals left on the country’s coast.

But their numbers have been on the rise over the last 20 years, according to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Seals aren’t easy to count, but they estimate there are now between 100 and 200 individuals from two species: grey seals and harbour seals.

Global Warming

Climate change is drying out lakes

Water loss in large lakes around the world was more widespread during the past three decades than previously thought, according to a study of nearly 2,000 such lakes published in the journal Science on Thursday. A warming climate and human water consumption drove at least half of the decline in natural lakes, the study found. Reservoirs, or artificial lakes, also showed substantial drops.

The drying of lakes and reservoirs around the world is increasingly stressing water supplies for drinking and agriculture, endangering habitats for plants and fish, reducing the capacity to generate hydropower, and threatening marine recreation and tourism.

The study found that 53 percent of the world’s largest lakes experienced significant declines from 1992 to 2020, with a global decline of 19 to 24 gigatons per year (a gigaton is a billion metric tons), equivalent to the total amount of water used in the United States in one year. The decline was found in both arid regions prone to drought and humid regions prone to heavy rainfall, both of which are expected to become more frequent and intense in a warming world.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 117.0 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) in Nawabshah, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 110.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 79 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

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 of 10 May – 16 May 2023

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported ongoing activity at both Minamidake Crater and Showa Crater (Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 8-15 May. Crater incandescence was observed nightly at Minamidake Crater. On 8 May sulfur dioxide emissions were extremely high at 3,900 tons per day. At 1315 on 9 May an explosion at Minamidake generated an ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater rim and drifted SW, and ejected blocks 1.1 km from the vent. Eruptive events at 1527, 1724, and 1817 on 11 May produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.3 km and drifted NW and W. At Showa Crater eruptive events recorded at 1009, 1303, and 1401 on 8 May, at 0550, 0726, 2204, and 2321 on 11 May, at 1831 on 12 May, and at 0859 on 14 May produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim and drifted in multiple directions. Sulfur dioxide emissions were somewhat high on 12 May, averaging 1,800 tons per day.

Bezymianny – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that activity at Bezymianny was generally characterized by gas-and-steam emissions, incandescence at the lava dome, and hot avalanches from the lava dome during 4-11 May. A daily thermal anomaly was identified daily in satellite images.

Cotopaxi – Ecuador : IG reported that moderate eruptive activity continued at Cotopaxi during 9-16 May. Daily seismic activity was characterized by long-period earthquakes and tremors indicating emissions; a few volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded during the week. Emissions of steam, gas, and variable amounts of ash were observed on most days. During 9-10 May plumes with moderate amounts of ash rose 2-3 km above the crater rim and drifted SW, N, and NE. Ashfall was reported in areas to the SW, including San Joaquín and San Agustín de Callo. On 11 May gas-and-steam plumes rose 700 m above the summit and drifted to the E and SE. Emissions with moderate ash content on 12 May rose 1-2 km above the crater rim and drifted to the SE; later that day ash plumes rose 700 m. On 13 May steam-and-gas emissions with low or no ash content rose 900 m above the summit and drifted S, and gas-and-ash plumes rose 800 m and drifted SE. On 15 May steam-and-ash plumes rose 400 m and drifted W and SW. Weather clouds often prevented views during 14-16 May.

Dukono – Halmahera : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Dukono was ongoing during 10-15 May. Daily dense white-and-gray ash plumes rose as high as 700 m above the summit and drifted E and N.

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing during 4-11 May. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 4, 6-7, and 9-10 May generated ash plumes that rose as high as 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images on 9 May.

Etna – Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that an explosion at Etna’s SE Crater occurred at 0839 on 14 May and produced an ash emission that rapidly dispersed around the summit area. No significant variations in the seismic data were associated with the explosion.

Great Sitkin – Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported that lava likely continued to erupt at the summit of Great Sitkin during 9-16 May. Satellite data acquired on 11 May showed that the thick lava continued to expand towards the E but remained confined to the summit crater. Seismicity was low. Nothing significant was seen in satellite and webcam images during most of the week due to persistent weather clouds obscuring views.

Krakatau – Sunda Strait : During 10-13 May PVMBG reported that white-and-gray and white-and-brown ash plumes generally rose as high as 200 m above Anak Krakatau’s summit and drifted SW and NW, though a few Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) described higher plumes. At 1241 on 11 May a gray ash plume rose 1 km above summit and drifted SW. At 0920 on 12 May a dense gray ash plume rose 2.5 km and drifted SW. At 2320 a dense gray ash plume rose 1.5 km and drifted SW. An accompanying webcam image showed incandescent material being ejected above the vent. At 0710 on 13 May a dense gray ash plume rose 2 km and drifted SW.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing during 9-16 May. Almost daily white-and-gray ash plumes generally rose as high as 500 m above the summit and drifted in variable directions. At 0632 on 11 May a white-to-gray ash plume rose 500 m and drifted SW. At 0645 and 0957 on 11 May white-to-gray ash plumes rose 400-600 m and drifted E and SE, respectively. Nighttime webcam images of incandescent material being ejected above the summit were posted in daily reports during 10-13 May.

Merapi – Central Java : BPPTKG reported that the eruption at Merapi (on Java) continued during 5-11 May and seismicity remained at elevated levels. The SW lava dome produced 106 lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1.8 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Bebeng drainages). Morphological changes to the SW lava dome due to continuing collapses of material were evident in webcam images.

Nyamulagira – DR Congo : The Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) reported that the lava lake in Nyamulagira’s summit crater continued to be active during 30 April-6 May. A Sentinel satellite image from 7 May showed active lava flows traveling towards the NW part of the crater. Another image on 12 May showed active flows along the NE margin of the dark and cooler 7 May flows. Weather clouds and possible volcanic emissions obscured parts of the crater.

Popocatepetl – Mexico : CENAPRED reported that there were 127-281 daily steam, gas, and ash emissions and minor-to-moderate explosions recorded at Popocatépetl during 9-16 May. Plumes mostly drifted SE, ESE, and ENE. On 9 May minor explosions were recorded at 1141, 2009, and 2310, and on 10 May moderate explosions were recorded at 0152 and 0316. Ashfall was reported in Tlalmanalco (30 km NW) and Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW) in Morelos during 9-10 May. On 11 May minor explosions were recorded at 0135, 0215, and 1621, while moderate explosions were recorded at 0526, 0811, 0838, 1601, and 1646. Minor explosions occurred at 1318 and 1452 on 12 May. On 13 May minor explosions occurred at 0012, 0805, and 2146, and a moderate explosion occurred at 1012. Ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Nealtican (20 km E), Huejotzingo (21 km E), and Domingo Arenas (20 km NE). On 14 May minor explosions were recorded at 0605, 0711, 0831, 1413, 1439, and 2312; moderate explosions were recorded at 1253, 1444, 1608, and 1941. On 15 May the network detected minor explosions at 0033 and 0051, and moderate explosions at 0352, 0512, 0617, 0852, 1051, 1232, and 1613. Minor amounts of ash fell in the municipalities of Puebla (43 km E) and Atlixco (24 km SE) and moderate amounts fell in municipalities near the volcano to the S. Weather clouds prevented views on 16 May. According to the Washington VAAC daily ash plumes were identified in satellite images rising 6.1-7.3 km (20,000-24,000 ft) a.s.l. (0.7-1.9 km above the crater rim) and drifting E and SE.

Reventador – Ecuador : IG reported that the eruption at Reventador was ongoing during 10-16 May. Seismicity was characterized by explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremors, and emission-related tremors. Steam, gas, and ash plumes were observed in some webcam images, though weather conditions occasionally obscured views. Ash emissions on 12 May rose 500 m above the crater rim and drifted N. On 14 May a steam-and-ash plume rose 250 m and drifted NE. On 16 May an ash plume rose as high as 1 km above the crater and drifted W and SW. Incandescence at the crater was visible at night during 10-12 and 16 May, and incandescent blocks rolled 200-700 m down the flanks.

Rincon de la Vieja – Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that periodic phreatic eruptions occurred at Rincón de la Vieja during 9-16 May. Phreatic events recorded at 1945 on 9 May, at 1419 on 10 May, and at 1100 on 11 May produced plumes that rose less than 1.5 km above the crater rim. Additional phreatic activity were recorded at 2232 on 11 May, and at both 2332 and 2338 on 12 May, though it was not known if emissions were generated. A short-lived explosive event at 0258 on 14 May ejected material onto the N flank and caused lahars to descend the Penjamo, Azul, and Azufrado rivers. Phreatic events at 1155 and 1748 that same day produced emissions that rose 500 m and 1.5 km above the crater rim, respectively. Gas emissions were occasionally visible during 15-16 May.

Sangay – Ecuador : IG reported a high level of activity at Sangay during 9-16 May, though weather clouds prevented visual observations during most of the week. Ash plumes rose 500 m and drifted SW on 9 May. A webcam image from 1833 on 14 May showed lava flowing 500 m down the SE flank.

Santa Maria – Southwestern Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that the eruption at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex continued during 10-16 May. Effusion from the Caliente dome complex fed lava flows that descended the San Isidro and Zanjón Seco drainages on the W and SW flanks; the main lava flow was 4.3 km long and remained active. Daily weak-to-moderate explosions generated gas, steam, and ash plumes that generally rose up to 800 m above the crater and drifted SE, S, SW, and W. Explosions were sometimes accompanied by block-and-ash flows that descended multiple flanks of the dome. Incandescence from the dome and lava flows was visible during the nights and early mornings. An average of 40 explosions per day were recorded during 9-10 and 13-14 May, generating ash plumes that rose up to 1 km above the dome and drifted S and SW. Ashfall was reported in Fincas El Patrocinio, El Faro (7 km S), Las Marías (10 km S), and others nearby on 10 May.

Semeru – Eastern Java : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 10-16 May and a few Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) describing ash emissions were issued during the week. White-to-gray ash plumes that were sometimes dense rose 500-700 m above the summit and drifted S, SW, W, and N at 1115 on 10 May, at 0725 and 0830 on 12 May, at 0858, 1010, and 1241 on 13 May, at 0523 and 1656 on 14 May, and at 0757 on 16 May.

Semisopochnoi – Aleutian Islands (USA) : AVO reported that low-level unrest continued at Semisopochnoi during 9-16 May. Weather clouds mostly obscured satellite and webcam views. Volcanic tremor was detected during 9-10 May; there was no evidence of explosive or earthquake activity in the geophysics data during the rest of the week.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch was generally characterized by occasional explosions, continuing lava-dome growth, incandescence, and strong fumarolic activity during 4-11 May. A thermal anomaly over the active crater and Karan lava dome area was identified in satellite images all week. Intense fumarolic activity was likely associated with dome growth. During 8-9 May ash from pyroclastic flow deposits on the SE flank were resuspended by winds and blown 60 km W based on satellite images.

St. Helens – Washington : USGS reported that at 2045 on 14 May a debris flow in Mount St. Helens’ South Coldwater Creek destroyed a Highway SR 504 bridge, cutting off access and power to Johnston Ridge Observatory. While the loss of power interrupted a major telemetry hub, other stations remined operational and continued to provide data; the debris flow was recorded in seismic data from nearby stations. The source material in the flow originated from the climactic 1980 debris avalanche and eruption of Mount St. Helens. According to a news article at least 11 people had to spend the night at the Johnston Ridge Observatory and were airlifted out the next day. Officials noted that the highway will be closed for an indefinite amount of time.

Stromboli – Aeolian Islands (Italy) : INGV reported ongoing Strombolian activity at Stromboli during 8-14 May. Activity was centered at two vents (one each at craters N1 and N2) in Area N, within the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco, and from three vents in the Area C-S (South-Central Crater area) in the crater terrace area. Explosions at the N1 and N2 craters in Area N were low intensity and ejected coarse material (bombs and lapilli), sometimes mixed with ash at N1, as high as 80 m at a rate of 4-9 explosions per hour. Medium- to high-intensity explosions at the two vents in sector S2 (Area C-S) ejected ash sometimes mixed with coarse material at an average rate of 5-8 explosions per hour. Low-intensity gas explosions occurred at S1 in Area C-S. No significant activity was identified in Sector C in Area C-S.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that the eruption at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater continued during 8-15 May and crater incandescence was reported nightly. Explosions recorded at 0701, 1200, and 2330 on 8 May produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim and mainly drifted SE. Explosions were also recorded at 1358 and 1648, though characteristics of associated emissions were unknown. Eruptive events at 2001 on 8 May, 1753 on 9 May, 0405, 0647, and 1236 on 11 May, and 1919 on 13 May generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.3 km and generally drifted S, SW, and N.