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Recent California Quake Activity Log

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August 11, 2003

 

Volcanoes & Geysers

 

Stromboli Volcano (Italy)
38.79 N, 15.21 E, summit elevation 926 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 10th August 2003
Strombolian activity continues from the northern summit crater. Episodes of greater activity have ejected material beyond the crater rim. A Strombolian eruption from the southern crater on Saturday 9th August produced ash to an elevation 200 m above the crater. Seismic activity produced 155 events over the past 24 hours, which is similar to the previous day. SO2 release from the volcano yesterday measured 570 t/d which is an increase from 270 t/d in the first days of August. There is no change in the amount of CO2 release from the volcano.
More on Stromboli Volcano...

White Island Volcano (New Zealand)
37.52 S, 177.78 E, summit elevation 321 m, stratovolcanoes
Sunday 10th August 2003
Over the last few months a substantial lake has formed in the active crater at White Island. This is the largest lake to have formed within this crater and has recently drowned the active vents. As a consequence future eruptions will occur through the crater lake and, if ejected by eruptions, moderate volumes of water could flood down the Main Crater floor towards the sea. This is a significant change in the nature of volcanic hazards on the island. The current lake volume is large enough that it will influence the next phase of eruptive activity from the volcano and result in a new hazard to people visiting the island.
More on White Island Volcano...

Yellowstone Volcano (USA)
44.43 N, 110.67 W, summit elevation 2805 m, calderas
Saturday 9th August 2003

Scientists plan to set up a temporary network of seismographs, Global Positioning System receivers and thermometers to monitor increasing hydrothermal activity in the Norris Geyser Basin and gauge the risk of a hydrothermal explosion. The goal of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory is to pinpoint underground sources of hydrothermal steam and learn more about how seismic activity affects the basin.


Scientists do not expect a volcanic eruption. However, small hydrothermal explosions occur in the park almost every year. Usually they are not noticed until after the fact. The Norris Back Basin has been closed since July 23 due to the formation of new mud pots, changes in geyser activity and much higher ground temperatures, as hot as 200 degrees in some areas. Vegetation has been dying due to thermal activity and altered eruption intervals for several geysers. Increased steam discharge has been continuing, according to park officials. Hydrothermal activity has been increasing each year in the basin, but the increase in recent weeks has been especially rapid.

More on Yellowstone Volcano
...

Carlsberg Ridge Volcano (Indian Ocean)
Friday 8th August 2003
Scientists have discovered a "smoking" volcano 3,000 metres below the surface of the Indian Ocean. Scientists on board the research vessel detected a huge, dark plume of water, 600 metres thick and over 30 kilometres wide, rising hundreds of metres above a lava-strewn valley on the Carlsberg ocean ridge. "Black smokers", often teeming with exotic lifeforms, are known to exist in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans but their discovery in the Indian Ocean is very recent.

 

Big Smokers Found in Indian Ocean

Scientists have discovered a "smoking" volcano 3,000 metres below the surface of the Indian Ocean.

BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3128457.stm

August 6, 2003

 

The team on board the research vessel RRS Charles Darwin made the find when they detected a huge, dark plume of water, 600 metres thick and over 30 kilometres wide, rising hundreds of metres above a lava-strewn valley on the Carlsberg ocean ridge.

 

"Black smokers", often teeming with exotic lifeforms, are known to exist in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans but their discovery in the Indian Ocean is very recent. "The source of the plume is comparable to a suite of power stations churning out vast amounts of heat and smoky water," said Dr Bramley Murton, the scientist leading the research cruise.

 

Underwater volcanoes and the associated hydrothermal activity occur in areas of sea-floor spreading. Where the Earth's crust moves apart in the deep ocean, molten material rises to fill the gaps. Water percolates down below the seabed and is superheated before gushing out from hot springs or vents at about 300 to 400 Celsius.

 

 

Undersea Volcano Discovered in Aleutians

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner http://www.news-miner.com/Stories/0,1413,113~26794~1564444,00.html

August 11, 2003

 

Scientists have discovered and mapped the first confirmed undersea volcano in the Aleutian Islands region.

The volcano rises more than 1,900 feet from the floor of Amchitka Pass and may be the next Aleutian island. The black lava rock reaches within 380 feet of the surface and supports a profusion of coral, invertebrates, fish and other sea life, say the biologists and geologists working on the project.

 

"There's no crater in the summit that we can see, but it's just this perfect volcano shape," said Jennifer Reynolds, a marine geologist at the Global Undersea Research Unit of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the science director of the West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center. "I can see lava flows going off it downslope to the sea floor, and they're going off the map" for 8.7 miles.

 

Detailed mapping conducted this June by Reynolds and a team aboard the research vessel Davidson revealed the volcano to be a medium-sized cone, four miles across at the base. It lies about 12 miles southeast of Semisopochnoi Island, just across the 180-degree meridian in the Eastern Hemisphere. It's about one-third to one-half the height of its sister volcanoes above the surface on nearby Gareloi, Tanaga and Little Sitkin islands, Reynolds said.

 

A strong eruption with lots of lava could conceivably surge above the waves and create a new island, though no one knows yet how often the volcano erupts or when it might blow again, Reynolds said.

 

 

Quake Report

 

We’re having an unusually heavy day quake-wise.  So far there have been 11 quakes of magnitude 4.8 and above reported (an average day yields about 4). Two of them have been at level 6.0 and one at 5.9.  Total quake energy release has been 57.5 thus far (average is about 20).  The most active areas are in Halmahera, Indonesia and Tonga.  See web report at http://gldss7.cr.usgs.gov/neis/bulletin/bulletin.html.

 

 

Weather Report

 

50 Die in French Heatwave

Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/11/1060588323024.html

August 12, 2003

 

About 50 people have died of heat-related illnesses in the Paris region in the last four days, the head of France's emergency physicians' association said.  Patrick Pelloux, in an interview with TF1 television, criticised France's surgeon general for characterising the deaths as natural. "They dare to talk about ... natural deaths. I absolutely do not agree with saying that," he said.

 

Pierre Carli, head of Paris' emergency rescue services, said it was "extremely difficult to know" at the time of death if the cause was strictly due to heat. "It is evident that the heat is an aggravating factor with the elderly, who are already sick," he told TF1.

 

About 40 people across Europe have died since a heat wave settled over the continent more than a week ago, fanning forest fires, destroying livestock and setting record high temperatures in many cities.

 

 

European Heatwave Sparks Nuclear Power Dilemma

Reuters http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L11484108.htm

 

PARIS, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Scorching temperatures threatened to cut output at Europe's nuclear power stations as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners in search of relief from a second week of searing heat on Monday.

 

In France, temperatures have hit about 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the past few days, spelling trouble for nuclear reactors, many of which use river water for cooling.  Officials held emergency talks in Paris, torn between cutting output or letting the nuclear fission plants pour hotter water into the country's depleted rivers than usual -- risking damage to fish and plant life. "The situation is very serious," Industry Minister Nicole Fontaine said. "There's no more margin for manoeuvre, it's essential that citizens are ready to accept the consequences."

 

Two southern German states temporarily raised permitted temperature limits on outflows of cooling water from nuclear power stations to allow the plants to remain operational. Nuclear plants pour water back into the rivers, but only once it has been cooled to a safe temperature. Capacity at the Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg stations in Baden-Wuerttemberg and the Isar 1 station in Bavaria has already been cut by as much as 60 percent as the recent heatwave limited the amount of cooling water available.

 

Swiss power officials, meanwhile, have cut output throughout the summer at their nuclear plants rather than put hotter cooling-off water into the Alpine country's rivers.

 

RIVERS DEPLETED

 

Europe's hot and dry summer has depleted its rivers, causing additional problems for hydro-electric power suppliers.

The Danube, which ensures 40 percent of the electricity produced in Romania's hydropower plants, has shrunk to its lowest level in a century.

 

 

Solar-Terrestrial Report

 

From the archives (first sign of Planet X?):

 

Possibly as Large as Jupiter; Mystery Heavenly Body Discovered

By Thomas O'Toole, Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 30, 1983 ; Page A1

 

A heavenly body possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this solar system has been found in the direction of the constellation Orion by an orbiting telescope aboard the U.S. infrared astronomical satellite.

 

So mysterious is the object that astronomers do not know if it is a planet, a giant comet, a nearby "protostar" that never got hot enough to become a star, a distant galaxy so young that it is still in the process of forming its first stars or a galaxy so shrouded in dust that none of the light cast by its stars ever gets through.

 

"All I can tell you is that we don't know what it is," Dr. Gerry Neugebauer, IRAS chief scientist for California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and director of the Palomar Observatory for the California Institute of Technology, said in an interview.

 

The most fascinating explanation of this mystery body, which is so cold it casts no light and has never been seen by optical telescopes on Earth or in space, is that it is a giant gaseous planet as large as Jupiter and as close to Earth as 50 trillion miles. While that may seem like a great distance in earthbound terms, it is a stone's throw in cosmological terms, so close in fact that it would be the nearest heavenly body to Earth beyond the outermost planet Pluto.

 

"If it is really that close, it would be a part of our solar system," said Dr. James Houck of Cornell University's Center for Radio Physics and Space Research and a member of the IRAS science team. "If it is that close, I don't know how the world's planetary scientists would even begin to classify it."

 


 

July 26, 2003

 

Volcanoes & Geysers

 

Popocatepetl Volcano (Mexico)
July 27, 2003
Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano shot glowing rock and ash high into the air Friday night, triggering a thunderous explosion that panicked some residents in nearby communities. On July 19, two minutes of fierce explosions atop the volcano sent a dark plume of smoke 1.8 miles into the sky and rained ash on the Mexican capital. Since then, disaster officials have prevented people from going within seven miles of the volcano's crater.

 

 

Bezymianny Volcano (Russia)
July 27, 2003
Bezymyanny volcano in Kamchatka (Russia's Far East) has woken up with a large eruption. Bezymyanny erupted on Saturday 26th July at 13hrs 20 min, Moscow time. The volcano is bursting forth vast masses of gas, ash and steam to the height of 8 kilometres above the crater. The emissions have accumulated in a cloud heading toward the village of Kozyrevsk located some 50 km off the volcano. Lava is currently moving down the eastern slope of the volcano at the velocity of 30 km per hour. The current eruption poses no danger for the peninsula's towns and villages. However, the ash ejected en masse by the volcano jeopardizes safety of the local air travel and poses problems for the tourists, fishers and hunters engaged in the area. 

 

 

Norris Geyser Basin Closed Due to Geothermal Activity

http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2003/07/25/news/02norrisbzbigs.txt

(Thanks to Rick Duncan for sending this article)

July 25, 2003

 

Something's cooking in Yellowstone National Park, and it's not just the weather. At Norris Geyser Basin, new steam vents and mud pots are popping up, some geysers are draining themselves and Porkchop geyser has erupted for the first time since 1989. All that, and the ground temperature has risen to 200 degrees Fahrenheit in places, hot enough to boil water at Yellowstone's altitude. That's also hot enough to cook eggs on the ground, not to mention kill trees and other plants.

 

Things are changing rapidly enough that the National Park Service has closed about half of the famous geyser basin to visitors due to safety concerns. There are 12,500 feet of trails in the basin on the west side of the park, and 5,800 of them are now closed until "conditions have returned to acceptable ground temperatures and stable surface conditions," the Park Service announced this week.

 

"It sounds like they're having some growing pains down there," said Tim McDermott, codirector of the Thermal Biology Institute at Montana State University.

 

 

Earthquakes

 

Quake activity has been slightly higher than normal since July 21st.  Number of quakes of magnitude 4.8 and above has ranged from 4 to 8 per day (average is 3.8 per day this year).  The average daily quake energy release during this 6-day period has been 32.4, while this year’s average is 20.2.

 

There have been some injuries from the latest quakes in Japan and Western Turkey. The Miyagi Province in Eastern Honshu in Japan was hit with a 5.3, followed by a 6.1 magnitude quake on the 25th, and the Denizli Province in Western Turkey received what news reports say was a 5.6 on the 26th.  Latest injury counts are over 300 in Honshu and 10 in Turkey.

 

 

Solar-Terrestrial Activity

 

Solar flares and magnetic activity has been quieter than it has been for a long time, although today the solar-terrestrial magnetic index began rising, with magnetic levels in the 5 range (average is about 2.5).  The lowest activity was centered around the 23rd, as Earth, Sun and Sirius were aligned.  Wayne's Solar-Terrestrial Magnetic Index is current at 77.9 and rising, having come down from a peak of 78.3 on the 20th.

 

 

Weather

 

Residents were surprised in Scone, Scotland, earlier today when what is described as a “mini tornado” went through the town. A local resident gives this account:

 

"I just looked out the bedroom window and saw this swirling twister heading out from Perth toward Scone. I had been considering hanging out the washing and it suddenly starting chucking it down. Then I spotted the tornado. I just grabbed the digital camera. Nothing could describe seeing it for real, though. The sky was dark and the top of it was even darker, swirling within itself. You could feel the power."

She added:

"I phoned my husband and said this could be the last he would speak to me and he said, ‘Don’t be daft.’"


 

July 23, 2003

 

Earthquakes

 

There are a few observations to report. 

 

More larger quakes showing up

Six quakes of 6.0 magnitude and above in the last ten days:

 

07/12/03

  23:01

N54.88

W134.32

10.0

6.0

Queen Charlotte Islands Region

07/15/03

18:47

S03.83

E152.17

33.0

6.5

New Ireland Region, Papua New Guinea

07/15/03

20:28

S02.56

E068.30

10.0

7.6

Carlsberg Ridge

07/17/03

19:57

N18.48

W107.12

33.0

6.0

Off Coast of Jalisco, Mexico

07/21/03

13:54

S05.54

E148.94

190.2

6.4

New Britain Region, Papua New Guinea

07/22/03

4:21

S15.46

E166.20

33.0

6.0

Vanuatu Islands

 

 

'One Million' Earthquake Victims in China

News.com, Australia

http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,6799508%255E1702,00.html

July 23, 2003

 

One million people affected by an earthquake in southwest China are in desperate need of food

and supplies, but rescuers have been forced to travel by foot or horseback due to badly damaged

roads, officials said Wednesday.

 

The deadly 6.2 Richter scale tremor late Monday in Yunnan province killed at least 16 people

and injured about 300 others according to the latest tally, a provincial seismological bureau

official told Agence France Presse.

 

Based on the government in Dayao County, located some 110 miles from the Yunnan capitol

Kunming, is the worst-affected area where all the deaths and most of the injuries occured.

 

Landslides caused by the quake, heavy rains, and hundreds of aftershocks have severely

impeded rescue efforts.

 

 

July 15th Was Day for Many Large Quakes

12 quakes of magnitude 4.8 and above struck on July 15th.  This is the second highest count

for 2003. The average number of quakes this size has been 3.8 per day since the first of the

year.  This is the most active day since May 21st, when there were 17 quakes of magnitude

4.8 and above.  This was the day that the quakes in Northern Algeria hit.

 

 

Swarms in Many Places Simultaneously Since July 8th

 

Carlsberg Ridge

07/15/03

20:28

S02.56

E068.30

10.0

7.6

Carlsberg Ridge

07/15/03

20:36

S02.33

E068.70

10.0

5.4

Carlsberg Ridge

07/15/03

21:54

S01.83

E068.70

10.0

5.2

Carlsberg Ridge

07/16/03

1:24

S02.78

E068.62

10.0

4.8

Carlsberg Ridge

07/16/03

2:30

S02.67

E068.39

10.0

5.6

Carlsberg Ridge

07/16/03

3:17

S01.59

E068.78

10.0

5.0

Carlsberg Ridge

07/16/03

3:26

S01.74

E069.18

10.0

4.5

Carlsberg Ridge

07/16/03

4:47

S01.64

E068.86

10.0

4.5

Carlsberg Ridge

07/17/03

12:29

S01.18

E069.70

10.0

4.7

Carlsberg Ridge

07/18/03

4:21

S01.24

E069.52

10.0

5.0

Carlsberg Ridge

07/19/03

7:05

S02.27

E068.58

10.0

4.6

Carlsberg Ridge

07/21/03

4:26

S02.76

E068.34

10.0

4.6

Carlsberg Ridge

07/21/03

6:00

S01.27

E069.71

10.0

5.0

Carlsberg Ridge

07/22/03

15:38

S01.78

E068.06

10.0

4.5

Carlsberg Ridge

07/22/03

17:29

S01.45

E069.82

10.0

4.9

Carlsberg Ridge

 

Nicobar Islands

07/21/03

19:21

N06.65

E093.49

10.0

5.6

Nicobar Islands, India Region

07/22/03

6:21

N06.85

E093.38

10.0

5.1

Nicobar Islands, India Region

07/22/03

21:42

N06.55

E093.36

10.0

4.8

Nicobar Islands, India Region

 

Atlantic Ocean: North, Central and South

07/08/03

8:51

S07.07

W021.82

10.0

4.8

South Atlantic Ocean

07/08/03

15:21

N02.89

W031.17

10.0

4.7

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/09/03

9:07

N58.25

W032.18

10.0

4.4

Reykjanes Ridge

07/09/03

9:09

N58.13

W032.21

10.0

4.6

Reykjanes Ridge

07/09/03

12:33

N58.26

W032.24

10.0

5.2

Reykjanes Ridge

07/09/03

13:25

N58.18

W032.14

10.0

4.3

Reykjanes Ridge

07/09/03

13:36

N58.27

W032.06

10.0

4.9

Reykjanes Ridge

07/09/03

13:48

N58.25

W032.25

10.0

4.3

Reykjanes Ridge

07/13/03

6:14

N58.13

W032.06

10.0

4.8

Reykjanes Ridge

07/15/03

2:50

N02.95

W031.26

10.0

4.6

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/15/03

3:13

N03.03

W031.10

10.0

4.5

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/15/03

3:22

N03.06

W031.27

10.0

4.5

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/15/03

4:29

N03.07

W031.26

10.0

4.8

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/15/03

14:02

N02.93

W031.24

10.0

4.8

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/15/03

17:50

N03.05

W031.30

10.0

5.1

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/19/03

11:05

N62.17

W026.95

10.0

4.6

Iceland Region

07/19/03

13:13

N61.89

W026.70

10.0

4.5

Iceland Region

07/19/03

13:14

N61.97

W026.71

10.0

4.9

Iceland Region

07/19/03

13:18

N61.96

W026.71

10.0

4.4

Iceland Region

07/19/03

15:20

N62.07

W026.69

10.0

4.4

Iceland Region

07/19/03

19:55

N62.40

W027.01

10.0

4.4

Iceland Region

07/20/03

13:08

N61.99

W026.77

10.0

4.7

Iceland Region

07/21/03

12:47

N30.78

W041.71

10.0

4.8

Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/21/03

13:23

N05.18

W032.55

10.0

4.3

Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/23/03

16:38

S15.55

W013.32

10.0

5.8

Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

07/23/03

16:54

S15.48

W013.27

10.0

5.2

Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

 

 

Volcanoes

 

Santa Maria Volcano (Guatemala)
July 24, 2003
Eruption of Santa Maria volcano started at 1330 hr (UT) on 23rd July. Ash and gases moved towards the west rising to 15,000 ft. Ash dissipated by 1615 hr.


 

July 20, 2003

Volcanic Activities

 

Popocatepetl Volcano (Mexico)
July 20, 2003
Popocatepetl volcano exhaled a plume of ash on Saturday morning and layered Mexico City in white volcanic dust, sending surprised residents seeking cover. The volcano sent up a 1.8-mile (3-km) high plume of ash and incandescent fragments at 9:20 a.m. local time (1420 GMT). Residents rushed into pharmacies to buy surgical masks to cover their mouths, while radio programs warned people to keep their heads covered and wash the ash off their cars carefully, as the fine volcanic particles can scratch paint. The dust was especially thick in the south of the city, with radio reporting low visibility in those neighborhoods. Authorities said the ash was not a health threat. Disaster prevention officials at Cenapred said the amount of ash that fell on the city was minimal. Mexico's international airport reported little ash had fallen there and remained open, with one flight delayed for 15 minutes and another landing at a different airport. 

 

 

Solar-Terrestrial Activity

 

The Sun continues doing its thing and is still very active.  Today there were 23 C-class flares (normal is about 3-4).  Solar wind speed impinging on the Earth's magnetic field reached over 5.2 million miles per hour, which is close to a record.  Wayne's Solar-Terrestrial Magnetic Index (average daily magnetism for the year) continues to be at a record high, at 78.3; today's hit 84.  There is a high likelihood of a major solar flare within the next couple of days from one of the solar regions (region 10410 for those interested in such things) that has been developing a compact magnetic change.  This would elevate the magnetic index even further.  See this morning's session with Lady Kadjina regarding the high solar activity at http://www.citiesoflight.net/kadjina.html#HighSolarEnergy.

 

 

Quake Report

 

Mostly quiet since the 6.2 quake in Java on Saturday.  California quake activity seems very low at the moment.


July 19, 2003

Soputan Volcano (Indonesia)
1.11 N, 124.73 E, summit elevation 1784 m, stratovolcano
July 19, 2003
Soputan Volcano erupted Friday in Eastern Indonesia, spewing lava and clouds of dust high into the air. Dust and ash from the volcano had fallen on the provincial capital Manado, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the mountain. A slow-moving lava flow was also visible at the rim of the peak. Soputan, around 2,160 kilometers northeast of Jakarta, last erupted in 2000.


 

July 16, 2003

 

Earthquakes

 

Yesterday, July 15th, was a day in which the Quake Energy Release Factor reached 59.1.  This is simply the sum of quake magnitudes of quakes that were 4.8 and above on the Richter scale.  This year’s average level per day is currently at 19.98.  On May 21st, the release factor was at 90.2, reflecting the major quake and subsequent aftershocks in Northern Algeria.  The last time the energy release factor exceeded that was on November 3rd and 4th, 2002, when there were 18 quakes each day and the energy release factor was 97.1 and 90.8 respectively.  Those quakes were focused in Central Alaska.  Yesterday’s quakes were spread primarily between three areas: the Carlsberg Ridge, the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and New Ireland – New Britain Region of Papua New Guinea.

 

 

Solar Terrestrial Activity

 

Wayne’s Solar-Terrestrial Magnetic Index reached 120 today, the highest reading since May 29th, when it reached 135.  The daily average for the year is now at 78.2, tied for the record, which was reached on June 30th for the first time this year.  This most likely means that the Earth is absorbing more solar energy than it has in a long time, not only giving new life, but likely also warming it further.

 

 

Weather

 

 

Swiss Alps Crumbling in Heat Wave

 

Followup from a reader: A portion of a glacier near the Alpine resort of Grindelwald also broke
away and fell into the Luetschine river, causing a surge of water downstream. Police warned people several miles away to stay away from the river.
----------->  I was at Grindelwald last month, June 3.

 

 

Global Warming Thaws Tropical Ice Caps

Environmental News Network http://www.enn.com/indepth/warming/sign1.asp

 

The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are rapidly receding, according to Lonnie Thompson, a professor of geological sciences. At least one-third of the massive ice field atop Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa has melted over the past dozen years. Since the glacier was first mapped in 1912, about 82 percent of it has been lost.

 

Kilimanjaro joins the list of ice caps atop mountains in Africa and South America that Thompson and others predict to disappear over the next 15 years as a result of global warming.

Peru's Quelccaya ice cap in the Southern Andes Mountains has shrunk by at least 20 percent since 1963. Most disconcerting, Thompson warns, is that the rate of decline for one of the main glaciers flowing out from the ice cap, Qori Kalis, has been 32 times greater in the past three years than it was in the period between 1963 and 1978.

 

Scientists have long predicted that the first signs of climate change will appear at the fragile high-altitude glaciers within the tropics. The thaw of the Kilimanjaro and Quelccaya ice caps are the most dramatic evidence to date.

 

"These glaciers are very much like the canaries once used in coal mines," Thompson said. "They're an indicator of massive changes taking place and a response to the changes in climate in the tropics."

 

 

Moon Sheds Light on Climate Change on Earth

Environmental News Network http://www.enn.com/indepth/warming/sign4.asp

 

Studies of the moon conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Western Center for Global Environmental Change are giving scientists another tool to measure climate change on Earth. By watching "Earthshine," the reflected glow of the Earth on the surface of the Moon, scientists can measure how much light is being reflected off the Earth's atmosphere.

 

Earthshine appears as the faint glow that illuminates the dark part of the moon, and is easily seen during the crescent phase. If the sun's light did not reflect off the Earth's atmosphere, that part of the moon that is not illuminated by the sun would be completely dark. Leonardo da Vinci first explained the phenomenon of Earthshine in the 15th century. Basically, the moon acts as a giant mirror, showing the sunlight reflected from Earth. The brightness of Earthshine thus measures the reflectance of Earth, known as albedo. By measuring the change in the Earth's albedo, scientists can track changes in the Earth's climate.

 

Philip Goode, leader of the New Jersey Institute of Technology team and director of the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California, says, "We have found a hint of a 2.5 percent decrease in Earth's albedo over the past five years." Even a 1 percent decrease in the amount of light that Earth emits is significant enough to be concerned about global warming. Earth's climate is driven by the net sunlight that it absorbs. We have found surprisingly large - up to 20 percent - seasonal variations in Earth's reflectance," says Goode.

 


 

July 15, 2003

 

Earthquakes

 

3,500 Homes Destroyed in Iranian Earthquake

IranMania News

 

TEHRAN, July 14 (AFP) - Last week's earthquakes in southern Iran destroyed more than 3,500 homes in the Zarrindasht region, according to the director of the Iranian Red Crescent, the official news agency IRNA reported Monday. 

 

"More than 3,500 homes were destroyed in the region .. but fortunately because of the heat people were outdoors and the number of victims was very small," said Red Crescent director Bijan Daftari. He said that the region, already hit by several years of drought, was facing a severe water supply problem.

 

One villager was killed and 25 injured late Thursday by two successive earthquakes, measuring 5.6 and 5.8 on the Richter scale, according to local officials.

Several strong after-shocks have been felt in the region.

 

 

7.9 Quake Hits Carlsberg Ridge; 6.4 in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea; Swarm in Central Atlantic Ridge Zone

 

A series of quakes struck today; no damage is reported.

 

There have been at least 3 aftershocks in the 5-magnitude range in the Carlsberg Ridge quake area.  The large quake struck at 8:28 PM Universal time (4:28 PM EDT).  Reports list the main quake between 7.6 and 7.9 on the Richter Scale.  The Carlsberg Ridge is a major fault line running several hundred miles East of the East coast of Africa, between Madagascar and the tip of India.  This area, while active, historically has very few quakes of any significant magnitude, so this was a most unusual quake.

 

Two quakes, a 6.4 preceded by a 4.9, have struck the New Ireland Region of Papua New Guinea.  This is a very active quake zone.  These struck at 9:26 AM and 6:47 PM, Universal Time.  The quakes were about 45 km north of the active Rabaul Volcano.

 

A series of quakes has struck in the Mid-Atlantic area, beginning at 2:50 AM Universal time and continuing until 4:30 AM.

 

 

Weather

 

Prisoners Freed by Hurricane Claudette
MSNBC News http://msnbc.com/news/938129.asp?0sl=-21&cp1=1

July 15, 2003

 

In Brownsville, Texas, officials released nonviolent and misdemeanor criminals to clear a jail feared to be too weak to stand up to heavy winds.  “One of the detention centers in particular is not the most structurally sound. If you are looking at 90 mph winds we don’t want to take a risk,” said Cameron County Judge Gilberto Hinojosa.


 

Swiss Alps Crumbling in Heat Wave; Climbers Evacuated, AFP Says
http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=aF74yjeS84bM&refer=europe


July 15 (Bloomberg) -- A heat wave in Europe is melting Switzerland's glaciers and causing chunks of the Swiss Alps to break off, prompting the evacuation of climbers and hikers, Agence France-Presse reported.

In southern Switzerland, helicopters ferried about 70 people from the Matterhorn after a rock face on the 3,400-meter (11,155- foot) peak crumbled, AFP said. A portion of a glacier near the Alpine resort of Grindelwald also broke away and fell into the Luetschine river, causing a surge of water downstream. Police warned people several miles away to stay away from the river, AFP cited the Swiss news agency ATS as saying.

Rescue services in Zermatt said no one was injured by the falling rubble, AFP reported. The evacuations were ordered as a precaution because unusually hot weather at high altitude has melted ice that normally binds the rock together, AFP reported.

Daytime temperatures in most of Switzerland have stayed above 30 degrees centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit) for most of the past five weeks and June was the hottest month on record since weather observations began in 1864, AFP cited the Swiss weather agency, MeteoSuisse, as saying. Temperatures this week exceeded 32 degrees from London to Athens.

 

 

Record Heat Event Report
National Weather Service Phoenix AZ
900 PM MST Mon Jul 14 2003

...record high temperatures over south Central Arizona and Southeastern California for July 14 2003...
 
CITY                HIGH            PREVIOUS RECORD HIGH/YEAR


ARIZONA...

BOUSE                           117             116 IN 1957
BUCKEYE                       117             116 IN 1987
CAREFREE                     111             110 IN 1970
COOLIDGE                      116(TIE)      116 IN 1970 
PARKER                         121             118 IN 1913
PHOENIX DEER VALLEY 114             113 IN 1970
PHOENIX SKY HARBOR  116             115 IN 1989
WICKENBURG                115(TIE)      115 IN 1998
YOUNGTOWN                 115             112 IN 1998


CALIFORNIA...

BLYTHE               118(TIE)          118 IN 1971
IMPERIAL             117                115 IN 1949

 

 

Wildfires

 

INRI - 'By Fire Nature is Renewed Whole'

 

Thousands Evacuated in Ariz. Wildfire
Reuters, http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3094906

July 15, 2003

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Some five thousand residents of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation were evacuated from their homes when a wildfire burning out of control quadrupled in size in mountains in eastern Arizona, fire officials said on Tuesday.

 

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano declared a state of emergency for two counties worst affected by the fire, which swelled to 5,800 acres in the last 24 hours.

 

The fire, near the town of Whiteriver and the Fort Apache Reservation, was sparked by lightning over the weekend. It started spreading rapidly late Monday, prompting authorities to order thousands of residents out of their homes at only a few hours notice.

Napolitano authorized the National Guard to help local police with road blocks and security in evacuated areas.

 

Fire officials said the blaze in forests about 5,000 feet high in the mountains was zero percent contained.

 

No homes have yet been lost but firefighters, helped by four helicopter and four air tankers, were battling to prevent the blaze from reaching the tourist town of Pinetop-Lakeside, about 20 miles north of Whiteriver, where the summer population reaches about 20,000.

 

"Hopefully we won't have to evacuate (Pinetop-Lakeside). It depends on what the fire does today," said Stuart Bishop, deputy fire chief of the Pinetop Fire Department.

 

 

Catalina Mountain Wildfire Virtually Contained

July 15, 2003

 

The Catalina Mountains wildfire, having burned 340 homes and businesses and almost 90,000 acres for the past month, is reported to be almost totally contained, although there are several areas still smoldering.  As late as yesterday there were still flames in swaths up to 20 feet in length.  Volunteers are being solicited locally to help with the cleanup and reseeding efforts.

 

 

Other Weird Stuff

 

Chilean Blob Could Be Octopus

The 12-metre (40 foot) wide remains of a sea creature found in Chile could be those of a giant octopus, the first washed up on land for over a century.

BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3041884.stm

July 3, 2003

 

The 13-tonne specimen was at first taken for a beached whale when it came ashore a week ago, but experts who have seen it say it appears not to have a backbone.

 

"Apparently, it is a gigantic octopus or squid but that's just our initial idea, nothing definite," said Elsa Cabrera, a marine biologist and director of the Centre for Cetacean Conservation in the capital, Santiago.

 

"It has only one tentacle left. It could be a new species."

 

Ms Cabrera said samples from the creature's remains would be sent to France for analysis by specialist Michel Raynal, and to a university laboratory in southern Florida on Monday.

 

 

Weird Animal Behavior

http://66.242.35.139/bbs/message.php?message=81617&mpage=1&topic=3&showweek=7/14/2003

 

People are reporting unusual animal behavior all over the country. 

 

For instance, many dog owners are now finding their previously stable and calm canines are suddenly terrified of thunderstorms. The bulk of my email concerning dogs was filled with reports about family dogs no longer wanting to go outside. Some dogs even have to be pushed out the door. These are dogs that normally thrive outdoors.

We can attest to changes in canine behavior at the ranch. Our dogs love to be outside, well they used to enjoy it. Now, they canīt wait to get inside. They exhibit stressed behavior. They seem to be either sensing something or seeing something they donīt like, something we are unable to see.

Cats all over the US are also showing signs of disturbances. Normally peaceful cats are getting into fights and destroying their ownerīs property.

This emerging problem is profoundly exhibited in wild animals. A herd of elk just happened to appear in one personīs pasture, something that never happened before now.

All kinds of animals from mountain lions to groundhogs are making their presence known to people throughout the US.


 

July 13, 2003

 

Earthquakes

 

Powerful Earthquake Rocks Eastern Turkey

ABC News

July 13, 2003

 

A powerful earthquake has rocked eastern Turkey but there are no immediate reports of casualties, Anatolia news agency said.  Officials say the quake, which reached 5.7 on the Richter scale, hit the little populated Poturge area in the early morning hours. Several aftershocks have hit the region following a major quake which claimed 176 lives at Bingol east of Poturge in May.

Scientists had been bracing for a quake close to 6.0 on the Richter scale.

Turkey is located near fault-lines involving the African plate and the Eurasian plate.  The Anatolian fault that lies between the two plates runs east-west across Turkey, with the Eurasian landmass inching eastwards.  The fault is under additional pressure from the Arabian plate which is shifting northwards at a rate of several inches per year.

 

 

Weather

 

Hurricane Watch in Effect As Tropical Storm Moves Close to South Texas Coast
Voice Of America News
July 13, 2003

 

The U.S. Weather Service issued a hurricane watch Sunday, as Tropical Storm Claudette moved toward the south Texas coast.  Weather officials say the storm is expected to gain strength in the next 24 hours, as it moves east across the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters say the storm could make landfall by Tuesday.

 

A hurricane watch is also in effect for the Mexican coast south of the U.S. border. The latest information from the Weather Service shows the center of the storm is about 500 kilometers from Brownsville, Texas, and has moved little in the past few hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 95 kilometers per hour.

 

Tropical storms become hurricanes when they reach sustained winds of 118 kilometers per hour.

The storm developed in the Caribbean on Tuesday. It crossed over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, pounding Mexico's tourist resort with heavy rains and strong winds.

 

Volcanoes

 

In addition to all the volcano news yesterday, here’s another one…

Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat) Blows
Volcano Alive

July 13, 2003

Montserrat Volcano Observatory reports an eruption on 12th July at 1955 hr UT producing pyroclastic flows and ash. Volcanic explosions occurred late on Saturday and early on Sunday after high seismic activity. The latest explosion sent ash up to 40,000 feet (12,200 metres). Part of the volcano's dome facing the Tar River Valley collapsed on Saturday night, hurling rocks and mud down unto houses. No injuries were reported as residents near the valley were evacuated last October after warnings of a change in the volcano dome's growth. Roads on the British Caribbean island were covered with two inches of mud and many roofs collapsed. Tree branches also snapped under the weight of ash and rock. Ash from this weekend's volcanic explosions caused large volcanic clouds to drift to neighboring islands. Large airlines canceled flights into nearby St. Maarten, a popular Caribbean tourist destination. After nearly four centuries of dormancy, the Soufriere Hills volcano rumbled back to life in 1995, killing 19 people and burying the south end of the 39-square-mile (100-sq-km) island in ash and burning rock. Many residents fled to Britain, the United States or neighboring islands, reducing the population from 11,000 to about 5,000. In the past few years the volcano has calmed, but the dome continues to grow and collapse, sending rivers of superheated rock, ash and gases down its flanks.  

 


July 12, 2003

 

Earthquakes

 

We’ve had some quakes in the moderately strong category over the past couple of days:

 

Date

Time

Coordinates

 

Depth

Magn

Location

07/09/03

17:15

N29.74

E129.92

60.0

5.5

Ryukyu Islands, Japan

07/10/03

17:07

N28.33

E054.22

10.0

5.7

Southern Iran

07/10/03

17:40

N28.33

E054.07

10.0

5.5

Southern Iran

07/11/03

13:53

N09.36

E122.06

33.0

5.9

Negros, Philippines

07/12/03

2:43

N12.72

E095.01

33.0

5.3

Andaman Islands, India Region

07/12/03

23:01

N54.88

W134.41

10.0

5.7

Queen Charlotte Islands Region

 

 

One villager killed, 25 injured as two major quakes strike southern Iran

 

TEHRAN (AFP) - One villager was killed and 25 injured in southern Iran by two successive earthquakes measuring 5.6 and 5.8 on the Richter scale, state news agency IRNA quoted a local official as saying.

 

The quakes struck the villages of Dareh Shur, Deheh No, Debehran, Darva and Shahre Pir, all located around Zarindasht, a small town in Fars province, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Shiraz and approximately 800 kilometers south of Tehran, the governor of the southern city of Zarindasht, Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on Friday.

 

 

Wildfires

 

Update on the Catalina Mountain Wildfire in Tucson

Rain has finally come!  Both last night and tonight the monsoon rains have dropped refreshing water in the desert and assisted the firefighters in containing the Catalina Mountain wildfire that has burned about 100 square miles of beautiful forest and destroyed more than 300 homes and businesses on the mountain.

 

Solar Energy

 

We have had two days of elevated magnetic energy from solar activity.  On the 11th, the Solar-Terrestrial Magnetic Index reached 114 for the day, while today it was 108.  Kilo-pascal magnetic levels have reached level 6 and 7 (on a scale of 0-9) for 27 of the last 48 hours.  The daily average for the year is now at 78.0, having reached a peak on July 6th before we had 3-4 relatively quiet days that brought the average down to 77.6 on July 10th.

 

 

Weather

 

It’s crazy out there.

 

Over 40 Missing in Mudslide in Southwest China
Sat July 12, 2003 08:36 AM ET


BEIJING (Reuters) - More than 40 people were missing in southwestern China on Saturday after a massive mudslide, which blocked a river and threatened to wreak havoc on villages along the river's lower reaches, the official Xinhua news agency said.

 

Rescuers in Sichuan province were trying to save 90 others stranded after a deluge of mud and rocks cut off the river and formed a reservoir about 1.25 miles long, Xinhua said. The water level in the blocked section was rising, it added.

 

Seasonal flooding across China has already killed 569 people so far this year and forced the evacuation of 2.3 million others, the Civil Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

 

Volcano Update

 

Things seem to be heating up…

Updates from Volcano Alive http://www.volcanolive.com/volcanolive.html

 

Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat)
July 13, 2003

Montserrat Volcano Observatory reports an eruption on 12th July at 1955 hr UT producing pyroclastic flows and ash.

 

Mauna Kea Volcano (Hawaii)
July 12, 2003

A magnitude 3.4 earthquake has occurred under Mauna Kea Volcano on Hawaii. The earthquake hit on 10th July at 1600 hr (UT). The earthquake was located 7 miles east of the summit on the Hilo side of the mountain at a depth of 26km. Mauna Kea, the highest mountain in the Pacific, is a dormant volcano. Its summit houses some of the world's best telescopes.

 

Aso Volcano (Japan)
July 12, 2003

A small phreatic eruption occurred at Aso Volcano on 11th July. Thickness of tephra deposit consisting of wet ash aggregates is around 1 mm even at the crater rim. Spray of mud was blown off by strong wind as much as 10 km from the crater. Lake surface color of the first crater turned into dark gray from green of two days ago, probably due stirring by the eruption. Sound of the eruption was recorded with a microphone of crater live-camera monitored by the Aso Volcano Museum. This is the first eruption of Aso in 9 years. Aso is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. 

 

Mt Hood Volcano ( USA)
July 9, 2003
A magnitude three-point-three earthquake rolled across Mount Hood early monday morning Local time), followed by a few small aftershocks. It caused no damage and raised no big concerns for geologists monitoring the long-dormant volcano. Geologists traced its epicenter to about four miles southeast of Mount Hood and about four miles underground. The earthquake was the first on the mountain since a sharp jolt surprised geologists last summer. Scientists do not believe that the earthquake means Mt Hood is rumbling back to volcanic activity. Mount Hood registers several faint earthquake swarms each year, according to the state geology department. 

 

Tungurahua Volcano (Ecuador)
July 6, 2003
16 000 people have been aversely affected by the ongoing eruption of Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador's central Andean region. The 5 023 metre volcano 135 kilometres south of Quito, one of Ecuador's most active, entered a new phase of high activity June 5. Volcanic ash is making a big impact not only on health, but also in the economy, resulting a loss of crops and domestic animals. 

 

Anatahan Volcano (Mariana Islands)
July 2, 2003
Scientific researchers believe that the continuing volcanic activity on Anatahan could just be the initial phase of a much bigger eruption that potentially threatens inhabitants of Saipan and Tinian. The danger is that if the present eruption is felsic, there is more threat to the inhabitants of nearby Saipan and Tinian. The volcano continues to emit ash and gas to an altitude of 8,000 feet.

 

 

Unruly Display

Scientists seek clues to burst of activity at Norris Geyser Basin

Associated Press; Missoulian

 

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - Steam wafted over Hank Heasler as he stood on a boardwalk and watched water from Steamboat Geyser shoot into the air with an attention-grabbing "WHOOSH!"  "This could be it," the park geologist said excitedly, squinting against the morning sun at the impressive spray. But Heasler had no better idea than the tourists around him when the world's tallest geyser would next erupt.

 

Unlike Old Faithful, Steamboat is anything but predictable. It's gone as few as four days and as many as 50 years between major eruptions - noisy, powerful spectacles that can send hot water 300 feet or higher and churn out dense steam for hours. Recently, though, it has been more active - its two eruptions so far this year came just weeks apart - and the emergence of a forceful new thermal feature nearby has scientists like Heasler wondering: What's happening in Norris Geyser Basin, where Steamboat is located? "That's the million dollar question. It's changing more than anyone has noticed before," Heasler said. "Are we noticing because we're looking? Or because something is abnormal?"

 

Researchers are trying to find answers. They've installed monitoring devices throughout the basin - near features such as Steamboat and in creek channels that collect water runoff from geysers - to gather data on such things as water temperature and flow levels, basic information that, they say, was previously lacking and could help unlock the mysteries of Norris. Among them: What's bubbling beneath the shallow surface of the volatile basin and why has the basin floor been steadily bulging upward over the past few years?

 

Adding to the intrigue is Norris' location. The basin - filled with hot springs, geysers and steam vents called fumaroles - is outside Yellowstone's caldera, formed by the last volcanic eruption about 640,000 years ago and considered the hotbed for geothermal activity in the park.

 

Some 10,000 hot springs and geysers pock the park's landscape, their telltale steam often visible to tourists traveling park roads. But the Norris basin is frequently passed by, viewed from the car by motorists headed south to Old Faithful.

 

Perhaps the reason Norris is so dynamic, researchers say, is that there's molten material beneath the basin. Or, maybe, hot water from the caldera has pushed north to Norris.

 

The trouble is, very little is known about the inner workings of Norris, where a geyser eruption can trigger the draining - it looks like the flushing - of a nearby pool.