October 30, 2013 – ITALY – Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world has again started spewing lava from its bowels and sent a huge plume of volcanic ash into the air much akin to the earlier eruptions in 2012. Mount Etna volcano is situated in Sicily and it started to spew volcanic ash on Saturday Morning. There has been no casualties’ according to BBC but Air Traffic at the Catania airport was temporarily halted because of the smoke. The Airport reopened at Dawn. As mentioned, Mt Etna is an active volcano which erupts regularly at short intervals. Situated in Sicily the volcano stands at an imposing 10,922 feet high at its summit and is Europe’s highest and most active volcano. The volcano has been spewing small and sporadic volcanic ash emissions since September. Mount Etna reported the 13th episode of activity in 2013, but the last major eruption was in 1992. The primeval Greeks thought Mount Etna was home to the god of fire, Vulcan. When Mount Etna erupted, they thought that Vulcan was simply forging weapons for Mars, the god of war. Volcanic eruptions are often accompanied by tremors and in Mount Etna’s case also underground tremors were reported on Friday before the eruptions on Saturday. Till now evacuation has not been ordered from the many villages that are present on the volcano slopes. –Pentagon Post
October 25, 2013 – KAMCHATKA – A new explosive eruption started yesterday night (23 Oct). An ash plume was detected drifting at an estimated 16,000 ft (5 km) altitude and drifting ESE. At least 1 mm of ash has been deposited in the Nalychevo valley, a natural park between Zhupanovsky and Avachinsky volcanoes. Zhupanovsky volcano lies about 70 km northeast of the capital of Kamchatka, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and had its last eruption in 1959. It is a complex volcano composed of several overlapping cones aligned on a roughly east-west oriented axis. The new eruption comes from the same vent that has been also the site of all known historical eruptions, located west of the highest point of the volcanic massif. Zhupanovsky is the 8th volcano in Kamchatka to erupt this year. –Volcano Discovery
October 25, 2013 – INDONESIA – A volcano in western Indonesia erupted Thursday, unleashing a column of dark volcanic material high into the air weeks after villagers were returning home from an earlier eruption, officials said. The explosion at Mount Sinabung, located in North Sumatra province, shot black ash 3 km into the air, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, said National Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. He said villages, farms and trees around the 2,600-meter-high rumbling volcano were covered in thick gray ash, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 3,300 people. Most were from two villages within 3 km of the mountain in Karo district. No lava or debris spewed from the volcano, and nearby towns and villages were not in danger, but authorities warned tourists to stay away from the danger zone located 1.5 km from the crater, Nugroho said. Last month, more than 15,000 people were forced to flee when the volcano rumbled to life after being dormant for three years, belching ash and smoke and igniting fires on its slopes. The volcano’s last major eruption, in August 2010, killed two people and forced 30,000 others to flee. It caught many scientists off guard because it had been quiet for four centuries. Mount Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. –Japan Times
Residents stand next to a long earthen wall which formed following the Oct. 15 earthquake in Barangay Anonang in Inabanga, Bohol. Phivolcs scientists said the wall is the face of a previously unknown fault line which caused the magnitude 7.2 quake
October 24, 2013 – PHILIPPINES – As the magnitude 7.2 earthquake ended on Oct. 15, residents of Sitio Kumayot in Barangay Anonang heard an explosive sound like a thunderclap. Villagers watched in horrified disbelief as the ground cracked open and, with smoke and the stench of sulphur spreading, one side started to rise. The emerging wall of rock and earth missed by a hairline the toilet of baker Menecia Bautista Aparecio, 43. “We will be living forever in fear, being so close to the fault line,” said Aparecio, who fears returning to her home and now bakes her “pan Bisaya” or “pan kinamot,” a local bread, in the village chapel. The rock face, about three meters high and two kilometers long, raised fears among villagers that more cracks would appear on the ground and swallow them up. Scientists, who may declare a 300-meter permanent danger zone around the fault, described the appearance of the ground rupture as a “eureka” moment in their search for what they have long suspected was an active earthquake fault in the area. Government scientists said the appearance of the yet unnamed fault, which does not exist on the country’s map of fault lines, triggered the powerful earthquake in Central Visayas. “We are 100 percent sure that this is the generator (of the earthquake),” Teresito Bacolcol told GMA 7 as he noted that the rock face appeared near the quake’s epicenter at the boundary of Sagbayan and Catigbian towns. “When we saw (the fault), eureka! This is it.” Bacolcol led a team from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), which inspected the rock face last Monday. “We recommend that no structures should be built on top of a fault and within the five-meter buffer zone on both sides of the fault,” Phivolcs director Renato Solidum told The STAR. He also urged the local government of Bohol to revise its land use policy around the fault. -Philstar
Geologists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) found “ground zero” or the fault that triggered the devastating magnitude 7.2 earthquake. The discovery on Monday confirmed the existence of a previously unknown fault in western Bohol. The Oct. 15 earthquake claimed around 200 lives and caused major infrastructure damage, including Spanish-era churches in Bohol and Cebu. Immediately after the earthquake, Phivolcs said the tremor was caused by the movement of the East Bohol Fault. The epicenter, first reported as Carmen town, was later adjusted to the general area between Sagbayan and Catigbian towns in north central Bohol based on the distribution of aftershocks. Geologists found a 5-kilometer surface rupture that extended from barangay Anonang in Inabanga town to barangay New Anonang in Buenavista town. “That fault motion caused the earthquake,” Renato Solidum, director of Phivolcs told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Talkback yesterday morning. The ground rupture pushed the ground upward from two to three meters, cutting through mountains, roads and possibly settlement areas. Phivolcs teams are still studying the extent of the fault line which could extend 100 kilometers or longer.
Meanwhile, aftershocks recorded by Phivolcs indicate a general distribution from north Bohol to the offshores of Dalaguete, Alcoy and Boljoon towns in southern Cebu. The data was plotted on a map by Jessie Alaivar Floren, a private Geographic Informatino System expert in Cebu. Aside from structural damage, residents in southern Cebu towns of Alegria and Badian and Carcar City have complained that ground water turned to “milo” brown. “The earthquake may have disturbed the clay-limestone land formations in these areas, affecting their water table and underground water channels,” said Jun Lucero, senior geologist of the DENR Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). Lucero told Cebu Daily News that they are now checking reports of possible liquefaction in several areas in Cebu and Bohol. Severe liquefaction could result in the sinking or submersion of lands, he said. Areas near the river and those reclaimed from the sea are more prone to liquefaction, Lucero said. Structures in reclaimed areas, he said, should have stronger foundations and must use materials that can withstand strong ground shaking and liquefaction. -Inquirer
July 11, 2013 –INDIA – In last few years, Himachal Pradesh (HP) is witnessing increased frequency of earthquakes up to 5 magnitude on the Richter scale, which has led to the fear of bigger quakes hitting the state in future. While experts are claiming low intensity quakes release seismic energy to avoid bigger earthquakes, unplanned constructions, even on steep hills, has led to fear of widespread destruction if a high magnitude earthquake hits the state. In the past 90 years, 250 quakes of magnitude 4 and more than 60 with a reading of 5 on the Richter scale have rocked HP and adjoining states of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Uttarakhand. On Tuesday, a low intensity earthquake of magnitude 5 had hit Kullu, Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti districts and its epicenter was between J&K and HP. Last month, between June 4 and 6, four low intensity earthquakes had hit the state and epicenter of all the quakes was between Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti. The areas falling in districts Chamba, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Hamirpur and Bilaspur are very sensitive as they fall in the very high damage risk seismic zone (Zone V), whereas the rest of the areas falls in high damage risk zone (Zone IV). According to D D Sharma of Himachal Pradesh University, frequent occurrences of low intensity earthquakes are good because they help in releasing the seismic energy and does not allow accumulation of energy, which later results in earthquakes of bigger magnitude and intensity. “It is said that a big earthquake revisits after a gap of 50 years and in Kangra district for last 110 years no major earthquake has occurred.
It was in 1905 when 20,000 people were killed in Kangra so threat of a major earthquake is more in that area,” he added. Sharma said a study had shown that if an earthquake of bigger magnitude takes place in Himachal during night hours, then it would kill 240,000 people while during the morning hour casualty would be around 160,000. An assistant professor of geology at HPU’s regional centre at Dharamshala, Mukta, said that after a major earthquake in 2005, whose epicenter was in Kashmir, Himachal has been witnessing low intensity earthquakes at regular intervals. “Last year in October-November around 7-8 low intensity earthquakes were recorded in Dharamshala and Baijnath areas of Kangra district in a span of 3-4 days,” she said. Massive haphazard constructions in the hill towns of Shimla, Dharamshala, Dalhousie and Kullu have made them prone to natural hazards like earthquake. In Shimla, construction has taken place on steep slopes. An earthquake of 8 or above magnitude can turn the tourist town into rubbles as 14 major localities are situated on an average slope of 35 to 70 degrees with peak population density of 2,000 to 3,000 per hectare, despite the fact that the city falls under seismic zone IV. –The Times of India
May 20, 2013– KAMCHATKA– A massive earthquake swarm has occurred in the region of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia. More than 20 earthquakes have struck the region in the last 22 hours- the strongest of which was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, which rattled the seafloor at a depth of 16.5 km deep. The latest seismic flare-up along this region reflects growing agitation on one of the planet’s largest tectonic plates- the Pacific plate. Increasing seismic volatility along this region of Kamchatka could have serious ramifications for every tectonic plate that comes into contact with the Pacific plate- from the South Pacific to South America. A similar, more intense earthquake swarm occurred along the periphery of the Pacific Plate near the Santa Cruz Islands in February of this year. Is the Pacific plate on the verge of a large-scale change?
The geology of the region:The Kuril-Kamchatka arc extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan, along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula to its intersection with the Aleutian arc near the Commander Islands, Russia. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk micro-plate, part of the larger North American plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, active volcanoes located along the entire arc, and the deep offshore Kuril-Kamchatka trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving towards the northwest at a rate that increases from 75 mm/year near the northern end of the arc to 83 mm/year in the south. Plate motion is predominantly convergent along the Kuril-Kamchatka arc with obliquity increasing towards the southern section of the arc. The subducting Pacific plate is relatively old, particularly adjacent to Kamchatka where its age is greater than 100 Ma. Consequently, the Wadati-Benioff zone is well defined to depths of approximately 650 km. The central section of the arc is comprised of an oceanic island arc system, which differs from the continental arc systems of the northern and southern sections. Oblique convergence in the southern Kuril arc results in the partitioning of stresses into both trench-normal thrust earthquakes and trench-parallel strike-slip earthquakes, and the westward translation of the Kuril forearc. This westward migration of the Kuril forearc currently results in collision between the Kuril arc in the north and the Japan arc in the south, resulting in the deformation and uplift of the Hidaka Mountains in central Hokkaido. The Kuril-Kamchatka arc is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Deformation of the overriding North America plate generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the subduction zone interface between the Pacific and North America plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. At greater depths, Kuril-Kamchatka arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific plate and can reach depths of approximately 650 km. -USGS
May 19, 2013 – ANCHORAGE - Alaska’s remote Pavlof Volcano has been shooting lava hundreds of feet into the air, but its ash plume is thinning and is no longer making it dangerous for airplanes to fly nearby. Geologist Chris Waythomas of the Alaska Volcano Observatory says a narrow ash plume extends a couple hundred miles southeast from the volcano, which is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage. The eruption that began Monday seemed to be slowing on Saturday, but Waythomas says that could change at any time. He says seismic tremors from the 8,262-foot volcano have been going up and down, but remain at a fairly high level. Scientists are not expecting the eruption to end anytime soon but so far it has not been explosive. There are mud flows racing down the summit, but no one lives close enough to the volcano to be threatened. –ABC News
April 19, 2013 – JAPAN -A strong earthquake swarm, presumably caused by a magmatic intrusion, has started Wednesday at Miyake volcano in the Japanese Izu Islands. On Wednesday alone, JMA recorded 136 earthquakes with magnitudes up to an earthquake of magnitude 5.6, which was widely felt in the region. The quakes’ hypocenters are clustered in a NNW-SSW trending area about 10 km west of the island, at depths of 5-15 km. The volcano last erupted in 2010. –Volcano Discovery
Earth reeling from tremors in the East: Massive earthquakes have hit Iran/Pakistan, the Kuril Islands, Papua, NG, the Japanese Islands, Uganda, and Sichuan China, where more than 203 people have been killed in a 6.6 magnitude earthquake.
April 20, 2013 – SICHUAN, CHINA – A strong 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit a remote, mostly rural and mountainous area of southwestern China’s Sichuan province on Saturday, killing at least 203 people and injuring about 11,500 close to where a big quake killed almost 70,000 people in 2008. The earthquake, China’s worst in three years, occurred at 8.02 a.m. (0002 GMT) in Lushan county near Ya’an city and the epicenter had a depth of 12 km (7.5 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake was felt by residents in neighboring provinces and in the provincial capital of Chengdu, causing many people to rush out of buildings, according to accounts on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service. State media said 156 people had been confirmed dead with more than 5,500 injured. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang said all efforts must be put into rescuing victims to limit the death toll. After arriving at the disaster zone by helicopter, Li directed earthquake relief efforts from a plaza in Longmen Township in Lushan, Xinhua said. Li asked that a road be opened to Baoxing County, one of the most affected by the earthquake, and that rescuers “act quickly” in their efforts, Xinhua quoted Li as saying. “The current most urgent issue is grasping the first 24 hours since the quake’s occurrence, the golden time for saving lives,” Xinhua news agency quoted Li as saying earlier. Xinhua said 6,000 troops were heading to the area to help with rescue efforts. State television CCTV said only emergency vehicles were being allowed into Ya’an, though Chengdu airport had reopened. Most of the deaths were concentrated in Lushan, where water and electricity were cut off. Pictures on Chinese news sites showed toppled buildings and people in bloodied bandages being treated in tents outside the hospital, which appeared only lightly damaged. Rescuers in Lushan had pulled 32 survivors out of rubble, Xinhua said. In villages closest to the epicenter, almost all low rise houses and buildings had collapsed, according to footage broadcast on state television. “We are very busy right now, there are about eight or nine injured people, the doctors are handling the cases,” said a doctor at a Ya’an hospital who gave her family name as Liu. The hospital was seeing head and leg injuries, she added. The China Meteorological Association warned of a possibility of landslides occurring in Lushan county on Saturday and Sunday, the agency said in a statement on its website. A resident in Chengdu, 140 km (85 miles) from Ya’an city, told Xinhua he was on the 13th floor of a building when he felt the quake. The building shook for about 20 seconds and he saw tiles fall from nearby buildings. Ya’an is a city of 1.5 million people and is considered one of the birthplaces of Chinese tea culture. It is also the home to one of China’s main centers for protecting the giant panda. “There are still shakes and tremors and our area is safe. The pandas are safe,” said a spokesman with Ya’an’s Bifengxia nature park, a tourism park that houses more than 100 pandas. Shouts and screams were heard in the background while Reuters was on the telephone with the spokesman. “There was just an aftershock, an aftershock, our office is safe,” he said. Numerous aftershocks jolted the area, the largest of which was magnitude 5.1. Sichuan is one of the four major natural-gas-producing provinces in China, and its output accounts for about 14 percent of the nation’s total. The U.S. Geological Survey initially put the magnitude at 7, but later revised it down. The devastating May 2008 quake was 7.9 magnitude. –Reuters
February 5, 2013 – SOLOMON ISLANDS - An earthquake measuring 8.0 magnitude struck southeast of the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. ABC News.net reports three villages were wiped out on the Santa Cruz Islands. The earthquake struck at the fairly shallow depth of 28.7 km (17.8 miles), and a tsunami warning was issued for the region. This is the second largest earthquake to ever strike the Solomon Island region and the strongest to hit the region in almost 40 years. The largest earthquake to ever strike the region was an 8.1 magnitude earthquake that struck 104 km from Honiara Makira, Solomon Islands on April 21, 1977. However, today’s 8.0 magnitude earthquake was some 581 km (361 miles) ESE of Honiara, Solomon Islands and represents a new geologically-agitated tension spot. The quake was followed by two powerful aftershocks, a 6.4 and 6.6. This is now the ninth major earthquake to strike this region since January 31, 203. –The Extinction Protocol – ABC
February 6, 2013 – SOLOMON ISLANDS – An earthquake measuring 6.3 magnitude struck southeast of the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The shallow quake was only 15 km (nine miles) deep and the epicenter was 330 km east-southeast of Kira Kira in the Solomon Islands. There was no immediate tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii. The earthquake was followed by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake. Today’s earthquake is the sixth major earthquake to strike the region since January 31, 2013. –Reuters
January 22, 2013 – BRAZIL – A rather shallow 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the ocean floor just off the coast of Brazil, south of the popular tourist destination of Natal. The eastern coast of Brazil is relatively free from faults and is not located on the border of any major tectonic plates. So this earthquake is quite unusual. If we look at the seismic hazard map of Brazil (below), it’s clear to see that most of Brazil’s seismic hazards lie in the western part of the country. See local quake map of Brazil.
In 2010, Brazilian seismologist João Carlos Dourado, from Universidade Estadual Paulista, explained in an interview to G1 that Brazil is located at the center of the South American tectonic plate and therefore away from the stresses on the plate edges, which cause earthquakes of the magnitude that plague Chile and countries on the western coast of South America. Today’s earthquake struck at a depth of 15.1 km (9.4 miles) under the Atlantic Ocean floor. The epicenter of the earthquake was 93 km (57 miles) E of Itamaraca, Brazil. 1
Unusual: Is this quake from a previously unknown fault this close to the shoreline or might other factors be at work here…like the area of growing weakness of the planet’s magnetic field in the South Atlantic Anomaly? Natal is virtually near the epicenter of the SAA. The South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) is an area where the Earth’s inner Van Allen radiation belt comes closest to the Earth’s surface dipping down to an altitude of 200km (124mi). This leads to an increased flux of energetic particles in this region and exposes orbiting satellites to higher than usual levels of radiation. The effect is caused by the non-concentricity of the Earth and its magnetic dipole, and the SAA is the near-Earth region where the Earth’s magnetic field is weakest. -The Extinction Protocol
January 22, 2013 – KAMCHATKA – Three volcanoes in Russia’s Kamchatka continue to send steam and ash into the air while lava flows down their slopes. Volcanic activity on the peninsula has dramatically intensified. Aviation authorities issued an orange security level in the area. The volcanoes Shiveluch, Kizimen and Plosky Talbachek are erupting in different parts of the peninsula simultaneously, causing dozens of local earthquakes, as the vibrations accompanying the eruptions of the giants continue to increase. The biggest and most active is Shiveluch, Kamchatka’s northernmost volcano and 3,283 meters high. Over the last days it made several eruptions of gases, steam and ash, the highest of which reached the 4,900 m above sea level. Unceasing earth tremors send avalanches down its slopes. Sensors installed near the volcano are registering high seismic activity with, active gas generation and thermal anomalies. Activity of Shiveluch started to grow back in 2009 when its dome split with a fissure 30 meters deep. A mere 45 km from Shiveluch there is Klyuchi settlement with 5,000 citizens. Volcanologists say at the moment there is no imminent danger to the town. Stratovolcano Kizimen 3,900 m high in the Kronotsky Reserve, famous for its Geyser Valley, is situated some 265 km from the region’s largest city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Its seismic activity also by far exceeds normal: over 80 local earthquakes have been registered near the volcano in the last 24 hours. The pillar of gas and ash rises to 4,400 m above sea level. At night the red glow could be seen in the sky above its crater. Kizimen ‘woke up’ in 2009 after the last big eruption in 1928-29 and since then its activity has only been growing. Plosky Talbachek volcano 3,140 m, a part of two-dome volcanic pile (the second dome Ostry Talbachek is 3,689m), became active on November 27, 2012, some 36 years after precisely predicted “Great fissure Tolbachek eruption” in 1975-76. Plosky Talbachek has been erupting lava for weeks now. Two openings below the crater level were sending lava flows that reached 6 and 18km. The flows are glowing in the nighttime, which means that more and more masses of lava continue to arrive, reported Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team. Though increased volcanic activity and eruptions pose a certain threat to air travel over the Kamchatka Peninsula, volcanologists closely monitoring the situation report no imminent danger to settlements close to any of the three volcanoes. –RT
January 22, 2013 – CHILE – A new (so far small) eruption began yesterday from Caulle volcano, local sources reported. Ash emissions reaching 11,000 ft (3.4 km) altitude were reported by Buenos Aires VAAC. Local news report ash fall over Puyehué, Entre Lagos and Osorno today. –Volcano Discovery
January 22, 2013 – HAWAII – Eruptive activity at the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano is picking up at the Pu u Oo vent and Halemaumau Crater. At the Pu u Oo vent, situated in the volcano’s East Rift Zone, lava flows are sporadically spilling onto the east flank of the vent. The volume of lava streaming to ocean entry is increasing slightly, with small entry points now spread along the coastline near Kupapu Point on both sides of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The current ocean-entry flow has been under way since mid-November. This month marks the 30th anniversary of Kilauea volcano’s ongoing East Rift Zone eruption. During its first three years, spectacular lava fountains spewed from the Pu u Oo vent. Since then, nearly continuous flow has built a vast plain of slow-moving pahoe hoe lava stretching from the volcano’s rift zone to the Big Island’s shoreline. Also, in recent months, at Kilauea volcano’s summit caldera, the lava lake swirling in Halemaumau Crater has been rising to record levels. Since March 19, 2008, when an explosive eruption formed the lava lake, its surface level has remained mostly below the inner ledge (about 100 feet below the floor of Halemaumau Crater). It has, however, risen above and flooded the ledge in October 2012 and this month. According to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists, “the lake level responds to summit tilt changes, with the lake receding during deflation and rising during inflation.” The best and closest place within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to catch a look at eruptive activity at Halemaumau is at the Jaggar Museum, which is near the summit. After sunset, the lava lake casts a vivid glow on the ever-present plume of volcanic gases rising from the site. On-island viewing of the ocean-entry lava flow is now largely limited to the Kalapana viewing area, which is maintained by Hawaii County and located outside of the national park. –Hawaii Mag
January 22, 2013 – PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Eruptions of Papua New Guinea’s Mt Tavurvur have forced some flights in and out of New Britain to be cancelled. The ash and vapor blowing from the volcano affected flights to Tokua Airport. Air Niugini says the flight suspension came into effect on Monday and will continue for an indefinite period. Newspaper reports say low to loud roaring and rumbling noises were heard on Sunday night when the volcano erupted. Tavurvur is an active volcano that lies near Rabaul in Papua New Guinea. It is a sub-vent of the Rabaul caldera and lies on the eastern rim of the larger feature. The volcano is most well known for its devastating eruptions over Rabaul. Mt Tavurvur is the most well known volcano in Rabaul caldera, and has erupted as recently as January 2009. The last time the volcano erupted was in 2011. –Radio New ZealandWikipedia
December 11, 2012 – INDONESIA - A magnitude 7.3 (7.1 USGS) earthquake in the Banda Sea off Indonesia has been felt more than 600 kilometers away in Darwin. Geoscience Australia says there could be more aftershocks from the quake that shook the Top End of the Northern Territory overnight. Tremors were felt in Darwin and Katherine at about 2:30 am local time and were the strongest in the north for about 20 years. Overnight staff at the Darwin weather bureau evacuated their third-storey office while the building shook. Duty forecaster Angeline Prasad says the tremor was the strongest she has felt. “The building started shaking and it just became worse,” she said. “It is the worst tremor I’ve felt in Darwin. When things started falling off shelves we decided to go to an evacuation point, which is outside the building.” Geoscience senior seismologist Dr Mark Leonard says, while there have been quakes of a similar magnitude felt in Darwin before, people are describing last night’s tremor as particularly intense. “We have had a few reports from people saying they think it is the strongest, even though we know if you go back 20, 30 years there have been a number of earthquakes this size,” he said. “But there might have been some sort of focusing of the waves this time.” An engineering specialist says the tremor is a pointer to why building standards should be reviewed in northern Australia. Professor Kevin McKew from Central Queensland University says it is a warning that a large, damaging earthquake could strike at any time. “The big one is yet to come,” he said. “We haven’t had a great earthquake, as I would call it, but we’ve had plenty of warning calls. “I think it will happen; it’s just a matter of when will it happen. “We know it is probably a once in 300 or 400 year earthquake but we have no indication to say when it’s about to happen. But we just have to plan for it.” One Darwin resident says she was sleeping when her bed started moving. “The bed was really shaking violently, all my sliding doors rattling and windows were rattling, and the wardrobe was sliding violently and rattling,” she said. “It just seemed to go on and on and on, and then when it died down, it even had another violent shudder again. “It certainly got the adrenaline running.” Residents further south in Katherine, 200 kilometers south of Darwin, also felt tremors. Indonesian geophysics officials also said they had not received any reports of damage. The quake was felt only weakly in the districts of North Halamahera and Morotai which were closest to the epicenter, Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in an update. –Radio Australia
Eyewitnesses also described December 7 Japan quake as different…
April 29, 2011 – KAMCHATKA – Two of Far East Russia’s most active volcanoes threatened aviation and wildlife during eruptions that spewed ash above the Kamchatka Peninsula. Ash from Shiveluch soared nearly five miles high near some key trans-Pacific aviation routes. RIA Novosti reports an eruption of Kizimen volcano brought hazardous conditions to areas inhabited by wild animals, including some endangered species. The news agency said reindeer were leaving their normal habitat because their usual winter food supply of moss was buried beneath a thick crust of ash-covered snow. Experts from the Krontosky Nature Reserve told reporters that reindeer numbers may be reduced to less than 1,000 as a result of the eruption. -Earth Week
March 3, 2011 – PUERTO RICO – We see an unusual band of seismic disturbances perturbing the Cocos and the Caribbean plates. This does not mean a quake is likely only seismic tension and pent-up pressures produce favorable conditions for the eruption of a potential quake involving these plates. (Below) Seismographs for Domincian Republic (left) and the Yucatan (right).
March 2, 2011 – LOS ANGELES – By studying seismographs from the earthquake that hit Chile last February, earth scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found a statistically significant increase of microearthquakes in central California in the first few hours after the main shock. The observation provides an additional support that seismic waves from distant earthquakes could also trigger seismic events on the other side of Earth. The results may be found online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. It has been well known that microearthquakes can be triggered instantaneously by distant earthquakes. However, sometimes the triggered events could occur long after the passage of the direct surface waves that take the shortest path on Earth’s surface. There are several other explanations out there about how such delayed triggering occurs. Some involve the redistribution of pore fluids and triggered aseismic creep, while others simply consider them as aftershocks of the directly triggered events. But the group from Georgia Tech found something different. “From our research, we’ve concluded the delayed triggering that occurs in the first few hours after an earthquake could be caused by multiple surface waves traveling back and forth around the Earth multiple times,” said Zhigang Peng, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. In a previous paper, also published in Geophysical Research Letters last December, Peng’s research group found that the direct surface waves of the Chilean earthquake triggered seismic activity in central California. In this new study, Peng’s group looked beyond the direct surface waves and focused on secondary and tertiary waves that return after traveling across the globe multiple times. In addition, they went beyond earthquake information published in the U.S. Geological Survey catalog and instead studied the seismographs. -Science Daily
I’ve said this for years and compiled numerous examples in my book of how seismic events were capable of triggering other seismic episodes across the planet. This is one reason why any escalation of seismic activity on this planet can be potentially dangerous. This holistic view of science is often lacking in many earth science research circles.