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Posted by zenobiusz w dniu 2 września 2011

Kamchatka’s Shiveluch volcanic eruption threatens air traffic

September 2, 2011 – KAMCHATKA – Far East Russia’s Shiveluch volcano spewed ash high into the atmosphere over the Kamchatka Peninsula, as well as into key international air traffic routes across the North Pacific. One column of ash on Monday reached an altitude of more than five miles, posing a threat to aircraft. Russia’s National Geophysical Service said that ash discharges from Shiveluch increased in intensity and volume over the weekend, and were punctuated by Monday’s blast. The closest human settlement to the volcano’s crater is about 30 miles away. Shiveluch was relatively dormant for a few decades before it started to show signs of renewed unrest in 2006. Its last major eruption was in 1964. It is one of a string of volcanoes situated along the Kamchatka Peninsula, one of the world’s most active seismic zone. The latest blast occurred as an international workshop on seismic hazards was underway in the Kamchatka city of Petropavlovsk.-Earth Week
September 2, 2011 – UKRAINE – The term mud volcano or mud-dome is used to refer to formations created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, although there are several different processes which may cause such activity. Hot water mixes with mud and surface deposits. Mud volcanoes are associated with subduction zones and about 700 have been identified. Temperatures are much cooler in these processes than found at igneous volcanoes. The largest mud volcano structures are 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) in diameter and reach 700 meters (2,300 ft) in height. About 86% of the gas released from these structures is methane, with much less carbon dioxide and nitrogen emitted. Ejected materials are often a slurry of fine solids suspended in liquids which may include water, which is frequently acidic or salty, and hydrocarbon fluids. There are generally few mud volcanoes in Europe, but dozens can be found on the Taman Peninsula of Russia and the Kerch Peninsula of southeastern Ukraine. –Wikipedia

Editor’s notation: Actual event may have occurred in 2008 we just learned.

contribution Luisport

Tropical Storm Lee may drop 20 inches of rain over parts of Louisiana

September 2, 2011 – NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tropical Storm Lee formed in the waters off Louisiana on Friday, threatening a drenching along much of the Gulf coast over the Labor Day weekend with up to 20 inches of rain in some spots. Mississippi’s governor declared a state of emergency in seven counties on or near the coast, saying the storm is expected to cause tremendous flooding. A state of emergency frees up resources that can be used to prepare for a storm, and Louisiana’s governor declared one Thursday because of the threat of flash flooding. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu also declared a state of emergency for the city on Friday. Lee could unleash “efficient and torrential topical rains” for the next several days, the National Weather Service said. In the French Quarter, some tourists were caught off guard by the storm as it rained off and on. Kyla Holley of Madison, Wis. and her husband, Rob, were in for the Labor Day weekend holiday. –AP Wire

Scientists find major earthquake fault under Mount Hood

September 2, 2011 – PORTLAND, Or. – Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon, has a secret, scientists revealed. Covered by trees and plants is an earthquake fault that stretches for miles from the iconic mountain. The fault appears to have been recently active, and could be an earthquake threat today, reported the Portland Oregonian. Scientists said the last time the fault ruptured, possibly as a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake, the ground ripped six feet (1.8 meters) apart. The fault was discovered by scientists flying over Mt. Hood using lasers to scan the terrain. The fault is about 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) long and stretches from the northern flank of Mount Hood to the Columbia River. Earthquakes are not a foreign concept to Oregonians. The nearby Cascadia Subduction Zone could unleash a magnitude 9earthquake, similar to the size of the deadly earthquake that ruptured in Japan. Scientists aren’t sure how big of an earthquake could rupture from the new Mount Hood fault. The research team, from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, are now working to estimate the threat that the fault poses to nearby communities. “We don’t know where all the seismic faults exist in Oregon. We don’t know how often they cause earthquakes,” Oregon State University engineer Michael Olsen, told the Oregonian. “That leads to a lot of uncertainty when we try to design buildings,” he says, that are sufficiently resistant to earthquake damage. In the coming weeks, scientists will dig a trench above the fault line so they can examine the soil for clues about past earthquakes. Looking at how the gravel and dirt has settled after past quakes could tell scientists about the size of previous quakes along the fault. –Our Amazing Planet

6.7 magnitude earthquake shakes northern Argentine capital

September 2, 2011 – Buenos Aires – A magnitude- 6.7 earthquake has struck north-central Argentina, shaking things up enough to make people evacuate some buildings in the capital hundreds of miles (kilometers) away. The epicenter was 805 km (500 miles) NNW of BUENOS AIRES, D.F., Argentina. The U.S. Geological Service says the quake’s epicenter was 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Santiago del Estero, a provincial capital of 250,000 people and the 12th-largest city in Argentina. It was centered deep underground, nearly 400 miles (600 kilometers) below the surface, where quakes generally cause less damage. The shaking prompted people to spill out of the San Isidro courts building in Buenos Aires province Friday morning. –Kansas City.com

Dow takes 200 point tumble at opening bell on weak job outlook

September 2, 2011 – NEW YORK  — U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Friday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average into negative territory for the week, after government data showed payrolls remained unchanged in August. The Labor Department reported payrolls were unchanged on the month, while the jobless rate held at 9.1%, as the first downgrade of the country’s credit, political bickering over the U.S. budget, and worries about European debt had companies and consumers alike curbing expenditures.The nation’s unemployment rate was unchanged in August. In addition, virtually zero jobs were added to the economy. “The story it’s telling is August was pretty weak. The debt debate in Washington hurt business confidence, and they cut back on their hiring,” said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector analysis at Charles Schwab & Co. –Market Watch

What has happened to the Sun? Solar wind speed drops to near 50-year low


September 2, 2011 – What has happened to the Sun? The solar winds have fallen to a low speed: 280.3 km/sec with a proton density event of 0.9 protons/cm3. The average solar wind speed is about 400 km per second. The diminishing solar activity, despite a plethora of sunspots painted across the surface of the Sun, led Space Weather to declare: “The solar disk is peppered with sunspot groups, at least eight of them. None of them, however, is producing strong flares. Solar activity remains generally low.” The last time the solar wind speed was this low was in 2008 when the solar wind velocity fell to 290.0 km with a proton density of 3.3 protons/cm3 but today’s reading is even lower than 2008. See 2008 solar wind reading:
The dismal output of solar activity in 2008 led NASA scientists to conclude: “A wind of charged particles that stream constantly from the sun is at its lowest level ever recorded in the 50 years since spacecraft have made the measurement possible. The Ulysses spacecraft observed the weak solar winds, the constant, high-speed stream of particles that races from the sun, during a quiet period in the sun’s activity. The solar weather cycle affects Earth and other planets in the solar system. “We know that the sun has been this cool before, this inactive before,” said Nancy Crooker, a physicist at Boston University in Boston, Mass., during a NASA teleconference on Tuesday. “But that was prior to the Space Age, so we didn’t have actual physical measurements until now.” The solar wind’s charged particles blow out from the sun at a blistering 1 million mph, sweeping away background radiation and colliding with incoming galactic cosmic rays from distant stars. It effectively encloses our solar system in a protective bubble called the heliosphere.” –Space.com –September 23, 2008
More Cosmic Rays hitting Earth: “The solar wind isn’t inflating the heliosphere as much as it used to,” says McComas. “That means less shielding against cosmic rays.” In addition to weakened solar wind, “Ulysses also finds that the sun’s underlying magnetic field has weakened by more than 30% since the mid-1990s,” says Posner. “This reduces natural shielding even more.” –NASA  –September 23, 2008

America’s aging nuclear power plants an increasing concern for seismic risks

September 2, 2011 – WASHINGTON (AP) — The risk that an earthquake would cause a severe accident at a U.S. nuclear plant is greater than previously thought, 24 times as high in one case, according to an AP analysis of preliminary government data. The nation’s nuclear regulator believes a quarter of America’s reactors may need modifications to make them safer. The threat came into sharp focus last week, when shaking from the largest earthquake to hit Virginia in 117 years appeared to exceed what the North Anna nuclear power plant northwest of Richmond was built to sustain. The two North Anna reactors are among 27 in the eastern and central U.S. that a preliminary Nuclear Regulatory Commission review has said may need upgrades. That’s because those plants are more likely to get hit with an earthquake larger than the one their design was based on. Just how many nuclear power plants are more vulnerable won’t be determined until all operators recalculate their own seismic risk based on new assessments by geologists, something the agency plans to request later this year. The NRC on Thursday issued a draft of that request for public comment. The review, launched well before the East Coast quake and the Japan nuclear disaster in March, marks the first complete update to seismic risk in years for the nation’s 104 existing reactors, despite research showing greater hazards. The NRC and the industry say reactors are safe as they are, for now. The average risk to U.S. reactors of core damage from a quake remains low, at one accident every 500 years, according to the AP analysis of NRC data. But emails obtained in a more than 11,000-page records request by The Associated Press show that NRC experts were worried privately this year that plants needed stronger safeguards to account for the higher risk assessments. –Yahoo News
contribution Warren

Indonesia adds 3 more volcanoes to the August 7th alert status list of 18

September 2, 2011 – INDONESIA – JAKARTA: The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has elevated the status of three volcanoes in Nusa Tenggara from normal to alert, according to an official. “The volcanoes are Anak Ranakah, Tamboraand Lewotobi Perempuan,” National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Thursday. Sutopo said that a higher intensity of deep and shallow eruptions of Anak Ranakah in East Nusa Tenggara led officials to increase their warning status to alert, the third-highest level, on Aug 26. Twenty-four deep eruptions and 10 shallow eruptions were recorded near the volcano on Aug. 24. Despite the status change, Sutopo said that nearby residents were still safe and did not need to evacuate. However, he advised the local government and civil society groups to remain alert to the changing conditions. “Those who want to hike should postpone their plans. At the moment, hiking routes are temporarily closed,” he said. –Jakarta Post

6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Fox Islands chain off Alaska

September 2, 2011 – ALASKA – A 7.1 (6.8 downgraded USGS) magnitude earthquake has struck the Fox Islands chain off the coast of Alaska. The earthquake struck at a depth of 35.5 km and the epicenter was 45 km (27 miles) SW of Amukta Island, Alaska and 1658 km (1030 miles) WSW of Anchorage, Alaska. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck nearly the identical region at a depth of 62 km on June 24, 2011. The region is prone to large earthquakes. According to USGS data, the average number of 7.0-7.9 earthquakes that strike the planet a year is 15. Today’s earthquake would have made the 13th this year but the quake was later downgraded to a magnitude 6.8 by the USGS. The quake prompted the issue of a tsunami warning for the Aleutian Islands but they were later canceled.  –The Extinction Protocol


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