2013 Articles of Interest

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Seasonal weather predictions and folklore, reports of unexplained ecological events, new geological discoveries, to disaster and economical preparedness.

Solar flare produces majestic aurora as far south as Kansas

A powerful solar flare directed at Earth has put on majestic display of the northern lights across parts of Canada, the U.S and Ireland.

The explosion crashed into Earth's magnetic field on Tuesday allowing people to see the light show as far south as Kansas, Maine and Kentucky.

One lucky photographer managed to catch the aurora as it began. In one photograph, a young Amish man's cart and horse is silhouetted against the luminescent green lights. Read more and see the amazing photos.

Island Appears After Major Earthquake

Barely half an hour after they were jolted by a major earthquake on Tuesday, people of the Pakistani coastal town of Gwadar had another shock when they saw a new island emerge in the sea, just over a kilometre from the shore.

A local journalist, Bahram Baloch, received the news via a text message from a friend. "It said a hill has appeared outside my house," Mr Baloch said.

"I stepped out, and was flabbergasted. I could see this grey, dome-shaped body in the distance, like a giant whale swimming near the surface. Hundreds of people had gathered to watch it in disbelief." Read more and see photos.

A major earthquake of preliminary magnitude M7.4, later upgraded to M7.7, struck in south central Pakistan on Tuesday 24 September at around 4pm local time.

Early reports from the United States Geological Survey indicate that the tremor occurred at a depth of just 12.4 km: its epicenter was 41km from the town of Awaran. Although at the time of writing there were reports of damage and limited casualties, the magnitude and depth of the earthquake are significant and potentially damaging. Read more.

Free Pamphlets for the public and emergency managers

1) Volcanic health hazards of ash explained

2) How to prepare and cope with ashfall.

Two sets of pamphlets have been published by IVHHN in association with USGS, IAVCEI's Cities and Volcanoes Commission and GNS, New Zealand.

The first pamphlet is a guide for the public on the health hazards of volcanic ash. The second is for the public and emergency managers on guidelines for preparedness before, during and after an ashfall.

The pamphlets are available for mass distribution at the onset of new eruptions. English versions have been distributed to all volcano observatories and are being translated into several languages. The pamphlets are currently available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Swahili, Icelandic and Bahasa Indonesia. An Italian version will be available here shortly. If you would like to have the pamphlets in your language, please Contact Us.

There is also a poster which combines both pamphlets which has been specifically written for children and young people. Click here to view the pamphlets.

Mushrooms as Secret Weapons?

Could mushrooms be a secret weapon for disaster relief? After most natural disasters, you see mounds of trash and lots of hungry people. Mushrooms could turn that trash into food.

A mycologist and mushroom cultivation expert from South Carolina, Cotter is pursuing an idea that could bring lasting relief to poor communities and victims of natural disasters around the world. Having built a business on growing — and teaching others to grow — mushrooms on just about any waste biomass he could get his hands on, he became painfully aware that these same techniques could be used to both clean up after natural disasters and create meaningful amounts of fast-growing, plant-based protein in a matter of weeks. Read more.

Double Jet Stream Creates Extreme Weather

During the summer, the double jet stream produced a very strange temperature pattern along the Pacific coast, Nielsen-Gammon says. Down in Southern California it was unusually hot — in Death Valley the temperature reached 129 degrees. Meanwhile, up in British Columbia, it remained unseasonably cold.

Even farther north, in Anchorage, Alaska, residents experienced a relative heat wave, with a record number of 70-degree days. But even farther up in the Arctic, temperatures were relatively cold again.

The double jet stream also played a big role in the Colorado flooding this month, Francis says. High up in the atmosphere, one stream was carrying moist air from the Pacific to the Rockies. Then, lower down, an unusual eddy was pulling in more moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, an unusual bulge in the jet stream was causing all this weather to stall near Boulder. Read more.

Earthquakes Rumble Through Yellowstone

Until recently, Bob Smith had never witnessed two simultaneous earthquake swarms in his 53 years of monitoring seismic activity in and around the Yellowstone Caldera.

Now, Smith, a University of Utah geophysics professor, has seen three swarms at once. “It’s very remarkable,” Smith said. “How does one swarm relate to another? Can one swarm trigger another and vice versa?”

Because concurrent swarms have never been detected in the past, the answers aren’t in yet, Smith said. The geophysicist said he “wouldn’t doubt” if at least two of the events were related. Read more.

Sea Levels Dropped

Global sea level has been rising as a result of global warming, but in 2010 and 2011, sea level actually fell by about a quarter of an inch.

Scientists now say they know why: It has to do with extreme weather in Australia.
Some of those floodwaters simply ran back into the ocean, so they didn't affect sea level. But a lot of that water was trapped on the Australian land mass. That's because the continent has an odd geography. Read More.

Earth's biggest Volcano

Geophysicists have discovered what they say is the largest single volcano on Earth, a 650-kilometre-wide beast the size of the British Isles lurking beneath the waters of the northwest Pacific Ocean.

The megavolcano has been inactive for some 140 million years. But its very existence will help geophysicists to set limits on how much magma can be stored in Earth's crust and pour out onto the surface. It also shows that Earth can produce volcanoes on par with Olympus Mons on Mars, which, at 625 kilometres across, was until now the biggest volcano known in the Solar System. Read more.

Volcano Sakurajima in Japan Erupts

A moderately large vulcanian explosion occurred this morning, producing significant fallout of lapilli and small bombs in several kilometers distance. Cars parked at the Arimura Lava observatory observation point to the south of the volcano were damages and windshields broken, at a distance of about 4 km. There are no reports of injuries to people.

The ash plume from the eruption rose to approx. 12,000 ft (3.6 km) elevation, i.e. about 2.5 km km height. In itself, today's explosion is not even among the largest that have occurred in the past months, but the volcano clearly continues to be in a state of elevated activity when seen on a long-term average. The following webcam time-lapse video shows frequent ash emission and explosions from the volcano today. Watch Video.

2013 Hurricane Season

This hurricane season was predicted to be an active one, yet the East Coast has been quiet so far. June 1 to November 30 is the time the Atlantic usually sees hurricanes, but thus far, it has been milder than predicted.

Is it possible that even the lowered numbers the NOAA have put out are still too high? We can only hope. ;) Click here for more information.

Do you have an Emergency Kit?

This is what the Red Cross says you need at a MINIMUM in your Emergency Kit:

Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
Extra batteries
First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
Multi-purpose tool
Sanitation and personal hygiene items
Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
Cell phone with chargers
Family and emergency contact information
Extra cash
Emergency blanket
Map(s) of the area

Now... How prepared are YOU?

Effects of Natural Disasters on Animals

Dog Holding Leash in Mouth

Natural disasters can have a devastating effect on not only the people in the area, but also the animals that have made their homes there. Although most animals can sense the onset of these types of events they do not always manage to come out of them unscathed.

This includes both wild animals that cannot escape the danger and domesticated animals that are lost or left behind during a disaster. Read more.

Disaster Planning for Pets

Sinkhole in Louisiana Swallows Trees

If we were standing on the edge of a sinkhole when it suddenly issued a "burp" (yes, that's what they call an increase in underground tremors that move gas and debris) and swallowed a bunch of tall cypress trees, we suspect we'd run away — fast.

Not the guy who shot this video. John Boudreaux, director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Assumption Parish, La., was checking on underground activity at the year-old, 24-acre, previously placid bayou sinkhole on Wednesday when he saw a patch of trees begin to sway and lean.

"I was just standing there and I pointed out, 'Hey, it looks like they're moving,'" he told Louisiana's The Advocate. So he turned on his camera and got the whole thing on video. Read more and watch the video.

Food Storage for Pandemic Preparedness

The economic crisis is evolving and we re now told we can expect inflation to increase this year. Experts say food prices rose last year the most in forty years and will continue to rise, no one can yet see the end of global credit problems.

But on top of these worries, we are entering the flu season. And that is where our emergency preparation steps in, because there is a more sinister kind of flu to prepare for than the relatively mild one with which we are familiar. It’s the one feared by emergency planners, called a “pandemic”. Read More.

More on Pandemics

1589 Earthquakes in just 1 week

The United States Geological Survey’s real time earthquake map recorded a total of 1589 earthquakes worldwide between the 8-14 August 2013.

The majority of larger tremors (≥M5.0) occurred, as is usual, along the seismically active tectonic margins and around the Pacific Ocean – the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. Read More.

More About Earthquakes

Van Allen Belts' Secret Revealed

NASA's Van Allen Probes have demonstrated that the Van Allen belts replenish themselves just days after a solar storm has blown their charged particles away.

The two concentric rings of high-speed particles that encircle the Earth are finally giving up the secrets of their origin — 55 years after their discovery. Two NASA probes have found evidence that the Van Allen belts, as the rings are known, are responsible for accelerating the particles, rather than collecting energetic particles that originated elsewhere.

Space scientists think that their latest findings could also account for the even more energetic belts circling Saturn and Jupiter, as well as high-energy radiation associated with worlds beyond the Solar System and even some Sun-like stars. Read more.

Storm System dubed Super Easterly Wave

On July 14, a low pressure system that started in the Eastern United States retrograded under a ridge of high pressure to the north over the last couple of days. This storm system moved from east to west, which is extremely unusual for this hemisphere.

We’ve seen these move east to west for a short period of time, but this one will make it to Southern California by the time it weakens. The upper level system is known as an easterly wave; however I’d like to call it a super easterly wave based on the distance it is going to travel. Read more.

Earthquakes can be caused by Dams

Earthquakes can be induced by dams. Globally, there are over 100 identified cases of earthquakes that scientists believe were triggered by reservoirs. The most serious case may be the 7.9-magnitude Sichuan earthquake in May 2008, which killed an estimated 80,000 people and has been linked to the construction of the Zipingpu Dam in China.

The most widely accepted explanation of how dams cause earthquakes is related to the extra water pressure created in the micro-cracks and fissures in the ground under and near a reservoir. When the pressure of the water in the rocks increases, it acts to lubricate faults which are already under tectonic strain, but are prevented from slipping by the friction of the rock surfaces." Many dams are being built in seismically active regions, including the Himalayas, Southwest China, Iran, Turkey, and Chile.

In the past, people never thought that human activity, especially through damming, could have such a big impact on societies and land but it can. It can even wash out any development that may have been achieved over a period of time. Read more.

Volcanos Scream Before They Erupt

New research has discovered that volcanoes can sometimes ‘scream’ at ever-higher pitches just before they erupt, the Daily Mail reports.

Scientists at the University of Washington analysed an eruption sequence at Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano and found what they describe as audible ‘screams’ that followed seismic activity as the changed from steady pulses to rapid tremors. The researchers also believe that this research and the rise in the frequency of earthquakes and the tremors they cause in the ground could be used to predict future volcanic eruptions.

The study said that it is not unusual for swarms of small earthquakes to precede a volcanic eruption. They can reach a point of such rapid succession that they create a signal called a ‘harmonic tremor’ that is inaudible to humans as it is such a low frequency.

The researchers analysed an eruption sequence at Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano in March 2009. They found that the harmonic tremor rose to substantially higher frequencies and then stopped abruptly just before six of the eruptions. This article originally appeared in the www.dailytimes.com.pk

Volcano in Pavlof Alaska Sends Ash 28,000 Feet in the Air

The volcanoes began with minor eruptions weeks ago and are now showing more intense seismic activity. On Tuesday, the Alaska Volcano Observatory warned of more vigorous activity to come, which will likely mean more ash. There is some lava flowing

Pavlof has been erupting since early May. A snow-covered, cone-shaped mountain, its activity has waxed and waned over the past few months, but is now showing signs of more activity. David Schneider, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told CNN that the volcano has started shaking, and ash has risen at least 28,000 feet high.

"It's a pretty good size, but not high enough to affect overflying aircraft between America and Asia," he said. "It's more of a problem for local aviation." Pavlof is near the town of Cold Bay, a regional transportation hub with a long World War II-era runway that serves flight to the area villages. At times, the volcano's ash has affected those flights. Read more.

More on Volcanoes

Does the Earth Heal Itself after an Earthquake?

For the first time, scientists have watched the Earth heal itself after an earthquake.

The process is similar to the body repairing a cut, researchers from China and the United States report today (June 27) in the journal Science. During an earthquake, the ground tears apart along a fault, leaving a jagged series of fractures. After China's devastating magnitude 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, fluids filled the fractured fault, like blood gushing into a wound, the team found by drilling into the fault. Within two years — a blink of the eye in geologic time — the fault was speedily knitting itself back together, closing gaps through a combination of processes. But the gashes occasionally reopened when damaged by shaking from distant earthquakes, the study reports. Read more.

Supermoons Linked to Natural Disasters

According to spiritual community website Oranum, astrologers believe supermoons are capable of triggering natural disasters across the globe.

"Some of the biggest natural disasters in recent history have taken place during supermoons, such as the 2011 Japanese Earthquake, the 2005 Indonesian Tsunami and the 1992 and 1993 Midwest floods, superstorm and blizzard," the company said.

"When there is a supermoon, the tidal force is stronger. This supermoon will bring the highest and lowest tides of the year. These are known as spring tides and they climb up especially high, then plunge lower than usual. Read more.

Volcano Rumbles to Life in Mexico

The Popocatepetl volcano, which lies only 34 miles from Mexico City, continues to show signs of activity. On Monday, June 17 the volcano spewed clouds of ash and rock miles into the air.

Mexico's National Center for Prevention of Disasters (Cenapred) monitors the Popocatepetl volcano. It recorded 78 instances of activity of low to moderate intensity Monday, June 17. The alert status is at Yellow Phase 2 for the area surrounding the volcano. Access is restricted within a 7-8 mile radius of the crater and some local roads are open only to controlled traffic. Read more.

Return of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s

What would you do if a 15 hour dust storm with winds up to 60 miles an hour hit your home and afterwards there were three foot drifts of dirt covering everything that you owned? As crazy as that sounds, that is exactly what is now happening in some areas of the western United States.

Three years of severe drought has turned the soil of much of the western United States into a fine powder that the wind can easily pick up. As a result, we are seeing “apocalyptic” dust storms unlike anything the region has seen since the days of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Farmers and ranchers are literally watching their valuable topsoil being blown away by the wind and there is not a whole lot that they can do about it. So what is going to happen if the drought continues? Read more.

More about Droughts

What are Supershear Earthquakes?

The inner workings of bizarre and potentially dangerous earthquakes that break the seismic sound barrier creating a sonic boom have been confirmed in laboratory experiments. And these events -- known as supershear earthquakes -- may be more common than previously thought, report scientists in today's issue of the journal Science .

While scientists have previously investigated supershear earthquakes using plastics, the lack of experiments in real rocks limits our understanding of how these events happen in nature, they write.

In the latest study, the scientists used acoustic sensors to analyse 200 'micro-earthquakes' in granite rocks in the laboratory to emulate the conditions under which real supershear earthquakes occur. Read more.

Planetary Alignment Could Produce 8.2 Earthquake


Hurricane Season is Here - Are you Prepared?

Hurricane season is just around the corner and officials are urging everyone to prepare in advance. From May 26 through June 1 the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) campaign Ready Georgia supports National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Since we are not a coastal community, many believe that they are exempt from hurricane damage and fail to prepare. Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Darrell Enfinger explains why it is important to prepare now.

"Typically with hurricanes, you know, we have a couple of days to prepare ourselves so there's no reason not to go ahead and be prepared for hurricanes and the effects of a hurricane," said Enfinger.

Hurricanes have the potential to create many kinds of problems including wind damage, tornadoes, and flooding across Georgia, and yet many Georgians are not prepared. According to research from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, 69% of Georgians have not thought about where to go or how to evacuate if a hurricane were to hit this summer. Another 71% do not have a NOAA Weather Radio to warn them about advancing threats. Read more.

More on Hurricanes

Volcano Eruption Prompts Evacuations

Officials in Chile and Argentina ordered more than 2,500 people to leave their homes as Copahue volcano threatened to erupt on Monday (May 27). The volcano is at red alert status, meaning an eruption could be imminent, according to Chile's Geological Survey.

The volcano has erupted several times in the past 100 years, and has been spewing steam and ash on and off since Dec. 22, 2012. Towns near the 9,833-foot (2,997 meters) summit could be hit by fast-moving lahars (a debris flow of water and volcanic rock), volcanic bombs and lava flows. A YouTube video posted yesterday shows a helicopter's view of the steam column pouring from volcano. Read More.

Maine Leading the Way in EMP Preparedness

The experts viewed the state’s plan as a potential example for other states to follow as more and more regional leaders no longer are waiting for the federal government to take the initiative.

One of the experts, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, formerly was staff director of the EMP Commission which Congress mandated. That’s the commission that subsequently published its comprehensive study in 2008 on the impact of an EMP event on the nation’s interdependent critical infrastructures.

It was Pry, who in endorsing the legislation, told the joint committee that a recent study titled Global Trends 2030 has warned that natural EMP from a geomagnetic super-storm is one of the only eight “black swan” events that could change the course of civilization.

This warning comes as the sun its fast approaching its 11-year cycle of greatest intensity, called a solar storm maximum, in which the nation’s technology-based infrastructures could be catastrophically affected.

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration has stated that 2013 and 2014 will be the most intense period for enormous solar flares now spewing from the surface of the sun – and which could have a direct hit on Earth.

Experts say a massive flare’s EMP could collapse the nation’s electrical grid, and without power, there would be no food, fuel or communications possible. Ten of millions could die. Read more.

More on EMPs and Solar Storms

The Real Cause of Climate Change

Despite the fact that trace gases and aerosols are known to have a major influence on the environment, up until this point, the required data in order to account for them have been absent in computer models designed to calculate climate change.

For this reason, Kalsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) scientist Michael Hopfner decided to set about researching the effects of, among other things, the reaction of sulfur dioxide and water vapor to sulfuric acid that, in turn, reflect solar radiation back into space.

In doing so, Hopfner and his team made several realizations. Among them was the discovery that volcanoes, not humans, are responsible for significant concentrations of sulfur dioxide and thus an increase in stratospheric aerosol groupings. Read more.

Major Earthquakes Create GPS Errors

Thirteen years of supersized earthquakes, such as today's (May 24) magnitude-8.3 in Russia, have contaminated GPS sites around the world, a new study finds.

The Global Positioning System is a network of satellites and ground stations that provide location information anywhere on Earth. Except for spots in Australia, western Europe and the eastern tip of Canada, every GPS site on the ground underwent small but important shifts since 2000 because of big earthquakes, according to a study published May 6 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. Read more.

Anniversary of Mt. St. Helen's Eruption

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Saturday is the 33rd anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens that killed 57 people, knocked down a forest and filled the sky and rivers with volcanic ash.

Before its devastating eruption, Mount St. Helens was considered to be one of the most beautiful and most frequently-climbed peaks in the Cascade Range. The peak's symmetric cone earned it the title of the "Fuji of North America" and nearby scenic Spirit Lake was a vacation area offering hiking, camping, boating, and fishing.

About 20 seconds after 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, apparently in response to a magnitude 5.1 earthquake about 1 mile beneath the volcano, the bulging, unstable north flank of Mount St. Helens suddenly began to collapse, triggering a rapid and tragic train of events that resulted in widespread devastation. Read more.

More on Volcanos

Earthquake Activty On the Rise

May 15, 2013 – GEOLOGY – A flurry of earthquakes continues across the planet over the past 72 hours, showing few signs of abatement. Seismic tension continues to build across the Pacific Plate, the Cocos plate (Central America), and the Nazca plate, near South America. Tectonic plate agitation appears to be increasing, along with volcanic pressures under many of the world’s major volcanoes. -TEP

55th volcano erupts in Alaska: Scientists say small lava flows have been detected on two restless volcanoes in Alaska. The Alaska Volcano Observatory says satellite images Tuesday show the lava partly down a flank of Pavlof Volcano in a low-level eruption 625 miles southwest of Anchorage. Geophysicist Dave Schneider says minor steam and ash emissions are visible from the community of Cold Bay 37 miles away. Pavlof is the second Alaska volcano to erupt this month.

Cleveland Volcano, on an uninhabited island in the Aleutian Islands, experienced a low-level eruption in early May. The observatory says analysis of satellite imagery shows a lava flow partly down a flank of the volcano. Ash plumes can be an aviation hazard, but no ash clouds have been detected from Cleveland Volcano in the past week. –Yahoo News / Read more.

Beautiful Skies Over Colorado

Aurora Borealis

A slight solar storm ejected from a powerful sunspot sparked northern lights as far south as Colorado on Friday night — and there should be more to come.

The heightened aurora was sparked by a burst of electrically charged particles thrown off from an active spot on the sun known as Region 1748. That region is the one responsible for four powerful X-class flares that blasted out from the sun this week. Region 1748 is just now turning in our direction, and forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center say it has the potential to throw some hefty storms our way.

Storms from the sun have the potential to disrupt satellite communications and power grids, and in extreme cases, the radiation risk could force airlines to reroute their intercontinental flights to lower latitudes. Read more.

World's Most Extreme Weather

North America — and the USA in particular — has the world's wildest weather extremes: No other part of the planet can boast its ferocious weather stew of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, wildfires, blizzards, heat waves and cold snaps.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find another patch of land on Earth the size of the USA that boasts such a variety of such intensely extreme weather inside its borders," says meteorologist and author Robert Henson of Boulder, Colo.

"We get more high-impact weather than any other country on the planet," agrees Sean Potter, a meteorologist and weather historian in New York City. Read more.

Crazy Ants Invade South

Invasive fire ants have been a thorn in the sides of Southerners for years. But another invasive species, the so-called "crazy" ant — that many describe as being worse — has arrived and is displacing fire ants in several places.

"When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back," said Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, in a statement from the school. "Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound."

Crazy ants, on the other hand, "go everywhere," invading homes and nesting in walls and crawlspaces, even damaging electrical equipment by swarming inside appliances. Read more.

New Mexico Drought Troubles

This week's U.S. Drought Monitor shows a swath of red and dark red across New Mexico, indicating extreme and exceptional drought conditions. The ominous colors stretch up through the Midwest, showing conditions have also worsened over the past year in parts of Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

"These kinds of conditions will certainly persist for a while," said Tim Shy, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. "Even if we do get repeated rains over a long period of time, for them to crack the threshold and get us back out of the deep brown color is going to be pretty difficult indeed."

New Mexico is in its third year of drought. Following a winter with dismal snowpack, little spring rain and windy conditions have combined to leave the state's reservoirs at record lows. Read more.

Hurricane Preparedness for your Pets

It may be hard to believe, but the 2013 hurricane season is just three weeks away. Emergency preparedness officials tell us now is the time to make sure you're prepared. While you're putting together a plan of action, don't forget to include the furry or feathered members of your family.

It's a problem that arises after every hurricane or natural disaster, animals left stranded, left behind when their owners were forced to evacuate. Read more.

Click here for additional information on Pet Preparedness

Woman in China can Predict Earthquakes

Ms. Xiao Hongyun, a teacher at Changde Normal School in Hunan Province, usually suffers dizziness, tinnitus, and palpitations the day before an earthquake occurs. She has suffered these symptoms in conjunction with earthquakes in China as well as in Taiwan and Chile.

She recently experienced dizziness and insomnia a few days before the 7-magnitude earthquake in Ya’an in Sichuan Province, China on April 20. Read more.

Newest Flu Strain H


The failure of H5N1 to take off, or of swine flu to kill vast numbers in 2009-10, has caused pandemic fatigue. H7N9 is as nasty as H5N1 in that it is much more lethal for humans than ordinary flu. But it is much harder to monitor because it doesn’t cause disease in farm animals.

Human cases in China have been diagnosed in eight provinces, Beijing and Shanghai, a vast area. They have popped up sporadically, and factors common to them have not been found. It is clear that the virus is very good at getting about quietly in its natural host, whichever species that is. Read more.

Chinese scientists are being criticized for their “appalling irresponsibility” after they intentionally developed a new mutant influenza strain in a veterinary laboratory, the Independent reported.

Experts have warned that the new virus strains could potentially escape the lab, which could cause a global pandemic and lead to the deaths of millions.

The viral mixing experiment was led by Professor Hualan Chen, director of China’s National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute. Chen and her colleagues mixed parts of the H5N1 bird flu virus with a 2009 strain of the H1N1 virus. Read More.

More on Pandemics

More Sinkholes in Florida than any other State in the US

In Florida, residents don't have to worry about volcanoes or massive landslides. Earthquakes, while possible, are quite rare. Our major geologic threats are sinkholes.

Florida has the largest concentration of sinkholes in the United States. According to the Florida Geological Survey (FGS), sinkholes cause millions of dollars in damage each year to public property, highways and private homes. Read the full article.

Answers to the top 10 sinkhole questions:

1. Why do sinkholes form?
2. My yard is settling---do I have a sinkhole?
3. I think I have a sinkhole in my yard. What should I do?
4. How long does it take for the sinkhole to stop growing?
5. How do I fill in a sinkhole?
6. A sinkhole just opened in the middle of my street ---who should I call?
7. A sinkhole opened in my next door neighbor's yard...should I be concerned?
8. Will watering our lawn lower the water table level and thus, cause sinkholes to develop in our neighborhood?
9. Is there a government agency that will come and inspect my sinkhole?
10. Is there a government agency available to help fix a hole on my property?

Learn more about Florida sinkholes here:

Atlanta Trade Show June 6th

Featuring Atlanta Robotics, with help from the students at Southern Polytech State University in Marietta GA, has developed a prototype of a motorized solar oven that is capable of tracking with the movement of the sun.

The demand for emergency preparation resources are off the charts. Don't miss this opportunity. You owe it to yourself and your family to be prepared. Meet other like minded individuals and groups.

This is a Prepping trade show a like minded social networking event for emergency and disaster preparedness. Exhibitors from industries ranging from Survival, Solar/Power, Food, Protection, Guns, Ammo, Disaster Preparation Products, Hunting and more will be represented.

Speakers to include Survivor Jane http://survivorjane.com/ & Rick Austin http://socialprepper.com/RickAustin_Bio.cfm and many more.

For more information.

Have you ever heard of Icequakes?

Scientists discovered that big earthquakes, including Japan's 2011 Tohoku quake and Chile's 2010 Maule temblor, set off icequakes across Antarctica, just as they triggered earthquakes on land.

The icequakes started after a type of rolling earthquake wave called surface waves (also known as Rayleigh waves) raced through the frozen ice, Walter said. After the two recent major temblors, earthquake monitors picked up a spike in icequakes, which typically hit throughout the day as the ice shifts.

The research team is also taking a closer look at the effects of earthquakes on the Whillans Ice Stream, a fast-moving ice river that flows to the Ross Sea. Whillans — where, this year, researchers recovered the first signs of life from a buried subglacial lake — surges toward the sea two times a day in stick-slip motion, much in the way earthquake faults move. Early results suggest that earthquakes elsewhere on the planet can trigger these sudden slips, Walter said. Read the full article.

Boy, 15, falls 25-feet down a VOLCANO

A 15-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after falling 25-feet into a volcano after trying to perform an gymnastic stunt at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The teen, who is from California, tumbled down the steam vent after jumping over the protective railing near the crack in the earth Wednesday evening.

He apparently did not know that below a thick layer of green ferns just inside the railing was a 6-foot-wide hole, said John Broward, the park’s Search And Rescue coordinator. Read more.

Yellowstone Super Volcano Bigger than Scientist Thought

Yellowstone's underground volcanic plumbing is bigger and better connected than scientists thought, researchers reported here today (April 17) at the Seismological Society of America's annual meeting.

"We are getting a much better understanding of the volcanic system of Yellowstone," said Jamie Farrell, a seismology graduate student at the University of Utah. "The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imaged."

Knowing the volume of molten magma beneath Yellowstone is important for estimating the size of future eruptions, Farrell told OurAmazingPlanet. Read More.

Supervolcanoes are volcanic eruptions thousands of times more powerful than normal volcanic eruptions. These types of eruptions cause significant local ecological disturbances and have profound effects on global climate. On the scale of geological time they occur quite frequently.

Volcanologists categorize eruptions by the amount of volcanic ash ejected upon eruption using the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). The VEI consists of 8 levels, with VEI-8 eruptions "supervolcanic eruptions" ejecting 1000 cubic kilometers of ash or more. Read more.

More about Volcanos


Massive Fire Ball in the Sky Over Spain

Astronomers were stunned by a huge fireball which lit the skies over central Spain this weekend. Apparently this was a fragment from a meteor which burst into flames.

The Spanish Network for Meteorite Research recorded the fireball on their detection systems when it entered the earth's atmosphere at around 11:45 pm on Saturday.

Reportedly, the flash from the meteor could be seen as far away as Seville and Granada and astronomer Ana Leonor Hernandez from the Astronomical Center of Hite near Toledo saw it too. Click here to watch the video.

2013 Hurricane Season Predictions are Out

Mother Nature appears to be showing no mercy when it comes to hurricanes. This year’s Atlantic hurricane season could see 18 named tropical storms with nine forming into hurricanes and four of those increasing into major hurricanes, according to a pre-season forecast released Wednesday.

An average year: 10.1 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes with 2.5 becoming major storms. Colorado State University’s hurricane forecast team cited an unusual warming of the tropical Atlantic and an anticipated lack of El Nino winds as the primary culprits.

“Typically, El Nino is associated with stronger vertical shear across the tropical Atlantic, creating conditions less conducive for storm formations,” said Phil Klotzbach, who authors the forecast with William Gray of the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project. Read the full article.

Solar Storm Cycle 24 - Much to do about nothing!

Solar flare predictions for 2013 are once again fluctuating. Space weather experts at NOAA and NASA agree that we are nearing the peak of the Sun’s 11-year cycle, but that is about the only fact that has garnered a consensus lately.

Coronal mass ejections (CME) are formed from sun spots. Scientists only learned how solar flares were formed during the past two decades. Since then, attempts to track and predict both CME direction and intensity have been ongoing. Solar Cycle 24 was expected to hit its peak in 2013, but then the experts thought the peak might be on the two-hump variety. Recent solar flare reports largely indicated that the solar peak would likely occur in May. Now the solar storm experts think Sun Cycle 24 might not peak until later in 2013 or possibly even 2014.

Basically, when or if a massive Earth-directed solar flare will hit is unknown. Solar flare activity has relatively quiet as of late. The lack of CMEs has some scientists believing Sun Cycle 24 will have a weak peak, yet others think this could be the calm before the storm. Read full article.

25 Tips on Avoiding a Pandemic

A pandemic is nothing more than a world wide epidemic. The word pandemic in itself does not denote the severity of a disease, just the spread of it.

Past pandemics leave clues as to what we can expect from future pandemics. The 1918 pandemic which current estimates say killed around 50 million people was the first time that strain had been seen, there was no immunity at all and the mortality rate was massive.

By contrast, the 2009 pandemic was similar enough to the 1918 strain that some immunity existed. That immunity ranged from high in the elderly that had experienced direct exposure and survived to lower levels in those that had acquired some immunity passed onto them from previous generations. This passive immunity gets weaker with each generation hence the 2009 outbreak hitting the youngest the hardest. Click here to continue Reading.

Scientists Concerned about New Coronavirus

Last September a doctor in a Saudi hospital was fired for reporting a new, deadly strain of the coronavirus. Now, with half of all confirmed cases ending in death, the World Health Organisation has issued a global alert and scientists are preparing for the worst

In mid-June last year, Ali Mohamed Zaki, a virologist at the Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, took a call from a doctor who was worried about a patient. The 60-year-old man had been admitted to the hospital with severe viral pneumonia and the doctor wanted Zaki to identify the virus. Zaki obtained sputum from the patient and set to work. He ran the usual lab tests. One after another they came back negative.

Puzzled by the results, Zaki sent a sample to a leading virology lab at Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam. While he waited for the Dutch team to examine the virus, Zaki tried one more test of his own. This time he got a positive result. It showed the infectious agent belonged to a family of pathogens called coronaviruses. The common cold is caused by a coronavirus. So is the far more deadly infection Sars. Zaki quickly emailed the Dutch lab to raise the alarm. Their tests confirmed his fears, but went further: this was a coronavirus no one had seen before. Read more.

Benefit of Volcanic Eruptions

The earth didn't warm as much expected from 2000 to 2010, and scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder say they may have identified the reason: sulfur dioxide emissions from volcanoes.

When volcanoes emit sulfur dioxide, says CU, it rises into the stratospheric aerosol layer, and a series of chemical reactions then reflects rays from the sun back into space, cooling the planet. Read more.

New Madrid - What to Expect


History of Flu Pandemics

Despite gaps in the historical record, it is believed that flu pandemics have occurred throughout human history, when especially nasty strains of influenza virus spread far and wide, sometimes affecting humanity on a global scale.

In the past 100 years, four flu pandemics have spread across the earth. It is estimated that the worst of these pandemics killed 50 million people, and the other outbreaks, while less serious, have still left millions dead.

While flu season appears to be winding down this year, it remains a serious disease that has wreaked havoc on humanity in the past century.

300' Mega-Tsunami Hits East Coast?

Whether it is El Hierro or La Palma that slides into the ocean, there are many opinions of the probable outcomes of such a scenario, and there are many who believe that the result could be a mega tsunami that reaches heights up to 300 feet by the time it rolls up the shoreline of the East Coast United States.

So here’s the question… “IF” a 300 foot tsunami reached the East Coast, how far inland would it go?

The short answer, and one that many may think to be accurate, is that it will go inland until the elevation of the land is higher than the tsunami. While that sounds logical, there are variables…

Actually, the distance a tsunami will travel inland has more to do with the energy it still has left as it hits the shore. Read more.

More in Tsunamis and Gulf Coast Possibilities

Disaster Preparedness for Seniors

Joanne Tate is honest with herself, and others, that if disaster were to strike, she would have some questions on how to survive a storm.

"Maybe I should have a bag packed? I don't have a plan," Tate says.

And Joanne isn't alone. The American Red Cross says senior citizens face unique, dire needs when disaster strikes.

Genice Grumpton with the American Red Cross says it's easy to forget, especially if it's been a while since a storm has been through your area.

"Sometimes you don't think of these things. But when it happens, you want to be prepared for it," says Grumpton.

There are a few steps you can take before storms hit, and that can save time, money and stress. Follow this link to helpful preparedness tips and a video.

More Helpful Tips for Seniors and those with Special Needs

Hundreds of Spiders

If you have arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, you might not want to watch this video, and if you watch this video, you just may end up becoming an arachnophobe.

In Santo Antonio da Platina, Brazil, Erick Reis was shooting an engagement party for friends, and when he went outside, he saw an incredible sight. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of spiders hanging from utility lines in what apparently is one giant web, making it look at times as if it was raining spiders. The video is a tad long, but you only need a minute or so to get the idea. Click here to see video.

Comet 2012 S1

NASA’s Deep Impact probe has captured images of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), as it moves past the orbital distance of Jupiter on what may be its first trip inwards to the Sun, and possibly a spectacular show.

Comets are notoriously fickle beasts. Chunks of primordial rock, dust, and volatile ices that formed some 4.5 billion years ago around our fledgling sun, they can occasionally fly on Icarus-like orbits that bring them to the inner solar system. Read more.

Photos of the 1978 Nor'easter

A historic nor'easter brought blizzard conditions to New England, New Jersey and the New York City area at the beginning of February in 1978. Boston received a record 27.1 inches of snow and Providence, R.I., also broke a record, with 27.6 inches of snow. The storm killed approximately 100 people in the Northeast and injured around 4,500. It also caused over $520 million in damage. Click here to see gallery of photos.

Close Encounters with Asteroid 2012 DA14

An asteroid half the size of a football field will give Earth the ultimate close shave this month, passing closer than many satellites when it whizzes by, but it won't hit the planet, NASA scientists say.

The asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by Earth on Feb. 15 and zip within 17,200 miles of the planet during the cosmic close encounter. The asteroid will approach much closer to Earth than the moon, and well inside the paths of navigation and communications satellites.

"This is a record-setting close approach," Don Yeomans, the head of NASA's asteroid-tracking program, said in a statement. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth." Read more.

Mass Herring Die Off

Researchers in Iceland are blaming low oxygen levels in a shallow fjord for the deaths of tens of thousands of tons of herring.

Masses of dead herring have been found in Kolgrafafjordur fjord for the second time this winter, raising concerns about Iceland's fishery.

The Morgunbladid newspaper estimated the value of the 10,000 tons of fish found dead this week at 1.25 billion kronur ($9.8 million). An even larger number of fish died in December. Read more and see photos.

Kamchatka's Volcanos Erupt Simulaneously

It's not rare for volcanoes to erupt on Kamchatka, the far-eastern Russian peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The density of active volcanoes there is so outstanding UNESCO made it a World Heritage Site.

Since late November, though, four different volcanoes within 110 miles of each other on Kamchatka have been active simultaneously. Experts believe the volcanoes are fed by different sources of magma, making this even more unusual. In mid-January, eruptions from Plosky Tolbachik, one of the volcanoes, began forming a lava lake on the peninsula at its base. Read more and see amazing photos.

Increase in Earthquake Strength and Frequency

Worldwide earthquake data indicates an increase in both the magnitude and frequency of earthquakes in the 5.5-magnitude-and-up categories, according to a Guardian report published in December.

“Current graphs clearly show an alarming worldwide trend of increasing earthquake strength and frequency,” the article said. “These results are in agreement with the usgs statistics page, which shows an increase in the frequency of stronger earthquakes.”

The data also shows that the depth of earthquakes has decreased, meaning more of the activity occurs nearer to the Earth’s surface. Since earthquake waves often travel far enough to trigger other earthquakes, the upward trend could be self-perpetuating. Link no longer available.

More on Earthquakes

Sudden Increase of Texas Earthquakes

East Texas has not seen such frequent earthquakes since 1964. The question is, why the sudden increase in earthquakes again?

A geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey said the recent earthquakes recorded in Timpson are most likely caused from waste water disposal injections from hydraulic fracturing.

However, Ragan Dickens with the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association said the earthquakes could be caused by an earthquake fault line that runs through East Texas. Read more and see video.

25 Uses for Duct Tape

If there ever was a miracle product better than spray-on-hair or the ShamWow, it is duct tape. Over the past 70 years of its existence, this staple product of fix-it-yourselfers has been used by virtually every walk of life, for jobs that I’m sure the duct tape developers never imagined. So how can we use it for survival? Click here to see 25 uses for duct tape.

Ten Volcanos Awaken in one Week

With Kamchatka currently being one of the most volcanically active places on the planet, here is a summary of the current volcanic activity in the past week in the region by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team.

Lava dome growth and effusion of a viscous lava flow continue at Shiveluch volcano, accompanied by moderate fumarolic activity and incandescence. Satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano all week. Eruption's at four cinder cones producing fluid lava flows on the S part of the fissure on the flank of Tolbachik continues. Read more and see map of location.

Mona Lisa on the Moon

Call it the ultimate in high art: Using a well-timed laser, NASA scientists have beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, to a powerful spacecraft orbiting the moon, marking a first in laser communication.

The laser signal, fired from an installation in Maryland, beamed the Mona Lisa to the moon to be received 240,000 miles (384,400 km) away by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the moon since 2009. The Mona Lisa transmission, NASA scientists said, is a major advance in laser communication for interplanetary spacecraft. Read more.

Earthquakes increasing from Oklahoma to Azerbaijan

More than 1,000 earthquakes were recorded in Oklahoma in 2010. The next year, there were more than 1,400 earthquakes, making 2011 the state’s most seismically active year on record.

A 5.6-magnitude quake was recorded that year — Oklahoma’s largest in at least a century — and researchers, regulators and the public are starting to ask questions about the state’s seismic risks. Link.

An increase of 60% has been occurred in the number of earthquakes, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) told APA. 5214 earthquake shock was recorded in Azerbaijan last year. 3380 of them are local, near earthquakes and 1834 distant earthquakes. 50% of them (ML 2.8-5.6) was felt. 37 earthquakes occurred in the northwest part of the Republic.

Monthly distribution of the earthquakes and seismic energy release show that the rate in May was higher. It is due to earthquakes in Sheki and Zagatala. The amount of seismic energy released in October is also high. It is due to strong earthquakes occurred in Balakan and Ismayilli regions. Read more.

Natural Disaster Scam Alert

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A Consumer Alert this morning for you. The damage caused by natural disasters like floods and tornadoes can often bring out the best in people as strangers reach out to help others in need.

Unfortunately, they also bring out those who scam others with home repairs and clean-up efforts. Mike Rohrer with the Better Business Bureau joins us with a few post-disaster red flags.

Here are tips for avoiding getting scammed:
1. Check with your insurance company
2. Avoid acting in haste.
3. Take time to shop around for contractors
4. Be wary of door-to-door workers
5. Prepare a written agreement with anyone you hire.

For more information go to BBB.org or call (501) 664-4888.

Another Supervolcano Inflating

According to a recent report by INGV Naples, the ground deformation of the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) near Naples has increased considerably lately. During the last 12 months, the ground in some places near the town of Pozzuoli was uplifted by about 8 cm. The largest uplift, recorded by GPS devices, occurred during the months of July-August 2012 and since December.

The trend appears to be continuing at the moment. Such (sometimes dramatic, totaling up to several meters in a few years) ground uplift and subsidence have been known in the Phlegraean Fields since antiquity and are not a new phenomenon. They can usually be explained by normal pressure, temperature and density variations of the giant hydrothermal system of the Campi Flegrei caldera and may not necessarily indicate an imminent eruption. Read more.

Predicting Earthquakes

A rise in static electricity below the ground could be a reliable indicator that an earthquake is imminent, say scientists who are now launching an experiment to predict quakes well in time to save thousands of lives.

Tom Bleier, a satellite engineer with QuakeFinder, has spent millions of dollars putting specialist measuring equipment - magnetometers - along fault lines in California, Peru, Taiwan, and Greece, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The instruments are sensitive enough to detect magnetic pulses from electrical discharges up to 16 kilometres away, which could give people enough time to get to safety before a quake strikes. Scientists' theory is that, when an earthquake looms, activity below ground goes through a 'strange change', producing intense electrical currents. Read more.

Pandemic Superspreaders

If germs hung a recruiting sign for their hosts, it would probably be a version of the World War I poster of Uncle Sam pointing: We want YOU to help us reproduce. All hosts were equally eligible for service, infectious-disease researchers thought. Assuming the recruits weren’t immune due to a prior infection or vaccination, anyone should have roughly the same potential to spread a disease’s pathogens. But then came severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

Perhaps the most infamous superspreader in history was Mary Mallon, aka Typhoid Mary. An Irish cook in New York City in the 1900s, she was chronically infected with Salmonella typhi. Although the infection didn’t cause any symptoms for Mallon, she did excrete large numbers of typhoid bacteria in her feces. Her career as a cook made it easy to transmit fecal bacteria to customers through the food she prepared. She infected about 50 people and killed several (official counts vary) before she was arrested and jailed for refusing to give up her career as a cook. Read more.

Comet ISON

At the moment it is a faint object, visible only in sophisticated telescopes as a point of light moving slowly against the background stars. It doesn't seem much – a frozen chunk of rock and ice – one of many moving in the depths of space. But this one is being tracked with eager anticipation by astronomers from around the world, and in a year everyone could know its name.

Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations – brighter even than the full Moon.Read more.

Solar Cycle 24

In September 1859 the largest known solar flare on record so far was hurled at earth from the sun. All over Europe and North America telegraph systems failed, with some telegraph operators getting electrocuted and burnt by their morse keys as the storm hit. Pylons threw sparks, telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire, and despite being disconnected from power supplies it was possible to send and receive messages for days via the 'celestial power' humming through the wires.

We're now in Solar Cycle 24, which will peak in 2013. (the current cycle lasted 11 years). It is currently predicted to be the least active cycle in the past one hundred years - which is good, because the devastation an 1859 size 'X' flare would wreak on our unshielded earthling electronics would be massive. There's plenty of hair raising information online detailing how automobile electronic ignitions would be wiped out, gas pump credit card transaction triggered operations depend on satellite dishes - and obviously space satellites - and would cease to function, electrical power grids would be fried, and other alarming realities. Read more and watch video.

Are You Storing Matches?

First, some clarification: There are two different kinds of matches. Strike On Box and Strike Anywhere.

Strike On Box - also known as Safety Matches, will only light when struck on a specially prepared surface of the box. Matches of this variety are most common for obvious reasons – reducing the likelihood of people accidentally burning down their homes. In a survival scenario however, these matches are inferior to their more versatile counterparts, the Strike Anywhere Match. Read More.


2012 Articles of Interest

2011 Articles of Interest

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