Sunday, February 3, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Discovery Report For February 03, 2013 - Updates On Paluweh, Lokon-Empung, Stromboli, Kamchatka, Plosky Tolbachik, White Island, Iliamna, Mammoth Mountain, Santa María, Popocatépetl, Santiaguito, Fuego, Masaya, San Cristobal, San Miguel, Galeras, And Nevado del Ruiz!

February 03, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from the Volcano Discovery Group.

Paluweh (north off Flores Island, Indonesia) produced a major vulcanian explosion shortly before midnight. Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume rising to 43,000 ft (about 13 km) altitude and extending 175 nautical miles to the south. Local press speaks about an explosion and ash rising 3 km. Ash fall has occurred in Flores, especially near the coast at 17 km downwind distance.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): Another relatively strong eruption occurred today. An ash column rising 3 km was observed after an explosion from the Tompulan crater at 14:09. It seems that only larger explosions like this now make news entries in the Indonesian (and from there international) press. There are many more smaller ones occurring.  The head of the local volcano observatory, Farid Bima, was quoted in an article that explosions occur daily, and that yesterday alone, Lokon had 9 (nine) explosions... [read more]

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Explosion signals on the seismograms appear to have becoming stronger again today, while Etna (Sicily, Italy) has stayed quiet, but for how long? If the rhythm of the recent eruptions remains, we could expect another one to be very soon. By coincidence, they all happened at night. So, if you're into watching volcanoes live, be sure to tune into (or go to Sicily, much better!)

There are no reported changes in activity at any of the Kamchatkan volcanoes. Fluid lava continues to erupt from Plosky Tolbachik volcano, accompanied by stable, relatively high tremor levels. Moderate seismicity suggests ongoing lava extrusion and dome building at Sheveluch and Kizimen. Low to moderate seismicity accompanies occasional explosive activity from Karymski volcano. The strong seismicity from Tolbachik obscures the signals from Bezymianny, which also continues to slowly build a lava dome, as well as the rather weak current strombolian activity at the summit of Klyuchevskoi volcano. Gorely continues to show medium levels of tremor caused by fluid movements and strong degassing.

White Island (New Zealand): Tremor has remained constant and strong today, mixed with numerous hybrid earthquakes.

Iliamna (Cook Inlet (SW Alaska)): Earthquake activity remains slightly increased.

Map of recent quakes near Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth Mountain (California, USA): Small earthquakes continue beneath and (mostly) immediately to the SE of Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada range.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): There are no changes in the mild activity of the volcano. There are about 2 weak emissions per hour and night-time glow is usually visible. Strong (SO2) degassing is visible again on satellite data.

Fuego (Guatemala): The two lava flows advanced a bit and have now a length of about 300 m. Explosive activity has been weak in return during the report interval 1-2 Feb. There were only 5 small explosions with plumes rising 400 m registered.

In Nicaragua, volcanoes have been rather quiet recently. The tremor at San Cristobal volcano has ceased and activity is again low. Masaya has in turn some increased tremor activity.

Nearby San Miguel volcano in El Salvador continues to produce weak continuous tremor mixed with local and some regional earthquakes.

Ash explosion from Santiaguito yesterday morning.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Explosive activity has picked up again. There are frequent small to moderat ash emissions with plumes rising up to 1 km that drift SW and cause a constant light rain of ash in parts of Monte Claro and areas near Aldea San Marcos Palajunoj.

Galeras (Colombia): Small volcanic quakes and long period events continue, but seismic and surface activity generally remains low.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): Seismic activity has been low recently with only occasional tiny quakes and tremor pulses. 2 regional earthquakes show up on the seismograms of today. - Volcano Discovery.

THE ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: The "Elephant In The Room" - Giant Veil Of "Cold Plasma" Discovered High Above Earth, Clouds Of Charged Particles Stretch A Quarter The Way To The Moon!

February 03, 2013 - EARTH - Clouds of "cold plasma" reach from the top of Earth's atmosphere to at least a quarter the distance to the moon, according to new data from a cluster of European satellites. Earth generates cold plasma—slow-moving charged particles—at the edge of space, where sunlight strips electrons from gas atoms, leaving only their positively charged cores, or nuclei.

An artist's rendering of ESA's Cluster II spacecraft in orbit. Illustration courtesy J. Huart, ESA.
Researchers had suspected these hard-to-detect particles might influence incoming space weather, such as this week's solar flare and resulting geomagnetic storm. That's because solar storms barrage Earth with similar but high-speed charged particles. Still, no one could be certain what the effects of cold plasma might be without a handle on its true abundance around our planet. "It's like the weather forecast on TV. It's very complicated to make a reasonable forecast without the basic variables," said space scientist Mats André, of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics. "Discovering this cold plasma is like saying, Oh gosh, there are oceans here that affect our weather," he said.

The Trick to Finding Cold Plasma
Researchers already knew that some cold plasma existed in the ionosphere, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth's surface. But few researchers had looked for the clouds between 12,400 and 60,000 miles (20,000 and 100,000 kilometers) high. André and his colleague Chris Cully suspected the plasma could be out there, but they knew the positive charge of spacecraft wasn't helping any search efforts. Similar to the way cold plasma is created, sunlight strips electrons from spacecraft materials, making their hulls positively charged. Like two matching magnetic poles, a spacecraft would simply repulse any cold plasma around it.

An artist's rendition of Magnetospheric Multiscale mission as it sweeps through a magnetic reconnection
event caused when the solar wind meets Earth's magnetic fields. Credit: SWRI
To find the stuff, André and Cully instead analyzed anomalies in data from the European Space Agency's Cluster II spacecraft. This group of four satellites swings around Earth in a highly elliptical orbit. At the orbit's peak, the probes reach nearly halfway to the moon. The enormous distance gives researchers a chance to sweep through and monitor Earth's magnetic field and electrical activity, including the influence of "hot" charged particles emitted by the sun. Anomalies in the Cluster II data turned out to be shockwaves from cold plasma particles moving around the satellites.

Cold Plasma a Space Weather "Elephant"
In the end, the pair found that cold plasma makes up between 50 and 70 percent of all charged particles within the farther reaches of Earth's magnetic field. André says it's now time to start updating space-weather models to take the extra cold plasma into account—at this point, for instance, nothing is known about how the plasma might affect solar storms. This influence is "not a minor thing in space weather," André said. "It's an elephant in the room."

The cold-plasma study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. - National Geographic.

MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Forty-One Huge Sinkholes Plaguing Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - One Called A "Super Sinkhole"!

February 03, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Pennsylvania's state capital is suffering from a rash of monster sinkholes, but city officials are too broke to do anything about it. Loose soil and leaky, century-old underground water pipes are to blame for the municipal nightmare, which came to a head on the New Year's Eve when a 50-foot sinkhole yawned open along Fourth Street, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Locals took to calling the North Fourth sinkhole "Super Sinkhole Walter," and even made it a "check in"
location on Four Square. Donald Gilliland/ The Patriot-Ne.
The eight-foot deep crater -- one of at least 41 in the city -- is so large, locals made it a "check-in" site on the social media site Four Square. Some cheeky residents and the media nicknamed the hole "Super Sinkhole Walter." Part of Harrisburg's financial woes stem from a disastrous city plan to borrow some $300 million to upgrade a trash incinerator, the Journal reported. The borrowing spree forced Harrisburg to default on its debt and left the city lacking funds to fix roads, pipes or other critical infrastructure.

A "super sinkhole" at Fourth and Woodbine Streets in Harrisburg, Pa., last month. There are around 41 such
sinkholes in the city, but the local government is too broke to fix them. Donald Gilliland/ The Patriot-Ne.
In addition to the sinkholes, the city has also been unable to fix a sewage treatment plant that is dumping toxic waste into the Susquehanna River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, the Journal reported. Several of the sinkholes, including the one that opened on Fourth Street on New Year's Eve, have forced residents to evacuate their homes. Some lost water, gas and sewer services.

A map of sinkhole locations around Harrisburg. Via Google Maps.
Sharaun Davis, 33, who lives near the sinkhole, told local newspaper The Patriot News that she had to relocate her family to a hotel because construction on the hole was causing her home to shake. "I'm hearing literally the dry wall cracking," she told the newspaper earlier this month. "We've had to change our whole life." One engineer said it would cost $25 million to fix all of the sinkholes, the Journal reported. Some of them have been patched temporarily. Local lawmakers have called on Gov. Tom Corbett to foot a portion of the bill using state funds. - NY Daily News.

WATCH: Series of sinkholes in Pennsylvania.

EUROPEAN VAMPIRISM: U.S. Virologists Intentionally Engineer Super-Deadly Pandemic Flu Virus!

February 03, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Two American researchers whose efforts to deliberately re-engineer the H5N1 avian flu virus to be more virulent and deadly to humans are now asking that a government-advised moratorium on their controversial research be lifted. According to TIME, the duo alleges that precise details about how it developed the deadly flu strain must be made public, and that its controversial research be allowed to continue for the sake of "public health." As we reported back in early 2012, Ron Fouchier from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and Yoshihiro Kawaoka from the University of Wisconsin intentionally developed a militarized strain of H5N1 avian flu capable of easily transmitting among mammals. Natural strains of H5N1, on the other hand, primarily transmit between birds and other fowl only, which means this type of flu is not that significant of a threat to humans.

But for the alleged purpose of learning how H5N1 might mutate at some point in the future to become more of a threat to humans, Fouchier and Kawaoka deliberately induced these mutations in test ferrets with complete success. In the process, they essentially discovered a way to potentially spark a global flu pandemic with the potential to kill or seriously injure billions of people. And following their insane discovery, they actually tried to publish the recipe for this deadly strain in public journals. Concerned about the possibility that this critical information might be misused, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), a federal advisory committee that oversees research of this nature, urged the two scientists not to publish their findings in the journals Nature and Science. And while they agreed to this recommendation initially, Fouchier and Kawaoka are now pushing to continue on with their work. "Because H5N1 virus transmission studies are essential for pandemic preparedness and understanding the adaptation of influenza viruses to mammals, researchers who have approval from their governments and institutions to conduct this research safely, under appropriate biosafety and biosecurity conditions, have a public-health responsibility to resume this important work," allege the original researchers about their work.

Only about 350 people worldwide have ever died from H5N1.
Based on the wording of this petition, you would think that H5N1 is responsible for killing at least tens of thousands of people every year, and that we must take action now to stop its spread. But in reality, H5N1 has only infected about 600 people ever since it was first discovered in Hong Kong back in 1997. And among these 600, only about 350 ended up dying, which means roughly 24 people a year, on average, die from H5N1 infection. Contrast this with the roughly 5,000 Americans who die every year from food poisoning, for instance, and it becomes abundantly clear that H5N1 is hardly the serious public health threat that Fouchier, Kawaoka, and others continually claim it is. The average person is more likely to die from choking on a piece of lettuce than he or she is of ever contracting H5N1 influenza, let alone dying from it. So why all the focus on deliberately inducing H5N1 to spread among humans and cause a real pandemic?

The real answer to this question is shrouded in mystery. If you believe the official explanation, researchers merely want to anticipate how H5N1 might mutate in the future in order to get a handle early on how to address it. It is a purely hypothetical scenario that may not ever come to pass, of course, but it is the purported reason and justification for such research, even though such research could end up being the cause of a deadly H5N1 outbreak in the very near future. And this brings us to the second and more sinister explanation. Researchers could be deliberately engineering a super-deadly form of H5N1 for the unstated purpose of eventually releasing it into the wild in order to trigger a pandemic. This is not that far-fetched when considering that the researchers involved in this work are carefully studying how many times the already-mutated virus needs to spread between mammals on its own in order to naturally mutate again into an even more deadly virus.

"The case fatality rate of wild H5N1 in the WHO (World Health Organization) database is nearly 60 percent ... So if a strain of H5N1 with that fatality rate were engineered to spread like seasonal flu, hundreds of millions of people's lives would be at risk," Thomas Inglesby, Director and CEO of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is quoted as saying by "Even a strain a hundred times less fatal would place at risk millions of people's lives," he added. To learn more about how to protect yourself from militarized flu strains, check out the special report, The Five Best Anti-Viral Products to Beat Influenza, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and SARS:

- Natural News.

AUSTRALIAN WEATHER ANOMALIES: Despite Deluge Of Floods, Bureau Of Meteorology Says January 2013, Was The Hottest On Record!

February 03, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - The Bureau of Meteorology said both the average mean temperature of 29.68 degrees Celsius (85.42 degrees Fahrenheit) and the average mean maximum temperature of 36.92 Celsius surpassed previous records set in January 1932. The nation's central outback sweltered under a "dome" of heat for much of the month, with the Northern Territory posting its hottest mean temperature on record for January of 31.93 Celsius, the bureau said.

Surfers hit the waves at Bondi beach in Sydney, on January 4, 2013. Australia experienced its hottest month on
record in January, despite floods and storms that devastated parts of the country's east, according to officials.
"The heatwave in the first half of January was exceptional in its extent and duration," it said in a statement released Friday. "The national average maximum temperature on 7 January was the highest on record. Numerous stations set records for the most days in succession above 40 degrees Celsius, including Alice Springs (17 days) and Birdsville (31 days)." The bureau said a large number of weather stations set all-time record high temperatures during the heatwave, including Sydney (45.8 Celsius on January 18) and Hobart (41.8 Celsius on January 4).

The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia, which hit a scorching 49.6 Celsius on 12 January. The bureau said the heatwave, which aided bushfires in the eastern states, was followed by extreme rainfall and flooding for some coastal areas of Queensland and New South Wales caused by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. The rain caused extensive flooding in the Queensland towns of Bundaberg, where some houses were washed away and roads destroyed, and Gladstone among others. "Gladstone received 820 millimetres (32 inches) of rainfall in four days, which exceeded its previous record for a whole month, and more than the annual rainfall recorded in 2011 or 2012," the bureau said. - PHYSORG.

HIGH STRANGENESS: Mysterious Light Captured On Official Live Camera When The Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Hit Hokkaido Japan!

February 03, 2013 - JAPAN - A strange light was captured in the live camera when the earthquake hit. The live camera is assumed to be NHK. The falling light looks like a raindrop but it was not rainy according to the weather news. After the light sparkled, Kushiro city had a power blackout.

- Fukushima Diary.

NOTE: Thanks to Chris Enrico Thomsen for contributing to this post.

AUSTRALIAN WEATHER ANOMALIES: Disaster Impact - Locals Are Drained As Bundaberg Is Transformed From A Quiet Community Into A Raging River And, Finally Into A Disaster Zone; $200 Million In Damages! UPDATE: Rockhampton Floods Recede - Crocodiles New Fear!

February 03, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - North Bundaberg residents are running on empty.  Physically, they're drained. Emotionally? Even more so.  In the space of a week, they've seen their neighbourhood transform from a quiet community into a raging river and, finally, to a disaster zone akin to something that might come out of Hollywood.  Luxury yachts lay strewn along the banks of the Burnett River, where the relentless flow of water tossed them aside like a child might scatter his toys during a tantrum.  In town, putrid mud coats almost everything in sight.  Stagnant ponds have formed in sunken roads, furniture rests precariously in trees and some homes have disappeared completely. 

Bundaberg Transformed Into A Disaster Zone.
Council estimates the damage bill to be at least $200 million.  It's not uncommon in the streets of North Bundaberg to see an old woman burst into tears, a grown man shout in frustration or a couple hold each other as they wander aimlessly through rubble.  But somehow, residents have found the strength to start the arduous clean-up.  As soon as the Burnett Bridge, which links the obliterated suburb to the CBD in the south, was completely opened on Sunday morning, a stream of cars began filing over.  Some waiting in the several kilometre-long line just wanted to start getting their homes back in order.  Others will be assessing whether they want to go back at all.  The queue included soldiers, tradesmen and emergency workers, intending to repair infrastructure damage.  Most, however, were people from elsewhere in Bundaberg, thanking their lucky stars they weren't in the same disastrous situation and ready to lend a hand.  More than 700 residents joined a council-organised mud army to take to the streets.  Co-ordinator Glenn Hart describes the volunteers with the only word he thinks is fitting - inspirational.  "The way the volunteers interacted with those affected community members showed the kinship that exists in our community," he says.  And going by the mood of those who lost everything in the flood, they need all the support they can get.  Jordane Buchanan questions how he will tell his autistic four-year-old son what has happened as he sweeps thick sludge out of his front door.  "His teddy bears were stuck inside and that's his life," he says.  "He won't be able to get over it." 

Lifelong Bundaberg resident Harry Hartfiel tries to process what he is seeing as he stands in the middle of what used to be a street.  "It's like we're standing in the middle of a third world country," he says.  "I've never seen anything like this."  Dorothy Cox provides yet another harrowing insight into how people are feeling as she picks through sludge in the garden of what was her newly renovated home, muttering: "Nothing matters anymore."  Bundaberg, the worst hit city in Queensland's flood crisis, has been a mecca for politicians who have come to stand in front of cameras with offers of help.  Premier Campbell Newman appointed deputy commissioner Brett Pointing as the region's disaster recovery coordinator, Prime Minister Julia Gillard committed federal funds and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called for more loans and tax breaks for affected businesses.  But having too many people in charge and trying to help almost backfired last week when a communication breakdown between police and council saw residents told they could return home to north Bundaberg, only to have the offer withdrawn hours later.  Angry, frustrated and tired, residents stood at the entry to the bridge demanding to be allowed over.  "This whole thing is just a joke," Ross Thiele fumed at the time.  "If they weren't ready for us to go over, why even say anything at all?"  Others were heard shouting more colorful words to describe the situation.  But for now, tensions have subsided as people focus on the gargantuan clean-up task ahead.  It could be months before residents can actually move back into their homes. If they are even inhabitable, they are without water, sewerage or power.  In the meantime, they have temporary homes at a makeshift tent city in the showgrounds.  Lisa Marsh says the caravan she shares with her two young children contains everything she owns.  "This is our home now, this is it," she sighs.  "But there's no point complaining, we just have to get on with it."  It's a motto that appears to be working for most Bundaberg residents. - Herald Sun.

UPDATE: Rockhampton Floods Recede - Crocodiles New Fear.
Saltwater crocodiles and venomous snakes are worrying Rockhampton residents and authorities as the Fitzroy River falls further below an 8.6 metre peak.  The central Queensland river has been receding since Saturday morning, sparing Australia's beef capital the devastation of a predicted 8.7 metre inundation.  While fewer streets are being evacuated - compared with early 2011 when the river peaked at 9.2 metres - the sighting of crocodiles on streets at Koongal and Depot Hill is still a concern.  Maurice Stafford, a 66-year-old Depot Hill resident, is doing his best to stay out of deeper waters, following the sighting of a nearby crocodile.  "I'm definitely not going to look for one," the retiree told AAP with a chuckle. "There would be a crocodile there, don't worry about that.  "Down there - there's a big channel that takes into the river." A block away on East Street, a female resident said she was reluctant to let her daughter's two dogs play in her flooded backyard after she spotted a snake.  "I saw something move through the water," she said.  Other residents are using boats to access flooded homes, with one man seen delivering a pizza in a tinny on Sunday afternoon.  Fire and Rescue officers have been dropping off food to flood bound homeowners.  Rockhampton deputy mayor Tony Williams said crocodiles were likely to be lurking around low-lying areas, as the river dropped below 8.5 metres on Sunday. 

Flood levels have peaked well below the 2011 level in Rockhampton, officials say. AAP.
"The Fitzroy River is a natural habitat for saltwater crocodiles," he told reporters on Sunday.  "It's always a danger there. It's something that we need to be mindful of, and informing the residents not to go into those waters because of those risks that are there with those crocodiles."  Rockhampton Airport was closed on Friday night but on Sunday, flights were resuming aboard turbo prop aircraft with up to 74 seats.  The Fitzroy River was expected to fall below 8m on Monday, and to three metres by Wednesday ahead of planned clean-up operations.  Beaches to Rockhampton's east, including Yeppoon and Emu Park, have been closed because of debris and cattle carcasses.  Floodwater filled the backyards of about 1100 backyards, but Rockhampton Regional Council expected fewer homes and businesses to have water above the floorboards compared with 2011 when 200 dwellings were inundated.  About 26 people have moved to an evacuation centre and Ergon Energy has had to disconnect 23 homes in low lying areas.  The council is advising residents to brace for the pungent odour of rotting vegetation as the floodwaters recede.  "Whilst there have been minor surcharges in the sewerage network, these are isolated and have been addressed as soon as practicable," a spokeswoman said in a statement.  The Bruce Highway south of Rockhampton was reopened to light vehicles on Sunday morning after being closed overnight because of fast-flowing water over the Yeppen Crossing. - Herald Sun.

DISASTER IMPACT: Tropical Cyclone Felleng Kills Five In Madagascar - Displaces Hundreds!

February 03, 2013 - MADAGASCAR - Five people were killed as pounding rain and high winds from tropical cyclone Felleng battered Madagascar yesterday.  "Four people died after a house collapsed in Antananarivo and one person drowned in Maroantsetra," in the north, Raymond Randriatahina, an official with the national disaster management agency, said. 

Visible image of a cyclone. Image by: HO.
The category-three tropical cyclone barrelled along the island's east coast, about 200km from land, bringing gusts that reached 250km an hour.  Around the capital, Antananarivo, homes and rice fields were flooded and 650 people were forced to move into tents provided by rescue teams.  UN agencies reported "no major damage in the northeast" of the country, which was hit first by the storm system, which is travelling south. 

"Dozens of households in low-lying areas were evacuated last night in Nosy Varika and temporarily sheltered at a school."  As the storm churned the Indian Ocean, the authorities closed coastal schools and those in the capital.  Madagascar is particularly vulnerable to cyclones. In the past decade it has been hit by 45 tropical storms.  Cyclone Giovanna and tropical storm Irina last year killed 112 people and affected 90000. - Times Live.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesian Mud Eruption Will Soon Die Out, Scientist Predict - Volcano Has Been Spewing Muck Since 2006!

February 03, 2013 - INDONESIA - The end may be near for an erupting mud volcano that has wreaked havoc in Indonesia. In a few years, the volcano will spew just 10 percent as much mud as it does today, scientists predict.

This school is one of many buildings destroyed by an Indonesian mud volcano that has erupted since 2006.
In a few years, researchers predict, the volcano will produce only 10 percent as much mud as it does today.
Hugh e82/Wikimedia Commons.
The mud volcano known as Lusi began erupting in May 2006 after a drilling accident at a nearby gas exploration well. Since then, the eruption has buried an area about twice the size of New York’s Central Park and displaced more than 60,000 people. Based on the amount of muck burped up during the eruption’s first three years, scientists had estimated Lusi’s fury would last 23 to 50 years.

The new estimate takes into account a longer period of Lusi’s history. Maxwell Rudolph, now at the University of Colorado Boulder, and colleagues analyzed satellite measurements collected from October 2006 to April 2011 of sinking ground caused by the eruption. Changes in the rate of sinking reflect changes in the pressure inside the volcano, the team says. High pressure fuels the eruption.

This pressure has decreased exponentially over time, the researchers found. Currently, Lusi releases 10,000 cubic meters of mud per day. Because of pressure drops, by around 2017, the volcano will erupt less than 1,000 cubic meters daily, the team predicts online January 26 in Geophysical Research Letters. - Science News.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "An Unbelievable Mystery" - Tens Of Thousands Of Dead Fish Covering 8 Kilometres Of Shoreline In Yass, Australia?!

February 03, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Thousands of fish have mysteriously washed up on the shores of Burrinjuck Dam, north-west of Canberra. Liz Richardson from Good Hope Tourist Resort told The Yass Tribune the amount of dead fish was "unbelievable".  "Every type of fish," she said. "Lots of baby fish, lots of small cod."

Thousands of dead fish line the banks of Lake Burrinjuck, with no proper explanation.
Photo: Tiffany Grange, The Yass Tribune.
Around eight kilometres of shoreline, downstream of Taemas Bridge and past Good Hope, was littered with fish carcasses. The Department of Primary Industries said the cause of the fish kill was unclear.  Fisheries officers inspected the site on Tuesday and observed hundreds of native golden perch and Murray cod among the thousands of dead fish.  "Sizes of fish affected ranged from five to 80 centimetres.  "The fish were observed floating in the water, along the water's edge and on the shoreline over an area of approximately eight kilometres within the impoundment," a DPI spokesman said.  Ms Richardson said a similar thing happened about 10 years ago when the water levels were low, and heavy rain had fallen.  She believed the deaths were due to the rapidly falling dam levels, which, combined with recent storm run-off, may have created low oxygen supplies in the dam.  "They've taken the water so dangerously low for the fish... they've ravaged the water," she said.  "In three-and-a-half months [the lake's] gone from 100 per cent to 38 per cent [full].  "We've had big rain before," she said. "Like last year with the floods. It's just the fact they've let all the water out." 

Sandie Jones and Claire Hindle from the Environment Protection Authority testing the water at Hume Park.
Photo: Tiffany Grange, The Yass Tribune.
Dean Brind from Burrinjuck State Park said the falling water level shouldn't have killed the fish.  "The fish normally will keep moving down unless they get stuck in pockets," Mr Brind said.  He was told the first dead fish appeared Saturday morning before the rain. He didn't know the cause but ruled out several factors.  "It's not cold water, it's not run off from the fires," he said, as the fire run-off would have washed into the dam from the Yass River area.  Officers from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) took water samples from Hume Park on Wednesday.  "Fisheries have let us know there's been a fish kill," head of operations, Sandie Jones, said.  "When there's no clear cause we'll come out to take samples."  Hume Park management was worried about people wanting to use the dam.  "[There's] concern as to why it has occurred and whether or not it is safe for recreational use."  Resort owners will be rolling up their sleeves to clean up the dead fish in their immediate area. It is not known who is responsible for the clean-up of the rest of the affected area.  Fishing takes a hit  Thousands of cod fingerlings released recently may all lay dead on the banks of Burrinjuck Dam.  Mr Brind from Burrinjuck State Park said around 65,000 cod were released before Christmas and just last week there was a trout release.  "Most of them were in that stretch of river," he said. "That's probably wiped those two releases out.  "That's a year we've lost."  - Canberra Times.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Major Explosion At The Paluweh Volcano In Flores, Indonesia - Ash Plume Rising To 43,000 Feet Altitude!

February 03, 2013 - INDONESIA - A large ash plume rising to 43,000 ft (about 13 km) altitude and extending 175 nautical miles to the south was spotted last night by VAAC Darwin.

Paluweh's active lava dome with moderate ash venting in early December.
The likely cause is either a major dome collapse triggering a large pyroclastic flow or a vulcanian explosion of the lava dome. According to the first local press articles, an explosion has occurred last night at 23:36 local time. People from the north coast of Flores (17 km distance to the south) reported having heard rumbling and detonation sounds and seen incandescent lava ejections.

A cloud of ash drifted over Flores and deposited about half a millimeter of fine ash in areas of the north coast. People were advised to stay home and wear dust masks. No reports were found about the situation on Palueh Island itself. The aviation alert level of the volcano was raised to Red. - Volcano Discovery.

DISASTER IMPACT: Study - Large Quake Could Cause Massive Oil Spillage In Tokyo Bay Storage Tanks!

February 03, 2013 - JAPAN - Tokyo Bay could be the site of an ecological disaster if a major earthquake struck south of Japan's coast, say experts, citing ground motions that would cause sloshing in oil storage tanks and spill as much as 120,000 kiloliters of oil at petrochemical complexes in the area.  Masanori Hamada, a professor of earthquake engineering at Waseda University, and coworkers in his lab said the estimated spillage is due to the surging and swaying of oil surfaces in storage tanks that can take place for an extended period after a large earthquake.

They also determined that floating roofs, lying directly on the surface of the stored oil, could bang against tank walls due to the sloshing and ignite a conflagration.  Hamada, a former president of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers, and his team studied airborne images of oil complexes along the coast of Tokyo Bay in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures. They evaluated the size, volume and other attributes of 1,510 oil storage tanks.  They found that 503, or about one-third of them, had floating roofs lying directly on the oil surfaces. The researchers simulated how those tanks would respond to ground motions with long oscillation periods if an earthquake were to shift both the Tokai and Tonankai segments along the Nankai Trough.  Magnitude-8 class earthquakes have recurred along the Nankai Trough, where the Philippine Sea tectonic plate dives beneath a continental plate in the seabed south of Japan. The Nankai Trough comprises three seismic rupture areas--Tokai, Tonankai and Nankai, from east to west--which sometimes move in tandem.

Seismic events along the Nankai Trough can induce large, slow and sustained ground motions of long oscillation periods, lasting several minutes or more, in large densely populated areas of the Kanto region, Osaka and Nagoya, which lie on plains of soft soil.  Hamada and colleagues found that the resonance of oil, along with the ground motions, could induce oil sloshing, resulting in an estimated spillage of 118,800 kiloliters of oil--enough to fill 6,000 large-size tanker trucks, from 115 of the tanks.  When a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit off Tokachi, Hokkaido, on Sept. 26, 2003, a floating-roof storage tank burst into flame in an oil complex in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. The fire has been attributed to sparks from the floating roof crashing against the tank's walls.  "Fires could break out simultaneously at multiple locations along Tokyo Bay," Hamada said, pointing out similar risks along the coasts of Osaka Bay and Ise Bay, which also lie close to the giant seismic sources along the Nankai Trough.  The government's Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Japan has 2,314 oil storage tanks with floating roofs, which have the advantage of effectively preventing oil from evaporating. But little is known about the actual state of their safety control, such as the installation of oil fences and the effectiveness of anti-seismic measures, as such steps are the responsibility of storage tank operators.  The industry ministry allocated 4.3 billion yen ($47 million) in an extra budget bill, presented in January, to study the operations and energy-supplying capabilities of oil complexes. - The Asahi Shimbun.

THE WAR ON EARTH: Red Dawn Pollution Doomsday - Thousands Of Fish Killed By Widespread Pollution In Chongzuo City, China!

February 03, 2013 - CHINA - According to Voice of China "aspect News" reported recently, Guangxi Chongzuo fishermen to CNR News Hotline reflected in Chongzuo City Zuojiang contamination of grass carp breeding their own death phenomenon. The left river is the main source of drinking water for the survival of the masses along the river. The past two years, Chongzuo City has been to strengthen the protection of water sources, increase the investigation and management of pollution sources. Protection measures, whether the source of the pollution comes from? Loss of fishermen will be compensated?

Drive more than 20 kilometers from Chongzuo city, came on the left riverside pack Lu town pack Kashimura called pit Tuen. Although the next night, Huang first still keep in their own cages to observe grass carp every move. Just 10 days ago, on January 20, the river suddenly abnormal, followed by 1,000 kilos of grass carp, have died.

Huang first: This black finished water, a few days before the water is black hemp, black and yellow, like soy sauce.
Reporter: there is no taste?
Huang first: No, the taste is not, we are still eating water.
Reporter: Do you eat the water?
Huang first: no impact on the human body. A few days ago, the surface of the river to restore the green, but their own grass carp is still a small amount, have died. One day we fishing a few out, is dead. There are dead inside, sink below have not cropped up.
According to the current six dollars a pound price of fish, Huang first loss of about 6,000 yuan. 10 million under the original in order to engage in fish cage culture, loans, and wanted to take advantage of the New Year, salvaged capital, become from bad to worse. Huang said the government had been there his family, said the weight of the dead fish, but still no compensation.
Huang first: He said to compensate, but how compensation, we do not know now.
The left called pit Tuen, continue along the river and under, to reach the the Cage Culture dense pack Lo town location. Weeks old nearby sugar mill workers, in order to support their family, borrowed from relatives of the two million share network access box, the raising of 8,000 grass carp. The past two days, also has been found in death.
Weeks old: dozens dead, do not, I saw a lot of dead fish floating down from above. I asked a veterinarian, he said, particularly evident in the gills, are rotten. Open the medicine, but to no avail, I have to feed the drug.
Although veterinary medicine prescribed, but still no effect. Even alive the grass carp, there have been an exception.
Weeks old: it is not gregarious, not eating. Floating head, like hypoxia.
Reporter: it turns out there is no such a phenomenon?
Weeks old:. The fish certainly be afraid, fearing sure to sink in the end under. Now it does not run, can be fished directly. Throw it useless. Tens of thousands of dollars, upset. Understand why this thought fish diseases, now heard above pollution row down.
See the fish appeared abnormal, some fishermen for fish sales in advance to avoid a greater loss.
Fishermen: I'm afraid it is hypoxia ah, so now I'm fishing, I'm afraid it is a problem. Or I plan to re fishing over the years, and now is not. In no hurry to sell fish and other O death!
Jiang left in the end suffered a kind of pollution? Reporters visited Chongzuo City Environmental Protection Bureau, the Secretary Weijia Jie introduced, the sources of pollution in Kaiyuan alcohol plant. Because the plant storage tanks burst, producing ethanol from raw materials - high concentration sugar Mijie water leak, the total of about 400 tons. Disclosure discharged into Zuojiang, leading to water anoxia. According to statistics, more than 19,000 pounds of fish deaths.
Weijia Festival: call Kaiyuan Company to buy generators, oxygen pump, generator oil oxygenates, according to him, probably spent more than two million. Repeatedly aerobics Cage Culture of dead fish to a minimum.
Weijia Jie said, the Chongzuo launched an emergency plan in the 20 day, by detecting the contamination is not spread to the safety of drinking water. Contaminated with up to 12 km approximate location in the pack Lu town location, of which there are three kilometers contaminated with relatively severe hypoxia. Will eventually import Zuojiang Yongjiang, so people worried about pollution will spread to the downstream cities fisheries breeding. In this regard, Weijia Jie said, people need not worry. Weijia Jie said that in the process down movement, aerobics, self-purification. The greater hope is that it downstream Hill show the power station, the actual process is an aerobics after Hill show power station, it is unlikely to affect the Nanning. It is understood that the Kaiyuan alcohol plant did not receive the approval of the environmental protection department will be unauthorized production, leading to the leakage accident, so the plant will face a fine of at least one million yuan. In addition, Weijia Jie said, has instructed the the alcohol plant Kaiyuan mortgage money, the losses to be approved by the compensation paid to fishermen.
Weijia Jie: Although not yet approved the number of dead fish, but let's call him the money to get Jiangzhou government, mortgage placed here. Then the dead fish, said by the government to send staff to the verification responsibility corporate signature, fishermen signature signing Government, and then paying out the compensation. Prior to this, the masses have a concern the dead fish how to do, worked hard throughout the year, and now we have to be resolute and compensation.
Chongzuo of sugar, sucrose production ranks first in the country. Around the sugar industry, local alcohol, paper, and other downstream industries are also developing rapidly, and most of the enterprises along the river and built. This left the river has caused tremendous pressure.
Weijia Jie: This is not so many companies, I provide water to Nanning II water, and better than second-class water. You on so many businesses, results downgrade, reduced to three types of water. Environmental protection bureau said, the pressure is the largest, voluntary when the environmental protection bureau, and I do not see a few people.
Weijia Jie Next, environmental protection departments will step up inspections of frequency, to carry out night search and prizes reporting system and other measures to combat illegal sewage behavior of enterprises. He also suggested that enterprises should continue to the depth of emission reduction, the government launched a related project should be cautious.
Weijia Jie: I think, based on emissions now, they continue to deeper cuts. Speaking from the the Chongzuo rivers carrying capacity, in addition to sugar which can accommodate some additional, such as paper mills, alcohol plant, and then can not be on these enterprises.
- CHINA News [Translated].

MONUMENTAL SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Colossal Cosmic Collision Coming This Year At The Galactic Center, Says Awestruck Astronomer - Giant Gas Cloud On Collision Course With Super Massive Black Hole!

February 03, 2013 - SPACE - Scientists have determined a giant gas cloud is on a collision course with the black hole in the center of our galaxy, and the two will be close enough by mid-2013 to provide a unique opportunity to observe how a super massive black hole sucks in material, in real time. This will give astronomers more information on how matter behaves near a black hole.

Gas cloud approaching black hole representation. A giant gaseous cloud will collide with the black hole at
the center of the Milky Way Galaxy sometime in the middle of 2013. Credit:
“The next few years will be really fantastic and exciting because we are probing new territory,” said Reinhard Genzel, leading a team from the ESO in observations with the Very Large Telescope. “Here this cloud comes in gets disrupted and now it will begin to interact with the hot gas right around the black hole. We have never seen this before.” On June of 2012, the gas cloud is expected to be just 36 light-hours (equivalent to 40,000,000,000 km) away from our galaxy’s black hole, which is extremely close in astronomical terms.

Astronomers have determined the speed of the gas cloud has increased, doubling over the past seven years, and is now reaching more than 8 million km per hour. The cloud is estimated to be three times the mass of Earth and the density of the cloud is much higher than that of the hot gas surrounding black hole.

Max Planck Institute.
But the black hole has a tremendous gravitational force, and so the gas cloud will fall into the direction of the black hole, be elongated and stretched and look like spaghetti, said Stefan Gillessen, astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Munich, Germany, who has been observing our galaxy’s black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*), for 20 years. “So far there were only two stars that came that close to Sagittarius A*,” Gillessen said. “They passed unharmed, but this time will be different: the gas cloud will be completely ripped apart by the tidal forces of the black hole.”

WATCH: A video of observations of the cloud for the past 10 years.

No one really knows how the collision will unfold, but the cloud’s edges have already started to shred and it is expected to break up completely over the coming months. As the time of actual collision approaches, the cloud is expected to get much hotter and will probably start to emit X-rays as a result of the interaction with the black hole. Although direct observations of black holes are impossible, as they do not emit light or matter, astronomers can identify a black hole indirectly due to the gravitational forces observed in their vicinity.

© ESA / Medialab AOES.
A black hole is what remains after a super massive star dies. When the “fuel” of a star runs low, it will first swell and then collapse to a dense core. If this remnant core has more than three times the mass of our Sun, it will transform to a black hole. So-called super massive black holes are the largest type of black holes, as their mass equals hundreds of thousands to a billion times the mass of our Sun. Black holes are thought to be at the center of all galaxies, but their origin is not fully understood and astrophysicists can only speculate as to what happens inside them. And so this upcoming collision just 27,000 light years away will likely provide new insights on the behavior of black holes. - Universe Today.

WATCH: Giant gas cloud to collide with super massive black hole.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds And Hundreds Of Fish Found Dead In Darling River, New South Wales, Australia!

February 03, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - A far west pastoralist says hundreds of perch are dead in the Darling River because of recent releases from the Menindee Lakes.

Greg Martin is from from Nelia Gari station, near Wilcannia.

Thousands of fish suffocate in Darling River.
Mr Martin says there are hundreds of dead fish in the river.

"It seemed to coincide with them letting all of our water go," he said.

"The river dropped three metres in a matter of weeks and then this started happening - there was hundreds and hundreds of dead perch floating around up and down the river, wherever you looked."

State Water says it is normal for fish to die when it is hot and the water is lower.

Mr Martin says the Darling River is green and smelly, and has not been this bad for years.

"The river, before this happened, was the best it was looking for ten years, and now it's back to how it was looking at the middle of the drought and damn near its lowest point at the middle of the drought," he said.  - ABC Australia.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Green Fireball Flashes Across Night Sky In Lincolnshire, England; "White Blob" Meteor Filmed Near Birmingham Airport, England; And "Loud Boom" Alarms Residents In Springfield, Missouri!

February 03, 2013 - ENGLAND - Sightings have been reported of a green 'fireball' flashing across the sky over Lincolnshire last night.  Lincoln City goalkeeper Paul Farman was among those who saw the phenomenon and wrote on Twitter at about 9pm that he'd seen a meteoroid or a shooting star.  RAF Waddington spokesman Lindsey Askin said no flights from the base were in the air over Lincoln. 

Graphic illustration of the green fireball.
Green Fireball Flashes Across Night Sky In Lincolnshire, England.
Astronomer Paul Money, who lives in Horncastle, caught a glimpse of the spectacle out the corner of his eye as it disappeared to the north.  "It is difficult to say whether this was a chunk of man-made space debris or a piece of asteroid," he said.  "Images and eyewitness reports will be collated by the British Astronomical Association and some months down the line they may get an idea of what it actually was."  Astronomer Philip Norton, of Thirsk Drive, North Hykeham, said: "From the description on the web it sounds like a lump of rock about the size of a football hit the atmosphere. This is not uncommon. It just never seems to happen over the UK when the sky is clear.  "What is more interesting is asteroid 2012 DA14. At teatime on February 15 it will pass by only 17,000 miles above the surface.  "This is below the orbits of the TV satellites. Asteroid 2012 DA14 is a little guy, compared to some asteroids, although its size has not been pinned down precisely.  "It is thought to be about 150 feet across, with an estimated mass of about 130,000 metric tonnes. If it hit the Earth it would form a crater several miles across. It will only be visible in binoculars." - TIL.

"White Blob" Meteor Filmed Near Birmingham Airport, England.
A taxi driver has captured film of a suspected meteor over Birmingham Airport.Paul Duggan filmed the object on a dashboard camera he uses to record bad driving, at 21:05 GMT on Wednesday. Mr Duggan said he initially thought it might be an aircraft crashing. Gary Fildes, from the Kielder Observatory in Northumberland, said the meteor was visible for 10 to 15 seconds - 10 times longer than usual - and was "quite a sight". 

WATCH: Meteor over Birmingham Airport.

 'Very bright'

He said he had been hosting a public outreach project at the observatory when the meteor appeared. Mr Duggan said: "It was like a big flame coming down, very wide." Train driver Andy Rosser also saw the light in the sky as he pulled in to Solihull station. "I caught a glimpse of a very fast moving, very bright light with maybe a little green look to it and I thought: 'What the hell was that?'," he said. Mr Fildes said the colour of the fireball meteor suggested it was probably made of iron, and was about the size of a human fist. There were reports on Twitter of the fast-moving green/white object being seen from East Anglia to Scotland. - BBC News.

"Loud Boom" Alarms Residents In Springfield, Missouri.
People in several counties in our viewing area wondering "what was that sound?"  Dozens of you have let us know about a "loud boom" or explosion between 6:30 and 8:30 Saturday night.  KSPR has received reports about it from Mount Vernon, Nixa, Ozark, Aurora, and Reeds Spring but so far authorities say they've been unable to determine the source of the blast.  We can rule out an earthquake, the last one recorded anywhere near the Ozarks was more than 12 hours ago near Oklahoma City. - KSPR.

WATCH: Loud boom over Missouri.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Severe Drought Kills 9,272 Cattle During The Past Month In Zimbadwe!

February 03, 2013 - ZIMBADWE - Matabeleland South provincial livestock specialist Simangaliphi Ngwabi has advised cattle farmers from the drought prone province to set aside arable land for fodder production to avoid loss of livestock due to lack of pasture.  A total of 9,272 cattle deaths were recorded in the province in just over a month since December 20, 2012 due to the effects of drought. 

The most affected areas were Mangwe District with 5,476 deaths followed by Matobo with 1,232 deaths and Beitbridge with 1,015 deaths. The least affected was Umzingwane with only 23 cattle reported dead.  "Farmers should know that drought is there to stay because we are in the dry climatic region four and five and now with climate change it is going to be more prevalent than anything else," Ngwabi said.  Ngwabi said to save livestock, cattle breeders in the province, which at one point had the highest number of livestock in the country, should venture into fodder production to reverse the devastating cattle losses in future.  She argued that crop farming had proven to be unproductive in Matabeleland South, with the province continuing to be the hardest-hit by hunger every season.  Ngwabi said farmers could also start cutting hay now and store it in shades to feed their livestock during the dry season.  "Culling could also be another method of avoiding cattle losses in future. Farmers should check and judge if there is going to be a drought in a particular season and sell their cattle and keep the money," Ngwabi advised. 

"They can still restock depending with seasons, instead of losing their herd to drought," added the livestock specialist.  Matabeleland South, once the Brazil of Zimbabwe, now stands third after Masvingo and Midlands in cattle population, Ngwabi said.  Mangwe Farmers' Association board member, Clement Malaba, said farmers in the province should learn to do farming as a business and desist from keeping cattle for prestige.  "Mangwe District lost the highest number of cattle in the province and this should never be repeated in future; it should never ever happen again," he emphasised.  He said the province should totally do away with crop production as their source of livelihood and concentrate on livestock production, adding that underutilised irrigation schemes such Ngwizi and Antelope should be converted into fodder production zones to supplement cattle feeding during drought times.  Matabeleland Livestock Investment Initiative chairperson, Sifiso Sibanda, who also said what has been witnessed in Matabeleland South should never be repeated, said it was high time the government released money set aside for livestock production to ensure restocking begins in earnest.  He argued that now that the cropping season was already in full swing, the government had to shift focus from crops to livestock. - All Africa.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Giant Squid Creates Buzz In Kaikoura, New Zealand!

February 03, 2013 - NEW ZEALAND - A giant squid found floating at sea has created a huge amount of interest in Kaikoura this morning.

The squid, measuring about 8 metres in length, was found floating off the coast near Shark's Tooth point in South Bay about 8am by Jack and Sharon Osikai who were returning from a fishing trip.

Unusual Find: Christchurch couple Jack and Sharon Osikai found the giant squid floating in the water in
South Bay, Kaikoura. © Emma Dangerfield/Fairfax NZ.
The Christchurch couple, who have been holidaying in Kaikoura for about 20 years, said they had never seen anything like it.

"It took us about an hour to pull it in" Jack Osikai said.

A steady stream of people had been to the boat ramp to view the creature.

It is believed it may have been attacked by another squid, because of the shape of bite marks on its body. - Stuff.

WATCH: Giant squid in Kaikoura.